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“Aware Yet?” at SEWF2011

aware Yet?

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South African youth is in general vastly un-appreciated, un-skilled and un-employed (**). Yet they are the future of our country and the hope for the nation!  Second rate schooling, apathy and lack of a master plan are the ingredients in this terrible recipe for disaster!

“aware Yet?” a campaign that the Village Scribe Association is starting in concert with the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) 2011 conference has the aim of highlighting the bilateral ignorance:
  •  On the one hand the public is unaware of the problem, or even glad to ignore it and sweep it under the carpet.
  • On the other hand, youths are unaware of their options, their rights and the possibility to make their voice heard through team work and mass action.
“aware Yet?” will also highlight the benefits of the VSA product awareNet:

By starting early and learning about the world around them using active collaboration and participation, awareNet users have a head start on their colleagues and are able to pass these skills on by thinking openly and collaboratively about their options. awareNet learners know that united they stand taller than individually, and that the world is a connected place, which can help them fulfill their dreams.

** Some Statistics: unemployment in the Eastern Cape for ages 15- 64 was 27%, StatsSA 2010, where unemployment historically in the age group 15-24 is about double that.

By: Ron Wertlen [permalink]
Posted: March 31st 2011 07:42

Innovation Made in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

A brand new 2012 CSIR research project into Technologies for Rural Education will make use of awareNet technology. The CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) is South Africa's first and largest technology innovation institution and very active in the development and rural development sphere.

The mobile servers for this project have already been ordered from eKhaya ICT. awareNet has been piloted before in a rural area and its whole design philosophy addresses issues that were learned in the SELF Solar Computer Schools project near Elliotdale, Eastern Cape. The CSIR pilot is substantially larger and obviates the need for computer labs, which are considered more exclusive than inclusive by some. It focuses instead on low cost tablet and mobile devices. These together with the mobile server allow awareNet to reach even the many schools that rely on poor EDGE connectivity for their Internet connection.

This project is a first for awareNet, showcasing the features that make this software platform useful - automatic synchronisation and backup, mobility to reach the classes that need to use high-speed social networking and multimedia, and the inclusion of new Javascript libraries based on JQuery and MudCube software, that allow even more activities and projects to be undertaken by the learners. awareNet's Kapenta core has been made mobile for this project, including support for tablet and mobile Javascript events in all views, as well as auto-detecting viewport capabilities. 

This new version of awareNet is ready to really bridge the digital divide.

awareNet's software innovation is eKhaya ICT's priority.  The awareNet network's content, which is a strong contributor to successful uptake by new learners is attributable to the Village Scribe Association. Their efforts underlie the social development strengths of awareNet -- which will be more closely investigated in the rural context in this project by the CSIR.

The CSIR understands that social motivation and integration is the most important aspect of any rural technology project, regardless of how rudimentary the technology. This is why they are so excited -- as are we -- to be working together on this project.

By: Ron Wertlen [permalink]
Posted: July 19th 2012 02:53

Teaching the youth that they belong …

… is one of the ideas behind aware Yet. A brilliant blog post by Paul Pereira at Tshikululu Investments (a CSI company dealing in the education sector I recently met at SEWF) expresses the need for this very plainly:

Teaching lifeskills may be more empowering than other social investments

These thoughts are what drive our awareNet programme. We have experienced the most demeaning situations which enforce in learners minds the idea of being meaningless to society, in our Eastern Cape schools. We are doing all we can to reverse this, and it starts with ourselves and they way we deal with people. Thank you, Paul!


By: Ron Wertlen [permalink]
Posted: April 12th 2011 09:33






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