Project Title:  ZONE-IT for Western Cape and Mzumbe :Implementing a Community Building App at Two African Universities (ZONE-IT Project)

Collaborating Project Partners

Flemish Northern Partner I:Ghent University

  1. Project Coordinator North : Prof. Koenraad Stroeken (Flemish)

  2. Institutional position (title, department, university): Prof Dr. Languages & Cultures, Ghent University

  3. Address, phone and e-mail address: Rozier 44, 9000 Gent/ + 32 9 264 37 05/ Anwani ya barua pepe hii inalindwa kutokana na spambots. JavaScript lazima iwe itawezeshwa kwa kuweza kuona.">Anwani ya barua pepe hii inalindwa kutokana na spambots. JavaScript lazima iwe itawezeshwa kwa kuweza kuona.

  4. Link to the IUC partner programme with the lead partner university: Prof. Stroeken is the Flemish coordinator of the VLIR-IUC programme with Mzumbe University, Tanzania.

  5. Other Project members

    1. Dr. Annelies Verdoolaege, assistant-coordinator of the IUC programme at Mzumbe University, and coordinator of the Africa Platform of Ghent University Association (African Languages and Cultures, Ghent University)

    2. Prof. Stef Slembrouck, programme coordinator of the IUC programme at the University of the Western Cape (English Linguistics, Ghent University)

Flemish Northern Partner II: Vrije Universiteit

  1. Full name person responsible: Leo Van Audenhove

  2. Position: Prof. Dr. Department of Communication Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussels

  3. Address, phone and e-mail address: SMIT, Pleinlaan 9, 1050 Brussels; +32 479 75 32 36; Anwani ya barua pepe hii inalindwa kutokana na spambots. JavaScript lazima iwe itawezeshwa kwa kuweza kuona.; Anwani ya barua pepe hii inalindwa kutokana na spambots. JavaScript lazima iwe itawezeshwa kwa kuweza kuona.

  4. Link to the IUC partner programme with the IUC partner university 2: Prof. Van Audenhove is the Northern project leader of Project 9 (ICT Innovation and Digital Inclusion) in the IUC programme with the University of the Western Cape, South Africa (currently in Year 11).

    South Collaborating Partner I: Mzumbe University

    1. Project Coordinator South: Dr. Albogast Musabila

    2. Position: Director of the Directorate of Information and Communication Technology, Mzumbe University. Address, Mzumbe University 25, P. O. Box 148 : +255 713 476 318, Anwani ya barua pepe hii inalindwa kutokana na spambots. JavaScript lazima iwe itawezeshwa kwa kuweza kuona.">Anwani ya barua pepe hii inalindwa kutokana na spambots. JavaScript lazima iwe itawezeshwa kwa kuweza kuona.

    3. Link to the IUC partner programme with the IUC partner university 1: Dr. Musabila is the Southern project leader of Project 2 (Improving ICT infrastructure and integrating ICT in teaching and learning) in the IUC programme with Mzumbe University, Tanzania (currently in Year 1).

    4. Other Project members

    1. Prof. Aurelia Kamuzora (Institute of Development Studies, Mzumbe University)

    2. Prof. Faustin Kamuzora (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Mzumbe University)

    3. Mr. Bernard Mramba (Directorate of Information and Communication Technology, Mzumbe University)

    South Collaborating Partner II: University of Western Cape (UWC)

    1. Project Coordinator South: Prof. Louis Fourie

    2. Position: Prof. Dr. Department of Information Systems, University of the Western Cape

    3. Address, phone and e-mail address: Robert Sobukwe Road, Bellville 7535, South Africa/ + 27 21 959 32 48 / Anwani ya barua pepe hii inalindwa kutokana na spambots. JavaScript lazima iwe itawezeshwa kwa kuweza kuona.">Anwani ya barua pepe hii inalindwa kutokana na spambots. JavaScript lazima iwe itawezeshwa kwa kuweza kuona.

    4. Link to the IUC partner programme with the IUC partner university 2: Prof. Fourie is the Southern project leader of Project 9 (ICT Innovation and Digital Inclusion) in the IUC programme with the University of the Western Cape, South Africa (currently in Year 11).

    5. Other Project members

    1. Dr. James Njenga, project member of the IUC programme at the University of the Western Cape, (Department of Information Systems, University of the Western Cape)

    2. Dr. Johan Breytenbach, (Department Information Systems, University of the Western Cape)

    3. Ms Carolien van den Berg (Department Information Systems, University of the Western Cape)

    4. Mr. Larry Pokpas, programme coordinator (South) of the IUC programme at the University of the Western Cape (Institutional Planning Office, University of the Western Cape. 


Background of the project
Following the spectacular rise of Smartphone use in both South Africa and Tanzania, the software technology of Smartphone applications (“apps”) can be earmarked as a primary tool for community building. Zone-it is a project initially sponsored by the Industrial Research Fund at Ghent University, and coordinated by Prof. Stroeken, is an example of a sharing application, developed at UGent (in 2013) by and for the student community. It is a virtual and interactive communication platform for location-based requests and offers in a variety of zones (types of activities).

Zone-it allows its users to combine time and space coordinates in order to find interesting events, activities and notices available in their vicinity. However, users can also (anonymously) upload events and requests, and interact by sending reactions to posted events or requests in a particular zone. The combination of a virtual notice board and location-based interaction, within a trusted community makes this app unique. 

Zone-it is based on two key principles namely; community building and sustainability. The aspect of community building is self-evident: app users can interact within a trusted community, as well as take control of their own living environment by creating their own zones. The main advantage of Zone-it is its ability to send messages that would promote sustainability within a certain zone – messages related to, for instance, carpooling, exchanging utensils, and the sharing of other resources – that are not only cost effective to the user but also minimize the impact on the environment.

After its initial implementation at Ghent University, the app is now ready to be customized and applied in an African context. The University of the Western Cape (UWC) expressed its interest in restyling and applying the app to (re)build the university community and unite the community with its surrounding neighborhoods. Furthermore Mzumbe University (MU) during the official launch of the VLIR-IUC programme Governance and Entrepreneurship through Research, Education and Access to Technology for Tanzania (Gre@t) showed an interest in adapting and implementing the app in Tanzania to stimulate the job market and facilitate natural resource governance, more exactly the agricultural chain of supply and demand. Therefore this initiative seamlessly follows from the academic and development objectives of the Gre@t programmes to stimulate governance and entrepreneurship through ICT. 

Objectives 

  1. Adapt and customize the current Zone-it application to the community needs at Mzumbe University and UWC.

  2. Test and deploy the Zone-it application

  3. Monitor the use of the app and make improvements

  4. Promote the use of the app amongst the students and neighboring communities.

  5. Capture and analyze the usage data for research and publication purposes

 

ZONE-IT Project Link with the VLIR-UOS country strategy 

The two IUC partner institutions selected for this proposal have a different IUC track record. Mzumbe University in Tanzania has just started its 6-year cycle of the first IUC phase. Central in this programme is the link with local communities, mainly on the basis of new technologies, governance and entrepreneurship. These were earmarked as essential in a joint assessment exercise of VLIR-UOS delegates with Higher Education institutes of Tanzania in 2011. In addition, according to the VLIR-UOS country strategy for Tanzania, entrepreneurship has been identified as one of the main themes for future cooperation with Tanzania. Community involvement is seen as a sub-theme and ICT as a cross-cutting theme. This Zone-it project therefore directly aligns with the VLIR-UOS country strategy for Tanzania. On a national level, Mzumbe University (MzU) has strong ties with other VLIR-UOS partners in Tanzania, such as Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), also located in Morogoro, and the Nelson Mandela Institute of Science and Technology in Arusha. Additionally, as a result of Mzumbe University’s satellite campuses in Dar es Salaam and Mbeya, this partner university has a country-wide network. In the future, the app Zone-it will be extended to other partner universities in Tanzania as the challenges on the level of entrepreneurship and local participation to governance are highly relevant throughout the country.

The University of the Western Cape, our second IUC partner, can be considered as one of the flagships of IUC cooperation in Africa. This university is likely to take a leading role in the newly developed country strategy for South Africa. According to this country strategy document, future collaboration between Flanders and South Africa will focus, amongst others, on good governance, communication and local community development. Also ICT is seen as a strategic niche for cooperation between Flanders and South Africa, especially with regard to building IT-networks outside of the university. The Zone-it app is considered as a fundamental tool in this respect, as it will be used for community building on campus and for outreach to the non-academic community on the level of cultural events, transport and public participation. With regard to the latter, the tool will also involve an educational element, as it will stimulate citizens to use their mobile devices for everyday activities, like culture consumption, transport and offers/requests at the level of immediate needs. Ultimately, the app can help strengthening the ties between the university and the wider community (including local government, local entrepreneurs, but also the cultural sector and township dwellers).

This closer relationship between the campus and the surrounding communities is an important aspect of the Institutional Operational Plan of the University of the Western Cape. Just like in Tanzania, after being implemented at UWC, the app can be used as a community building tool by other universities across South Africa. Hence, in the case of the University of the Western Cape, Zone-it is a tool by which strategic choices in cooperation between Flanders and South Africa, and pressing concerns of the local partner, will be addressed. 

 

ZONE-IT Project Possible links with other initiatives 

 

This project aligns with the current IUC programme between Mzumbe and Ghent Universities and it builds on existing capacity that has been developed as a result of the VLIR-IUC programme between the UWC and UGent (more specifically within Project 9 - ‘ICT Innovation and Digital Inclusion’). As a result, there will be complementarily amongst partners that have a very strong track record in IUC collaboration, moreover involving a university that has just entered into the IUC-capacity building framework.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Admission

Undergraduate(how to apply)
Postgraduate(how to apply)