Actual Progress in the ECSPIRT Project
December, the VSA really got a lot of impetus from our trip to Europe.
Here is an overview of the meetings that occurred in December in Europe.
They all have confirmed our feeling that there is great interest in the
projects and ideas of the VSA and that we have the possibility of
turning this potential into benefits for communities in South Africa,
initially, and hopefully for all in the time to come.
Sint-Agatha-Rode, Belgium, 4 Dec 2008
- Village Scribe Association foundation meeting - The statutes
were adopted and the meeting was a success. The Association will be
registered officially in January 2009. It was great to have so many of
us together and there was a great enthusiasm and optimism about the
future of the Association. That optimism seems to be warranted as the
further meetings showed.
- Attendees: Ronald Wertlen (VSA, eKhaya ICT), HE Judge Christoph Flügge (UN ICTY), Dr. Anna Wertlen (VSA, eKhaya ICT), Amanda McPhail (VSA), Dr. Jan Baekelandt (VSA)
Berlin, Germany, 8 Dec 2008
- Meeting with the neofonie GmbH - A very successful meeting in
which the company pledged server space and support in developing
software. Strategically, there are several opportunities as the company
is wishing to create a charity portal to assist non-profits, in which
VSA could play a significant role.
- Attendees: Uwe Fasold (neofonie CFO), Nurhan Yildirim (neofonie COO), Ronald Wertlen (VSA, eKhaya ICT)
Berlin, Germany, 9 Dec 2008
- Meeting with the Phorms group of companies and schools -
Phorms is a group of companies specializing in modern innovative school
management and school mgmt services. Founded in 2005 by biotechnology
millionaire Alexander Olek, the group comprises 7 schools and 5
management companies including a non-profit focused on Africa. Part of
the agenda of the schools is exchange programmes with disadvantaged
schools in Africa.
- The Phorms school in Berlin definitely wants to take part in the ECSPIRT project.
- Further, the VSA will be taken up in the SchulEngel.de donation portal.
- Attendees: Christine Werthman (Director Phorms Africa), Isabel Korch
(Manager InPhorms), Richard Hengelbrok (Principal Phorms Mitte) ,
Ronald Wertlen (VSA, eKhaya ICT)
Berlin, Germany, 10 Dec 2008
- Meeting with the Free University of Berlin - Firm agreement was reached on the participation of the Village Scribe Association and eKhaya
ICT in the "Kundenprojekt"; (Customer Project) Masters (Diplom)
programme of the University. 20 students will be available from the 15th
of April 2009 to tackle software solutions for problems posed by the
customer (VSA). eKhaya ICT will perform as project manager where information from and regarding awareNet
is concerned. The project focus of the students has just been specified
and agreed to by the FUB. The students may also split up and work on
two problems: the user interface for awareNet and semantic technology for processing of awareNet
chats, blogs and user edited content. It was made clear that the
intention is to produce working modules that make an impact. Teleworking
will be an additional bonus effect for the students as will the social
- Attendees: Robert Tolksdorf (FU Professor and HOD), Malgorzatha Mochol (FU Researcher) , Ronald Wertlen (VSA, eKhaya ICT)
Helsinki, Finnland, 12 Dec 2008
- Meeting with the Helsinki School of Economics (HSE) - CKIR (Centre for Knowledge and Innovation Research
- Evaluation of VSA participation in the European Network of Living
Labs via the Siyakhula Living Lab to synchronise efforts among all role
players. Many tips were given on how to make the ECSPIRT Project really
work sustainably within an innovation framework. The path that we are
going with ECSPIRT was also confirmed as a good way to proceed, with
respect to involvement of the community, taking small steps and thinking
strategically. It was a very abstract high-level meeting focusing on
cooperation with CKIR and significant strategic synergetic opportunities
were decided upon which could result in funding opportunities.
- Attendees: Patrizia Hongisto (CKIR, Researcher), Aki Enkenberg (COFISA), Saija Kulkki (CKIR Director) , Ronald Wertlen (VSA, eKhaya ICT)
Lucerne, Switzerland, 15 Dec 2008
- Meeting with the Oberstufenzentrum Tribschen - The school
agreed to participate in the ECSPIRT Project using the awareNet
software. The IT teacher, Mr. Rast, is also a member of the VSA.
- Attendees: Martin Rast (ICT Teacher), Marie-Therese Luc (Principal), Grade 10 (20 students), Ronald Wertlen (VSA, eKhaya ICT)
Munich, Germany, 17 Dec 2008
- Meeting with the Waldorf School Schwabing - 36 students put
down their email addresses to take part in the ECSPIRT Project. Now, the
pressure is really on to get awareNet versions out and to get the
children communicating online by February.
- Attendees: Stephan Flügge (Senior Teacher), Grade 9 to 12 (110 students), Ronald Wertlen (VSA, eKhaya ICT)
Berlin, Germany,18 Dec 2008
- Meeting with the Technical University of Berlin - The
database group is working on optimising database queries in such a way
that power consumption is reduced. This could be useful in a rural data
centre running on solar power. However that is a very futuristic
application as the amounts of data processing required before gains
become significant are not present in rural applications at the moment.
- Attendees: Alexander Loeser (TU Researcher), Ronald Wertlen (VSA, eKhaya ICT)
Berlin, Germany, 19 Dec 2008
- Meeting with Sandra and Helmut Hoffer von Ankershoffen -
Sandra Hoffer von Ankershoffen is going to be working on a new
commercial aid project and wants to perform aid work prior to setting
out on her venture. We managed to convince her, that she can use her
skills as an IT product manager and quality assessor better by
volunteering for VSA and eKhaya ICT, than she can by volunteering for
some other unknown entity. >From about Mid-March Sandra will be in
the Eastern Cape and will be helping out with the ECSPIRT project. We
are very excited about her involvement and welcome her to the team.
Additionally she has agreed to try to liaise with the Phorms School in
Berlin where assistance is required.
- Attendees: Sandra Hoffer von Ankershoffen (neofonie), Helmut Hoffer von Ankershoffen (neofonie CEO), Anna Wertlen (VSA, eKhaya ICT), Ronald Wertlen (VSA, eKhaya ICT)
Ronald Wertlen from eKhaya ICT visited the schools in Tafelahash on the 28.1. - 30.1.2009:
- Everything is going well at the schools and they survived the holidays well!
- Congratulations! Our new communication and education software awareNet was installed on the computers in Tafelahash and used for the first time by the learners!
- We are still struggling to find the right solution to Internet.
On this trip, Mr Wertlen installed the two wireless routers, one with
each cell phone provider (NTM and Vodafone), and a high-gain antenna. He
also setup the network, so that the server can be updated. This is
necessary for the awareNet software and so that several computers
at each school are able to use the Internet directly. At the moment
these are only for the teachers.
- Mr Wertlen talked to Mr Yovo about the state of the lab and school. Everything is satisfactory. It seems Mr Yovo is replacing Mr Mamane as second champion.
- Mr Wertlen did an analysis of the VSAT (antenna) at the
trading store opposite the school. The quality is as good as the GSM
/mobile solutions, but it is more expensive. We'll have to wait and see
how the stability compares - VSAT would be extremely stable.
- A digital camera and computer club training session was held. Mr Wertlen taught the learners how to use the digital camera and awareNet and how to blog. It was great fun!
Einige Schüler des Computer Clubs
- Mr Wertlen met the new deputy-principal at Bafazi Mr Zed. Mr
Zed speaks some German as he followed university courses. He is very
young and motivated to make Bafazi the best junior school in the area.
He is of course very excited about awareNet. However, the time together with him was very limited, so we hope to have a chance to speak at length with him next time.
- Mr Yankey, the IT teacher was in Johannesburg in December (9.-12.12.) at a SchoolNet training course for SchoolNet certified trainers.
He learnt how to train community trainers and will be applying this
knowledge on our community trainers, Mr Siphiwo Msindwana and Mrs
- Community project: Siphiwo Msindwana is the leader of the
community effort, and has the support of the tribal chief Mr Ngonyama.
Mr Msindwana (35 yrs) gathered a lot of experience in Johannesburg
working as an office worker with computers at hotels and in business. He
proved once again that his computer knowledge is deep, sent emails
without assistance, did impromptu tutoring. His drive and engagement is
very high and admirable. At the moment he is a volunteer and is trying
to get together a base of learners that will enable him to create a
company based on ICTs at Tafelahash. He also has a volunteer assistant,
Mrs Xakaza, whose knowledge is a bit rusty. She has a N4 qualification:
Financial Accounting, Computer Practice, Management Communications,
Entrepreneurship and Bus Management. She did her studies from '98 to
'99. The teachers are very interested in the community effort and the
principal supports the use of the computer facility by the community.
Sandra Hoffer von Ankershoffen
Sandra Hoffer von Ankershoffen has arrived to begin an internship
for the Village Scribe Association. Sandra has gained her experience in
the Internet industry in Berlin as a Product Manager and Quality
Assurance Manager. Born in Starnberg, near Munich, she studied Marketing
and Communication. The last four years she worked for the neofonie GmbH
in Berlin, a software developing company which produces - among other -
search engines, community software and mobile services. She worked as a
project assistant and a quality manager, building up a testing team and
being responsible to implement a quality management system within the
DIN EN ISO 9000:2000 Norm. Further, she worked as a Product Manager for
the project „TIMM Online 2008“ being responsible for the set up of a
product concept and supervision of the development for a new gay tv
channel. We are very lucky to have her here, and hope that we will be
able to make good use of her qualities in the time that she is here. We
are also hoping that she will carry the VSA flag back to Berlin and keep
the international connections alive.
Her hopes for this
internship are, as she says herself: „I decided to come to south Africa
and work for the VSA because I want to get in contact with the poor
world and see the rural and developing areas myself. So I hope to
abolish my subjective prejudice and get a clearer view to the world. I
want to learn what kind of help is useful for the developing world so
that I can take my new knowledge back to Berlin and maybe build my own
business with the focus on helping the poor.“
First development by eKhaya
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 eKhaya ICT. (Kagiso Kumane is also partially financed by eKhaya ICT.)
von links: NN, Mvelile Ngonyama (lokaler Stammeshäuptling), Ronald Wertlen und 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.
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
The ambassador of the Rep of South Africa in Germany, Eddie Funde, has agreed to a request by the VSA to host the closing ceremony of Kundenprojekt,
on the 15th of July 2009. In the ceremony, the software to be developed
by the Freie Universität Berlin will be handed over to the Village
Scribe Association. Members of the VSA are invited to attend the
ceremony. Time to be confirmed.
Zwelenqaba school was featured in a photo shoot for SolarWorld solar
panels. We hope that the school will gain access to some of the
beautiful photographs made by the marketing team (which was by the way
from Berlin, e.g. Sandra Schuck).
- We introduced the ECSPIRT Project, the Village Scribe Project and the people taking part in it to our new intern Sandra Hoffer von Ankershoffen.
She studied the project and the people thoroughly and is now working on
a plan to improve our education and communication software awareNet by applying her quality and product management 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.
- An adult class is also 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.
- The wireless signal needs to be improved at the Kwantshunqe School.
Now that there is Internet there too, the signal is too poor in the
admin block. The cause of the problem is a poor quality access point
which is mounted very far from the admin block. The WiFi equipment must
be moved which can be done on the next trip.
- We have improved monitoring of the Internet connection so that we can start improving the quality of the Internet so that more scholars can be online at a time, e.g. to use awareNet.
- SolarWorld is offering to install small solar power installations and TV sets for the Soccer World Cup
at various public places in the communities. The community gets to keep
the installations afterwards, and we are hoping to electrify several
community buildings in this way, as well as making the community part of
the World Cup 2010!
Ron Wertlen and Richard Strickland from eKhaya ICT and Sandra Hoffer von Ankershoffen presented awareNet
in front of 10 teachers from various Eastern Cape schools. The teachers
are registered part-time students at Rhodes University improving their
qualification. Many come from impoverished schools. They are very
hopeful that technology can help with their problems. Some comments from
- awareNet can help the children, who are second language English
speakers, to finally write something and to express themselves. This
would surely carry over into their abilities in class.
- Writing is not the only problem, awareNet can help in arousing
interest in reading too! Often the learners are not interested enough in
reading, but this can help.
- Learners often find Shakespeare's sonnet no. X boring, but when
they are online, talking to someone far away, suddenly something like
Shakespeare's sonnet no. X, can become very interesting.
Two schools, the Zwelenqaba SSS in Tafalehash and the Waldorf School Schwabing in Munich, are taking part in the beta testing of our education and communication software awareNet.
Several technical and usability problems have arose, e.g. the chat
mechanism and the organisation of the website. We are busily working on
them and hoping to soon release awareNet version 1.0.
Professional userbility tests under the direction of Mrs Hoffer von
Ankershoffen with teachers and scholars are planned.
Ronald Wertlen pitched the awareNet
concept to industry, government and academia. He got good feedback from
the Shuttleworth Foundation and SAFIPA on the concept and how to
maximise use. It seems that the ICT innovation industry is starting to
grow in South Africa, finally, and the SAFIPA Conference was an
excellent platform to unite these disparate efforts. The emphasis of the
conference was on mobile applications. Many of these applications had a
development aspect to them. There were also very interesting projects
that VSA could support in the future, e.g. Marlon Parker's mobile
chatting support for rehabilitated gangsters in the townships. This
technology should also be interesting to the Masimanyane Woman Support
Centre and other NGOs.
Der Image Uploader (screen shot)
The cooperation project Kundenprojekt Web-Technologies between the Village Scribe Association, eKhaya
ICT and the Free University of Berlin (Computer Science Institute,
Group on Networked Information Systems) is making great progress owing
to motivated and technically skilled students. The third milestone in
the programming work for awareNet was reached by the computer science students: They developed working prototypes of the application software Image Uploader and Analysis Server. The former is functionally complete and needs only minor adjustments. The latter will be continued in another Kundenprojekt cycle.
Announcement: The closing event of the Kundenprojekt at which the Image Uploader will be handed over to the VSA and eKhaya ICT will take place on Wednesday the 15/07/2009 at 10:45 am at the South African Ambassy in Berlin. The education and communication software awareNet and the programming work of the students will be presented, the VSA and eKhaya
ICT will hand over awards and the counsellor of the South African
Ambassy Mr Ismail Esau will give a speech, followed by refreshments and
the opportunity to get more inside information and to make personal
contacts and/or future plans with the participants of the project. All members of the VSA are welcome to join the event!
Sandra Hoffer von Ankershoffen completed her internship at the Village Scribe Association. Her tasks were:
- product management for awareNet and product comparison with facebook and MySpace,
- trip to Zwelenqaba SSS, discussion with teachers and demonstration of awareNet to individual teachers,
- and development of fashion concept based strongly in South Africa, with a rural component which is applicable to SLL and VSA.
We are very happy with her work and her independent motivation
and we are inspired by her new perpective and would like to thank her
whole-heartedly for taking part.
If you are also interested or know someone who is interested in an internship, please contact us.
The cooperation project Kundenprojekt Web-Technologies between the Village Scribe Association, eKhaya
ICT and the Free University of Berlin (Computer Science Institute,
Group on Networked Information Systems) has been completed very
successfully thanks to the efforts of the motivated and technically
skilled students. The computer science students developed the
application software Image Uploader and a working prototype of the Analysis Server, which will be continued in another Kundenprojekt cycle. (Soon to be available to the public.)
The closing event of the Kundenprojekt at which the products were handed over to the VSA and eKhaya ICT took place on Wednesday the 15/07/2009 at 10:45 am at the South African Ambassy in Berlin. The
counsellor of the South African Ambassy Mr Ismail Esau gave an
optimistic and encouraging speech about the nature of cooperation
between nations and the positive effects of development work. The education and communication software awareNet and the programming work of the students were presented, and the VSA and eKhaya
ICT handed over certificates to the students. During lunch, kindly
catered by the SA Embassy, the succeeding Kundenprojekt cycles were
planned together with Prof. Robert Tolksdorf, Dr. Malgorzata Mochol,
Philipp Cordes and our special guest Gerald Kleser (SAP Research,
Anna Wertlen and Ronald Wertlen met with Anna Thinius (Phorms Africa
e.V.) and Isabel Korch (InPhorms GmbH) from the [http://www.phorms.de/
Phorms Group of Schools] in Berlin on the 22nd of July to introduce awareNet and to assist with their Kenyan school project.
The practical course Kundenprojekt
Web-Technologies at the Free University of Berlin (a cooperation
project between the Computer Science Institute - Group on Networked
Information Systems (NBI), the Village Scribe Association and eKhaya ICT) has been voted by the students of the NBI as best course of the summer semester 2009. Congratulations!
Wertlen had a meeting with Professor Thomas Schwotzer (Applied Computer
Science, e.g. mobile solutions, P2P, semantic web, iPhone, social
networks etc.). There is a good potential to get additional students to
work on technical aspects of awareNet. We will keep you posted about further developments.
[http://www.htw-berlin.de Read more about the University of Applied Sciences (HTW)]
Wertlen had a meeting with SOMETU, a network of persons interested in
spreading Social Media (all forms of digital social networking),
especially in the interest of promoting elearning, democracy and the
formation of strong civic groups. Many members of SOMETU are teachers,
which does underline the elearning aspect. One of the founders of
SOMETU, Ville Venäläinen, runs a virtual school, which has now 500
students and exists completely online. We hope that this school too
might join awareNet, in context of learning English.
[http://sometu.ning.com/profile/RonaldWertlen Read more about SOMETU]
The Village Scribe Association will in the near future introduce awareNet in the Grahamstown township. To help spread awareNet
and make the content richer, we would like to ask Village Scribe
friends and members, if they could gather used, working digital cameras
for our township project.
You can drop them off at
Sophie-Charlotte-Str. 5 in Berlin-Zehlendorf, from where they will be
sent to South Africa. Kindly note: The camera should come with the
charging device and battery. The original camera packaging is not
We thank you in advance for any donated cameras!
Since October 2009, Thozamile Ngeju is working for the VSA as a community coordinator (champion) to introduce awareNet into South African schools, starting with schools in the Grahamstown township Rhini.
He brings with him indigenous knowledge and local expertise. His duties
are: make contact to the teachers and headmasters, present awareNet to the scholars, motivate them to use it regularly, connect different schools, start projects in awareNet, translate various texts from English into Xhosa, give the developers (eKhaya ICT) feedback from the scholars, develop new ideas and much more. He has a part time job at eKhaya ICT that is funded by the VSA. Your membership fee and all other donations so far go directly into Mr. Ngeju’s salary, eKhaya ICT does not take any administration fees.
you are a potential member and are hesitating to become an official
member, please take heart from Mr. Ngeju’s work, support him and pay
your membership fee today!
Dr. Abel from Germany donated his old camera just in time for Mr. Ngeju to put it to good use in the Grahamstown township. The VSA has started introducing awareNet in the Grahamstown township, namely at Benjamin Mahlasela High School and Nathaniel Nyaluza Secondary School. awareNet
will be presented to the scholars in the first week of November by Mr.
Ngeju, and the scholars can start straight away taking pictures and
putting them into awareNet. If you also want to help spread awareNet
and help Africa represent itself in the Internet through rich content,
you can gather used, working digital cameras and send them to us.
We thank you in advance for any donated cameras!
German (Free University of Berlin (FUB) and University of Applied
Sciences in Berlin (HTWB)) and two South African Universities (Rhodes
University and University of Fort Hare) applied for funding from the NRF
and the BMBF (German equivalent) to follow-on from the success with the
FUB student project earlier this year to increase collaboration,
including the HTWB, in an academic network for ICT4D. Basically this
means that Rhodes and FUB researchers will be able to travel back and
forth, give workshops, lectures and broaden international exchange. This proposal builds on the effort of the VSA early in 2009. If it happens it will further benefit awareNet and promote Virtual Volunteering.
and Ron Wertlen met with Claus-Bernhard Pakleppa from
[http://www.sage-net.org/ SAGE Net e.V.], the South African German
Network. SAGE Net is an umbrella organisation of various South African
and German individuals and organisations who facilitate and support
non-profit and sustainable development in both countries. They engage in
exchange programmes for youth and professionals that take place in both
countries and create stable and flexible partnerships within a
coordinated network. The VSA was given the opportunity to apply as
one of the participating organisations that can advertise for volunteers
through the „Weltwaerts“-Progamme by SAGE Net.
Community training at Zwelenqaba within the ECSPIRT and VSA Projects
- students in grades 11 and 12 were trained on the computers by Mr.
Siphiwo Msindwana, our first village scribe, and Mrs. Veliswa Xakaza,
his assistent. The students will be examined on their knowledge at the
end of November, after their regular school examinations. Courses are
running satisfactorily. Mrs. Xakaza started doing a lot of teaching
while Mr. Msindwana had to be in Johannesburg, but needs more support.
Students are also making contributions to the computer classes and teach
each other, and the community is gathering money to keep the trainers
at work. From this month, Mr. Msindwana will be receiving a salary
from the Siyakhula Living Lab Management Unit (SiLLMU) funds, which will
improve matters. Additionally, Mr. Msindwana got a netbook (EEE PC)
from the SILLMU project. Long battery life and low power was the deciding factor. He can use it at home and charge at the school.
The locally installed version of awareNet at the schools in Tafalehashi was upgraded. awareNet
is installed on a local server, because the Internet is slow and
expensive. The next version will possibly synchronise with the European
version (www.awareNet.eu) overnight. We will try and make a deal with
the mobile service provider to get a better price at night.
Der ESKOM Strommast steht direkt hinter der Solaranlage.
The community has decided to accept ESKOM (national electricity provider) into a separate circuit at the school.
This means that for the meantime, all computer equipment and office
equipment will be solar powered, but things like fridges, stoves etc.
will be powered by the grid, possibly from February 2010. SELF - the
owner of the solar panels - is still deciding a course of action in this
The Internet is working much more stably now. It seems that the mobile service providers have increased infrastructure (masts) in the area since the project began.
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.
Soccer World Cup 2010: 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.
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
Benjamin Mahlasela Grade 9 & 10 learners have, however, started using awareNet
successfully. We are greatly encouraged by their enthusiasm. The camera
is very useful in capturing all the exciting experiences we come
I am also translating the VSA website into isiXhosa, which is a very welcome challenge.”
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 awareNet adoption there. He will take this knowledge back to Nkwalini and Dwesa with him.
One of the most important features of our educational software awareNet
is that it can run on a local server and does not use Internet
bandwidth while the learners are using it. This saves the schools a lot
of money. The schools in Grahamstown can use awareNet now locally
and synchronise it overnight with the European version
(www.awareNet.eu) when Rhodes University provides a cost free Internet
service for the schools.
As the schools begin to work more with awareNet new features and content will continue to appear more and more frequently.
to Thozi Ngeju who did long hours of translations, we can proudly
announce the release of the [http://www.villagescribe.org Village Scribe
Association’s website] in three languages: English, isiXhosa and German.
This is a great advantage for our members and participating learners in
our projects as many of them only speak rudimentary English. That way,
learners and other interested persons understand more of our projects’
background and detail and are more likely to join which in return will
enhance their English speaking capabilities.
from November, December has been a wonderful learning experience for
me. We worked further with the schools. The learners sacrificed some of
the time which they had free due to them finishing exams and attended awareNet classes. We’re very grateful to them.
we were looking forward to working with community labs helping all
those who needed us with assistance. This, unfortunately, could not be
due to tight schedules of those we were to partner with. Next year
should be better - we hope.
Siphiwo Msindwana, from the former Transkei, also paid us a visit to get acquainted more with awareNet. He expressed enthusiasm and seemed impressed.
On a personal level, I learnt a little about iWeb. This is one of the reasons I appreciate my work with eKhaya ICT and for the VSA - to be able to expand my mental horizons. Happy holidays to everyone out there.”
Msindwana travelled to Grahamstown for the week. The aim of the visit
was to finally meet the rest of the Village Scribe crew, the Siyakhula
Living Lab crew and to sign a contract with the SiLLMU. (As reported
earlier in the newsletter 5-2009, Mr Msindwana is being paid a small
wage by the SiLLMU for his work.)
The VSA could so far collect six digital cameras for the use within the ECSPIRT Project and awareNet.
Additional donations were made by Ullrich von Bramann from Brunswick,
Dr Eva Hert and Dr Walter Hert from Munich and Christine Nesbitt-Hills
from Grahamstown. We are very grateful and excited by the generosity and
fast response. Thank you very much!
Thanks to Richard Strickland, the instance of awareNet
hosted in Grahamstown was moved onto a new server and simultaneously, a
new DNS name (www.awarenet.org.za) was assigned. Learners no longer
have to type the old address which was long and difficult to remember.
SANORD Conference was held at Rhodes University from 7/12-9/12/09. A
delegation from Joensuu University who are all part of Prof Erkki
Sutinen's group, working on ICT4D, visited Mr Wertlen to find out about
the work of the Rhodes Centre of Excellence. They are, Prof Matti Meri
(University of Tanzania), Dr Andres Moreno and Dr Tuomo Kakkonen. Their visit coincided with an awareNet training session. They visited Nathaniel Nyaluza for the last awareNet training session of 2009.
Four learners were present and working on their projects and social
networks. The delegation interviewed Joy Turyagwenda, the Nyaluza
champion (who is moving to University of the North West next year). Dr
Kakkonen was very interested in the concept for his work with computer
literacy training in Zambia, where Internet concepts are taught at
places that don't have Internet access. A remote awareNet
instance, with synchronisation capabilities can be very useful in such a
setting. This is something that the Village Scribe will follow up in
Current Progress in the ECSPIRT Project in 2010 >>
Initiation of the ECSPIRT Project in 2008 >>
The fundamental idea of the ECSPIRT Training Programme and awareNet >>
back to the main page of the Village Scribe Association >>