Today marked the launch of the Awethu! mobisite, and with it aims to provide information about government, civil society campaigns and more to users through a text based website optimised for access via feature phones.
The Awethu! mobisite will also serve as a collaborative tool for non-governmental organisations and civil society organisations which will not only aid these organisations but the citizens who have an interest in how they function. As national co-ordinator of Awethu!, Maurice Smithers explains, the aim of Awethu! is to create a centralised hub where information can be accessed by those that need it most.
The website will have various interactive sections including a space where users will be able to submit news.
This user-submitted news will be moderated by Awethu! who will then publish the news provided that it is not racist, incites xenophobia, is overly poltical in nature and meets the Awethu! terms and conditions.
Perhaps the most ambitious undertaking on the mobisite is the Social Justice Library. Currently this section of the site houses a copy of the South African Constitution which has been translated into all 11 of South Africa’s official languages, Corruption Watch’s Whistleblower’s Handbook and various publications from the Right2Know campaign including the Activist Guide to the Right to Protest.
In the future Smithers hopes to grow this section to include more information such as legal documents and other important information that could be hard to access if all you have is a feature phone.
It’s all about uniting individual voices for the greater good.
The collaboration that Smithers hopes to create within the Awethu! mobisite is vital to making civil society organisations more efficient in how they work with government and private individuals. Up until the launch of the mobisite the CSO and NGO sectors have operated in the dark with little to no direction as to what other bodies in the sector may be doing.
“The problem with CSO and NGO bodies is that we don’t know each other, even right here in Johannesburg, we don’t know each other and this creates a problem for civilians” Smithers said speaking at the Awethu! launch event in Braamfontein this morning, “this has the potential to create confusion and disjoint the messages we [civil society organisations] are all collectively trying to send to both government and the public”.
While the mobisite was only launched today, Awethu! hopes that it will soon become a home base for all social justice campaigners, civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations. This will in turn generate the content on the site for others to browse through and shed light on any important issues that may arise in the future.