With the massive shift over the past year towards the 4 th Industrial Revolution (4IR) with everything going online, including education, banking, shopping, and meetings, one of the most pressing issues is the cost of data. Most people access the internet on their mobile phones looking at websites and using communication platforms on the move. With everything being online, our data costs have become exorbitant, forcing people to be selective about what they explore and access online. During a mobile application research project based in the Raymond Mhlaba Municipality, Eastern Cape in 2018, one of the inhibiting factors to effective mobile application use was the cost of data and the strategies used to conserve data. Within the community, the overwhelming majority of people used their mobile phones, rather than desktop computers or laptops to surf the web. It is, therefore, imperative to ensure that the cost of data is reduced as far as possible to ensure that the Amanzi for Food Training of Trainers course is accessible to all.
The Training of Trainers Course in person conducted in 2018 in the Eastern Cape at Fort Cox Agricultural and Forestry Collage.
The Amanzi for Food team is therefore very excited to announce that a data-free version of the Amanzi for Food website and the online course has been developed (http://amanziforfood.sbox.datafree.co/ ). This version of the website is free to anyone using a mobile phone on a South African network. People are able to browse the site, explore the materials, look at photos and even watch videos embedded in the site with no associated data charges. With the data-free site available, people will be able to follow, register and complete the online Training of Trainers course without data limitations. In a time where learning has moved into the online space and there is a need, now more so than ever, to build one’s own livelihoods and sustainable business, the Amanzi for Food team wishes to encourage the development of productive gardens and farmlands through the use of rainwater harvesting and water conservation farming practices. The Training of Trainers online course takes a farmer-centred approach to sharing knowledge of rainwater harvesting and conservation practices. It puts smallholder farmers and household food producers at the centre of education and learning, encouraging the development of productive demonstration sites where course participants can put what they are learning into practice.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left very many people without work resulting in loss of livelihoods and the worsening of issues such as hunger and malnutrition. Through growing their own food, or by farming their land, however small, sustainably, people are able to not only feed themselves but also build their own agribusinesses selling their surplus produce to their community.
The team looks forward to welcoming many people to the Amanzi for Food website, and the Training of Trainers online course!