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 Thursday, February 26, 2015



“The world is faced with overwhelming social issues, from climate change to poverty. Students and young entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the growing number of devices connected to the Internet, turning them into products that will one day solve these global problems.

A competition developed by Cisco France employees in 2014 aims to harnesses this innovative spirit. Now in its second year, Le Defi Cisco (The Cisco Challenge) invites university students and young entrepreneurs to develop solutions to social and environmental challenges using the Internet of Everything – the connection of people, processes, data, and things.

Last year, a team of Cisco Networking Academy students from the University of Lorraine in France won the competition with their networked walking stick, which can improve life for visually impaired people.

Cities are beginning to incorporate tagging systems into traffic lights and crosswalks, connecting citizens to data that can be used to solve everyday inconveniences.

Their device a uses ultrasonic waves and GPS technology to gather this data and help users move safely and independently around the world’s “smart cities.”

Since winning the 2014 competition, the students have used their prize money to form their own company, Handisco. With the support of investors, they’ve developed a sustainable production model and are preparing to release their connected walking stick to the public.

This year, the competition was expanded to two prize categories: student teams and young entrepreneurs who have just begun developing their products. The first-place team in each category will receive €15,000, equipment to create their business, 6 months of coaching from Cisco employees, and incubation by SenseCube, a start-up accelerator dedicated to social entrepreneurs.

From November to early January, Cisco employees and representatives from competition partner MakeSense visited 8 French cities, where they taught students about the Internet of Everything and how Cisco technologies can be used to speed the pace of social change. In January, a judging panel reduced the entries down to 6 finalists: 4 student teams and 2 entrepreneur teams. The student teams all consist of students from Cisco Networking Academy, which has trained more than 110,000 students in France since 1997.

The student finalist teams are:
  • Team Connect’o is developing Internet-enabled tabs that will measure water quality and control consumption, directly addressing the global water crisis.
  • Hexo Tech, a group of students from the academy at ECE Paris, proposed a smart bin to sort waste and reward environmentally friendly citizens.
  • Team Mygly wants to improve health care for diabetes patients – their intelligent bracelet will measure blood sugar levels in real-time to make insulin injections more efficient.
  • Team Squirrel’s mobile alert system will combat the global hunger crisis by alerting users to cook food before it expires.
The other 2 teams will compete for the entrepreneurship prize. Team Wair is combining fashion and technology to improve the health of people around the world. Their smart scarf, fitted with air filtering sensors, will measure air quality and map out a city’s most polluted areas. The second group of young entrepreneurs, Team Insideware, is developing a mobile application to connect people suffering from chronic illnesses to a community of health professionals.

During the final round of competition, Cisco employees will mentor the students, providing the equipment, technological skills, and business advice to turn their concepts into realities. They’ll work side-by side with students, helping them to build the perfect prototype, develop a business plan, and create a winning sales pitch.

The student and entrepreneur award winners will be announced on April 9, and you can read about them here on the Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility blog.
Good luck to all of the 2015 finalist teams! Your connected devices and products may change the world someday.“

(Source: CISCO)

Thursday, February 26, 2015 11:33:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Cisco Systems has opened its 5th Cisco Academy in Botswana, with online curricula, virtual learning tools, instruction support as well as teacher training and professional development opportunities.

Gratitude Kudyachete, Cisco's Regional support Centre Manager explained that Cisco was willing to do business with Botswana so as to impart more techno-savvy solutions to local problems. ´It is against such a background that, we are witnessing the Cisco Academy programme being expanded in Botswana. Cisco Systems, a US-based Corporation, arguably the biggest Network and Communications equipment and solutions vendor, conceived the Cisco Academy programme to share its abundant intellectual capital in Computer Networking. It started in 1997 in high schools but now finds itself anchored in secondary and post-secondary schools, colleges, universities, and community-based organizations in more than 165 countries.´

Kudyachete said the programme is essentially philanthropic and besides being used in continuing education for professionals, its major focus is the disadvantaged communities who may not access or use ICT owing to costs, lack of accessibility and infrastructure among other factors.

He added that the Cisco Academy programme has found itself being employed in prisons, institutions offor the disabled including the deaf, and slum areas.
He observed that if only Botswana was to improve her ICT status, the country would be a force to reckon with. ´Besides the great initiatives, some of the challenges evident in the Botswana ICT landscape are; low ICT use, high cost of ICT services, low IT literacy rate, unemployment of IT graduates and low Network Readiness. In the Cisco Academy, we believe that Botswana needs a multi-pronged approach to the challenges that it is facing.´

The Cisco Academy programme helps address some of these challenges as it offers the following benefits: free curricula embedded with technology tools for teaching and learning, wide curricula – with courses from basic PC maintenance, entry level networking to advanced networking. Rich practical component – at the core of the Programme is the emphasis on laboratory practices with real equipment to give sough-after practical skills, Discounted equipment – Equipment is discounted at 75% making it affordable to many educational institutions. Alignment with industry certifications – makes the students even more marketable as they will have global attestation to their achievements. Flexibility in academic programmes- Besides running as standalone programme for professionals in industry, the programme can be tightly integrated in higher education in engineering, computer science, information systems, and related fields´

´Botswana will now have five Cisco Academies, which we hope will all be active by end of first quarter this year. The only active academy has been the University of Botswana from which about 2500 students have been trained since 2008 and for us this figure is too low, we need more throughput, we need more academies,´ he implored.

On the issue of Botswana Accountancy College roping in the services of Cisco, Kudyachete said the Cisco Academy programme is there to service and add impetus to the current initiatives within BAC and those at national level.

´The Centre has been aptly called BAC ICT Skills Centre – to address the ICT Skills challenge which is akin to fighting a moving target; BAC will be able to enhance the marketability of their end product- the student who will be able to slot in into the job market right from graduation. BAC will be able to use the Cisco academy for its own professional development of staff members so that they are always abreast of developments in networking and internet technologies. It will also empower some students to be entrepreneurs who will generate jobs. BAC can partner with other ICT players and expand the service portfolio of your community access centres; indeed the programme can be used for a variety of community engagement programmes.´

According to president Jammeh of Gambia – ´no nation can record meaningful growth without embracing ICT. ICT empowers one to do what they want to do, As BAC and as a nation you have as one of those tools the Cisco Networking academy.´"

(Source: Biztech)

Thursday, February 26, 2015 11:25:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“ The GSMA today released a new report, ´Accelerating the Digital Economy: Gender Diversity in the Telecommunications Sector´, which offers a snapshot of the gender balance within companies across the industry. Developed by A.T. Kearney, the study aims to provide a baseline for workforce evolution, share best practices and support the industry in shaping workplaces that take full advantage of gender diversity.

“The rapidly evolving mobile industry is at the centre of the digital revolution and has a huge impact on social and economic advancement. To maintain this pace of growth and innovation, we need to match the requirements of our workforce with the opportunities ahead,´ said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA. ´This report highlights the benefits of a balanced workforce, but also underscores that a gender gap still exists in our industry. Now is the time for the telecommunications sector to focus on attracting more women to avoid a shortfall in the future talent pipeline and help bridge the gender divide.´

The report highlights that despite some advances in women’s representation and progression in the workplace, there is still significant work needed to bridge the gender gap in the telecommunications industry. Key findings from the research show that:

- Female participation in the telecommunications workforce varies widely, ranging from 10 per cent to 52 per cent amongst companies sampled;
- In three-quarters of telecommunications companies surveyed, women accounted for less than 40 per cent of the workforce; and
- There are notable regional differences among sampled companies, with those in the Americas outperforming their counterparts elsewhere in terms of female representation.

´The research highlights that every company in the telecommunications industry approaches gender diversity from a different starting point and has different country hurdles to overcome,´ said Dr Maria Molina, Principal, A.T. Kearney. ´The industry needs to be more systematic and relentless in sharing and adopting best practices with a full commitment to a diverse workforce while respecting local cultural norms and legal obligations.´

The report finds that industry-wide collaboration and transparency, through mechanisms such as annual indexing and sharing of best practices, will also be critical to assessing the ongoing state of the sector and maintaining momentum.

Women in Leadership

The research findings also reveal that the gender gap becomes more pronounced with seniority. Among those surveyed in all regions except North America, on average less than 20 per cent of senior leadership positions are held by women. In most regions excluding North America, the proportion of women at senior level is generally half of those at entry level. For the African companies in the study, less than one in 10 of their senior leaders are women.

One potential explanation for the low female representation at senior levels is the education and skills gap around science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). A recent report on member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) revealed that the share of women with science and engineering degrees was only 38 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.

Benefits of Gender-Diverse Workforces

Over the years, substantial research has shown that companies with a healthy, gender-diverse workforce are better able to innovate and outperform competition. Studies reveal that gender-diverse organisations are 45 per cent more likely to improve market share, achieve 53 per cent higher returns on equity and are 70 per cent more likely to report successfully capturing new markets.

In addition to the financial benefits, other advantages of a diverse workforce include the impact on the business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) segments of the market. While most companies target women as end users, few effectively leverage female talent to identify what these end users want and need. However, companies that employ women in the workplace can improve the likelihood of success for new products and services by 144 per cent.

Addressing the Digital Gender Divide

In order to support the industry in its efforts to move towards a more equitable gender balance, the report highlights best practices across the ‘employee journey’, such as:

- Awareness and outreach programmes to equip young girls and women with the skills and inspiration needed to pursue a career in STEM and relevant qualifications;
- Tailored job descriptions, gender-balanced applicant quotas and balanced recruitment panels;
- Initiatives perceived as added value for both men and women, such as flexible working arrangements;
- Formal succession planning, sponsoring mentor programmes, unconscious-bias training and gender-specific training; and
- Returnships (return-to-work internships) and phase-back programmes to fill the talent pipelines, particularly at management levels.

The report highlights a number of existing initiatives designed to address the gender gap in the ICT sector. For example, through the #InspireHerMind campaign and Girls Who Code camp, the Verizon Foundation is making progress in altering stereotypes and equipping schoolchildren with the inspiration and skills they need to pursue a career in STEM. Intel also recently announced that it plans to invest US $300 million to help build a talent pipeline with a goal to achieve full representation of women and under-represented minorities by 2020.

However, whilst the initiatives and implementation of good practices are crucial, the report finds that a holistic strategy focused on transforming company culture and mindset is essential to workplace evolution. The GSMA’s Connected Women programme supports cultivating wider change and promotes the greater inclusion of women across the mobile industry, as consumers, employees and leaders.

´Corporate culture plays an important role in any existing gender imbalance. However, governments and policymakers, alongside industry stakeholders, should also play their part in creating sustainable gender diversity in vibrant sectors such as telecommunications,´ continued Bouverot. ´Ultimately we need to work together to mobilise more women to recognise the myriad opportunities for their talents in the mobile and ICT industry.´”

To access the report please visit: www.gsma.com/gender-diversity.

(Source GSMA)

Thursday, February 26, 2015 11:22:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


How is it that, in a world where there are more mobile devices than people, women are still being excluded from mobile ownership and use?

´Leveraging technology to empower women and girls´ is the theme of Mobile Learning Week, which opened on 23 February at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. On the first day, a series of workshops showed that mobile technology is a key tool in improving women’s lives and status.

Beyond their use as a simple means of communication, mobile devices help provide a sense of physical security to women…


´Me and My Mobile´ is a workshop that was solely devoted to discussions about secure mobile communications for women and girls and peer-to-peer sharing of mobile security practices. Mobile applications, designed to prevent violence against women and girls or increase mobile security, were reviewed by women and girls from different contexts, with feedback channeled directly to developers. The aim of this initiative was to increase knowledge and skills of mobile security, raise awareness among participants of the vulnerability of women and girls in the face of these technological advances, and suggest well-thought out solutions to protect them from the dangers that may arise, such as cyberbullying and online sexual violence via mobiles. Partners such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa have expressed interest in testing the methodology in their communities.

…as well as health advice.

The ´Oh My Body´ workshop introduced the participants to a mobile application of the same name, created by Butterfly Works. “Oh My Body” runs on feature phones and Android devices. It provides young girls with accurate and youth-friendly information about sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), without the need for intervention by adults or peers. It represents a quick and simplified access to important information for women and girls. “Oh My Body” contains short animated stories, FAQs, games, and myth busters as well as practical tips for young women to manage their sexual health. During the workshop, participants were introduced to a process of co-creation with girls and young women in order to develop context-specific information. They were guided through the use of the content creation and delivery software used for this application, and had the possibility to create their own mobile lesson on a particular SRHR topic.

Mobiles devices save lives
 

In this workshop, participants learned about Media Matters for Women’s (MMW) project to create an innovative and low-cost communication system through which women and girls can share information, learn from each other, entertain each other, hear crucial messages, and join in a movement that begins in their village and extends across their country. The power of the MMW approach is its potential to go beyond networking to effecting social change. The use of Bluetooth to deliver news during the Ebola crisis is one example. The organization was able to reach women and girls in the most remote areas of Sierra Leone with relevant news and information about the Ebola crisis in their language, on a weekly basis and through audio files.

The workshop demonstrated that we could connect and start dialogues between people living in remote areas and facing the dangers of a current crisis, including illiterate communities. This deeper penetration of connectivity is made possible by solar rechargers, wireless bandwidth and female journalists. MMW connects rural women and girls with information that empowers and enables them to access and fully enjoy their rights.

Prepare women & girls for the STEM jobs of tomorrow

Fengyun Cheng and Chris Meehan, respectively provost and mobile learning coordinator at the Beijing Royal School, conducted an interactive workshop that details and explains how to encourage female students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers through a wide-ranging STEM initiative. This included innovative mobile learning projects, science fairs, mentoring opportunities, student clubs, field trips and a STEM research writing competition. With a particular emphasis on using mobile learning to empower young women to choose traditionally male-dominated careers in STEM, this workshop provided participants with concrete plans. They learned about creating and facilitating in-class STEM projects that encourage women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Covering many areas of activity, these workshops all point in the same direction: mobile power for girl power.“

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, February 26, 2015 11:01:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Premier mobile service provider Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM) has donated  K2.8 million to the Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha) to help set up a disability inclusive environment at Kalambo Primary School in Lilongwe’s Area 25.

The money will be used to transform the school’s environment into an inclusive one for children with disabilities.

Speaking during the cheque presentation ceremony in Blantyre, TNM’s Head of Marketing Sobhuza Ngwenya said the mobile operator is committed to ensuring that children with disabilities access quality education and become self-reliant.

´lt is TNM’s belief that every child despite their physical condition must be given opportunity to access education. Inclusive education as advocated by MACOHA is one key approach to achieve self-reliance for people with disabilities,´ said Ngwenya.

Ngwenya said the donation was in response to request by Macoha during the 2014 MACOHA flag week held under the theme ´inclusiveness is the key to education of children with disabilities´.

´TNM believes that to attain an inclusive society and have people with disabilities that are self-reliant; there is need for inclusiveness to start from children with disabilities being included in the classrooms which should eventually ensure their participation in social economic activities,´ he said.

He appealed to teachers to show love and compassion to children with disabilities so that they feel not to being left out.

´While our donation goes towards the infrastructure and equipment, let me also appeal to the special needs teachers to go out their way to show love and compassion to the physically challenged children to ensure they remain in school,´ said TNM’s Head of Marketing.

In his remarks MACOHA acting executive director Peter Ngomwa described TNM’s donation as timely since the institution is still in fundraising for the same initiatives.

´During the flag week, Macoha sought to raise funds to rehabilitate five primary schools in Lilongwe into disability inclusive facilities and this donation from TNM will really have great impact in our interventions´ said.

The donation will cater for building ramps and rehabilitation of doors, buying assistive devices such as wheelchairs, clutches and hearing aids.

TNM also sponsors 20 visually challenged girls with their secondary school education needs through an NGO, Hope for the Blind.“

(Source: GAATES)

Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:48:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“THERE is room within the Pacific to develop and change mind-sets concerning persons with disabilities using information communication technology (ICT), says Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro, South Pacific Computer Society president.

Speaking at the Youth Regional Conference on Disability yesterday morning, Ms Tamanikaiwaimaro said this would be possible if they synergised initiatives and build effective partnerships in the Pacific region to combat ICT accessibility problems for persons with disabilities.

´Opportunities for partnership include developing working groups that specifically focus on Access for Disabled Persons in ICT that can have further sub working groups for Technical Experts and Users,´ Ms Tamanikaiwaimaro said in a statement.

She said there were also opportunities for partnership with statistics offices to map the ICT state of persons with disabilities, to develop relevant metrics and indicators and work closely with schools to roll out programs to create relevant advocacy for persons with disabilities to access ICT.

Ms Tamanikaiwaimaro, who is also the manager of the Japan Pacific ICT Centre at USP, said being the largest education service provider in the Pacific and forerunner in the use of ICT to proliferate access to education, has been doing their best to reach out to those with disabilities in the community.

She said certain progress towards the accessibility of ICT to persons with disabilities include the installation of software to aid those with visual and hearing impairments at the USP Disability Resource Center.“

(Source: The Fiji Times)

Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:44:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“Here’s a bit of good news from Telecentre Foundation (TCF) -- we’re bringing our Entrepreneurship and ICTs course directly to communities across the globe!

TCF, through its training arm Telecentre Academy (TCA), is launching a new opportunity for telecentres, libraries and other ICT access points to transform their centers into training outlets for innovation and entrepreneurship. Under this new program, TCA will make its ´Introduction to Entrepreneurship and ICTs´ course available to all interested centers so that they can locally and regularly offer it to their respective communities either online or on site. They will also be granted access to other training options, technology, as well as support in the delivery of other training services.

By joining this initiative, telecentres, libraries and other ICT access points that will register as partner centers will be able to expand their impact and relevance to the communities they serve. They will also gain exclusive access to content and certification that will help create new opportunities for both the center and the community.

By launching this program, TCF seeks to increase impact by making the course, which comes in English and Spanish versions, readily available to as many people in as many countries as possible. TCF hopes to accomplish this by tapping different centers worldwide to serve as training delivery channels.

Interested parties must fill out this form before February 28, 2015. For more information about the program, click here.

Join us in creating new opportunities for communities worldwide through entrepreneurial initiatives!“

(Source: TCF)

Thursday, February 26, 2015 10:40:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 19, 2015


"Children should be taught ´digital literacy´ as a core skill alongside maths and English, a report by a House of Lords committee says. Computer technology brings ´huge opportunities for the UK, but also significant risks´, the Lords Digital Skills Committee warns.

The internet should be viewed as a utility service, alongside water and electricity, it says. But without action, the UK may fall behind in the new digital era.

'Ambitious approach'
The reports says:
  • No child should leave school without basic digital literacy
  • Universities should ensure all graduates are ´digitally competent´
  • Apprenticeships should have a greater emphasis on digital skills

The committee calls for action to give teachers in England the confidence and skills to deliver the new computing curriculum, otherwise ´inconsistent teacher training" risks letting pupils down.

In particular, a ´paucity´ of women in digital careers and in science, technology, engineering and mathematics generally risks holding back UK competitiveness, the report says.

´Girls have to be engaged earlier and across all education levels´ and the perception of these jobs as ´male-oriented´ must be addressed, it adds. The report says 35% of current jobs in the UK could be automated within 20 years.

It urges an ambitious approach to secure the UK's digital economy, with the government acting as the "conductor of the orchestra", focusing on business and education.
´We are at a tipping point,´ it says.

´Digital businesses can locate anywhere in the world, and if we fail to provide the right conditions for them to flourish in the UK, we will become a branch economy, much less prosperous and influential than we could be.´

A digital divide persists in the UK, with some six million citizens never having used the internet and 9.5 million lacking adequate digital skills, partly because they have been ´poorly served at school´, the report warns.

In particular, it says, a shortage of medium and high-level digital skills ´needs immediate attention´ if the UK is to remain globally competitive. It urges action at all levels of the ´talent pipeline - primary, secondary, further and higher education´.

'Wake-up call'

Baroness Morgan of Huyton, who chairs the committee, called the report a ´wake-up call" to whomever forms the next government. Its recommendations would entail a ´radical rethink´ of education for people of all ages, said Lady Morgan, the former chairwoman of Ofsted. She said: ´From an early age, we need to give digital literacy as much importance as numeracy and literacy.

´While we welcome the introduction of the computing curriculum, we are concerned about the ability of teachers to deliver it - with more than half of our IT teachers not having a post-A-level qualification relevant to IT.

´At the higher education level, there is an urgent need for industry input, so that graduates are learning job-relevant digital skills.´

Lady Morgan also said it was unacceptable that some urban areas still lacked mobile or broadband coverage.

'Options limited'

Valerie Thompson, chief executive of the e-Learning Foundation, particularly welcomed the report's emphasis on the need to ensure all children had access to the internet. "Digital skills are an enabler across the curriculum, but there are real issues of access for poorer children," she said.

Too many families did not have the internet at home, said Ms Thompson. ´And if your mum and dad are not comfortable with the internet, the options for you to be a comfortable internet user when you leave school are limited.´

Ms Thompson said schools needed more resources for computers and broadband to allow students online access for every subject.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said it was vital to ensure young people had the skills and knowledge to ´secure jobs in our country's burgeoning tech industry´. She said: ´To achieve that, we have redesigned our national curriculum to be the world leader in computing, meaning young people in England will start learning the basics of coding from age five.

´We have also provided £3.6m to make sure teachers have the confidence and knowledge to teach this new curriculum and are engaging leading technology companies to support schools in delivering it.´"

(Source: BBC News)

Thursday, February 19, 2015 11:26:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“In a nation of about 15 million people, Cambodia has over 19 million mobile phone subscribers. In addition, there are only about 3.8 million Internet users. A 2014 report published by the United Nation Development Program (UNDP) says that ´Mobile phone access is near universal for young people… Almost all youth (96%) in Cambodia have access to mobile phone.´ The nation’s largest population, young people, prefer to communicate via phone calls rather than text messaging. ´They used their mobile phones mostly for making and receiving calls (98%), listening to the radio (43%), and sending and receiving messages (32%),´ adds the UNDP report.

Mobile technologies are the key to help improve people’s quality of life. Unfortunately, programs delivering critical information via mobile texts to citizens were unavailable in the local language, Khmer. Many used and new phones that the Cambodians used did not have the ability to type or show words in the Khmer script language, making needed information unreadable and unable to send via texts.

Since 2011, InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia, a Phnom Penh-based innovation lab of InSTEDD (Innovative Support to Emergencies Diseases and Disasters), has helped a dozen of humanitarian and health organizations to leverage InSTEDD’s Verboice, an automated voice platform for hotlines, alerts, reminders, surveys, voice reports, or quizzes. These organizations’ target groups are very diverse: new mothers, garment factory workers, youth groups, and diabetic patients.

Verboice is an adaptable open-source platform that makes it easy for anyone, speaking any language, to create and run their own customized automated voice response systems for mobile phones. Highly customizable and scalable, Verboice allows users to adapt to suit their requirements. Verboice is basically a non-developer’s platform to create mobile applications for non-smartphone users.

In Cambodia, Verboice’s impact has been incredibly powerful as dozens of organizations are using the technology to provide critical information to thousands of citizens. For example:
  • The International Labour Organisation (ILO) runs an interactive information hotline for factory workers.
  • Marie Stopes International Cambodia (MSIC) uses automated messages as part of its post-abortion counselling approach.
  • People In Need (PIN) uses automated messages to provide new parents with health advice as well as runs an early warning system, enabling Cambodian authorities to quickly inform citizens of upcoming disasters.
  • BBC Media Action provides the audience with an additional medium so that they can engage with the program’s content“

(Source: ICTWorks)

Thursday, February 19, 2015 10:47:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday launched the Presidential Digital Talent Program (PDTP) aimed at empowering university graduates to master the digital technology.

Kenyatta said the program that brings together leading lights in the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) landscape is expected to mentor, inspire and lead a new wave of digital trailblazers.

´My government has committed itself to expanding and intensifying the development and application of digital technology. We expect this to accelerate our determined drive towards productivity, efficiency, innovation and accountability,´ he said in Nairobi.

The program, which aims at building government's capacity in ICT and digital innovations to enhance efficient and effective service delivery to Kenyans, will provide graduates with an opportunity for a full year of on-the-job training both in public and private institutions.

It also aims to provide a training ground to fresh university graduates in readying them to be the industry leaders and experts in the future.

The president said the first 100 talented ICT professionals will lead the way in Kenya's digital tradition to enhance transparency and accountability in the public sector.
He challenged the beneficiaries of the program to inject into the public service a new sense of integrity and accountability.

´This program is not just about technology and efficiency. We expect you to bring in a new sense of integrity, professionalism, accountability and commitment to public service delivery,´ he added.

Kenyatta stressed the government's commitment to delivering superior public services to citizens, visitors and investors.

He emphasized that Kenya's determination to position itself as the regional and continental hub for education, research and innovation, banking and insurance, manufacturing, healthcare and ICT is already a reality.

Kenyatta said key challenges facing the nation can be resolved through digital solutions that will enhance productivity, efficiency, innovation and accountability in all sectors of the economy.

He said the PDTP will boost the country's hope for a sustainable economic growth beyond the projected 7 percent to more than 10 percent.“

(Source: Global Post)

Thursday, February 19, 2015 10:13:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“´I always wanted to go to school´, said Azra Misbih-ul-huda, 17, who lives in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. ´When this free education mobile learning project was launched in our area I was very excited […]I said to my mother I need to be educated and my mother eventually agreed because she said I had helped her a lot and I deserved it. Up until then I had been living in the village helping my mother with daily chores

´Before the mobile learning course I and many girls of my age could not read and write a single word, but now all of the girls who benefited from this project can easily read books and now we often exchange books,´ Azra said.

Leveraging technology to empower women and girls like Azra and her friends is the theme of this year’s Mobile Learning Week, which will be celebrated from 23 to 27 February . UNESCO will mark the week with a symposium, forum and research seminar at its Paris Headquarters, with a lineup of experts, policy-maker and private sector leaders. There will also be a session with the members of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which is meeting at UNESCO at the same time. The packed agenda for the week has been organized jointly by UNESCO and UN Women and will be opened on Tuesday 24 February by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. The keynote address will be given by Cherie Blair, who launched the Foundation for Women in 2008 to support women entrepreneurs in developing countries.

Despite the fabulous growth of mobile technology globally, too many women and girls are still missing out; they are missing out on education, and they are missing out on access to new technologies and the opportunities they provide.

UNESCO’s statistics show that two out of three of the world’s 781 million illiterate adults and 126 million illiterate youth are women. At the same time, research by Intel shows that nearly 25 percent fewer women than men have internet connectivity in developing countries, and this gap rises to 50 percent in some regions. In low to middle income nations, 300 million more men than women own mobile phones, and men are far more likely to use them to connect to the internet and download applications that increase economic, professional and educational opportunities.

Although not a panacea, mobile technology is a promising vehicle for improving education, due to a proliferation of educational content tailored for use on widely owned mobile devices. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) estimates that of the seven billion people on Earth, over six billion now have access to a working mobile device, meaning that mobile technology is now common in areas where women are underserved and educational opportunities are limited.

The success and enthusiasm generated by projects such as the UNESCO project in Pakistan mentioned above, which is supported by Nokia, bear powerful testimony to the fierce desire of girls to learn, the ease with which they adapt to education via new technologies, and the benefits that are reaped. Other UNESCO-led projects with Nokia in Mexico and Nigeria show how these technologies can also be used to improve the quality of teaching in remote areas, or with indigenous communities.

Mobile Learning Week 2015 will give participants a venue to learn about and discuss these and the myriad of other technology programmes, initiatives and content that are alleviating gender deficits in education, and helping to change the lives of young women like Azra in Pakistan. It will encourage conversations about gender-sensitive approaches to the application and use of ICT in education, and demonstrate how mobile technology can provide a tool for closing the access, knowledge and confidence gaps between women and men worldwide.“


 
(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, February 19, 2015 10:10:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Partnership Features Initiatives in Institutional Capacity Building and Cooperation in Developing National Broadband Strategies.

The Rwandan Ministry of Youth and ICT and the GSMA today announced an agreement to undertake a series of initiatives to increase citizens’ access to mobile broadband technologies across the country.


This landmark development takes place in the lead-up to the GSMA’s annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, a key gathering for African stakeholders with over 46 African governments attending last year.

Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, noted: ´A country’s broadband connectivity has become a key competitive differentiator in the global economy. We have made significant progress already for the widespread adoption of ICT, particularly in sectors such as health, government, education, agriculture, business and finance.´

He added: ´The partnership we are forging with the GSMA will help us to further accelerate this progress, with mobile broadband as a key foundation.´

´The GSMA is very pleased to be working with the Government of Rwanda to support mobile broadband as a key enabler for digital inclusion and economic growth. While there were 7.7 million mobile connections and 4.2 million unique mobile subscribers in Rwanda at the end of 2014, just nine per cent of the population were unique 3G/4G mobile Internet users. We expect this number to almost triple to 24 per cent by 2020,´ said Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. ´The collaboration announced today will support Rwanda’s ambitious digitisation agenda, which ranges from pushing a cashless economy and a paperless government to extending broadband to all citizens and enabling digital literacy and innovation.´

Through this partnership, the GSMA and the Government of Rwanda will undertake a range of initiatives including:

Developing joint forums to build institutional capacity, discuss sectoral policies and increase understanding of the socio-economic benefits of mobile; Creating educational and training programmes on mobile regulation to foster socio-economic development, expand financial inclusion through mobile money services and ensure sound spectrum management; Contributing to the development of the Rwandan government’s national broadband strategies for attaining digital inclusion, with a focus on spectrum management as a key enabler for mobile broadband services; and Exploring mobile’s potential across sectors such as energy and water, financial services, agriculture, education and healthcare.

´Real change can only be achieved through close cooperation between the private and public sector,” continued Phillips. ´By collaborating with the Government of Rwanda, the mobile industry can drive tangible benefits for the country’s citizens and businesses alike.´”

 (Source: GSMA)

Thursday, February 19, 2015 9:11:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“There is a digital divide between nations-between the developed and developing nations and between the developing and underdeveloped nations of the world, and within a nation there is a divide between the urban and rural areas. This divide exists between the urban or city dwellers, and dwellers of rural communities, and there also exists a divide between the corporate world and the academia hence over 90 percent of fresh graduates find it difficult to blend with the digital demands of the corporate class when they graduate.

As part of its deliberate digital inclusion policy to address digital divides across a broad spectrum of the society generally and the school system in particular, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently took digital dividends to some institutions of higher learning in the country.

The commission through the Advanced Digital Awareness Programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI) has been able to empower several of these higher institutions with the donation of digital centres, computer laboratories fitted with laptops and internet connectivity and generating sets. Secondary schools benefited through the Digital Awareness Programme (DAP). DAP ensures that teachers are empowered first to pass knowledge to the students. DAP promotes hands-on digital empowerment by creating an environment where students have direct knowledge of usage of computers and ICTs in support of their studies.

Some of the schools that benefitted from the digital dividends include the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti; The Polytechnic, Ibadan; Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo; Federal Polytechnic Nekede; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; University of Benin; Government Junior Secondary School, Jabi, Abuja; Katsina State College, Katsina and Government Secondary School Dan Musa, Katsina State.

Making these donations to the benefiting schools, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah, explained that the commission identified the gap in ICT services early enough and opted to cushion these needs by taking services, equipment and infrastructure to these centres of learning.

At the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Juwah represented by the director of policy competition and economic analysis department, Ms Josephine Amuwa, said the commission was out to put smiles on the faces of students and the school system.

He said one of the core functions of the NCC was the implementation of programmes and plans that promote the development of the communications industry, adding in order to achieve this, the NCC had implemented several capacity building initiatives to enhance the knowledge base of the participants in the telecoms industry in the countrya. Some of these initiatives include the establishment of the Digital Bridge Institute in 2004 in order to contribute to the creation of knowledge-based information society in Africa, through human resource capacity building in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

He said the commission in 2005 also established the NCC library for use of researchers and undergraduate students of various tertiary institutions across the country, adding the commission started the ADAPTI programme in Ekiti State University, which falls within the South West region, because it had not benefitted from the national books donation initiative of the commission since its inception.

Flagging off the ADAPTI project in The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Oyo State, where 110 laptops were commissioned, Juwah represented by the NCC zonal coordinator in Ibadan, Mr. Banji Ojo, said the commission was striving to bridge the digital divide in the academia through the provision of computers to equip the lecturers and also to improve the skills of the students. He said the institution was among the 52 beneficiaries of the project, adding more than 222 institutions of higher learning across the country had so far benefitted from ADAPTI since it began in 2008.

He said: ´The key objectives of these programmes is to prepare the nation for a digital tomorrow and equip the youth with the necessary skills to tap into the potentials of the digital age and in the case of ADAPTI, it is aimed at improving the resource persons in the process of impacting knowledge, and we, at the commission, are committed to assisting the nation in the quest for ICT penetration through ADAPTI.´

A statement by NCC’s director of public affairs, Mr Tony Ojobo, said the programmes were designed to address the digital information knowledge gap in the country especially among the teeming youthful population.

The statement read in part: ´The strategy in this programme is to expose schools and colleges to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) awareness, usage and application by facilitating access to ICT tools.

Under the project, selected institutions of learning spread across the country are equipped with computer laboratories fully installed with internet facilities and their teachers exposed to ICT training in order to equip them to teach their students.

´By the last count, the DAP Project has supported 229 secondary schools across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory with the provision of twenty one (21) desktop computers, Local Area Network, printers, scanners, VSAT dish and deployment of one year bandwidth subscription for Internet access. These facilities are complemented with standby generators and a special accommodation built for that purpose, thus aggregating everything into a fully kitted computer laboratory. The programme also entails human capacity building and managerial training for key personnel in charge of the centres from the beneficiary institutions.´“

(Source: Leadirship Newspaper)

Thursday, February 19, 2015 9:06:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“UNICEF and Bharti Airtel have entered a partnership agreement to expand their collaboration across 17 countries in Africa. The partnership aims at improving Africa's population access to health and education-related information whilst pushing forward various innovative projects supported by UNICEF.

The agreement allows UNICEF to tap into Airtel's mobile services to make health, education and youth-focused content available to Airtel customers across the 17 African countries. Through improved connectivity, more Africans will have free access to mobile applications and services developed by UNICEF, such as eduTrac, mTrac and U-report.

Speaking on the partnership, Christian de Faria, Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa commented;´Airtel is committed to providing innovative solutions that overcome access and quality challenges around the delivery of services. Our partnership with UNICEF provides an opportunity to deploy mHealth innovations that can support healthcare systems and provide helpful education-related information.´

The partnership covers 17 countries in Africa – in Eastern and Southern Africa: Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia; and in West and Central Africa: Burkina Faso, Chad, DRC, Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

´Access to information is a basic human right, and is fundamental to UNICEF's innovation agenda,´ said Sharad Sapara, Director of UNICEF's Innovation Centre based in Nairobi. ´Without access to information children and young people are stifled and cannot make the right decisions on matters concerning them. By improving connectivity, this partnership has the potential to empower millions of African children and youth with information and opportunities to help them become agents of change in their societies.´“

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, February 19, 2015 9:01:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“On March 2015, the first SparkLab in Latin America will open its doors to local micro-entrepreneurs and young talents of Huechuraba district in Santiago, a unique area of the city that unites one of Chile’s largest concentrations of corporate headquarters (national and international companies) and home to one of the most vulnerable and underserved neighborhoods in Chile’s capital.

SparkLab Chile aims to become a progressive ´Center for Innovation, Technology for Employment, and Entrepreneurship´, financially supported by the Ministry of Social Development. SparkLab Chile is one of the initiatives selected by the Ministry under ´Chile de Todos y Todas´ program. The project will be managed and implemented by CDI Chile, an international NGO with more than 20 years of experience in bringing technology to the most remote and vulnerable areas in the LATAM region.

Today, SparkLab Chile is building a series of strategic partnerships with many local organizations including the Huechuraba´s Labor Department, the City Council, and the training and small enterprise programs to strengthen Huechuraba’s employment opportunities for the local youth and the unemployed. In late March, Telecentre Foundation (TCF) will lead the necessary training for local partners, providing access and support to technology package and content included in the SparkLab model, in addition to linkages with best practices and the leadership team of SparkLab Barcelona and Cairo.

SparkLab Chile will have the close support of Fundación País Digital, a well known ICT for Development organization in charge of the assessment and promotion of the SparkLab Chile initiative. Local Chilean stakeholders will work closely with TCF and Generalitat de Catalonia, creators of the SparkLab model.

Huechuraba's SparkLab's main objective is to develop a co-working and training facility that nurtures and empowers innovation and collaboration, allowing multi-stakeholder participation (community, local government and businesses) to foster new and advanced applications of ICT resources to improve the skills and employability of the youth, women and adults at the Huechuraba district and, in this way, create a new layer of local entrepreneurs and small local businesses.“

(Source: TCF)

Thursday, February 19, 2015 5:39:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 12, 2015


“A group of leading ICT For Education Development (ICT4ED) organisations have formed an alliance with the aim of improving Ghana's education programme. One of its first actions has been to conduct a landmark research study.

The Connect for Change Education Ghana Alliance (C4C–EGA) brings together six education partners under the C4C Education programme supported by IICD and Edukans in Ghana to provide a common platform for knowledge sharing. This will help inform and shape new initiatives, policies and projects in this field. This move also signals a shift away from a mixture of individual ICT projects towards a more effective education programme with joint objectives. C4C-EGA also enables its members to contribute and benefit from peer reviews and avoid mistakes related to project duplication, which can lead to an inefficient use of resources.

Already, the alliance has collaborated on the realisation of a multi-level research study into the ´Availability and Use of ICT in Teaching and Learning´ that outlines the current education environment in Ghana and identifies priority areas for improvement. Due to wide reach of C4C-EGA members, the large scope of the study was able to sample a total of 640 schools located across four regions of Ghana; namely the Volta, Northern, Upper West and Upper East regions.

The study specifically sought to determine the availability of ICT tools in basic schools, explore the use of these tools, identify gaps in the implementation of the policy and recommend measures to improve the use of ICT in basic schools, among others. The research used participatory and consultative methodology, which involved the use of techniques like checklist, in-depth interviews and discussions.

A number of the evidence-based recommendations will outline the alliances priorities moving forward. Topics include: provision of computers in schools; facilitation of collaboration between the government and civil society; ICT-relevant physical infrastructure and capacity building in ICT for teachers and education managers. Contributions from a mixture of stakeholders ensure that the outcomes of the research accurately reflect the reality in Ghanaian schools in order to spur on effective changes to policy.

The C4C–EGA officially launched on 23rd January 2015, yet its members conceived the alliance at a much earlier date. During a 2013 ICT4D Learning workshop, the implementing partners of Connect4Change - Savana Signatures, Ibis Ghana, Peps-c, Presbyterian Education Unit and Women and Development Projects (WADEP) - unanimously agreed to form the C4C – EGA. The Ghana Information Network for Knowledge Sharing (GINKS) was later coopted into the Alliance because of their experience in knowledge sharing activities.“

(Source: IICD)

Thursday, February 12, 2015 4:58:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Congo Brazzaville’s Université Marien Ngouabi (UMNG) lecturers and researchers have received one computer each last week as part of the stock of 650 computers donated by the Perspectives d’Avenir Foundation.

The foundation is chaired by Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, the son of Congo Brazzaville President Denis Sassou Nguesso and a Member of Parliament.

´There are no words to describe the joy of all the recipients. This equipment is of a critical importance for their work,´ UMNG vice-chancellor Armand Moyikoua said at the handover ceremony in the capital Brazzaville.

Every lecturer, from the oldest in grade to the new recruits, now have a laptop, which will enable them improve their teaching and research methods, Moyikoua said, adding that the donation put the university to the path of modernism.

The university has also received another valuable gift from Congo Telecom: the connection of the institution to the country’s fibre optic network to empower its internet connection.

The university also said that Wifi zones were about to be set up in and around UMNG premises.

Teaching staff and researchers in many sub-Saharan African institutions of higher learning lack everything from computers to landline telephones, offices and cars.

So, the Perspective d’Avenir Foundation’s donation has come as a surprise and a lifeline for UMNG teaching staff whose working conditions appear not to have considerably improved in the past two decades.

This prompted the vice-chancellor to say: ´You wrote a page of history on the 43-year history of the Marien Ngouabi University.

State-funded UMNG was established in December 1971 on the ashes of Université deBrazzaville, but was renamed Université Marien Ngouabi in July 1977 to honour the country’s late president who was assassinated in the same year.“

(Source:  Biztech Africa)

Thursday, February 12, 2015 4:52:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“About 200 graduates will be conferred with internships across government ICT Departments tomorrow during the launch of The Presidential Digital Talent Program (PDTP). The launch had been earlier on scheduled for February 3 but later postponed to February 10.

The launch of the program comes after the government through the Ministry of ICT requested all qualified students to apply for the programme since December 12, 2014 to January 9, 2015.

The programme aims to provide internship opportunities to fresh university graduates in readying them to be the Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry leaders and experts in the future.

The Presidential Digital Talent Program was initiated last year by the Ministry of ICT and is being implemented by ICT Authority (ICTA) through a private and public partnership (PPP) arrangement. The program is one of the key initiatives and project spelled out in the ICT Masterplan and a key deliverable for the jubilee government and the Vision 2030 Social and Economic strategic pillars. The program will run for the next 3 years.

The program is one of the key initiatives and project spelt out in the ICT Master plan and a key deliverable for the Jubilee government and the Vision 2030 Social and Economic strategic pillars.

This Public Private Partnership Programme includes local companies, multinational and public sector players. The Internship programme targets qualified ICT graduates. The Interns in government will serve on a variety of roles.
The programme also aims to provide a training ground to fresh university graduates in readying them to be the industry leaders and experts in the future.

With a mission to build the next generation of globally competitive ICT, leadership and technology talent that will transform Kenya through world-class service delivery to the citizens, the programme also looks at engaging citizenry through innovative and sustainable ICT skill development.

The programme also has a focus on ensuring that the Government has ICT competencies with requisite competencies to design, procure, implement and manage a sound ICT structure for effective service delivery. It will also ensure that the government has ICT culture transformation that treats ICT as a business in support of government service delivery objective and still provide a training ground for ICT professionals in the future and offer an affordable labour pool of freshly qualified individuals.

The programme is set to take a span of five years, which will be reviewed after 3 years. The initial pilot targets 200 interns for a period of 12 months. It is expected that the numbers will scale up as the initiative progresses in successive years to cater for County Governments.

Once implemented the programme will transform not only how ICT is managed in the government but also have a full impact in the entire economy in the long term, improve service delivery through effective use of ICT in government, create a pipeline of youths with desirable value and core competencies that will facilitate rapid economic and social change, increase youth employment and increase the GDP and have economic impact.“

(Source: CIO East Africa)

Thursday, February 12, 2015 4:47:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Government of Rwanda and the International Computer Driving License (ICDL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding recently aimed at advancing digital literacy in Rwanda.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister of Youth and ICT Jean Philbert Nsengimana said, ´The MoU will fast track Rwanda’s Digital Literacy training and certification program for Government employees, teachers, students and the general population´.

ICDL programme will facilitate the translation of the Equal Skills introductory workbook-based programme to Kinyarwanda in order to address computer skills in the general population, especially in areas where English literacy is less developed. The potential to develop audio and/or audio visual support resources will be examined by the Parties. ´The partnership will go a long way in capacity building and increasing productivity, noting that the government and the private sector lose a lot because of the low productivity of employees,´ Nsengimana said.

He said: ´This opportunity provides Rwanda with a new beginning to raise the standards. There are so many places in the country where IT is taught but so far there has not been a national standard of ICT literacy. It is important that they not only acquire skills but they have accredited certification.´

Proposals for digital literacy capacity building will be developed with a focus on employability skills, targeting high school and university graduates, those in rural areas, and those in the Small and Medium Entrepreneur (SME) sector.

ICDL programme will be implemented in the Ministry of Youth and ICT and other ministries and government institutions.

ICDL certification programmes have been delivered to over 12million people, in 41 languages, in across 148 countries through a network of over 24,000 test centers.
Rwanda with the help of its President H.E Paul Kagame has come very far in developing its ICT sector which is contributing to the development of the country.

Recently, in Lagos Nigeria, Rwanda’s Minister of MYICT Nsengimana received the continental social mediaaward in the category of Government/Public Sector for the annual Social Media Awards Africa (SMAA).

This is an initiative poised to recognise and reward excellence, creativity and impact in the use of social media tools and platforms by individuals and organisations.

The event brought together social media influencers, experts, enthusiasts and policy makers that would explore and forge new developmental paths for Africa.
In a statement, Nsengimana said MYICT embraced the use of social media through all networks to disseminate information; and it has become such an essential tool of communication that is essential avenue to receiving feedback from the stakeholders.

The Social Media Awards Africa is an annual gathering of business leaders, social media experts and influencers, development experts and other relevant stakeholders who are positioned to promote development in Africa through digital and social media exploration.“

(Source: East African Business Week)

Thursday, February 12, 2015 4:23:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Massify Internet to generate equity, promote peace and Internet to improve education were some of the topics discussed during the meeting between President Santos and Mark Zuckeberg, CEO of Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and President of Facebook, praised the results of the massification of Internet in Colombia and the leadership of the national government for making more Colombians access to knowledge.

Zuckerberg met with President Juan Manuel Santos to arrange an alliance that will allow free Internet access via Facebook to over 8 million users of low-end phones.

´With US President, Barack Obama, we agreed a partnership in education and technology and link a group of businessmen from both countries,´ said President Santos. ´This linkage of our country to internet.org, project sponsored by Facebook to give access to millions of poor people in the world, is already a reality in Colombia,´ said the President Santos.

During the roundtable discussion, President Santos said that one of the priorities of the Government is to expand Internet as a tool to reduce poverty and create jobs. ´Four years ago we began the greatest revolution of our digital ecosystem and increased investment in technology in the country's history which has allowed us today to achieve 98% of municipalities connected to high speed Internet.´

Mark Zuckerberg said meanwhile that Colombia advances in ICT, spoke of the challenge of making the communications infrastructure to be efficient and motivating content creation. He highlighted the many possibilities of strengthening education leveraging Internet. He said that today is unimaginable a school without computer and Internet. ´If you give people the tools is much that can be done, but you must work in culture.´

President Santos and CEO of Facebook stressed the importance of ICT for peace and equality.

´There are a lot of reasons why people do not have Internet in the world and what we are going to do in Facebook is to break these barriers to access, the first is the physical condition. Once people have connectivity they do not know what to do in Internet. That is why we give free access to internet.org here in Colombia, accessing to contents of Facebook, Wikipedia, agribusiness, health, education is a way to generate equality,´ Zuckerberg said.

When President Santos asked how to make education for the peace through Facebook, Mark Zuckeberg said: ´the first thing is to give people connectivity tools to create communication. I think that conflicts occur because there is no understanding. The better communication can help solve problems. If we talk about how to use social networks, I think you President has done a great job in managing the networks and this demonstrates that you communicate with people where you are.´ "

(Source: MINTIC)

Thursday, February 12, 2015 4:18:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 06, 2015


"A total of 2 500 women will receive ICT training every year in the Republic of Congo as part of the Tech25 project, the government in this Central African nation said last week.

The Tech25 initiative, a brainchild of the BantuHub Foundation, was launched on 28 January 2014 in the capital Brazzaville by Isidore Mvouba, minister for industrial development and promotion of private sector.

Women represent a considerable part of the country's 4.5 million people, but gender discrimination and inequalities are rife here as women lack access to education, healthcare and leadership positions, and many lack basic computer skills.

But now the Tech25 initiative, which aims at building a knowledge-based economy and increasing the country's GDP by 10%, wants to include everyone in the digital train of the future.

´If the government fulfills its promise of training these women, chances are that some and why not most of them might end up launching their own ICT business, managing an internet cafe for instance,´ ICT teacher Euloge Samba told Biztechafrica.

The Tech25 initiative, which brings together government, business and civil society, wants to create startups, set up incubators and technology hubs to develop local skills and promote the development of ICT skills.

´The state should create conditions that could trigger the creation of digital companies,´ minister of posts and telecoms Thierry Moungala said."

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Friday, February 06, 2015 5:26:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 05, 2015


“More and more, throughout parts of Africa, tech hubs are emerging to help women realise the benefits of digital technology. Created by women, for women, these communities not only train women and girls with digital skills for business and everyday life, they provide an important support network to ensure they stay connected.

As the gender gap for Internet usage stands at a huge 45 percent in regions like sub-Saharan Africa, these networks are becoming all the more important. According to Modupe Darabidan from the Nigerian NGO the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC), these groups help women overcome challenges such as limited accessibility and ‘digital fear’.

´Usually, women tend to believe that technology is not meant for them and attribute its prowess to men; this in itself is a huge problem. So there is still more work to be done to create the right mind-set,´ Darabidan says.

´Also, most public schools in Nigeria do not have computer systems in the schools, and the few that have don’t have enough to cater to all the students. This is a huge problem as the boys often see it as their right to have access first making the girls shy away.´

Darabidan was part of the eLearning Africa Supporting Transformation (EAST) programme in 2014. She was awarded a scholarship to attend the eLearning Africa conference where she made valuable connections to enhance the work of W.TEC.

´These connections helped me extend my network and harness the knowledge and resources made available back home. I have also had the opportunity of working with my new connections on new projects and prospective ones,´ Darabidan says.

W.TEC hosts technology camps, which offer two-week education and mentoring programmes, as well as workshops in scratch programming, mobile app design, digital photography and digital video production. The organisation also carries out research projects to further explore women’s uses of technology, and offer programmes to help boost business and employment opportunities.

´These trainings are usually tailored to help the women understand why they need technology to improve their capacities and are taught in its barest form by using tools they are already familiar with – mobile phones, tablets, social media,´ Darabidan says.

Feedback W.TEC has received from its community is that girls have become more confident on school computer systems and have learnt how to best harness available resources around them; they have been able to integrate technology more in their everyday lives; older women who are more business focused are now using productivity tools to manage their businesses more productively; and school teachers have gained a better understanding of how hands-on sessions can help the students learn faster during their computer science classes.

In addition to the skills acquired, Darabidan says one of W.TEC’s main benefits is becoming part of a community. She says: ´Alumni of any of the W.TEC technology programmes are added to the organisation’s network and are privy to first-hand information about grants, business and job opportunities, and scholarships. These are usually posted on the organisation’s social media platforms or sent via emails.´

Similarly, in Senegal, the country’s first female tech hub was recently launched. JJiguene Tech Senegal hosts monthly networking meetings that feature diverse speakers addressing topics such as women in business, app development and ICT careers. It also arranges school and university outreach programmes, as well as programmes for mentorship and training.

´We want to be a role model for girls and for women in tech. They think it’s just for men,´ co-founder and app designer Awa Caba told the BBC.

Those involved say it has given them opportunities to speak with girls and women involved in ICT, and has inspired them to follow a career in tech.

The new EAST Women in ICT Programme is developed especially for women who are studying or working with ICT and would like to become part of a similar network of women by supporting them to take part in the eLearning Africa 2015.“

(Source: eLearning)

Thursday, February 05, 2015 11:06:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Team Handi'Educ from Senegal has emerged a semi-finalist in the Ericsson Innovation Awards representing sub-Saharan Africa.

The team, comprising three engineering students, developed an educative web/mobile application to support handicapped children in a learning environment.

HANDI'EDUC is an educative web/mobile application for handicapped children. The application addresses challenges faced by children who have vision, speech, hearing and mobility disabilities. Some of the features of the innovation include converting text to audio for the visually impaired and converting speech by educators to text for learners who may be hearing and speech impaired.

It will be developed in a multi-platform environment and it will run on all devices. According to the type of handicap it will offer different functionalities to support the handicapped.

Fatou Diop, Team Lead, Handi'Educ says: ´We are thankful that we made it to the semi-finals of this competition. Our team is committed to helping children from all over the world, irrespective of economic background, gain access to quality education and we appreciate the platform to achieve this´.

Started in 2009, the competition began as the Ericsson Application Awards, a research and development initiative to spark app development and boost innovation.
In 2015, the competition's name was changed to the Ericsson Innovation Awards, and the scope was broadened to target university talent globally. It has moved from being a competition based on app development to one focusing on innovation.

Tumi Sekhukhune, VP and Head of Strategy, Marketing and Communications, Ericsson, says: ´The Ericsson Innovation Awards creates a platform for inspired undergraduates with a vision of the future to share their insights. This year, several exciting ideas were received on the future of learning from sub-Saharan Africa and around the world. We are proud that one of the ideas that emerged from our region is in the running to showcase their ideas to a global audience.´

With education playing a key part in the move toward Ericsson's vision of the Networked Society - where everything that can be connected will be connected - the 2015 theme is The Future of Learning.

The competition has been open to students from any academic institution, and in 2015, 270 teams from 43 countries have entered.

The finalists will be announced on March 16. They will then gather at Ericsson's headquarters in Sweden, where the winners will be revealed on April 15.

Each team was required to provide a product description document, a business case and a description of why their idea should be chosen, along with contact information.
Ten semi-finalists have been chosen by a mix of an Ericsson jury and an open voting process. The Ericsson jury will now whittle down this group to the four teams that will make it to the finals.

A finalist jury will then decide who gets first, second and third place.

The prizes are EUR 25,000 for first place, EUR 10,000 for second place and EUR 5,000 for third. All 10 semifinalists will be invited to an interview with Ericsson, with the possibility of landing either a job or an internship with the competition after their studies.

The evaluation criteria for 2015 are: CSR positive impact (Technology For Good); Global versus local (multimarket potential); Value argumentation (potential revenue or cost reduction); whether the idea can be easily developed; User benefit (can the idea be easily deployed?) and Innovativeness of the solution.“

(Source: All Africa)

Thursday, February 05, 2015 10:59:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“´This opportunity provides us with a new beginning to raise the standards. There are so many places in the country where IT is taught, but so far there has not been a national standard of ICT literacy,´ Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Rwanda’s Youth and ICT minister told The New Times. ´It is important that they not only acquire skills but they have accredited certification.´

According to the report, a private sector computer skills program —International Computer Driving License (ICDL) — and the government are coming together to raise ICT literacy of Rwandan youth, government members and the general public. The official agreement was signed by both partners January 28, 2015.

By 2018, the government is hoping to hit an ICT literacy goal of 50 percent, although the current figure sits at 3.3 percent. Roughly 85,000 government officials alone will receive a certificate after completing training. The greatest boost that the government is hoping to achieve is a turnaround in employee productivity — something that can be advanced through ICT.

The New Times also reported that once the country’s literacy rate begins to increase, professional institutions and businesses are expected to follow suit in encouraging ICT comprehension. In addition, this type of training provides a segue way for similar international organizations to come in, create partnerships and contribute to ICT growth in Africa.

´It is a major contributor to progress, it is fantastic to see young people invent new ways of creating a market place and offering new services,´ Christine Lagarde, IMF general director told The New Times following a visit to ICT mentorship hub K-Lab — another organization lifting ICT literacy rates in Rwanda.

Earlier this month, Biztech Africa reported that in the first two quarters of 2014, ICT contributed to 2 percent of Rwanda’s overall GDP.

More than the combination of other sectors including mining, trade and manufacturing, financial contributions for ICT trumped them pulling in 45 percent of foreign direct investment, according to Biztech Africa.“

(Source: AFK)

Thursday, February 05, 2015 10:56:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“UNESCO and UNICEF together with national partners launched the first Policy Board and Management Committee meeting for the implementation of a joint project on the use of inclusive technology for persons with disabilities in Uganda on 27 January 2015. The project is funded from the UN Partnership to Promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities funding framework. The major objective of the project is to strengthen the policy environment and build institutional capacities through Inclusive Technology to ensure Inclusive Education and Access to Information in Uganda.

Fifteen participants representing government institutions, Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs), academic institutions and the UN System attended the Policy Board and Management Committee meeting with the aim to provide technical input to the activities of the 2-year project. The implementation of the two year project will be guided by the Policy Board and Management Committee, consisting of all relevant stakeholders in order to ensure that the project is both focused on national priorities and comprehensive in exploring the use of Inclusive Technologies for people with disabilities in Uganda.

In keeping with Uganda’s Vision 2040 and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Articles 9, 21 and 24), this project will be achieved by a two track approach. One track will focus on strengthening the policy environment through the development of relevant policies and guidelines as well as the establishment of an appropriate governance structure. The second track will focus on the development of educational materials in accessible formats. In addition, the programme will engage organizations of persons with disabilities, key government partners (including teachers), information professionals and publishing companies into a multistakeholder coalition to promote the creation and distribution of accessible information, especially educational resources, for persons with visual and hearing impairments in Uganda. The programme will support the coalition in monitoring the implementation of initiatives using of Inclusive technology to advance inclusive education and access to information.

Members of the Policy Board and Management Committee expressed their satisfaction in this initiative as many DPOs and stakeholders working with learners in Uganda, do not know the potential of Inclusive technologies in ensuring Inclusive Education and Access to Information.

The Policy Board and Management Committee will exist for the period corresponding to the duration of the project (2 years). The Policy Board and Management Committee will meet on a quarterly basis in Kampala, Uganda but will allow for remote participation in using new technologies.

The Innovative use of ICTs for persons with disabilities form part of UNESCO’s actions to enhance the full participation of citizens in the knowledge societies.

With a view to empowering persons with disabilities and assuring the inclusion of disability issues into the sustainable development agenda of Member States, UNESCO, in cooperation with the Government of India, with support of The State of Kuwait, and also international, regional and national public and private partners, organized the first international Conference entitled From Exclusion to Empowerment: The Role of Information and Communication Technologies for Persons with Disabilities held in New Delhi from 24 to 26 November 2014.

The Conference was attended by some 700 participants from 80 countries, alongside with the film festival themed around disability issues, an ICT solutions-oriented exhibition and a special workshop. High-level dialogues were held at plenary level and in 15 parallel sessions, divided into three thematic discussions on partnerships and sustainable development, accessibility and technological solutions, and access to information and knowledge (http://www.unesco-ci.org/ict-pwd/). The Outcome Document – The New Delhi Declaration on Inclusive ICTs for Persons with Disabilities: Making Empowerment a Reality, was developed by the open-ended, multistakeholder and high level drafting group recalling the urgent need for the full and unconditional inclusion of all citizens in the life of societies.“

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, February 05, 2015 10:53:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Intel recently released a new report entitled, ´MakeHers: Engaging Girls and Women in Technology through Making, Creating and Inventing´ . The report includes concrete data that indicates that girls and women involved with ´making,´ designing and creating things with electronic tools may build stronger interest and skills in computer science and engineering. The report also assesses the role of girls and women in the ´maker movement´, a growing wave of tech-inspired, do-it-yourself innovation.

Intel supports the maker movement to encourage innovation – whether it takes place in a classroom, a lab or a workshop in a home or garage – and introduce young makers to computer science and engineering in revolutionary and innovative ways beyond the traditional classroom setting.

The report was created in consultation with experts including the Girl Scouts and Maker Education and it aims to increase access to and interest in computer science and engineering, especially among girls and women and underrepresented minorities, where there remains a significant gap.

The report finds that ´making´ can help girls and women learn new content and technologies and provide an avenue for them to engage in scientific and engineering problems that align with their interests. It can bring ideas to life, spur creativity and personal growth. The study outlines a set of recommendations and call to action to use ´maker´ activities to broaden participation in computer science and engineering.

Through the report, Intel has identified several key recommendations for parents, educators, policymakers and other stakeholders to engage girls and women in making:
Build more girls- and women-inclusive maker environments in public places.

Design maker spaces that enable open-ended investigation of projects meaningful to girls and women. Develop initiatives that give girls more access to makers their own age and female mentors. Align making activities, such as coding and making hardware, with current trends and personal interests to attract girls.

In the Asia Pacific and Japan region, Intel supports the maker movement through Maker Faires, Hackathons, innovation contests, curricula and lab development, and workshops with over 40 events across the region in 2014.“

(Source: Intel Asia Pacific CSR Journal)

Thursday, February 05, 2015 10:50:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“UNESCO supported Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) and Kenya National Libraries Services (KNLS) to organize a national workshop to enhance ICT and e-literacy skills of national librarians from 7 to 10 December 2014 in Nakuru, Kenya.

The training attracted participation of 30 librarians from 29 public libraries that currently provide public access to computers and Internet in Kenya. It aimed at enhancing public librarians’ information and communications technologies (ICT) and e-literacy skills, in order to make better use of ICT for new public library services to meet community needs.

The training also aimed at helping support delivery of the Millennium Development Goals by enabling public librarians to use ICT in new services that meet community needs in development areas such as agriculture, education, health, culture, social inclusion and e-literacy.

During the training Ms Ramune Petuchovaite, Manager of the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) stated that ´ICT’s role in accelerating development is now widely recognized in Africa and that governments are speeding up the roll-out of ICT infrastructure and equipment to aid this developments. With these developments, it is important that public libraries be included in national ICT policies and strategies.´

´To date, only 29 out of 60 libraries are adequately equipped with ICT infrastructure in Kenya. There is, therefore, an undoubted need for both library staff and our clients to upgrade their ICT skills to be able to better utilize the resources that we currently have in place,´ said Mr Richard Atuti, Director of the Kenya National Library Service.
This training adapted courses and training methods currently being tested in Ghana and Uganda by EIFL to fit the Kenyan context and supported a broader Kenya National Library Service initiative of engaging partners in transforming libraries across the country into ICT hubs.

This capacity building initiative falls within the framework of UNESCO, supporting adoption of ICT in public libraries and also enabling the creation of new services for users in Kenya.

Kenya National Library Service is a statutory body established to develop, equip, manage and maintain national and public library services, to promote information literacy and reading, and to enhance stakeholder participation in development of libraries in Kenya, while EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) advances community development by enabling public libraries to implement innovative ideas that use technology to improve people’s lives and livelihoods.“

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, February 05, 2015 10:46:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 23, 2014
“The specialty award honors a female character, and those involved in bringing her to life, that goes above and beyond to be inspiring and encouraging to break down stereotypes and elevate the conversation around female ingenuity in technology fields.

The first ever SET Award for Portrayal of a Female in Technology, presented by Entertainment Industries Council (EIC), the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) & Google is announced today. This inaugural honor is the latest expansion of the long-standing EIC SET Awards which recognize television, feature film, comic book, DVD, digital content, radio and news journalism that encourages young people in science, engineering and technology (SET) career paths. Through this collaboration, entertainment and media merges with technology career paths and diversity initiatives to inspire vast audiences in pivotal career paths.

´EIC is proud to recognize the power and influence actors and actresses have to bring to life inspiring and exciting characters who can change attitudes and perceptions of diverse audiences about career paths of the future,´ said Brian Dyak, President and CEO of EIC. ´Since CSI: Crime Scene Investigation began, over a decade ago, we have seen a tremendous increase in the number of educational programs for forensic science; researchers have even noted a 50 percent increase in the number of women pursuing these fields. The 'CSI effect' set the bar for sciences; now we plan to expand that positive reach to technology careers and beyond.´

The specialty award honors a female character, and those involved in bringing her to life, that goes above and beyond to be inspiring and encouraging to break down stereotypes and elevate the conversation around female ingenuity in technology fields. Portrayal of a Female in Technology is the first SET Award to showcase a female’s role in entertainment regarding technology.

´Gender diversity enhances innovation and expands the qualified employee pool, increasing corporate profitability. However, the industry is failing at attracting wide-ranging talent,” said Lucy Sanders, CEO and Co-founder of NCWIT. ´Collaborating with EIC and Google enables us to use the power of mass media to replace myths and stereotypes with inclusive portrayals that will inspire girls and women to seek computing opportunities.´

Launched at the 4th Annual SET Awards, produced by EIC, the nomination period for the awards will begin December 2, 2014 at http://g.co/GoogleSETAward.

´When it comes to encouraging girls and women to pursue careers in computer science and other technical fields, we know that positive role models matter,´ said Mo Fong, Director for K-12 Education Outreach at Google. ´We are excited to be partnering with EIC and NCWIT to create an award that highlights amazing women in entertainment and the characters they portray to inspire and propel more women into technical careers critical to future innovation.´

Nominations will be accepted at http://g.co/GoogleSETAward through January 18, 2015. Voting will be held online in Spring 2015 and the winner announced at the 2015 NCWIT Summit for Women and IT on May 19-21 in Hilton Head, South Carolina.“

(Source: PRWeb)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 3:10:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION is considering helping schools fully exploit the opportunities offered by advances in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the country to improve the quality of education.

The Minister for Education, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, said on Wednesday that though ICT was among the priorities in the education sector, the existing infrastructure is yet to be fully exploited.

He was speaking at a provincial consultative meeting on education in Nyanza District.

The meeting brought together officials from the Ministry of Education, local leaders, head teachers, parents’ representatives and education officers at the local levels from across the Southern Province.

Lwakabamba told participants that his ministry was considering helping schools, including those in rural areas, to access and benefit from existing ICT infrastructure and services such as the fibre optic cable and the recently rolled out 4G internet to help improve the quality of education.

Last month, Rwanda launched the hi-speed 4th Generation Long-Term Evolution (4G-LTE) internet network, the fastest wireless communication on high-speed data for mobile phones, computers and other devices.

´For some time now we have been talking about the use of ICTs in education but we have not reached the desired level, mostly because we have not taken advantage of latest developments in the ICT field,´ Lwakabamba told The New Times shortly after the meeting.

´We want to go to a step further.´

He said a number of schools have been helped to acquire computers while the government invested billions of francs in rolling out optic cables throughout the country and bringing 4G internet.

“How does all that benefit education?” he asked.

The ministry is also hoping that a recent government deal with POSITIVO BGH, a South American multinational firm, to set up a computer-manufacturing factory in Kigali will enable schools, students and teachers to easily access affordable computers.

The company’s plant in Kigali is set to start production in March next year. It will be manufacturing about 700,000 units per year, according to officials. Lwakabamba said the government was committed to buying at least 150,000 computer units from the plant annually, and that schools are among the institutions that will benefit from the scheme.

´We are putting up a master plan to exploit the existing facilities and then put content onto them (computers). We are starting to develop content [that can be loaded on computers and other gadgets] for the new curriculum and then students can teach themselves to make education system more student-centred than using only teachers teaching with a blackboard,´ Lwakabamba said.

´The factory is adding value to what we had before; they will produce fairly affordable computers which our students and teachers can use.´He added: ´Our students will be able to access information even beyond what they have [from their teachers]. With digital content, students can learn by themselves [and] if they can’t understand something they can get more explanations by clicking a button.

´If they click another button they can also get a video of a professor teaching them on that topic that they don’t understand.´”

(Source: The New Times)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 3:05:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“2,000 youth from across Rwanda are gathering at the third edition of the National YouthConnekt Convention from 17th-19th December in Kigali and they are participating in the national dialogue (Umushyikirano).

The convention has been organized by the Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT) and the National Youth Council (NYC) in collaboration with various stakeholders under the theme ´Together – Accountable – Big Think.´
 
Through YouthConnekt, Rwanda’s young people, who make up more than 60% of the active labour force, have understood that they are the largest contributors to national development, given not only their number but also their energy, innovation, creativity and passion.

At the first two conventions, the participants expressed the wish to participate and contribute meaningfully to the national dialogue so that their views are fully taken into account in the national development agenda. At the conventions, attendees also made a number of commitments, which have been achieved in the last two years.
The Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana stressed that ´YouthConnekt Convention establishes a platform for Rwanda’s young people at home and abroad to showcase their potential and contribute to building their country.´

Minister Nsengimana added that ´As we evaluate the achievements made through the previous performance contracts, we should also come together to shape the future that we want… We can shape our future and that of our nation. It’s for this reason that I challenge us to play a part in building the nation.´

This year’s convention brings together 2,000 young people including entrepreneurs and professionals, Indangamirwa, innovators, artists, students, and young people living with disabilities. Attendees of the convention will follow and participate in Umushyikirano (the National Dialogue Council) live from Petit Stade in Remera, Kigali. Participants will also showcase their initiatives and innovations that are positively impacting society and reiterate their role in national development.

The inaugural YouthConnekt Convention took place in 2012, establishing a platform for Rwanda’s young people at home and abroad to showcase their potential and contribute to building their country.“

(Source:  MYICT)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 3:01:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"´Nothing can replace a good teacher. Today, teaching in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) means being confronted with a number of challenges. On the job training provides practical and educational solutions to enable teachers to offer a better quality of education.´

These words were spoken by Irina Bokova at the official launch of the programme ‘Strengthening national capacity for training on the job in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’ on 16 December 2014.

The launch was held in the presence of the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and Introduction to the New Citizenship, Mr. Maker Mwangu Famba, and the China Chargé d’Affaires in the DRC.

Funded by the People's Republic of China, this flagship project, already launched in Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia and Namibia, will be deployed in eight African countries to improve the quality of education.

Welcoming this new cooperation, the Director-General said that ´ICTs are revolutionizing teaching practices. We can use them to improve access and quality of teacher training allowing teachers to be followed, to communicate and to share best practices. This project embodies the determination of UNESCO to support the development of the Congolese education system and it pays particular attention to rural education, where teachers are often isolated, without support.´

The project includes the development and online publication of educational materials, training on how to use new technical tools and equipment purchases.

´I welcome this innovative project. This is a new model of South-South cooperation that complements the strategic partnership between the DRC and China in the field of education,´ said the China Chargé d’Affaires, adding that he hoped other partners, including private partners would join this initiative.

Highlighting the need to develop the teaching profession in the DRC, the Minister of Education has called for ´mobilization for teachers to improve their training, their status and their social condition.´

The Democratic Republic of Congo has some 600,000 teachers, a figure increased over 40% since 2007. The primary and secondary school enrollment rates are rising steadily, but the challenges remain immense in this vast country, where 3.5 million of children are still out of school.“

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 2:55:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“We are excited to announce that we have expanded the Facebook Fellowship Award to cover two years!
The Fellowship Program is open to full-time PhD students (domestic and international) enrolled during the current academic year and studying computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, system architecture, or a related area.

Each Facebook Fellowship includes several benefits:
- Tuition and fees will be paid for the academic year(s)
- $37,000 yearly grant
- Paid visit to Facebook HQ to present your research
- Opportunity for paid internship

Required application materials:
- Research Summary
  1-2 page research summary, which clearly identifies the area of focus and applicability of anticipated research to Facebook.
- Resume or CV
- Two email contacts for a letter of recommendation:
  1.Advisor
  2.Professional reference (can be from academia or industry)

Application Deadline
Applications open on Monday, October 20, 2014 at 6:00pm
Completed applications are due by Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 8:59am
(Applications may be saved and edited up until application deadline)

Facebook Fellowship Rules
Read the Terms and Conditions for the Facebook Fellowship program“

(Source: OFA)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 2:41:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 15, 2014
"Technology and innovation for social good on display in Doha

In a parallel programme of workshops, sessions, pitching and collaborations, the ITU Telecom World 2014 Young Innovators Competition winners joined winners of the 2013 edition and start-ups from local and global partner organizations to set their own agenda on technology and innovation with a clear social dimension.

The programme kicked off with joint participation in the ShapeMENA event organized by the World Economic Forum’s Global Shaper community, 3 – 4 December. The Young Innovators attended panel sessions on ‘Trends and Challenges facing young Arabs’, ‘Media Empowerment for Social Change Makers’, ‘Fuelling High Impact Philanthropy through Technology’, the ‘Future of Jobs’, and ‘Inspiring Positive Social Change’.

Learning experiences continued with two days of workshops from prominent local universities, including a visit to the state-of-the-art Qatar Science and Technology Park.
During ITU Telecom World 2014, 7 – 10 December, the Young Innovators hosted the ‘Young Influencers Day’ and the ‘Start-up Day’, two thematic events aimed at bringing the young participants together to solidify a distinct programme and voice. In addition, the Creative Conversations on the event show floor provided further opportunities for the young innovators competition winners to engage with the greater debate at ITU Telecom World and to participate in inter-disciplinary discussions on wearable technology, co-creation, and ICTs and sports.

Highlights included sessions on ‘Financing for Start-ups’, a master class in ‘Intellectual Property’, and a pitching session. Before an audience of delegates, peers, and investors, the Young Innovators presented their winning projects and responded to questions on their feasibility. The day concluded with a networking reception and informal chat between participants and the audience.

´These talented young people –digital natives–bring fresh perceptions, insights and innovations into the global ICT ecosystem,´ said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. ´They truly represent the future.´

The Young Innovators Competition onsite programme at ITU Telecom World provided an unprecedented opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas, engaging more young stakeholders in new and innovative ways. New collaborations have been set in motion for an even more eventful Young Innovators Programme at next year’s edition of ITU Telecom World that will take place 12 – 15 October 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.

For further information on the Young Innovators Programme and Competition, please see http://telecomworld.itu.int/take-part/young-innovators/

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Monday, December 15, 2014 4:30:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Ericsson today announced the launch of its global education initiative 'Connect to Learn' in India. Connect To Learn implements information and communications technology (ICT) in schools in resource poor settings, to ensure that children, no matter where they live, have access to learning resources and a quality education. In line with the vision of a complete 21st Century education for everyone, the program provides an opportunity for youth to access learning resources that were previously unavailable to them.

As a part of the program, Ericsson in association with three leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India - Plan International (India Chapter), Smile Foundation and Pratham Education Foundation has launched projects for periods of one to three years, that make a positive impact on the lives of underprivileged students and urban youth in different parts of the country. Each partner brings a specific contribution to the success of the initiative.

In terms of creating employment opportunities for underprivileged youth, Ericsson has partnered with Smile Foundation to offer job-oriented skills and placement assistance to underprivileged youth in Delhi/National Capital Region (NCR) and Mumbai. This program will impart training in basic computers and retail sales management skills, along with proficiency in spoken and written English through 20 centres to be set in Delhi/NCR and Mumbai. The curriculum also includes sessions on personal development, career counselling and placement support.

Recognizing an important link between limited mobility of women and girls and accessing progressive learning opportunities, the project with Plan India focuses on ensuring increased access to opportunities for self-development for 15000 girls in the 15 - 25 age group. Ericsson will establish 12 Networked Learning Centres in Delhi as knowledge hubs for girls, in association with Plan India.

As a part of the third project, Ericsson will collaborate with Pratham Education Foundation to establish Learning Excellence Program (LEP) in about 15 schools in the villages of Gurgaon. The LEP provides need based support to Government Schools by targeting children who lag behind in their learning levels.

Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility (CR), Ericsson said, "As we move closer to the Networked Society, we see mobile broadband emerging as a powerful tool, offering the opportunity to connect even the remotest villages.

´Connect to Learn has been successful in bringing the benefits of connectivity to students and schools worldwide. With more than 1 billion people in India, the potential to contribute to improved access to education is enormous. Through the formation of initiatives like Connect To Learn, we demonstrate that public-private partnerships are key to developing sustainable solutions that can make a major impact in education through technology.´

Chris Houghton, Head of Region, Ericsson India said, ´ICT has immense potential to offer learning opportunities and also have positive impact on a country's economic growth. With the three partners, we are creating a unique Connect to Learn ecosystem in India which will make a difference in the lives of thousands of underprivileged children and youth by creating an environment that is conducive to their overall growth and development.´

'Connect To Learn' is a global education initiative of Ericsson, the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Millennium Promise that leverages the power of ICT to enable access to high-quality education for students everywhere. The initiative is based on the use of connectivity to implement low-cost and user-friendly ICT solutions for schools through mobile broadband and cloud computing.

This gives students and teachers access to world-class information and educational resources, and the ability to connect schools to other schools around the world to foster collaborative learning, cross-cultural understanding and global awareness.“

(Source: Ericcson)

Monday, December 15, 2014 3:55:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Microsoft and 88mph have revealed the expansion of the Microsoft Ventures program into Nigeria. As part of the 4Afrika Initiative, the collaboration, according to both parties, will help improve start-ups’ productivity by offering tools, resources, expertise and routes to market around the world.

Amrote Abdella, Director of Start-up Engagement and Partnerships, Microsoft Africa Initiatives, stated that: ´There is a great opportunity to further develop the start-up ecosystem in Nigeria and drive innovation. By expanding Microsoft Ventures into Nigeria, we hope to reinvent productivity for start-ups. This means equipping them with the technology that puts their businesses first, by providing affordable devices, cloud-based software and pay-as-you-go models, that enable anytime-anywhere access.´

Start-ups for the program will be selected based on globally established criteria. These include having a full-time founding team, a bold vision for tackling a real problem, technology-driven solutions and less than $1 million raised.

´While working with Microsoft in Kenya, we found we were very aligned on finding businesses that deliver value to consumers, helping bring them to profitability, and hopefully getting more investors interested in web/mobile businesses,´ said Kresten Buch of 88mph.

88mph and L5Lab created a Joint Venture called 440.ng, to invest in start-ups in Nigeria. ´It’s still early days here and not a lot of players in this space, so we are thrilled that Microsoft wants to support our efforts here as well,´ Buch concluded.

One Nigerian start-up who has already benefited from the partnership with 88mph is Abiola Olaniran, founder of mobile games company Gamsole. To date, Gamsole has over 9 million game downloads, making Abiola Nigeria’s highest paid Windows game developer.“

(Source: IT News Africa)

Monday, December 15, 2014 3:44:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Welcome to IICD’s Annual Report 2013. Our report will take you through the countries we work in and a selection of projects that demonstrate how our ICT-led social innovation process has helped foster behavioural and social change in these communities. IICD uses ICT to help build the capacity of people and organisations in Africa and Latin America to generate social change in their own communities and take charge of their own development. Just as supplying forks is not the answer to world hunger, simply providing laptops to schools does not improve children’s learning and equipping women with mobile phones is not a cure-all for maternal health issues.“

Download full report here)

(Source: IICD)

Monday, December 15, 2014 3:38:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The eighteen winners of the contest entitled ´What I want to be when I grow up and why´, held in all provinces of the country, launched this year by the Ministries of Science and Technology and education, were presented Thursday during a award and diplomas distribution ceremony.



Felix Adão Gaspar, from the first cycle school of the secondary school ´Manguxi´ of Bie province, won the national competition, while Loydiana Luís Gonga and Geovana Fausto Gomes from the primary schools of Luanda and Malange got the second and third places respectively.

The ceremony was attended by the Ministers of Education and Science and Technology, namely Pinda Simão and Maria Candida Teixeira and guests.“

(Source: Angola Press)

Monday, December 15, 2014 3:28:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Intel has completed the training of 400 women under its recently launched "Intel She Will Connect programme". The training conducted at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in Nairobi, targeted women drawn from The League of Kenyan Women Voters, and was done in collaboration with the Ministry of Devolution and Planning.

The League of Kenyan Women voters is a non-partisan member organization that aims at  providing a forum through which women can take part in national decision making processes and in leadership. It also acts as a medium where women can freely exchange views and ideas with the aim of encouraging their participation in leadership irrespective of their background and political orientation.

The Intel She Will Connect program was launched in Africa in 2014. In Kenya, the programme aims to train 2,000 young women in digital literacy skills by the end of the year through Pasha Centres in a number of counties. It is already live at 35 Pasha Centres in 27 counties.

Commenting at the training, Dr. Mark Matunga, Corporate Affairs Group Manager Intel East Africa said, ´Despite women doing 60 percent of the world's work and producing 50 percent of the world's food, they only make 10 percent of the world's income and own 1 percent of  the world's assets. Additionally, women reinvest 90 percent of their income to their communities. At Intel, we believe empowering Kenyan women through improved technology access will in turn spur economic growth for Kenya as a whole. We are aiming to provide skills and resources needed to empower women to get and stay online safely.´

For the She Will Connect programme in Kenya, Intel is collaborating with the Kenya ICT Authority, The Rockefeller Foundation, USAID, Safari Connect and The Youth Banner - a Pasha Business Development Consultant for the ICT Authority. At the end of the training, the women and the girls will have a chance to start their own businesses or be employed.

Speaking at the event, Anne Waiguru, Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning said,´ Through the Gender Mainstreaming Pillar in Vision 2030, the government aims to ensure the needs and interest of each gender, including women, men, girls and boys are addressed in all government policies, plans and programmes. As you may be aware, Kenya's budget preparation process now includes the use of Internet for contribution. The government is also in the process of rolling out the eCitizen programme, which brings government services to the reach of each citizen.´

´It is therefore important for every citizen in the country, especially the women and the youth, to equally have access to ICT tools and knowledge. ICT can play the important role of bridging the traditional gender gap. I'd like to commend private sector players like Intel, who have taken up the challenge of ensuring that women can benefit from the access provided by technology to take part in Kenya's development process,´ added Waiguru.

The Intel She Will Connect programme has a goal of reaching 5 million women and reducing the gender gap by 50 percent in the sub-Saharan region. The programme comes against the backdrop of the Women and the Web report released by Intel last year revealing the enormous Internet gender gap in the developing world and the social and economic benefits of securing Internet access for women.

The report examined women’s access to and use of the Internet in low and middle income countries and found that, on average, nearly 25 per cent fewer women than men are online in developing countries. This represents 200 million fewer women than men online today. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the size of the gap is 43 per cent— the largest across all the regions in the study.“

(Source: CIO East Africa)

Monday, December 15, 2014 3:23:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The IDA Lab on Wheels, a first roving bus that houses engaging and experiential technology to travel to schools islandwide

Primary school students now have a new and fun way to learn tech. Known as the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) Lab on Wheels; this mobile platform houses technology that is fun to learn, experiential and engaging. The IDA Lab on Wheels is retrofitted from a 40-seater bus that will house different activities such as coding a game in an hour, programming a robot, tinkering with a gadget and learning how electronics work. It will reach out to 80 primary schools and 16,000 students over the next two years.

Launched today by Minister for Communications and Information, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim at Vivocity, the IDA Lab on Wheels is a collaboration between the Government and the Industry. As we envision building Singapore into the world’s first Smart Nation, one with the fuller use of technology to live, work and play; our future generation is important in making an impact and contributing to this vision. The aim of the IDA Lab on Wheels is to ignite people and the young’s passion for tech via its engaging and experiential learning experience. The larger goal is to encourage the youth to pursue tech as part of their school curriculum or career. This in turn, helps build local tech talent for Singapore. Following the launch, in addition to schools, the mobile platform will reach out to the community. This is to ensure that everyone including the community is part of the beneficiaries of this educational and experiential mobile platform. They will be able to be engaged, excited by tech and leverage it to enhance their lifestyle and development.

The launch today saw many big and small tech industry players such as Dell, Autodesk, Asus and so on come forward to show their support to nurture and cultivate tech talent by participating in the bus’ development. Even students were involved in the co-creation of the bus.

Early this year, IDA held a design competition for the look and feel of the bus’ exterior. Three winning designs were selected and prizes were given out by Minister Yaacob Ibrahim. Singapore Management University clinched first prize, with Victoria Junior College coming in second, and Anglo-Chinese School coming in third. SMU’s winning design is featured on the skin of the IDA Lab on Wheels. Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman of IDA said, ´We are really proud of the efforts from different parties such as the Government, Industry players and especially students who have come together in the development of IDA Lab on Wheels. It is a good starting point to groom and grow Singapore talent for the future by seeding interest in tech at a young age. I encourage more industry players and people to come forward to visit and contribute to the development of the bus.´”

(Source: IDA)

Monday, December 15, 2014 3:18:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 09, 2014
“A record 6,800 participants from 95 countries just attended the fifth Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Marrakech.

Another 14.5 million people on Facebook and 7.5 million on Twitter also followed the 2-day event in the Ochre City, which wrapped up on Thursday (November 21).

Young people ´are the main drivers of change and progress´, United States Vice President Joe Biden told the audience of government officials, financial decision-makers, community figures and students.

The vice president led a large American delegation to the Moroccan event, including Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, who said that the administration of US President Barack Obama was working to promote entrepreneurship and innovation around the world.

The summit provided ´an opportunity for young people to draw inspiration from successful experiences in the realm of modern technologies´, General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) President Meriem Bensaleh told Magharebia.

Agreements aimed at helping young entrepreneurs were signed by company bosses and a range of industrial and financial institutions.

´Over 600 young students came to broaden their knowledge and their know-how in the field of modern information technologies,´ Moroccan Deputy Foreign Minister M’barka Bouaida said.

Some 70% of young Moroccans want to start up their own business – the highest proportion in the MENA region, Deputy Minister of Small Enterprises Mamoun Bouhdoud pointed out.
Salim Belarrabi, a Moroccan computer engineering student, attended the Marrakech event to learn more about how to realise his ambitions.

´These days, a young person needs guidance and support from professionals in both the public and the private sector to start up a business successfully,´ Belarrabi said.

The student has a good chance at success, one industry expert told Magharebia.

According to Abdellatif Ch’biha, who runs a consultancy firm, the modern technology sector is now a lucrative area for young people who want to make an impact with their start-up.

´This sector in Morocco generates annual turnover of 33 billion dirhams, thanks to a technology boom that is benefiting from an increase in internet access, which is estimated at 16 million Moroccans online every day,´ he said.

The summit culminated in announcements about a US project to invest and train young Moroccans (the Enterprise and Innovation Seed Fund, worth 50 million dollars), the launch of the Moroccan Entrepreneurship and Innovation Club, and plans for an ´Enterprise City´ in the kingdom.

The Marrakech event also saw the inauguration of an annual million-dollar prize for entrepreneurship, to be awarded solely to young Africans.

The announcements drew lengthy applause from participants, who hailed the measures as concrete steps to encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity among young people.

The next edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, an initiative launched by the White House in 2009, will be held in an as-yet unnanouced Sahel country.“
 
(Source: Magharebia)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 11:46:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"The Pacific Disability Forum has used international day of persons with disabilities to promote the impact and benefits of ICT in improving the well being and inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development.

Australia Head of Mission Margaret Twomey has highlighted the need to support people with disabilities in terms of technology and plans that were put in place to assist the initiative .
The Pacific Disability Forum believes governments should invest in resources that will assist persons with disabilities.

´Government should have disability inclusive, disability fran tory policies .Should invest the right kind of resources to support the participation with disabilities so really the government at the end of the day has a lot to do and can do to ensure that disabilities enjoy the quality of life that they should have.´

The Fiji Special Education teachers Association believes teachers should provided with resources that will assist people with disabilities to handle technologies."

(Source: FBC)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 11:43:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“The Government is designing a strategic plan that will make it possible for the education sector to adopt Information and Communication Technology as a primary enabler of access to education.

The Minister for Education, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, said Rwandans need to take bold steps including the acquisition of computers by teachers to avail digital content and help promote self learning.

´It is imperative for Rwandans to be equipped with 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and innovation, among others,´ the minister said.

The minister was speaking at a retreat for education stakeholders in Rubavu District yesterday.

The retreat started on Tuesday and is expected to close today.

The strategic plan will reportedly be designed to indicate how ICT in education strategy will be rolled out across the country.

Other partners involved in the development of the strategy include Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Intel Corporation as a strategic advisor.

Intel Corporation is one of the world's largest Semiconductor manufacturers.

The retreat aimed at evaluating strategies to infuse ICTs at all levels of the education system to enable self learning and improve the quality of education.

Participants also discussed measures aimed at ensuring that all education institutions and schools are connected to the internet and have access to digital libraries.

The plan is also expected to create requirements and standards for digital content while developing locally relevant interactive multimedia content in partnership with publishers and the private sector.

Under the strategic plan, all university faculties will be required to produce and run their courses online and students will be given loans to buy computers to facilitate their learning.

The Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, said his ministry plans to exploit the opportunities presented by technologies to transform the education sector.

´We are doing this because we are at a time when the country is moving into a knowledge based economy. We think the level at which ICT supports the education sector needs to increase,´ Nsengimana said.

The retreat follows a three-day conference in Kigali on innovation in education and ICT dubbed; ´Innovation Africa 2014´ where participants explored ways of increasing ICT's role in education.“

(Source: All Africa)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 11:40:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"Dimension Data, the US$6 billion ICT solutions and services provider, has announced that 45 learners have graduated today from its innovative Saturday School Programme.

The Dimension Data Saturday School initiative is a two-year programme that benefits 100 grade 11 and 12 pupils from 21 public high schools in Gauteng every year. Learners attend mathematics, physical science, life sciences, English, computer studies and life skills classes every Saturday.

´Our objective with the Saturday School is to produce high-calibre learners who will go on to achieve their ambitions in whatever sphere of life or business they choose. We give them the tools to be able to take the next step in their life through a good Matric pass. I have no doubt this class will continue in the footsteps of their predecessors and do exceptionally well in the 2014 Matric exams. We are very excited about what the future holds for these bright young minds,´ says Zellah Fuphe, Executive, Strategic Relations at Dimension Data Middle East and Africa.

Learners are accepted into the programme in grade 11, following a stringent selection process based on merit, academic performance, communication skills, attitude and leadership potential.

In addition to working through the formal syllabus, the learners receive leadership, entrepreneurship and social skills training, all aimed at preparing them for challenges beyond Matric. Grade 12 learners participate in the company's career day initiative, where they are exposed to the various career opportunities available at Dimension Data and to the broader ICT industry. They are also provided with an opportunity to be mentored by senior company executives who specialise in the career interest they have selected. The Saturday School initiative also includes the Winter School Programme for the Matric learners in preparation for their end-of-year exams.

Established 20 years ago with just 11 pupils, the Dimension Data Saturday School has consistently achieved a 100% pass rate and has assisted hundreds of learners to achieve their dreams. Last year's graduating class (the class of 2013) achieved 95% university entrance and 93 distinctions among 45 learners.

The Saturday School is based at Dimension Data's Bryanston head office and tuition is provided by subject experts and qualified educators, as well as Dimension Data employee volunteers.“

Source: Dimensio Data)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 11:35:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



The TechGirls Mentorship initiative in Rwanda has created a platform where female role models and successful individuals in the STEM industry have come together as mentors for young female TVET graduates.

GIZ and Tech Women launched TechGirls Mentorship initiative to equip female students from Technical universities with professional guidance of vastly experienced mentors and at the same time providing an opportunity to implement the acquired knowledge and skills directly within the enterprise.

Today, Rwanda is very well known for initiatives and policies that empower girls and women. It is the first country in the world whose national parliament contains the highest rate of women representatives, i.e 64% as per 2013 report.

Hence, women in Rwanda are no longer considered mothers and wives only but also as leaders who actively contribute in political matters that shape the nation. In spite of all these efforts to fill the gender gap in the leadership positions, some sectors are still left behind in the race towards gender balance.

The STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) industry in particular, is still predominantly represented by men. This is due to various reasons, some of which are; Lack of an early exposure to some of the aspects of the STEM field beyond Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, lack of female role models in the STEM fields and the STEM field is mostly portrayed by society as a hard to pursue field, which is better left to the male counterparts.

As an attempt to close the gap, the ICT Chamber with the support of Eco-Emploi Program of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) has initiated a female ICT mentorship program “TechGirls” to tackle the previously mentioned reasons through exposure to the real world of STEM industry. This initiative is envisioned to encourage young girls from TVET and high technical schools to pursue courses in the STEM fields with confidence and passion rather than doubt and low self-esteem.

Senior leader and mentor - guides a less experienced one - junior and mentee. The process through which a mentor is supporting their mentee in providing them with practical advices, exchanges, psychological support relevant to their career and professional development is called mentoring.

The aim of this innovative approach is to provide mentees with professional guidance of vastly experienced mentors and at the same time providing an opportunity to implement the acquired knowledge and skills directly within the enterprise.

Through partnership with local companies and institutions in the Tech industry, 10 female students from SOS High Technical School have been given an opportunity to share the daily experience of female mentors from Rwanda Development Board (RDB), TIGO, Airtel, Rwanda Information and Communication Technology Association (RICTA) and Axiom Networks Rwanda for 3 weeks starting from November 11 to December 4, 2014.“

(Source: MYICT Rwanda)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 11:09:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



A series of events, co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Brazil, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Spain, the United Republic of Tanzania and UNESCO, are being held to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December) at UN Headquarters. The major theme of this years’ Day dedicated to technology and its impact on sustainable development.

Throughout human history, technology has always impacted the way people live. The industrial revolution ushered in a new age of technology that raised the standards of living of people around the world and their access to goods and services. Today, technology is built into every facet of daily living. The emergence of information and communications technologies have dramatically increased connectivity between people and their access to information, and further raised living standards.

ICTs have indeed changed the way people live, work and play. However, not all people benefit from the advances of technology and the higher standards of living. This is mainly because not all people have access to new technologies, and not all people can afford them.

There are currently over 1 billion people living with some form of disability. Around the world, persons with disabilities not only face physical barriers but also social, economic and attitudinal ones. Furthermore, disability is associated with 20 per cent of global poverty, of which the majority live in developing countries. In spite of being the world’s largest minority group, persons with disabilities, as well as the issue of disability, have remained largely invisible in the mainstream development frameworks.

Since 1992, the annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

The observance of this year’s Day provides an opportunity to further raise awareness of disability as a cross-cutting development issue. The theme of this year's commemoration, ´Sustainable Development: The promise of technology´ is timely, as it marks the conclusion of the period of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) in 2015 and the launching of the new development framework of sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The 2014 commemoration of IDPD will work to harness the power of technology to promote inclusion and accessibility to help realize the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society and shape the future of sustainable development for all.

Three sub-themes chosen will focus on the promise of technology in:

·    Disability-Inclusive Sustainable Development Goals,
·    Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Responses, and
·    Creating Enabling Work Environments.

A special session will be organized by UNESCO and DESA on 3 December 2014 to present the New Delhi Declaration issued by the participants of the international conference entitled ´From Exclusion to Empowerment: Role of ICTs for Persons with Disabilities´, which took place from 24 to 26 November 2014 in New Delhi, India. The conference provided a forum to explore the choices and opportunities available to people with disabilities. Particular attention was given to education, information and knowledge, as well as economic empowerment through improved access to work and more social inclusion.

One hundred and thirty speakers from around the world addressed issues related to sustainable development, accessibility and technological solutions, as well as access to information and knowledge for persons with disabilities using ICTs. Participants made recommendations on the appropriate use of ICTs in favour of persons with disabilities. Other events scheduled during the conference included We Care, a festival of short films and documentaries on the theme of the Conference, drawing attention to the multiple abilities of persons with disabilities; and an exhibition of innovative assistive technologies and ICTs for persons with disabilities."

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 10:35:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“TechWomen Rwanda has urged corporate companies to support girls who are pursuing science and information and communication technology (ICT)-related courses to help sharpen skills and become competitive.
Angel Bisamaza, an ICT expert and an alumnus of the TechWomen Rwanda mentorship programme, said this would also help close the gap between men and women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Bisamaza was speaking at the launch of a two-week mentorship programme with Airtel Rwanda aimed at helping the young girls get the expertise they need to take on technology as a career or enterprise business.

TechWomen is an organisation which aims at encouraging more women in Rwanda to take on careers in the in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It is an initiative of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The two-week programme by Airtel Rwanda will benefit two young women, Vanessa Umugwaneza, a second year business and ICT at Mount Kenya University and Naila Kirezi, a student of economics at University of Kigali, who will be attached to the telecom firm’s department that deals in the fields of information technology and network.

Denise Umunyana, the Airtel head of corporate communications and social responsibility, said the mentorship programme was not only about Airtel sharing its rich knowledge and expertise with the youth, but more about creating skilled and experienced workforce for Rwanda.“

(Source: The New Times)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 10:28:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Telecom operator, Tigo Ghana in partnership with Reach for Change has announced a one week extension for its ‘Digital Change-makers’ competition.

Originally closing on December 1, 2014, Ghanaians can continue to submit their applications until December 8, 2014.



Digital Change-makers is aimed at encouraging social entrepreneurs to use technology to solve some of Ghana’s most pressing needs. For the prize money of GHS 60,000 ($20,000), two winners will be selected and also given expert guidance to implement their projects.

According to Tigo, public response has been encouraging and extending the deadline has become necessary as several people are still going through the various stages of the application at www.tigo.com.gh/digitalchangemakers.

Digital Change-makers is the first of its kind this year as previous years have focused mainly on social entrepreneurs. Past winners include the award-winning Regina Agyare of Tech Needs Girls; Hayford Siaw of Street Library Ghana, Marian Ewurama Wiredu and Erasmus Ackon of IT4Teens, James Kofi Annan of Challenging Heights and Peter Kwarteng of Neonatal Network Support System (NNSS) just to mention a few.

Both Tigo and Reach for Change, a non-governmental organisation hopes to receive quality applications that will demonstrate how mobile broadband, digital and/or information technology can improve the quality of lives of children and society.“

(Source: ModernGhana)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 10:25:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“The W.TEC Academy has commenced in 5 schools in the Lagos Mainland area. The pilot phase of the programme has indeed shown great potential for the future of the programme. The Academy is an initiative of the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre with its supporters, set out to set up computer clubs for girls in public schools to improve the gender gap in the Tech world rite from the school level. This project will is a beautiful one as it is set to inspire our girls to the Technology world, Tech Entrepreneurial skills.

The project will be aiming at promoting volunteerism for its instructors and development of the ICT utilisation in public schools in Lagos. The program which will be conducted once a week in the schools during their society and clubs periods will have 25 girls per school. The one year program will be divided into three terms where the girls will be taken through the various levels of computer training starting with Word processing, Multi – media and spreadsheets before moving on to web design and html coding in the second term.

The program for now is conducted at Aiyetoro Snr Grammar School, Mobolaji Bank Anthony Jr Secondary School, Aje Comprehensive Jnr Secondary School, Onike Jnr Secondary School, Herbert Macaulay Jnr High School.“

(Source: W.TEC)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 10:15:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“Airtel Rwanda has kicked off a two-week mentorship programme in partnership with TechWomen Rwanda, an organisation that aims to encourage more women in Rwanda to take on careers in the fields of Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is a professional mentorship and exchange programme developed in response to US President Barrack Obama’s efforts to strengthen relations between the United States with the Middle East and Africa.

Commenting on the programme, Airtel Head of Corporate Communications and CSR, Ms Denise Umunyana said, ´Technology increasingly becomes central to all our day-to-day operations and we believe it is important to have more and more ladies taking part in this field.´ She added: ´Two young ladies have been selected to take part in a mentorship programme with Airtel Rwanda and our focus will be in the fields of Information Technology and Network. This mentorship programme is not only about Airtel sharing its rich knowledge and expertise with the youth but more about ensuring a trained and well experienced workforce for future Rwanda.´

Speaking on behalf of TechWomen Rwanda, Ms Angel Bisamaza, one of the alumni said, ´We are more than grateful to partner with Airtel Rwanda in this mentorship programme that will help the young girls get the necessary expertise they need in order for them to take on technology as a career or enterprise business. This is one step close in closing the gap between men and women in the fields of Science, Technology Engineering & Mathematics.´ In her concluding remarks, Ms Umunyana said: ´We are pleased to take these girls on and mentor them. This programme also currently aligns with our social responsibility focus which is to empower youth in the field of Mathematics and Technology. We shall continue to engage in youth initiatives such as this and more because we believe that the youth today will be the future tomorrow.´

(Source: CIO East Africa)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 10:13:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“In a powerful show of commitment, three Ministers from the Indian Government joined Director-General Irina Bokova in opening the UNESCO International Conference on the Role of ICTs for Persons with Disabilities in New Delhi, India on 24 November.

The Conference seeks to harness the unprecedented opportunities that ICTs offer for empowering persons with disabilities, by sharing best practices, solutions and knowledge.

Across the world, there are over one billion women and men with disabilities, with 80 percent living in rural areas of developing countries. They are more likely to experience poverty and unemployment, to suffer from illiteracy and social exclusion.

´Promoting the rights of persons with disabilities is about human dignity -- it is also about sustainable development of communities and peoples,´ said the Director-General.

´To move forward, we must do more to harness the power of information and communication technologies – to reach the unreached, to facilitate their participation in political, economic, social and cultural life, to widen access to information and benefits. This requires stronger action by Governments, greater awareness within societies, and mobilizing the innovation of the private sector.´

In a video message, Professor Stephen Hawking, author of ´A Brief History of Time,´ appealed for the ´need to make sure this technology becomes available to those who need it so that no one lives in silence. I speak for people who cannot hear. Without technology, I would not be able to ask for a cup of tea, let alone speak about my theory of the universe.´

Opening the conference, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, affirmed that the Digital India programme was a priority of the Indian Government.

´We want to encourage e-education, e-health and e-commerce. This is a quest for empowerment. When we talk about bridging the digital divide, the gap between rural and urban India, the interest of disabled people must be taken on board and the Government of India is committed to doing this.´

The Minister of Human Resource Development Smt Smriti Zubin Irani, placed emphasis on making quality education available to all, and outlined measures taken by the Government to facilitate access for people with special needs at all levels of the system. This includes specialized assistance in primary and secondary schools, as well as in technical and vocational education; an India-based platform for delivering massive online open courses, a scholarship scheme as well as special training for teachers.

´Quality education should be available to all and access should be easy. We hope to engage with best practices and adapt them, so that through ICTs, education will be spread to the remotest corners of the country, so that those who are excluded today are empowered tomorrow.´

The Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot outlined initiatives, including specialized training centres and technological innovations to improve the status of persons with disabilities and promote inclusive societies.

In a keynote speech, Dr Karan Singh, Member of India’s Upper House of Parliament and India’s representative to UNESCO’s Executive Board, stressed the importance of accessibility, legal rights and public awareness.

´ICTs can play a very valuable multiplier role in helping public awareness, treatment and rehabilitation of people with disabilities. Resources are still woefully inadequate, whether financial, technical or societal. Unless there is a change in attitude among the general public, we will not be able to tackle this problem. A massive public education campaign is required.´

Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), spoke about the benefits of practicing para-sport and how ICTs have made it easier for the Paralympic Movement to engage global audiences, with the London 2012 Paralympic Games reaching a TV audience of 3.8 billion viewers. ´One of our key goals is to raise awareness of the huge benefits that practicing and seeing para-sport can bring. ICTs have played a huge role in us achieving this goal and will play an even greater role in the future.´

Around 500 women and men from around the world are participating in this Conference, to promote the human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities and to encourage all stakeholders to take concrete measures for the empowerment of persons with disabilities through the effective applications of ICTs.“

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 10:10:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |