Today was another highlight for the Reconstructed Living Lab as we celebrated with our second group of graduates for The Reconstructed. We also had our first group of the Mom 2.0 programme graduating this year and what an exciting experience. After seeing how the lives of men and women were reconstructed over the past year, we are definitely looking forward to what lies ahead for 2010.
More information about the graduation will be coming soon.
Last week RLabs had the honour of hosting European Commision, Dr. Jacques Babot who is the European Union Director for IST Information society and technology Research. His visit was very significant as he was visiting the Living Lab as an example of a Community Driven Living Lab that focus on Community Empowerment as its key focus. Sharing our experiences was helpful to Dr. Babot as one of the goals would be to see how RLabs can collaborate with other Living Labs in Europe. This could lead to a knowledge exchange and might possibly be explored during 2010.
Today the world is celebrating World AIDS Day and at RLabs we are doing our part to ensure a difference in the lives of people impacted by HIV and AIDS. Some of the projects the RLabs team had involvement with includes:
- Mobile Counselling with Cell Life and National AIDS Helpline
- Mobile HIV/AIDS Information Portal with more than 30,000 subscribers
- Mobile HIV/AIDS CellBook partnership with Metropolitan Foundation providing users access to a full text with advice and information via the mobile phone.
These are just some of the activities RLabs are busy with to reconstruct communities across South Africa.
Today was one of those days where we will be taking the Advice Support service to another level in collaboration with 4 other Non-profit organisations and supported by Department of Social Development. The Substance Abuse Mobile Counselling pilot project will investigate the use of cellphones as a counselling and support medium for people who are impacted by substance abuse.
All the NGOs came together today for the oficial launch of the mobile counselling pilot and having a group of people working together, coming from different backgrounds was amazing to experience as the dream and vision for establishing many of these Reconstructed Living Lab spaces across South Africa are moving towards becoming a reality. Although all the mobile counsellors from the various organisations came together for the launch at the Impact Centre, the group will be working remotely with the support hub being at the birth place of Advice Support Network at IDM's Impact Centre.
With all the excitement in the air and representatives from different organisations coming together through the purpose of using cellphones for social change seeing the impact the session of the launch had on those in need of support was incredible. During the first two hour session of the pilot, 103 subscribers made contact with us and 2034 messages were sent to people in need of support in the area of drug addiction.
The best part of this good start is that it is only the beginning as we will see more lives be reconstructed through people and the use of technology.
In collaboration with the Department of Social Development and Impact Direct Ministries, the RLabs team hosted the world's first Mobile Counselling Course to a group of particpants from various Non profit and Community based organisations. The focus of the training was to empower these organisations to make use of mobile phones as part of their counselling services. The training was managed by our mobile counselling specialists who covered a wide range of topics over the three days ranging from the "Art of Mobile Counselling" to "Confessions of a Mobile Counsellor".
The new mobile counsellors were also introduced to the system that will be used for the mobile counselling activities. The excitement by the participants and orgsanisations involved was a clear indication that using mobile counselling as part their support services to clients could add value to their service delivery. This is especially the case for organisations working with youth who use mobile phones daily for engagement with friends and family. The training was only the beginning of the journey and the next few weeks we have to roll it out to schools that could benefit of Drug Mobile Counselling Services.