COMMUNITY ICT ACTIVIST, SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR, DIGITAL DIVIDE TRANSFORMATION ENABLER
with over 40 years of ICT experiences and community activism.
FOUNDER: Siyafunda Community Technology Centres, Community ICT Digital Villages
The impact of the digital age and e-learning has transformed the world’s access to information and inter-connectedness, making computer competency an essential skill in equipping future leaders and enabling people to participate in the global economy. With a vision to empower, educate and e-connect communities, and make computer literacy and access to an email address available to everyone, Mr Ahmed Ismael-Smiley Founder of the concept, opened the first Siyafunda Community Technology Centre in Palm Ridge in 2006. The core values of sustainability, affordability and access, remain key project drivers.
The first centre, a Community Public Private Partnership, established the model for the now more than 135 community centres nationally which have helped unlock people’s potential for creativity and productivity. Siyafundactc centres have played a significant role in driving innovation and revitalising communities. For many, Siyafundactc offers their first exposure to a computer and the opportunity to research and prepare assignments, access on-line services or apply for employment is life-changing.
Mutually beneficial relationships have been built with more than 50 partners from local, provincial and national government as well as schools, universities and key private and social organisations. Partnerships with other organisations in an increasing number of remote regions are being finalised.
The centre’s objective is to offer people access to computers, the internet and other digital technologies which enabled them to gather information, create, learn and communicate with others while they develop essential digital skills. The focus is on the use of digital technologies to support community, economic, educational and social development – reducing isolation, bridging the digital divide, promoting health issues, creating economic opportunities and reaching out to the youth.
In 2011, the community hub project developed into a network of Community Knowledge Centres (CKC) providing essential skills training through affordable, accredited short courses equipping learners with business and entrepreneurial skills and longer, more technical courses which help people increase their employment opportunities.
Pioneering accessibility to digital information and communication technology, Siyafunda CTC has been honoured with numerous awards. The innovative organisation plays an important role through providing access to information which builds intellectual capital and is essential for developing entrepreneurs, growing economies and connecting communities globally.
Siyafunda CTC enables Information and Community Knowledge Centres, where people can access Computers, the Internet, and other digital technologies that enable them to gather information, create, learn, and communicate with others while they develop essential digital skills. The focus is on the use of digital technologies to support community, economic, educational, and social development—reducing isolation, bridging the digital divide, promoting health issues, creating economic opportunities, and reaching out to youth.
Siyafunda CTC establishes partnerships and relationships with multi-stakeholders; local governments & municipalities, private business organisations, community based organisations, schools, universities in delivering Community Technology Centres in previously disadvantaged areas, thereby making the vision a reality:
“Ensuring that all citizens are computer competent and have access to information and communication technologies, the internet”
Siyafunda CTC is a network hub for sustainable community knowledge centres of excellence in South Africa