Archive for the ‘RLABS’ Category

RLabs – A Space And Atmosphere For Learning

Some of the courses for the 1st semester in the RLabs Academy are coming to an end.  I had assigned myself to the Photography class which is facilitated by Ricky Johnson. Ricky has created a very joyful and family orientated atmosphere in this particular class. Everyone seemed to be so at peace with each other and lots of laughs and jokes were shared.I also had the privilege of seeing one of the students showcase their work. She out of her own went along and printed out her pictures she took on an excursion the class had and decided to bring it with her to show the others.

Christine Herling printed her pics and showcased them in class


In Saturday’s class Ricky spoke to the students about making money from photography and how one could turn a hobby into a business.  All the students were exited at the prospect of earning money from photography.  One could literally could see the hope on their faces after hearing this good news.

After the photography class Craig Ross asked me to sit in on the Entrepreneurship class as his students were going to pitch their business ideas later that morning. I saw the opportunity and asked some of the photography students to sit in on the presentations that would be done by the entrepreneurship students so that they could draw some inspiration and ideas from them.

The entrepreneurship students pitched and presented their businesses ideas to the audience and like second nature the photography students (that was now part of the audience) whipped out their cameras and started capturing the event.  In this session the photography students could now learn the do’s and don’ts when starting a business as the audience gave feedback and constructive criticism after every business that was presented.

One of the businesses who presented

This was all in the spirit of learning and there were no hard feelings about the feedback but everyone understood that this was a learning experience. All- in- all the businesses that was represented was good and well done to the entrepreneurship students for all their hard work they had put into their projects.


I take my hat off to all the students within the Academy for stepping out and stepping up. You guys do us proud!!

I am excited to see what of this business will be hosted in our Business Incubator ,Innovia .

Kigamboni Community Center now applying “Train-the-Trainer” skills

This is a post written by my Jukka Siltanen , Associate  Expert at TanzICT. TanzICT our partners and also the organisation we are doing consultancy work for here in Tanzania. TANZICT is a bilateral project between Tanzania and Finland. They work in the areas of information society, ICT sector & policies, mobile, ICT4D and entrepreneurship.

Read what Jukka wrote:

Following our collaboration with RLabs at the Iringa Living Lab in the beginning of July, Brent Williams has now spent several days over the last two weeks at the Kigamboni Community Center (KCC) on the other side of the ferry.

Brent testing the driver's seat on the bajaj he rides to Kigamboni Community CenterBrent testing the driver’s seat on the bajaj he rides to Kigamboni Community Center

Brent has been training the community trainers with the ‘RLabs curriculum’ – how to use Gmail, Google Docs, Blogger and other social media tools – and how to pay to the training forward. Only promise participants need to make is that they will use the skills learned for teaching others, who will again train others. This way ICT literacy and awareness will quickly spread in the community. Brent also wrote about of the first training session at KCC in his own blog.

Yesterday was an exciting day as it was the first day for the trainers to start training others, Brent being there only to assist if needed. As Brent said, it didn’t take long for everyone to start helping everyone and it was really great… :)

Trainers training the first participants - click to see more picturesTrainers training the first participants – click to see more pictures

Training sessions with Brent at KCC will still continue tomorrow and next week. Then Brent is off to Iringa to continue the “Train-the-Trainers” there. We are also excited about the opportunity and challenge Brent will be undertaking in training a group of deaf trainers at Neema Crafts in Iringa. Returning from Iringa, we’ll head for the first training sessions at the Zanzibar Living Lab, so the RLabs Social Revolution is spreading!


Citizen Journalism – Kigamboni

I had something up my sleeve for today’s class ( 17th July ) . Today was not just going to be about sitting behind laptops and doing class the normal way. I had the participants go out in the community and do a couple of interviews with the citizens of Kigamboni. Their task was to tell people about their training they were currently doing (Social Media Workshops) and then ask the people if this training is something they would attend.

The main of this exercise was to show them how to gather/capture content (pics and videos )  using their mobiles phones and then blogging about it at a later stage.  At first they were a bit hesitant not knowing how the community would respond but eventually mustered up the courage and went to the streets. Here is one of the blog post written by one of the participants  after interviewing people on the street.

After these interviews with the community they also managed to get participants whom Kigmaboni Community Centre will be training up in Social Media workshop.




Kigamboni “Train The Trainer” Social Media Workshop

The “Train The Trainer” Social Media workshop at Kigamboni Community Centre has begun! RLabs and TanzICT whom is conducting the training went out to the rural village on Monday (16th July) to do the first session.  This training will happen over a period of 3 weeks and two times  per week. It was good meeting all the participants and it was good to see the founding members of the Community Centre attending this training as well.

We started off the session explaining the importance of this training and that this training they would receive will not just be for their benefit but for the benefit of the rest of the community. We emphasized the importance of paying it forward and how they would be the champs to empower  this community through the use of innovation and technology.

First I did a talk about the various Social Media tools and how one could maximize them. After that it was time to ” get their hands dirty” and start signing up for the various tools. Day one consisted of them only signing up to Gmail and exploring the different functions this emailing platform had to offer them.It was important to show them the many functions that this platform had to offer and that it was not just used send emails back and forth from.

After seeing what all they could do with their email account everyone was exited and hyped up. They all said that they were looking forward to the next session and to see what more the world of Social Media has to offer them. They are fast learners and their enthusiasm just makes the training so  much easier . Next I will be taking them through the world of blogging and speaking to them more about story -telling. ”

The Social Revolution in KIGAMBONI has begun!!!

Social Media Training for the deaf and disabled

image source

While I am based in Tanzania I will be representing RLabs and going around the country doing Social and New Media training with various groups and organisations . RLabs is doing consultancy work for  TanzICT , our partners here in Tanzania. One of the next block of training will be  with a group from  Neema Crafts ,in Iringa.

A bit more about Neema Crafts:

Neema Crafts Centre was founded in 2003 by the Diocese of Ruaha, to provide handi-crafts training and much-needed employment opportunities for people with disabilities in the Iringa region of Tanzania, and to change negative attitudes towards them in local society. There’s a great stigma attached to having a disability in Tanzania, and the centre provides dignity and hope for many people who previously relied on street begging or were hidden away at home, unable to support themselves and their families. Neema is place of creativity, compassion and hope where lives are transformed everyday. The centre also includes a physiotherapy unit for disabled children, an award winning cafe entirely staffed by deaf people, a welcoming guest house which is the first in the world to be run by people with disabilities, a conference room and internet cafe.


The training will have a strong social and new media component (Google,Google Docs, Gmail , Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, etc)  where these tools are used in the form of digital story telling.

We will be going to Iringa from the 13th – 27th August to do training with the group from Neema Crafts and then also a group from Iringa Living Lab. Stay tuned as we gear up for this very very exiting block of training.



Iringa Living Lab kicks off

This weekend RLabs together with TanzICT headed off to Iringa to do  Social Media and Facilitation training  with some of the key role players from the community.

Yusuf ,one of the locals, and also the champion for the Living Lab initiative there did a good job  of getting all the people together at the Tumaini campus where the training was conducted.The training was done in  English but had to be translated into kiSwahili .  For some of the participants present it was the first time using or working on a computer and it first they were a bit anxious and did not know what to expect. After signing  most of the participants up for their first email address on Gmail, their anxiousnous  soon developed into much excitement and enthusiasm.

At first we had some problems with connectivity and power but that did not stop us from going ahead with the training.We simply did something which Kristiina Lahde  calles the “Analogue” version of Gmail ( see picture below). This proved to be of great help as participants came back to the flip charts later to take notes even after we have finished our training.  We will now be conducting our other training in Iringa with a projector and the “Analogue” version as well.

Most of them said that that they thought that the Internet and computers were only for the elite. This is exactly the people that RLabs are looking at working with.People that needs hope and to now that there is so much good and ability  within them that needs to be discovered. We will be going back to Iringa to do some more training in August.This time around the goal is  to train up trainers so that they could train up the rest of the community in the future even if we not there.

We are looking forward to see how this all unfolds and to see what a great Living Lab will turn out to be.




Breaking technological barriers-Social media excite rural Tanzania

This is a blog post by Yusuf.One of our RLabs champs in Iringa.He will be spear- heading the Living Lab initiative there:Read more about what he has to say:



Participants are eager to learn more about the world of Social Media

What started as a far fetched dream is finally coming to reality as TANZICT and RLabs have partnered with Iringa Living Lab to initiate social innovations that can impact people’s lives in a myriad of ways. Iringa Living Lab is one of the pioneer living labs in Tanzania. Yesterday, the first community training took place on how to use social media to expand their social networks and benefit from the opportunities of globalization and technology.

There was much excitement as some participants touched the computer for the first time. Indeed it was a Eureka moment for many who had always thought computers are for a select class of people. The training took place at Tumaini University, one of the key partners in the Iringa Living Lab.

Brent, a consultant from RLabs shared his story of how his life was transformed thanks to RLabs that opened doors of hope to people in his community who had lost direction. His story touched everyone in the room.

There is now new energy.

What a difference Hope makes!

Social Media Boot Camp

Wondering how your company can embrace social media for better performance online? Struggling with reaching your target audience? Sign up for the RLabs Social Media Boot Camp on June 6 in Athlone, Cape Town and let the professionals of RLabs’ Social Media Factory guide you into the world of a Social Business.

During the morning, professionals from different countries will share their experience within the social media and social business industry. Some of the topics to be presented are process innovation in businesses, social media and mobile phones, semantic web, fund-raising campaigns and much more.

After a coffee break, there are hands-on consulting sessions with the presenters. So you have an opportunity to discuss how your company can improve its performance and business by embracing social media, you visit the “Business and Innovation” hub. The “Fund-raising” hub is there to advise and help you with fund raising money via social media platforms. Finally there is also a “Social Networking” hub that is specialized in creating you a company weblog and get you active on various social platforms (E.g. Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.).


Date and time: June 6, 09.00 till 16.00

Location: RLabs, 66 Tarentaal Road, Bridgetown, Cape Town

Price: R1000 per person, including coffee breaks and a good lunch

Bookings and info: or call 021 699 1453 and ask for Craig Ross. Please note that booking is only possible before the 30th of May and that there is a limited amount of seats available.



Table Mountain is one of only 28 natural sites from around the globe shortlisted to be named one of the Official New7Wonders of Nature.

From an initial list of 440 magnificent natural sites nominated in 2008, Table Mountain was voted onto a list of 77 sites prior to being selected for the final shortlist of 28 finalists in July 2009.

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, Table Mountain National Park and Cape Town Tourism have formed an official supporting committee to champion the mountain’s cause. Table Mountain needs approximately 30 million votes to secure a top 7 spot.

The Official New7Wonders of Nature contest aims to raise awareness of the incredible variety and beauty of nature around us.

The campaign is run by the New7Wonders Foundation in Zurich, Switzerland, an organization which fosters global dialogue through democratic campaigns, and through these campaigns, promotes conservation efforts worldwide for man-made and natural monuments.

The Official New7Wonders of Nature will be determined entirely by votes from the public and the final 7 wonders announced on November 11, 2011. The campaign is well on track to receive more than one billion votes. Voting platforms are made accessible to everyone through the Internet and mobile phones.

Candidates must be clearly defined natural sites that have neither been created nor significantly altered by man. The awareness and tourism income generated through the New7Wonders campaign will ensure that these natural treasures are better preserved for future generations.

So why should we vote for Table Mountain?

Table Mountain is a recognised global icon, visited by millions of people each year. The mountain has attracted the attention of royalty, sports stars and Hollywood celebrities and is one of the most photographed sites in Africa. It withstood years of political turmoil in South Africa and was a symbol of hope for freedom fighters jailed with Nelson Mandela on Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town during the apartheid era.

Table Mountain is one of the oldest mountains on the planet. It’s six times older than the Himalayas and five times older than the Rockies. Mount Everest in the Himalayas is 60 million years old so Table Mountain is estimated to be 360 million years old.

Table Mountain was named a World Heritage Site in 2004. It is part of the Cape Floristic Region, which is the smallest and richest of the six floral kingdoms on earth, boasting an amazing 8200 rare and endangered plant species, some of which occur nowhere else on the planet.

Table Mountain is the only terrestrial feature on our planet to have a constellation named after it. The southern constellation Mensa was first introduced to Western astronomy in 1754 by Frenchman Nicolas Louis de Lacaille (he originally called it Mons Mensae – Latin for “the table mountain”). Lacaille, an astronomer, catalogued an amazing 10 000 stars during his professional career and named Mensa after the increasingly world-famous landmark in the Cape of Good Hope.

If Table Mountain is named one of the seven wonders of nature, South Africa can expect a massive boost in tourism revenue and brand value. Studies have shown that sites participating in the New7Wonders of the man-made world (which were named in 2007) saw an increase of more than US$5 billion (R35 billion) in tourism revenue and brand value.

To vote for Table Mountain, SMS “table” to 34874, visit or call +44 203 347 0901.





021 790 9911 or 082 567 1400



021 424 0015

Social and New Media: First Session x2

Tuesday evening was our first official Social and New Media class and there was quite a buzz as the participants arrived. In this class we have young and old, males and females which makes for an interesting mixture . We had initially catered to host 14 -15 people in this class but so many people came to register and we did not want to turn anyone away. The final numbers for this class was 32 and hence our need to have had to run two classes concurrently. So we run the same class in two rooms at the same time, doing the exact same presentations so that everyone gets to learn the same thing.

In our first sessions we have signed up everyone to Gmail and everyone has successfully sent an email to either their “class mates” or to the facilitators. So the journey begins and we look forward to seeing the progress of these individuals as we grow and learn together.


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