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Home / Stories from the field

Overcoming Hurdles with SchoolNet Africa

2003-10-03 12:55:06

It has been almost a year now since the First International eRider conference in Kosova. Most of us are evaluating, researching, or implementing eRider projects all over the world. Sara Kyofuna from Schoolnet Africa, our lone African representative at that training, is an eRider based in South Africa. She is working with a network of civil society organizations focusing on education reform. Although she left the training with a great toolkit, many barriers in South Africa which have made it difficult for eRiders to develop technology plans with nonprofits. She has smacked up against the challenge of convincing both NGO staff and schools that ICTs are necessary given the environment in South Africa today.

Sara finds that fostering a trusting relationship with NGOs is crucial to the success of the eRiding work. For her 'trust has provided the basis for buy in, cooperation and commitment." Trust is also related to funding: 'It's not enough anymore to just write down a report, funders go on the ground and ask about the organization and its credibility."

Funder confidence is not the only challenge she faces. Sara's primary focus is to develop technology skills among teachers and to work with various technology difficulties at schools. There is a genuine need to train teachers how to utilize technology in South Africa. On one occasion Miss. Kyofuna entered a classroom and witnessed a teacher
standing on a computer to reach the blackboard. The teacher said, 'at least I'm using the computer for something."

Miss. Kyofuna also lobbies for the use of ICTs; pushing for the use of ICTs or computers amidst problems like starvation, limited access to education, AIDS, and poverty. 'Some learners don't even have proper classes let alone fully qualified teachers. We have to work to show
that ICTs can make a difference by looking at success stories.'

Regardless of all of the challenges Miss Kyofuna confronts in her work, she is confident in her skills and has a vision for success.

Contact Sara at and visit
http://www.schoolnetafrica.net/

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