Actual Progress in the Village Scribe Project
Ron Wertlen of ''e''Khaya ICT met with potential new partners [http://www.ninjani.com/ Ninjani (Pty) Ltd.] on 20/08/2008. Ninjani is looking at building an SMS powered software to provide location based services via SMS on any cell phone (esp. old ones). The aim is to deliver HIV/AIDS information to customers who are seeking for help. Other partners include the Meraka Institute in Pretoria. If ''e''Khaya ICT can create or adapt existing software for this purpose, then it will be put to good use within the Village Scribe programme, allowing the Village Scribes to reach their customers by cell phone and provide them with cellular communication services.
First development by ''e''Khaya ICT for the Village Scribe community programme is going to be developed between now and August or September 2009. The developers, two Informations Systems Honours students Kagiso Komane and Dale Singh, are working on a group project under the direction of the Rhodes University and ''e''Khaya ICT. (Kagiso Kumane is also partially financed by ''e''Khaya ICT.)
von links: NN, Mvelile Ngonyama (lokaler Stammeshäuptling), Ronald Wertlen and Siphiwo Msindwana
Their projects are on '''“Real e-Services for Rural Development”''': the idea is to piece together exisiting e-commerce and m-commerce B2C solutions for simple use by a rural telecentre operator. The Village Scribe Association is assisting with the release of the software, which should help Siphiwo Msindwana, the leader of the community project and first future village scribe, to improve the service offering to the community beyond computer training. The VSA will be evaluating the technology and community acceptance in accordance with its charter.
Siphiwo Msindwana, the leader of the community project and first future village scribe, has begun training community members interested in learning about computers at the school in the afternoons in accordance with the agreements made with the school in February. Small classes of up to 5 learners have been exploring computer usage.
Mr. Yankey, who has been promoted to Deputy-Principal at Zwelenqaba SSS was at a '''Schoolnet trainer training course''' in Johannesburg between the 8th and 13th of December 2008. His trip was funded from the ECSPIRT funds. He came back positively influenced by the training and very keen to begin implementing what he learned at the school. He will also be assisting Siphiwo Msindwana to improve his skills.
Very impressive organisation has been instituted by the Zwelenqaba School and Siphiwo Msindwana, the leader of the community project. Mr Msindwana is now training scholars between 3 and 5pm in two groups. This is the continuation of the computer club in a sense. The school will have to ask the scholars soon to make a financial contribution to pay Mr Msindwana. Subsequently, an adult class is taking place every day between 5 and 7pm. Between 15 and 20 community members participate and many more want to join the training by our first village scribe Mr Msindwana. Even the teachers are interested to enhance their skills.
In the last period, things have been pretty quiet as we look for a new round of funding to support our work in the field. We have several options, and one focal point is the community upliftment. The new South African administration has promised better lives for all, and it would be great to work with them on this.
Siphiwo Msindwana, the leader of the Community Project and our first Village Scribe, has completed training of the first 15 community members who will be awarded certificates issued by Schoolnet, thanks to the training that Mr Yankey completed in December 2008. Mr Yankey has made the Schoolnet materials available to Mr Msindwana and has been overseeing the adult training programme for the meantime.
Laptop for Mr Msindwana from the University of Fort Hare: We found a used HP laptop for Mr Msindwana. Unfortunately it is not really suitable, as its battery life is only a few minutes. We are looking further for options to get Mr Msindwana better equipment.
The VSA and ''e''Khaya ICT are part of the Siyakhula Living Lab (SLL; some background info: http://ekhayaict.com/wordpress/?p=122). First fruits of being part of the SLL are that a SLL Management Unit (SiLLMU) is being founded to organise the potential of the SLL. Part of the mission of the Unit is to improve the relationships and organisation of liaison with the community, which means establishing field offices at Dwesa and Nkwalini (Tafelahash). There is also some provision for long distance networking to finally connect the entire SLL to the Internet. The SiLLMU has funding for a year.
World Cup 2010 SolarWorld sponsorship for communities: It seems that this programme is almost definitely going to make it possible for the communities we work with, to watch the World Cup action in their communities. We will know more about this later and report back here.
Ronald Wertlen went to visit Mpume JSS, one of five Siyakhula Living Lab schools in Dwesa (30km from Nkwalini in the former Transkei) and made plans with the Principal about the '''participation of the schools in the ECSPIRT Project''', and repaired their Internet problem. At Nkwalini, Ronald Wertlen and Siphiwo Msindwana '''founded and officially registered the Rural Knowledge and Technology Centre''' online – a nice example of the efficiency of the Internet. This will be the first Village Scribe Centre where rural people can learn how to use computers and get help with the use of the Internet.
Die Teilnehmer des Computerkurses mit ihren SchoolNet Zertifikaten, Herr Msindwana (Lehrer), Herr Wertlen (eKhaya ICT) und Herr Ziduli (Schuldirektor)
Mr Msindwana organised '''the first award ceremony for 17 learners''' from Nkwalini and Kotyana (neighbouring tribal area), who were awarded certificates from SchoolNet and given a transcript with their course curriculum and a CD with their exam papers. It took place at Zwelenqaba SSS on the 19th June 2009 at 11:00.
'''Mr Mbonda and Mr Sandile have begun teaching the community at Bafazi.''' This is a potential extension of the project with Mr Msindwana, the first village scribe. They are interested in cooperating with the VSA. We are happy about the independent development. Ten learners are registered.
Rhodes University will sponsor a new laptop for Mr Msindwana. It will be delivered on the next trip to Tafalehashi.
SiLLMU (The Siyakhula Living Lab Management Unit, some background info: http://ekhayaict.com/wordpress/?p=122) looks set to take off, the agreement has been signed by the University. However, there is a little hiccup: SiLLMU funding has been cut by 30% because of the strong Rand. It seems that this will not affect community aspects of the Living Lab, so that work will be focused on regional improvements and organisation of SiLLMU into an NGO in this first instance. '''Some of the funding will be used for a work station (field office) and a salary for Mr Msindwana.'''
SolarWorld will most probably sponsor at least four sites in Nkwalini and Bulungula (20 km from Nkwalini) with solar panels and TV sets for the communities, so that they can follow the Soccer World Cup 2010. We are very happy for the communities as they also get to keep the equipment afterwards!
A new partner for the VSA is being created by the Rhodes University, ''e''Khaya ICT and the University of Fort Hare: '''a professional software factory, which will create the software that the Village Scribe will use, e.g. eLearning, eGovernment and/or eCommerce Services!''' The software factory will be one of the results of a project called ESTIMA. It is being funded by [http://www.safipa.com SAFIPA] for two years and should result in an economically viable entity being spun off at the end. Three developers and other management positions are being advertised.
Read more about the [http://ekhayaict.com/eKhaya_ICT_SF.php Software Factory] and about the positions advertised through [http://ekhayaict.com/eKhaya_ICT_Jobs.php ''e''Khaya ICT] or [http://www.dwesa.org/jobs the SLL].
'''The Tafalehashi trading store is interested in the eServices and the Village Scribe Project.''' They might in the future support another village scribe on their premises.
The community TV set project is going ahead. '''We would like to invite students of ethnology or anthropology from Germany to apply for research by sending us a short letter and a CV endorsed by your professor to take part in the project, starting before the World Cup 2010.''' We are hoping to get funding from SolarWorld for part of the expenses for this project. Your letter will help secure the funding.
“As community coordinator it has, so far been a privilege to work for the VSA. We have approached and received warm welcome from three schools: Mary Waters, Nathaniel Nyaluza and Benjamin Mahlasela – all are secondary schools. Because of the time of the year [end of year examinations] it’s a bit of challenge for the educators to commit the learners.
Benjamin Mahlasela Grade 9 & 10 learners have, however, started using ''aware''Net successfully. We are greatly encouraged by their enthusiasm. The camera is very useful in capturing all the exciting experiences we come across.
I am also translating the VSA website into isiXhosa, which is a very welcome challenge.”
Mr. Msindwana is also working actively for the Siyakhula Living Lab now. He assists M. Dalvit from the Education Department of the Rhodes University in giving workshops for teachers at Dwesa, a rural area near Nkwalini, in the Eastern Cape with several school computer labs that are supported by the Rhodes University.
Mr. Msindwana will be working together with Mr. Ngeju in November working with the Grahamstown schools and speeding ''aware''Net adoption there. He will take this knowledge back to Nkwalini and Dwesa with him.
'''Please, find all further progress news of this project on the [http://www.dorfschreiber.org/en/VSA_Blog/VSA_Blog.html VSA blog].'''
More details about the Village Scribe Project incl. ''e''Government and ''e''Commerce >>
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