Yoza! M-novels to get teens reading

first_img6 October 2010Yoza, a library of mobile novels or “m-novels” that harnesses cellphone technology and popularity to promote reading and writing among South African youngsters, is being incubated by the Shuttleworth Foundation while it looks out for sponsors or partners.Yoza offers young people a growing library of free, hip, interactive novels, encouraging them not only to read but also to participate in commenting on and reviewing them, and to submit their own stories – with the aim of turning reading into a social, sharing experience.“For the foreseeable future, the cellphone, not the Kindle or iPad, is the e-reader of Africa,” Steve Vosloo, founder of Yoza and fellow for 21st century learning at the Shuttleworth Foundation, said in a statement at Yoza’s launch in August. “Yoza aims to capitalise on that to get Africa’s teens reading and writing.”Yoza is available on MXit (go to Tradepost > MXit Cares > mobiBooks), on WAP-enabled mobile phones at www.yoza.mobi, as well as on Facebook.Pilot project: making KontaxYoza is part of the Shuttleworth Foundation’s m4Lit (mobiles for literacy) project, which began as a pilot initiative with the publication of a 20-page story called Kontax, in English and isiXhosa, in September 2009, followed by Kontax 2 in May 2010.Readers were encouraged to comments on chapters, vote in opinion polls related to the story, and enter a writing competition.“The uptake was tremendous,” the foundation said in a statement. “Since launch, the two stories have been read over 34 000 times on cellphones. Over 4 000 entries have been received in the writing competitions, and over 4 000 comments have been left by readers on individual chapters. Many of the readers asked for more stories and in different genres.”Catching the reading bugYoza was launched on the back of this response – in order to complement, not attempt to replace, the printed page. Yoza’s m-novels are written in conventional language, with “txtspeak” only used when a character is writing or reading SMSes or instant message chats.Most importantly, the m-novels offer “compelling, entertaining reading for teens in South Africa,” says the Shuttleworth Foundation. “The aim is to captivate teens and inspire them to catch the reading bug.”Competitions with airtime prizes prompt readers to answer the questions at the end of chapters, keeping them engaged and coming back for more.Write a story for Yoza and submit it at www.yoza.mobi/write – if they like it, they’ll publish it.Yoza’s initial line-upIncluded in the initial line-up are four m-novel series – Kontax, Streetskillz, Sisterz, and Confessions of a Virgin Loser – with a sequel to each to be launched near the start of each month from October onwards (Streetskillz 2, Sisterz 2 and Kontax 5 are already live).Yoza Classics will feature a range of public domain titles such as the school-prescribed work Macbeth. “The idea is not necessarily that teens will read the whole of Macbeth on their cellphones, but if they have to read Act 1, Scene 1 for homework and they don’t have a textbook, then they can do so on their phones.”There is no charge for the actual stories, though users do pay the usual mobile data charges. To keep these low, Yoza uses images sparingly – data charges on local cellphones range from 5c to 9c per m-novel chapter.Current story languages include English and isiXhosa, an Afrikaans story is on the way, and the ultimate aim is to publish in all 11 South African languages. Yoza encourages the public to get involved in translating its m-novels into local languages – “if you translate it, we’ll gladly publish it”.“Over the next six months, the plan for Yoza is to build a library of cellphone stories of multiple genres that are available to teens not only in South Africa, but ultimately throughout Africa,” says Vosloo, noting that Kontax has already been published in Kenya through MXit.Seeking sponsors, partnersWhile the Shuttleworth Foundation is incubating the project, it will need to be sustainable from early 2010, and is actively seeking sponsors or partners.“There is a growing awareness around the impact that a lack of books has on literacy levels in South Africa,” says Vosloo. “Books are scarce and prohibitively expensive for most South Africans. Stats show that 51% of households in South Africa do not own a single leisure book, while an elite 6% of households own 40 books or more. Only 7% of schools have functioning libraries.“What South Africa’s teens do have access to are cellphones, with stats indicating that 90% of urban youth have their own cellphone. The take-up and interaction with the first two Kontax stories clearly demonstrates that cellphones are a viable platform for local teen reading and writing.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Ohio ag groups pushing for TPA

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ohio agricultural and commodity organizations recently urged Congressman Jim Jordan to support the reauthorization of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for President Obama. Jordan has publicly shared that he won’t support the bill. With the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations taking placing, it is vitally important to agriculture for the President to have TPA.The Ohio Agribusiness Association, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Dairy Producers Association, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Poultry Association, and Ohio Soybean Association sent the following letter to Congressman Jordan.Trade is vital to the U.S. Economy, and especially important to Ohio’s number one industry: agriculture. Currently, Congress is debating important legislation that affects all Ohioans and our state’s farmers, and Ohio Agriculture is hopeful that Congressman Jim Jordan will be supportive of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).TPA provides guidelines for politicians as they pursue trade agreements that support U.S. jobs, eliminate barriers in foreign markets and establish rules to stop unfair trade.The success of the food and agriculture sectors, both in Ohio and nationally, are heavily dependent on continued growth in exports; therefore, Ohio farmers are extremely interested in the passage of TPA. Productivity in agriculture far outpaces the domestic market’s ability to consume it, and the U.S. needs to continue to push for greater access to foreign markets; this is only possible through trade agreements and TPA.In 2014, Ohio sent $52.1 billion of goods to foreign destinations, as the result of more than 263,000 jobs supported by exports. Ohio is the 9th largest exporting state in the nation, sending goods to 216 countries and territories in 2014.Farm and food exports have a positive multiplier effect throughout the U.S. economy and Ohio’s. Every $1 in U.S. farm exports stimulates an additional $1.22 in business activity, according to USDA. Exports of $150.5 billion in 2014 therefore generated another $183.61 billion in economic activity in the U.S. bringing the total economic benefit to the economy to $334.11 billion.These exports were made possible through trade agreements, made possible themselves by the enactment of Trade Promotion Authority. TPA gave U.S. negotiators the ability to extract the best deals possible from other countries. Without it, no country would be willing to make the tough concessions– the ones that would most benefit us — if they fear that Congress will subsequently demand more. The success of trade agreements relies heavily on TPA.Rejecting TPA would not be free of serious consequences. Nations around the world are negotiating bilateral trade deals. If competitors gain free access to our biggest markets while we continue to face substantial import barriers, our markets will inevitably shrink. Standing still on trade puts the U.S. at risk of falling behind in the global marketplace. In short, trade agreements, such as those being negotiated with eleven other countries under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and with the European Union under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), cannot achieve U.S. goals without TPA.In the TPP talks, the Administration is working hard to complete a high-standard, 21st century deal that will eliminate barriers to our exports and raise standards within the TPP nations. Should Congress not pass TPA, that would send a clear and unfortunate message to our TPP partners and to the world, that we are turning our back on the fastest growing economic region in the world. The economic cost to the United States and to Ohio from a failed TPP would be more than lost opportunities; it could result in a real loss of exports, market shares and jobs.TPP is the most important regional trade negotiation ever undertaken. In order for TPP to become a reality, Congress needs to renew the TPA legislation. We strongly urge Congressman Jim Jordan to support Ohio’s economy and jobs by supporting TPA.last_img read more

Remember the Heroes

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now The time to protest a war is before it begins. If you disagree with the war on whatever grounds, you should call your Congressman, write the President, and march in the street holding up signs. You should make your voice heard (and as loudly as possible). That is your right and your duty.But once the war has begun, the time for protest is over. You have to support the decision and work to end it as quickly as possible (something we in the United States aren’t at all very good at). The decision is made, and the soldiers in harms way require your support to complete their missions. Protests only show a weak resolve, poor intestinal fortitude, and increase the horror of war.Today is a day to remember heroes who did what their country asked of them. And more.The soldiers who served and died didn’t want to go to war. They wanted to be home with their families. But they did what we asked of them.The soldiers who served and died didn’t want to put themselves in harm’s way. But that was their duty, and their honor and their responsibility required it of them. So they marched into the fray.The soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice didn’t want to make that sacrifice. They didn’t want the medals. They didn’t want their family to receive a flag in their place. But they gave all.The soldiers that we lost gave themselves out of the love they had for the soldiers standing next to them and out of the duty they had to their country.You are a beneficiary of their sacrifice. Be grateful to the heroes who were asked to do the unthinkable and did so out of duty, honor, and the love of their country. Your country.last_img read more

India, Bangladesh border guards celebrate Holi together

first_imgThe Border guards of India and Bangladesh on Sunday celebrated Holi together along the International Border.The Border Security Force and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) played Holi at Akhaura, an integrated check-post, and other bordering areas of Tripura and exchanged sweets.Holi, was celebrated in some parts of the country on Sunday and it is being celebrated in other parts on Monday.“The BSF and the BGB are very close and have celebrated various annual carnivals each year. Celebration of each other’s festivities together would bring both the organisations closer,” BSF’s 195 Battalion Commandant Ajit Kurmar P. said at the Akhaura check-post here.last_img