Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
A Victoria University project that uses avatars in virtual worlds to engage refugee and disadvantaged children in education has won Innovator of the Year in the Australian Community Technology Awards.

The awards are presented by Connecting Up Australia to recognise significant achievements by charities, business and governments using telecommunications and the internet to benefit Australian communities.

The winners of the 3rd annual awards include:
- Mission Australia's workflow management system, which frees up social workers to spend more time helping people
- Vodafone Australia Foundation's mobile phone system, which helps save young people's lives
- Status Works' website, which better connects employers and job-seekers
- RSPCA (ACT)'s online pet adoption system, which saves the lives of moggies and mutts
- FlowConnect's grants management system, which streamlines applications for government funding for children with special needs
- The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Austlang website, which re-connects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to their Indigenous languages

3rd Annual Australian Community Technology Award winners

Best use of software in nonprofit settings

Mission Australia's Community Services Division has used their specially developed MACSIMS software system to streamline their workflow and become more efficient, which allows them additional time to help homeless people and adolescents at risk. Developed in association with Sydney-based company FlowConnect, implementing MACSIMS has resulted in a 95% reduction in internal reporting time and an 80% reduction in time spent producing government funding reports.
Mission Australia contact: Eleri Morgan-Thomas Phone: (02) 9217 1086 Mobile: 0428 645 074

Best use of telecommunications in nonprofit settings

Vodafone Australia Foundation's Young People Connected (YPC) project uses customised mobile technology which enables youth workers to stay connected with young people who are homeless or living in unstable accommodation. YPC also enables those young people to remain connected with their families and other support networks in a ‘safe’ way. Youth workers can also provide day-to-day guidance (24x7 if needed) and so help young people develop life skills towards a brighter and more independent future. The program has already saved lives.
YPC contact: Spencer Maddrell, Partner Manager, Young People Connected, 0414 207 236

Best web strategy in nonprofit settings - joint winners

Status Works' Employee Hot Prospects (EHP) website is a web and database application that gives employers instant access to a free, fully searchable recruitment web site that includes details of over 800 unemployed and disadvantaged job seekers. EHP provides a summary of each job seeker's skills, a photograph and a detailed resume. Employers can search by key word, skills and qualifications, select juniors, specify distance from their business, and can short list candidates and make direct contact with Status Works recruitment staff.
Status Works contact: David George, Executive Manager: Corporate Projects, Phone:(08) 8377 0101 Mobile:0414 401 767

RSPCA (ACT)'s new website includes an interactive Pet Adoption section. Offering available pets in this manner has met the needs of many people looking for pets with special needs, or a unique animal or pair of animals. Since going live with this website, the adoption rate for dogs has remained above 93% and for cats it remains above 72%, which is the best pet adoption rate in Australia.
RSPCA (ACT) contact: Michael Linke, CEO, Phone: 02 6287 8102, Mobile: 0419 123 234

Community Technology Innovator of the Year

Victoria University's Avatar Project uses 'virtual world' technologies to keep refugee and disadvantaged secondary students engaged in education. The project uses sites such as Second Life, collaborative media creation tools and Web 2.0 publishing platforms. The project operates in partnership with teachers at Debney Park Secondary College, a government school with a large number of newly arrived students from the Horn of Africa, South America, the Middle East and Asia due to its location in Melbourne’s inner West near a large Housing Commission apartment complex.
VU contact: Stefan Schutt, Senior Educator, Research and Learning, Work-based Education Research ,
Phone: 03 9689 7310 Mobile: 0410 387 622

Using technology to connect to the community - Business of the Year

FlowConnect's GrantsFlow software helps provide high support needs children with the care they require. The Inclusion Support Subsidy (ISS), a federal Government program, provides crucial funding to help childcare services to include children with ‘ongoing high support needs’ – including children with a disability, children being diagnosed with a disability, and refugee children. In order to best distribute the ISS funds, FlowConnect formed a unique collaboration with KU Children’s Services (KU) and Illawarra Children’s Services (ICS) to produce GrantsFlow, a complete grants management system to better administer the complex federal Government ISS program.
FlowConnect contact: Irina Parvan, Phone: (02) 9034 6600 Mobile: (04) 0266 6324

Using technology to connect to the community - Government Agency of the Year

AIATSIS Austlang project. The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) is a leading centre for quality, community-based research about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and lifestyles – past and present. Australian Indigenous people who endeavour to initiate or develop language revitalisation or maintenance programs search for available information and resources on their languages, but such information is not always easy to find. So AIATSIS developed AUSTLANG, a database of Australian Indigenous languages. The database was compiled from over 700 references on Indigenous languages and provides information about name, documentation, number of speakers, location, language programs, endangerment level, and classification of each language. AUSTLANG users can search for Australian Indigenous languages by language name or place name, or users can search for languages by navigating the Google Maps.
AIATSIS contact: Kazuko Obata, Research Project Officer, Phone: (02) 6246 1166 Mobile: 0401 865 880

For general enquiries and comments, please contact Connecting Up CEO Doug Jacquier 0408 955 541

Conference program: http://www.connectingup.org/conference/program
About Connecting Up Australia
Connecting Up Australia is a community-based nonprofit organisation. It operates the DonorTec technology donation program for nonprofits (http://www.donortec.com.au),which has channelled over $40m in technology donations to nonprofits in the past two years; the annual Connecting Up conference on nonprofit technology issues: www.connectingup.org/conference; and the annual Australian Community Technology Awards http://www.connectingup.org/conference/Australian_Community_ICT_Awards_2009.

Contact Profile

Connecting Up Australia

South Australian based non-profit Connecting Up Australia operates Donortec(http://www.donortec.com.au),which has channelled over $40m in technology donations to nonprofits in the past two years; the annual Connecting Up conference on nonprofit technology issues; and the annual Australian Community Technology Awards.
Leila Henderson
P: 0414697071
W: www.connectingup.org/conference/program


3rd annual Australian Community Technology Awards announced this evening at Connecting Up conference. Follow the conference at www.connectingup.org/conference/online#live



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