Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Introducing Mbeya Living Lab – RLabs and TanzICT

There was a  keen interest by the Gushit Team from Mbeya after reading a blog post that was written by Jukka  Siltanen on the TanzICT blog about the Social Media training we were doing with the community at  Kigamboni Community Centre . After discussions with Jukka  about them wanting to start something similar in Mbeya we  then decided to invite  them to the Iringa Living Lab training to get a first hand experience of what the training was all about.  After seeing what we were doing in Iringa they asked if we could then come to Mbeya and do similar training with members from their community. Gushit is a company that does web development for companies and they also train up students from the local university. Gushit said that the living lab concept was much needed in the Mbeya area and it was something they have been discussing for a while now.


After discussing this  with Kristiina we then agreed that I would go to Mbeya immediately after our 2 weeks training Iringa and start the process of setting up a living lab there. In Mbeya we  introduced the Living Lab concept to the community and they were excited to be part of this new initiative. We are had a  “Train the trainers “ workshop  with this group and they have agreed to transfer what they learnt in this workshop to the rest of the community.  Already some of the people in this were  speaking about doing training at their universities and with a group of abused women in the Mbeya  region. Also in this workshop there was a teacher from a disabled school and he was  very excited about starting Social Media training  with his scholars.Gushit has agreed that after the Social Media training they would get in someone to do some Entrepreneurship sessions with this group as part of their on- going training and capacity building . Gushit has a lab with 10 computers with a very reliable internet connection that is suitable for on going training with the community.

This was the 1st certificate this gentlemen has ever received in his life. He has never worked on a computer before and his progress during the training was amazing.This is our way of acknowledging him.

TanzICT and RLabs will be providing Mbeya Living Lab with ongoing support and are hoping to see more and more training sessions happening in the future.



This is an amazing post and success story from one of the participants that attended the workshop hosted by Iringa Living Lab.This post was written by Yusuf one of the champions in Iringa. Source of post: Iringa Living Lab blog.

Wilbert is one of the beneficiaries of a one week social media training that has ended today at Tumaini University College Iringa, organized by the Iringa Living Lab. And what a week it has been for everybody but more so Wilbert who couldn’t hide his excitement.

Wilbert at computer

His story goes as follows. A first born in a family of seventeen, Wilbert lost his father in 2010. As a result, he could not continue with studies after form four, because his mother didn’t have enough money to take him to high school. He is self-employed selling SIM Cards as a mobile agent for TIGO, a mobile telephone operator. TIGO is currently promoting internet services in the country and have tasked their mobile agents to convince as many customers as possible to use TIGO internet on their phones. The problem for Wilbert though has been his inability to use internet, let alone understand what internet is all about.

So, the social media training by Iringa Living Lab came as a big opportunity for him. After just one week, Wilbert has been introduced to basics of social media and gained confidence in the use of email, face book and blogging.

Opportunity knocks once, so goes the saying! After realizing that social media is after all for everyone, Wilbert straight away went back to his business and confidently started persuading his customers to join TIGO internet. This time they responded. In one week, he has managed to convince 48 (yes, forty eight) customers to join TIGO internet, thanks to Wilbert’s newly acquired social media skills and entrepreneurial abilities. And his efforts have not gone unrewarded. He has received his commission from TIGO for connecting so many customers in such a short time.

Wilbert’s story confirms what Iringa Living lab stands for; that new technology can be adopted by all human beings irrespective of social status and it can make a huge difference in their lives. As Iringa Living Lab, we remain committed to produce many more Wilberts and through the efforts and creativity of every one of us, we believe we can make a difference in the lives of others, without waiting for government. It is possible!

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!


Grow Academy Launches Boot Camp

On June 27, 2011, the GROW Academy will launch its first attack with an initial pilot ‘Boot Camp’ in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

The purpose of the Boot Camp is to provide the team with an idea of the content and competencies required to see the development of the ‘recruits’ and the respective curriculum for the expanded edition of the program for the future launch of a fully-fledged digital academy due to launch in 2012.

Grow goal is to create a space where young individuals can be trained in the art of managing digital platforms.  Participants will learn to use the tools that are available through social media platforms to serve the needs of non-profit organisations.

The founding partners in this project are WooThemes, RLabs (Reconstructed Living Lab), Silulo, Webgrowth and the GivenGain Foundation South Africa. We have a common vision and objective to make a difference in our city and our nation by providing a stepping-stone for school leavers and the digitally passionate unemployed to get back into the job market.

Boot Camp Details:

- 27 June – 1 July 2011

- 12 – 20 Pre-Selected ‘Recruits’

- Silulo Training Centre, Makhaza Mall, Lansdowne Road, Khayelitsha

- Mornings: Theory; Afternoons: Practical with Evaluation

- Cost: FREE to pilot group

The courses delivered will include lecture-based sessions, coupled with assisted and tutored practical application of the various tools and skills presented. These classroom sessions will be followed by real-world internships at selected non-profit and commercial organisations that are willing to accommodate digital apprenticeships. All students will be provided with personal, online, email and telephonic support, relative to their stage of skill and application, by the academy and its appointed partners. It is our intention to see apprentices become artisans, from job seekers to job takers, urgently!

We need to go beyond the digital divide. We need to strengthen digital minds.

We need to GROW!



Adii Pienaar & Mark Forrester                                                                                                                                     Colin Habberton

GivenGain Foundation South Africa

WooThemes                                                                                                                                           +27 21 882 9070                                                                                                                           +27 71 401 2434

Renee Parker


+27 21 699 1453

+27 79 811 8536

Luvuyo Rani


+27 72 261 2472

Neil Pursey


+27 84 627 0619

via rlabs

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.


Learning together

After last week’s class the participants requested that we do a refreshers class on blogging again. Last week’s class included: loading up and image in your blog post, loading up a video in your blog post and doing a hyper link in your blog post.

In this evenings class I have asked the participants to do a blog with all of the above mentioned components in it. It is going to be interesting to see if they still remember what they have been taught last week. The is also a young man in this evenings class that was absent last week so did not get to learn what the others have learned. I requested from the others that was in class last week to assist and show him what we have learnt. I think that this is a great way of learning together and let’s face it, the participants in this year’s training is the CHAMPIONS of tomorrow.

RLabs and GivenGain collaborates

On Tuesday some of the RLabs team was out in Stellensbosh doing training with 8 ofGivenGain’s clients. GivenGain does a 3 day workshop with their clients and these are the topics that they cover:

1. Social Media training: Various social media platforms, setting up an account, how to use the functionalities of each platform.

2. Baseline training: Using the GivenGain platform – publish, donation reports, communication, database, fundraising pages.

3. Intermediate training: Creating fundraising campaigns, social media optimization, advanced applications of the Givengain platform.

RLabs has collaborated with GivenGain and will be doing the 1st of the 3 day training, covering everything their clients need to know about social media. We had good feedback from the participants regarding the training and we have been told that we will be hearing from their individual organisations to come and do some in house training with them. This is what Jannie Smith from GivenGain had to say regarding the training:

” Thanks again for you guys’ training today – I have received a lot of positive response from the attendees today re the social media training and their exposure to it. Especially Norman from SSNet – if only his supporters knew what is going to hit them soon on the social media platforms…”

This is a good start the year and we as RLabs are looking forward to this on-going partnership

source: RLabs

Blogging training session with CAN

Yesterday RLabs was out in the field doing training with one of their clients, CAN. This particular  training block was about blogging and we covered very basic things with them like blogging etiquette, blogging dos and don’ts, etc. After the presentation it was time to do some practical work on their site. In this session we showed them how to insert and upload text, pics and videos into a post and then post it. RLabs will be going back to Can in 2 weeks to finish the last block of training.

CAN is one of RLabs clients and singed a phase handover contract with us. This package includes the set up of a blog, and training to dedicated staff members to manage their Social Media strategy ensuring goals and objectives are met.

Social Media Is Free: Social Media Marketing Is Not

When i read this article it made so many things clear to me.Read it and then see what i am talking about.


I’ve heard this constantly from self-professed social media marketing “gurus”: social media is free! You should take advantage of it to promote your company! Why drop mail when you could market without spending a dime?

It’s seductive thinking, of course. With budget scrutiny perpetually on the rise, it’s natural to want to curtail expenses, especially if there is no net effect on the returns you could generate. The urge to fire your PR agency, stop dealing with direct response rates and just tweet like crazy can be difficult resist … but don’t do anything hasty. Like other forms of marketing, social media really does come with a cost. So, the issue becomes typical of all forms of marketing: how do you generate a return?

Many of the costs associated with social media marketing are not immediately evident. FacebookTwitter,LinkedIn and other platforms are free, as is widely known. There’s no cost to register, pop up a profile photo and let the world know what you think. Blogging can be virtually free, as well, if you use a hosted service such as or Blogger. There may be some mall design costs – for themes and backgrounds, for example – but companies with in-house designers won’t notice the costs, and even external design expenses tend to be manageable. The explicit costs, therefore, aren’t intimidating. Rather, it’s people that generate the expense.

The primary issue is content: you need to be able to publish blog posts, tweets and status updates. Depending on the nature of your organization, content development may require the collaborative efforts of a writer and internal subject matter experts. On top of that, there’s likely to be an internal approval process. With all these people involved, editorial planning enters the equation. Producing and publishing content is time-consuming.

In addition to content development, you need to think about content promotion – i.e., getting people know about and read your content. There can be public relations efforts, search engine optimization and community development and management involved. This involves more people, more time and more expense. Your company may not need to write additional checks, but decisions about how to direct your employees have to be made, and there can be times when additional hires become necessary.

As with any marketing activity, measurement is necessary – otherwise, you’ll never gauge the true impact of your efforts. Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and time with the likes of and Topsy, though free, require someone to look at them, crunch the numbers and draw conclusions. And, all of this has to be integrated into your broader marketing strategy.

So, is social media marketing really free? Well, anyone who’s made a serious effort to do it knows that there are expenses all over the place. Don’t take this as a reason not to hit the social media world to market your company, though. There are still large concentrations of people available, and the tools afforded by these platforms can make targeting relatively easy.

When you start putting together your social media marketing initiative, take a realistic look at the hard- and soft-dollar expenses involved. Identify the results you’ll need to generate a sufficient return on your marketing investment. Quite frankly, you need to engage in the same marketing discipline you would exercise in other activities, such as direct mail, telemarketing and advertising.

Social media marketing doesn’t have to be free to be effective: it just has to be well-planned.

ASLAM LEVY At The Reconstructed Session

At this week’s Reconstructed class we were graced by the presence of Aslam Levy one of the SA BLOG AWARDS finalist and his wife Sue Levy. This was his first visit to the RLABS space and definitely will not be the last. This was also the classes first session in blogging and his timing could not have been more perfect. He came to RLABS to sit in for the class but was quickly put on the spot by Craig Ross to speak to the class about blogging:

These are some of the topics that he covered with the class:

  • What is blogging

-          Imager and text

-          Video

  • How do I blog?

-          WordPress and Blogger

-          RLABS group blog – SA no.1 Group blog

  • Why do I blog?

-          For exposure

-          Personal or Brand


-          Expression

-          Story telling

-          Be seen

-          Become an expert


-          Information

-          Traffic

-          Brand awareness

-          Campaign Awareness

We as RLABS would just like to thank Aslam for sowing into the lives of these people and playing a part in the Reconstruction of their lives. Aslam will be back with us this coming week to continue the blogging class with them.


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