Lockdown: Yabelana connects communities with essential services

Relying on other people within the community for information is a reality faced by many South Africans.With the country currently being on lockdown for the next few weeks, getting accurate information regarding social services could be a nightmare.

Fortunately, the North-West University (NWU) has come to the rescue with Yabelana, a ground breaking eDirectory system which will help communities throughout the country identify which services are available during the lockdown.

Yabelana, which means to share in isiXhosa, is the first tailor-made information sharing system of its kind in the country. Service providers register on the Yabelana app and add information about essential services and events, which enables people of all ages to identify services and events in their specific areas.

It caters for the older generation with pushbutton phones with the *134*237# USSD code, while the younger generation can download the Yabelana app from the Google Play Store or Apple iStore.

Furthermore, the app also allows recipient feedback to ensure reliability and accountability.

A national treasure

Yabelana is a product of the we-DELIVER project, lead by Prof Vera Roos and hosted by the Optentia research focus area on the NWU’s campus in Vanderbijlpark.

After Yabelaba was launched in 2018, the NWU partnered with the Centre for Community Technologies (CCT) at the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) to develop a national rollout programme and to explore expanding its application.

Prof Darelle van Greunen, director of the CCT, says the centre became involved with the preparation of training material and multimedia for the app. ‘’As part of a collaboration between North West University and the CCT, we accepted custodianship of the app,” says Prof Van Greunen.

Through their work, Prof Roos and Prof Van Greunen, along with their teams, apply information and communication technology from a needs-driven perspective to enable people of all ages to obtain much needed information in a time where every effort counts.

Yabelana serves the communities of Ikageng, Promosa and Lokaleng in the North West Province, Sharpeville in Gauteng, and all districts and local municipalities in the Eastern Cape.

On Monday 6 April, it was also extended to Malamulele in Limpopo, eThekwini in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Khayelitsha in Western Cape, Sol Plaatjie in the Northern Cape, Ekurhuleni in Gauteng and Mangaung in the Free State.

 

Submitted by BELINDA BANTHAM on Thu, 04/09/2020 - 10:35