Uthango Social Investments Leads the Way to Virtual Africa

Mon, Jun 25, 2007


Today, I had what felt to me like a ground breaking meeting with Alanagh Recreant on Second Life (a.k.a. Dorette Steenkamp in Real Life). Dorette Steenkamp is Executive Director of Uthango Social Investments, Cape Town, South Africa. Uthango is the first African-based NGO with a presence in Second Life.

You can visit Uthango’s newly established offices on Second Life here! SLurl: Uthango in Second Life.

Ginsu Linden, Linden Lab, told me earlier this month there was interest from Africa in the Linden Lab Global Provider Program. So, I was very excited to meet Alanagh in person, or rather in the pixels, and hear that an initiative to create an access portal and community for Africans on Second Life was actually underway.

“Not exclusively [for Africans] but with the exclusive aim to promote access to virtual reality.”

Uthango have just begun establishing their presence in Second Life. Their current offices are a first base from which to address the digital divide. But, please watch for more news about Uthango projects on Second Life to be announced shortly!

Uthango is an investment company specializing in finding and creating sustainable programs – connecting corporate/government with communities through collecting local intelligence and translating it to the business sector. But, “we only work at the invitation of communities. We are a relationship broker and bridge-builder between diverse interest groups to create mutual benefit.”

Uthango is serious about access for all. They will be working in parallel at establishing internet hubs in communities. And, they are seeking partnerships with mobile telecoms on mobile applications for Virtual Africa, and to develop links between mobile space and Second Life.,

They are putting together an Uthango Global Advisory Board that will be an innovation team both socially and commercially – to put out and receive ideas concerning producing a viable Virtual Africa Platform.

It is so exciting to see the first steps towards realizing a vision for a Virtual Africa being taken by Uthango. This group is deeply experienced at working on the ground with rural communities on sustainable development and poverty relief. And, they are expert at creating commercial partnerships with social value.

Uthango won the Centennial Award from Rotary International for Sustainable Projects in Communities in 2005, for District 9350, and The National Impumelelo Innovations Awards in the same year for Innovation in Private/Public Projects for their micro-enterprise project affecting a community of 45000.

I am especially impressed with how Alanagh, while very committed to expanding the possibilities for mobile technologies in sustainable development, is equally committed to the idea that Africans should not be excluded from high quality internet connectivity, access, and the potential that Second Life, as an immersive virtual world, has for Africa.

These are exciting times for African innovation!


Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

categories: Africa, crossing digital divides, Mobile Phones in Africa, Mobile Technology, Second Life, social media, The Dirt Road To The IT Superhighway, Virtual Citizenship, Virtual Worlds, Web 2.0, Web 3D, Web3.D, World 2.0

3 Comments For This Post

  1. Lisa Stefanoff Says:

    OK, it’s time for me to try to enter the zone.
    Step #1: Ask Trish how you get into 2nd Life
    x L

  2. Alanagh Recreant Says:

    Thank you very much for the article. We are pleased to report that we have put out an open call for expression of interest to developers in SECONDLFE to assist with creating VIRTUAL AFRICA, and have received 37 responses within the first 2 days!!

    We are absolutely overwhelmed by the positive feedback, and look forward to make this virtual platform a REALITY that will benefit many in Africa and around the world…

    Kindly get in touch with UTHANGO via our website if you are interested to know more, or would like to be considered as a provider of content or services in-world.

    Thank you to UGOTRADE for the publicity!

  3. TyncBakThakads Says:

    It’s amazing

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