A. Project Summary
I. Project Brief
1.1. Project Name
Empowering Underprivileged Youths in Rural Townships and Villages in Countries where Heads Foundation exist with Computer Literacy
Many youths in disadvantaged communities across Africa Continent have computer knowledge below the level they need to function and integrate in today’s societies. Many children in the Townships or Rural, or Villages and Sub-Urban areas have matriculated from high school without basic computer knowledge. Most of these youths sometimes cannot gain employment because of inadequate knowledge of micro-computer packages. Case study of South Africa;The South African economy is moving towards a knowledge based society, resulting in organisations insisting on certain skills requirements in order to remain globally competitive. The inability of these youths to gain employment impacts negatively on the Human Development Index (HDI) of South Africa and most often these young people remain frustrated in poverty, demoralized and idle. This has had devastating consequences, as some of these youths, as a result idleness, end up in gangs or get involved in other social malpractices such as theft, prostitution, drug abuse among others. Many of our male children have been associated with murders, robbery, assault and drug dealing while their female counterparts are involved in prostitution.
Heads Foundation have considered this problem of lack of basic computer knowledge among youths in these townships and disadvantaged communities The Foundation is responding to an urgent and declared need to empower these youths with computer literacy in order for them to be competitive in the 21st Century.
This proposal describes the planning process and implementation plan of a 5 years community computer training project to empower youths from various rural and disadvantaged communities. The project will comprise a collaborative development of a program that includes comprehensive computer lessons and practical training that will educate these children and help address the skills gap within IT sector.
1.3. Project Goal
The goal of the project is to empower youths in rural communities with computer education which will include knowledge in basic computer usage which among include, Microsoft office, desktop publishing, technical skills in computer engineering such as installation, assembly and repairs. By providing this computer education, entrepreneurial and leadership skills, the project seeks to reduce poverty, crime and illiteracy.
1.4. Time Frame
Project Duration: Ongoing
The intention of Heads Foundation is to make this project an on-going project. This will enable most of youths from disadvantaged background to acquire skills in computer and thus enable the Foundation to realise its goal of combating unemployment and alleviating poverty amongst these youths. As an NPO project, the sustainability will depend on sponsors, proper coordination, accountability and transparency on the part of the organisation.
1.5. Target Group
This intervention will target youths across disadvantaged communities. The intervention is planned for youths because they require computer literacy skills in order to become competitive in their upcoming careers and to have ease in their day-to-day activities. Computer knowledge have become an indispensable tool for these youths, from making of their assignments, writing research papers, helping in their studies, to learning new information.
1.6. Project Carrier
The Project carrier is Heads Foundation. The project’s components will be implemented entirely by Heads Foundation.
1.7. Company and Organisational Structure
Heads Foundation is a Non-Profit Organisation established in the Republic of South Africa with registration No. 147-047NPO. The organisation is aimed at making significant contributions to the lives of thousands of people in South Africa and Africa at large through five main initiatives. These include health and HIV/AIDS, education and training, sport and recreation, food security, poverty alleviation and community development.
The organisation focuses on some pertinent African issues that require immediate action, solution and achievable results and its mission is to create a better world without compromising the next generation by training, empowering, creating awareness, managing and developing communities across South Africa and Africa at large.
Heads Foundation is structured in the following manner. It is made up of a General Assembly and an Executive. The Executive branch of the Foundation manages the overall performance and activities of the Foundation and is responsible for executing priorities identified by the Foundation. Heads Foundation is structured as below:
1.8. Essential Personnel Contribution
Heads Foundation will recruit volunteers to develop a conceptual framework for the development and implementation of the community computer training programme. These volunteers will be train in various aspects of computer maintenance, repairs, installation, Microsoft Word, Excel, Desk Top Publishing and the use of other micro-computer software packages. These volunteers will take their computer skills to the youths in these communities to train and empower them. However, the Executive Committee and the Programme Coordinator, as well as the entire Project Implementation Committee will be responsible for primary decision-making and the day-to-day operation of the project.
II. Goal and Justification of Project
2.1. Problem Analysis
The biggest challenge faced by South Africa in the new millennium, as in any other developing country is resolving poverty and other human development problems. Although different opinions exist as to the extent to which computer technology have contributed to the reduction of poverty, it however still forms an integral component for any socio-economic development strategy. While in urban and in rich communities in South Africa, almost every home has at least one computer, in poor rural communities disadvantaged youths often have no access to a computer. Many of these South Africans have never interacted with a computer before and a majority of them grow in these rural areas with very low levels of computer literacy. Thus the gap in available opportunities between youths from rural communities and urban communities in Africa keeps on increasing.
Achieving human development by curbing out unemployment falls within one of South Africa’s development strategy. However this goal cannot be achieved until the unskilled are skilled and empowered with computer training. Today information and communication technology and basic computer skills are prerequisites in all professional and many semi-skilled jobs and are becoming important to basic survival in the world. Entrepreneurs in South Africa thus find it reluctant to employ youths without any basic knowledge on computer. This increases the problem of poverty due to unemployment and has led to frustration among many youths and has forced some of them to participate in crime or prostitution for a livelihood. A computer thus constitutes a key educational tool for this information age as well as a key tool for socio-economic development. Thus Heads Foundation is out to alleviate this digital divide between rural and urban African Communities by providing free computer training to disadvantaged youths from many rural communities.
2.1.1. Heads Foundation’s Community Computer Project
Heads Foundation has taken a long term challenge to develop a Community Computer Project by responding adequately to the information and communication technology gap that exist between youths in rural and urban communities Africa. A Task Force of volunteers, an Advisory Committee and a Project Implementation Committee are the driving force for the implementation and monitoring of this project which includes comprehensive computer lessons and practical training on the computer. This component of the program will in detail be elaborated in subsequent paragraphs
III. Project Implementation Plan
3.1. Methodology and Planning Process
The methodology used to derive this project and to identify its components has been a series of collaborative workshops between members of Heads Foundation and the executive. The first workshop helped identify the priority components of the computer training programme and the targeted area. The second workshop allowed members of Heads Foundation to fill these components with programmatic expectations while the third series of four workshops were used to develop a detailed work plan for the project. As an implementation and decision making organisation, Heads Foundation has decided to form a Task Force made up of volunteers that will monitor the implementation process. This structure is complemented by a Project Implementation Committee and an Advisory Committee to oversee the implementation and progress of the project.
3.2. Description of the Priority Project Component and the Anticipated Results
3.2.1. Comprehensive Lessons and practical training on computer.
Heads Foundation will establish a computer training center that is specialized in the use of Information and Communication Technology to support education for youths and necessary for intellectual development. This center will facilitate continuous lessons and practical training on computer. A timetable and a computer training curriculum have been developed to deliver a sound and qualitative computer literacy education to these youths. As an informal training center, it shall operate from Monday to Saturday. The training centre will be opened from 09:00 to 18:00 for youths or learners. Computer training shall be provided for free and will last for nine months and divided into three phases. A phase shall last for three months and upon completion, a certificate shall be awarded. Students and learners will also use the centre to access information, research and type their school work. For matriculants and other graduates, the centre will be use as a resource centre for CV typing, fax, print and copies. Our volunteers will liaise with school authorities and community leaders in order to encourage these youths for participation. Our services shall also be advertised on posters in these communities and schools and will be made very accessible to reach these youths.
3.3. Project Monitoring and Evaluation
The project component will initially be informed by thorough formative and baseline research. The evaluation of the project will be the responsibility of the Project Coordinator and the Executive Committee, with input from the Advisory Committee. The evaluation plan consists of a number of different evaluative strategies.
3.3.1. Formative Evaluation
Primarily qualitative in nature, the formative evaluation will be conducted through open-ended questions, informal conversations and observations. Foundation members, key stakeholders and administrative staff, will provide feedback for the ongoing improvement of the project. Periodic reports will be prepared that identify the major findings and how they have been used to improve the operation of the project. During the planning and implementation phase of the project, the Project Implementation Committee and Project Advisory Committee will meet on a quarterly basis to discuss findings from the formative evaluation and make appropriate changes to the project.
3.3.2. Ongoing Monitoring and Data Collection
Primarily quantitative in nature, monitoring will begin with the establishment of baseline data at the beginning of the project and subsequently through yearly monitoring. The following indicators will be collected and examined:
Number of students that find employment after graduation
Number of students that engage in job creation and/or operate their own business after graduation
3.3.3. Outcome Measurement
Primarily qualitative in nature, this will consist of an examination of the benefits or changes for the youths and their community, during and after participation in the program. The following outcomes will be examined through observation and interviews with staff, volunteers, and community members:
Increased self-esteem and self-confidence
More positive outlook for the future
Greater appreciation of the importance of education
3.4. Anticipated Results
This project will empower many youths with computer education and stimulate economic growth within the target communities and will enable beneficiaries who may be bread winners of their family to assist in their siblings’ welfare and education and generally improve literacy, reduce poverty and minimize crime.