Archive for November, 2011
The VSA is an official partner of Peace One Day. POD is building the biggest call for peace the world has ever seen. Each year, 21 September marks Peace Day; a day for wide-scale community action, and a day for UN agencies and aid organisations to safely carry out life-saving work.
This year on Peace Day, we have organised a music event in Grahamstown, South Africa, that combined education, fun, communication and practical skills, all on awareNet. Subsequently, we made a video about the run up to the event (watch on YouTube), which POD liked so much that they have featured it on their official website. Have a look at their Global Truce 2012 partners, the VSA is listed under NGO&INGOs and the short film can be watched under Youth&Education.
We see this project as a pilot and want to repeat it next year for Global Truce!
awareNet is the social network with unlimited possibilities. A group of learners has just started another great project, and they are incredibly motivated and enthusiastic. Under the friendly and professional guidance from Terri-Lynn Penney, our new community coordinator, a group of girls combines computer literacy training with running&fitness. How does that work?
The grade 9 group from Nombulelo SS in Grahamstown alternately meets to train physically and in the computer lab of their school. They use awareNet to write down their experiences after the first exercises or to draft out their personal goals for this project. Their can follow Terri’s blog about her running experiences and start their own blog. They can upload the photographs that were taken during the physical sessions and use them as their profile pictures and much more. At the same time, Terri uses awareNet to document her exercise program in a project, so that it becomes a teaching resource for other teachers. Learners can comment on it and add their own sestions, too.
The learners and awareNet users are so excited that they keep asking for more and more sessions per week, while many learners from other schools have basically stopped their awareNet sessions for this year – understandable as they are all writing exams. We have never met such a committed group before, and we are very proud of them and their coach! Their short term goal is to complete a 5km fun run early next year, their long term goals grow as they keep using awareNet, e.g. Silindokuhle Mtwa writes: “I want to achieve something in life!”.
The runners are sponsored by the Oak Cottage Quick Spar in Grahamstown (food donatons) and a number of private persons who donated running shoes (Samantha Ferreira, Farwa Mentoor, Natalie Ross, Pierre Jacobs, Marian Penney, Cathy Meiklejohn and others). Thank you very much for your community engagement!
As we mentioned in a previous blog, the Makana Municipality sponsored the awareNet-Peace-Celebration on Peace Day, at which five schools from Grahamstown competed for the best HipHop song about Peace. This gives us the opportunity to record every of the five songs professionally to produce a CD. The CD will help us to publizise awareNet better and to attract funding for future projects.
Last week, the recording has started, and again, sincere thanks go to Corinne Cooper and Lunga Heleni from Sonic Art Studio for all their passionate and voluntary work, commitment and input. The learners all tried very hard to give their best and left the studio very proud and richer with another great experience, made possible by the VSA.
This recording is further the basis of the music clip that will be produced with the winner of the best song of the competition: Mary Waters High School. We have already started meeting with the MW learners on a regular basis to work out the concept for the video. The shooting will start after the end year exams are finished.
Anna and Ron Wertlen went to the SANGONet Conference this week (01-03/11/11), at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg to present the awareNet social network to an international audience of educators, politicians, funders and activists.
SANGONet brings together everyone interested in ICT for rural development (#ICT4RD). The conference was very well organised and it was made sure that the different parties exchanged important information about their programmes, products, funding methods, initiatives and reasons for failure or success.
The VSA demonstrated how awareNet works, and eKhaya ICT additionally introduced the concept of Reed House Systems’ Teleweaver. Especially, the awareNet demonstration attracted three large groups of listeners. We were approached with requests for installations of awareNet at schools (in local mesh networks) as well as the usage of awareNet as a service delivery platform for specific content from potential partners. We are looking forward to follow up on all those offers and ideas.