When conducting its initial stakeholder engagement workshop with local NGOs, government institutions and community members, OGE found that many citizens were unaware of their civil rights under the new constitution. To address this issue and heighten its impact, OGE developed a comprehensive section devoted to citizenship on the Durban Beehive, and later incorporated the information into Beehives localized for Cape Town and Johannesburg, launched in 2010, expanding upon the information-based ecosystem built for South African residents.
South Africa Street Mobile Initiative – Financial Literacy & Entrepreneurship through SMS
Since 2008, OGE has been working with the Citi Foundation to serve hundreds of South African street vendors, aspiring and small-scale entrepreneurs through a mobile-based initiative. The South Africa Street Mobile Initiative pilot began when local staff recognized a need for financial literacy for South Africans. OGE began complementing its online financial information on the Durban Beehive by recruiting participants and sending them thousands of text messages in its Financial Update Network SMS system (FUN-SMS). In 2011, the program evolved to include educational workshops in entrepreneurship and financial literacy information, which are offered at rural computer centers throughout Johannesburg, and complemented with text messages to reinforce learning. In-person workshops focus on basic ICT skills and leadership skills, and have a particular emphasis on financial literacy and capability, and business planning. In 2011, over 100 participants created business plans, accessed funding sources through the Internet or their mobile phone, and/or increased their profits.
All participants are receiving weekly text messages on their basic mobile phones, offering tips and encouraging them to inform themselves more fully at the local computer centers. Participants have incorporated the information to grow their small media companies, to increase returns on small beauty salons, and to increase sales of fruits and vegetables. OGE and local partner Siyafunda continue to monitor and support participants’ business skills improvement by holding monthly networking events at the computer centers and connecting them to other local organizations that support entrepreneurship and offer other opportunities for small businesses.
Clinton Global Initiative: Digital Literacy Training- Center Managers & Community Connectors
As part of the Clinton Global Initiative, OGE delivered several successful trainings for managers of computer centers owned by local partners, Siyafunda CTC and USAASA to establish 16 Community Knowledge Centers (CKCs) throughout South Africa. Managers have gained skills in business management, digital literacy and community engagement, helping them to manage sustainable centers that serve the needs of their local communities.
In 2011, OGE engaged computer center managers and local instructors in a Training of Trainers in its Community Connectors youth leadership and technology curriculum. Several CKCs are now training local youth on how to apply digital and mobile tools to become actively involved in community development initiatives, leaders in their communities and technology ambassadors for their peers and families.
Fostering Civic Journalism
One Global Economy developed a training program in community journalism to empower young, aspiring journalists in rural communities with skills in digital editing and publishing. Youth participants in South Africa have learned to utilize online tools to create quality, community-focused content to document local issues and articulate collaborative solutions, adding value to their CKCs’ individualized community portals and expanding upon their journalistic portfolios to include online publications.