News in South Africa
Cape Town staff graduate from UWC Computer course
By Joan Daries
The past few weeks have seen staff at the Cape Town office feverishly practising their newly acquired computer skills. Even the office cleaner, Nobesuthu and driver Mbulelo, have been practising their PowerPoint skills and surfing the worldwide web on topics relevant to HIV /AIDS. There was a buzz around the office as staff prepared for assessments and graduation on 6 September 2008. On this glorious spring day, 37 staff members were awarded computer literacy certificates in a gala-like celebration with family, friends, fellow staff members, staff of UWC (University of the Western Cape) and the e-Learning Centre.
Thobeka Coba, a Senior Field Worker in the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Programme, spoke on behalf of the graduating class at the graduation: “I attended a township High School where we didn’t learn computer skills and my family couldn’t afford to send me for computer training. When I came to work at the OLIVE LEAF Foundation I was afraid to touch the computer, but today I can proudly say that I am computer literate. Even though I have much more to learn, the experience of coming to UWC every Saturday for 12 weeks in a row has opened up my mind to see a much bigger future for myself. Thank you UWC and the OLIVE LEAF Foundation for making this possible!”
How did all this come about? Our PEPFAR Fellow, Neliswe Maleka made it happen. She is currently completing a Master’s Degree at UWC and as part of her internship at the OLIVE LEAF Foundation , she is focusing on staff development. Staff had already identified computer literacy as a need in a survey that the Organisation completed last year. Nelisiwe developed a proposal that was presented to the e-Learning Centre at UWC and after careful consideration the project was approved. The first hurdle was that the classes had to run for 12 consecutive weeks and could only take place on a Saturday. This tested the commitment of staff and the e-Learning Centre staff. Another hurdle was transport, but we overcame these with the support of management and the determination of our staff.
Hence it was with great joy and a sense of achievement that we joined the celebration of the graduating ceremony. The Manager: Office of the Vice Rector, Ncedikhaya Magopeni, lead the proceedings on the day and the certificates were presented by the head of the e-learning Centre, Ms. Juliette Stoltenkamp. They both re-iterated the University’s commitment to capacitating local communities and developing our staff even further.
The OLIVE LEAF Foundation values the support of the University as we are aware that the financial value of the training is easily in excess of R100 000. Our Staff have been encouraged to use their newly acquired skills to enhance their performance at work and their capacity as parents and members of the community at large. For us the university is living up to its motto, “A place of quality, a place to grow from hope to action through knowledge”.
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