Friday, October 31, 2008

Reconstructed on News

After a very different day today started with a meeting with Dep of Social Development (collected letter of endorsement from Deputy Minister, DAS@MXit developers figured out the problem with the crash of server yesterday, I was welcomed with 2 interviews from local newspapers. However the day ended well with a wonderful article written by Alistair Fairweather from

Way behind or far ahead?31/10/2008 11:06 - (SA)

By: Alistair Fairweather

South Africa can be a frustrating place for us web geeks. Starved of both bandwidth and exposure to technology, our local audiences are generally two years behind the bleeding edge of Silicon Valley.

I'm not talking about the thin icing of early adopters - I'm talking about the massive cake of web users (and potential web users) for whom the Net is still largely about e-mail, chat and perhaps a little news and sport.

So while we're sipping our lattes and waxing lyrical about Twitter, OpenID and the semantic web, many South Africans are just discovering blogging for the first time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Using MXit to empower communities - BizCommunity

An article written by Sindy Peters appeared in BizCommunity today.

Using MXit to empower communities
By: Sindy Peters

Using the mobile instant messaging platform MXit, Marlon Parker, an information technology lecturer at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, has over the past seven months initiated a rehabilitation programme for drug addicts in the Cape Flats region that has spread out as far as the Eastern Cape. His aim is to use technology to empower underprivileged communities in an area that is rife with poverty, unemployment, drugs and gangsterism. read more...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Today will be the test of the 3000

Today will be a landmark in the Drug Advice and Support on MXit project as we'll be testing our new DAS systems interface. After an exciting weekend and breaking the 3000 contacts barrier we are looking forward seeing what lies ahead in this journey seeing lives being transformed and reconstructed. I will keep you updated how our first session went with the new interface later today.

Monday, October 27, 2008

27 Dinner Tonight

We will be presenting at the 27Dinner event in Cape Town tonight. This is an event to network with other individuals who are engaging in technology and will be beneficial to the reconstructed project. We hope to meet more people with passion to empower communities using technology.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

DAS@MXit on Morning Live

Yesterday morning the Reconstructed project had the privilege to be on SABC 2 Morning Live. It was a great opportunity to present the Drug Advice and Support on MXit (DAS@MXit) to the rest of the nation. We never knew what implications this would have until we saw the response in our system. Within 5 minutes while being on air we had to accept more than 300 people to the service. A day later we've added more than 2000 people to our service. We should reach 3000 contacts by the end of the weekend. This means that we now have to acquire more equipment and train up more people to assist with this project to ensure that we can deliver the service we intended when starting DAS@MXit. We also have people subscribing to the service from neighbouring countries.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Reconstructed team using The Grid

The Reconstructed team have begun using The Grid after attending a presentation by Vincent_Maher. They intend using it as a means to connect but also support one another. Will keep you updated how they find this technology and using it as part of the reconstruction process.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

10th CPUT Annual Media Conference

Today the Reconstructed teamn attended the CPUT 10th Media Conference in Cape Town. The conference was hosted by the Faculty of Informatics and Design, Public Relations Department. The programme was filled with exciting speakers Charl Norman (Blueworld Communities), Melissa Attree, Tim Shier (Quirk), Vincent Maher (Vodacom),Jayne Morgan (Podcart) and Peter Greenwall (author of Logical Stupidity: Innovation by navigating through nonsense). With such a worldclass lineup it was no wonder that the conference was a success and the common thread throughout the conference was the opportunities available with Web 2.0 technologies. For many of the guys who attended it was an eye opener and many of them already started using some of the technologies that was introduced to them.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mom 2.0 Video

Mom 2.0 sending first emails

With the buzz around the Mom 2.0 and the women who are using technology to empower other women and children, today was an exciting time for many of the ladies as they started with the first phase of their cafe sessions. One of the key elements of empowerment using technology is the Communication pillar. The first technology that we introduced to them was email. All of the ladies created a gmail email account and sent each other email by the end of their session.

This great achievement for many of them was being able to overcome their fear of technology and actually typing (even though it was slow) with no pressure at all. Seeing these ladies achieving what they did today really brought me so much joy. Even though some struggle to read and write, but with the help of other women and the reconstructed team they were able to send emails against all odds.

As we continue to expand the different ways in which the women communicate, we are keen to see how they engage with the different technologies and which tools they would prefer.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Drug Advice Support (DAS) on MXit

Nomadic Marketing Dinner

Last night I presented at the UCT Graduate School of Business Nomadic Marketing Dinner at Doppio Zero. With our hosts Dave Duarte and Max Kaizen it was an evening of networking with forward thinking individuals. I presented on the Recontructed project and how we are using various technologies with ex-drug addicts and gangsters as well as women and mothers from local communities on the Cape Flats. The technologies that has the largest impact on the reconstructed team is Blogging, MXit, FaceBook and twitter. The evening continued with exciting talks by MarkAnthony Zimmermann from the Broccoli Project and De Waal Steyn from Die Burger.

Definitely an evening well spent and looking forward to collaborations with many of the guests from the Nomadic Marketing Dinner.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Reconstructing families using Technology

This evening we did a presentation at a church in Westridge Mitchells Plain titled "Reconstructing families using technology". It was good to see so many people coming out and having an interest in technology. The talk was presented in such a way to show possibilities of how technology could be used for family reconstruction and empowerment.

The projects that were presented included:
- The reconstruction project and the reconstructed blog of the reconstructed team. One of the team members, Jerome Mias, shared his story of how he was addicted to Tik and how his life was reconstructed. He also shared what blogging did for him as part of the healing process and how he is currently using blogs as an outlet of expression. Interesting fact is that Jerome never completed school (only passed grade 8) yet the skills that he acquired through technology and how he is using to empower others are remarkable. Well done Jerome for showing us that we can use technology even when we don't have the education background to help our families and communities.

- The Drug Advice and Support on MXit (DAS@MXit) was also introduced to the audience. The room had both parents and children present and there were mixed feelings about this technology. This was an opportunity to show how this technology is being used to save lives. Brent Williams shared his testimony as a MXit counsellor and what he has experienced through the use of MXit for drug advice and support. Hearing how it impacted his life and how he could share the many stories of others who's lives have been changed through this service was well received. (We got an additional 10 contacts after the presentation to the service.

- Finally we ended with the Mom 2.0 project and showed what the plans are to empower mothers and women in the community.

Having parents, children and grandparents there was an opportunity to engage technology on all levels and see how best it could be used to reconstruct families. We hope that this talk is the first of many of its kind and with the positive feedback we know that there are lots more innovative ways how technologies could be used.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

We in The Vessel Newspaper

The project for MXit counselling appeared on the cover of The Vessel newspaper Sep/Oct edition. With the growth of the project and the work being done by the reconstructed team it is no surprise to see that its getting national attention. The conversations on MXit is almost 1000 conversations for the past 3 months and we have reached 500 subscribers to the service.

Mom 2.0 in Local News Paper

The Mom 2.0 project featured in the local newspaper Athlone News. You can read an abstract from the article below.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

One week and many highlights

It has been a week since my last post and the reason being that I am away on holiday for a week. Not only am I resting but also using this time to brainstorm new ideas and possibilities for the Community Empowerment project. Although a week has passed it doesnt mean that all was quiet. Some of this week's highlights included: - 1 Oct: Mom 2.0 project appeared in the Local Newspaper: Athlone News - 3 Oct: Met with Aki from COFISA for the setup of a Living Lab on the Cape Flats -4 Oct: PR 2.0 Blogging workshop to the Reconstruction Team by Netucation CEO, Ramon Thomas at Cape Peninsula University of Technology -6 Oct: Presented paper at SAICSIT conference -8 Oct: Interview with Bush Radio about the Mom 2.0 project and Mxit Drug Counselling service moving towards 500 subscribers That has been the week of holiday but also looking forward to see how these projects progress as there is an increased interest by the public.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mom 2.0 Interview on Radio

This morning I had a radio interview on Bush Radio about the Mom 2.0 project. Being able to share the possibilities with other women and realising the opportunities out there was exciting. When asked what about the fathers? The simple response was " Dad 2.0" is coming.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

PR 2.0 blogging workshop

Today we had the honour having Ramon Thomas, CEO of NETucation, doing a blogging workshop with the Reconstruction Team. The workshop was entitled PR 2.0 blogging and focused on how you can get you blog in the mainstream media.

The talk was interactive and allowed the team to express themselves. Ramon also gave valuable tips on what can be done to get your blog read by the right people. He use a 3 point approach:

1) Message- You should have a vision and know what your message of your blog is. You have to read blogs before you can start writing. Start reading blogs in your area of interest and leave comments. Will get you use to the writing style.
2) Marketing - You should have a clear idea of how you going to market your blog.
3) Momentum - You need to maintain that passion for blogging.

It was also a wonderful opportunity to meet with other bloggers in and around Cape Town. We are hoping to have Mr Thomas return and do another talk with the team sharing his expertise and allowing us to use it to empower our citizens.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Student Conference Posters

The following poster was presented at the World Wide Web 2008 Conference by Jason Pereira:

The following poster was presented at the World Wide Web 2008 Conference by Karel Strydom:

The following poster was presented at the World Wide Web 2008 Conference by David Minani:

The following poster was presented at the World Wide Web 2008 Conference by Mario Cilliers:

The following poster was presented at the SAICSIT 2008 Conference by Wesley Nitsckie: