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Ungana-Afrika News > From the Field

News reports related to Ungana-Afrika's activities in the field (in reverse chronological order):

. New ICT Programs

To date, Ungana-Afrika has been involved with the start-up of 6 new technology support and capacity-building projects in 2 African regions. This includes concept development and design assistance for 3 new projects in Southern Africa (South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia), and training and support to 3 more in West Africa (Senegal, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau). This assistance is part of Ungana-Afrika's efforts as a Centre of Excellence for development technology projects and the Incubation of ICT Capacity Building Programs service launched in 2004.

11.2004 - Present
. New Service: Incubation of ICT Capacity Building Programs

Ungana-Afrika is currently seeking partner networks, interest groups and other supporters who would like to bring the benefits of ICT into specific oganisational groups throughout Southern Africa.

A new service offered by Ungana-Afrika, entitled "Incubation of ICT Capacity Building Programs," will combine the innovation and mobility of the eRiding support model, with the strength and scale found in existing development networks. The aim of this effort is to incubate and implement new technology capacity building programs within existing organisational networks of Southern Africa. These programs can help collaborative network structures, and individual non-profits within, to employ technology to better accomplish their missions.

Many development non-profits are beginning to recognize the value of ICTs, but lack the internal funding to address the opportunities they offer. As a result, this new "incubation" service can assist the start-up of ICT support programs that draw upon central network knowledge and coordination.

Read More for the complete details of this service, and how to get involved...

. Ungana-Afrika Hosts Security Workshop at Highway Africa Conference

APC offered a three-day workshop on "Secure Computing and On line Communications" during the Highway Africa conference in September in Grahamstown, South Africa. APC further contracted Toni Eliasz (Ungana-Afrika's Executive Director) to coordinate and run the event. Highway Africa is the world's largest conference for African journalists and was attended by more than 350 journalists and media folk. More details can be found at the complete media release (cached copy).

7. 2004.
Ungana-Afrika Launches South Africa eRiding.

Ungana-Afrika eRiders working in South Africa

Ungana-Afrika, with the support of OSISA and the Finland Government, is now offering subsidized technology consulting to non-profit organisations in or near Gauteng. With the help of these subsidies, eRiders will be providing all eRiding Services to new clients beginning in August. In order to provide better, more-focused services that draw upon sector-specific knowledge, most of these South Africa operations are targeted towards Health and Media non-profits.

Ungana-Afrika welcomes new client organisations and client networks to apply for these subsidized services. Please Contact Us if you are interested in more information about this offer.

. Working With EngenderHealth and HIV/AIDS organisations.

Ungana-Afrika is involved in a collaboration between Open Society Institute, and EngenderHealth to help develop new software tools for HIV/AIDS organisations in the developing world. These organisations are working on an active research project to determine the usefulness of a clinic patient management software tool. In the past tools have been developed for the sector with very little involvement of the actual organisational users. With this research, we hope to build bridges between the health, developer and funder community to build a useful tool that meets users' needs.

Ungana-Afrika and Engenderhealth consultant Teresa Crawford are working on-the-ground with HIV/AIDS organisations in South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana and Zambia. Through focus groups and assessments, we aim to define localized organisational needs, and ultimately contribute to the development of new software tools that will help these organisations better manage their patient operations. In addition, Ungana-Afrika hopes to identify new eRiding projects within the HIV/AIDS sector in these countries.


11.2003. eRiding With South African Community Radio Stations

While evaluating our pilot phase, and developing our strategy for future, Ungana-Afrika didn't stop working on-the-ground with NGOs. During the final months of 2003, Ungana-Afrika eRiders worked on a project with the community radios of South Africa.

Broadcasting from a community radio in rural South Africa

Under the support of Open Society Foundation South Africa (OSF), Ungana-Afrika teamed up with the National Community Radio Forum (NCRF) of South Africa to provide ICT support to its members. During this time, Ungana-Afrika provided technology assessment and planning services to 5 provincial hub stations.

These hub stations are located in different provinces across the country, and are intended to serve the needs of other stations within the province. As a result, they must have sufficient technology capacity and support. By developing a technology plan for each station and researching high-level needs within the entire radio network, Ungana-Afrika hopes to encourage new methods of communication, knowledge sharing and capacity building within this exciting sector.

10.2003. eRiding Success Stories from the Pilot

The Ungana-Afrika initiative has recently completed a six-month pilot phase in Southern Africa. Now it's time to look back and evaluate our accomplishments as we expand and plan for the future. The goal of this six month pilot was to introduce the eRiding model of IT consulting to the African NGO environment and to customize it to this unique context. This pilot proved that there is a great niche for an eRiding initiative in southern Africa, as NGO response was overwhelming, and the demand for our services was much greater than our initial capacity.

During this six-month period, Ungana-Afrika started providing customized ICT services to NGOs in 6 countries within southern Africa. Though these services were always client specific, the greatest demands were often for skills training and capacity building:

  • 117 participants received formal training in computer operations, office productivity tools, Internet use etc.
  • 15 major implementation and development projects were completed including: backup policy implementation, network setup, formal technology plan development, website strategy development etc.
  • In excess of 75 troubleshooting tasks completed, including software/hardware upgrades and maintenance, system and network optimization, etc.
  • Formal infrastructure and staff skill assessments and recommendations finalized for most client organisations

As a result of the positive feedback and great demand, Ungana-Afrika is determined to continue eRiding in southern Africa. Moreover, we are currently redesigning and greatly expanding our pilot strategy to meet the needs of a much larger number of NGOs. This new model will employ a scalable strategy that promises to achieve more measurable results with less time than isolated and individual projects.

7.2003. African eRiding in Full Swing.

After months of preparation, including three international conferences, the Ungana-Afrika team is now turning their training into hands-on experience as eRiding begins. "During this initial time we have been setting up the structure of Ungana Afrika and contacting client NGOs in nine SADC countries. Now we are on the move, working with them in person," says Rudi von Staden, the South African member of the eRiding team of Ungana-Afrika.

Toni Eliasz and Andrea Aranguren eRiding in Zimbabwe

The project is based in South Africa, with one full time team member located in Johannesburg. The rest of the team is split into pairs, with two countries allocated to each pair. Currently, Ungana-Afrika is serving the on-site needs of organisations in Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland. Although the organisations vary in their missions and sizes, their primary technological needs are very similar - the greatest being training and technology planning.

eRiding Pilot Processes Begin.

After two months of local preparation, Ungana-Afrika is now visiting prospective NGO clients in person. We hope to establish relationships with these organisations, introduce the Ungana-Afrika project personally and gather relevant information about their technological needs. This process will help us prepare for the real eRiding experience. These initial country visit are taking place in Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and will later expand to Swaziland, Botswana and Lesotho.

Looking for a more historical background of Ungana-Afrika or additional news? Please see or History page or the General News page.


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