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Lessons on T-learning using an app

In South Africa, one third of all food produced for consumption is wasted, whilst 26% of all households experience hunger. The Food for Us project aims to develop a mobile phone application to link farmers and consumers to reduce food surplus on farms. The application has being trialled by 40 voluntary participants in the Western and Eastern Cape, linking producers with potential alternative consumers to reduce potential food waste.

The T-learning research in the Food for Us project, South Africa, is now being concluded, and Sarah Durr is completing a masters study on the project. Durr is investigating how the initial use and development of the Food for Us mobile application has enabled transformative social learning through particular application ‘affordances’ (clues which tell people using the app what to do), such as across a landscape of practice, involving selected producers and consumers. A series of interviews, surveys, WhatsApp data, application use meta-data and ongoing observations were conducted over the length of the Food for Us project. Analysis of initial data has indicated that personal and collective value has emerged strongly amongst the application users in the Raymond Mhlaba municipality. Social learning has started to emerge in the form of inter-generational and inter-disciplinary boundary crossing, which has been enabled by the application and its supporting platforms, which have been used as a mediating tool to connect people.

Heila Lotz-Sisitka, coordinator of the T-LEARNING network, said “as we move into the last few months of the T-learning project, all of the case studies are reflecting on the findings of the research on transformative, transgressive learning in times of climate change and we hope to be able to share many more lessons in the next few months to come”.


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