The eNutrition Academy began, as many things do, with a conversation. The Nutrition Society (UK and Ireland) had worked with the African Nutrition Society (ANS) for many years through a number of initiatives such as travel bursaries and supporting the African Nutrition Epidemiological Conference (ANEC) and enabling publication of ANEC abstracts in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (impact factor 5.347, 2017)
In 2012 we sat down, as we had done many times before, to discuss the deepening of our partnership and how we could work together to fulfil the aims of both our organisations. I, and the former CEO of the Nutrition Society, Fred Wentworth-Bowyer (who sadly passed earlier this year) were struck by the resolve and determination of Drs Paul Amuna and Francis Zotor, to have an African lead approach to support capacity development on the continent, to aid the development of the next generation of nutritional scientists, and ultimately to support the global future leaders who will drive science on the continent and around the world. A big bold goal, which deserved a big bold plan! From this, the eNutrition Academy was born.
The eNutrition Academy (eNA) is an independent charitable organisation which is dedicated to providing open access capacity building courses in nutritional science worldwide. By utilising global academic expertise in combination with technology it creates courses that are not only subject specific but considers geographical variations of e-learning needs, enables capacity building, networking and information flow for the learner. From those early days in 2012, NS and ANS brought additional partners onboard, namely the Federation of African Nutrition Societies (FANUS), the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) and the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS). The Board of the eNA is made up of leading academics across the world and are appointed by the partner organisations. In 2014, the eNutrition Academy was incorporated as a charity and launched the concept for online learning to the ANEC IV delegates, in Accra in Ghana. At that time the partners sought the insight from attendees to establish their requirements. The eNA Trustee board established an Academic Board, a Fundraising Committee and set about creating a pilot course to test not only the online platform but communication across the continent. After many lessons learned, including a last-minute change in platform providers, restructuring of committees, the eNA launched its pilot course Assessment of Dietary Intake for Individuals written by Professor Basma Ellahi of the University of Chester, UK in collaboration with Reginald Annan, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. This course was formally launched at ANEC V, in Morocco in 2016. To date over 200 learners have logged on and taken part in the online learning.
When launching any new product, it is important to listen to feedback from end users, make any modification necessary and ensure that it is fit for purpose. Over 25% of users completed the online survey commentating on all aspects of the pilot course to the usability of the host platform and how we can improve presentation style and methods. The eNA was delighted to present its findings at IUNS-ICN in October 2017. Dr Grace Marquis (McGill University, Canada) and member of the eNA Board presented the outcomes of Needs and Demand Survey which looked at future development of online learning in Africa. More information and can be found on the eNA website. This survey remains open and we would love to hear your thoughts.
We look forward to returning to ANEC in Addis Ababa in October 2018, to support our learners and hear from you about your requirements. In addition, we seek supporters and content developers from across the continent to lead nutritional science in Africa.
The eNA is pleased and delighted to receive so much positive support for its programme.
Courses currently under development are as follows:
- Community Based Interventions
- Socio-Cultural Factors & Nutrition
- Obesity & Nutrition Interventions
- Fatty Acids & Nutritional Health
- An Introduction to Stable Isotopes Techniques in Nutritional Assessment
Acting CEO, eNutrition Academy