The Naledi3d Factory
Endorsement Letter for 2004 USA Tech Museum Awards
(A global call for nominations of innovators using technology to benefit humanity)


from Peter Schiøler CII Advisor to UNESCO

 

unesco_300px_paul.bmpUNESCO
Place de Fontenoy
75007 Paris

31 May2004

 

To Whom It May Concern
I am hereby pleased to endorse the nomination of Dave Lockwood and the Naledi3d Factory in the Tech Awards’ Education Category 2004.

As Communication and Information Advisor for UNESCO in Southern Africa I had the pleasure of working with Dave Lockwood and his team, and I was impressed by their ground-breaking work in the domain of applying ICTs for education in developing countries.

UNESCO is championing Education as well as Information for All world-wide, and the organization sees the use of community based multimedia and telecentres as an important way to improve access to education in underserved areas. With the rollout of computers to schools and community centres in developing countries, we have a unique opportunity for creating new and innovative training materials that are attuned to individual community needs and traditional ways of communicating, -and at the same time can be shared broadly through school nets and telecentre networks.

UNESCO challenged Dave and his team, to develop a computer-based visually interactive training programme on rural water sanitation for a telecentre network in Uganda, a challenge they fully met with the groundbreaking Rural Hygiene in Africa application making use of virtual reality (VR) technology. Rural Hygiene in Africa has not only been received extremely well by the target group in Uganda, but it has continued to propagate on its own and is today being used by schools, universities, community centres and church groups in several central African countries.

The success of this pilot has sparked a number of other activities where UNESCO in partnership with Naledi3d Factory is exploring how computer based visually interactive techniques can be applied for developing better educational content and training programmes. Naledi3d Factory is today the leading company developing visually interactive training applications “in Africa for Africa”.

Naledi3d Factory is however more than an excellent technical partner for UNESCO. I have personally been impressed by the company’s commitment to change, and in the spirit of post apartheid South Africa, seek new solutions and share know-how for the public good across the continent.

However, to champion new concepts in education and to challenge stereotypes about Africa is not easy. Dave Lockwood and the Naledi3d Factory is fighting a long and sometimes lonely battle on a continent that desperately needs more of this type of courage and innovation. The Tech Award would honour their courage and, more importantly, would provide crucial recognition for VR-based education as a viable solution to some of Africa’s educational woes.

 

Peter Thorkil Schioler
CII Advisor to UNESCO
UNESCO
Paris