The ATPS website that has been under review is now online. The site, which boasts state of the art multi-media capabilities has a new and improved look with major sections easily accessible from the homepage. The aesthetically advanced interface contains a new login facility that allows registered members access to special restricted areas such as designated member sub-sites accessible to authorized cluster groups such as secretariat staff, National chapter coordinators, youth and women programme members and Board members. It also provides special privileges including posting and commenting on the blogs and updating of selected content material.There is a blog section that provides room for cluster members to actively participate in discussions forums on various topics related to Science, technology and innovation (STI) and ongoing programme activities. The home page also features a series of visual icons that guide and link visitors directly to major ATPS programmes as well as ATPS social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and You-Tube. In addition the homepage also contains an events calendar and an‘In-Focus’ icon that highlights featured ongoing stories and events.
The new site is multi-lingual with French and English options that are active and an Arabic version that will be rolled-out soon. The new site has made it easier to develop and maintain mini sites for the 23 ATPS national chapters and serve as a means of effectively communicating chapter activities; with each chapter mini site, all the news, events and activities related to that chapter can now be uploaded to the site’s sub domain therefore providing visibility for the chapters. The same also applies for the program mini sites.
The new media centre has the capability of handling the latest interactive electronic media such as podcasts and videos. It is also capable of streaming uploaded videos, playing sound clips in form of podcasts and supporting flash animation. There is an elaborate photo gallery with a search and retrieval feature that contains neatly catalogued photos under designated categories.The ATPS website has now become interactive with the improved membership registration module that provides for subscription to newsletters, as well as assigns registering members passwords which they can use to access the site. There is also a feedback form that will be used to collect the views of the site’s users and other relevant information that they would like to pass to the ATPS secretariat. The site also provides RSS subscription that will alert visitors who subscribe to them every time the site is updated, and also allows for sharing of information to their networks via the share facility icon.
Speaking during the unveiling of the site to ATPS board members at the Hilton Hotel, Nairobi on June 18, 2010, ATPS’s Executive Director, Dr Kevin Urama said, “The ATPS secretariat understands well that the organisation’s website is its window to the world and we must utilise it fully to tell Africa’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) story and by doing so achieve the organization’s communications and outreach goals. With this new site we intend to deploy the wide range of new-media and multimedia technologies available to us to effectively reach out and interact with our key audiences, to tell success stories and to promote scaling-up of best practices globally.”Presenting the new site to the Board, ATPS Communications Officer, Marsden Momanyi said, “The main objective of the revamping exercise was to make it the ‘go-to’ site for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Africa and we believe that it will go a long way towards ensuring that ATPS achieves its goal of becoming the international centre of excellence in STI systems research, training, capacity building, communication, sensitization, knowledge brokerage, policy advocacy and outreach in Africa.”