Press Release: National Peace Corps Association Launches New and Improved Africa Rural Connect 3.0
Washington, DC — November 9th, 2010 — Redesigned site has new tools and features to maximize the remixing of ideas
After months of beta testing and technical revisions, the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) announced today it has launched an updated version of Africa Rural Connect (ARC), a program created by NPCA in 2009 that allows people worldwide to collaborate online and develop ways to help solve rural Africa’s greatest challenges. Known as version 3.0, the relaunched ARC now includes additional interactive tools and features to maximize the online collaborative experience. ARC is powered by an innovative software program called Wegora, which allows users to read and remix each other’s ideas at the press of a button.
“Africa Rural Connect has always been at the cutting edge of online collaboration for social causes and is, to our knowledge, the only website of its kind,” said Molly Mattessich, manager of online initiatives for the National Peace Corps Association who heads the Africa Rural Connect website. “The updated version offers tools that will keep us ahead technologically while allowing our users to work together even more effectively.”
The website’s individual profiles now show a user’s activities, including separate lists for their remixes, posted ideas, comments, endorsements, pledges and any ideas they’re following. The pages also feature basic information on the user and any ARC community badges they have earned, making it easier for users to connect with others who share their passion for a particular country or have resources to help with an idea. The remixes option shows a clear graphic timeline that chronicles the comments, endorsements and pledges each idea received to grow into a better business plan.
“The core of Africa Rural Connect is about encouraging the exchange of participants’ ideas,” said Ernesto Gluecksmann, partner consultant with Infamia, a Washington, D.C.-based website consulting and technology firm, who helped designed the site and was behind the launching of version 3.0. “We are really excited to see how the improvements accelerate new connections for contributors to help turn their concepts into actionable plans.”
The website gives every individual user a dashboard to help them organize their interactions on the site and to work on the ideas and projects in which they are most interested. Keyword searches can now also be tailored based on the country, allowing users to find projects in countries where they have specialized knowledge. Participants can also search for specific users by looking up their profiles.
“The new profiles allow users to get a much more personalized experience,” said Mattessich. “We want people who use social networking sites such as Facebook and FourSquare to feel at home when they’re using Africa Rural Connect.”
The next round of the ARC 2010 ideas competition ends Nov. 15. A grand-prize winner will be selected and announced in December from the ideas posted this year.
About the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA)
Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) is the nation’s leading 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization connecting and championing Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and the Peace Corps community. It provides service and education opportunities that build on the Peace Corps experience, and is also the longest-standing advocate for an independent and robust Peace Corps. To learn more, visit: www.peacecorpsconnect.org
Director of Communications