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BUILDING CAPACITY IN STATISTICAL SOFTWARE AND DATA ANALYSIS: FEEDBACK FROM PILAF R TRAINING

BUILDING CAPACITY IN STATISTICAL  SOFTWARE AND DATA ANALYSIS: FEEDBACK FROM PILAF R TRAINING

We are in the era of data revolution. Data is everywhere, and they come in different forms and shapes. The use of data for research, decision/policy making and others has continued to grow. This development has posed some problems. The needed skills for handling and processing data still need to be improved, particularly among students and researchers. Statistics provide critical tools and methods for making sense of data. However, the abuse and misuse of statistics when drawing inferences and conclusions are rampant. The development of new data visualization and analysis software is making upskilling inevitable. Therefore, data users generally need constant retooling.

The Innovation Lab for Policy Leadership in Agriculture and Food Security (PiLAF), University of Ibadan as part of her mandate, seeks to contribute to society by empowering people with the ability to analyze and interpret data. Thus, PiLAF organized free R training which lasted for 12 weeks (5th October-21st December, 2022). 1,693 people registered for the training and 484 people eventually joined the google classroom where the training took place. Participants were taught R basics, Data Wrangling Tasks in R, Basic Data Visualisation, Hypothesis Testing Using R, Linear Regression Using R and Logistic Regression Using R.

The training session was facilitated by Prof O.E. Olubusoye, Head of Department, Centre for Petroleum Energy, Economics and Law (CPEEL) University of Ibadan, Dr. Nathaniel Olutegbe, Lecturer, Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, University Of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria and Mr Timothy Oyebamiji, data analyst. They tactfully and professionally facilitated the class and ensured that the trainees were effectively carried along. They provided resource materials as well as data sets for the training and also conducted assignments.

Undoubtedly, statistical analysis plays a central role in development and it is quite helpful when people are well equipped with the requisite skills needed to maximise data. With no gain saying, the training unlocked several potentials. It was indeed a worthy contribution of PiLAF to human development and capacity building. 

Some of the trainees have this to say: 

“The R training was very impactful. The lecturers taught each section carefully to aid better understanding for the participants. Thanks to PiLAF for making learning R a wonderful experience.” – Segun Fawole, Researcher, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

“It was an awesome experience given that it was my first time coming in contact with R”- Ernest Ngeh Tingum, Lecturer, University of Namibia

The PiLAF R training course was compact, interactive and interesting, covering from basics to intermediate advanced contents with hands-on practical tasks. Mentors/Instructors were of global standards with a wide array of knowledge and expertise in the various topics covered. Lecture videos and course materials were readily made available after each class and this helped me in going through them repeatedly and thereby, giving me more understanding of some concepts which were seemingly difficult during live classes. The R training also provided me with the opportunity for meaningful networking and collaborations”- Ovye Stephen Mari, Lecturer, University of Jos, Nigeria.

Classes were well organised and topics relevant for analysts– Miyanda Malambo, Researcher, Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI), Zambia. 

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