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 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)  #     | 
“The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) today announced a 30-day extension of the entry for its Innovation Prize Award (see also #IPA2015). Applications can now be received by 30 November 2014 at 24h00 GMT. With a total prize share of US$150 000, African innovators stand to gain much more, such as recognition through our unique IPA brand, increased opportunities to attract investments, continental and international media attention, and the chance to positively transform the African innovation landscape.

IPA targets innovators in 5 key sectors. The competition is open to all Africans including those in the diaspora, irrespective of socio-economic status, gender, demographics or profession. Says IPA Director, Pauline Mujawamariya: ´We want to take the ecosystem of innovation to a new level across the continent, and are therefore encouraging applications from all 54 African countries to be a part of this unique initiative. We particularly encourage women and young people from all sectors to submit their application´.

As one of the top 10 finalists, you will receive media exposure and IPA will invest up to US$5 000 to further spotlight your innovation. Our criteria for selection  is simple, and if you can meet these you stand a chance to win – BIG! We are looking for smart, innovative solutions that can drive tangible change on the ground and better the lives of Africans.

Winning the prize is certainly the main attraction here, but IPA 2015 has more to offer in terms of post-prize support. So if your idea can shine bright and sustain itself, you are in the line up to receive support to take your venture further and ignite the African innovation ecosystem!

Apply now! Your innovation stands to win a grand share of US$150 000.

Since its inaugural launch in 2011, African leaders have endorsed IPA as an essential stimulus needed to create a platform to spur innovation across Africa in sectors critical to the continent’s sustainable development. Jean Claude Bastos de Morais  founder of the prestigious annual award, now in its 4th year running, is encouraging innovators across the continent to take advantage of the 30 November 2014 deadline: ´The African continent is the new innovation frontier, and we therefore encourage innovators to be a part of the IPA platform and unleash their innovation potential, not only to further develop their inventions, but to contribute to Africa’s success story.´”

(Source: AIF)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 10:05:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“At this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Morocco, Microsoft has signed a new strategic alliance with Tunisian startup Saphon Energy, a company that specialises in the research and development of wind energy. The company also introduced the first round of 50 women entrepreneurs to go through its Cloud Startup Academy. This is in-line with Microsoft 4Afrika’s commitment to support African startups to innovate for the continent and the world.

´North Africa is an important region to us. We see tremendous potential for technology in the region to transform the lives of people, increase business aptitude and bring positive change across society,´ says Samir Benmakhlouf, Managing Director of Microsoft Morocco, who at this year’s GES will also be leading the workshop discussion around: Talent to Entrepreneurship. ´Microsoft 4Afrika’s support of Saphon Energy is a perfect illustration of our commitment to promote new ideas born in Africa with the potential to change the world.´

Saphon Energy, a clean-tech company, is the creator and owner of a breakthrough and patented technology, which converts wind energy into electricity. Known as the ‘Saphonian’ or ‘Zero-blade Wind Converter’, the bladeless and rotation-less technology can also be used to pump water and spread connectivity. The technology has already been awarded with a number of international prizes, including: Best Idea at the Sustainable Entrepreneurship 2013 Awards and one of the Innovation Prizes for Africa in 2013.

´The Saphonian has the potential to contribute to transforming the African economic landscape and triggering deep social progress across the continent,´ says Anis Aouini, Creator and Founder of Saphon Energy. ´By improving connectivity and electricity availability, the technology will support entrepreneurship and improve employability.´

Through the collaboration, Saphon Energy will receive financial resources, technology support and large scale visibility to help them validate the revolutionary aspects and industrial capacity of their invention. Additionally, Saphon Energy is developing ´Maraya´ a solution that enables the collection and monitoring of data leveraging the benefits of Microsoft Azure Machine Learning services.

´Personally, I’ve always been impressed by the impact of Microsoft in shaping the new global economy based on intelligence and authentic lateral thinking. Today, it is a real privilege for me and the whole team of Saphon Energy to join forces with Microsoft and connect their intelligence with ours. Support from companies like Microsoft is very important to help African tech companies transcend, scale and unleash their true innovative potential,´ adds Anis.

Growth of female entrepreneurs in the region is also vital to boosting local economies and disposable income. Microsoft recently collaborated with AFEM to launch a Cloud Startup Academy, the first program of its kind in Morocco whose mission is to help young women launch innovative startups based on the latest Cloud technology. The first round of 50 women began their training on 17 November 2014.

“We believe that cloud computing has the greatest potential to transform competitiveness amongst SMEs and start-ups, delivering greater access to IT, slashing costs and enabling more agile, innovative business models. We look forward to seeing the business models that come out of the Academy,” says Samir.

 Through events like GES 2014, ongoing partnerships with innovation hubs and on-the-ground programs and internships, Microsoft hopes to continue identifying and supporting more innovations from Africa. Other 4Afrika beneficiary startups present at GES included iTaxi.ma from Morocco and Chifco from Tunisia.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 9:59:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“AS part of efforts to improve access to quality education in Nigeria, The Education Partnership Centre (TEP Centre), has announced the establishment of the Centre for Education Innovations (CEI) in Nigeria.

The CEI is an initiative of Results for Development Institute (R4D), and relies on a broad network of regional partners and collaborators. With its establishment in Nigeria, the country joins a global network of CEI hubs located in East Africa, South Africa and India.

TEP Centre on the other hand is Nigeria’s pioneer education partnership consultancy, specialising in the design, implementation, support and evaluation of multi-sectorial partnership programmes in education.

The CEI has already commenced examining emerging innovative models within the education space that hold promise for the country’s poor since it has been identified that across sub-Saharan Africa, one of the key challenges to attaining key goals of access, quality and equity in education is the limited participation of the non-state sector in the funding, provision and management of education.

The CEI initiative is a non-profit DFID-funded initiative to improve access to education in developing countries using innovative programmes targeted at the poor. To achieve this goal, the programme will identify, analyze and connect non-state innovative programmes that improve the quality and affordability of education in Nigeria.

There are significant gaps in global understanding of the benefits of such programmes. These gaps therefore, are due to the lack of systematic and easy-to-access information about such programmes around the world.

According to TEP Centre’s Managing Director, Dr. Mo Adefeso-Olateju, ´The programme aims to support policy makers, funders, and programme implementers in their efforts to improve and better harness the potentials of the non-state sector to achieve educational goals. Featured on the CEI global website are 511 innovative models from around the world, and counting. Of these, 31 are from Nigeria, having been profiled by TEP Centre, and already attracting global interest.´

Across the country and in sun-Saharan African countries, the professional competence to design and structure meaningful education partnerships have been found to be severely lacking. This is the gap that TEP Centre’s exceptionally talented team consistently fills, resulting in TEP Centre serving as a regional pioneer in the emerging field of education partnership.

Services offered by TEP Centre include research instrument development, quantitative and qualitative research, strategic, planning, programmes design and adaptation, policy planning, monitoring and evaluation, project management and scaling-up advisory.

 An affiliate of the Expandnet network, TEP Centre serves a broad range of education sector stakeholders including policy makers, corporate organizations and foundations, development agencies, donor-funded and assisted programmes, civil society organisations, philanthropic organisations and educational institutions.

 The facility has also offered support to programmes funded, assisted or managed by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), World Bank, MacArthur Foundation, and Results for Development Institute (R4D), Ford Foundation, Dalberg, the Lagos State Government and Oando Foundation.

TEP Centre is also the local learning partner for the international donor consortium, Partnership to Strengthen, Implementation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE), and working in partnership with Results for Development Institute (R4D) Washington DC. “

(Source: The Guardian)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 9:56:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Two Nigerian youths, Messrs Anthony Oniwon and Abdulganiyu Onabanjo were the cynosure of all eyes, Wednesday week, Night in Cape Town as they carted away a whopping $35, 000, approximately, N6 million, as winners of Etisalat Pan-African Prize for Innovation 2014.

Etisalat used the opportunity of the AfricaCom Awards Gala Dinner which rounded off this year’s AfricaCom Conference, at the Cape Town International Conference Centre Nov 11-13 to present the prizes.

Oniwon created and developed Exam mate solution, an Exam preparatory programme for JAMB candidates, designed to reduce the failure rate in JAMB examinations. The application, according to Etisalat, rated highest among others considered in the Most Innovative Product or Service category of the award and therefore merited the coveted Prize of $25,000- over N4million, while Onabanjo’s Interactive Media Interface Design (IMID), a remote communication interface for GPRS-enabled pre-paid meters, ranked top in the Most Innovative Idea category and also deserved the top prize of N$10,000 – approximately N1.7 million. Presenting the Awards, Etisalat Nigeria’s Director, Consumer Segment, Oluwole Rawa and his colleague Adia Sowho, Head Digital Media, described the award initiative as Etisalat’s way of encouraging and celebrating valuable innovation in the African market. The Award is in its third edition.

Rawa expressed pleasure that the competition was beginning to inspire local software developers and ingenious people to create innovative and relevant mobile broadband products and services that can make a positive impact on the aggregate African economy. ´At Etisalat, we see ourselves as a young and innovative company, setting the pace for others in the telecommu-nications industry.

Therefore we are glad to see that the Etisalat Pan-African Prize for Innovation is spurring young people across Africa to be creative´ he said. Beneficiaries of the Prize, The Anthony Oniwon and Abdulganiyu Onabanjo both commended Etisalat for introducing the award.“

(Source: Vanguard)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 9:53:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 08, 2014
Young social entrepreneurs to participate in accelerator programme at
ITU Telecom World in Doha and win seed funding

ITU Telecom has announced the winners of its fourth annual Young Innovators’ Competition. Open to young social entrepreneurs between ages 18 and 30 from around the world, the competition sought innovative digital solutions with positive social impact to four challenges, focusing on developmental issues and technologies. The winners will be heading to ITU Telecom World 2014, the leading networking, solutions showcasing and knowledge-sharing event for the global ICT community in Doha, Qatar, 7-11 December.

From over 822 entries for four Challenges from 99 countries worldwide, submitted on a dedicated platform powered by Crowdicity, eight start-ups and concepts were selected on the basis of social impact and potential for business success:

Challenge 1 on Local Digital Content with Challenge Partner Ooredoo

·    TeleMuseum – Lorna Okeng, Uganda:  online virtual museum preserving and digitalizing African local content, oral traditions, and culture in cinema
·    Incept – Safouan Ben Jha, Tunisia: interactive, multilingual augmented reality app for museums and historic sites

Challenge 2 on Open Source Technologies for Disaster Management

·    Social Media Coordination (SoMeC) – Hemant Purohit, India: web app to identify social media influencers and improve disaster response coordination
·    NAJI – Your Mobile Is Your Saviour – Sahar Pakseresht, Iran: app and bracelet using body sensor networks to locate people missing in natural disasters

Challenge 3 on Smart Cities & Climate Change with Challenge Partner WHO

·    Making Sense of Sensor Technology – Vratul Kumar, India: wireless smart sensor technology applied to waste disposal networks
·    Matti – Jeisson Díaz, Colombia: GPS-based social app to raise awareness on recycling and climate change

Challenge 4 on the Internet of Things with Challenge Partner IEEE IoT Initiative

·    Unplugged – Marvin Arnold, USA: developing a secure decentralized information exchange platform to rival the Internet
·    CONNECTED ECO – Fatoumata Kebe, France/Mali: solar-powered sensor providing real-time analysis of soil conditions and irrigation needs

At ITU Telecom World 2014 in Doha, the Young Innovators Competition winners will take part in an accelerator programme to take their projects to the next level via one-on-one sessions with start-up mentors and business experts, hands-on workshop training and peer mentoring from the winners of the 2013 competition. Based on their performance during the Young Innovators Pitching Session, each winner will be awarded up to USD 10,000 for start-ups and USD 5,000 for concepts.

In addition, the competition winners will have space in a dedicated pavilion on the show floor, the InnovationSpace, where they will have the opportunity to display their work alongside other social innovations by former winners and a community of global inventors, and where they will host two thematic days during ITU Telecom World 2014:

Young Influencers Day – 7 December


In collaboration with the Doha Hub of the Global Shapers Community, a World Economic Forum initiative, the ITU Telecom World Young Innovators Programme will gather young influencers from across the region along with young entrepreneurs to explore the potential of ICT in mitigating global challenges, and discuss ´What are the Driving Forces for Innovation and Social Change´. All young people interested in joining the inter-active panel discussions are welcome to attend.

Start-up Day – 9 December


The day is dedicated to start-ups, entrepreneurs and discussions on taking one’s project to the next level, organized in partnership with ictQATAR Digital Incubation Centre. The focus of the day will be on financing and investment, including a session on how to reach out to investors and what to be aware of when doing so. By bringing together guest innovators and their start-ups from all over the world, this day demonstrates the Young Innovators Programme’s commitment to the power of collaboration and knowledge-sharing in changing the future for the better.

´These bright young minds have found creative technological solutions to developmental challenges both in their communities and in the wider world,´ said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “The innovative social start-ups, winners of the competition, as well as alumni from previous years, are an inspiration to all delegates, guests and participants in ITU Telecom World. Their resolve to improve their community and enthusiasm to spread the idealism of their ventures is truly impressive.´

ITU Secretary-General elect Houlin Zhao added: ´Expanding the spotlight from winners of the competition to promising local and regional start-ups, touching base with young thought- and business leaders through partner programmes, reinforces ITU Telecom World as a key platform for interaction, not only for the current big players in the ICT sector, but also for the new and emerging disruptive leaders of tomorrow.´

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 08, 2014 10:19:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"Global Report: Community, Mentorship, Parent Engagement Are Crucial to Girls' Participation in Making

A new global report produced by Intel Corporation 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 – which could potentially reduce the growing gender gap in these fields.

With 16 million makers in the United States alone, the maker movement – a wave of tech-inspired, do-it-yourself innovation – is extensive and rapidly expanding. Unfortunately, so is the gender gap in computer science and engineering graduates. Intel's report, ´MakeHers: Engaging Girls and Women in Technology through Making, Creating and Inventing,´ explores how maker activities can serve as a gateway to computer science and engineering for girls and women, and it identifies ways to better engage girls and women in making in order to increase female representation in these fields.

´Intel believes that making brings ideas to life and spurs innovation, and we want to ensure that girls and women take part in this movement,´ said Aysegul Ildeniz, vice president of the New Devices Group and general manager of Strategy and Business Development at Intel. ´This report provides key insights on how to better engage girls and women in computer science and engineering and help them access opportunities to invent and create the future.´

The ´MakeHers´ report, created in consultation with experts including the Girl Scouts* and the Maker Education Initiative*, reflects Intel's commitment to increase access to and interest in computer science and engineering, especially among girls, women and underrepresented minorities.

´With its groundbreaking new report, Intel is demonstrating how the maker movement has helped turn a generation of tech-savvy girls – nearly all of whom grew up in the digital age – into the leaders and entrepreneurs of the economy of tomorrow,´ said Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA.

Key global findings1 from Intel's ´MakeHers´ report include:

In the U.S., Making Is Already Popular with Tweens and Teens – Both Girls and Boys

  • Girls and boys in the United States are equally likely to be ´tech makers´: 1 in 4 tweens and teens have made things with technology during the past year, and 7 in 10 would like to learn to make something with electronics.
Making and Inventing Provides Multiple Entry Points to Engage and Interest Girls and Women in Computer Science and Engineering
  • Girls and women who make, design and create things with electronic tools may build stronger interest and skills in computer science and engineering.
  • Female makers come to making through multiple pathways that include arts, design, crafting and textiles.
  • 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.
Girls and Women Face Constraints to Participating in Making
Female and male makers face similar challenges to making, such as lack of money, information and access to tools and materials. However, female makers experience additional challenges:
  • 1 in 3 female makers say lack of mentorship is a challenge.
  • 1 in 6 have been excluded from making because of their gender.
  • 1 in 6 face cultural biases about the appropriateness of women in making.
  • 1 in 14 don't feel safe going to the places where maker activities are held.

Key Recommendations to Engage Girls and Women in Making
  • Build more girls- and women-inclusive maker environments in public places, such as libraries and schools.
  • Design makerspaces 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.
  • Encourage parents to "embrace the mess" and engage in making with their children.
  • Align making activities, such as coding and making hardware, with current trends and personal interests to attract girls.
  • Include facilitators in makerspaces to create a safe, supportive and inclusive environment for girls and women.
The report's findings were drawn from three online surveys2 conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Intel. Intel also conducted interviews with leading U.S. experts on STEM, girls and STEM, and the maker movement, as well as interviews and participant observation in makerspaces in the United States.

Intel supports the maker movement to encourage innovation and introduce young makers to computer science and engineering beyond the traditional classroom setting. In October 2013, Intel announced a large-scale donation of 50,000 Intel® Galileo development boards to universities worldwide. Intel is also a founding sponsor of the Maker Education Initiative along with Maker Media*, Pixar* and Cognizant*, and its Start Making!* program, which aims to build creative confidence and excitement with children for STEM education.

Intel also sponsors several global initiatives focused on education and women, such as the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network and the Intel Global Girls and Women Initiative. More information about the report findings and Intel's work with the maker community can be found at www.intel.com/newsroom/makers and on Twitter.“

(Source: Intel Newsroom)

Monday, December 08, 2014 10:08:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Despite setbacks, Ethiopia’s tech economy has been making strides, luring entrepreneurs from throughout Africa and gaining international recognition.

This is due to a mix of increased government support for ICT development and the establishment of start-up incubators and hubs that are creating an ideal landscape for the tech industry to grow.


Now home to 1,000 members, incubator iceaddis  is the first of its kind in Ethiopia, describing itself as: ´Collaborative work spaces where aspiring young entrepreneurs, ICT driven individuals, techies, youth and creative individuals can come together to receive business and life skill training, prototyping, technology transfer and enhance their productivity and, ultimately, form viable and sustainable business plans for the future.´

Easily drawing comparisons to other tech hubs in the region, like Nairobi’s iHub  – which now has over 16,000 members – or Uganda’s Hive Colab , iceaddis grew organically, starting with small events and workshops.

According to iceaddis member Markos Lemma, in Ethiopia ´there is high potential for techies to develop applications and technical solutions.´

Adam Abate, founder of Apposit, an information technology services company, attributes this potential to the benefits of exploiting a largely untapped market.

´Infrastructure is expanding at a rapid rate, and the most obvious opportunity in Ethiopia is that there’s still very little here,´ he said.

´Any business you can think of, you can start.´
As Internet access slowly grows in this country of nearly 90 million, a tech boom seems likely. Right now, a mere 1% of Ethiopians have access to the Internet ― even a small increase in that number would create many more opportunities for entrepreneurs.

The Ethiopian government is also investing in ICT. Last year, the government announced plans for a $250 million technology park called Ethio ICT . So far, more than 12 local and international companies have booked space, including China’s ZTE and Techno Mobile and Security Innovation Network (SINET), both of whom will establish their own ICT incubation centres.

The Ministry of Communication & Information Technology states that its aims for establishing the ICT park in Ethiopia are ´to foster the growth of the ICT sector in the country by providing a conducive environment for businesses to develop ICT-supported indigenous business entrepreneurs and to provide employment opportunities for Ethiopians.´

The education sector is also embracing tech. Today, teachers in 75 schools throughout Ethiopia use video technology to record their lessons and evaluate and discuss them with other teachers.

´On the latest videos I can see that because of this, my teaching skills have improved,´ says a teacher from Gafat Primary School in North-Central Ethiopia.

In 10 schools without electricity, solar panels are being used to run the computers and charge the cameras teachers use to evaluate their lessons.

Such innovative thinking isn’t a surprise considering how seriously Ethiopia treats education. The country is one of the few in Africa on track to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of providing universal access to primary education. Many new school buildings have been built over the past few years and there are no fees for primary and secondary schooling. Enrolment has jumped as a result.

Those who graduate into the tech world will find plenty of markets to explore. ´The middle class is increasing, the market is growing,´ Markos Lemma, co-founder of iceaddis, told the BBC.

´There are a lot of opportunities for techies in Ethiopia.´“

(Source: eLearning Africa)

Monday, December 08, 2014 10:06:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"Digify, the Google and IAB SA-backed three-month digital bootcamp run by youth agency Livity Africa, is calling talented 18-to-25-year-olds to apply for its January 2015 intake.

Commencing in Johannesburg in mid-January 2015, 15 young people will join the successful initiative which has seen graduates start their careers in some of the country's top digital agencies including Native VML and Retroviral.

Livity Africa Managing Director Gavin Weale says: ´What is really unique about this bootcamp is our strong links with leaders in the digital industry. Not only is Google funding the initiative, they provide Google experts to ensure the young people receive up-to-date training with Search, AdWords, Analytics and YouTube and as well as running campaigns on other social media networks.´

´In addition to gaining technical skills, our Digifyers work closely with brands and agencies to develop campaigns for real live briefs. In the last two cohorts, they have developed campaign ideas for brands like Red Bull, Kit Kat, Nescafé, MTN, Nandos and Mountain Dew,´ says Weale.

Skilled individuals to sustain South Africa's fast digital growth

Google South Africa Country Marketing Manager Elizma Nolte says: ´We are delighted to continue supporting Digify as part of a local initiative to grow digital talent in South Africa. We have been impressed with the talent emerging from Digify, and initiatives like these are of utmost importance in making sure we have skilled individuals to sustain South Africa's fast digital growth.´

Weale adds, ´As an industry, we need to fill a gap of at least a quarter of the current workforce (IT Web, 2011). Digify aims to place all graduates in paid entry level jobs or internships in the digital industry with the first round of cohorts placed in agencies like Native VML, Retroviral, FoxP2, Casson Media, Aqua Agency and iClinic.´

´Our current cohort of graduates will be available for paid internships or roles from mid-December 2014, so get in touch if you are looking for next generation talent,´ says Weale.

Tumelo Popela graduated from Digify in May and has gone on to work for Native VML. ´Thanks to Digify, I got to learn a great deal and ended up working for the agency I've always dreamt of. I have one of the most talented and inspiring managers who has helped me transition into my career. Digify is a wonderful programme for people who want to get into the digital space but need a head start. I'm really glad I joined Digify,´ says Popela.

For more information and to apply for Digify, visit http://livemag.co.za/now-taking-applications-round-three-digify/. Applications close Sunday, 30 November and you must be available to start mid-January 2015.

If you are an agency, brand or organisation who would like to place Digify graduates in your company, provide an innovative speaker for our weekly industry talks or submit a real live brief for our talented young team to respond to, please contact Hlengiwe Simelane at hlengiwe@livityafrica.com  or 011 028 7487."

(Source: Bizcommunity)

Monday, December 08, 2014 10:01:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Tigo Digital Change-makers has begun the search for social entrepreneurs with digital solutions to improve the lives of children and society.

Tigo Digital Change-makers is a partnership between telecom operator, Tigo and international non-governmental organisation, Reach for Change.

It is aimed at developing and encouraging social entrepreneurs to use technology to solve some of Ghana’s most pressing needs.

The two best entries will each receive GHS60, 000 (US$S20, 000), expert guidance and support to bring their business/dreams to life.

Head of Corporate Communications and CSR for Tigo Ghana, Gifty Bingley, says: ´As a digital lifestyle brand, Tigo is putting more emphasis on using Information Communication Technology (ICT) for development. Technology is no longer an ordinary enabler, it is now central to the way we work and live.´

´Through Tigo Digital Change-makers, we want to use our technology to impact positively on development. In 2013, we had amazing Change leaders such as Regina Agyare of Soronko Solutions; and Erasmus Ackon and Marian Wiredu, both from IT4Teens who are using technology to overcome social and economic barriers to increase access to information and education, and empower children from deprived communities,´ she explained.

For 2014, Tigo hopes to receive quality applications that demonstrate the potential in utilizing mobile broadband, digital and/or information technology to improve the quality of lives of children and other proposed projects.

Interested applicants are encouraged to apply online at www.tigo.com.gh/digitalchangemakers. Applications close on December 1, 2014.“

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Monday, December 08, 2014 9:56:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"With support from Google, NCWIT launches EngageCSEdu, an online collection of open course computer science (CS) materials for CS educators to better engage their students, especially underrepresented groups.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) today announced the launch of EngageCSEdu (www.engage-csedu.org ), supported by Google. EngageCSEdu encourages the development of more inclusive learning environments in introductory CS courses by helping faculty to easily share their most effective retention practices.

EngageCSEdu offers thousands of projects, homework assignments, and other course materials that are searchable by computer science knowledge area, programming language, and more. All course materials are developed by faculty members nationwide and evaluated for quality by an interdisciplinary team of computer scientists, learning scientists, and diversity experts.

´EngageCSEdu takes the guesswork out of finding best practices for ensuring introductory CS students receive an engaging education,´ said NCWIT CEO and Co-founder Lucy Sanders. ´Thanks to Google’s generous support, we’re offering a platform for educators to exchange peer-reviewed materials that encourage CS students to persist in the major, leading to a more diverse workforce to create products and services more representative of a broad U.S. population.´

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates 1.2 million computing-related job openings by the year 2022. However, at current college graduation rates in computing, only 39% of these jobs can be filled by U.S. computing undergraduates. (www.ncwit.org/scorecard)

´NCWIT and Google recognize EngageCSEdu as a viable way to help a broader set of students complete their computer science degrees,´ said Google Director of Education and University Relations Maggie Johnson.
For every new submission by a faculty member to EngageCSEdu, Google will donate $50 (up to $100,000) towards maintaining NCWIT’s online tool.“

(Source: NCWIT)

Monday, December 08, 2014 9:52:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“The Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre – W.TEC recently celebrated International Day of the Girl Child. This is an international observance day declared by the United Nations in 2012 to promote girls’ human rights and highlight gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys.



To celebrate the 2014 Day, W.TEC partnered with Intel, Oracle, iDEA Hub, KraveX and Bella Naija to organize the 1-day celebration, which took place on Saturday, October 11 at the iDEA Hub.

The celebration was intended to highlight women’s achievements in the area of information technology and to serve as a forum to inspire and encourage girls to consider studies and careers in the growing field of ICTs.

Exciting features of the day included fun technology tutorials, live technology demos, inspiring talks and a mini-hackathon.

Leading women in technology who shared their career journeys in technology, as well as the impact of technology on their lives, included: Olasimbo Olatoregun (Intel), Folake Oyekanmi (Intel), Folake Adeniyi-Adeleye (Oracle), Ihuoma Okoroafor (Oracle) and Terae Onyeje (KraveX).

Fifty – two girls between the ages of 10 and 17 were in attendance and participated in learning sessions on digital animation and blogging (for girls with more limited technology backgrounds) and the hackathon (open to girls with more advanced technology skills). At the end of the event, the girls presented their projects to the audience.

Prizes were awarded to the developers of the best projects under the Scratch Programming, Mobile Application Development and Blogging categories:

AWARDS

A) Mobile Application Development

1st Place: Iyimide Martins
2nd Place: Dolapo Nurudeen

B) Scratch Programming

1st Place: Monsurat ….
2nd Place: Oluwanifesimi Oso & Mercy Oyeyipo
3rd Place: Hannah ….. & Marion Okoh Ogbeide

C) Blogging

1st Place: Muyibat …. & Oyinloluwa Adepiti
2nd Place: Feranmi ….
3rd Place: Hope Phillip

D) Newcomers to Technology Award (Given to girls, who despite their limited technology experience, created some inspiring blogging projects).

Chidinma Ogbuagu, Ayomide Ojo, Arinola Lesi, Anjolaoluwa Adegbola, Ndifreke Solomon Akpan, Abigail George, Eniola Taiwo, Chisom Cephas, Chioma Ezubelu, Iyanaoluwa Aje, Susan Uko & Mary Emelieze.

Intel, Oracle, KraveX, iDEA Hub and Bella Naija all supported this initiative as part of their interest in encouraging more women and girls to become technology users and developers. Intel is currently running the She Will Connect campaign, which is designed to expand digital literacy skills among young women in developing countries.

The girls were invited to join W.TEC’s Technology Club for Girls – year-long workshops to build-up their technology skills – which is supported by WeTech, Intel and Oracle.“

(Source: W.TEC)

Monday, December 08, 2014 9:47:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“Telecentre Academy will be introducing the Entrepreneurship and ICT course to three Latin American countries namely Colombia, Chile, and Ecuador starting November.

It will be recalled that earlier this year, TCA launched two pilot batches of the course ´Women, Entrepreneurship and ICTs": the first one in Spanish in June, and the second one in English in July.

See here the Video testimonial of participants of the Entrepreneurship and ICTs pilot course:
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iHyanNKZyg)

The upcoming launch of the course in the three identified Latin American countries is being carried out in coordination with local organizations namely Colnodo, CDI Chile, and Fundapi. For Colombia and Chile, the trainers will be former participants of the concluded pilot edition of the course.

According to TCA Program Manager Ana Agudo, the Academy is looking to expand the coverage of the course to make it applicable to youth as well, not just to women, and it is constantly on the lookout for new partners who will play the role of TCA agents that will implement and offer the course in their respective countries.

How to Become a TCA Agent

For organizations that are interested in becoming TCA agents, below is a summary of the steps involved:
·    Signification of interest via email to TCA team 
·    Agreement on partnership scope and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
·    Training of TCA agent's staff for local delivery of training
·    Customization of the course if deemed necessary
·    Delivery of the course through TCA's online learning platform

For questions pertaining to TCA courses and becoming a TCA agent, contact the TCA team.“

(Futher details)



Monday, December 08, 2014 9:41:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Intel Foundation Awards $100,000 for Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Innovation



"Lab4U, a team of student entrepreneurs from Chile, has won the 10th annual Intel Global Challenge, a global business plan competition that encourages student entrepreneurs to tackle some of the world's most pressing issues through computing technology. The competition provides a unique entrepreneurship experience by giving teams access to top venture capitalists and investors in Silicon Valley.

Lab4U, comprised of team members from the University of Chile and a local cancer research center, developed a technology that uses a mobile phone as a science instrument in order to democratize laboratory equipment. Through built-in mobile sensors and a crowd-learning web platform, users can prepare, analyze and share lab results via a mobile phone. The team, inspired to create this technology by a lack of lab instruments at their own university, aims to change the way science is taught and how experiments are performed.

´At Intel, we believe in giving today's young innovators the opportunities and resources to foster their interest in entrepreneurship,´ said Staci Palmer, Intel's director of Global Strategic Initiatives and Marketing in the Corporate Affairs Group. ´Through programs like the Intel Global Challenge, students from around the world, like Lab4U, are able to pursue their passion to create new technologies that positively affect people's lives.´

The Intel Foundation awarded $100,000 total in cash prizes, including a $50,000 grand prize and three $15,000 awards for teams taking first place in the following categories: Internet, mobile and software computing; computing for social innovation; and Internet of Things and hardware. Additionally, a $5,000 prize for social media was awarded.

Innovations from the three first-place winners ranged from education to manufacturing. Neuron Guard of Italy developed an on-site, integrated solution for the treatment of acute brain damage to prevent irreversible loss after a stroke, sudden cardiac death or traumatic brain injury. Karisma Kidz of the United Kingdom created a mobile application called, ´Moodville,´ a gaming solution for children to increase their emotional intelligence through mood identification and management. Servtech of Taiwan invented a technology infrastructure to leverage information communication technologies in manufacturing. Through Servtech's technology, factories can use big data to access machine conditions and detect anomalies in equipment. Plaze of Lebanon was awarded for their innovative approach to social media during the Intel Global Challenge.

The competition, held at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, drew 26 teams from 20 countries around the world. These finalist teams were selected from more than 60 countries and nine regional competitions. Founded in 2005, the Intel Global Challenge is designed to motivate young entrepreneurs to develop innovative technologies that solve real-world challenges, build viable business models, and move that technology out of university labs and into the market.

Over the past decade alone, Intel has invested more than $1 billion, and its employees have donated close to 4 million hours, to improve education in over 70 countries. For the latest Intel education news, visit www.intel.com/newsroom/education, join the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/Intel and follow Twitter updates at twitter.com/intelinvolved."

(Source: Intel)

Monday, December 08, 2014 9:33:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



“The tenth edition of eLearning Africa will take place on May 20 – 22, 2015, at the African Union Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In 2006, the inaugural event also took place in Ethiopia, and Rebecca Stromeyer, founder of the event, recently reflected on the impact that ten years of eLearning Africa has had on the ICT-enhanced learning sector in Africa:

´During its ten-year history, the conference has led to an explosion of new ideas, new projects, new agreements and new partnerships,´ she revealed. ´It has brought the leading experts on learning, development and technology to take part in our discussions and it has shown the world the ambition and wisdom of Africa. It has created a new understanding of what Africans can achieve and a belief that, working together, sharing our knowledge, making the most of the great opportunity that education and technology offer us, we will change the world.´

eLearning Africa 2015 will showcase the stories, experiences, research, thinking and expertise that make up the complex but thrilling picture of ICT for development, education and training in Africa today, under the overall theme of Enriching Tomorrow. Potential speakers are invited to submit a proposal (deadline 15.01.2015) and contribute their perspective to the largest gathering of eLearning and ICT supported education and training professionals in Africa.

The conference themes and proposal submission form can be found on the eLearning Africa website.“

(Source: eLearning)

Monday, December 08, 2014 9:28:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 14, 2014

"Policy and regulatory changes to focus on greater ICT accessibility

The Model ICT Accessibility Policy Report released in São Paulo, Brazil recognizes that despite the unprecedented growth in mobile and Internet use worldwide, very few nations have acted to ensure that persons with disabilities are part of the technology revolution. The Report is jointly published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict).

The report notes that although many countries have information and communication technology (ICT) laws, policies and regulations that generally support the principles of universal access to ICT, the needs of the disability community are different and require a deliberate additional focus on ICT accessibility by legislators, policy-makers and regulators aimed at removing barriers to ICT use.

The policy framework was launched today at the Accessible Americas meeting organized by ITU, UNESCO, Brazil and the National Secretariat for the Promotion of the Rights of People with Disabilities of the Human Rights Secretariat of the Presidential Cabinet of the Brazilian Republic (SDH) in São Paolo, Brazil.

Bearing in mind the barriers faced by persons with disabilities in using many mainstream ICTs, the report is designed to guide national policy-makers and regulators in creating their own ICT accessibility policy frameworks in consultation with persons with disabilities. It focuses on different aspects of ICT accessibility, namely amendments to the existing ICT legal framework, public ICT access, mobile communications, television/video programming, government websites and public procurement of accessible ICTs.

´ITU is working with all stakeholders towards global ICT accessibility and affordability in all countries and regions and by all peoples, including persons with disabilities,´ says ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. ´There is no doubt that ICTs can enable and accelerate access to resources such as education and health care for persons with disabilities leading to their greater social, economic and political inclusion.´

´The report contains concrete steps that can be taken to make meaningful rules and regulations to ensure that ICT accessibility becomes a reality on the ground,´ says Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. ´It helps regulators and policy makers to become action-oriented.´

´ITU’s leadership in promoting ICT accessibility plays an important role in realizing the promises of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities´, says Axel Leblois, President and Executive Director of G3ict. ´The report, which is the result of seven years of cooperation between ITU and G3ict, offers easy to use policy frameworks inspired by existing good practices and available technologies from around the world. It also emphasizes the critical importance of involving relevant stakeholders in developing and monitoring ICT accessibility policies with the active participation of persons with disabilities.” Mr Leblois added: “It is our hope that the model policies presented in the report will help accelerate the accessibility of essential ICT products and services for citizens of all abilities.´

The Model ICT accessibility policy report is developed for ICT policy-makers, regulators and other stakeholders active in ICT and/or disability issues, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), organizations of persons with disabilities, and parliamentarians.

The report has been prepared pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and in line with the ITU and G3ict ICT Accessibility Policy Toolkit for persons with disabilities.

At the last World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC 2014) held in April this year, ITU Members reaffirmed, by adopting Resolution 58,  the need for accessible ICTs for persons with disabilities through the development of national legal frameworks, laws, regulations and policies. Likewise, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference held in Busan, Republic of Korea, October-November 2014, established the Connect 2020 Agenda which includes four high-level goals: growth, inclusiveness, sustainability and innovation, and partnership. The goals are accompanied by a set of targets, among which ´Enabling environments ensuring accessible telecommunications/ICTs for persons with disabilities should be established in all countries by 2020´.

Digital Inclusion is part of the ITU Telecommunication Development Sector’s activities designed to promote ICT accessibility and use for the social and economic development of people with specific needs, including indigenous peoples and people living in rural areas; persons with disabilities; women and girls; and youth and children.

Click here to download the report."

Further details

Friday, November 14, 2014 10:20:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 07, 2014
“Innovative business plans from young entrepreneurs around the world will be on display next week as part of the Intel® Global Challenge. This competition is designed to motivate young entrepreneurs to develop promising technologies that solve real-world challenges, build viable business models, and move that technology out of university labs and into the market. The finalists consist of 26 teams, who are presenting business plans in areas such as computer science, wearable technology and 3-D printing.

As part of this competition, finalists will have the opportunity to meet with successful venture capitalists and hear from experts in entrepreneurship. In addition, the Intel Foundation will award $100,000 in cash prizes. The grand prize winning team will receive $50,000, three first prize winning teams will each receive $15,000, and a $5,000 social media prize will be awarded.“

Further information

Friday, November 07, 2014 10:27:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Six early-stage startups focused on Big Data, Smart Cities and IoT/Cloud selected to accelerate Internet of Everything (IoE) growth and innovation in Europe.

Today Cisco announced the 6 winners of the first Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) Program in Europe during the Pioneers Festival in Vienna.  Cisco EIR is an incubation program focused on nurturing and growing breakthrough advancements at early-stage startups. The first cohort of winners from Europe have undergone a rigorous multi-phase selection process, including a final pitch during the Pioneers Investors Day, focused on the viability of their business plans, the strength of the teams and their alignment with Cisco’s strategic focus on IoE.

The winners are:

Big Data and analytics

Dataiku (France): develops a software workspace called Data Science Studio (DSS) for business analysts and data scientists that aggregates all the steps and big data tools necessary to get from raw data to production-ready applications.

MammothDB (Bulgaria): created an analytics database for enterprise data warehousing. It is an inexpensive database that is compliant with industry standards and is designed to serve as the data warehouse backbone for enterprise business analytics.

Mentat Innovations (Greece, UK): specializes in technology for streaming data analytics at scale using cutting edge statistical techniques and infrastructure. Their solutions have immediate applicability in areas including cybersecurity, defense & intelligence, retail, Web analytics and healthcare.

Smart Cities

Graphmasters (Germany): specializes in Cloud-based routing to reduce traffic jams. By providing centralized routing decisions and precise, personalized driving instructions, traffic can be managed more efficiently.

ICE Gateway (Germany): develops an outdoor wireless infrastructure that serves as a communication platform for smart city applications, including parking, lighting, location-based services and many others.

IoT/Cloud

Flatout (Austria): provides affordable and easy-to-use Smart Home solutions to businesses interested in entering the connected living market.

The Cisco EIR Program, launched in the USA in August 2013 and in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEAR) in July 2014, aims to nurture early-stage startups working on the next big idea for the Internet of Everything (IoE). Once on-board, each cohort of entrepreneurs in Europe spends six months in residence with Cisco and Cisco partners in Vienna. The Cisco EIR Program offers the successful startups strategic funding, access to co-working space, basic software tools and a potential opportunity to collaborate with Cisco product and engineering teams.

´Cisco EIR takes Cisco’s best practices coupled with its partner ecosystem to help startups accelerate their product development and business growth. Cisco’s goal is to create an environment that embraces strategic freedom while giving the startups potential opportunities to collaborate closely with Cisco,´ said Mala Anand, Senior Vice President, Cisco Services Platforms Group. ´Europe is a hotbed of entrepreneurial talent, and Vienna is a place where the concept of open innovation and startup incubation is well understood – both are gateways to key emerging markets. Through this collaboration with Pioneers, the successful applicants will have unprecedented access to Cisco and Cisco’s partner ecosystem to fuel their growth trajectories.´

Cisco EIR launched its first cohort consisting of six startups in Silicon Valley in April 2014. This program has now expanded with six startups in Europe, which will begin their in-residence incubation with Cisco in January 2015. The selected companies are going to be supported by a team of executives and mentors who represent a cross-section of expertise from Cisco and its partners.“

(Source: Cisco)

Friday, November 07, 2014 10:24:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“ITU is strengthening its commitment to including young people in its policy-setting processes with a special Youth Programme underway at its Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-14) currently underway in Busan, Republic of Korea. The programme is designed to more effectively empower and engage the next generation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) leaders to ensure continued leadership and stability in the ICT field.

The Young ICT Policy Leaders (YIPL) programme specifically aims to advance the policy making skills of tomorrow’s ICT professionals. It provides a platform for mentorship and networking, and nurtures knowledge and skills exchange through a series of five sessions with global leaders from the ICT sector. The sessions are themed as follows: Working and Thriving in the ICT Sector; Why Policy Leadership Matters; Working in a Multi-stakeholder World; Leadership in Building Consensus; and Getting the Job Done: Lessons for 2018.

Each national delegation at PP-14 was invited to nominate two young members of their delegation (aged under 35) to participate in the programme, with the City of Busan funding the participation of a further 35 delegates from Least Developed Countries, to ensure broad participation.

Two thousand young people from across the globe contributed to the PP-14 youth public consultation, an online crowd-sourced youth policy statement which was submitted as a proposed Resolution on Youth to the PP-14 Plenary by Costa Rica. This innovative initiative paves the way for greater inclusion of youth voices in governance processes, enabling them to actively contribute to policies which directly affect them.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré said ´It is very encouraging to see such informed and energetic contributions to our main policy-making conference processes. Young people are not just the future of this sector, they are a current force of creators, entrepreneurs and consumers and we stand to benefit the more we can integrate their voices and insights into policies that will guide our sector towards the future knowledge economy.´

The PP-14 Youth Programme is part of ITU’s wider Youth Programme which seeks to utilize ICTs to enhance education, reduce youth unemployment, bridge the digital divide and promote the social and economic development of young people globally.

The Busan Initiative was also launched during PP-14 and aims to address issues related to greater participation of youth in the digital economy, including tackling youth unemployment and access to ICTs. Read more here.”

Further information

Friday, November 07, 2014 10:15:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Outbox invites you to apply for an all expenses paid two week immersion program* in Silicon Valley. This is a unique opportunity for non-us startups to access resources and scale globally. Founders will come to Silicon Valley for the two weeks, where they will have the opportunity to live and collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs from all around the world and take part in an intense agenda of meetings and workshops with entrepreneurs, investors, experts and executives.

Accepted startups must have launched a technology based MVP and gathered feedback from early adopter/customers. Ideally – but not required – a startup should have raised some investment capital, have a team between 3 to 20 people and have a product or service that can be launched globally.

To qualify:
  • Startup must be based outside the U.S
  • Have already launched a product or nearing completion of beta testing product with prospective customers
  • Attending founders (up to 2 founders) must be proficient in English
Please have a look at the previous showcase for Blackbox Connect https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Messbm5cHhg&feature=youtu.be in order to learn more about the program.

Application deadline is November 21st 2014. Program dates: February 2nd to February 13th 2015. Female founders are encouraged to apply.
Apply now; http://tinyurl.com/bbc-outbox

(Source: WOUGNET)

Friday, November 07, 2014 10:06:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Rlg Communications Gambia Limited, a computer assembling plant, Tuesday launched what it called ‘Connect Gambia – Vision 2020’ as part of its efforts to making The Gambia an ICT nation and creating more jobs for the youth of the country.

Rlg Communications Gambia Limited is part of a multinational company currently operating in Africa and Asia. ‘Connect Gambia – Vision 2020’ project is meant to provide Gambians assembled laptops connected to the Internet for every child from the primary to secondary schools through the university.

Speaking on behalf of the managing director of Rlg Gambia, the company’s marketing officer, Andrew Sambou, stated that tablets for school-going students will be connected with relevant school curriculum content, and would be replicated across the sub-region.

Over the past years, the communications company has worked very closely with partners like the Ministries of Trade and Education to strengthen their capacity in creating more job opportunities for young Gambians, Sambou told the gathering.

With the support of The Gambia government through the Ministry of Trade, he informed that in March 2014, Rlg was able to train 30 youths in the Upper River Region who are set to graduate later this month in Basse. These students, he noted, form the third phase of the programme conducted by the company.

As an extremely important facet of society, he said, the tablet for teachers will help reduce their workload, saying through the apps used, they will help their students get real work from hand written assignment to presentations.

Sambou further disclosed that his company is currently working with the decision making house to make the ‘Connect Gambia – Vision 2020’ project work by 2015.

´With the continuous support of the Gambian government, Rlg will be able to equip and get latest advanced courses in ICT for all National Assembly members as part of the company’s vision for 2015. To make the project a success, Rlg institute of technology has franchise with the world renowned IT training institute in India called APTECH,´ he concluded.“

(Source: Daily Observer Gambia)

Friday, November 07, 2014 11:46:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"The Ministry of Science and Technology will run Thursday in southern Huila province a programme under the motto ´a trip around the world of science, technology and innovation´.

The two-day socio-culture activity will help the students in the local six schools choose the areas of their future professions.

According to a note from the Ministry delivered Angop Wednesday in Lubango, the activity will cover the local schools. The initiative is intended to raise awareness among young people, in particular, about the need to engage in scientific study. Similar programme has taken place in the 17 provinces."

(Source: Angola Press)

Friday, November 07, 2014 11:36:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 03, 2014
“The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) today announced that Apple, Bank of America, Bloomberg, Google, Microsoft, Microsoft Research, Palantir, Qualcomm, Symantec, and Venmo are supporting NCWIT’s outreach efforts (hosting events and networking opportunities) at the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing in Phoenix, Arizona from October 8-10, 2014. Sponsored events include:

NCWIT Academic Alliance Reception (sponsored by Microsoft Research): Representatives from current and prospective members of NCWIT’s Academic Alliance, comprised of hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide, will gather to network and compare approaches for implementing institutional change for their post-secondary computing programs. Microsoft Research sponsors the NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund, which provides up to $10,000 for implementation of initiatives focused on recruiting or retaining women in computing degree programs. NCWIT is currently accepting proposals through November 2, 2014. (www.ncwit.org/seedfund)

NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing Networking Meet-ups (separate meet-ups sponsored by Apple, Bank of America, Palantir, and Qualcomm): Executives will meet with Aspirations Award recipients to discuss career opportunities and offer tips for successful technology job searches. The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing is a multi-tiered award competition (with recognition at national and local levels) open to any U.S. high school woman with computing aspirations. NCWIT is currently accepting applications through November 2, 2014. (www.bit.ly/AiCHSAward)

NCWIT Affiliate Award for Aspirations in Computing Breakfast (sponsored by Microsoft): Microsoft, sponsor of the Aspirations Award at the local level, will recognize Aspirations Affiliate Award Coordinators for their extraordinary voluntary contributions, making it possible to serve all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands with the Aspirations Award program. 

NCWIT Student Seed Fund Lunch (sponsored by Symantec): Executives will hear from several student winners of the NCWIT Student Seed Fund, sponsored by Symantec. The Student Seed Fund provides $1,000 to student-run programs and initiatives that promote increased participation of women in higher education computing programs. NCWIT is currently accepting proposals through October 26, 2014. (www.ncwit.org/studentseedfund)

NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Reunion Dinner (sponsored by Bloomberg): Aspirations in Computing Community members will reunite and catch up on educational and work experiences since their recognitions. Bloomberg sponsors the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Community, a peer network of technical young women connected to hundreds of NCWIT corporate, academic, and non-profit organizations nationwide.

EngageCSEdu Demo Sessions (sponsored by Google): Representatives will provide interactive demos of EngageCSEdu, a website containing a dynamic collection of high-quality, open course materials for introductory computer science courses contributed by faculty from across the country. (www.ncwit.org/engagecsedu)
Sit With Me Photo Booth (sponsored by Venmo): Attendees are invited to take a stand for women in technology by getting their photo taken in the iconic Red Chair of Sit With Me – a national advocacy campaign that provides a gathering place for all people to acknowledge the valuable contributions of women in computing. (www.sitwithme.org)

Additional events include: meet-ups and receptions for current and prospective members of NCWIT’s Affinity Group, Entrepreneurial, and Workforce Alliances, as well as NCWIT Pacesetters. Visit www.ncwit.org/NCWITatGHC for more information about NCWIT’s participation at the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing.´Organizations acting together make a far better impact on expanding diversity in computing than a person or an organization acting alone, said NCWIT CEO and Co-founder Lucy Sanders. ´It’s motivating to see representatives from multiple disciplines and industries come together in support of these promising technical young women.´

NCWIT is also pleased to announce that Chief Strategy and Growth Officer Ruthe Farmer will be honored at the conference with the 2014 Social Impact ABIE Award during the opening plenary session on Wednesday, October 8, 2014. (http://bit.ly/ghcRuthe)

´It is such an honor to be recognized by the Grace Hopper community with this award,´said Farmer. ´The Aspirations in Computing program has built an incredible, national network for technical young women, and we are excited to see the impact this incredibly connected group will have on the tech industry.´

The Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing is produced by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology and is presented in partnership with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). ”

More Information

Monday, November 03, 2014 11:10:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“TWO tertiary institutions in Abia state namely the State Polytechnic and College of Health Sciences and Management Technology and a secondary school - National High School, Azumini in Ukwa East LGA joined some others across the country to benefit from programmes introduced by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The programmes include the Advanced Digital Access Programme For Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI), which aimed to bridge the digital divide existing in the academia with the provision of Computers and other ICT facilities to equip the lecturers and other experts with technology skills to enrich the quality of teaching and research.

The second programme is the ‘Wireless Cloud’, which is a complimentary package comprising of laptops with Wireless Internet Facilities.

The third Programe tagged, ´Digital Awareness Programe (DAP)´ is for the benefit of secondary schools with the objectives of preparing the nation for a digital tomorrow and equipping the youth with necessary skills to tap into the potentials of the digital age.

Speaking at the official commissioning of ADAPTI at the Abia State Polytechnic and College of Health Sciences and Management Sciences at different times recently, NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Dr. Eugene Juwah said that since the introduction of ADAPTI in year 2008, more that 297 institutions of higher learning in Nigeria have so benefited from it. Juwah, who was represented by the member representing the South East zone in the NCC Board Dr. Mike Onyia, also said that in addition to ADAPTI, the NCC introduced the ‘Wireless Cloud’, which according to him, is a complimentary package comprising of laptops with Wireless Internet Facilities adding that another 144 institutions including some that already had ADAPTI, have also benefited from the Wireless Cloud, ´this is because the ICT facilities are equipped with e-learning suites that are able to guarantee extensive learning´.

He said that the DAP has the objectives of preparing the nation for a digital tomorrow and equipping the youth with necessary skills to tap into the potentials of the digital age are being effected.”

(Source: The Guardian)

Monday, November 03, 2014 11:00:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Inaugural GEM-TECH Awards bring winners from around the world to Busan, Korea to highlight the transformative power of ICTs

Seven outstanding individuals and organizations leading pioneering projects and advocacy linked to harnessing the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to boost gender empowerment were honoured this morning as recipients of the first-ever GEM-TECH Awards.

The awards were conferred by ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré before some 2,500 delegates at a special ceremony in the morning Plenary session of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference currently taking place in Busan, Republic of Korea. The event was introduced by leading Korean TV personality Jie-ae Sohn, a journalist with 25 years’ experience as a correspondent for some of the world’s leading media channels.

Co-organized with UN Women, the GEM-TECH Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of organizations and individuals in the area of gender equality and mainstreaming through information and communication technology (ICT). The launch of the awards in June of this year prompted over 360 nominations from over 70 countries around the world. The awards were open to leading women and men, as well as organizations working in the field of ICT and gender.

The seven GEM-TECH winners are:

Category 1: applications, content, production capacities and skills for women’s social and political empowerment and links with sustainable development
Winner: UNESCO’s Women in Africa’s History e-Learning project Africa

Category 2: ICT applications, content, production capacities and skills for women’s economic empowerment and poverty reduction
Winner: iMerit Technology, India

Category 3: Promoting Women in the ICT sector – initiatives to attract, retain and promote women in the ICT sector and into decision-making roles (public/private sector)
Winner: BCS Chartered Institute for IT United Kingdom

Category 4: Enabling girls to become ICT creators – initiatives aimed at providing girls with the opportunity to become not just active users, but creators of ICTs and content
Winner: Research Center for Feminist Action (CIPAF) Dominican Republic

Category 5: Closing the ICT gender gap, ensuring ICT accessibility for women, such as digital literacy training and ensuring affordable and meaningful access to ICTs by women.
Winner: Telecentre.org Foundation Philippines

Category 6: Efforts to reduce online threats and to build women’s confidence and security in the use of ICTs
Winner: Association for Progressive Communications (APC) South Africa

Category 7: ICT and broadband strategies, policies and frameworks that promote women’s digital empowerment
Winner: Federal Ministry of Communication Technology Nigeria

The awards were sponsored by Gold Partners the Sultanate of Oman, the Republic of Rwanda, the Swiss Confederation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Silver Partners Cisco Systems and Facebook.

Congratulating the seven winners out of a field of 37 finalists, ITU’s Dr Touré praised the exceptionally high quality of nominations, and stressed that much still needs to be done to leverage the full power of ICTs to improve the lives of women and men.

´It is almost 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – so where do we stand today with reference to Gender Equality and Mainstreaming?´ asked Dr Touré, who pointed to a ‘gender digital divide’ that is particularly worrying in the developing world. ´ITU estimates that some 200 million fewer women are online compared to men. Women are coming online later, and more slowly. Without remedial action, it is estimated that the internet gender gap could grow to 350 million within three or four years. Equality in access to broadband is not only an issue of right and wrong; it also makes commercial and economic sense,´ he said.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said ´We need all of you to join our efforts, so that these inspiring GEM-TECH winners and others working at the forefront of digital inclusion are leading a turning point for women’s digital empowerment through technology.´

This morning’s ceremony also recognized six GEM-TECH ‘Global Achievers’ – organizations and individuals recognized for exceptional long-term commitment to furthering the issue of ICT and gender. They are: Alcatel-Lucent’s StrongHer initiative; Cisco Systems’ Distinguished Consulting Engineer, Monique Morrow; Academy Award winning actor and advocate Geena Davis; GSMA’s Connected Women programme; Intel Corporation’s Director of Social Impact, Renee Wittemyer, and former Serbian Minister of Communications and State Secretary for Digital Agenda, Jasna Matić.

The award ceremony was followed later in the day by a lunchtime GEM-TECH High Level Dialogue, where winners and partners had the opportunity to showcase their projects and initiatives, and where other experts from industry, civil society and government joined a stimulating debate on the topic of ‘Gender and ICTs: why gender equality matters and where do we stand today?’, moderated by Korea’s Jie-ae Sohn. The GEM-TECH HLD can be viewed on archived webcast in seven languages at: www.itu.int/pp14/webcast.

The day’s ICT and gender-related activities will wrap up this evening with an exclusive gala dinner event held at Nurimaru APEC House on Busan’s Dongbaekseon Island.“

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Monday, November 03, 2014 10:57:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“´With 2000 innovators from 48 countries entering in its first three years; IPA 2015 takes investment in unleashing and supporting sustainable African led innovation past half a million USD

The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) is calling on all African innovators to submit their entries for the fourth edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) competition. The IPA is presented annually, enabling and encouraging African pioneers to develop creative ideas and techniques to overcome some of the challenges faced by the continent and support sustainable development.

´At the African Innovation Foundation we are passionate about Africa and its potential, that we firmly believe will be led by empowering a new generation of African innovators and entrepreneurs. But we also recognise that this new generation needs the resources and the opportunities to realise their ambition,´ said AIF and IPA founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais. ´IPA provides a platform to encourage and harness these entrepreneurial skills in order to help improve the lives of Africans and to help realise untapped potential. The prize is also a great way of unleashing creativity and promoting growth within the African continent.´

The IPA is becoming integral to facilitating ground-breaking thinking, creativity and driving awareness to the outstanding work being done in Africa by Africans. IPA 2013 winner, AgriProtein went on to raise $11 million to build its first two commercial farms in Cape Town.

´Africa needs meaningful investment to alleviate poverty and provide inclusive prosperity. To achieve this, we need to be able to provide environments that promote quality investment for the people and reduce risks. Forums like the IPA are necessary to make the most of the continent's investment,´ said AgriProtein spokesperson, David Drew.
All innovations are evaluated based on the following criteria: originality, marketability, scalability, social impact and Scientific/technical aspects. The best submission will be awarded a grand prize of USD 100 000.  The second prize of USD 25 000 will be awarded to an innovator with an innovation which has the best commercial and business potential. An additional award is a special prize granted to the innovator whose innovation has the best social impact in the community.

The IPA encourages entries in five key categories: Agriculture and Agribusiness, Environment, Energy and Water, Health and Wellbeing, ICT applications, and Manufacturing and Services Industries.

Recognising home grown innovative ingenuity, the prize contributes to increased funding of start-ups, adoption of new and emerging technologies and accelerated growth of the private sector. With ever changing economic and social environments, it is critical that proposed solutions tackle issues affecting African lives, and that they are effective and are different from the existing ones.

IPA 2014 named Dr Nicolaas Duneas and Mr Nuno Pires from South Africa the winners of the grand Prize and received USD 100’000 for their Altis Osteogenic Bone Matrix (Altis OBM TM), the first injectable porcine derived BMP medical device in the world — an innovative product for the treatment of bone injuries and voids through the use of a regenerative biological implant.

The IPA also beckons all investors, governments and other stakeholders interested in evaluating, investing and maximising the continent’s resources to participate in this innovative and empowering initiative and make a significant change through generous contributions that will accelerate the Africa’s economic growth.

The deadline for submitting applications for IPA 2015 is 31 October 2014 at 24h00 GMT. For more information on competition categories, conditions of entry, and submission details, please visit: http://innovationprizeforafrica.org/. ”

(Source: IPA)

Monday, November 03, 2014 10:49:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“ ´Young Mobile Innovator of the Year´ and ´Connected Women: Leadership in Industry´ Awards Created to Mark Global Mobile Awards 20th Anniversary.

The GSMA today introduced two special awards that have been developed to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Global Mobile Awards. The ‘Young Mobile Innovator of the Year’ and ‘Connected Women: Leadership in Industry’ awards will be presented at the Global Mobile Awards ceremony at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 3 March 2015.

The first new award, ‘Young Mobile Innovator of the Year’, is designed to showcase young and exciting new talent from across the mobile ecosystem and is open to anyone between 18 and 25 years old, working in an organisation or independently, or currently pursuing further education. The second, the ‘Connected Women: Leadership in Industry’ award, will recognise leadership in the establishment of initiatives that have a positive impact in reducing the digital skills gap and attracting and retaining women and girls in mobile and telecommunications.

´These additional awards will put the spotlight on individuals and organisations that will be shaping the face of the mobile industry in the years to come,´ said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “The ‘Young Mobile Innovator of the Year’ award provides a platform for up-and-coming individuals to showcase exciting new and innovative mobile ideas, and the ‘Connected Women: Leadership in Industry’ award will honour individuals, enterprises and initiatives that are working to close the ICT skills gender gap and inspire female leadership in technology around the world.´

Candidates for the ‘Young Mobile Innovator of the Year’ award must be able to demonstrate their ideas and provide evidence of early stage attention from prospective customers. Finalists will be invited to attend Mobile World Congress, where they will pitch their ideas in a live innovation session to a of panel judges who will select the overall winner. Successful entries to the ‘Connected Women: Leadership in Industry Award’ should exhibit value through thoughtful design and successful implementation of initiatives that accelerate the growth of the female digital economy by encouraging and retaining women in the technology industry.”

Further details

Monday, November 03, 2014 10:43:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) and CCI Learning have announced a partnership to provide innovative learning experiences that promote 21st century business, technology and communications skills among Canadian youth.

Through their partnership, ICTC and CCI Learning have identified industry certification ´crosswalks´ within Canada’s Focus on Information Technology (FIT) program. Developed by the ICTC, with top educational specialists and ICT employers, FIT is a nationally-recognized certificate program promoting digital literacy to advance youth skills development, experiential learning and development of effective learning resources for students and teachers. It provides secondary school students with valuable course pathways fostering ICT skills development.

´To identify these crosswalks, we conducted a thorough analysis of learning outcomes within ICTC's FIT certification paths, comparing them to skill sets required for leading IT industry certifications. In many cases, FIT learning outcomes almost completely matched with certification objectives such as those within CompTIA Strata and the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Software Development certification” said Malcolm Knox, CCI Learning President and CEO. ´Many provinces already include the same learning outcomes as the ICTC FIT certification paths.´
´Providing secondary school students with a clear and compelling pathway to further ICT training is a critical part of addressing technology skills shortages´ said Namir Anani, ICTC President and CEO. ´Our partnership with CCI Learning will be a model for achieving this for similar agreements across the country.´
Schools choosing to integrate these systems will provide triple recognition to graduates through national, provincial and industry level certifications. Students can graduate with multiple industry level certifications in addition to their current certification programs, bolstering chances for career success.

CCI Learning and ICTC’s FIT Certification Industry Crosswalk provides the most effective education solution. It ensures Canada’s success in the global digital economy by investing in technology education that is tangible and applicable to the labour market.“

Further details

Monday, November 03, 2014 6:30:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 21, 2014
“UNESCO organized an intensive high-level Workshop on Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to significantly enhance the quality and access to higher education for thousands of Nigerian and African students. The Workshop was held in Lagos, Nigeria, from 10 to 11 September 2014 and attended by 30 senior faculty members of NOUN.

The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is an Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institution, the first of its kind in the West African sub-region. The University at present has 54 Centres spread across the country. It is Nigeria's largest tertiary institution with over 150,000 enrolled students.

The Workshop at NOUN is part of the African component of the Globalizing OpenupEd Project, which aims to empower key national higher education institutions to offer courses with full open licenses (OERs), and to transform them into Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are defined as any type of educational materials in the public domain, or released with an open license allowing free use, adaptation, and distribution. They present educational institutions with a strategic opportunity to increase the quality of educational materials.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are characterized as free-of-cost, openly-accessible, online courses which can support ‘massive’ numbers of students.

By transforming OER courses into MOOCs that can be accessed free-of-cost and easily via mobile phones, NOUN hopes to ‘massively’ increase the number of enrolments from Nigeria, Africa and internationally.

OpenupEd is the world’s first MOOC Initiative that offers learners several unique innovations:

1.courses are to be made immediately/progressively available as OERs with at least CC BY SA licenses;
2.the University partners will offer full recognition and additional credit for fees;
3.some courses are to offer cohort-independence.

The Project is led by Abel Caine, UNESCO Programme Specialist in OERs, and Professor Fred Mulder, UNESCO OER Chair.

With support from the European Commission, UNESCO is globalizing OpenupEd in Africa working with the Africa Council for Distance Education (ACDE), and in Asia working with the Asian Association for Open Universities (AAOU).

The Workshop was facilitated by Dr Robert Schuwer of the Open University of the Netherlands. Using extensive OER and MOOC models, the delegates identified 10 pilot courses to be updated and offered with the Creative Commons Attribution (BY) ShareAlike (SA) license. A new course on the History of NOUN will be the pilot MOOC.

Abel Caine, from UNESCO, was very pleased with the Workshop, ´NOUN is one of the very few universities worldwide to freely share their intellectual wealth with a Portal of all their courses. They are now extending this gift with open licenses to allow other universities to freely and legally use the NOUN materials.´

NOUN extended a great honour to the UNESCO Team allowing Mr Caine and Professor Fred Mulder to present the NOUN Senate comprising of over 100 academics on Tuesday 10 September.

The Workshop was extensively promoted by local media including the Nigeria Guardian newspaper and Nigeria TV with many comments on Twitter and shared photos.
The medium-term goal is to launch the Africa OpenupEd Initiative with at least 3 African universities offering fully open-licensed MOOCs by the seminal World Education Forum in Incheon, South Korea, in May 2015.”

Further details

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:43:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"MTN has joined three leading global technology companies as sponsors of this year’s AMPION Venture Bus, which seeks to enable entrepreneurial talent in Africa to develop innovative solutions on the continent by making best use of the power of mobile technology.

MTN as well as SAP and Microsoft will financially support AMPION's 2014 operations and enable the newly established NGO to successfully operate on a pan-African level and generate long-term impact. Free hardware and bandwidth granted by Inmarsat will provide the AMPION Venture Buses with satellite connectivity.

Microsoft will additionally provide a package of free software and training to winning startups of the 2014 AMPION Venture Buses. Interested entrepreneurs, designers and coders still have a chance to apply for a seat on the Venture Busesonline. More than 700 applications from all over the world have been reviewed by AMPION as of today for the 180 seats on the Venture Buses.

Global healthcare leader Merck will be AMPION’s prime sponsor for the East African Venture Bus. Participants on the Venture Bus travelling from Tanzania to Rwanda will specifically focus on developing e-Health solutions. The East African Venture Bus will be accompanied by a CEO-selected Merck representative. E-Health experts are specifically encouraged to apply for this Venture Bus.

In September 2014, AMPION had launched two crowdfunding campaigns to aid with operational costs and to finance an extensive Fellowship Program for the most promising start-ups; the first crowdfunding campaign on 1%Club has now been successfully completed and is being granted 70% of its €15.000 funding goal through The Cheetah Fund, which is powered by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.

 AMPION will utilise this momentum to mobilise support for its remaining crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Reaching the overall crowdfunding goal of €50,000 will enable AMPION to set up a Fellowship Programme for a maximum amount of African start-ups and entrepreneurs with considerable funding and incubation.

Commenting on the strategic partnerships, Fabian-Carlos Guhl Founder & MD, AMPION, said: ´We are delighted to work with our new sponsors MTN, SAP, Microsoft, Inmarsat and Merck in Africa. Sponsoring and partnering with AMPION is an investment into the African mobile technology, start-ups and ICT space of tomorrow – and the creative entrepreneurs behind it. We are proud that world leading companies are convinced that our work is making a difference and decided to be a part of it.´"

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:39:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“On Thursday 16th of October, Fundi Bots, a Ugandan robotics company that equips students and developers with robotics skills trained over 20 learners from the University of Rwanda as well as developers at the kLab innovation space.

And Solomon King, the founder of Fundi Bots, explains what it is all about: ´The thing about robotics is it is one discipline, but there are a million sub-disciplines in it. I keep telling the trainees that when they’ve finished their first robot, they’ve learnt about electronics, they learnt about logical thinking, they’ve learnt about programming, mechanics, biology and popular science. And that is the main target of this training among all our works.´

The training lasted a full day running from 9am to 4pm and students learnt a range of skills ranging from the core of electronics and arduino programming to programming machines to move and navigate around.

Mark Musasizi, a developer, says the training availed developers with skills that are timely for the development of Rwanda into a regional ICT hub.

´We can’t lean on only knowledge that we get from school. We must source knowledge elsewhere and be a significant part of ICT development in the country that has set up the entire necessary infrastructure for us. What we are learning is technology in developed countries and we need to bring it home and apply it,´ he remarks.

Fundi Bots is a nonprofit organization which builds spaces where passionate young people can learn, grow and experiment with machines, gadgets and technology they would not otherwise have access to. Places where curiosity is fostered rather than feared, where failure is embraced as part of a learning process, and where ideas, however crazy, are heard and explored without bias or prejudice.

Fundi Bots works with private enterprises, nongovernmental organizations, academia and other talented and interested parties to create environments where social, commercial and local solutions can be found for Ugandan problems.

Fundi Bots is currently operating in Uganda but hopes to extend more training activities to Rwanda and move to about five African countries before the end of next year.

(Source: The New Times)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:36:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and the Chief Executive Officer of Alcatel Lucent, Michel Combes, today signed a cooperation agreement designed to promote gender equality.

The agreement, signed at UNESCO’s Headquarters, aims to increase the representation and participation of women in professional life through partnerships with universities, social networks and corporations.

´We are very happy to establish a partnership with a cutting-edge technology company like Alcatel Lucent that has a strong grassroots base, especially in the area of our global priority: gender equality,´ said the Director-General. ´Throughout my travels, I have seen girls and women take leadership. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize sends a wonderful message that education matters and that grassroots level activism makes a difference.´

´Gender diversity is close to our heart, and empowering women with digital technologies is an important part of our work,” said Michel Combes. ´Societies have not encouraged girls to pursue scientific and engineering careers, and we have embarked on many actions in this area, including through m-learning. We are proud to have a strong grassroots movement, created by employees for employees, with a membership of over 1,000 in 50 countries.´

Over two years, the partners will draw on the model provided by StrongHer, a social network created by Alcatel Lucent to improve the participation of women in the group’s decision making process.

UNESCO and Alcatel Lucent have been working together for a long time in the Broadband Commission, notably in the working group on gender.

Since its creation, UNESCO has been at the forefront of efforts to promote the rights of women and their empowerment. In 2008, gender equality became one of the Organization’s two global priorities."

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:32:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Civil war has caused a teacher shortage in Sudan, but that hasn’t stopped a group of teenagers from wanting to learn or an inspiring foreign teacher from joining the class to teach students how to teach themselves via development of their own learning app.

The classrooms are busy in Khartoum. Class sizes frequently exceed 60 students and they are getting bigger. Many students are entering class after fleeing from civil war, poverty and famine in South Sudan or from the from tribal conflicts in Darfur. Learning in a Sudanese classroom is not easy, but it can made more manageable it seems, with clever deployment of technology.

A foreign teacher from Australia teaching at Comboni College had an ambitious idea on how to improve the education situation in the school by tasking students to learn how to teach themselves by developing a smartphone application. The project has encouraged students to think retrospectively. It’s an exercise in revision, requiring them to think about everything they have ever learnt about learning English and then putting it into a format that other students can learn from.

The application is being built with an online app building platform, there is no coding involved. Their contribution to the app is purely content.

One of the students, Tijwok, said helping develop the application had made him more happy. ´At first I did not know what this special project was about, Teacher Tim just said it was a special project, it involved mobile phones and it would make me famous. I am happy it is helping me and my classmates improve English.´

Teacher Tim was more emphatic, ´I just wanted to use my powers for good and improve the lives of some kids in Sudan.´A donation to the project can be made here.

99 Tablets are currently running a crowd funding campaign to supply tablet computers to the school so that students can start learning from the app that they helped create. 99tablets.org aim to start a global education revolution in the developing world by putting tablet computers in front of students who need them the most.”

(Source: IT News Africa)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:23:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |