RLabs Nigeria

Only weeks away from our team traveling to Nigeria to join our partners and hosts Youth for Technology . RLabs Nigeria will focus on developing and empowering youth in using technologies such as Mxit, JamiiX and Social Media tools to distribute health information and provide peer to peer counselling services.

It will also work on programmes to develop new innovations that can be used to address the social problems experienced in the local context. The RLabs partnership with Youth for Technology is made possible through the support of The Indigo Trust and the official launch will be later this month. Watch this space as we keep you updated with developments in Nigeria.



RLabs Nigeria on the move

Last week the RLabs Nigeria partners had an interesting call discussing the rollout of the new project that will be using technology to address the problems of HIV. This partnership between Youth for Technology and RLabs will be supported by Indigo Trust who is know for its impact investments in Africa.

The next few weeks the teams in South Africa, Nigeria and United States will be working towards its launch date with a training bootcamp for young people aged 16 – 25. Not only will they be able to benefit from digital training but they will also become part of the larger RLabs Global Movement where we hope to leverage the expertise of our network.

The technology training with the young people will include the following components:

1) Social Media for Social Change
2) Digital Change Agents
3) JamiiX Mobile Counselling
4) Digital Storytelling

The planned launch is for January 2012 and with only a few weeks to prepare our team is excited to see RLabs Nigeria making an impact in the communities growing the Social Revolution.


RLabs Nigeria: Youth for Technology receives grant from Indigo Trust

As part of the continuous growth of RLabs to empower and equip communities especially youth, our Nigeria partner Youth for Technology received a welcomed grant from Indigo Trust to provide peer-to-peer sexual health counselling in the southeastern and Niger Delta regions of Nigeria.

The project aims to equip young people with the tools to be able to express themselves effectively online and will provide them with training around ethics, sexual health and personal responsibility. While the youth counsellors will use social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to tell the stories of their difficult backgrounds, the counselling aspect of their work will be done via SMS to achieve maximum reach.

Source: http://rlabs.org


So what does SA youth think about Mobile advertising?

Over the past week RLabs in collaboration with JamiiX started its 2nd Mobile Report for 2011 (Our first Mobile report is available here). The focus of the report will be on the response of youth (aged 13 – 35) in South Africa to Mobile Advertising. After 5 days of running the Mobile Survey we managed 5,817 responses and below we share some of our findings to wet your appetite for the forthcoming Mobile Report.

1) The top 3 mobile phone brands used by our respondents were Nokia, Samsung, LG.

2) The amount of time respondents spend online using their Mobile Phone?

3) Only 22% of the respondents DO NOT use the mobile phone for money/payment transactions. The most popular transaction was purchasing of airtime.

4) Supporting the current concerns amongst youth in South Africa about Education 37% of the respondents indicated that they will use their mobile phone for educational services or content.

5) The least popular ads preferred to be viewed by youth was about Brands.

6) The respondents response towards mobile web ads?

55% Indicated that they will click through on the ad if it is of interest.
12% Indicated that they will NOT click through on the ad even if it is of interest.
Other responses and reactions towards ads will be available in our report.

The detailed report will be available towards the end of this coming week and we welcome any comments or feedback.

Source: http://rlabs.org


FREE eBook Series: Digital “Alter” Natives with a Cause

Hivos (The Hague) and The Centre for Internet and Society (Bangalore) consolidate their 3 year knowledge inquiry into the field of youth, technology and change in the 4 book collective “Digital AlterNatives with a cause?”. I’ve had the privilege of being part of this journey and under the supervision of Nishant Shah and Fieke Jansen (editors of the book), this initiative asks critical and pertinent questions about theory and practice in the world of Digital Natives.

The books can be downloaded below:

Book 1: To Be: Digital AlterNatives with a Cause?
Download here

The first part, To Be, looks at the questions of digital native identities. Are digital natives the same everywhere? What does it mean to call a certain population ‘Digital Natives”? Can we also look at people who are on the fringes – Digital Outcasts, for example? Is it possible to imagine technology-change relationships not only through questions of access and usage but also through personal investments and transformations? The contributions help chart the history, explain the contemporary and give ideas about what the future of technology mediated identities is going to be.

Book 2: To Think: Digital AlterNatives with a Cause? Download here

In the second section, To Think, the contributors engage with new frameworks of understanding the processes, logistics, politics and mechanics of digital natives and causes. Giving fresh perspectives which draw from digital aesthetics, digital natives’ everyday practices, and their own research into the design and mechanics of technology mediated change, the contributors help us re-think the concepts, processes and structures that we have taken for granted. They also nuance the ways in which new frameworks to think about youth, technology and change can be evolved and how they provide new ways of sustaining digital natives and their causes.

Book 3: To Act: Digital AlterNatives with a Cause? Download here

To Act is the third part that concentrates on stories from the ground. While it is important to conceptually engage with digital natives, it is also, necessary to connect it with the real life practices that are reshaping the world. Case-studies, reflections and experiences of people engaged in processes of change, provide a rich empirical data set which is further analysed to look at what it means to be a digital native in emerging information and technology contexts.

Book 4: To Connect : Digital AlterNatives with a Cause? Download here

The last section, To Connect, recognises the fact that digital natives do not operate in vacuum. It might be valuable to maintain the distinction between digital natives and immigrants, but this distinction does not mean that there are no relationships between them as actors of change. The section focuses on the digital native ecosystem to look at the complex assemblage of relationships that support and are amplified by these new processes of technologised change.

We see this book as entering into a dialogue with the growing discourse and practice in the field of youth, technology and change. The ambition is to look at the digital (alter)natives as located in the Global South and the potentials for social change and political participation that is embedded in their interactions through and with digital and internet technologies. We hope that the book furthers the idea of a context-based digital native identity and practice, which challenges the otherwise universalist understanding that seems to be the popular operative right now. We see this as the beginning of a knowledge inquiry, rather than an end, and hope that the contributions in the book will incite new discussions, invoke cross-sectorial and disciplinary debates, and consolidate knowledges about digital (alter)natives and how they work in the present to change our futures.


2 Billion 1 Lifetime

I’ve now been in Asia for two weeks and lots of exciting things are happening with the launch of RLabs as well as JamiiX and amazing to see how people are maximising the use of technology in their lives. However, for me personally there has a massive transition and change that took place and my life will never be the same again. It is while on this exciting journey with young people and great minds alike that led me to this new journey of longing to reach at least 1 third of the World’s population in my lifetime and leaving a positive footprint through the work of RLabs and other initiatives that I am involved in.

This journey is not a solo journey but one of people reaching out to others in need and I do see technology playing a big role in this. This is the reason for the change in title of this blog and new “feel” to keep you updated on what is happening on this journey. You can still expect technology insights, interviews, research and all things fun related to innovation and technology. For now this pursuit of a dream has begun and I am excited to have shared it with you as we together strive to reach that 2 Billion people in 1 Lifetime.


When dreams do come true

As a young boy I would never have anticipated that I will ever have the opportunity to visit places outside of Cape Town due to circumstances that prevented it. But as with most young people I had a dream to travel and to make a difference. The journey of that dream started 3 years ago when I was divinely inspired to use my talents and story to impact the life of another person through providing hope. It was there on the Cape Flats in Bridgetown that we started a movement with a few community champions, with little resources, people who mostly had no formal education, were the least qualified by world standards but had so much passion for change in their communities and their stories of hope that started this Social Revolution.

Fast forward three years and the movement is in 5 other countries and now for the next chapter RLabs being launched in Asia. This trip to Asia was one of so much excitement and being my first time here was something that I did not expect. Although only here for a few days I managed to adopt Singapore as my new home country, learned some Singlish “Singaporean English” and to eat with chopsticks as well as meet the most amazing and talented group of people.

It was when the realisation kicked in after a few hours what has just transpired at the RLabs Asia launch that one of my dreams has just come true. It was not about the travelling or seeing new places that impacted me, but most of all it was seeing a group of young people in another part of the world being empowered and being hopeful of their future that really got me going. Through this movement and Social Revolution it is seeing a generation who are so in tune with the latest technologies and yet have a heart for change that will ensure the reconstruction of nations through Innovation.