Posts Tagged ‘Social Development’

Does NGO Stand for New Golden Opportunity?

This was a blog post written about RLabs on the SangoNet Blog.Have a read and please comment and let me know what you think about this article.

Having been invited to speak at the recent 2nd Annual Thinking Mobile™ Conference, listening to Mark Slade, Managing Director of 4th Screen Mobile advertising in the UK, I hear a story that seems only too familiar. His frustration with the speed in which some of the planets biggest agencies adopt new media and technology. I was just pleased to hear that it wasn’t just South Africa that has this inherent problem.

With this in mind I feel almost obligated to share what is going on out there in the mobile NGO space in the sincere hope that some bright spark spinning in their Antonio Citterio chair at some flash agency will get it.

Is my project (a) Innovative (b) Socially empowering (c) Commercially viable?

I would be more than happy if any project I undertook ticked all three boxes. Mobile campaigns are not merely a means to an end to tap into a mobile crowd, achieve thousands of entries for a brand manager that has little or no understanding of the mobile space other than the fact that certain apps have robbed him of time he would never spend with his children.

In this emerging market in which we find ourselves, those in the .org or NGO space have had to be ingenious in reaching those that require help and being progressive recognised the main form of communication is mobile, and not high tech mobile either. Stand up Marlon Parker (a legend in his own lunchtime) from Reconstructive Living Labs (RLABS), the group that provides innovative solutions to address various complex problems. It creates an environment where people are empowered to make a difference in the lives of others. Through the creation, dissemination and application of knowledge they aim to increase the empowerment, upliftment and development of individuals and communities. They do this through the use of innovative solutions.

The RLabs ‘main hub’ is in Cape Town but have activity in the UK, Europe, Asia and Central Africa. The Reconstructed Programme has been designed for ex-drug addicts, and the unemployed who received ongoing technology training and mentoring. The free Counselling service has over 120 000 subscribed mobile users on MXit, operating from Monday to Thursday from 3pm to 6pm managing 300 to 400 counseling sessions per day via mobile, utilizing the Jamiix Social Exchange programme. JamiiX has been given the official seal of approval, by no less than The World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHOs’ South-East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) is being supported by the JamiiX messaging management system in bringing emergency readiness information to mobile users in disaster-prone Indonesia via MXit.

One of the other highlights for the group was receiving the 2009 South African blog awards runners up.

The Rlab Mom 4.0 café sessions are hosted for women from the Cape Flats community who were housewives, unemployed, been through divorce, abuse and have stories of hope to share with other women using mobile.

Social Media and Research is undertaken for a number of businesses and organisations and was recently the Social Media partner for the Innovation Fair, hosted by the World Bank.

Through innovation, communities can address fundamental issues such as health, education, etc. to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life for many with mass market reach with its first global product JamiiX (“Social Exchange”). Other technology start-ups include She’s The Geek (Won Best South African Blog for Science and Technology in 2010) and Uusi – Empowerment via Mobile Phone (Research Paper presented at International Conference during 2010)…They’re not the only ones…

MXit has also become an enormous social, life skills and educational resource for users. Childline South Africa currently receives around 100 000 calls a month from children who require counselling on matters related to physical and emotional abuse, neglect and family problems. Around 68 000 MXit users have downloaded the application on MXit, for free and private counselling sessions conducted in specially adapted chatrooms.

In partnership with Cell-Life, MXit hosts the “Red” contact offering free HIV/AIDS information and advice. When the user adds the contact, it allows them to view HIV/AIDS information in 4 of the official South African languages. They have successfully hosted live and anonymous HIV counselling for the past year with over 59 000 users who have added the contact – which brings the total number of MXit users who have access the counselling services on MXit to close on 250 000 of its users.

They also support UNICEF’s initiative of ‘Let’s Give the Red Card to Child Exploitation’. The Red Card seeks to help children and young people to stay safe. Each year, tens of thousands of children around the world are exploited through child labour, commercial sexual exploitation, child trafficking and child pornography.

Further, the Dr Maths project in partnership with the CSIR / Merake offers free one-on-one Maths tutorial using MXit and has a user-base of over 19 000 children, with 100 tutors and in operation for the past two years. Another similarly innovative project on MXit is the curriculum aligned multiple Maths quizzes – namely QuizMax, which assist Gr 12’s with Maths, Physical Science and Life Science quizzes and tutorials.

The National Youth Parliament ran a mobile youth survey to identify and discuss the issues that confront them in their daily lives and identify creative solutions to these challenges…the result…the largest youth survey undertaken in SA with over 63 000 users completing a 16 part mobile survey and just for fun users were prompted to go on a virtual  march, pinging a users submission from mobile to web, resulting in over 15 000 marchers in six weeks…hmm surveys…Those clever people at TNS recognise this and are busy in this mobile space and I sincerely hope they can start to unravel and make sense of the swarm mentality and that we start to see more brands listening.

And so it goes on…

So now that the Antonio Citterio has stopped spinning and I have your attention, it does not take a creative genius to see that some of these organisations biggest issue is cash. It should be relatively simple to form commercial collaborative partnerships. Then there’s the technology, what a great PR story. Here’s the counselling Jamiix software benefiting thousands of users in need of advice and here’s a multinational brand using Jamiix to service its call centre requirements – the .org is happy the brand is happy (think CSI budgets) the people are happy.

There is some very exciting working technology out there being developed by people who are not selling but listening and it’s ripe for the picking.

Does NGO stand for New Golden Opportunity? Yes it does!

And before I get slammed for criticising agencies and brand managers I don’t mean all agencies and all brand managers…you know who you are.

Ends:

About Mike Carter:

Mike Carter heads up Trigger/ Isobar’s mobile business unit. A former senior strategist at Mxit brings with him a decade of experience in assisting some top brands in the adoption of mobile as a serious business and media channel. Trigger/ Isobar’s mobile business unit is focused on providing clients with turnkey mobile strategy, development and integration services.

About Trigger/Isobar

Isobar is the world’s largest digital agency group represented in 54 countries.   Isobar South Africa is a Full Service Digital Agency offering an integrated spectrum of digital marketing services including Digital Strategy, Digital Media, Search, Application Development, Social Media, Creative and Digital Production across mobile and fixed line Internet. www.isobar.co.za

About Aegis Media

Aegis Media is constantly pioneering the worlds of media communications and market research. It is the only global marketing services group focused on the two most strategically significant disciplines in marketing today and it consistently grows faster than its markets. Aegis Media brings together some of the world’s leading brands in marketing services with a shared vision to create the communications group of the future

 

"The Art of Mobile Counselling" Workshop:Day 1

I want to first of all give God all the glory and praise for what He is doing in my life.It is only because of His Grace that I have the ability to do what I am doing.

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RLABS hosted and facilitated the 1st SUBSTANCE ABUSE MOBILE COUNSELING TRAINING in the world.I am so honored to say that I was one of the facilitators on this particular pilot project.We as RLABS will be training and equipping up five organizations in the Western Cape as  how to use and administrate the system we are currently using to do the mobile counseling from.The day started off with registration, coffee and tea.Michael Abrahams (one of the facilitators) did the introduction and welcome.

 

Then it was my time do my presentation which was: “Social Media For Social Good”. In this presentation I basically painted the picture as to why we will be using mobile phones to counsel people and the potential thereof .One of the slides in my presentation read as follows:”4 Billion mobile phones are being used worldwide and it is the largest4070801993_ae84cf283a

distribution channel platform”-World Bank 2008..This was to show people how many people we could possibly reach out there.

Craig Ross was up next and he did:”The Art Of Mobile Counseling”.He basically told them the difference of one- on- one counseling and mobile counseling.Up next was Clinton his presentation was:”The Confessions Of Mobile Counselor”.In this presentation he engaged the participants as to what is required from a counselor when they go on-line etc.Clinton also had some homework for the participants.They had to go out and get 10 chat lingo acronyms and share it with the class th following day

ton doing his presentation"Confessions of a Mobile Counsellor"

By the end of the day all the participants was registered onto our system.On day 2 they all were going to do role-play and get a chance to work on the system as counselors.

Will fill you in on Day 2 as things progress.

“The Art of Mobile Counselling” Workshop:Day 1

I want to first of all give God all the glory and praise for what He is doing in my life.It is only because of His Grace that I have the ability to do what I am doing.

4070800979_c0043dfc9f

RLABS hosted and facilitated the 1st SUBSTANCE ABUSE MOBILE COUNSELING TRAINING in the world.I am so honored to say that I was one of the facilitators on this particular pilot project.We as RLABS will be training and equipping up five organizations in the Western Cape as  how to use and administrate the system we are currently using to do the mobile counseling from.The day started off with registration, coffee and tea.Michael Abrahams (one of the facilitators) did the introduction and welcome.

 

Then it was my time do my presentation which was: “Social Media For Social Good”. In this presentation I basically painted the picture as to why we will be using mobile phones to counsel people and the potential thereof .One of the slides in my presentation read as follows:”4 Billion mobile phones are being used worldwide and it is the largest4070801993_ae84cf283a

distribution channel platform”-World Bank 2008..This was to show people how many people we could possibly reach out there.

Craig Ross was up next and he did:”The Art Of Mobile Counseling”.He basically told them the difference of one- on- one counseling and mobile counseling.Up next was Clinton his presentation was:”The Confessions Of Mobile Counselor”.In this presentation he engaged the participants as to what is required from a counselor when they go on-line etc.Clinton also had some homework for the participants.They had to go out and get 10 chat lingo acronyms and share it with the class th following day

ton doing his presentation"Confessions of a Mobile Counsellor"

By the end of the day all the participants was registered onto our system.On day 2 they all were going to do role-play and get a chance to work on the system as counselors.

Will fill you in on Day 2 as things progress.

Western Cape Mobile Substance Abuse Counselling Service Part II

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We had a follow up meeting at Reconstructed Living Labs (RLABS) with The Department Of Social Development  last week Friday (23rd October) to determine when our pilot project would be launched.

The five areas in the Western Cape that will be targeted is, Khyalitsha,  Atlantis, Mitchells Plain,  Athlone & Paarl. The NGO’s that will be part of this project is SANCA, Dop Stop, Sultun Bahu and Impact Direct Ministiers. This NGO’s will target 3 schools each in their area from grade 8-10. Each of the NGO’s will have two cousellors  that will be online for four hours per day Monday-Thursday.

As we here at RLABS have developed the system we will be using to do the mobile counseling from, we were delegated to do the training with the 5 NGO,s as to how to use the system.We will be starting the training this Monday ( 2nd November) with the 5 NGO,s and th training will run for two and a half days.

This is the start of great things and new  parterships as we come together to combat the scurge of drugs on The Cape Flats that is destroying homes and our community.

I will be keeping you updated as we things progress.

Western Cape Mobile Substance Abuse Counselling Service PART I

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.

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