Back at the 4th Euro- Africa Cooperation Forum on ICT Research

November 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Last year I was invited to speak at the 4th Euro- Africa Cooperation to speak about how RLabs is: Transferring Innovation On A Grassroots Level. This particular conference was held in Finland which meant me going over seas for seven days. This year this same conference is being held in Cape Town and I was once again invited to come and speak here.

I am so looking forward to all the presentation and to see how ICT is being utilized in Europe and Africa. The aim of today is networking as well and looking forward to meeting with potential future partners for RLabs. I am grateful for this opportunity to be able to represent RLabs at this conference. That is what RLabs is all about,it is about growth ..and this is me growing.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

September 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

This past Friday Marlon Parker the director of the R LABS requested that Bradley, one of my brothers in Christ, and I give talks about Social Media. We gave our talks at the School Of Hope which is a project of the Thembalistha Foundation which accommodates students that have either been expelled from other schools in the area or are currently using drugs.

Our talks were directed at how Social Media can change our communities. Bradley addressed substance abuse and the effects and consequences of using drugs. I spoke on the subject of Social Media for Social Change, a presentation that Marlon Parker had put together. This was my first time to do this particular presentation and I must admit I was a bit nervous – but at the same time excited to have the opportunity to make the presentation.

Knowing these students and their backgrounds was a bit daunting for me. Giving the presentation without knowing in advance what to expect from the audience made it more difficult than it needed to be. Perhaps I focused a bit too much on what their levels of concentration would be. Additionally, I was somewhat concerned as to what their response and reaction to the presentation would be.

In my nervousness I failed to remember that God was in control…not me. With God guiding the event everything went really very well. The students remained attentive throughout the presentations and appeared to be genuinely interested in everything we had to say. Just to see the looks of interest on their faces and realize how well they were receiving what we had to tell them was most encouraging to me and was the highlight of my day and weekend.

The whole experience caused me to think back and remember that it is important that we go on with what we are doing and allow God to work through us. God is awesome and faithful even when we are faithless.

I give all glory, honor and adoration to Jesus for what He has done and continues to do through our lives. I and people like me who formerly lived lives of crime and drug addiction are now being used to bring about positive, and I’m sure lasting change, within our communities. I am really looking forward to our next presentations with eager anticipation.

When God is for us, who can be against us?

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