A Year of Reconstruction

A Year of Reconstruction

Today as we end our year of Reconstruction a new journey lies ahead as we continue the use of technology to empower communities. Having completed part of this exciting journey it is also an opportunity to reflect on how this journey has changed my life and the lives of many others.

How can I ever forget the first day 23 February 2008 when we gathered at CPUT for the first time and the room was full of uncertainty not knowing how long we’ll be running this course or what to expect. This year went beyond our wildest dreams and I believe it is the beginning of great things ahead. This year has had its ups and downs, as we unfortunately had 2 of our members not completing the year with us. But that was never going to make our Reconstructed team despondent. They were still persevering under the pressures and decided to complete this year. Not only did we empower the Reconstructed Team but we also launched Mom 2.0 (mothers in the community being empowered with the use of technology). We’ve had so much fun while learning.We’ve also had the privilege of meeting great individuals who shared their knowledge with us this year. Special thanks to Rafiq, Ramon, Johan, Gerhard, Nils, Micke and Pam who really empowered the Reconstructed team.

We also presented at the ZA WWW 2008 conference (won best poster of the conference award), Highway Africa Conference, Huddlemind’s Nomadic Dinner, 27Dinner in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth just but to name but a few. Another highlight was when we had the opportunity to be live on SABC2’s Morning Live on 24th October 2008. This was such a wonderful experience for many of the team as we believe that all our hard work was finally being acknowledged. Not only did we get some attention from the media but we also had the honour of gathering with peers in the Social Media industry.

Seeing how lives were transformed through the use of technology was encouraging. When we started the Drug Advice and Support (DAS) we never expected that it would have such an impact on a nation. Since its inception we’ve already had more than 50,000 messages, almost 11,000 conversations and closing in on 5000 contacts to date. This in itself was incredible as we began offering advice and support for hundreds of young people on their mobile phones, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 3 and 5pm. The Reconstructed blog also continued to grow as the team increased their contributions with the goal of reaching 1000 blog posts by the end of 2008 (The good news is that they’ve achieved this goal read all about it here).

The technologies we’ve used this year and that proved to be useful in the Social Media for Social Change (SMSC) course were:
– Blogging (Using blogger)
– Social Networking (FaceBook and Ning)
– Micro-blogging (Twitter and Spoink)
– Instant Messageging (Google Chat, MXit, The Grid)
– Web Literacy
– VOIP (Skype and Fring)
– PodCasting

The climax of the year was when we had The Reconstruction graduation 12 December 2008 at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Seeing all the excited graduates and proud parents, family was such a wonderful moment for me personally. We also launched our Podcasts and Angel project at the graduation which was just a cherry on the top.

Well with 2008 almost coming to an end we are looking forward to 2009 and we would like to thank everyone who has contributed and shown interest in the Reconstructed project. We will continue on this journey as we empower communities in tension using technology.

We would like to wish you and your families a wonderful and blessed New Year for 2009.


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