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The eLearning Africa Photo Competition 2011

Capture this! 
How ICTs are empowering people across Africa!

 The 2nd eLearning Africa Photo Competition aims to capture how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can nurture talent, skills and innovation across Africa. We invite you to send us your photos that depict outstanding achievements in Africa - empowered by ICTs, or that show innovative ways in which ICTs can foster the development of people, communities and society.

To find out more and spread the word, eLearning Africa 2011 is launching a new photo competition, encouraging people across Africa to Capture this! How ICTs are empowering people across Africa. Send us a picture that shows how ICTs have really made a difference to how you live, learn and work with ICTs and, along with it, forward us a brief description of the idea or project behind your entry. You can win a top-quality digital camera and other useful technical gadgets.We are looking for your contributions from any sector of life – be it health, agriculture, business, community life or education – innovation is everywhere and it can come from every single one of us!


The prizes

1. Canon Power Shot S90 photo camera

2. Asus Eee PC R105, a high quality low-power netbook

3. Flip Ultra HD Camcorder

The members of the jury will select the winner and the ten best photos will be featured in an exhibition from May 25th – 27th at eLearning Africa 2011 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The winners will be announced on this website.

Participation in the contest is free.

The deadline for entries is April 20th, 2011.

Late entries will not be considered. The winners will be informed by e-mail four weeks after the closing date at the latest. The prize can neither be transferred nor paid out in cash.

We have selected 5 pictures and submitted them today (20/04/11). Please, find them here.


Everyone, please help!!!!!!!!! :-)

1. How can you take part?

  1. Take a photograph that fulfills the above mentioned criteria.
  2. Upload it onto awareNet, into a gallery and add it to this project.
  3. We need the image in high quality.
  4. Add a catchy, strong, interesting, short caption to the picture. 
  5. Drag the picture into your section.
  6. Write a short description in English for the picture that you have chosen. Here, you can find examples.
  7. Discuss your idea, text, caption, etc. with Thozi, the other volunteers and the learners.
  8. Have it all done by the 19th of April 2011. 
  9. Upload it onto the 

    The eLearning Africa Photo Competition 2011 website


2. The almost winners!

Upstarters Being Aware

The photo with my favourite description was shortlisted for the Jury Vote! Congratulations to Thozi Ngeju who was supervising the HIV project that is described in the photo and to Philisiwe Mbongwana, the CE volunteer who took the photo!

When power is more of a problem than owning a cell phone

My favourite photograph was taken by Lutz Scharf. It was ranked 3rd place (out of 126 submitted photos) by the online-voters. Congratulations again!

Comment by Anna Wertlen.


4. Ron and Anna Wertlen

Curiosity, awareness and motivation spurred on by the sun and connectivity.

During a year long selection process the community at Nkwalini convinced the Schools Solar Computer Labs Project that the community would take care of the precious solar installation that could be installed to power computers, lights throughout the school and other electronic equipment such as a photocopiers and cellular phones. The teachers, learners and community kept their promise. In an area, where most solar installations are stolen or vandalised after days, the three solar installations made at Nkwalini are still delivering up to 7,5KWh every sunny hour of the day almost 3 years later. The laptops in the labs are in full use through a combination of community involvement (after hours use) and a computer club, which propagates basic e-literacy among the learners through learner champions. The computer club is a key to computer use, in a Province of South Africa in which educators are struggling with a dysfunctional administration, they cannot shoulder a further burden at work.The community is much better connected, educated and aware of themselves. The programme is sustainable through a strong partnership with NGOs, businesses and Universities in Grahamstown and the province.*
* Village Scribe Association, SELF, eKhaya ICT, Rhodes University, Siyakhula Living Lab

Solar Panels, Off-line Internet and awareNet

The dancing exhibited at the opening of the FIRST SOUTH AFRICAN Solar School Computer Lab (25 seats) expressed the sheer joy and hope that the community experienced in the months leading up to the installation. Two years on, the installation continues to provide enormous value to the community.The main lab was installed at the Zwelenqaba Senior Secondary School in Nkwalini, Eastern Cape, on the 1st of August 2008. SELF, eKhaya ICT and the VSA worked together to bring ICTs, Internet and specialised educational software ("awareNet") for low quality Internet access into the community. awareNet is works in mesh networks and teaches social networking, life skills and awareness even without Internet access (low costs).
// photo credit:  Robert Freling (SELF) //

Rural South Africa cooperates with German University via international NGO and FLOSS "awareNet". 

imageexpanded|raUID=139245572614106463|size=width300| imageexpanded|raUID=308751124132087234|size=width300|
An innovative, online learning experience for everyone around awareNet (a social networking software especially designed for learners from disadvantaged backgrounds): The Village Scribe Association facilitated a cooperation between German Computer Science students - who developed applications for awareNet during their practical and rated the course very inspiring and real-life - and South African learners who use awareNet for their first experiences in computer literacy, Internet usage, and social networking, even without regular Internet access. awareNet is developed for mesh networks and rural or peri-urban South African schools who want to connect locally and internationally. This project was awarded by the South African Ambassador Mr Ismail Esau in Berlin. 
Find out more!
// which photo is better??  smiling or serious?? //


South Africa vs. Germany, FIFA World Cup, powered by solar

In 2010, the Nkwalini rural community was connected to the world via Television. The SolarWorld solar TV set program doubled the number of TV sets available to anyone at the community (to 6, by installing three solar powered public viewing sets).Lutz Scharf, an anthropologist from Germany followed the events in the community facilitated by the TV sets for a month and was deeply impressed by the friendliness and willingness to learn of the community members. The TV sets also allow the community to access educational content and are well used.
// photo credit: Lutz Scharf //

When power is more of a problem than owning a cell phone

South Africa has the huge benefit of having almost complete mobile phone accessibility to everyone (by UN/ITU - International Telecommunications Union access models). However, ESKOM, the local power utility is lagging behind and cheap renewables are missing in the rural areas.
// photo credit: Lutz Scharf // 


5. Thozi Ngeju

Qualifying With Learners

Educators from different schools have had to learn how to use the Internet and then had to pass that knowledge to the learners to re-inforce their understanding and helping the learners to be computer literate at the same time.   

First Experience

Learners have brave Winter cold to partake in awareNet classes of combined schools to learn about the uses of the Internet at a Rhodes University computer laboratory. For most of them this was their initial experience with computers.

Upstarters Being Aware


Thozi's comment: Here we see learners from a school reading an article that some of them submitted online via awareNet for the youth newspaper, Upstart. The newspaper works with schools and this photograph was taken by Rhodes University Community Engagement volunteers who work with the Village Scribe Association that developed awareNet.

Anna's comment: An innovative, true multimedia project that drew a lot of attention: The Village Scribe Association (international NGO) and eKhaya ICT (South African local IT business) developed a social networking software awareNet especially designed to be used largely offline, adapting to rural and peri-urban setting. Eastern Cape learners benefit from free lessons and a partnership with the Zazi Foundation for educational video content about health: teachAIDS videos, provided by the Stanford University School of Education. Inspired by the World AIDS Day 2010, learners collaboratively worked on a project about HIV/AIDS in wiki style. Certain parts of this projects were selected online by the Management of Grocott's Mail, Grahamstown's independent newspaper, to be included in the November 2010 Upstart supplement (The Paper for Youth by Youth). Here you can see the learners proudly reading their articles in the Upstart Paper. The photograph was taken by Rhodes University Community Engagement volunteers who work with the learners on several projects on awareNet. Together they started an awareNet photo project in which photos for the 'eLearning Africa Photo Competition 2011' were taken, uploaded, described, and chosen for submission. 
Ron's comment: 7 schools in the Grahamstown township practice their social media and online collaboration skills using the awareNet social network <>. Mesh technology means communication via awareNet is free for the schools. Creativity, writing, online collaboration and multimedia content creation are the keywords of the project, as learners blog, work on multimedia projects (written, with photographs and video e.g. <>) and chat together. The best projects are printed in the Upstart learner newspaper. This photo was taken by Rhodes University Community Engagement <> volunteers. 


7. Philisiwe Mbongwana

Special Upstart issue on World AIDS Day 2010 created on awareNet featuring teachAIDS videos for learners with discontinuous Internet connection.



8. Lutz Scharf

When power is more of a problem than owning a cell phone
Lutz' comment: Das Photo wurde im Juli 2010 während eines VSA - Forschungsaufenthaltes  in Nkwalini/ Eastern Cape aufgenommen. Trotz einer schwach ausgeprägten Elektrizitäts-Infrastruktur und den daraus resultierenden Schwierigkeiten Mobiltelefone aufzuladen, sind auch hier Handys ein wesentlicher Bestandteil des lokalen Alltags. Das Photo zeigt eine „Aufladestation“ im Barber-Shop von Nkwalini,  wo  Handy-Besitzer ihre Apparate gegen eine geringe Gebühr aufladen können.  Als sozio-technische Schnittstelle zwischen Tradition und Moderne symbolisiert das Photo den Einfluss von ICT’s auf das Leben der Bevölkerung: der Barber-Shop fungiert nicht nur als eine „Tankstelle“ für leere Handy-Akkus, sondern ist gleichzeitig ein sozialer Treffpunkt, wo Neuigkeiten ausgetauscht und soziale Beziehungen gepflegt werden. Traditionelle und moderne Kommunikationsstrukturen verschmelzen hierbei auf eine innovative Art und Weise, die nur einen von vielen positiven ICT-Aspekten darstellen!
Ron's comment: The barber shop in Nkwalini, South Africa, allows cell phone owners to recharge their coll phones for a fee of three Rand. The photo illustrates the influence of ICTs on the lives of the community, depicting a socio-technical interface between traditional and modern culture: the barber shop is not merely a filling station for empty cell phone batteries, it is at the same time a social meeting place where gossip is exchanged and social connections are groomed. Traditional and modern communication pathways meet and cross here in an innovative manner that highlights just one of the many positive influences of ICTs. 
The photo was taken during a Village Scribe Association research field trip at Nkwalini, which is in the Eastern Cape. Despite poor electrical infrastructure and the resulting difficulties associated with the recharging of cellular phones, here too, cell phones are a pervasive part of daily living.
South Africa vs. Germany, FIFA World Cup, powered by solar 

Lutz' comment: Can you feel it – it is here, lautete der Slogan der FIFA WM 2010 in Südafrika. Dank der von  SolarWorld installierten public viewing solar TV-sets  konnte auch in Nkwalini die Bevölkerung das Großereignis am Bildschirm mit verfolgen. Das Photo zeigt das gespannte Publikum während des Matches zwischen Südafrika und Frankreich vor einem der Solar-TV Geräte. Trotz Kälte versammelten sich zahlreiche Bewohner zum Fußball-Schauen auf dem Gelände des art-centre in Nkwalini und erlebten die erste WM auf dem afrikanischen Kontinent live mit. Can you feel it – it is here als nationaler WM-Slogan erreichte dank der solar-TV-sets auch Nkwalini und erlebte hier eine bedeutsame lokale Aneignung. Auch wenn Johannesburg, Durban oder Kapstadt als Zentren dieses Mega-Events fern waren, erlebten die Bewohner den WM-Alltag hautnah an den Bildschirmen der solar-TV-sets und verstanden sich selbst als Teil des Großereignisses. Die integrative und kollektive Wirkung der solar-TV-sets auf die Bevölkerung entfachte in Nkwalini eine großartige Euphorie . Eine Euphorie die auch nicht nach dem frühen Ausscheiden der bafana bafana geschmälert wurde, sondern ihren Höhepunkt in der Identifikation der ruralen Bevölkerung mit der WM, mit ihrer WM fand!

Ron's comment: "Can you feel it, it is here" was the slogan of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa, and it reached the isolated, poor community of Nkwalini, via solar TV sets. Despite their thousand kilometer distance from Johannesburg or Cape Town, the community members experienced the World Cup closely through this (to them) unfamiliar medium. They understood themselves as being part of the Mega-Event. The integrative and collective effect of the solar TV sets on the community released a wonderful sense of euphoria. This sense of euphoria did not evaporate after bafana bafana left the tournament early, rather it reached its climax in the realisation by the community that this was /their/ World Cup, and that the whole world was watching them. 

This photo shows some of the community at Nkwalini, Eastern Cape, South Africa, watching South Africa play France in the World Cup on 21/6/2010. It was taken as part of a Village Scribe Association research field trip. The public viewing solar TV sets were installed by SolarWorld. 


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awareNet song video shoot - 47.jpg
by: Anna Wertlen
on: 2011-11-21 20:18:52