YouthAssets & BarCampSwaziland Featured in the Swazi Times!


We are so excited that YouthAssets and BarCampSwaziland were featured in the local Swazi Times newspaper this week – how cool is that! BarCampSwaziland will be the country’s first tech conference – an event expected to bring together roughly one hundred technology and media practitioners for a day of knowledge exchange, collaboration, and relationship building.

Many thanks go out to our wonderful supporters and sponsors who are helping to make this event possible, including House on Fire, Comparatio, and Swazis Rock. In addition, we’re especially looking forward to the privilege of using this event as a training ground to provide hands-on experience in blogging and video journalism for the youth we serve. Thanks to our partnership with Flip Video’s Spotlight Program, we’ll have some Flip video cameras on hand that will provide us an opportunity to teach youth how to tell their stories through video and publish video stories to the web, including to YouthAssets’ YouTube channel & blog, as well as to partner media outlets.

Check out the story on YouthAssets above that our friends at the Swazi Times featured this week. Also, be sure to keep posted on developments and updates on BarCampSwaziland here on our blog, as well as via Twitter: &

See you at BarCampSwaziland on June 27th!

mBanking in Kenya


I turned on the radio and joined National Public Radio’s (NPRs) show “Talk of the Nation” in progress.  One the show as a woman from Kenya talking about how phones are used for “mbanking”.  I really wanted to share what we learned from our interviews with youth-headed households in rural Swaziland on their mobile use.  Not only did these youth who have very limited access to resources own a mobile phone, they used these phones creatively as a survival tool.  Uses ranged from “flashing” (calling a phone and then hanging up before you are charged) neighbors during a break-in, receiving requests for work and payment via mobile, and calling relatives in town for emotional and material support.
I called Gcina Dube, our partner on the ground who helped up conduct our interviews, and patched him in the NPR’s call in number.  But by the time we did that, got screened, the show was wrapping up.  Stay tuned for more information from our research….
To check out the show on mBanking in Kenya, be sure to visit:

Using Mobile Phones for Emotional Support

I recently read about the new practice of burying loved ones with their cell phone. While some people put a cell phone in the casket as an object that their loved one valued, some use the phone as emotional support after their loved one is gone. Some people call their loved one’s phone and leave a message when they miss them. In this article, one woman actually continues to the pay the bill and leave regular messages for her late husband.

While the article is pretty light-hearted, over time I have been really thinking seriously about how mobile phones can provide so much comfort. Sometimes just knowing that I CAN make a late night call or use the light of my phone when it is dark. And of course, I luckily still have my parents and have access to electricty. It makes me wonder how much emotional support just having a phone could be for youth-headed households…

Read more on the article here: