Daily Archives: August 16, 2018

Transforming lives and businesses through digital innovation

When opportunity knocks, some build a shop around it

JOHANNESBURG, Aug. 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — With an MBA in Strategy, Innovation and Emerging Markets from the ESSEC School of Business in Paris, Candace Nkoth Bisseck is an advocate for moving back to Africa to invest her experience in the upliftment of her community.

“Ten years ago, I was in an abusive relationship and decided the only way out was to return to school, change my life and gain financial independence,” says Nkoth. “In 2014 I moved back home to Cameroon from France to run an e-commerce website that gives local merchants a digital platform to sell their products beyond their hometown.”

Nkoth is passionate about leveraging digital innovation to give people access to better economic opportunities. “My team and I had to assist many of our vendors to open an email account and set up their online store on Kaymu.” By 2015, Kaymu (which would go on to become Jumia Market) was one of the most popular online shopping destinations in Cameroon, and as the country manager, Nkoth found herself spending more and more of her time engaging with companies, universities and associations who were looking to learn from her expertise and personal journey.

“Gradually, I realised that what I really wanted to do was mentor people who were interested in using technology as an enabler for improving lives, businesses and communities.”

That same year, she was named #1 on the Forbes Afrique Top 30 under 30 List, and more recently, in 2018 she was selected for the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa programme.

“Many women want to know how they can make a real difference in the quality of other’s lives,” she says. “I put a lot of focus on mentoring women and encouraging them. I sometimes suffer from imposter syndrome where I don’t believe I am good enough. This is where my relationship with the Obama Foundation is making a huge difference. There are 200 people who hold you accountable and help you move forward when you are paralysed with self-doubt. It is an incredibly positive experience.”

In 2017, Nkoth moved on from the Jumia Group to join the Western African arm of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Seed Transformation Programme, which focuses on empowering business owners in emerging economies using innovation.

Laura Lucas Magnuson llucasmagnuson@obama.org

NetDragon powers the education industry in Africa with leading technology

ABUJA, Nigeria, Aug. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — A ten-member delegation including NetDragon Websoft Inc. (NetDragon)’s management team led by founder and chairman Liu Dejian, product designers and technical engineers, visited Nigeria and Kenya from August 13 to August 18, 2018. The delegation hosted several events during which they investigated the local education environment and provided exchange opportunities for local educators in a move to leverage NetDragon’s cutting-edge internet technologies to support the development of a smart education industry & ecosystem in the two countries.

Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo met with NetDragon founder and chairman Liu Dejian (PRNewsfoto/NetDragon)

The events were attended by Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of State for Education Anthony Gozie Onwuka and Minister of Communications Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu, as well as Cabinet Secretary  for the Ministry of ICT of Kenya, Joe Wakaba Mucheru and Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Education Amina Chawahir Mohamed, in addition to NetDragon Vice Chairman and Executive Director Dr. Leung Lim Kin Simon, Executive Director Zheng Hui, and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Xiong Li. During the visit, Chairman Liu was named as Nigerian SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) Ambassador , NetDragon and the Nigerian government jointly launched the Initiative of Digital Education in Africa (IDEA).

Prior to the company’s Nigerian visit, senior government officials from Nigeria had been to China. During the tour, officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NetDragon, following their introduction and demonstration of educational products and solutions developed by their education subsidiary, Elernity. Details of the MoU included solutions to provide core elements of digital education combining VR, AR, and AI technologies. As a result, both parties are now taking action to implement the MoU, just four months after its signing; with the announcement of the partnership with the joint introduction of IDEA with the Nigerian government signifies the major first step.

Mr. Liu said “the challenge of unbalanced education resources facing the world is reflected in the investment in hardware and the allocation of soft resources. The IDEA concept, jointly developed by NetDragon and the Nigerian government, aims to help students across Africa benefit from the wisdom of a Chinese internet company while providing technology-enhanced education to more children.”

As a key part of IDEA, NetDragon will build a national public service platform of educational resources, a national network platform for the teaching community, a national digital talent training platform and a national future education experience center, all aimed at helping Nigeria create a high-quality education service system. The efforts will focus on primary, lifelong and future education.

NetDragon CEO Xiong Li indicated that the new platforms and center “would promote an educational balance by integrating the company’s years of experience in education and innovation, superior internet technologies and an open ecological teaching model with customized educational resources”. He went on to add, “NetDragon adheres to the United Nation’s Sustainability and Development Goals, to promote e inclusive, quality education and lifelong learning for all.”

In addition to supporting Nigeria’s education service system , NetDragon also signed a collaborative agreement with the Nigerian government to build smart classrooms, preceded by the opening ceremony of the N-Power Junior Smart Classroom Project held in Nigeria on August 14. As part of its efforts in providing Nigeria with access to its education platforms and resources as well as one of its key products, Edmodo, NetDragon plans to make a donation to the smart classroom building project in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.

The N-Power Junior Smart Classroom Project, managed by Nigeria’s National Social Investment Office, is committed to improving local primary and secondary school students’ scientific knowledge and skills in the disciplines of programming, computer graphics and computer-aided design, applications in robotics as well as network and fundamental engineering. The smart classroom donated by NetDragon is to be equipped with Promethean’s interactive displays, 101 PADs and VR headsets, and other components of an integrated intelligent classroom solution.

Following the visit to Nigeria, the delegation arrived at the second stop of their African tour, Kenya, where the company will sign an MoU with the Kenyan government to engage in a collaborative effort to improve the country’s educational system. The MoU marks a milestone in NetDragon’s expansion into the African education market.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/731545/NetDragon.jpg

Where the wild things learn

Coding, engineering, robotics and tech – the essential skills children need to thrive in the modern world

JOHANNESBURG, Aug. 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In 2015, a young software engineer named Faten Ghriss went to the U.S. on an exchange programme and left as a young entrepreneur. She was inspired to build something that would affect real change in her home country of Tunisia when she saw the stark difference in education standards and accessibility between Tunisia and the USA.  Ghriss started Young Tunisian Coders Academy and her passion prompted recognition by the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa programme.

Ghriss explains: “Tunisia is still behind when it comes to education and access to educational tools. In many cases, we only start teaching children about computers when they’re 16 years old and this is too late. I believe that it is essential that we show them how important technology is to their futures, today. It is a powerful tool will provide them with career opportunities and help us solve challenges in our country.”

Young Tunisian Coders Academy teaches children about coding and technology through interactive and engaging courses and training programmes. It aims to take away the fears and negative perceptions that many children in Tunisia have around technology and coding, instead igniting their interest in a positive and engaging environment.

“The Academy directly addresses this issue by providing coding camps for kids which we have taken across Tunisia,” says Ghriss. “We use Scratch, an interactive coding tool that teaches the basics and logics of coding. We have also developed private classes that provide us with the income we need to develop classes for children in areas that cannot afford these classes.”

Young Tunisian Coders Academy has been running for nearly two years and the recognition from the Obama Foundation is pivotal to its growth and expansion. It is an opportunity for Ghriss to learn from her peers and take her business to new levels and into new markets.

“The Obama Foundation helps us to maintain our initiative and is filled with people who support us through networking and partnerships,” concludes Ghriss. “With this level of support and engagement, we believe that anything is possible, that we can take Young Tunisian Coders Academy to even more children in even more areas that need this level of education.”

beverley.bradley@mslgroup.com Laura Lucas Magnuson llucasmagnuson@obama.org

Water Committee to Visit Sedibeng Municipality for Report on Contamination of Vaal River System

Parliament� The Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation will tomorrow visit the Sedibeng District Municipality to get answers to reports of sewage spillage into the Rietspruit stream leading to contamination of the Vaal River system.

This is a follow-up meeting with the district and Emfuleni Local Municipality, as the committee visited the area in 2015 and made recommendations of interventions to findings it made. Some of the findings included inadequate infrastructure to cope with development, non-compliant effluent from the waste-water treatment works in Rietspruit, as well as ageing infrastructure. The committee will request updates on any action taken since its last visit.

It is unacceptable that since the visit by the committee, there have been constant media reports of continuing challenges in the district about contamination of the source of water feeding Gauteng province. The committee hopes to get answers from all relevant stakeholders, including provincial and national government on interventions implemented to resolve the matter, said Mr Mlungisi Johnson, the Chairperson of the committee.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa

MEC Debbie SchA�fer launches campaign to address bullying in schools

Raise your voice – not your phone

This morning I visited Beacon Hill Secondary School to launch a campaign to address the effects of bullying in schools.

We chose Beacon Hill Secondary for this event, as it recently experienced its own incident of bullying � both in school and on social media.

Singer, songwriter and Season 13 Idols South Africa winner, Paxton Fielies, radio DJ and TV presenter, Carl Wastie and Metro South District Director, Granville Stander, joined me in launching the campaign.

We are all aware that bullying is happening at most schools in some shape or form.

It can be verbal, physical or via a third party through social media.

Any learner or parent of a learner who has gone through such abuse knows the pain and trauma it can bring. It can lead to depression, anxiety, self-harming and in some cases, even suicide.

The use of social media has heightened these risks. Learners re now using various social media platforms to either tease, embarrass, intimidate or torment other learners.

The sad reality is that it involves thousands of learners � who are either posting, sharing, or re-tweeting videos, photos or messages that damage the reputation or confidence of others.

With many of the incidents filmed and shared on Social Media for their friends to see, learners don’t realise you don’t need to beat somebody up to be a bully. We needed a way to help learners realise it for themselves.

Given the prevalence of bullying in our schools, the WCED has embarked on a campaign to highlight the effects of bullying on learners, as well as to draw attention to the fact that learners who film, post or distribute videos are also participating in the bullying.

The campaign also provides tips on what one can do to help victims that are being bullied, as well as the types of support that are available for learners experiencing such abuse.

The campaign, launched here today, is called, Raise your voice, not your phone.

In order to get the message across appropriately, the WCED sought the assistance of Hellocomputer and FCB Cape Town to develop the campaign and toolkit.

Given the sensitive nature of the content that is being provided, child psychologists were also enlisted to provide advice on its development.

The campaign first involves the filming of a fake bullying incident in a school yard. It ends with the simple message: Raise your voice, not your phone.

The viewer is then taken to 5 constructed questions that would naturally lead one to the person physically assaulting the other, but when asked in sequence, it leads the reader to the realisation that learners are also participating in bullying by filming the incident rather than intervening in order to bring an end to the abuse.

See here – http://www.wcg-antibullying.co.za/

A second video was then created which involved the participation of random learners from schools across the metro, who were asked to participate in an interview. A psychologist was asked to show each learner the first video and a number of questions were posed thereafter. They were not briefed on the content. Their reactions are all real.

Just see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBOr46mWHQs

The video exposes how learners don’t necessarily understand the implications of filming or distributing content across social media, and how their actions are just as bad as the bully concerned.

It is a powerful message that not only reveals the pain one can cause, but also the pain that many have suffered.

The campaign also leads learners to various pages of support or advice on how to intervene when bullying occurs.

I am grateful for the support of Paxton Fielies in launching this campaign. She eloquently expressed her own experiences with bullying on social media and encouraged learners to stand up against bullies, rather than participate in the abuse by standing back, or filming and distributing the event.

Paxton said people say the ugliest things and what do we do? We share it, we retweet it, and we basically broadcast it to everybody, we make it our business and you guys would know, when fights break out at school, what is the first thing we do? We take out our phones to film it instead of breaking up the fight. When I see videos being sent around of people saying they going to beat someone up, it actually sickens me because as much as that person is the bully, we are giving such things attention which makes us bullies too. I personally think we should stop advertising things like that and start reporting it because it’s not okay. Bullies have a way of making us devalue ourselves and making us think we’re worth nothing. Up until this day I still get rude messages and comments thrown at me but now, the only difference is, I chose faith over fear. I believe in positivity and I believe that we all have a special purpose. And I know, it takes months, even years for people to finally be at peace with themselves because they got bullied, but what I’ve come to understand is that you are your own person .The place you are at in life might not be the same as others, but that’s okay and it’s okay to be yourself and do things for yourself. Be happy and always stand up for yourself. Spread positivity, love and hope and remember that you are enough.

Carl Wastie had a special message for the learners, he said You are a limited addition. You are powerful learners � so use your power and your voice to do good. Choose to raise your voice and not your phone.

It is our intention to use this toolkit to educate learners and schools throughout the province, to Raise your voice. Not your phone. It is a message that should be heard all over the world.

I must thank Carl and Paxton for joining me today to raise awareness around bullying in schools.

Source: Government of South Africa