How can youth influence the state in providing more access to technology in a local South African community? By “talking technology” to those in power through a new project organised by Awarenet where youth from Makhanda seeks to put the spotlight on the lack of access to information technology in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas.
Local youth want to be part of the technological revolution sweeping across the world but lack of access to computers and affordable internet in local schools, libraries and home areas hamper the ability of youth in South African township and rural areas to take part in this revolution on an equal footing with more privileged youth elsewhere.
21 participants who are all out-of-school youth with an interest in technology were therefore recruited to take part in the Talking Technology to Power project after initial community meetings in May and June. The youth are currently receiving training in media creation by Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies and in laws and practices around government accountability by the Public Service Accountability Monitor.
Based on the knowledge acquired in these courses they will create digital stories and media which will be published in local and national media and on social media platforms. They will also engage constructively with stakeholders from different spheres of government around the issue of lack of provision of ICT.
The participants have already made a comprehensive surveyed of the ICT situation in all 26 public primary and secondary schools across Makhanda; this survey will be presented in the media and to government stakeholders. They are currently also in the process of surveying the situation in local libraries and also understand the legal framework underpinning the duty of libraries to provide ICT to communities.
Awarenet hopes that by talking sense about technology to those in power the project can make a contribution to developing more opportunities for local youth.
A big thanks to the Learning Trust for making this exciting project happening.