Cisco and Makwa-IT have today come together to tackle the grassroots development challenges faced in South Africa through the announcement of their support of the Wot-if? Trust who manage and initiate a number of programmes and projects based on expressed community needs with a focus on CSI, Socio-Economic, Enterprise and Supplier Development programmes in Diepsloot.
At a launch event at the Wot-if? premises, the program will see Makwa-IT donating resources to deploy networking technologies to the non-profit organisation (NPO), which will help them realise significant gains in productivity, scalability, and cost-efficiency, exclusively using Cisco solutions.
Wot-if? enables platforms, programs and spaces in Diepsloot that connect local small business owners and entrepreneurs with opportunities that aid them in generating sustainable incomes, enhancing livelihoods for the entrepreneur and the community members they are connected to.
Wot-if?’s focus on the fields of transformation, social innovation and community development encourages the creation of self-sustaining initiatives based on innovative models that are replicable, scalable and measurable.
So it is that, when the NPO found itself subjected to a malware attack on its server, which placed it in an extremely precarious position in as far as its stored information, they found themselves in need of a technological solutions partner. Enter Makwa-IT and Cisco.
The solution presented was Cisco Meraki, which enables cloud-controlled Wi-Fi, routing, and security. With Makwa-IT, the deployment of the Meraki software will allow Wot-if? to manage their devices using cloud-based centralised management and run diagnostics on secure and high-quality wireless/wired networks.
“Our facilities in Diepsloot serve members of the community in a number of ways, but shared computers open us up to viruses, malware and cyber-attacks. The Cisco hardware and software offers us security (both physical and cyber) in ways we never thought possible,” says Gail Styger, Founder and Trustee at Wot-If?. “The Meraki software will allow us to improve and better manage our service offering.
“For the small businesses and community organisations we support, this equipment and show of support is a huge vote of confidence, not only in the work we do but in the participants who use our facilities - it shows in a very tangible way that they are worth investing in.”
Not just a box drop
Yasmin Kirton, Global EMEAR Commercial Director at Cisco vision in Africa is to support the digitization of businesses, communities, and government through several initiatives with skills and talent development, innovation and job creation.
The ripple effect that comes from all technological improvements is an investment in education and it was important that users not only have access to the technology but also the skills development needed to best use it for their own economic empowerment.
“Cisco and Makwa-IT delivered the technical scope (end-to-end) including implementation and training. Our goal with this project was to leave the Wot-if? centre more digitally enabled to meet its day-to-day service goals for the community of Diepsloot. We also wanted to ensure that Wot-if?’s vision of becoming a leading tech hub for skills development in young children could be realised.
“The project began with us conducting face to face customer consultations, to understand their business objectives and mapping them to our solutions. From the architectural design, we put together the technical proposal and the scope of work that was needed to meet their objectives. This included the funding of equipment, resources and the teams needed to make this a success. The outcome was an architectural design that would give the Wot-if? centre cutting edge capabilities in today’s digital economy.”
Lethabo Mokone, Founder and CEO of Makwa-IT Technologies, says the only way to ensure that the benefits of digital transformation are felt throughout the country is to drive accessibility to the technology but adds that this is only one part of a far greater education and inclusivity deliverable.
“We have to inform, educate and create accessibility to see tangible change and this is something that we take great pride in whether it be through our ICT skills incubation drive or support of the Wot-if? trust, community value and empowering communities are at the heart of what we aim to achieve,” he says.
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