The Jozi Digital Ambassadors Programme is a co-operative project between the city of Johannesburg and University of Johannesburg (UJ) that will offer residents the opportunity to learn how to access and use the various public wireless facilities around the city.
Launched on 7 August, the programme will roll out over the next 18 months, offering interested young people an opportunity to become digital educators to residents and the chance to gain the digital literacy knowledge that will make Johannesburg a truly connected city.
Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau says the initiative forms part of the city’s roll out of 1 000 wifi hotspots. Digital ambassadors, consisting of ambitious young residents with a basic knowledge of IT and an innovative spirit, will be selected to teach over 700 000 city residents in the art of competently using and substantially benefiting from the broadband connections in their areas.
Training of the selected digital ambassadors will be given by UJ staff and students from the engineering, IT, management and education departments. It will be hosted by UJ’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, using a cloud-based learner management system incorporating open source learning.
“The digital ambassadors will enable the broader Johannesburg community to engage with digital technology; for example, in online job-seeking opportunities, banking applications and access to digital services,” says Professor Johan Meyer, the head of the university’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
Digital ambassadors will be mentored in business acumen and given insight into the digital world to enable their own innovation enterprises.
Interested young people can apply to be digital ambassadors through the Jozi@Work portal on the city of Johannesburg website. Once selected and trained, the ambassadors will be tooled with electronic tablets, branded marketing material and deployed in designated areas where free, public wifi has been installed. They will teach residents how to access online services, including banking and digital map navigation, as well as how to interact with platforms such as Jozi@Work and other employment-search tools like the LinkedIn social network.
Joburg hopes its Digital Ambassadors Programme will turn entrepreneurial young people into service providers who offer the crucial knowledge and digital literacy that is needed to fully utilise its high speed broadband. In addition to increasing Joburg’s digital footprint, it is believed the programme will further create a platform for innovation, economic growth and community development.