News in 2022

New leadership in FIG Africa Regional Network

March 2022

FIG Council has appointed Surv. Mohammed Mamman Kabir from Nigeria as new chair of ARN for the coming term however with immediate effect.

Mohammed Mamman Kabir has been in and around FIG for many years and is an active member of ARN. He is a tireless promoter and supporter of young surveyors in Africa and in 2019 he represented the Africa region at a FIG strategy seminar.

There will be a transition period during the coming months between Jennifer Whittal and Mohammed Mamman Kabir

Change of Leadership from Jennifer Whittal to Mohammed Mamman Kabir

The Current chair of the Africa Regional Network, ARN, Jennifer Whittal, took over the leadership in 2019 after FIG Vice President Diane Dumashie for the term 2019-2022. During her leadership ARN has continued to develop and grow and is today a vibrant network with many activities and exciting undertakings and ideas for the future development.

The lates initiative is a mentoring programme in Africa. You can read more about this in this update from ARN further down.

Jennifer had expressed her interest to continue, however with her academic profile FIG Foundation and FIG Council wished to see her as Director of the FIG Foundation. It is not possible to continue in both positions at the same time. Jennifer has kindly accepted to become one of the FIG Foundation Directors, although she also expresses her sorrow to leave ARN.

FIG Foundation has been missing a director with an academic profile. FIG Council decided to appoint Jennifer, and it was the wish of FIG Foundation that Jennifer could take over soonest possible. This means that she is actually already now appointed and installed as Director. She has promised to continue for some time with ARN to ensure a smooth transfer to the new chair of ARN.

FIG Council thanks Jennifer for her extensive work to continue the growth of ARN over these past 3½ years. Having a strong network in Africa is a true strenght for FIG. FIG Council is also certain that this development will continue with Mohammed Mamman Kabir at the lead during the next term.

Read more about the appointement of two new Directors in FIG Foundation

In her newsletter, Jennifer Whittal informs about the Mentoring programme in Africa and Voices of African Young Professionals:

A Structured Mentoring Programme in Africa

Sustaining our profession relies not only on the transfer of skills, but also the institutional memory of the profession - the intergenerational transfer of knowledge, experience, and inspiration towards building a stronger future. A mentoring programme is an important way of transferring the institutional memory of the profession, to support the future of the profession, and bring surveyors all over the world closer. It aims to engage the youth leading to their integration into our professional and workplace structures providing them with opportunities and to promote resilience in the profession.

The development of the mentoring programme began at the 2016 FIG Working Week in Christchurch, where the concept of the mentoring programme was developed. At the 2017 FIG Working Week in Helsinki, the mentoring workshop, “Who Mentors You?” centred around facilitated working groups involving young surveyors and FIG members to resolve the issues and questions identified in the first workshop in a collaborative way. The results of these workshops were documented and used to produce the FIG YSN Mentoring toolkit, meant to guide young surveyors in the development of mentoring programmes in their regions. During the 1st Young Surveyors African Meeting in Gaborone, Botswana, in 2018, a workshop was facilitated on the development of a mentoring programme for African Young Surveyors.

The Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI) of Australia developed the concept for a structured mentoring programme in 2017 and has been running an international mentoring programme with success since 2018. Over this time, over 700 mentors and mentees across the world have participated, including strong participation from African countries. SSSI was approach by FIG ARN and FIG YSN and responded with the intent of strategically supporting the development of a mentoring programme that can be delivered in Africa, and that is tailored to the cultural context and specific career pathway focus of potential mentors and mentees in African countries. Discussions with the SSSI Mentoring Programme committee and SSSI CEO Tony Wheeler have extended to an agreement that the SSSI Mentoring Programme team is happy to provide this support alongside appropriate acknowledgement of team members and of the mentoring programme IP that is being shared.

The programme will be managed by a team of representatives from the FIG YSN, the FIG ARN, with strong support from the SSSi Mentoring Programme Team. The initial pilot programme in 2022 will have limited numbers. It will begin with an orientation session on the 9th April and will conclude in July. This pilot will allow the FIG YSN and the FIG ARN to work collaboratively in exploring the ways to bring young and seasoned surveyors together as well as managing the programme for further upscaling. Initial interest has been very good and so all involved look forward to a successful pilot programme leading to a well-designed and sustainable programme for the future.

Voices of African Young Professionals

The voices of African young professionals has been ongoing for over 12 months. The inspirational message from Carsten B at ESRI (Middle East and Africa lead) to African Young surveyors in Episode 6 of Turning the Tide a mini-series in the Voices of Africa should encourage all. In this 2022 New Year message: We listen to Carsten Bjornson's (ESRI Middle East and Africa) talk about geospatial infrastructure trends, what skills we can use and why these skills and understanding matter to us in our work. Our conversation concludes with Carsten's top tips for African professionals.

I am also pleased to disseminate all current episodes of the Voices of Africa – a series of conversations by young African surveyors for African young surveyors.  This 12 part series titled “Turn the Tide’ has enabled Young surveyors to remain connected with their colleagues across the continent. The aim is to share their experiences on a range of topics over the course of last year and this year. There are more scheduled later this year. All the conversations are recorded on Utube, by African Young Surveyors, hosted by Dr Diane Awo Dumashie – do check out the links on the ARN Facebook page.

Jennifer Whittal, March 2022



Louise Friis-Hansen
30 March 2022