After months of discussions, deliberations, and planning between CC staff, African Regional Coordinators, African Affiliate teams, and others in the open space, Creative Commons Africa is set to storm Africa by having a continent-wide launch for School of Open in September.
School of Open is a global community of volunteers providing free online courses, face-to-face workshops, and innovative training programs on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age. Through School of Open, you can learn how to add a Creative Commons license to your work, find free resources for classroom use, open up your research, remix a music video, and more!
School of Open programs will be launched in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and South Africa in September on a series of topics ranging from Creative Commons licensing, intellectual property protection, open society concepts, and the Linux operating system .
Strategic collaborations are underway with the Mozilla Foundation, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, WikiAfrica, University of Lagos, University of Tanzania, and the Institute of Educational Management Technology of the Open University of Tanzania to make the launch a success.
School of Open Kenya
School of Open Kenya already started out as a trail blazer by organizing a two-week after school program that introduces high school students to open culture through the use of online School of Open courses and related open educational resources (OER). The training was designed to satisfy the academic needs of the students and to enable the students to use open tools such as Creative Commons licenses to create and share knowledge, as well as learning required subjects in new and creative ways. The students integrated the School of Open training into their school work and were able to produce projects such as this Titration Demo video by the Lenana School under CC BY. Despite its long strides, Jamlab and CC Kenya are not resting their oars; they will be launching a Train the Trainers program this September where they will train 10+ community members to organize and run SOO workshops in more high schools and in neighboring countries. SOO Kenya will also host a SOO Africa launch event and Maker Party entitled PopJam. Jamlab + CC Kenya, in collaboration with Mozilla Kenya and Wikipedia Kenya, will host the event for 5 high schools in the region. Stay tuned for details!
School of Open South Africa
CC South Africa hosts three projects under the School of Open initiative. The first is the #OpenAfrica project where in conjunction with WikiAfrica, open advocates from Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Malawi, Uganda and Ghana were put through an “open” bootcamp. The month-long camp covered Creative Commons, Wikipedia, Open Street Maps, Open Educational Resources (OER), Open Data, Open Government, and related fundraising and community building skills. Advocates returned equipped with “open” knowledge and skills to their home countries to influence and spur their communities into action. This has resulted in the creation of new CC affiliate teams in Ethiopia and Cote d’Ivoire and the launch of open mandated tech hubs in these communities.
Launching off #OpenAfrica, participants were invited to compete for the first Kumusha Bus stop. The Kumusha Bus is an African adaption of the South American Libre Bus. Ethiopia ‘won’ the first Kumusha Bus stop. The team spent four days inspiring, teaching and sharing at GIZ Headquarters in Addis Ababa. Participants from Sheger Media, AIESEC and Addis Ababa University were in attendance. The four days resulted in the launch of Project Luwi. Luwi is an open source project, aiming to increase the application of open source information and communication technologies (ICT). Luwi intends to create a local community of interested volunteers that is able to foster motivation and creativity around Open Educational Resources (OERs) and supports a culture of sharing information freely in Ethiopia.
The third project is the Creative Commons for Kids program (CC4Kids). CC4Kids was built with Obami, a South Africa-based social learning platform. The course is self-taught and takes about 45 minutes to complete. CC South Africa was invited to teach its first course as part of a Maker Party at the Code for Cape Town project (Code4CT) with 24 grade 10 and 11 girls from the Centre for Science and Technology (COSAT) in Cape Town, South Africa. For three weeks the girls were trained on how the web works and actively participated in building web content. Instead of policing students’ actions, CC4Kids teaches youth how to open and share their creative and educational works legally through the use of CC licenses. All the girls now have simple web pages they created. CC4Kids’ next Maker Party will be held at RLabs in August. Stay tuned!
School of Open Tanzania
CC Tanzania is planning to host three sets of trainings. The first will be an ICT empowerment training for unemployed youth, the second will focus on teaching persons with disabilities how to use computers, and the third will focus on training educators on using ICT to improve how they teach their students. Participants will become new School of Open volunteers, improving and running future training programs as a way to give back to and grow their community. Development will be led by CC Tanzania volunteers with expertise in law, journalism, and information technology. CC Tanzania will host a joint SOO Africa launch event + Mozilla Maker Party, date and location TBD.
School of Open Nigeria
CC Nigeria will, in five weekends, train participants on Nigerian copyright law, intellectual property protection, and the Linux operating system. The training will have two tracks: the first track being copyright law and the second being the Linux operating System. Participants will have the opportunity to choose either or both tracks. CC Nigeria also plans to host a joint SOO Africa launch event + Mozilla Maker Party during the training. During the event, experienced web users will train participants on easy ways to creating content using Mozilla tools.
SOO Nigeria links:
- Courses schedule: http://creativecommonsng.org/school-of-open-nigeria/
- SOO Nigeria Launch Event & Maker Party: https://events.webmaker.org/#!/events/4526
- Registration form for all SOO Nigeria activities: http://creativecommonsng.org/school-of-open-nigeria/soo2014/
After the continent-wide launch, participants who attended the courses will have together obtained and built knowledge of open culture, IP protection and ICT skills.
Stay tuned to this blog or sign up for School of Open Announcements to be notified when each program launches in September! Learn more about how you can get involved with the School of Open at http://schoolofopen.org.
About Maker Party
School of Open and Creative Commons is excited to be partnering with Mozilla to celebrate teaching and learning the web with Maker Party. Through thousands of community-run events around the world, Maker Party unites educators, organizations and enthusiastic Internet users of all ages and skill levels.
We share Mozilla’s belief that the web is a global public resource that’s integral to modern life: it shapes how we learn, how we connect and how we communicate. But many of us don’t understand its basic mechanics or what it means to be a citizen of the web. That’s why we’re supporting this global effort to teach web literacy through hands-on learning and making with Maker Party.
About the School of Open
The School of Open is a global community of volunteers focused on providing free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run online courses, offline workshops, and real world training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, a peer learning community for developing and running free online courses.1 Comment »
One year ago, CC announced the Affiliate Project Grants to support and expand CC’s global network of dedicated experts. With a little help from Google, we were able to increase the capacity of CC’s Affiliates to undertake projects around the world benefiting a more free, open, and innovative internet.
We received over 70 applicants, and we were able to fund 18 to tackle important work in their country – work like using music to break down physical barriers and give Palestinians a voice, gathering leaders in Tanzania to discuss how sharing information can help prevent diabetes, and helping Romanian librarians provide quality educational materials to all.
Watching these projects unfold over the last several months has been reaffirming for everyone at CC. The Affiliates are central to CC’s work, without whom we would simply not be closer to our goal of a more open internet.
Click here to find out the full details of the different grants, and read on to see what our 18 teams had to say on the results they achieved, motivations for their projects, the work still to be done, and lessons learned.
“We are pleased that we were able to impact the way the people who shared their stories with us think about the concept of sharing stories. Some people when they were asked before to share their suffering and their personal stories on video were not totally sure they wanted to do it, but after seeing the output of their stories reflected on by poets and artists from all over the world, we think we were able to provide them a platform to express themselves and feel part of a greater community that is sharing the same hopes and fears.
[We want to expand] the project concept to other marginalized communities around the world.”
-Bashar Lubbad, Palestine, “Hope Spoken/Broken: Change in the Eyes of Palestinian Refugees”
“The result was publication of a guide on free culture movements in Arabic and a website where it can be downloaded freely in e-book format: www.freecultureguide.net. We target artists, journalists, bloggers and other content creators and the general public who is unfamiliar to the free culture movement and concepts, as this is the first book of its kind in Arabic about this topic.”
-Ahmed Mansour, CC Morocco, “Creative BookSprint“
“Lack of consumer level tools is still seen as a major obstacle in CC adoption. WpLicense is now a tool that can be applied to millions of blogs.”
-Tarmo Toikkanen, CC Finland, “WordPress License Revived”
“More concretely, participants learnt how to: adapt traditional services to a non-traditional model; locate learning objects that can be reused under CC licence; investigate and use alternative publishing platforms; and apply project management processes to a hack project.”
-Matt McGregor, CC New Zealand, “Media Text Hack“
“Museums and other memory institutions in Taiwan often have their collections digitized.
A major part of the digitized works shall be in the public domain. However, many of these institutions often keep these works in the equivalents of digital safes, and there are no easy ways to access and reuse them. Together with Netivism Ltd. (a social enterprise based in Taipei) CC Taiwan engaged with memory institutions and independent collectors in Taiwan about the tools and practices for public domain repositories.
Exemplary public domain repositories are being setup using MediaGoblin (a free software package for hosting media collections) with new extensions developed for and supported by this project grant.”
-Tyng-Ruey Chuang, CC Taiwan, “Practices and Depositories for the Public Domain”
“As a result of the interaction, the students were able to experience the Open culture which has caused a boom in the Kenyan tech scene. They identified industries that were etched on the sole foundation of Open tools in Kenya and were able to understand more experientially than before, the importance of such ideals.”
-Simeon Oriko, CC Kenya, “School of Open Kenya Initiative“
“Obami, a platform for resource exchange for elementary school students, has seen a number of copyright violations. Instead of policing kids’ actions, the Creative Commons for Kids program will teach kids how to open and share their creative and educational works legally through the use of CC licenses [...] introducing Creative Commons to the next generation of Africa.”
-Kelsey Wiens, CC South Africa, “Creative Commons For Kids”
“Despite all the work we have done, CC is still an unknown concept to most people in the Arab region. We live in a copy/paste region where it will take a lot of hard work for people to understand the concepts of attribution. After a series of CC presentations in local schools (ages 12 to 18), we found that CC awareness is almost non-existent. On the other hand, our videos at wezank.com have been very popular online and we believe that using this asset to spread CC’s mission & vision would be highly effective across the region. [... This project] is about creating content in Arabic for the CC community, and at any stage, anyone wishing to present CC in Arabic will be able to use those videos.”
-Maya Zankoul, CC Lebanon, “CC Simply Explained in Arabic“
“[Information is power]… In Africa, this rich geography of information doesn’t yet exist. And not because there isn’t the richness of knowledge, history or place, but, for a number of reasons, because there is little culture of contribution to the Internet.”
-Kelsey Wiens, Cross Regional Africa, “Activate Africa”
“If the government [in Japan] adopts CC BY or CC zero, data released under these terms will bring scalable impact on the public in a sense that it will help reuse of government data with minimum restrictions. The workshop materials are open to the public, and some of the attendees will learn to teach others, which give the project some ripple effects beyond its immediate outcomes.”
-Tomoaki Watanabe, CC Japan, “Workshops and Symposium for Open Data in Japan”
“In the Arab world there were several personalities who have a positive influence in the history of their country, in different areas. That’s why I wish to publish with the help of the Arab community, an Arabic book under CC license, which tells us their lives, stories, and their influence on their own countries.”
-Faiza Souici, CC Algeria, “Arabic Icons”
“In Colombia, libraries and librarians have become one of the important civil society groups that are collectively seeking information, understanding and participating in public spaces trying to redefine copyright as a tool for access to knowledge and not just as a source of income for some people. [...] The material in this course will be open as a self-guided course that can be tapped on demand — individually, at a user-preferred time and date. Moreover, the course can be harnessed as a group, from a collective or specific institution, to be facilitated according to the possibilities and conditions of a given community.”
-Maritza Sanchez, CC Colombia / El Salvador / Uruguay, “An Online Course on Basic Copyright for Latinamerican Librarians”
Work on the Horizon
“Latin Americans are creating and freely making available high quality and innovative music independently from big companies. But it is necessary to work better on both musicians understanding their rights and the power of sharing.”
-Renata Avila, CC Guatemala, “Promoting Free Music in Central and South America”
“While Chile has encouraged the creation of open access journals nationwide, researchers with high rates of publication and citation do not see them as a real possibility when publishing. Any policy to promote the creation of journals in Chile should consider factors that give them an edge in the scientific circuit and thus becoming a real possibility by leading Chilean scientists.”
-Francisco Vera, CC Chile, “Promotion of Open Knowledge in the Chilean Academia: Ways to Facilitate Adoption of Creative Commons in the Academic World“
“The conclusion of this project is that there are only building blocks for Open Educational Resources (OER) in Romania since at the moment there is not a clear OER practice – only grassroots initiatives or projects with huge potential of becoming OER. Most of the projects we discovered in essence share the same philosophy behind OER, but they nevertheless omit to attribute a license for the created resources. In conclusion, more awareness and training activities are needed in order to reach a level of maturity regarding OER and their use.”
-Bogdan Manolea, CC Romania, “OER Awareness Activities for Librarians and Academics in Romania“
CC Romania / CC BY
“Because many pupils and students cannot access hard copy textbooks which are discouragingly expensive, the importance of Creative Commons licenses in closing the literacy gaps which have been brought about by income inequality cannot be overstated.”
-Moses Mulumba, CC Uganda, “Promoting Creative Commons Initiatives in Uganda“
“The lessons that I learnt and which I can share is that grants from CC headquarters however, small [has great] potential impact to CC Affiliates as it acts as catalysts to the Affiliates to keep things going and mobilizing other funds locally.”
-Paul Kihwelo, CC Tanzania, “Tanzania Creative Commons Salon“
“We learnt that there is a high level of interest in Creative Commons in Ireland, and a need to continuously engage with people who are interested in Creative Commons.”
-Darius Whelan, CC Ireland, “Awareness-raising Event in Dublin, January 2014”
Last June, CC began a project grant program for our Affiliate Teams around the world. Of over 70 applicants, 18 were selected to receive funds to support events or activities in their region. The chosen projects in music, education, data, culture, and technology all work towards CC’s mission to promote the understanding and adoption of open policies and practices globally.
We wanted to share how these have unfolded in the past months. Each week for the next five weeks, we will be featuring projects from different regions: Africa, Arab World, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Latin America. This week we’re showcasing the innovative projects from Africa.
Kenya: School of Open Kenya Initiative
by project lead Simeon Oriko
The School of Open Kenya Initiative is a series of workshops aimed at introducing high school students to the concept and culture of ‘Open’ through the courses listed on the School of Open website. This will help them learn about and employ open tools, such as the CC licenses, as well as participate in open culture through collaboration and sharing.
Jamlab has run this project for six months now. We have worked with about two hundred high school students directly. The first batch was in Precious Blood Riruta, a girls’ high school in Kenya. The second, was Lycee Malick Sy in Thies, Senegal. The SOO Kenya program was designed to simply introduce the students to the idea of “Open” but the students gradually became more immersed and have began creating their own openly licensed content. Precious Blood Riruta students have released an Open Education Video on YouTube based on the Kenya High School literature curriculum. The students from Senegal, on the other hand, have become active editors in the Wikipedia space in Senegal. Their first collaborative effort is a Wikipedia page about their school.
What’s coming up?
For the next series of workshops, we are planning to focus our efforts in four Kenyan high schools. This will enable us to work with another two hundred students countrywide. In addition to introducing them to Open ideals, we will also encourage a system of competition in the creation of openly licensed material among the schools in order to thrust them deeper into the ecosystem that until now, has proven to change and affect their mindsets in the most gratifying way.
South Africa: Creative Commons for Kids
by project lead Kelsey Wiens
Creative Commons South Africa (ZA) and Obami are busy building a CC4Kids curriculum. This pilot program is aiming for innovative and dynamic course work to interest kids of all ages. Barbara Mallinson from Obami approached Kelsey Wiens, OER Lead from CC ZA last year to build the program after seeing a number of copyright violations from the kids on the network. The motivation behind the program: Wouldn’t it be cool if instead of teaching kids how to protect and lock down their stuff we instead taught them how to open and share freely? This is something kids and teenagers tend to do naturally. The course is planned to launch in March 2014 as part of the School of Open. We’re looking forward at getting a peek at what they’ve come up with!
Tanzania: Tanzania CC Salon
by project lead Paul Kihwelo
Creative Commons Tanzania affiliate team held their inaugural CC Salon on 6th December, 2013 at the Open University of Tanzania headquarters in Dar es Salaam. The Salon was the third in Sub Saharan region following Kenya’s in early 2013 and South Africa’s held in August, 2006.
Attracting over 60 diverse professionals, including academics, bloggers, journalists, scientists, engineers, students, librarians and information system experts, lawyers, medical practitioners, policy makers, IT professionals, representatives of Tanzania Medical Students Association, Consortium of Tanzania University Libraries and Researchers and Coalition for Open Access in Tanzania, among other participants.
Among the prominent attendees included Ms. Doreen Sinare, CEO-Copyright Society of Tanzania, Ms. Loy Mhando representing CEO-Business Registration and Licensing Agency, Dr. Mary Mayige, Director General – St. Laurent Diabetes Centre and Alex Gakuru the Regional Coordinator – Africa, Creative Commons based in Kenya.
The salon focused on the importance of open copyright and open educational resources, including how Africa stood to benefit from openness in teaching, learning, and sharing as well as increased access to knowledge and quality of learning resources. Open University of Tanzania Institutional Repository also explained how the institutional repository leveraged the university and the country in adding more African content online, as African materials currently represent just 2% of online content. Other topics discussed included health and medicine, and the need to share information for better prevention and/or management for ongoing health problems like diabetes.
Alex Gakuru, Creative Commons Africa Regional Coordinator, summed up the event nicely with an overview of how the CC philosophy ties with the African community: “Creative Commons reflects our common culture and heritage of sharing.”
Click here for the full report on Tanzania’s salon.
Uganda: Promoting Creative Commons Initiatives in Uganda
by project lead Moses Mulumba
In August 2013, CC Uganda received a grant from CC HQ to implement the project “Promoting Creative Commons Initiatives in Uganda.” The project, which is in its final stages, implemented activities to include:
- Stakeholder mapping
- Convening CC Uganda Affiliates to discuss the potential for the implementation of the Creative Commons initiatives in Uganda.
- Producing promotional materials like CC Uganda customised T-shirts, factsheets, stickers & IEC materials on CC Initiatives
- Holding a salon illustrating Creative Commons licences as an example of an alternative model based on copyright to stakeholders
- CC Translation Sprint.
The team met at Café Java on September 9th, 2013 and mapped out stakeholders to engage. The then team was composed of only 15 members i.e 9 lawyers, 2 information scientists, and 4 technology specialists (Javie Ssozi, Ruth Aine, Collins Mugume, and Micheal Niyitegeka) joined the team that day – as below:
Moses Mulumba / CC BY
Having tech specialists and social media enthusiasts join the CC Community was added advantage in breaking the monotony of lawyers being the sole advocates for CC licensing. Soon after the meeting tweets (#CCUganda) of the licences were up and blogs running news of the same –see https://twitter.com/search?q=%23ccuganda&src=typd.
The mapping exercise was followed up with a translation sprint exercise where Affiliates were subjected to an exercise to translate CC Public domain tools/factsheets to Luganda. This too was a success as we won CC HQ support to design and print the translated factsheets for dissemination.
We have also produced IEC including factsheets, T-shirts, and stickers to raise more awareness of the licences. We have convened stakeholders and held a CC salon that has attracted more members joining the open community and committing to use and advocate for use and adoption of the licences in the Ugandan community.
CC Stakeholder convening held on 31st October, 2013 at the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala
Moses Mulumba / CC BY
CC Uganda Salon held on 31st January 2013, at the CEHURD Gardens in Ntinda.
Moses Mulumba / CC BY
Details of pictorials can be accessed at our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Creative-Commons-Uganda-Affiliates-Page/335875883192903.
We are currently working on our 2014 roadmap and official blog from which members can creatively post articles and developments of the open movement in Uganda. The page, which is in its infancy, can be accessed here http://creativecommonsug.wordpress.com/.
Cross Regional Africa: Activate Africa
by project lead Kelsey Wiens
To Open Africa we need to activate the community. This week is the start of a month-long training program that centres around all things ‘Open’. This pilot program have been created to activate 5 Africa communities. Advocates from across Africa including Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Malawi, Uganda, and Ghana are being taken through an Open bootcamp. The intense training program for them covers all the tools and skills required for them to return to their home country and activate their communities. We are teaching them all things Creative Commons, Wikipedia, Open Street Maps, Open Educational Resources (OER), Open Data, Open Government, and the related fundraising & community building. An online version of the training program will be featured as part of the School of Open. They are all racing for the prize to be the first Kumusha Bus stop (a week-long activation in their home country on Africa Day). The Kumusha Bus is the Africanized LibreBus done in South America. The winning bid country will organize activations for a week in different locations around the country. It will be the first bus stop (of many) in Africa.
From left to right: Abel Asrat – Ethiopia, Nkansah Rexford – Ghana, Michael Phoya – Malawi, Cyriac Gbogou – Cote d’Ivorie, Erina Mukuta – Uganda
Kelsey Wiens / CC BY
Guest post by Elizabeth Kiragu Wanjugu and Tobias Schonwetter
As we were busy getting ready for our community Global Summit a few weeks ago, we nearly missed the announcement of another very important addition to that community – our new CC Kenya affiliate.
Our new Kenyan team is based around two Nairobi-based affiliate institutions: Strathmore University‘s Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) and the National Council for Law Reports (NCLR). CIPIT – led by Dr. Isaac Rutenberg – is Kenya’s Public Lead, while the NCLR – led by Michael Murungi – serves as CC Kenya’s Legal Lead institution.
The Kenyan team is supported by a large existing CC community in the country, which has been active for quite some time. Unsurprisingly, therefore, a number of projects and activities are already under way. The NCLR’s Kenya Law Report already uses CC’s Public Domain Mark for its content, the team has been a major contributor to bringing the School of Open to the region, and there is an exciting initiative to translate some of CC’s licence tools into Kiswahili. According to the new team, Kenya’s thriving cultural industry requires access to shareable resources that facilitate remixing, and CC Kenya also strives to support newly realisable democratic freedoms by enabling widespread access to knowledge and information. CC Kenya makes East Africa now one of the most active regions for CC in Africa with affiliate teams in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
One of the first major activities of the new team, even before they had formally launched, was Kenya’s inaugural Creative Commons Salon. Held on 6 June, 2013 at Nairobi’s iHub and themed, “using technology as a democratizing tool, especially one that will level the playing field for education and opportunity in Kenya,” the event drew approximately 50 participants from different backgrounds.
Organised by Akili Dada in partnership with newly established team, the Center for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) and Jamlab.
Akili Dada is a leadership incubator investing in high-achieving young African women from underprivileged backgrounds who are passionate about social change. CIPIT is CC Kenya’s Public Lead while Jamlab drives the School of Open in Kenya.
In her opening remarks Allison Domicone, Akili Dada’s Director of Development (and who incidentally ran CC Salons from late 2008 through early 2011 and helped grow them significantly while working with Creative Commons in San Francisco, California) welcomed the attendees then asked Alex Gakuru, Creative Commons Africa Regional Coordinator, to say a few words.
Expressing optimism for continued growth, Alex reflected on the positive reception thus far accorded to Creative Commons in Kenya and across Africa.
The panelists comprised Michael Muringi, CEO/Editor National Council for Law Reports; CC Kenya Legal Lead, Judith Owigar, President of Akirachix; Paul Kihwelo, Public Lead of Creative Commons Tanzania; and Simeon Oriko, Co-Founder of Jamlab. Akili Dada founder Wanjiru Kamau Rutenberg moderated the session.
Discussions on how technology can be harnessed as democratizing tool delved into how it can be made more accessible to all people with a special attention to girls and women given local statistics that they constitute only 15 percent of a technology field dominated by men. Discussion around access was extended to include access to online resources, empowering instruments and digital tools such as the mobile phone.
Discussants established among major barriers to access included: Inequitable financial access; Lack of knowledge; Absent or unpredictable electricity; Resultant societal stereotyping; to name but just a few. Probing, “What exactly is a level playing field?” was asked at the question session, with panelists responding as follows:
Jamlab – “A level playing field enables a person to achieve goals that s/he has set for own self.”
Creative Commons Tanzania – “A level playing field is where a person can have a balance between retaining ownership and encouraging open access to shared creative works.”
National Council for Law Reporting – “A level playing field is where any citizen gains access to justice without having to relying on costly representation through legal intermediaries.”
Akirachix – “A level playing field is where information is provided to enable girls to make informed career choices.”
Noted challenges included socialization in technology that favoured men over women, parents preferring to take the girl child to secretarial colleges to study languages and at best computer packages rather than encouraging them to venture into computer programming/coding and website development.
“Fortunately, the challenge is slowly being conquered by educating parents on importance of technology to the economy,” said Judith Owigar.
In Tanzania, librarians are championing the cause of Open Educational Resources (OER) due to their background and understanding of the importance of equitable access to knowledge.
Thereafter, the moderator invited audience participation with a reaction that children between 3 and 7 years were most impressionable urging stakeholders to focus their girlhood education and empowerment efforts on that age group.
Responding, Simeon Oriko said at that age the children were best under their parents care learning everything from parents. Jamlab chose to target high school students where youth peer influence, including what they see on social media, have the most impact on their adult character.
Professor Suki Mwendwa cautioned that technology, per se, should not be viewed as the solution to all access problems:
“Reading should be encouraged and technology used as a tool to increase access to knowledge. Technology having a seductive nature should also be regulated at home so that the children can be well rounded.”
The event ended with the moderator narrating inspiring stories of successful women providing role models for the younger generation — and encouraging others to do the same. She called upon more women to step forward to rally behind a solid community of mentors to change the world as we know it today.
It was a very informative interaction and well acknowledged. The audience later engaged and networked while enjoying the refreshments and food courtesy of NCLR sponsorship.
I thank Akili Dada, Creative Commons, Akirachix and Jamlab for taking the time to collect and relay information on matters of access and also women in technology. We look forward to the next CC Salon, perhaps in Tanzania, considering that CC Tanzania expressed their interest in replicating the event back home.
1 Comment »
Correction: The original article incorrectly listed Kenya’s Salon as the first CC Salon held in Sub-Sahara Africa. The first was actually held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August 2006.
This is a guest post by Kasyoka Mutunga, Precious Blood Secondary School Alumna and Executive Director of Jamlab, a community of former high school students providing peer mentorship, learning through the use of open educational resources, and using the Internet to objectively achieve their goals and actualize their ideas — while actively solving issues in their communities. Kasyoka is leading the School of Open Kenya Initiative as part of the volunteer CC Kenya community.
Young girls are teamed up in the heart of Nairobi. They are as hyperactive as any teenager would be. They have their aspirations, their goals, and their fears. From their chatter, they are afraid of the same things as I was. They are afraid of the upcoming exams, they are afraid to stay out late, they are afraid to miss the tickets to the upcoming concert, they are afraid that the pizza I ordered will be less than what they can enjoy, they are even afraid that their boyfriends are seeing other girls. However, today, sitting here I realize that there is one a major fear sparking off.
School of Open at the Precious Blood School / jamlab / CC BY-NC-SA
Two weeks before, Jamlab rolled out to introduce School of Open ideals to young girls in the Precious Blood School. The response was overwhelming. The girls came out in huge numbers. We cheerfully introduced Creative Commons to them. It was so intriguing that they went out and scavenged the rest of the Internet world for themselves. Soon, we were discussing the value of open in a world where “withheld” is what feels secure. We had to see the James Boyle video to understand exactly what we were all so afraid of when the concept of “Open” initially repelled us. The Initiative was at the end of that week launched formally at the School by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Information and Communications, Dr Bitange Ndemo.
Students at Precious Blood School
jamlab / CC BY-NC-SA
Dr Bitange Ndemo
jamlab / CC BY-NC-SA
Two weeks later, we sat in a balcony to proactively decide what the students would do with the knowledge they had acquired. They wanted to start companies, they wanted to build organizations, they wanted to make solar panels for their communities, and maybe even create a library system. They had all these ambitions building gradually in them and now maybe, they had the hope of actualizing them irrespective of their age or background. “You know…” I heard one say, “Big people everywhere are fighting for the Internet to remain open and accessible as it was set out to be. We have joined that fight… because for us, we are fighting for a life we can better!” There were giggles and murmurs but those words have stuck with me since.
Making CC videos / jamlab / CC BY-NC-SA
Finally, we decided on the project to take on together. It was something that resonated with everyone present. Today, they are bundled up behind cameras, behind computers and on the Internet, on YouTube actually. They are working on releasing short videos of their teachers teaching various subjects, licensing them under Creative Commons, and uploading them to YouTube. They are doing this for the thousands of young people who don’t get a chance to go to high school in Kenya.
Looking at their determination, I know that their major fear is that the world will leave them behind… that at the end of their time, they will simply have existed. I am excited about the videos and will send a link as soon as the girls learn how to edit them. However, I know that they ought not be afraid. Creative Commons has given them a reason to be extraordinary… and a reason to make others extraordinary too.Comments Off