VSA 2011 activities

The VSA has some exciting new developments to report:

  • Anna Wertlen is currently writing a proposal to the Makana Municipality for the usage of a large building in Joza-Rhini. Several stakeholders are interested to move into the building to strengthen and widen partnerships to serve the community, eg. RLabs, the Centre for Social Development, The Makana Science Alliance, the Mobile Science Lab and Upstart, except from the VSA apparently.  This development is very exciting and promising. The Makana Science Alliance also showed interest in placing science content onto awareNet and offering online teaching.
  • Our proposal to the UK Department of International Development for academic research on and implementation of the Village Scribe Project made it onto the short list. Final decisions are expected in April.
  • Ron Wertlen is currently working on a study into the Potential to Utilize Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to Promote Inclusion, Public Participation and Accountability in Local Governance in South Africa. This feeds us a lot of useful information and opens up future possibilities for eKhaya ICT.
  • Manuela Walsdorf-Maul, a lecturer of the Technical University, is visiting the Eastern Cape tomorrow to explore possibilities for a collaboration with the VSA and Bulungula Incubator to build additional classrooms for the No ofisi School in Nqileni.
  • We are working on an awareNet spin-off, it’s a commercial product, it is cool and builds on perhaps 3 or 4 key insights. These are things we knew, and that loads of visitors to the projects reaffirmed by saying, “Wouldn’t is be groovy if we could do that?” Well, finally, it will be possible. More news before the end of 2011.
  • The VSA is a partner of Rhodes University International School. Together, we offer a course to students from USA and Italy called Environment, Development, Sustainability in (South) Africa, whereby the VSA offers the elective ICT4D with the possibility to visit Rhini and Bulungula. Mid April we will know how many students will attend.
  • Ron Wertlen submitted a solicited proposal to USAASA. The agency is currently ramping up their access intiatives, including the broader themes of training and software, but mainly pure access to communication signals. Being one of their focus regions, the Eastern Cape is hopeful of receiving USAASA support, and we are hoping that some of our initiatives, will be funded. We’ll know soon if our proposal has been accepted.
  • We handed in our application for registration as a South African non-profit organisation and are waiting to be accepted. This will give us the possibility to apply for volunteer work from the German Weltwärts Programme and Rhodes University Community Engagement.

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