Western Cape Mobile Substance Abuse Counselling Service PART I
October 20, 2009 § 2 Comments
Today I was in a very significant meeting. It was meeting where new things were to give birth. There was five different organisations present and Marlon Parker from RLABS presented to the various organisations how Social Media could be used to combat the scurge against the drug problem in our country. Also present was Social Development with whom RLABS is partnering and taking this pilot project forward.
RLABS is to role out a Western Cape Mobile Substance Abuse Counselling Service. As a group we are piloting a distributed mobile counselling service across the Western Cape starting in 5 high risk districts. The mobile application we are using to reach out to the youth in South Africa is Mxit. Mxit currently has about 15 million users in South Africa alone and 80% of them are ages between 13 -35.I will be giving you stats in my next blog post of what our counselling service is all about.
WHAT IS A LIVING LAB?
A Living Lab is a user-centric research methodology for sensing, prototyping, validating and refining complex solutions in multiple and evolving real life contexts. It is a human-centric Research and Development approach to ICT solutions and innovations.RLABS (Reconstructed Labs) is a community based organisation and is an innitiative by Impact Direct Ministries
Here is a bit more about RLABS:
The Reconstructed Living Lab is one of ten in South Africa, and the first one in the Western Cape. The project has grown out of collaboration between Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), a community organisation Impact Direct Ministries (IDM), and the Bridgetown Civic Organisation. It has features that are unique in living labs as it is community led and is based in a social deprived area in Cape Town.
Athlone is situated on the Cape Flats of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. It is today known for two features, the new football stadium and the obsolete power towers which dominate the area. The society is described by Parker (2008) as a community in tension. Factors for the grounds of tension include: lack of economical development (e.g. unemployment, inflation); Social inequality (e.g. lack of social services,) Lack of education and lack of appropriateness and use of technology (e.g. technology not being utilised fully within communities for its intended use). Athlone has all these social problems, and is plagued with violence, drugs and gangsterism.
RLABS is one of the projects that also falls under the banner of Impact Direct Ministries.I now work for Impact and have a role that I play within RLABS. My job description is that of Operations Manager within RLABS. This particular pilot project will be funded by Social Services and we are looking forward to rolling it out in the schools.
For now I cannot go into much detail about this project but will be keeping you updated as things unfold. We will be having another meeting this Friday (23/10/2009) This is just another way of how you can use Social Media for Social Change. Watch this space as we see how the lives will be changed by with the use of Social Media.