This year, we have started collaborating with the Rhodes University Department of Journalism and Media Studies. Rod Amner is supervising a group of third year students that will do their practical with and about our awarenet programme.
Aim of the course
This course was developed in response to a perceived lack of congruence between the ‘academic’ and ‘vocational’ streams of our undergraduate curriculum. By exploring this relationship between ideas about journalism’s role and the alternative assumptions and practices of various ‘journalisms’, the JDD-CMP course aims to bring together – through critique – the Media Studies and Media Production components of the third year curriculum.
Students will be asked to contribute in some way to the goals of ‘democratisation’ and ‘development’ in Grahamstown, by practicing public/ civic journalism, development journalism, citizens’/participatory journalism or radical journalism. All these approaches are predicated, in one way or another, upon critiques of routinised forms of ‘mainstream’ journalism, and offer diverse ideas and methods for producing ‘better’ – meaning, alternatively, more purposive, civic-minded, principled, engaged, inclusive, bottom-up, exhaustive, systematic, innovative, oppositional, and reflexive – ways of doing news work.
We are very happy about their interest and enthusiasm. Their aim is exactly in line with our ideals and we hope to get the most out of this collaboration by supporting them as best as we can. Their exact project themes and work will be decided on soon, and we will report about the outcome. We are looking forward to a fruitful and fun time together!
This has been an exciting day. The VSA attended the re:campaign in Berlin. Day one was filled with presentations and talks, which gave me new ideas and motivated me to take the next steps that need to be taken to grow our German community.
- Listen and talk even more to our potential members, engage them in discussions, then produce content and tell our own story (Betsy Hoover).
- Use open transfer strategies to move the knowledge from South Africa to Germany, work on a concept for collaboration of the two VSAs (Katarina Peranic, Henrik Floor).
- Use the YouTube Platform for non-profits to reach more people, have them become members and donate (Sabine Frank).
- Produce a video with a story and a new concept (Film4Change) with a fresh vision!
- Offer more to the volunteers, e.g. responsibilities and being part of a larger community (Hannes Jaehnert).
Who feels motivated and addressed by this? Who wants to be a volunteers for the VSA Germany? Contact me, we can work together and you will have your own field and responsibilities! I am looking forward to hearing from you!
Sanele Ntshingana, VSA volunteer and awarenet project coordinator reports about his own project:
“On the 28th of April, Sunday- a group of 7 learners from Mary Waters High School who are currently doing the “Anti-littering Campaign” went to Rhodes University Journalism Department to record an Anti-littering campaign awareness audio clip.
All the 7 hip, fresh and enthusiastic Awarenet learners participated in the recording of the audio clip which will be used for anti-littering awaress. These learners were so excited and they jumped around the Africa Media Matrix studio facilities, full of joy as it was for many of them their first time to be engulfed by microphones in a recording studio.
With the constant practise of the two page anti-littering campaign drama script, the learners showed their perfection abilities as they fluently recorded the script without any hustles, their voices blending very well ending up producing a very good sound- this is plausible.
“It was very worthwhile to spend an hour with the enthusiastic learners on a Sunday than maybe sitting in my room watching a movie or something”
The audio clip will be embedded with “anti-littering awareness campaign” picture that will be taken on Wednesday, 01 May at the Kowie River by Marry Waters High school where Rhodes students in collaboration with awarenet CM Vellem Higher Primary School and Mary Waters High School leaners will clean the local river for awareness to the local Grahamstown community.”
This year, the VSA organised its first awarenet Open Day to present the programme to the community and to attract more teachers from new schools to take part in the programme. Viv Quin organised the event and decided that CM Vellem Higher Primary School would be a good example due to their long participation and reliability, so the Open Day took place in Joza-Grahamstown.
Mrs Quin reports: “I was extremely happy with how the Open Day went. The computer lab at CM Vellem HPS was full, each two children had to share a computer. Teachers and other interested community members arrived from four other schools, namely Fikisolo Primary School, The Seventh Day Adventist School, Samuel Ntsiko Primary School and Archie Mbolekwa School. Once everyone had arrived, Mrs Penney gave an overview of the awarenet platform and programme using the projector. The children then wrote a blog about their schools and received sponsored gifts, such as exam/note pads and pens. The teachers were also very involved assisting the learners as they worked on their blogs.They also made suggestions and offered to help putting new teaching aids onto awarenet. The local newspaper Grocott’s Mail had sent a reporter and will report about the event, soon.”
The next steps are to investigate the new schools computer labs and to organise awarenet access for them. Then, we will give a workshop to train the teachers in awarenet use. We will continue to support them by inviting them to current awarenet projects and to the teachers’ network. We are looking forward to a good cooperation. Please, contact us, if you are a teacher and also interested to take part in the awarenet programme.
We decided to replace our conventional social media buttons with 2-click social media buttons to protect your data and privacy. A while ago, a German privacy group declared using the Facebook Like button leads to profiling that infringes German and European data protection laws. The organization alleged Facebook builds a broad profile for individuals not on the service as well as a more personalized profile of its members.
Emil Protalinski explains: A German website Heise then changed its Facebook Like buttons to be locally-hosted greyed-out images that only transform into real Facebook Like buttons once you click them. In other words, they are not active by default; if you don’t click anything, Facebook can’t track your visit to Heise. Now, this has been implemented below this post and all other posts in the VSA blog, too.
After the first click, an AJAX call is performed and the Facebook Like button is inserted dynamically. The necessary Facebook scripts then load and the usual data Facebook requires is transmitted to the social network. The change means that to Like one of our pages, you need to click twice. On the other hand, this presumably results in the page loading slightly faster. We hope you like it!
The International Girls’ in ICT Day is on the 25. of April 2013 this year. It is an initiative backed by ITU Member States in ITU Plenipotentiary Resolution 70 (Guadalajara, 2010) to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies (ICTs).
The VSA will contribute by organising the first awarenet Open Day in Grahamstown. The Joza community and especially the girls and theirs mothers are invited to come to CM Vellem Higher Primary School between 1 and 3pm (on Friday 26/04/13, due to organisational constraints) to find out what can be done with awarenet, what the benefits are and how they can join. Further, we want to encourage more teachers to use awarenet to enhance their teaching.
Format: There will be a welcome desk, where visitors will receive general information. An awarenet coordinator and several volunteers will be present in the lab along with learners from CM Vellem School to present awarenet, its 3rd party content and the learners’ awarenet projects via the projector and single computers. Visitors can join awarenet on the day and – by participating actively – win prizes. There are no entry fees or charges.
We are looking forward to meet all the new girls and their families!
The VSA has presented the awarenet programme and itself as social entrepreneur to students of the Berlin School of Economics and Law on Wednesday, 17/4/13. We were invited by Prof Sven Ripsas, who teaches and coordinates courses about social entrepreneurship for students. During the summer semester, the students will have to analyse social enterprises or write a business plan for one of them. We have asked them to help us with a business model, which should include a financial plan and a marketing strategy. They will decide within the next 2-3 weeks, which task they will tackle. We hope that a small, interested group will work with us and are looking forward to the summer with them!
The VSA has a new partner: Inkululeko, a Non-Profit Organization based in Grahamstown, whose mission is to empower youth in South Africa through supplemental education and opportunity. Through our current volunteer Sanele Ntshingana, we were introduced to Inkululeko, their work and their Head, Jason Torreano, who suggested to integrate the awarenet Programme into their own programme.
Matthew Kellen of Inkululeko describes their vision like this: “It is Inkululeko’s ambition to support the educational personal development of grade 8 youths from the impoverished neighborhoods of Grahamstown, South Africa. To best support their needs, we need to fill gaps in their education, support what is happening currently in their classrooms, and go beyond what is happening in their classroom to further develop concepts taught. To do this requires balancing what we provide our youths. The VSA is doing an excellent job of developing computer literacy as well as helping develop critical thinking skills.
By providing prompts that provoke a critical thinking response, we would be able to build computer skills as well as critical thinking skills. Our hope is that with the help of Terri-Lynn Penney providing occasional support, we could have our youths engage in the exciting projects and opportunities the VSA has to offer to take our youths beyond what is happening in the classrooms.”
We are very much looking forward to this partnership and believe that this is the way forward to a sustainable and effective use of awarenet. Thank you for your trust, Inkululeko.
It’s official now. The VSA received a scholarship at the social impact enterprise lab in Berlin-Kreuzberg.
This is a fantastic opportunity for us. As announced in a previous blog, we can now use the co-working space in the social impact lab and receive coaching&consulting, mentoring by SAP staff, further qualification and a chance of additional financial support.
We are looking forward to use the next 4 months in the lab effectively and can’t wait to present the first outcome to you very soon.
The second part of the Idea Reframing Workshop at the social impact enterprise lab took place today. Six social enterprises including the Village Scribe Association were present again. This time, we were introduced to the Value Proposition Canvas and the Business Model Canvas. We went straight into our own projects and defined our most important customers, their pains&gains and our product to release pain and enhance gain. From there, we went further into the business model and developed our ideas or simply straightened out the chaos….
It was another good experience and the new knowledge has already helped us to plan the next steps and the way forward with our awarenet programme in Germany and Africa. Stay curious – we will inform you about details soon!