Since 1999, the Belgian CHM Focal Point organises training courses in Belgium in the use and development of a national CHM website. In 2003, the CHM workshop for African partner countries in Ouagadougou recommended to organise training sessions at national level, in the partner country itself, in order to be able to invite more people to participate. This would have for consequence that more people in a given country would be able to work on the CHM website.
In answer to this recommendation, the Belgian CHM organised a first regional training session for countries in Central Africa in Burundi, in 2005. The training was organised at regional level rather than at national level in order to generate the exchange of experiences and expertise bewteen neighbouring countries, therefore contributing to the strengthening of regional or sub-regional CHM networks in Africa.
Several training courses have been organised:
- January 2005, Burundi: first sub-regional CHM training course for partner countries from Central Africa, in Bujumbura, Burundi. This training has been organised in collaboration with the CHM Focal Point of Burundi and the CBD Secretariat. More information
- September 2005, Comoros: following demands by the CHM Focal Point of the Union of the Comoros, a regional training was planned for the Indian Ocean Islands in September 2005. However due to problems within the country, this regional training had to be cancelled at the last moment and was replaced by a three days national training course.
- January 2006, Burkina Faso: second sub-regional CHM training course for partner countries from West Africa, in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso from 16 to 27 January 2006. This training has been organised in collaboration with the CHM Focal Point of Burkina Faso and the CBD Secretariat. More information
- November 2006, Madagascar: third sub-regional training course for the Indian Ocean Islands. This training course was co-organisd by the 'Office National de l'Environnement', which is CHM Focal Point for Madagascar, the CBD Secretariat and the Belgian CHM Focal Point. More information
- March 2007, Morocco: a fourth sub-regional training course was organised for partner countries in Northern Africa.This training course was organised in collaboration with the CHM Focal Point for Morocco and the CBD Secretariat. More information
- January 2008, Morocco: Fifth sub-regional training course organised in collaboration with RAC/SPA and the Moroccan CHM focal point.
- March 2008, Cameroon: Sixth sub-regional training organised for partner countries in Central Africa. The training took place in Douala and was organised in collaboration with COMIFAC. More information
Planned regional training courses:
2008: the seventh regional training course is still in its conception stage.
The courses in practice
The regional training courses are organised as a collaborative effort between the host country, the Secretariat of the Convention, the Belgian CHM and other partners.
They usually last for one to two weeks and consist of intense practical training on the computer. It is ensured that there is only one person per computer and a good Internet access throughout the training. A maximum of 15-20 persons participate in the course, and there are at least two tutors at any given time.
The content of the course is currently focused on the use of the 'European Community CHM Portal Toolkit', a tool for creating and managing websites developed by the European Environment Agency. This toolkit is an 'out-of-the-box' CHM website with integrated content management and administration features. It facilitates greatly the establishment of websites by non-specialists, since it does not require any programming. The toolkit also provides a number of predefined sections that provide guidelines for establishing the content of the website.