UL empowers rural communities with digital skills

An Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills development unit at the University of Limpopo (UL) is extending its digital literacy programme to the rural communities to empower youth and women to innovate in the digital world

The university’s CoLab in collaboration with the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (NEMISA) is rolling out a free Mobile Basic Digital Literacy training to teach youth and women on the use of mobile technology to create sustainable livelihood in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) era.

According to the Training Coordinator for the UL’s Limpopo CoLab Project, James Lentsoane, the ongoing course is offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays virtually. He says community members who are interested in joining the programme need to have access to a smartphone, Internet connection with at least 1GB of data, and an interest in using technology for livelihood. “No qualification or previous experience is required for this course,” says Lentsoane, adding that the course is free and open to all citizens or permanent residents, unemployed youth and women in rural parts of Limpopo Province.

Director of Academic Computing Support Services (eLearning) at UL, Dr Farivar Rahimi, says one of the hallmarks of the 4IR is that digital technologies put individuals in the driving seat to transform their lives. Dr Rahimi says that the learning outcomes of the course  are an apparatus for the participants to understand what 4IR entails and how it affects people’s lives. He notes that the course will train participants in setting-up and managing private network connections; use mobile applications to sustain their livelihood; set-up professional communication; draft and keep documents; manage money and facilitate self-improvement.

“The course allows participants to unlock the power of their smartphones. While many people have smartphones, few realise the versatility of their devices,” he states.

Echoing the importance of the initiative,  Lentsoane highlights that the focus is to stimulate interest in acquiring basic digital skills using mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. “We want to ensure that communities without computer infrastructures do not miss out on opportunities that the 4th Industrial Revolution and accompanying digital technology present,” he concludes.

Since the Limpopo CoLab was initiated in 2014 at UL, the project has empowered over 13 000 individuals with digital skills in the province, including unemployed youth, healthcare workers and educators.

Interested community members in Limpopo may register online at

Date created:2020-09-29 11:45:31