Two interesting projects I came across at eLearning Africa are icouldbe and Emerald InTouch.
icouldbe.org is an online mentoring initiative that pairs school learners with volunteer adult mentors. For the last 9 years it has been based in the USA, but is now beginning to roll out in some African countries. The website is the interface between the mentor/mentee. The interactions must adhere to very strict rules such as no personal identification, no swearing, etc. The potential for SA is enormous, where young people need encouragement and support, and where the technology mediates across race and economic class divides.
Emerald InTouch is a “personal web space and hosting service that supports learning, networking and collaboration. Built upon the Elgg learning landscape system, InTouch places a range of collaborative technologies and networking tools in one simple, easy-to-use, secure space.” A downside is that it offers many web 2.0 features that people already use, e.g. an RSS aggregator and a blog, so why would you want to start yet another blog inside Emerald InTouch? The answer is if you belong to a research community and want to benefit from the social networking that can enhance that community. Further, alerts can be set up to even SMS users when relevant research actions occur — this is especially valuable to those in developing countries with low internet connectivity.