Construction of the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), a 9 900km-long optical submarine cable between Durban and Port Sudan, is expected to begin in mid-December after a group of development banks including the International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced a US$70.7-million investment in the project. The IFC said in a statement issued on Monday that it would provide long-term financing to the value of $18.2-million, while the African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, Germany’s development bank KfW and the French development bank AFD would jointly provide the rest. The total cost is $235-million and the rest of the financing will be provided by a consortium of 25 private telecommunications operators, 21 of which are African and will be the cable’s main capacity users. The consortium earlier signed a turnkey contract with Paris and New York-listed network solutions provider Alcatel-Lucent to lay the fibre-optic cables for EASSy. “It is a major accomplishment to have finalised the loan financing of this complex project,” IFC chief executive Lars Thunell said. “This is a vote of confidence for the continent. The project will transform the African telecommunication landscape and have a direct positive impact on business in East Africa.” EASSy will link Sudan to South Africa via Djibouti, Somalia, Tanzania, Madagascar and Mozambique. It will have landing points in Port Sudan, Djibouti, Mogadishu (Somalia), Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), Toliary (Madagascar), Maputo (Mozambique), and Mtunzini in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Botswana, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe will also be linked to the system as terrestrial cables known as the Nepad ICT Broadband Network, which aims to free the continent from its dependence on expensive satellite systems to carry voice and data traffic. Nepad (the New Partnership for Africa’s Development) is the African Union’s blueprint for socio-economic development on the continent. According to the IFC, consumers along the east coast of Africa typically pay between $200 and $300 a month for internet access, which are some of the world’s highest and have an adverse economic impact. “As a result of the EASSy cable, prices for international connectivity will drep by two-thirds at the outset, and the number of subscribers will triple. Because the project gives open access to service providers, prices will fall further as volume and competition increases,” the IFC states.
The Fak’ugesi Conference was one several events during the 10-day Fak’ugesi: African Digital Innovation Festival. Discussions at the conference included the experiences of and challenges in the augmented- and virtual reality industries.Fak’ugesi holds its first animation hackathon, called the ani-marathon, on 11 and 12 September 2017. Participants are animation school students and people working in the industry. The final product is showcased on 16 September 2017 at the festival’s Bloc Party. (Image: Faku’gesi, Facebook)Melissa JavanThe Origins Centre Museum was now a space where technology could be explored, participants at the Fak’ugesi Conference heard, held on Thursday, 14 September 2017. Virtual reality goggles would be available at the centre.The announcement was made shortly after the panel discussion “Future Media: Addressing changes and development of virtual reality industries in South Africa”.It was the first conference held at the annual Fak’ugesi: African Digital Innovation Festival, which took place in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, from 6-16 September. “Fak’ugesi” comes from the isiZulu term meaning “add power” or “put on the electricity”.The event brought technology and innovation to people in a fun, accessible and playful way. There were also workshops, laboratories, exhibitions, hack-a-thons, music, films, artists and games.“Some incredible highlights at this year’s festival will include the Fak’ugesi Conference, the hugely popular Making Weekend, as well as our annual Market Hack event at the Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein,” said Tegan Bristow, 2017 Fak’ugesi festival director, before the event.“We’re also thrilled to announce an exciting new curatorial partnership titled Fak’ugesi Beats, a beats, music and technology focus curated by Weheartbeat, who will go on to lead the festival finale Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party as part of their larger programme.”The bloc party was on 16 September.Participants tweeted about the festival:#Beetlebot workshop #Fakugesi and @UNHABITAT #BlockbyBlock Come see the free digital exhibition & experience incredible digital innovation! pic.twitter.com/tePWewqiH5— Fak’ugesi Festival (@fakugesi) September 10, 2017Talking collaborations in film, music and design @fakugesi Conference 2017. Live stream now: https://t.co/sHDqpXwdEO pic.twitter.com/JqnV4t55vI— Connect ZA (@Connect_ZA) September 14, 2017#Fakugesibeats lab with @weheartbeat has begun! We are very excited about this collaboration. WeheartBeat x Fak’ugesi Bloc Party 16 Sep 2017 pic.twitter.com/6haQS5RPIM— Fak’ugesi Festival (@fakugesi) September 10, 2017We are back on, it’s Monday at #Fakugesi Kicking off with a 28hour Ani-marathon. The final results to be seen at @weheartbeat Bloc Party! pic.twitter.com/RKso3gX3Ii— Fak’ugesi Festival (@fakugesi) September 11, 2017The Origins CentreThe Origins Centre Museum at the University of Witwatersrand explores and celebrates the history of modern humankind. You can also do DNA ancestry testing at the centre.The virtual reality goggles now available were created by Alt Reality. There will be a virtual reality tour for visitors on 25 September, which will explore various ancestors. The technology makes use of smartphones.The conferenceSpeakers at the conference included artist William Kentridge. He is best known for his animated drawings and is one of South Africa’s most well-established fine artists.During the discussion “Future Media: Addressing changes and development of VR industries in South Africa”, panelists spoke about their experience in animation- and related industries, as well as the challenges they faced.One of those was the high cost of hardware, especially since it changed every several months. Another challenge was that distribution of technologies such as virtual reality was not happening at scale.Rick Treweek of animation company Alt Reality had advice about changing technologies. “[If you have to create something for a client] bank on the concept.“Hardware changes fast. So don’t just develop games for Nokia, but rather games for phones.”Panelist James Gaydon of Don Doo Studios, which specialises in virtual reality, augmented reality and animation, said his company focused on providing training resources for mining companies.For example, said Gaydon, it had created a 3D virtual reality training system for Anglo American that showed what tools should be used underground.“With this model, we took the employees out of dangerous spaces – they didn’t have to go underground to do the training. It makes the training less stressful, because they are not in a dangerous space,” said Gaydon.“Virtual reality is an incredible technology.”Most of the panelists agreed that they foresaw corporates using more of augmented reality versus virtual reality – augmented reality is used with Pokemon Go and virtual reality is used with the film Avatar.You can use augmented reality with a smartphone and you will still see your surroundings, but with virtual reality when you put on the goggles, you are placed within a virtual world – cut off from reality.Other topics discussed at the conference included “Sonic visions: Understanding new collaborations in film, design and music” and “Culture and innovation, a Pan-African Conversion”.Source: Fak’ugesiWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
AdvertisementTYSON FURY has revealed he is in “deep negotiations” with Deontay Wilder over a December world title fight – and he’s fired a shot at rival Anthony Joshua to boot.Fury made his comeback after more than two years out vs Sefer Seferi in June and is now set to face Francesco Pianeta in August, though the German is not likely to cause Fury problems. Asked whether Fury would face Whyte or Chisora after the bout with Pianeta, Warren told talkSPORT: “Well, actually they’re two competitive and very good fighters but, with due respect to them, we’re actually trying to make the fight with Deontay Wilder.“First of all we want to see what he looks like on the August 18. Hopefully, he will come through it well, but reports from the gym are that he’s looking well.“Tyson, as he’s said himself, has been talking about Wilder in the last few weeks and it’s a fight I think the British fans would like to see.“It wouldn’t happen in the autumn, if it happens it will be sometime in November or December.“That’s where I would like to see him, providing he comes through okay and that’s no disrespect to anybody. He’s the lineal champion. He’s the guy who hasn’t been beaten. He lost his belt outside the ring.And despite Anthony Joshua struggling to get a bout with Wilder, Warren reckons he can bring the American and Fury together.He added: “I’m pretty confident we can make it happen. It takes two to make a deal and if you really want to make a deal you will make it happen.” Should he come through that, Fury will then look to jump several levels to face the ‘Bronze Bomber’ after Anthony Joshua failed to strike a deal to decide the undisputed heavyweight champion. Advertisement
Need to start online fundraising? Have you checked out PayPal or Google Checkout?It’s time to consider a better (but still free!) solution. Network for Good provides a free online fundraising service to registered 501(c)3 organizations — DonateNow Lite.How does DonateNow Lite compare to Paypal?Donor experience is heightened because of Network for Good’s use of a donation form (rather than a shopping cart).Donors receive automated tax receipts and online donation history.You can accept recurring donations.You can track donations with online reports.Our service is registered to process donations for nonprofits from the residents of all 50 states + DC — PayPal is not. (While Network for Good is a registered charity in all requiring states, we recommend that you also seek professional advice for your unique situation in complying with applicable laws governing charitable appeals in the respective states.)Network for Good is a nonprofit like you are.We offer our subscribers free fundraising training & resources at www.fundraising123.org.Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!
Mark Rovner and I have been working on a little project – maybe it will turn into a book. We test-drove some of the content at the Nonprofit Technology Conference, and the NTC conference attendees were brilliant and contributed much to our thought process! The session was received warmly enough that we were asked to type up a little summary for the NTEN newsletter. I wanted to share that (it’s below), as well as the official blog for this topic. We welcome thoughts, comments, additions — any input at all!Here’s what we said:The NTC in New Orleans was full of fantastic, sparkly, shiny new technology tools. And then there was our session. No winsome widgets, no witty Twittering, no Dopplr-found Doppelgangers.And that was the point.Which is this: What makes technology tools great is not the technology. It’s the people behind them. Successful technology is about bonds, not wires. It’s human connections that matter. “Social media” is about “social” more than it’s about “media”. If you missed our session, we summed it up in the title: The Seven Things Everyone Wants: What Freud and Buddha Understood (and We’re Forgetting) about Online Outreach. Some very human principles make or break the success of absolutely everything you do online. These are the kind of truths Buddha or Freud – explorers of the deepest recesses of the human mind — talked about. To achieve true marketing “enlightenment,” you need to tap into fundamental human needs with your technology – rather than hoping technology can inspire alone. You may think this sounds a bit like Maslow – and it is – but with a twist: Maslow was uncovering human needs; We are showing how his and other deep needs can be employed to foster a more humane world. There are at least seven of these fundamental needs, and that’s what we covered in our session. We threw out a need, and the folks in the session talked about how they’d met it through online communications. (Hat tip to Britt Bravo for capturing the examples so well in her blog.) There are other human needs – we’d like to add simplicity and humor to the list of seven – but this was a start.Here is a taste of our discussion. But the conversation is far from over. Please help us continue it – we’re headed toward a book of some kind, we hope. Talk to us at our official blog for the topic.PLEASE: Don’t just read this article, tell us your story.Need 1: To be SEEN and HEARDMaking someone feel seen and heard is the most powerful thing any of us can do with online communications. On the other hand, not listening is the root of most problems, personal (just ask your partner!) and professional (just ask your co-workers!).Examples of great listening:•Teen Health Talk engages youth to talk about health issues rather than lectures at them.•Oxfam has used Flickr petitions successfully in several campaigns. Two of their staff members recently returned from Darfur and are putting together a video to raise awareness about it. They are collecting questions from supporters to include. The bottom line: See to be seen, hear to be heard.Need 2: To be CONNECTED to someone or somethingPeople are sociable creatures, and they want to find other people that share their interests. That’s what fuels Facebook or Twitter or any number of examples. In fact, one could argue that connecting people to each other is the highest and best use of technology.Examples of great connecting:•BeliefNet has prayer circles where people can share prayers for specific people.•March of Dimes’ Share Your Stories allows families of babies in the NICU to share stories. The bottom line: Engage by connecting to what your audience (NOT YOU) wants to hear.Need 3: To be part of something GREATER THAN THEMSELVESWe need to lay out the grand, inspirational vision of our cause. We should show how together we can leave the world a better place.Examples of vision:•18Seconds.org shows the cumulative effect of everyone changing their light bulbs to CFLs.•The MoveOn “endorse a thon” for Barack Obama is only the latest in a long line of creative, uplifting and inspiring efforts.Need 4: To have HOPE for the futureForget doom and gloom, finger-wagging campaigns. People hate them.Example of hopeful messaging:•Earth: The Sequel has been up for 2 weeks and has received 15,000 views.•The Yes We Can Obama video. The bottom line: Ix-nay on the apocalypse. Persuade through inspirationNeed 5: To have the security of TRUSTPeople are starved for a sense of trust. That’s why we glom on to authentic messengers. Examples of authenticity:•76% of givers according to Cone say they are influenced by friends and family. SixDegrees allows people to create widgets that feature a photo of themselves and 250 characters of text about why they support a particular cause.•The Packard Kid Connection site helps kids get ready to go to the hospital. It builds trust because it looks like Club Penguin (Club Penguin is a social network for children), and it has videos of children explaining how things work at the hospital. The bottom line: Cut the crap. Your authenticity is everything.Need 6: To be of SERVICEThe #1 reason people stop giving to a nonprofit is that they feel like they are being treated like an ATM machine. They want to help, but they also want to be of service and to have different ways of serving. That need is not being fulfilled if all they hear is the unimaginative drumbeat of dollars. If you are reading this, you already understand – and embody – the deep need to be useful and of service.Need 7: To want HAPPINESS for self and othersThe core of Buddhism is that everyone wants happiness and to be free from suffering. The more you want happiness for others, the better it is for you, and them.We wrapped up the session with the following happy dance. Remember, it’s about people. People who want to be happy in this world.
Use the questions below to assess whether you’re ready to take on more with social media outreach and fundraising. Not there yet? Use the questions as the seed for a strategic online action plan.So, how does your nonprofit stack up?Is your URL guessable? Imagine one of your supporters (we’ll call her Sally) describing your organization to a friend or colleague (his name is Bob). Sally paints such an incredible picture of the impact you’re making and the value of your programs. Next time Bob hops onto the Internet, he thinks, “Ooh, I want to check out that nonprofit Sally recommended.” If Bob types in the name of your organization with a .org at the end, will he find you? Or, do you have dots, dashes and a venerable Morse code situation going on? Make it easy for potential supporters and search engines to find your nonprofit.Do you use website design strategically? Notice the inclusion of the word “strategically,” and the absence of the word “beautifully.” Whether you have a work of art for your homepage or a Spartan site, it needs to be effective. From big donate buttons to compelling language, make your site user-friendly. (Not sure where to start? See the tried and true “4 basic website tweaks” for a few tips.)Do you provide relevant content? If homepages could collect dust, would yours be in dire need of a Swiffer? What entices you to keep reading when you’re doing your own Web-surfing? Timely, interesting, compelling content. If your cause was mentioned in the news, share it on your website. If your program changed someone’s life-a constitutent or volunteer, for instance-share that person’s story. The same things that makes marketing and journalism successful will make your website copy sing.Can you collect email addresses on your website? Points one through three were ones to mull and consider; this one’s a simple yes or no. Have you made it easy, clear and enticing to sign up directly for email communications? (And by “enticing,” we mean something other than, “Get Our Newsletter.” Make your emails sound exclusive and valuable.) This simple mechanism will make your life easier (hooray, automation!), as well as your supporter’s. If you’re using an email marketing service like Constant Contact you can quickly create a sign-up form to embed right into your website.Can you accept online donations on your website? Regardless of their donation preference, 65 percent of all supporters will check out your website prior to making a donation. While they’re in this “open-minded moment” (considering contributing), make it easy for that person to donate right then and there. Web users are no longer shocked at the idea of making online contributions; a shocking discovery, instead, would be not having the ability to donate from your website. (Never fear: Network for Good can help you there, too.)Do you tell your story through pictures, videos or podcasts? Remember your writing 101 lessons from high school: When you’re writing, show people, don’t tell them. The same carries into our nonprofit messaging, and now we have other resources in addition to our words. Make visiting your website and watching your event presentations more exciting and engaging by using visuals and audio. (Note: Put a photo on your homepage-a big one. Consider making it a photo of a face to create a fast-track to engagement.)Do you have a blog? Maybe your website is under lock and key, making it difficult to update and keep chocked full of timely information. Blog to the rescue! In addition to its traditional outreach and dialogue-encouraging uses, blogs serve a number of purposes: increase your search engine optimization, improve credibility and improve transparency, to name just a few.Do you use email marketing to drive traffic back to your website? When you get your supporters in the habit of visiting your site often, it will deepen the connection they feel with your organization. The more time they’re spending on your website, the greater number of times they’ll see your call to donate and all that dynamic content you’re posting.Can people find your website in search engines? That friend of a friend who’s searching for your organization online may turn to his trusted search engine of choice to locate you (whether it be Google, Yahoo!, MSN, etc.). Have you done any work to improve your “search engine optimization” (SEO)? There are some brilliant techie folks who have written entire books and training courses about this process, but never fear: A few small tweaks can go a long way. Check out the 4-part SEO series to get your SEO on the right track.Do your publish your URL on every communication, both online and offline? Yay – another yes-or-no question to round out the checklist! Are you plastering your URL on everything you type, print, send, email, mail, publish, etc.? Is it on the final slide of every presentation you make? Is it in your email signature? There’s no such thing as putting your organization’s website in “too many” places. What’s the moral of this checklist’s story?You need to have your website, email marketing and online-fundraising ducks in a row before spending time and resources on social media outreach.