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Mfuleni women complete digital literacy programme<span><p>Most of the women participating in the Digital Literacy Programme had not even laid hands on a computer previously. In addition, the English medium of instruction was a barrier as the women are isiXhosa and speak very little English, if at all. This presented the City’s Information Systems and Technology Department (IS&T) with a challenge.</p><p>The City’s Digital Literacy Programme originally encompassed training in computer hardware and embedded software, including Basic Writer (open source Word equivalent), Basic Calc (open source Excel equivalent) and Internet security.</p> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:930px;" /> </figure>​​</span><span><p>‘The challenge for us was to tailor-make a programme that catered specifically for the women. Importantly, it had to empower them with basic digital literacy skills to give them a sense of confidence and pride. It was a great opportunity to tailor the content to suit the needs of quite literally each woman on the programme. We are pleased that they found it fairly simple to follow. We have learnt along the way that IT cannot be a one size fits all solution. This was the only way to make the training as inclusive as possible and ensure that the residents find value in the programme,’ said Andre Ford, Senior Project Administrator from the IS&T Digital Inclusion Department.</p><p>The City acknowledged the self-motivation and commitment of the group, who did not want to miss out on the opportunity to be a part of the digital revolution. Three groups of ten participants each were trained in basic computer skills over a three-week period.</p> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:932px;" /> </figure>​​</span><span><p><br>‘This group of phenomenal women has proven that one is never too old to learn a new skill. I applaud the women of Mfuleni for taking this bold step to enter the digital space, which is unfamiliar to them, and for staying the course to complete the programme. Developing their digital skills will help not only to improve their access to technology but will also open doors to future entrepreneurial or employment opportunities,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Corporate Services, Councillor Raelene Arendse.</p><p>‘I would also like to encourage the women to make use of the City’s SmartCape centre in the library. The only way they can grow and improve their skills is to practice what they have learnt. Help is always at hand in the library should they need further assistance when working at the computers,’ said Councillor Arendse.</p><p>Busisiwe Mrataza, who completed the programme during the first intake of participants, has volunteered her time to teach the enthusiastic women the basics of computer literacy while she is searching for employment. </p><p>Busisiwe also plays a critical role in translating the programme instructions into isiXhosa to make it easier for the women to follow. Although she only recently acquired the skills as well, her passion shines through and makes it seem like she’s an old hand at this.</p> <figure class="subtopic-fullsize-img"> <img class="responsive" src="" alt="" style="width:764px;" /> </figure>​​</span><p>The women are now able to compile a CV for themselves. When asked what would they do next with this newly learnt skill, it was unanimous: they want to finalise their CVs and apply for job opportunities to improve their lives. </p><p>‘The women should serve as a source of inspiration to their peers in the community and to other women. I tip my hat to them for their enthusiasm to become digitally literate and have asked them to go out and encourage more women to join the Digital Literacy Programme as this will help to open doors for them. We encourage young and old residents and community organisations to make use of these excellent learning opportunities. While the City fulfils its role of creating a learning environment, we ask community leaders to encourage residents to make use of these valuable digital literacy programmes. It will be to their benefit in the longer term,’ added Councillor Arendse.  </p><p><strong>About SmartCape</strong></p><p>The SmartCape programme is a City-run initiative to bridge the digital divide in communities. The City runs a number of digital literacy programmes that incorporate computer basics, coding courses, LAN gaming and other digital literacy programmes. SmartCape terminals can be found at all of the 104  City of Cape Town libraries, where patrons can also gain access to free Internet services via the SmartCape Wi-Fi hotspots.</p><p><br><strong>End</strong></p><p>Link to Audio clips:</p><p><a href=""><span style="text-decoration:underline;"></span></a> </p><p><a href=""><span style="text-decoration:underline;"></span></a></p><p><a href=""><span style="text-decoration:underline;"></span></a></p><p> </p>2018-09-25T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#6ba60a9b-9824-4c04-99d7-fb8ce8564054;L0|#06ba60a9b-9824-4c04-99d7-fb8ce8564054|digital inclusive city;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GPP|#8c9ac4c0-d991-4073-8967-1bafa0b7f593;GP0|#3cc24fb7-843d-4263-8e61-b3d7292ff76d;L0|#03cc24fb7-843d-4263-8e61-b3d7292ff76d|Elderly;GP0|#cb958038-faa9-43f1-bef2-458fee744354;L0|#0cb958038-faa9-43f1-bef2-458fee744354|Mfuleni1

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