Open Access Debates – get talking

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:53
Posted in category Events

A series of interesting and thought-provoking debates is scheduled to launch on 27 November.

Funded by DFID and hosted on UNESCO’s WSIS Open Access Community Forum, the discussion will provide a valuable space to discuss different perspectives on what open access means for the developing world and what it can offer.

Register for the online discussions on the WSIS Open Access Knowledge Communities here.  The discussion is found at the following link:  http://bit.ly/TdUyHG.  But please note that  in order to post comments you will need to be registered as a user on the platform.

Background reading.
Download the positioning paper here

The kickoff topic for debate will be  The production, publication and consumption of scholarly knowledge and OA.

The introductory debate will focus on the greater concern of scholarly research in the developing country context debating the questions:

•    What does OA imply and offer the developing world in terms of production, publication and consumption of academic materials and research activities?

•    What are the specific challenges and opportunities for access to knowledge in developing countries?

Within this topic will be the following sub-themes will be introduced:

  • Sub-theme 1:  Considering the issues of translation; co-production and increasing access to academic materials; and the importance of OA in producing and sharing of non-state-supported educational materials;
  • Sub-theme 2:  OA in academia and the search for global prestige; the perverse impact of metrics and rankings; scholarly knowledge production; and sharing and consumption challenges in developing countries.

Backgrounding open access

Open access has enjoyed a great deal of acceptance and growth over the last decade, with a particularly strong spurt in the adoption of open access policies by major agencies and governments in the last 12 months. With open access policies and initiatives now being taken up by UNESCO, the World Bank, the FAO, the European Commission, and the governments of the United Kingdom and the United States, it is clear that open access has entered the global mainstream.

We now know that open access can work in the immediate and short term in providing better access to the research literature, whilst some of the longer term consequences and effects are still emerging. This is especially so in the developing world, which has been badly served by the publishing system we have inherited from the 20th century new opportunities and possibilities are created by open access, and, at the same time certain pitfalls need to be noted and avoided.

A foundational report prepared to inform this dialogue shows the risks posed to all scholarly communications, discourse and practices by the publish-or-perish system, and indicates that in the developing world, the detriments are potentially much deeper and more damaging.  As researchers are incentivised to publish in overseas-based journals – mostly unavailable in many developing world contexts – this research ‘brain-drain’ risks widening the gap between research and policy[1].

At the same time, it also puts localised research at risks – as researchers tend to do the types of research that are more likely to be published in core journals, they are less likely to undertake research that has a more local focus and application because their work is either considered to be only of local or regional interest or does not meet the quality standards required by the major commercial indexes[2]. These kinds of research, however, may be far more relevant than research from the richer countries, and may also be more applicable in other countries with similar socio-economic situations.[3] This potential for the loss of specialised, context-appropriate research is one of the key areas where an adoption of open access at a higher education policy level can have a potential to reverse the trend. In order for this to happen though, national research policies have to consider the communication aspect of scholarly activity and invest not only in the principles of open access, but also in developing the technical infrastructure and skills to support this.

There is another aspect to the publish-or-perish phenomenon, which needs to be borne in mind when considering the potential of open access to mitigate it – and that is that, while open access can relieve some of the financial burden that arises, it does not necessarily solve the problem of citation scores. In fact, a key irony of the development of open access in the global North is that it is increasingly being appropriated by the mainstream to justify publish-or-perish. Many researchers see publishing using open access as a way of increasing individual citations, and several journals have chosen to prominently publish their impact factors, which does little to decrease the marginalisation of research from the developing world.  If researchers and academics from these countries really want to take full advantage of the power of open access to make their research visible globally and challenge the status quo, they need to take advantage of the power of networks and social media in order to bypass the traditional system of publishing and evaluation of the perceived “quality” of research[4]. This means creating kinds of impact metrics, particularly those which demonstrate the impact of research on development. In this context, the growth of open access journals in the developing world offers some very real opportunities for measuring and recording alternative impact. However, policymakers and funders need to be educated on this issue – not only in terms of open access, but in the light of the open source, open education and free culture movements as well, which when seen in a broader context, make a convincing argument for convergence in effort and collaboration.

Building Sustainable Funding Models

In many – but by no means all – open access models, the cost of publication is borne by the author. To date, one of the most common ways of managing the cost is to build it into the research funding, or for donors and funders to cover it. While these models are being tested at the moment, for many researchers in developing countries it still means that publication of local research, even in local open access journals, it still arbitrated by external bodies. In the long term, this can be overcome by the development of a more locally-focussed global knowledge commons, which encourages leverage of networked world we live in. It is well understood that phenomena such as disease and climate change are global and do not recognise borders, much less currencies. The exchange of knowledge across borders and the building of a global knowledge commons is increasingly important for solving problems that we all face. The funding of a global knowledge commons is a fraught and complex issue, but open access provides one tool for making the funding of the tools for exchanging information simpler and more equitable.

In many countries, and indeed in many international agencies, the power wielded by the commercial scholarly publishing lobby is still great. They are able to convince governments and agencies that their subscription donations are a viable alternative, and in many developing countries, they exploit the lack of coherent research development frameworks to further their market-driven purposes. Historically many universities in the developing world, emerging out of undemocratic systems needed to rebuild their research systems after the depredations of World Bank and IMF structural adjustment programmes.  The focus in this recovery period tended to be on the need to rebuild prestige and so the policy focus and reward systems for researchers gave preference to publication in the big international commercial journals, with their high-impact ratings. However, many institutions in the developing world are increasingly attempting to leverage the potential for the development of scholarly publications that can contribute to their strategies for research contribution to national and local development imperatives. Open access offers an opportunity to make a significant difference at a policy level, which encourages dialogue among developing country research organisations, allowing them to reframe the focus of global open access policy initiatives, contributing to the debate rather than just playing follow-on.

[1] Van Dalen & Henkens

[2] Chan, Kirsop and Arunachalan

[3] Ibid

[4] Chan, Kirsop, Arunachalan

The above is courtesy Eve Gray, blogger, activist, consultant and academic. Read more at The Gray Area

Whatever have we been doing?

Friday, September 9, 2011 21:17
Posted in category Tools
A screenshot of the SAFIPA website

A screenshot of the SAFIPA website

Well, this blogpost comes rather late in the day and the team – much reduced in numbers – at The African Commons Project had better have a good excuse for not updating their blog.  (Especially as social media and blogging are one of the topics that we teach the non-profit community and knowledge managers!)

The TACP team now consists of two full-time staff members with additional partners brought on board when the need arises.  The team was six-strong a couple of years ago, but we bade au revoir last year to three of the gals who have gone overseas; Anna Berthold to return to her hometown in the US, and Heather Ford and Rebecca Kahn to do their Masters in the US and UK respectively.  We are proud to say that they are all doing fabulously.  Heather is now an ethnographer with Ushahidi and Rebecca is sweating through the final lap of her Masters – with sense of humour intact!  We said goodbye to Dani White earlier this year, when she moved to a digital and mobile agency to test her mettle in the corporate environment.  That leaves Kerryn (me!) and Rosanne, still supported by our great board members.

Despite the reduction in numbers we have been busy this year, assisting projects and partners with their communication strategies:  SAFIPA is the South African-Finland Partnership which has been a successful initiative that has sought to build capacity around local ICT4D and innovation in the fields of health informatics, education, rural development, mobile applications and entrepreneurship.  The goal has also been to develop a people-network and to share knowledge between South Africa and Finland.  The project winds down in the next few months, leaving behind a strong and vibrant community that will continue to thrive and build new partnerships.  TACP has assisted SAFIPA with upgrading and relaunching their website, as well as producing a quarterly newsletter over the past year, which highlights project progress, news, events and happenings.

TACP has also been doing work for Chisimba, which is an open source rapid application development framework.  Managed by a team at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), this project has the goal of building capacity in South Africa and Africa on Chisimba in particular and FOSS in general.   The Chisimba team have been involved in a bunch of initiatives that have seen them undertaking training in the provinces of South Africa, following a partnership having been established with the Department of Communication, as well as taking the training to institutions in Mozambique, Namibia and Tanzania.  The latter was undertaken through a partnership with the German Development Agency GIZ.  TACP has helped the Chisimba team with their communications through the development of a quarterly newsletter and production of bi-monthly podcasts.

We have also been involved on a task team, headed up by Jace Nair, from the South African National Council for the Blind, which aim is to lobby government and create awareness around the TVI Treaty (full name:  Treaty for Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired and other Reading Disabled Persons).  Added to this we have been assisting with the establishment of the first-ever African Wikimedia Chapter, and putting together a bid to host the 2012 Wikimania Conference in South Africa.  Although we didn’t win the bid, we were one of the top two countries to make it to the final shortlist.  The bid was awarded to Washington, United States.

We have also recently completed a dissemination strategy for the African Copyright and Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) SA Country Report.  But more about that in a follow-up blogpost :)

Participate in the Digital Natives workshop

Monday, October 4, 2010 20:11
Posted in category Events

As the Internet and digital technologies become more widespread, the world is shrinking: we are constantly connected to our contexts, our people, our cultures and our networks. And you, yes YOU are a part of this change. In fact, as a digital native – someone to whom digital technologies are central to life – you are directly affecting the lives of many, sometimes even without knowing about it.

The Centre for Internet and Society and Hivos in collaboration with The African Commons Project is calling out to young technology users to join a global conversation. The 3-day workshop entitled ‘My bubble, My space, My voice” will focus on how young people use the tools and platforms at their disposal in order to create social change in their environments. We want to hear from you: If you have used digital technologies to respond to problems, crises, or needs in your community or social circles, we want to hear your story. These can be stories where you have made a significant impact by initiating campaigns or movements for a particular cause, stories where you have used technologies for learning, sharing, exchanging and disseminating information, stories where you have either organized or been part of a digitally organized event (online or offline) such as a petition or campaign,  or stories where you used social media like blogs, social networks, discussion group etc. which led to an interesting social outcome.

We invite you to share your perspectives in an informal conversation with people with similar approaches from neighboring communities. The workshop will involve participants from around Africa, who will be guided by facilitators in an interactive and engaging dialogue. Results from the workshop will be used to establish a network of collaboration and support for digital natives.

Participants can register by filling in this online application form by October 12, 2010.

Expenses relevant to the project will be granted to the selected participants. For more information visit http://digitalnatives.in and please contact digitalnatives@cis-india.org for questions or comments.

Dates:  November 7-9, 2010.
Venue: Johannesburg, South Africa

Sign the petition for a consultative, development-focused Copyright Review

Thursday, May 13, 2010 17:15
Posted in category Tools

As part of the ‘1978…What were you doing?’ campaign, The African Commons Project along with the National Consumers Forum, have launched a petition, to be sent to the Department of Trade and Industry, calling for a consultative, development-focused Copyright Review.

We’re calling on you to sign this petition, and in turn, to pass it on to your colleagues and associates, asking them to sign it too.

The petition requests that a consultative, inclusive review of the current Copyright Act be undertaken, which includes consultation and discussion with a diverse range of stakeholders, and that the review reflects the needs of a developing country, in order to create a truly South African Copyright Act.

The petition requests that the following aspects of the Copyright Act be urgently considered and interrogated from multiple viewpoints:

  1. Retaining the current standard 50-year copyright term mandated by international instruments and resisting the push from some developed 
countries for a 70-year term or longer.
  2. Enabling access for the visually-disabled with an amendment which removes 
barriers to access to disabled persons.
  3. Reviewing and amending copyright exceptions and limitations as many of the current exceptions and limitations in the Act are ambiguous and/or outdated.
  4. Addressing how to use orphan works with a clause that allows for permission-free use of a copyrighted work on reasonable terms when the 
rights holder cannot be located to obtain permission.
  5. Ensuring harmonisation between different acts and policies, for example conflicts that are apparent between the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act  (ECT Act 25 of 2002) and the Copyright Act.
  6. Examining the scope of protection in order to promote the public domain as a vital pool of non-copyrighted resources that encourages learning and innovation by South Africans.

To read the full petition, and to add your signature, click here.

Not sure what some of these words mean? Here’s a brief description of a few key phrases that are used in the petition:

  • Exceptions and limitations: This refers to situations in which the exclusive rights granted to authors, or their assignees under copyright law, do not apply. Thus these are the ‘exceptions to the rule’ or where these rules will ‘limit the rights of the creator.’The two important examples of limitations and exceptions to copyright are the fair use doctrine found in the United States, and the fair dealing doctrine found in South Africa, and many other countries around the world.
  • Fair dealing: This is a specific set of possible defenses against an action for infringement of an exclusive right of copyright. Unlike the related United States doctrine of fair use, fair dealing cannot apply to any act which does not fall within one of these categories.  In other words, the meaning fair dealing is not as flexible a concept as the American concept of fair use.  In South African law we do not have a fair use law; our law is fair dealing.
  • Orphan works: This is a copyright work where it is difficult or impossible to contact the copyright holder. This situation can arise for many reasons. The author could have never been publicly known because the work was published anonymously or the work may have never been traditionally published at all. The identity of the author could have been once known but the information lost over time. Even if the author is known, it may not be possible to determine who inherited the copyright and presently owns it.
  • Public domain: Also referred to as The Commons, the public domain is an intellectual property designation for the range of content that is not owned or controlled by anyone.  These materials are public property, and available for anyone to use freely for any purpose.When the copyright term (in South African law this is from the death of the author plus 50 years) has expired, a work automatically falls into the public domain.

Read more ‘copyright lingo’ definitions here.

All about the Copyright Act of 1978 and why we need a change…

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 13:50
Posted in category Events

The African Commons Project, with the National Consumers Forum, has just launched our 1978… What were you doing? campaign, which is all about mobilising South Africans to lobby for a review of the current Copyright Act of 1978.

Yes, 1978! That’s 32 years ago! But quite a bit has changes since then! From a new democratic South Africa, to Gautrain and Bus Rapid Transit routes, to a South African on the moon – who would have thought? Changes in technology have also progressed in leaps and bounds – in 1978 people were more likely to make a phone call than IM, write a letter rather than Skype, send an internal memo than Tweet, or have a braai as a social networking opportunity.

The point is that intellectual property laws that were created over thirty years ago for an analogue world need to be updated to take into account our thriving, sociable, digital economy!

Understanding the debate around access to knowledge is key to understanding why, and how, the Copyright Act should be updated. We have tons of resources available here if you’d like to find out more about this very important cause.

But apart from doing some reading and some surfing, you can enter our ‘What were you doing in 1978?’ competition, were you could stand a chance to win FREE BROADBAND INTERNET FOR A YEAR courtesy of PLuGG.

All you have to do is go to our Facebook page and upload a photo depicting either what you WERE doing in 1978 related to technology, or what people in 1978 WEREN’T doing thanks to the technology we have today.

So you can EITHER:

  • Upload a photo of yourself in 1978 (or as near to 1978 as you can get), doing something technology-related that was typical of the ’70s. For example, this could be a photo of you using the telephone, listening to the radio or watching TV…
    OR
  • If you didn’t exist in 1978, upload a photo of what people of that time WEREN’T doing thanks to all the great technology we have today! This could be a photo of you using technology like your phone, laptop or computer, playing on your Wii, listening to your music on your iPod, or Skyping…

The competition closes on 18 May – so get uploading!

Whose game is it, anyway?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 20:33
Posted in category Research
Balls donated by bafanakids.org

Balls donated by bafanakids.org, CC BY 2.0

The FIFA Soccer World Cup (trademarked) is just around the corner, and South Africans from all walks of life are gearing up for the event.  Already government schools have taken shorter summer holidays over the festive period because the mid-year holiday (our winter vacation) will be extended to accommodate Cup events.  South African consumers have been overwhelmed by a deluge of advertisements portraying ecstatic vuvuzela-blowing fans.  Traffic congestion, from roadworks feverishly nearing completion in the run-up to the Cup, has been the great leveller affecting all commuters from those travelling in local mini-bus taxis, to buses and car drivers.  Thus, the World Cup resolutely draws nearer and we are all caught up in the hype, whether we like it or not.

For the average vuvuzela blower in the street, the excessive controversy that has surrounded the Cup does not perhaps seem that significant; after all, match fixing does occur, nepotism still exists, and rules and regulations will be made to inconvenience us.  However, those who have been in FIFA’s direct line of fire will know better, and its the dire, age-old story of domination and power to which South Africa, given our country’s past, should not turn a blind eye.

“The Alternative Government”

Perhaps the relief that the South African government felt when the world cup was awarded to this country was so overwhelming that they entered into negotiations light of heart … and, some may say, minds.  Seemingly, selling off the country’s rights was an okay exchange for the Cup.  FIFA, known for stringent host-country requirements, could not have had a better deal when the SA government not only agreed to, but exceeded expectations.  For 11 days this country will be managed by a powerful law enforcer, where the hard-won constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of movement will take a backseat to commercial gain that will largely benefit FIFA and its official sponsors.

In an interview with Zeenat Hansrod of Radio France Internationale, Alex Duval-Smith, a freelance journalist for British newspaper The Observer, and Raymond Louw, deputy chairman of the Media Freedom Committee of Sanef (South African National Editorial Forum) discuss the media restrictions that are to be put in place.  According to Duval-Smith, FIFA is effectively writing the law on media rights in this country. Accredited media will not be permitted to report on anything that brings FIFA and the Cup into disrepute.  In essence this means that should there, for example, be a demonstration outside one of the soccer stadiums, the media would be restricted on reporting this event if it showed FIFA or its sponsors in a negative light.   This directly curtails citizens’ right to information’; at its zenith, a media blackout reminiscent of the Apartheid regime.  Furthermore, accredited media and bloggers alike beware:  FIFA has also sold off its “new media” rights.  Thus, taking photographs at games using cell phones will be a breach of copyright; a punishable offence.  Media websites will not be permitted to record and publish their own multimedia and will only be allowed to run text descriptions on their websites.  Photographs can be used but only if they are published not in sequence (in other words, in an attempt to show a moving image sequence.)


The Irony of the “African World Cup”

It doesn’t end there.  What about the informal sector, which is as organically African as the vuvuzela?  This Third Economy of hawkers and informal entrepreneurs piggy-backs off popular events to make its living within a system that has not adequately supported them.  According to FIFA regulations, no one is permitted to sell non-official FIFA products within 800 metres of the stadium walls, including newspapers.

If it all sounds rather melodramatic, bear in mind that three of the most powerful media stables in the country, Media 24, Avusa and The Independent Group, have submitted (via an attorney) objections to FIFA regulations and claim infringement of the South African Constitution.  We vuvuzela blowers wait in anticipation for the outcome of this bold move.

TACP supports Freedom to Innovate South Africa

Wednesday, January 6, 2010 14:44
Posted in category Events

Local non-profit organisation, Freedom to Innovate South Africa (FTISA) would like to invite you to join in their support of the movement towards opening up local innovation.  The organisation, which was established in 2006 by open-patent trailblazers such as Bob Jolliffe ex Meraka Institute, aims to provide a formal platform through which local and international patent systems can be monitored and critiqued.  Read more about the organisation’s origins here.

In the lead-up to the annual AGM which will be held on Thursday, 28 January 2010, FTISA would like to invite you to take part in the IMAGINE IF … campaign to help spread awareness amongst local stakeholders.   The campaign will run late December 2009 to late January 2010 concluding with the general meeting in Johannesburg.  So as you head back to the office, get creative between reading that long list of back-to-work emails. Here’s what you need to do!

VISIT FTISA WEBSITE AND GET CREATIVE
… Help us create electronic posters that tell a story of a world where unnecessary software patents hamper innovation. We’re looking for slogans that begin with: Imagine if … Submit your slogan idea via FTISA homepage and we’ll design an open-licensed poster around the most creative catchphrase for people to put on their websites.

SPREAD THE WORD
Upload the first e-poster to your blog, website or social media profile pic for the month of January.  And share the word with your own networks.

BE HEARD … So you have all the answers; now you just need someone to listen! Are you bursting with great ideas? Or are you a self-proclaimed realist who sees that cloud linings are not always silver? Either way, FTISA needs you!  Attend their annual AGM on Thursday, 28 January 2010 for a meeting with a difference. You’ll be encouraged to brainstorm, connect with other like-minded souls and share ideas about where FTISA will be heading into the future.  Send us an email and we’ll keep you in the loop!

October, the event coverage month of 2009!

Monday, November 2, 2009 17:56
Posted in category Events, Tools
Daniela and Kerryn from TACP with Francophone blogger team at the IDRC's Acacia Research and Learning Forum.

Daniela and Kerryn from TACP with Francophone blogger team at the IDRC's Acacia Research and Learning Forum, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The month of October was a busy one for The African Commons Project team thanks to two event coverage and documentation jobs in three cities. We’ve certainly had social media on the brain, live blogging on our fingertips and podcasting on our lips as we’ve been harnessing various online media tools to provide creative documentation formats for Sangonet and the IDRC this month.

Hello Dakar
It all started off with an eight-hour flight to a hot and humid Dakar for the IDRC’s Acacia Research and Learning Forum.  This was a meeting for the IDRC’s Acacia-funded projects, which all work in the field of ICT4D in Africa across a broad spectrum of themes – from health, to education, to gender. There was a thoroughly interactive programme that used a variety of techniques to get participants mingling– from the World Café, to Fishbowl, Open Space and chat show methods. This meant that lots of planning was needed to be able to capture information based on the format of the session. You can review all the live coverage produced by the team here. We’ve also created toolkits based on 3 parallel workshops that took place on the last day of the event. These cover the broad themes of Research Methodology, Fundraising and Communication techniques – these might be useful for your work – so please do take a look or pass it on to colleagues or friends.

Another highlight of the event was working with a team of Francophone bloggers from Senegal, Cameroon, Benin and Togo, who were providing French coverage of the event. During an evening meeting before the event we did a short, informal workshop on live blogging using CoveritLive, which the francophone team embraced wholeheartedly and gathered a huge following of live viewers. Apart from live blog, they produced fantastic French coverage of the event, including a host of audio interviews with speakers and attendees; so should you be fluent in French this might be an additional view on the event.

Jozi to the Mother City
We jetted back to Johannesburg to another short live blogging training workshop – this time with the Sangonet staff who would be helping us live blog at their #Sango09 conference held in Johannesburg (15 & 16 October) and Cape Town (20 & 21 October). This event was held to gather South African NGOs around the theme of ICT and social media – from implementation of ICT4D in their fields, to internal and external social media communications, marketing and fundraising strategies. TACP even got involved by doing short presentations on the use of Twitter and Multimedia tools for NGOs, based on the ‘Social Media for NGOs’ course that we present regularly. Coverage of the event can be found on the NGOPulse’s conference website, which includes a very active Twitter stream, live blogs, fantastic photographs, with video coming soon…

More about our event coverage services >>

DST regulations: lip service or real consultation?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009 9:58
Posted in category Research
BY CC 2.0

Source: Flickr, Stravinsky Fountain by Niki de Saint Phalle, near Centre Pompidou/Paris by cangaroojack

When the DST called for public comment to the proposed Regulations that will govern the Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research Bill that was signed into law last year, there was a general outcry from a number of research and academic institutions, as well as local and international activists and academics from within the A2K movement.  The story was reported on by the media both locally and abroad.  The opposition flagged the issue that greater consultation was needed before adoption of the Regulations.

Since the submission deadline, TACP, as one of the organisations who submitted commentary,  has not had any feedback from the Department, or found accessible comment regarding the public commentary process and outcome.  (TACP organised an open, online petition against the Regulations.)   However,  a public appearance by the Minister at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria where she opened the National Biotechnology Workshop in late July, seems to confirm that the Department is committed to passing the Regulations despite the alternative viewpoints offered by civil society.   The fact that the criticisms raised – around how to manage the commercial imperative against public benefit; how and if a body such as the proposed IP office will hinder or enhance research process – seem to be implicitly accepted as uncontroversial issues makes one wonder about the consultation process.

Local and international academics, activists and researchers were committed to spending time drafting, talking, debating and considering how to put forward their concerns around the proposed Regulations.  Yet how significant was the call for commentary to the passing of these Regulations?  Was this simply a ticking of a box of requirements?  We would really like to know.

We did it!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 11:55
Posted in category Events

The Team (from bottom left): Toby, Nigella, Kerryn, Daniela, Rosanne, Basil, Anna and Roxy.

The African Commons Project team and our lovely canine companions successfully completed the Discovery 702 Walk the Talk on Sunday, 26 July!

Saved by Daddy!

All the training that the dogs had undertaken in the run-up to the event definitely paid off – they all performed exceptionally well! There were a few panicky moments at the starting line (see picture below), but once the race got started there was no holding them back – especially Basil and Toby who were so eager to get to the finish line that they were literally straining at the leash. As for The African Commons Project ladies – well, there were some aches and pains to report on Monday morning, but it was great to hit the streets of Joburg and get out into the fresh air – a well needed break away from our laptops!

We also used this opportunity to do some fundraising for The African Commons Project, so we’d like to send a huge ‘THANK YOU’ to the sponsors of our cute canines. We’ve memorialised you all on our Wall of Fame as we are very grateful for your contributions, which will all be put towards the core running costs of the organisation.