Update on activity grants and the online Alumni Networks meeting

DAN workshop 2018
From the Danida Alumni Network workshop at DFC in 2018

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the planned DAN workshop 2020 in Copenhagen for representatives from all of the 12 established local alumni networks had to be cancelled. As an alternative, we invited the representatives to a series of online meetings to cover some of the original workshop topics and share experiences from the global pandemic. The first meeting was on 17 June and the next will be at the end of August.

By Christine Bystøl

The following is a brief summary of the key topics that we covered during the first meeting.

Update from DFC

Teaching programmes: Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Danida Fellowship Centre has had to make multiple adjustments. All short courses planned to run between 1 April and 28 September have been cancelled, postponed, or moved online. Information about courses starting after 28 September will be shared later.  

The current situation has taught us to be innovative and to incorporate new digital tools into our work. Nevertheless, DFC still heavily emphasizes the importance of face-to-face learning. As Director Ulla Næsby Tawiah says in the video below, "we hope to be able to welcome our fellows again as soon as possible". You can watch the video here. 

Danida alumni activity grants: So far, DFC’s selection committee has fully, or conditionally, approved 11 out of 19 activity grant applications. Owing to the global pandemic and the restrictions imposed by national authorities around the world, DFC has delayed the starting dates and disbursements of funds for all activity grants until the situation has stabilised. However, in July, the DAN team will enter into dialogue with the individual recipients to assess whether activities can go ahead at their planned venues, (if government restrictions allow it), or alternatively whether they should be moved online. We plan to announce the next call for activity grants at the end of 2020.

Updated DAN portal, upcoming survey and webinars:

  • We have updated the section For Alumni on the Danida Alumni Network portal. In this section, you can find information and tools on how to mobilize and expand your network, plan for events and annual meetings and how to host effective online meetings. If you are considering starting an Alumni Network in your home country, the portal provides you with a step-by-step guide for how to get started in your planning process.
  • The DAN team appreciates feedback from our members. In order to improve our work and services, we plan to send out a survey to all alumni within the next few months.
  • Danida Alumni Network is initiating a new series of webinars, facilitated by alumni change makers for fellow alumni and partners. The topics of the webinars will address one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals. Read more about the initiative here and keep an eye on our social media platforms for more information.
Screenshot from online meeting
Screenshot from the DAN Alumni Networks meeting, June 17

Updates from the Alumni Networks

As is the case with DFC, the Covid-19 pandemic has also affected the local alumni networks. Most networks have had to either cancel or postpone planned events and meetings.

Nevertheless, some networks have found alternative ways of carrying out activities. Ms Ta Thi Thanh Thuy has reported that the Denmark Vietnam Alumni Network has moved a photo exhibition about life and studies in Denmark online. The network hopes to raise funds to publish a book to document the exhibition’s photos and stories.

Furthermore, all network representatives seem eager to go ahead with online activities, webinars and sharing knowledge and experiences with one another in online forums. So, on a positive note, going digital sometimes creates even greater outreach and visibility for the local networks than was previously possible.

However, moving meetings online is not without its challenges, particularly in relation to internet connectivity, time zone differences and technical difficulties. Together we need to find solutions to those challenges.

Lastly, Ms Elikplim Dzikunoo from the Danida Ghana Alumni Network has asked whether it is possible for the alumni boards to comment and give input to the coming Danida Fellowship Centre Strategy 2021-25. DFC will follow up on the request.

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