The Cape Digital foundation is committed to addressing the growing need to prepare young people and adults across the Western Cape to live and work in what are becoming digitally-based urban communities – particularly within communities that have, so far, been underserviced by access to wide-spread, affordable Internet. These communities are the building blocks of smart cities.
…and how to harness the upside of disruption to create smart cities from the ground up
Truly smart cities are people-centred
It is said that necessity is the mother of invention, and building a people-centred smart city from the ground up, driven by the needs and innovations of its citizens is far more empowering and sustainable than attempting to engineer smart citizens from the top down – particularly in areas where people have been previous under-serviced by technology. In their report on Re-thinking smart cities from the ground up, Nesta – The innovation foundation, states: “Urbanisation has been viewed as a panacea for development by many emerging economies. However, if the ultimate goal of cities is to ensure sustainable growth and make citizens happy and fulfilled, they have to adopt and develop tools that tap into the skills and knowledge of citizens. To do this we need to redefine smart cities as people–centred smart cities, or ‘smart cities 2.0.’”
It is anticipated that 66 percent of the world’s population will live in metropolitan areas by 2050, making it critical for regional governments and stakeholders across the globe to put key strategies in place to effectively meet the needs of their burgeoning populations.
The Cape Digital Foundation believes that access to the Internet is no longer a luxury. It brings life-changing opportunities and should be considered one of the most essential public utilities along with water and electricity. Yet there is still much work to be done in terms of providing connectivity and facilitating partnerships on the ground in order to see all citizens in the Western Cape equipped with easy access to affordable Internet – particularly for people who come from communities that are currently mostly “offline”.
Here are three inspiring stories of local entrepreneurs, all from Khayelitsha, which is currently largely underserviced by Internet connectivity – all who have leaped many hurdles and who embrace being entrepreneurs in a digital world.
What are the foundational building blocks in creating an all-inclusive digital society in South Africa?
Access to the Internet changes peoples’ lives. The fact that the internet has become an all-encompassing and essential part of global daily life has become self-evident. It has been proven that access to the Internet has a direct and positive impact on individual lives and a region’s economic development in the digital age. And yet, according World Economic Forum White paper titled WEF Internet for All Framework Accelerating Access Adoption still more than 55% of the world’s population still do not use the internet.
In light of Factreton Primary School having been donated a pop-up digital classroom, the Cape Digital Foundation facilitated a partnership between the school and digital publishing solutions provider, Snapplify. Snapplify has equipped Factreton Primary with their ‘Snapplify for Education’ digital platform, making relevant digital content and teacher training available to the school. Snapplify’s digital library holds over 46000 titles – both books and articles for easy borrowing by learners and teachers alike.
The Internet is an undisputed force for economic growth and positive social change, and conventional wisdom widely acknowledges the link between universal, affordable Internet access and the well-being of people.
In under-resourced environments, mobile phones are the most efficient way for disadvantaged communities to access the benefits of the Internet; and social development in South Africa would benefit greatly from widespread, affordable Internet connectivity.
95 percent of all information is digitised and the Internet fuels: Individual growth and self learning, self expression, connections with internet-based communities, civic engagement, grassroots political activism, civic engagement, unprecedented information access, tolerance, social inclusion, environmental awareness, new forms of social organisation.
On 11 July CDF Executive Director, Emma Kaye, attended a digital disruption workshop facilitated by Ian Merrington of Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) with Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) for the Western Cape Government. Emma had this to say,
“It was an honour to be invited to attend the workshop on digital disruption and how it will affect businesses and citizens of the Western Cape. Technology can no longer be seen as a vertical business sector but as a horizontal necessity across all areas of business. This is, and will continue to have, an accelerated economic, social and cultural impact on the Western Cape. It is inspiring to know that the Department of Economic Trade and Tourism are embracing the conversation to ensure that there is preparation and consideration for these inevitable changes.”
“We have been aware for some time it takes a digital village to educate the child in a socially networked world.” (Mal Lee, LinkedIn, 2015*)
Educational technology has the potential to be incredibly influential in young learners’ lives, both inside and beyond the classroom, but it cannot be effectual if teachers and learners struggle to integrate digital educational tools into their classrooms and teaching programmes.
Our new look
We’ve updated our corporate identity. CDF is really proud to showcase our new branding which reflects a new spirit of action and innovation within the technology sector in the Western Cape.