Whatever have we been doing?

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 Ushahidiand 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.

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