The pieces of me, an introduction of myself as Kabissa's new social networks outreach volunteer

Ziyanda photo

My name is Ziyanda Xaso. Ziyanda is a short version of my full name which means growing in numbers in my native dialect of Xhosa spoken in South Africa. The full is Ziyanda Iintombi Zamayalo meaning the girls (Iintombi) of my clan (Amayalo) have increased in numbers because of my birth. The emphasis of the clan rather than my immediate family is due to the fact that I am my parents’ first born but an addition to the many girl children of my clan. Traditionally in my family the first born children are females, this occurs mainly to the males in my family rather than the females who by tradition leave the clan through marriage and have children that are part of her husband’s clan.

Generally most of rural societies in SA are patriarchal, whereby children born in wedlock belong to the clan of their father, and those that are born outside of wedlock become part of their mother’s clan and follow the laws and traditional practises of their respective clans. Part of this tradition is the fact that first born sons are deemed the interim head of the family and take over that position when their father dies. This not the case in my clan the fact that the majority of first born are females, these first born females are treated exactly as the first born males. This is what sets apart my clan from others because the power and decision making is made by both male and female heads.

Read on to learn more about why I volunteer, why I chose Kabissa and my responsibilities at Kabissa.

Also, please help me do my work better by connecting with Kabissa on social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Thanks! 

Open Data at the Nonprofits and Data Summit in Seattle, 8 Aug 2012

NTENI am leading a 60 minute session about Open Data at the Nonprofits and Data Summit in Seattle on 8 August. The event is organized by NTEN, a nonprofit technology support network known for its annual conference in the United States and very useful webinars and newsletters geared towards nonprofits trying to make the most of tech. Thanks to support from Google the summit is free of charge to join. Live streaming via Internet will also be available via the event page, no registration needed. Click here for details and to register. 

In many ways, Data should be viewed as the "next frontier" in how nonprofits (and everyone, for that matter) use technology to achieve goals and get our work done. One reason for this is that, increasingly, our work and life is moving online and all of us have become dependent on "cloud" service providers. Those service providers are now in charge of taking care of our data, and that we have to trust them to use it responsibly. (See Another Cloud is Possible webinar video over at Aspiration for an excellent primer)

Open Data is one response for Data-driven nonprofits to consider. If we are already going to be putting our Data online to let other people use it, why not publish some of it using a license and format that allows not just Google or Facebook but anyone to download it and do what they like with it?

Of course this may seem outlandish and doesn't make sense for all Data, but it's a conversation you should start in your organization. That's the purpose of the site I created which encourages everyone to put a /open page on their site outlining their open data intentions (e..g we did this at Kabissa at That's what I want to talk about in my session at the summit. 

From the Nonprofits and Data Summit event page: 

Useful data helps nonprofits make good decisions about where to focus efforts and how to allocate resources, and can help secure funding. In fact, data has become a pervasive part of the work most nonprofits do. Join NTEN for a one-day workshop,taking place in Seattle, WA, where we’ll explore ways to make data easier to manage, more useful, and mission-focused.

And my session description: 

Technical: Making the Case for Going Open Data - Tobias Eigen

According to the Open Definition, “A piece of content or data is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share-alike.” While Open Data may not be for everyone, all data-driven organizations should look at their data and consider going open data with at least some of it for their own good and for the good of the communities they serve. This session will focus on understanding what Open Data means, why it is important, and how organizations can go Open Data.

Learning from KONY 2012: Let our voices be heard

Whether you love it, hate it, or know nothing about it, the online phenomenon that is the “KONY2012” video offers many valuable lessons for us in communicating the work we do.

What is this KONY 2012 all about?

Never has a video – and certainly not one created by an NGO – generated such heated and conflicting responses, or achieved such immediate global reach. Fast approaching the 100-million-viewer mark, in the week following its launch, coverage of the KONY2012 video infiltrated every major news outlet in the world, and ignited a storm of commentary among Facebookers and Tweeters of all ages.

If you have not yet seen it, KONY2012 is a slick, expensive 30-minute film produced by a US-based NGO, Invisible Children, as part of an international campaign to arrest the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Joseph Kony. It gives a brief history of the LRA, and creates a sense of urgency about the fate of the children abducted into the LRA. Viewers are told that the solution lies in their hands, through passing on the video, contacting US government representatives and celebrities, and buying bracelets and posters to spread the message.

The video has attracted enormous support, but also enormous criticism. Detractors accuse it of being dangerously simplified, patronizing, inaccurate and manipulative. To learn more, I encourage you to read some of the truly excellent pieces of investigation, analysis, satire and reflection published on the issue, including a growing number of responses from Ugandans.

Take action today to learn about Facebook timeline and hide embarassing and potentially endangering old status updates

Facebook is again evolving and growing its offerings, this time to bring a new feature that makes it easy and fun to explore and engage with someone's activities on facebook through time. As I've been saying over the last few years as Facebook gained in prominence (and I'm not alone in this) I am very concerned about Kabissa members working in potentially risky environments using Facebook in a non-tactical way and risking not just embarassment but arrest or worse. 

Silicon Valley Human Rights Standard (crossposted from

Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference

One of the objectives of the Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference is the creation of a Silicon Valley Standard (SVS). This is a principled statement incorporating the issues discussed at the 2011 Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference. The document includes 15 principles based on the 15 workshop topics covered at the conference.

The document is designed to complement other existing frameworks and uses the international human rights framework as its foundation. These principles served as a useful basis for discussion during the panels and represent a standard, which we hope the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector will use after the conference.

How to Disable Facebook's Facial Recognition Feature

You may have heard that Facebook turned on a new feature recently without notifying users - automatic facial recognition. When uploading photos to Facebook, your contacts will now be prompted automatically to tag you in the photos. This is done using a "picture fingerprint" (as the Electronic Frontier Foundation calls it). You may like this - but it is possible to turn it off if you don't like it or are concerned about your security... as I think many activists or civil society practitioners working in Africa should be.

On My Radar: StatusNet microblogging is an open source, decentralized alternative to Twitter

Yesterday I signed up for an account at SocialOomph, a service that extends the power of Twitter and other social networking services. I am still learning about SocialOomph and am intrigued by it, but today I received an even more intriguing message from them (see below) that describes StatusNet and why we should all support it.

Berlin: Tactical Tech public screening of ONO - learn with robot how to understand and minimize risks of using new technologies

If you are in Berlin and able to get to this event, I strongly recommend you do so! Especially for people working on sensitive issues, ONO the robot viewing parties offer an important opportunity to learn and discuss how to strategically use mobile phones, Twitter, email, Facebook etc. It is also possible to organize your own ONO screening party in your own community and download the films from to watch on your own. If you do, please let us know here how it goes!

ONO in Berlin (and on TV)

crossposted from:

Screening date and time: 22 November 2010


Betahaus - Open Design City
Prinzessinnenstraße 19-20

Berlin 10969


Join Tactical Tech and ONO at this party. All four films will be screened, there'll be drinks, an informal discussion about digital security and privacy issues as well as some limited edition ONO merchandise. Last but not least, some crew from Deutche Welle TV will be there finding out about ONO.

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