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The CoLab for e-Inclusion and Social Innovation, at the University of the Western Cape, was established in 2012 to fulfil a thought leadership role towards a more equitable, inclusive and just digital society through evidence-based research for policy discourse, strategy implementation and practical interventions (social innovation).

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What we do

The Western Cape CoLab is tasked to develop and explore models for scaling digital skills interventions within communities, acknowledging international models but with due recognition to the realities of the South African landscape.
We work through partnerships in Interventions, Fundamental & Applied Research and the creation of  Knowledge Products, Methodologies and Tools to inform inclusive Digital Inclusion Practice and Policy. 
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Anchored at UWC 
Informing policy and practice through research-driven interventions


University of the Western Cape

Cape Town

South Africa

The Western Cape CoLab for eInclusion and Social Innovation (CoLab) is a multi-disciplinary research unit at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) which has the skills, experience and resources necessary to undertake this project.

As a research-unit that forms part of UWC, the CoLab’s core focus, within the context of this digital shift or transformation, is working towards an inclusive approach for maximum participation in the competitive global digital society and economy.

The CoLab plays a thought leadership, academic and change facilitator role focusing on the following activities:  


  • understanding the digital divide(s) and the implications thereof for the South African society

  • engaging with multi-stakeholders for skills and capability development for participation in the digital economy (leadership skills, digital skills, institutional capability development, digital transformation etc.)

  • finding and developing ways to achieve digital inclusion, especially – but not only – in marginalised communities and groups

  • understanding and supporting the role of intermediaries to facilitate digital skills and capability development for e-inclusion (interventions)

  • exploring implications of the digital economy for organisations and for small businesses (SMEs), and developing interventions, or advising thereto

  • doing social innovation through the use of digital means

  • doing research and developing research capability to underpin progress in all of these areas.

We deliver on our mandate by engaging in Projects and Interventions; Research; Digital Skills Development; Thought Leadership and Multi-Stakeholder collaborations focused on e-Inclusion and Social Innovation.


Our aim is to contribute towards the competitiveness of South Africa within the Digital Economy. We also aim to contribute evidence-based research towards ICT policy development and ultimately influence the design of more citizen-centered approaches to address the digital agenda.

As a unit based within the University of the Western Cape, the CoLab has deep access to domain level expertise, amongst others in computer science, information systems, industrial psychology, statistics and population studies, community engagement and social development.


Through UWC and other national and international partners the CoLab has the experience, skills, competence and capability to conduct multidisciplinary fundamental and applied research projects.

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