During the past year RLabs have achieved many milestones, providing more than 5,000 people with FREE skills training and served more than 1 Million individuals through its mobile and Internet social services. We would like to thank all our funders, partners and consulting clients for their ongoing support and for making 2014 a truly memorable year at RLabs.
Below we list 10 of the year’s memorable moments at RLabs as we look back on 2014:
1. Youth Unconference Events in Botswana and Iringa – After a successful unconference event last year in Cape Town our teams in Botswana and Iringa took on the challenge of hosting the first of its kind events in their regions. In Botswana the event was in partnership with the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture with a focus on HIV/AIDS while the Iringa event focused on youth and the community. Both of the events brought together hundreds of young people and community members who were excited to share their ideas and views on specific topics.
2. RLabs UK officially registered – Our team in the UK officially got the Trust incorporated and will be continuing their programmes during 2015. The past year has mostly been focused on building partnerships as the RLabs UK team have settled in Coventry. You can follow their progress on their website.
3. Inxchange with RLabs Canada – This year our RLabs Canada team officially launched the Inxchange programme providing international students the opportunity to intern at the RLabs Cape Town offices. We hosted three incredible individuals during our first Inxchange year and we looking forward to our 2015 cohort. You can find more information about our Inxchange programme here.
4. RLabs Academy – This year RLabs Academy graduated more than 5,000 people for the first time through its official Academies in Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania, Johannesburg, Atlantis and Cape Town. The Academy will provide additional courses during 2015 and applications will start towards the end of January. Contact your nearest RLabs Academy for more information.
5. GROW Leadership Academy (GLA) – Currently in its 3rd year, funded by USAID, Omidyar Network and Rockefeller Foundation, the GLA have officially trained more than 500 young people in South Africa and Tanzania. The programme also saw close to 90% of its students becoming economically empowered through employment or starting their own enterprises. It was also the first year where GLA entrepreneurship groups had the opportunity to pitch for a place in the RLabs Innovation Incubator and Accelerator.
6. Innovation Incubator and Accelerator (InnovIA) – InnovIA hosted the 3rd class during 2014 and had the official launch day in October. It was also another year where the programme offered support to social enterprises outside of Cape Town. Some of the InnovIA social enterprises such as hoja and GoVarsity did very well at local and international competitions.
7. Youth Cafes – One of the new and exciting projects launched at RLabs was the Youth Cafes in partnership with the Department of Social Development. This new an innovative initiative providing young people with the opportunity to access training, support and opportunities in a cafe setting. With its vibrant setting and incredible teams working at the Youth Cafes, we had more than 15,000 visits to the Rocklands and Vangate cafes. The idea was also that young people can only access the services and goods by paying with a digital currency, Zlato.
8. Zlato – The digital currency that rewards good behaviour and when young people invest in themselves and communities were one of the big innovations coming from the RLabs technology group. We’ve enabled thousands of transactions in exchange for 40,000 community good hours where young people can spend their Zlato in the Youth Cafes and other community enabled merchants. The Zlato team also raised its first funds through the One Percent Club crowdfunding platform this year. We also had JoAnn Scharmann from Western Union who spent 2 weeks with our team further developing the Zlato Exchange model.
9. Acknowledgements – RLabs also received a number of acknowledgements this year with our founder, Marlon Parker, being listed as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Ashoka Fellow, Lead SA Hero, 100 World Class South Africans and one of the year’s most important Africans in Technology. RLabs was also highlighted in Forbes, Fast Company, Al Jazeera, and The Guardian this year.
10. People – Without a doubt one of our highlights at RLabs was the people we met during 2014, the incredible partners who supported our mission and the amazing team who are making HOPE contagious.