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Coetzee   World Wide Webs Smart Cape Access Public Access to bridge the Digital Divide
 

Coetzee World Wide Webs Smart Cape Access Public Access to bridge the Digital Divide

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    Coetzee   World Wide Webs Smart Cape Access Public Access to bridge the Digital Divide Coetzee World Wide Webs Smart Cape Access Public Access to bridge the Digital Divide Presentation Transcript

    • Communities and Technologies Michigan State University 30 June 2007 World Wide Webs: Social Transformation in Cyberspace Crossing the Digital Divide through Public Access in Africa Liezl Coetzee University of Stellenbosch South Africa
    • Social Impacts of the Internet
      • “ As Bill Gates and Steve Case proclaim the global omnipresence of the Internet, the majority of non-Western nations and 97 per cent of the world’s population remain unconnected to the net for lack of money, access, or knowledge. This exclusion of so vast a share of the global population from the Internet sharply contradicts the claims of those who posit the World Wide Web as a ‘universal’ medium of egalitarian communication .”
      • (Trend 2001:2)
      • ICT benefits restricted to those with access
      • = Economic & Class Distinctions
      • … Digital Divide…
      • Social Inclusion & Real Access
      • Public Access in Cape Town, South Africa
      Digital Age = Connections (?)
    • Information Age Inequality
      • “ Network Society”
        • “ [i]n the new, information mode of development the source of productivity lies in the technology of knowledge generation, information processing, and symbol communication .”
        • (Castells,1996:17)
      • Implications for (in)equality
        • “ Whereas enthusiasts proclaim a better world awash with information for everyone, sceptics raise issues of availability, access and cost of information .”
        • (Kraidy, 2001:27)
    • Digital Divide
      • “ Of all the Internet users worldwide, 60 per cent reside in North America, where a mere five per cent of the world's population reside .” ( Nkrumah, 2000)
      • Global and Local Divides
        • International digital divide
          • personal computer (PC) density, and the number of Internet and mobile phone users
        • Domestic digital divide
          • race, gender, age, disability, location, and income
    • http://www.gapminder.org/ http://tools.google.com/gapminder
    • Internet Penetration per World Region
    • Access in Africa http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats1.htm#africa
    • Social Inclusion
      • “ Digital divide” framing
        • Physical access to technology
      • “ important set of complementary resources and complex interventions to support social inclusion”
      • (Warschauer 2003:7-8)
      • Resources required for social inclusion:
        • Physical – computers & connectivity
        • Digital – content & language
        • Human – literacy & education, and
        • Social – communities & institutions.
    • “ It’s not about the technology, it’s about the people” (Bridges.org: 2002)
    • Real Access
    • Access in Cape Town
      • City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality:
        • Smart City Strategy
      • Access
        • 3 pronged approach: Local Content
        • Training
    • Smart Cape Access Project
      • Launched in July 2002
      • 36 computers in 6 public libraries in disadvantaged areas of Cape Town:
        • Lwandle, Delft, Grassy Park, Atlantis Wesfleur, Guguletu, and Brooklyn
      • 1 computer – administrative, linked to central management for entire network
        • Minimal capacity required from library staff
      • 5 computers for public use
        • 45 minutes/ day
      • 100% Open Source Software
      • 2006 - Expanded to all 98 libraries in Cape Town
    • Project Goals Stimulate ‘Unfelt Need’ (Sooful, Ismail, and Neville, 2002)
      • To provide free public access to computers and the Internet
        • To prove that open source software is affordable,
        • appropriate technology for a public service digital divide initiative
        • To increase opportunities for members of disadvantaged communities
        • “ it is hard to understand how disempowered you are by being denied access to information that you don’t know exists and have no way of obtaining and using”
    • Who benefits?
      • Registered users
        • May 07
      • 100 926
    • Gender & Age
      • Mostly male: 79%
      • Aged from ~6/7 – 70+
        • Predominantly young:
          • 75%<25
          • Over 50% < 13 (Delft, Gugulethu)
        • NB implications for social transformation into the future
        • “ We are trying to bring in female volunteers... There is still a hierarchy in our communities. Men are the public face, and girls won’t ask boys how to use the Internet”
        • Mymoela Ismael (former Project Manager)
    • Funding and sustainability
      • Donations & Partnerships
      • Pilot Phase
        • 2 nd hand machines from City’s IT directorate
        • Refurbished by students from Peninsula Technicon
        • Open Source technical expertise from Shuttleworth Foundation
        • Printers from Xerox; Cabling from Cablecon Ltd.
        • City of Cape Town paid for installation
      • Sustainability of donor funding?
        • Improves if project can be shown to effectively address socio-economic needs (Benjamin, 2000)
    • Access Award
      • Recipient of Bill & Melinda Gates Access to Learning Award in 2003:
        • Used to expand from pilot in 6 libraries to all 98 across Cape Town
        • Conditions to funds: can only be used for expansion, not maintenance
        • Although some of $1 mil remains, maintenance funds limited
      • Currently depend on:
        • City of Cape Town – E-Governance Directorate
        • Applying for other funds
    • What do people do online?
    • Internet Use
      • Access Information
      • Entrepreneurs
      • Jobs
      • Communication with relatives/ friends
      • Connecting with Global Networks
      • Public Input
      • Original Home Page
        • Health & Education
        • Government Issues
        • News
        • Business
        • Job sites
        • Etc…
      • Revamped Home Page
        • Community Pages
        • Current events
        • Competitions
        • Career Issues
    • Does Smart Cape provide Real Access?
      • Physical Access
      • Affordability
      • Capacity
      • Relevant Content
      • Integration
      • Socio-cultural inequality
      • Appropriateness
      • Trust
      • Legal Environment
      • Local Economics
      • Macro Economics
      • Political Will
    • 1. Physical Access
      • Public Access to computers and internet @98 Cape Town Libraries
      • Constraints
        • 45 min/day time limit
        • Limited bandwidth
        • Network slow, particularly pm’s
        • Limited site access
        • Only available during library hours
    • 2. Affordability
      • Free Access
        • Essential to meet public need
      • Ongoing sustainability
        • Depends on further funding
          • Cannot generate income from users
        • City of Cape Town continues to fund, limited budgets
        • Other funding sought
          • Applied for more funds from Gates Foundation (awaiting response)
          • Partner with corporate sector, (e.g. Finance Houses?)
    • 3. Capacity – Users and Staff
      • Education levels appalling
        • Low literacy amongst adults
        • No facilities (including computers) at schools
      • Smart Cape Users
        • 56% claim they know ‘adequate or more than to do what they need’
        • 40% ‘could do all they wanted 1st time’
        • Children ‘cleverer than we thought’ – hack system for more time
      • Library Staff
        • Designed to accommodate lack of skills amongst librarians
        • External support through help desk
    • Capacity - Training
      • Computer literacy training at 3 pilot sites
        • Develop skills to improve employability
        • 120 people trained (accredited)
      • Trainees “unemployable” prior to training
        • knew nothing about computers,
        • now basic Office skills
      • Most have found jobs subsequent to training
      • Great need and demand for more such training identified.
      • Funding sought
    • 4. Relevant Content
      • Language
        • Log on in English, Afrikaans & Xhosa
      • Local content & links to relevant sites
      • User surveys to determine needs
        • Emphasis on career/ job sites
        • Career page:
          • Links to jobsites;
          • Advice on CVs, interviews etc.
      • Ubusha Project
        • Create local content
        • Community pages – websites for local SMMEs
        • Put local people’s stories on the web
        • Promote a means of recording history and commemorating local events
    •  
    •  
    • 5. Integration
      • Located in libraries where people go for information
      • Popularity indicates integration in communities
    • 6. Socio-cultural inequality
      • Access free of charge
      • Age & gender distribution skewed:
        • most male and young
      • Objective ‘to provide access in disadvantaged areas’
        • Located in the urban centre of one of SA’s wealthier provinces
        • Pilot in disadvantaged communities in Cape Town
        • Expansion has included broader Cape Town (incl. many affluent suburbs)
        • Rural areas still excluded
    • 7. Appropriateness
      • Open Source
        • Lowers costs
      • Centrally managed
        • Minimal pressure on library staff
      • Can be expanded at minimal costs
        • Broaden coverage and consequently access.
    • 8. Trust
      • Open layout
        • some security concerns (passwords)
      • Greater privacy noted as a reason to move to other (commercial) facilities
      • Privacy Statement on website informs users that:
        • Usage is monitored for applications and sites accessed
        • Email is accessible to management
          • (Many users use the facility to access web based email which presumably management has less control over)
        • Profiles of users obtained as part of registration
    • 9. Legal Environment
      • Enabling regulatory environment
      • Telephone costs exorbitant
        • Telkom had monopoly over telecoms sector until recently
        • Slow but sure changes
      • Limited bandwidth
    • 10. Local Economics
      • LED policy & industry promote ICT usage
      • Stimulate other (commercial) development
        • Entrepreneurs
      • Improved employability through exposure to computers
        • Unemployment in SA ranges: ~20-30% according to conservative estimates (StatsSA)
        • Compare US: ~4.5% (US Dept of Labour)
      • Promote local businesses
        • Community pages – websites for SMME’s
    • 11. Macro Economics
      • Financial pressures in ICT industry. Impacts on
        • job creation
        • opportunities,
        • empowerment
      • High cost of telecommunication
        • Telkom monopoly
        • Bandwidth amongst most expensive worldwide
        • New service providers and technologies in the pipeline.
    • 12. Political Will
      • Part of Smart City Initiative
        • Buy-in from City of Cape Town
      • “ Politicians love us”, but…
        • E-Governance’s core function is to provide internal support to City of Cape Town municipality, not providing access to citizens, hence
        • Not a budgetary priority.
      • Directorates involved:
        • E-Government
        • Social Development
        • Health
      • Bureaucratic bottlenecks
        • Various departments involved in content creation and decision making
      • Supported by users & library staff
        • Staff initially reluctant
        • Restructuring of Library Sector
    • People’s Perceptions
      • ‘ Real Access’ is all very well, but what do the users think?
      • Comments from story competition give some insights…
    • “ Dreams Are Good Things”
      • “ Smartly Cape wind, storms and sun cannot keep me from journeying to the library to access the Internet. I am overwhelmed and extremely thankful for this empowering service. The “birds without wings can now fly yes even soar to new possibilities, and someday to greatness – you have profoundly impacted our lives.
      • “ Access to the internet has profusely empowered me to propel my dreams forward.I can now give expression to so much of what is within me. The list is endless - emails to friends, writing “Lentswe” poetry. research, networking.My ideas are burgeoning. I am about to start a “Vital Voices” foundation – it is a project that will provide existence education and also give voice to the voiceless. Long walks to the library is paying off.
      • “ I am filled with hope with each new email, research project – yes to hope is dangerous, but it leads us to new heights. Smartly Cape has deeply impacted the lives of many with this tool, it’s enabled us to banish the Titanic of despair – to explore,be creative and to bring forth the vast potential in us.
      • “ It’s very powerful when people who have suffered much discover they have options, they can make life changing choices – eg when you have no money to have a c.v. set up or to look for a job – Smart Cape is free. Smart Cape and the library are explosive tools to transform our lives. It has ignited inspiration, transformation.”
      • Smart Cape User – Story Competition (emphasis added)
      • “ the smartcape has change my life .I`m free now because I know how to use use a smartcape computer I didn`t even know how to write using computer but with a presence of smartcape I know how to write a CV , letter,etc and Ieven know how to check my messages to check wether what I was writing and send has been successfully sent or not so now I know everything because of smartcape.”
      • “ i.am the person who is coming from rural and disadvantagers arears at eastern cape.i meet the people who are working at library they told me about the smartcape.i did the library card then i get permision to use the smartcape.now i acceses the world and i also get to be in school to go on with my studis . i proud about smartcape becouse i stiil learning to use computer.i wich to be have my own”
      • “ Thank you for taking the initiative of giving us the smartcape account.I am a youth living in mitchells plain whos been doing on and of jobs for the past two years.I find that being at home is depresing and idle.Athome i have nothing constructive to do exept doing chores,other than that i would be watching tv,going through magazines or sleeping.the only time i go out is when i go to the shop.I amnotdoing drugs or involved in any criminal activity.Whith the smartcape account i can acces the internet for free,e-mail cvs,learn new skills,meet new vriends at the library and enter competitions. Whith the current state the comuniyy is in smartcape is a must not a luxury .”
            • Smart Cape Users – Story Competition (emphasis added)
    • Summary
      • Bridging the digital divide
        • Social inclusion and Real Access
      • Public Access e.g. Smart Cape
        • Can it be replicated in other areas?
          • Political Will?
          • Funding?
    • Ongoing Research
      • Social Impacts
        • Inclusion & Access
        • Skills & Employment
      • Emphasis on impacts could draw funding and support
        • Sustainability
        • Expansion?
    • Thank You 