Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Podcasting to Reconstruct Communities

Today I met with Jayne Morgan from PodCart who is joining the project and planning to teach us how we could use podcasting as part of the reconstructed project. Jayne develops podcasts for many major corporates and it is such an honour to have her part of the Reconstructed project. We looked at a number of interesting opportunities and our first reconstructed podcast will be available in the next few weeks so watch this space for details. You can read more about Jayne Morgan here

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mom 2.0 Cafe Session 1

Today we had our first session with mothers and women from the Cape Flats. For many its a new experience to be engaging with technology but they are very excited about the possibilities. More than 20 women were present and we know that this is the beginning of greater things in our communities.

The topic that was discussed today was "What is a Blog?". It was interesting to hear the perceptions of the women what they thought a Blog is. In the end we realised it is a tool that can be used to express oneself and to empower others through sharing your stories, experiences, news and commentary.

It was also good to see some of the Reconstructed Team with their mothers and empowering them with technology. So much to look forward to. Watch out for the Mom 2.0 blog soon for exciting stories of the women in these communities.

Our next Cafe session will be 10 October and contact us if you are interested in supporting this initiative.

What I expect from Mom 2.0

New Counselling Record

Yesterday was another small milestone for the Mobile Chat counselling as for the first time since we started in July we've had more than 60 conversations in our session. This is another indication that there are more people who want to make use of this service. We are fast moving towards the 400 subscribers to this service and we foresee that we'll reach over a thousand before the end of the year. A special thanks to the Reconstructed team for availing themselves to drive this initiative. You are now reaching more people than what we initially thought would be possible.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mom 2.0 launched

Today was the official launch of the Mom 2.0 project and what an incredible response. We expected to get a few (maybe 10 maximum) women to be present at the launch but instead we had more than 40 women from some of the local communities present who showed an interest in being part of Mom 2.0. This initiative coordinated by Impact Direct Ministries (IDM), a local NGO in the Athlone area, and Cape Peninsula Univesity of Technology (CPUT) is hoping to be the first of many such projects across Cape Town in order to engage more women/mothers to use technology for community empowerment.

The launch was opened by the Programme Director of IDM, Mrs. Jenny Petersen, who encouraged the women that this was the beginning of a new chapter in many of their lives. The chairperson of the Bridgetown Civic was also present to welcome this initiative into Bridgetown, Athlone and express their support of Mom 2.0. I then had the honour of giving a short presentation around Mom 2.0 and it was good to see the positive response from the ladies who were present.

We were also honoured to have the Cape Information Technology Initiative (CITI) represented at the launch with a keynote address by Viola Manuel, Executive Director. She emphasised that the giants the women are facing and going to face can be conquered. These obstacles of overcoming the giants of technologies will open the doors for many other opportunities.

At the end of the session we had 27 women who signed up for the Mom 2.0 initiative and there was a buzz of excitement around the room as women began to engage with the endless possibilities using technology. Although this arm of the Reconstruction project has no funding (as yet) we will continue with the initiative as a community united to empower one another with the technologies available to them. Well in closing we are all looking forward to see how this new venture will impact women not only in our communities but all across the world.
To get involved with this project please do not hesitate to contact (CPUT)/myself at +2721 469 1140 or the IDM office +2721 637 4037.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Micro-blogging and more

This morning we continued with our workshops and started with Micro-blogging and how we can use this to empower Communities in Tension. We also welcomed 4 new members to the program. A special welcome to Jason, Gary, Dayle and Ricardo (Picture on The Reconstructed). We looking forward to see how through the empowerment of Technology you will use it to help your communities. Today the guys were taught how they could use twitter as a means to keep others updated about what the are doing. It was exciting to see how the reconstructed team will use this technology as a means to encourage one another and as a means for counselling. We also getting ready for the Mom 2.0 project which we will launch Monday and the initiave where many of the reconstructed team will be assisting and facilitating. Definitely exciting times...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Birth of Mom 2.0

Many have been waiting for the next phase of the reconstruction project and it is finally here, special thanks to my beautiful wife Rene. The project is where women/mothers from local communities are empowered with skills using Web 2.0 technologies to share their experiences, knowledge, life stories with people all over the world. This is also a way how mothers/guardians can connect with tech savvy young people on platform they are comfortable with. What is interesting about this initiative is that it will be facilitated by Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and Impact Direct Ministries (IDM), but the empowerment and training will be done by our Reconstructed Impact Team, the ex-drug addicts and ex-gangsters. We are excited about the Mom 2.0 initiave and the official launch will be Monday, 22 September 2008 at the Impact Centre in Bridgetown. Our special guest speaker is Viola Manuel Executive Director from the Cape Information Technology Initiative (CITI)and our first class of women from the local community. Watch this space for more information.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Community in Tension (CiT): Technical Paper now available

The technical paper defining the concept Community in Tension (CiT)is now available. It can be downloaded here

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Live interview on Radio Tygerberg

Catch myself and Craig Ross, one of the Mobile chat drug counsellors, live on Radio Tygerberg tomorrow night (Thursday, 18 September) for more about the reconstruction project. We will be on the Youth show "Anticonformity" hosted by Petrus Botha & Carla Swanepoel at 20h00.

You can listen to the broadcast live here or tune in to 104FM

Reconstruction project features on the CPUT website

The reconstruction project for community empowerment was featured on the CPUT Website. You can read all about it here

Feedback from Mobile Chat service

Just a quick update on the counselling using MXit. Yesterday was another good day because we had almost 40 conversations in our 2 hour time slot. We've received lots of good feedback in the conversations about how helpful this service is and we are hoping that it will make a difference in many lives. Some of the comments made in some conversations are listed below:

mxitchat1: "honestly ne. rite nw i smaak a hit our chat is cntrolng it"

mxitchat2: Yes it ws usefull 2 me,im gona follow ur hints
me: that is good,we really appreciate you
mxitchat2: Thnx 4 ur suport it will realy help me.

This is very encouraging to see as we know that people are being helped. We hope as this service grows that more lives will be changed and reconstructed.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

300 subscribers and more!!

This weekend we broke the 300 subscribers barrier and special thanks to the people at the Burger newspaper. 50 people joined after they've placed the article in their newspaper. Thank you for your support. Another milestone is that we've already broken the 600 conversations barrier and moving swiftly towards the 1000 conversation mark. Can you believe all those conversations that might not have taken place if this service was not available. Makes you wonder does'nt it? We are continuing to improve our counselling service and will be training more people this week to keep up with the requests. We are also planning to open up the service to the various high schools in the Western Cape area. Contact us if you want more information or want to support this service at +2721 637 4037.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Reconstructed project in local news paper "Die Burger"

Thanks to an article by Sarietha Engelbrecht ("Dwelmberading op MXit bereik jongmense" [Drug counselling for youth using MXit]) from "Die Burger" an overwhelming response was received from communities. The more we pursue to help others using technology the greater reach we'll have. If there are parents or family members who are impacted by substance abuse please contact the Impact Centre at +2721 637 4037 for an appointment. The Impact Centre provides a 24/7 service for people who need help. You can also contact me on parker(at)cput(.)ac(.)za inconnection with the Reconstruction and community empowerment project.

If you would like to add us as a contact on MXit please click here

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Technology to empower the Digital Citizen

Well today Brent and I arrived back from the Highway Africa and Digital Citizen Indaba 2008 conferences and we learnt so much. Highlights for us was seeing the empowerment of information dissemination coming back to the citizens. With delegates from all across Africa and the world is was encouraging to hear stories and meet our brothers and sisters from other parts of the world.

During the DCI we were introduced to Mobile reporting, podcasting, using technology as a digital citizen and were challenged to ensure that the stories that are being told is relevant to the communities who it is intended for. We also shared our project at the conference and appreciated all the good feedback and words of encouragement. Many thanks to Brent Williams for really doing such an excellent job sharing his testimony. It was incredible thinking that 18 months ago he would never have dreamt that he would be addressing many people in the media at such a level. Definitely something to celebrate and an encouragement to other young men and women who need their lives to be reconstructed.

Yesterday I also hosted a Micro-blogging workshop and how you can do it through MXit which saves you 80% on costs than doing it through your mobile web. Although I only expected 10 delegates attending, I was surprised to see 22 delegates at the workshop. It was good to see that many were excited to start micro-blogging. Well for me it was a wonderful opportunity to share with others and definitely planning to return to the next Highway Africa.

Special thanks to all the friends and colleagues who really made our time at the conference an unforgettable one.
You can download our presentation from the DCI 3.0 here

Monday, September 8, 2008

DCI debate: whose citizen journalism is it anyway?

After a day of innovative means to get your story out to your target audience, the DCI today concludes with an interesting debate on whose citizen journalism is it anyway? Dan Gilmore and Matthew Buckland led the debate with interesting views on citizen media and journalism. What does this mean for communities in tension? It leaves a place for ordinary citizens in these communities to reach an audience and share the social ills that they are facing and reach the masses that traditional media generally dont reach. The Highway Africa reception is tonight and should be good. Till later...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

DCI 2008 Closing

After 2 days listening to the hundreds or thousands conversations at DCI2008 in Grahamstown there is no denying that technology especially mobile technology is changing people's way of life. The duration of the DCI has brought to life many thoughts of how much part technology is of people's everyday lives yet not always appropriated and used according to the needs of the people. Imagine a place where technology is part of the reconstruction of individuals, families, communities and nations, this is but a dream to see people engaged with technology on various levels to empower others and not just for profits. Thank you DCI for a wonderful indaba and I'm now more keen than before to use the various technology mediums to bring change in the lives of people looking for hope.

DCI 2008: Morning session

The first session of DCi went very well and so many exciting things happening. The talk by Damaria Senne ("technology to empower the digital citizen") was inspiring and exactly what we are doing with our project. The presentation on MXit and community blogging by Brent Williams and myself was well received and this is only the beginning of what is to come. Further talks by Nicholas Haralambous (Zoopy.com), Vincent (Vodacom) and Henk Kleynhans (CEO SkyRove) showed us the endless possibilities on how we can expand the reconstructed revolution.

DCI has started

Highway Africa's Digital Citizens Indaba kicked off with a bang unlike Bafana Bafana today. The delegates from around the globe gathered in Grahamstown for what I believe could be more than just a conference or indaba this year. The opening reception was well attended and Elvira van Noort and the DCI team are definitely doing a good job as hosts. The opening address by Toby Shapshak was unconventional, taking the approach of barman giving advice, but interesting! He believes mobile technology is the way forward. Well as I am signing off from my mobile now, I am excited to see what lies ahead during DCI and Highway Africa

Friday, September 5, 2008

Winner of "Best Poster" at ZA-WWW2008 Conference

ZA-WWW2008 Conference

This year the 10th ZA World Wide Web conference was held in Cape Town, South Africa, 3-5 September 2008. One of the large tracks this year was the e-Society track at the conference which we managed to publish 4 papers and 4 posters in the proceedings. Three of the papers and 3 of the posters were looking at the use of technology for community empowerment.

A copy of the proceedings will be available soon but you can find the programme here. More exciting news is that one of our Posters,("Blogging: An alternative approach to empower citizens in communities with tension", J Pereira & M Parker) won the "Best Poster" award at this year's conference. This is an opportunity for us to get more involved in the reconstruction of our communities.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Meeting with MXit

This afternoon I met with Gavin Marshall from MXit. It was a good meeting as we were looking at possibilities of how MXit could support the Reconstruction project. We also got the endorsement/ blessing from MXit that they will support what we are doing and assist wherever possible. We will keep you updated on how we take this relationship further to empower communities using this technology.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Reached 200 subscribers

We've reached over 200 subscriber to the service and also realised that more counsellors would be required as we've had more than 50 conversations in our last session this week. Just completed an interview with Heart Radio 104.9 in Cape Town. Some of the guys in the Impact Team are preparing for the World Wide Web conference this week. Also check out their reconstructed blog which is growing with rich content.

Also catch us in the Weekend Argus giving more information about the reconstruction project.