Archive for the ‘awareness campaign’ tag
A dedicated group of awareNet learners at VGHS became involved in the campaign for minimum norms and standards for education under the direction of Dr Sarah Hanton (winner of the Judges Award of the Microsoft Partners in learning Forum 2012; in the picture above). The campaign is currently being waged by Equal Education, an NPO based in the Western Cape – but with the backup of the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) in Grahamstown. Dr Hanton explains: “The aim is to persuade the Government to adopt a set of legally binding minimum norms and standards for educational infrastructure. The idea of this is not to set impossible goals but to have accountability and a benchmark set to allow proper planning for systematic reform. Currently many schools do not have electricity, water, safe buildings let alone science and computer laboratories or libraries. We feel that a right to an education should infer a right to a decent educational infrastructure, otherwise the opportunities for learning are limited.”
awareNet is an official co-curricular at VGHS and perfectly suited to link schools for such a campaign. It already has linked learners at VGHS with learners from previously disadvantaged schools and served as a means to engage and exchange ideas and knowledge. Now, VGHS is taking it a step further after experiencing in a previous project that not all learners have equal access to resources. Today, almost all teachers at VGHS taught with no or very limited resources, eg. no text books, electricity (so no overheads, digital projectors computers, etc.) and no photocopied worksheets. The number of desks, chairs and blackboard sizes were reduced or not used at all, some classes of different grades and subjects were taught together in store rooms, some toilets were locked and there was no toilet paper. Nonetheless teaching had to be meaningful, so it was a great challenge for the learners as well as for the teachers. At the end of the teaching day all learners and teachers were asked to complete a questionnaire reflecting on their experiences of the day and their thoughts regarding the facility of learning / teaching with few or no resources. These data will be compiled and published on awareNet and sent to LRC and Equal Education so that they can be used.
The main aim of this project was to raise awareness of the equal education campaign and provide useful statistics to equal education and the LRC which can be used in their campaign. The questionnaire has also been published on awareNet to get data from schools that didn’t participate today, most of them in the Grahamstown township area.
Teachers, learners and facilitators were interview by Grocott’s Mail and the Daily Dispatch, articles will be published next week. Tweets with impressions of the day and opinions can be found under #FixOurSchools. Two Anthropology students, Kiarin Gillies and Louise Featherstone, were on site to document the social impact of the event.
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.
We had a fantastic music event at Peace Day yesterday, here in Grahamstown-South Africa! We celebrated Peace and awareNet with great HipHop music that was composed especially for this event. It took us only 2 months to get five groups together and train them to perform their own song in the contest while they learned how to use computers and the Internet in a productive and creative manner.
In the beginning, we showed Jeremy Gilley’s short movie about Peace One Day to give everyone the background about our cooperation. Then, there was a motivational message from Sakhile Moleshe, a musician who also grew up in the Eastern Cape and is now an international celebrity. We had great guest artists: Inyaniso, the Boys in Motion, Keegan Too Chilled Prince and Roddy Zipp. The judges, Erika Wertlen from Left2Write, Jared Lang and the latter two guest artists who all took their duty very seriously. And last but not least the prizes for the best song (Mary Waters High School: professional music video), best rapper (Benjamin Mahlasela SS: head phones and an Inyaniso CD) and best singers (also MWHS: Inyaniso CDs), sponsored by SonicArtStudio, the Makana Municipality, well and us. We even had to quickly hand out an additional certificate for the best group who showed us true heart and peaceful awareness: Victoria Girls High School. Thank you all for putting so much energy, money and passion into the training, songs and judging! You were fantastic!
We loved all the songs so much that we decided that they will all be recorded. We will make an awareNet Peace Day album and turn this into a new tradition here in Grahamstown. Watch out for more next year on Peace Day, 21/09/12, the Day of Global Truce!
The VSA and a lot of amazing partners become serious now about the awareNet theme Song Project. You probably wonder what it’s all about. Let me explain. It’s going to be an amazing story for Peace Day, I hope.
It all started with the idea that awareNet needs a song for the learners and all partners to sing, to identify, to unify and to let everyone feel the strength. Music is an expression of life. Gabriel Spilkin kindly offered to produce a song in a style that was determined by the awareNet users: We added a poll to awareNet. At the moment it looks like HipHop, RnB and House are the favourites. Thank you for donating your professional work, Gabriel!
The local band Inyaniso (on YouTube) kindly offered to train kids from four schools (Mahlasela PSS, Nyaluza SS, Mary Waters HS and VGHS) how to sing and rap. Our first session took place yesterday at Mahlasela PSS and the artists Zukani, Melikhaya, Sivuyile and Lunga did wonders to the faces and the bodies of the learners. Thank you for your spirit! From being scared and shy they slowly took a liking in the idea and started tapping their feet and quickly trying to learn the words. Smiles! The best thing that could happen was that the equipment didn’t work, so we had to listen to a song by Inyaniso from their car’s loudspeakers. Classic! And can you believe it: One of the learners was already playing the exact song from his phone even though it’s not even published yet! How is that?! - These kids are amazingly connected and just naturally using technology as part of their life.
We are also very grateful to Corinne Cooper, owner of SonicArtStudio and lecturer of Sound Technology at Rhodes University. She offered to work with the kids on the song and to record them after they have shown their performance on stage on Peace Day. This is absolutely fantastic. The VSA is very much looking forward to having a song that can be played and sung online and offline. We will make sure that people will listen to it not only in Africa, but overseas and in connection with the aware Yet? Campaign.
What I currently work on is to find a suitable hall for the music event on Peace Day and to find some form of sponsorship to pay for the rent, the music equipment, the advertising and some material. If you think this is a good project and this is worth a donation, please contact us. I will keep you updated about the project. Watch this space and follow us on facebook and twitter!
The VSA organised a Movie Day on Youth Day screening “Alive with Possibility” by Symphonia at Mary Waters High School in Grahamstown followed by an extraordinary awareNet session. We are proud to report that the event went very well and left the awareNet users very enthusiastic and motivated.
They enjoyed the spirit and spontaneously started singing an Alive-with-Possibility-Song followed by the pop song “We are the world…”. One learner gave a short speech all of which was recorded and is currently being uploaded onto YouTube. From there we will transfer them onto awareNet, along with the original documentary, so that all awareNet users can watch and comment them.
We further took pictures that we linked to the awareNet project. The learners were rewarded with a badge on their awareNet profile page and will continue working on that project once next term has started. At the moment they are writing exams. Term will start after the Grahamstown Arts Festival in July.
The Makana Municipality had R53.7m and didn’t spend it! And Makana’s councillors are furious that, just before their term of office ends, so few of the projects which they’ve spent months planning have actually come to fruition. From Makana Municipality’s capital expenditure and conditional grant budget of R69.6 million, R15.9m – a little over 20% – had been spent by the end of January. (Find out more in Grocott’s Mail.)
The Village Scribe Association has a number of projects that would help to uplift the Rhini/Grahamstown community on a very low budget. We believe that highest priority must be the right for good education. Several very respected and active stakeholders based in Grahamstown submitted a proposal to the Makana Municipality for building a hub of education, communication and IT training. We would only need a fraction of the money to renovate and furnish an existing building. All community activities by the different stakeholders have been running for a long time but would greatly benefit from a communal place where cooperations could be invigorated and forces bundled.
Act now, Makana! Prepare the building for your people! Make this communal hub happen before it’s too late and the money has to be returned!
–> 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.
** 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.