Saturday, February 21, 2009

What lies ahead for Drug Advice Support (DAS)?

Well after over a year of concept and development with the Drug Advice Support (DAS) system how far have we journeyed and what lies ahead of us. We celebrate a year of Advice Support, although it only went live August 2008, we've seen change and innovation through this process.

What began as a little experiment to serve a small community would capture the imagination of a nation. DAS began with little idea exactly how it will be done but the sole purpose of the concept was to ensure the well being of its users. From early beginnings in 2007 the idea came about using technology in counselling. With a group of dedicated community developers we began this journey and not only saw the lives of people in need reconstructed but also the co-development of the Advice Support Network.

So since then we've reached out to citizens affected by the problem of substance abuse, HIV and AIDS and offering Career Advice and Support using our Advice Support Network. Now that we've managed to show how useful this technology is as an enabler to support counseling we are ready for the next step in our journey. We are planning to expand the service to other parts of South Africa in order to support citizens in need across our nation. For more about this project in the media read...

Friday, February 20, 2009

How to be glamorous...

Well how do you become glamorous and appear in one of South Africa's premier women magazines? Simple, use what you have and make a difference in the lives of others. The Drug Advice Support (DAS) appears in the Cosmopolitan Magazine March 2009 edition Page 60. The article is by Glynis Horning and extracts of it can be read below...

"A pioneering addiction-advice
service using MXit has been
launched by Cape Town
IT buff Marlon Parker, 30,
who got the idea when working on his
PhD thesis. 'Exploring how technology
facilitates change, I found that the
most commonly used technology in
all communities is cellphones,' says the
Cape Peninsula University of Technology
lecturer. He also found that one of the
biggest needs for young people in his
area, the Cape Flats, is drug counselling
that allows them to stay anonymous.
'I thought, why not use MXit?'
Parker launched a pilot programme
early last year, operating out of Impact
Direct Ministries Centre, a local NGO in
Bridgetown, and using recovered addicts
and ex-gang members. What began as
five volunteers giving advice in text chats
with local substance users has grown
to 12 volunteers helping everyone from
students to young professionals 'from
Athlone to Sandton, even rural villages
in Limpopo!..."

"...'We answer what questions we
can, then direct people who need it
to their nearest source of face-to-face
counselling,' says adviser Monique
Theron, 25, who was an addict for eight
years. 'Most people just need to hear
that they're not alone, that we've been
where they are, and that it is possible to
get out of it - even if you're suicidal like
I was. Becoming suicidal is what finally
got me to go to the Impact Centre for
counselling, and it changed me. If I'd just
had to SMS, I could have done it sooner
and saved my family so much pain.'..."

For further reading why not get your copy at bookstores nationwide.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Mom 2.0 are back!!!

Today is the first session for Mom 2.0. The ladies arrived and immediately we began exploring how technology can be used to communicate with citizens in a Community in Tension (CiT). Today we explored the possibilities of Instant Messaging (IM).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Athlone Living Lab: Student Brainstorm Session

After spending two weeks in the Bridgetown Community and going for a tour around the local Athlone area it was interesting to see and hear the ideas for possible Social Innovation by the students.

We will definitely see a number of exciting projects flowing from the Athlone Living Lab and if the brainstorm session is anything to go by then we'll see more people in Communities in Tension being empowered and reconstructed.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Media Revolution

The videos below are predicted possibilities what could happen during the Media Revolution over the next few years:

Drug Advice Support(DAS): Video Diary

The Promise of Living Labs

Using Living Labs as an approach to social innovation brings alot of promise and as one of the presenters showed at the COFISA Innovation Workshop the following should be considered:

- Skills Access
- Reusability
- Co-Innovation
- Acceptance
- Commercialisation
- End-User Drive

In the context of the Athlone Living Lab the above promises are key to ensure the emergence of social innovation for the Communities in Tension (CiTs).

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Athlone Living Lab: Change is Possible

Bradley Naidoo sharing with students from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), researchers in the Athlone Living Lab, how change is possible no matter what the circumstances. He is one of our Reconstructed Members who have been using Social Media for Social Change. Listen to his story here

How much will a tweet cost you from your Mobile?

Well this post is a short test to see the cost of tweeting from a Mobile phone using some of the technologies I've got on my Nokia N81. The reason for this little experiment was specifically aimed at communities where cost is an issue or barrier to access or share information.

Cost for a single tweet per technology on my mobile: - zaR0.04 (Your personal and friends' tweets, @replies, Your Profile, People you follow, Public timeline, Drawbacks: No direct messaging possible, No Retweeting) - zaR0.07 (Your and friends' tweets (with some pics too), replies, directs, search, public timeline, Retweet, pic and tweet, geo friends (location based)

Fring - zaR0.05 (your personal and friends' tweets, takes long to load sometimes)

MXit(using Spoink setup) - zaR0.01 (One way tweeting at the moment, Only pushing messages nothing else)

Well now that you have the costs and some of the functionalities of the technologies you know which tool will be best for you. Personally I prefer let me know whats your choice or if there are any other tools you are using that we could add to this list. Happy Mobile Tweeting:-)

Radio SAFM Interview

This morning I was part of a panel on the SAFM after 8 morning debate. The discussion was around the problem of substance abuse and youth in South Africa and it was good to hear what others are thinking about the current substance abuse problems we have in our country. While listening to the other members on the panel and the callers I realised that there are so much for us to do and with the technologies that we have we could see how we can support the reduction of demand of these illegal substances.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Reconstructed Podcast Episode 6 "Bradley Naidoo: The Man of the Moment"

Throughout your life you meet people that enters and leaves your personal space, but very seldom you meet a man of the calibre of Mr. Bradley Naidoo. Listen to his story

Episode 6:The story of Bradley Naidoo

Athlone Living Lab: Student Buzz

Yesterday we officially had students from Cape Peninsula University of Technology joining us at the Athlone Living Lab in Bridgetown. The initiative is where students work in the local community with citizens to co-develop ICT solutions for the community. The students will be based at the community development space for the next 2 weeks and will learn more about the Living Lab. The Athlone Living Lab is co-sponsored by COFISA and a collaboration between CPUT, Impact Direct and the Bridgetown community.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Live on SABC 2

This morning I had the privilege of appearing on SABC 2 Morning Live show. It was a wonderful opportunity to share some of our findings on the Drug Advice Support (DAS) system. After the show we were showered with calls from all across South Africa people seeking help or willing to assist in the Reconstruction of citizens.