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What do you do when you can’t travel?- Zoom it! A reflection on APCOVE online Workshops.

We enjoyed the chance to meet up with our project partners from across the world in online workshops across August, September and November 2020, and then January 2021.

The purpose of the online workshops was:

  • To gain feedback and advice from our valued project partners across Australia, New Zealand, Minnesota (US), target countries, and our target countries, and colleagues from across the world
  • To make sure we stayed grounded in the needs of the target countries
  • To allow the teams creating the online modules to make presentations and receive guidance on the topics they were planning to include.

Although we couldn’t enjoy the sights, languages, cultures (and tastes!) involved in the Asia Pacific countries that are linked to the project, we still made the best of things by taking advantage of the benefits of technology. Read on to find out how we did this…

  • We asked our country partners whether they could create a song or dance for us! And with a great amount of grace, they agreed! We were lucky enough to have our Indonesia colleagues sing us a traditional Indonesian song called ‘Ampar Ampar Pisang’.


  • And our colleagues from the Philippines said ‘challenge accepted’ and sang us a song as well. So many talents in our partners in addition to their epidemiological skills!
  • We wanted to keep the focus on our country partners as the resources are being created for them. So we asked them to present a talk about the animal health systems within their countries, and again with good grace and at short notice, they did this. This meant that colleagues had a better grounding in the country perspectives.
  • We wanted a welcoming environment for all from a cultural perspective, and asked presenters to include on their last slide ‘hello, welcome and thank you’ in one of their country languages.
  • Along similar lines, a welcoming and inclusive environment, we made it clear that questions could be asked during the sessions either using audio options or via the chat and the facilitator would relay the question. This meant that those who may usually be hesitant to speak up, because of language skills or other reasons, were still able to put forward their perspective or question.
  • The online approach also allowed us to involve more colleagues and representative voices, as those who may have found it difficult to travel, including those with caring or other responsibilities or with disabilities, could have their voices heard.

We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about the positive aspects of meetings facilitated through technology and we look forward to future workshops with our wonderful partners.

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