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 Tuesday, March 24, 2015

“Kenyan ISP AccessKenya Group has announced its commitment to support the use of technology in the delivery of education in the country. AccessKenya’s Deputy Chief Executive, Kris Senanu, said the firm will provide technology resources and financial support to aid in the growth and adoption of information communication technologies in classrooms for secondary and primary schools.

Senanu was speaking at a media briefing after the firm inked two agreements with inABLE Kenya and Computers for Schools Kenya (CFSK), where the company will provide Kes 6 million to support the ‘Assistive Technology Labs” project by inABLE Kenya;  and  Kes 1.2 million for the ‘Enhancing ICT use in Schools’ initiative by CFSK.

´Our vision is to see the inclusion of the education sector in the advancements being experienced in the local and regional ICT space. As the bedrock for intellect and talent development, we aim e help the education sector – especially the marginalized and vulnerable in our society – to realize their potential in relation to the use of technology,´ said Senanu.

He said AccessKenya will provide broadband internet and related technology support to bring online six public primary and secondary schools that cater to people who are blind and have low vision over the next 12 months.

These include Likoni Primary school for the blind in Mombasa; St Francis Primary school for the blind in Kapenguria; and St. Oda Primary school for the blind in Siaya. Others include Kibos primary and secondary schools for the blind in Kisumu and St. Lucy Secondary School for the blind in Meru county.

AccessKenya already provides free broadband internet services to the Thika Primary and Secondary Schools for the Blind in Thika, as well as St. Lucy’s Primary School for the Blind in meru. In total the project will benefit upwards of 1700 students.

´As we work to sustain our five operating ‘Assistive Technology labs’, and replicate the program at four other schools for people who are blind in Kenya, our partnership with AccessKenya is a critical lifeline that is essential to the success of our computer literacy program and a tremendous resource for our promising students,´ said Tim Kajume, inABLE Kenya, board representative.

The agreement with CFSK will see AccessKenya finance up to four workshops this year to train more than 200 principals and ICT teachers from public secondary schools in new teaching and education delivery technologies.

´ICT is penetrating at a high rate especially in secondary schools which is the exit point to higher education, employment and business. The principals and teachers being managers of the education process, therefore need to be well equipped with relevant modern ICT tools for proper integration of technology into schools´, Said Dr. Tom Musili, Executive Director of CFSK.“

(Source: GAATES)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 11:21:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Advancements in training and technology that cater specifically to the needs of African journalists are beginning to pave the way for a new era in African journalism.
A recurring problem within the African media up until now has been a lack of resources and funding for African journalists. This has resulted in rich foreign news agencies with superior resources often setting the agenda for African news through the topics they choose to report.

The ramifications of this can be hugely detrimental as foreign journalists’ reports may not be able to paint the most in-depth and accurate picture. In the worst cases, misconceptions can hinder development as it results in misguided policy decisions being made.

There is therefore an urgent need for African journalists, who are likely to better understand the subtleties and complexities of African events, to set the agenda for news in the continent.

Several digital initiatives have recently been created to help African journalists tell their own stories. One such project is Africa Talks, a multimedia educational website which uses nuanced commentary and detailed analysis to teach visitors worldwide about critical issues facing the continent.

The website’s founder, Salem Solomon, a teaching assistant and graduate student at University of South Florida St. Petersburg, is now taking things a step further. Through the introduction of an eLearning section of the site, she hopes to address the specific training needs of African journalists, as she explains:

´Like journalists everywhere, journalists in Africa can benefit from ongoing training in core skills, including technology, ethics, reporting and writing, and privacy and security. In addition, radio is essential to African journalism and communications in general. In isolated parts of the continent, radio broadcasts provide an effective way to reach large numbers of people. This puts a special emphasis on training around audio production and writing for broadcast.´

Though online training sites for journalists, such as Poynter’s News University, do already exist, they don’t cater for the unique training needs of African journalists. As press freedom and resources vary widely from country to country in Africa, Solomon intends to create a training platform that will cater specifically to journalists in Africa, especially those that have the autonomy to convey accurate news:

´We will conduct a needs assessment focused on eight countries across the continent. These countries represent different regions, press freedoms and technological environments. Based on what we learn, we plan to create a platform catered to journalists operating in at least moderately open press environments.´

The Africa Talks eLearning platform will feature training materials in various formats including self-directed courses, live discussions with reporters, online seminars and pre-recorded conversations. Topics are likely to include legal issues around publishing information on a country-by-country basis, running corrections online and across social media, and working with numbers. Though initially, courses will be offered in English, the plan is to eventually translate many of the courses, therefore offering multilingual training. Moreover, the editorial content of the site will be utilised as reference material for the training modules.

This comprehensive training platform will be the first of its kind to enable journalists in Africa to advance their professional development thus empowering them to tell the stories that reflect the real state of Africa. This is something that Salem Solomon has envisioned for the site from the outset:

“The ultimate goal of Africa Talks is to create a space for nuanced reporting with more contributors. With an eLearning component, Africa Talks can empower journalists across the continent to own their narratives.”

As well as training for journalists in Africa, several other digital initiatives have sprung up to incentivise African journalists. The African Media Initiative set up the African News Innovation Challenge (ANIC) in 2012 with the aim of spurring on innovation in the news industry.

This pan-African contest is funding pioneering ideas and then continuing to support them through a network of peers and advisors. The $1 million fund was designed to encourage experimentation in digital technologies, which would in turn help strengthen African news organisations. It is the continent’s largest fund for supporting new media experimentation and digital news startups in ventures such as data driven journalism, investigative reporting, newsroom management, audience engagement, digital convergence and media business models.

One of the notable winners of the contest was African SkyCAM, which aims to revolutionise frontline reporting through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. As Africa’s first newsroom-based eye-in-the-sky, it is an innovative solution for journalists attempting to report the news in remote locations or dangerous situations. Through the use of drones and camera-equipped balloons, it helps media that cannot afford helicopters report the news from the air.

In South Africa, the Oxpeckers Centre for Investigative Environmental Journalism, another winner in the ANIC contest, promotes the use of geo-journalism. This non-profit company combines traditional investigative reporting with data analysis and geo-mapping tools to expose eco-offences and track organised criminal syndicates in southern Africa. Journalists there have successfully reported on stories such as rhino-poaching, illegal logging and canned lion hunting. Oxpeckers visualises complex stories using dynamic infographics, animated maps and data visualisation to expand on traditional story packages.

These are just some of the ways in which digital innovation is facilitating better journalism in Africa. As technology advances further and online training methods and reporting tools become ever more accessible, Africa’s journalists will be increasingly better equipped to craft their own narratives about the continent.“

(Source: eLearning Africa)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 11:18:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The workshop aims to assist the visually impaired with benefitting from advanced technologies

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), hosted today a special workshop dedicated to empower and train the visually impaired at its Dubai office. The workshop, organized by the UAE mGovernment Centre of Digital Innovation (CoDI) aims to empower the visually impaired and train them to benefit from a full range of advanced technologies which will better facilitate their life and help them cope with the working environment thus boost their independence so that they take charge of their everyday life.

In the presence of over 40 visually impaired attendees, the workshop's rich agenda included various presentations in addition to interactive discussions on the services offered by mGovernment Centre of Digital Innovation (CoDI) and how to use them in addition to the registration in the smart platform of the training program and how to enroll in training programs by e-learning techniques. The training was moderated by Fatima Rumaithi, trainer at CoDI and she's herself one of the visually impaired who have excelled in her career for over 10 years, relying on Arabic and English language solutions that help visually impaired to use all programs.

´This workshop comes as part of our social responsibility program directed towards raising awareness and highlighting the importance of empowering citizens of the United Arab Emirates and supporting their efforts to overcome various challenges and take charge of their lives. This move is one of the initiatives aimed to introduce smart learning methods and smart services and applications and explore the various ways to use them in this area,´ said H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri, TRA Director General.

´This workshop falls within the framework of several initiatives launched by the Authority to empower people with special needs and enable them to contribute to the ongoing development efforts taking place in the UAE in all areas and requires mobilizing all national capabilities in all fields,´ H.E added.

The workshop was organized in collaboration with Emirates association of the Visually Impaired in Sharjah, with participation from many entities including ´Al Ain Center of Care and Rehabilitation for people with special needs´, UAE University, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Environment and water, Hamdan University, Special Education Support Center in Fujairah, General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, and Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care. The event witnessed remarkable and interactive participation by the attendees who have shown significant interest in using smart technologies presented during the workshop.“

(Source: Zawya)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 11:05:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Telefónica Educación Digital and Qualcomm Wireless Reach announces today the launch of the Mobile for Change competition ( with the patronage of UNESCO and full support of its YouthMobile Initiative.

Under the framework of International Women’s Day with a specific focus on gender equality, this global app competition targets women and young people by empowering them to develop mobile solutions for social good. Young people interested in learning about App development can apply what they learn from the free MOOCs offered on the MiríadaX platform and gain the necessary skills to produce their own App.

For the creation of the Apps, participants must use AllJoyn, a free and open source software project by the AllSeen Alliance and the Qualcomm Vuforia platform as well as the applications-development environment  App Inventor for Android devices.

´With this initiative we want to support app developers that are looking forward to using their talent in addressing a social welfare issue´, says Sergio San Martín, project leader at Telefónica Educación Digital. ´We expect all submitted mobile applications must be aligned to the competition’s theme of social and environmental change, which includes education, entrepreneurship, healthy lifestyles, art and creativity, environmental sustainability, public safety, social inclusion, and empowerment of women.´

UNESCO’s patronage affirms Telefónica Educación Digital’s initiative, which upholds the important use of mobile technology to promote the building of knowledge societies and the participation of young people for achieving the upcoming new Sustainable Development Goals.

´UNESCO is confident that this event will contribute to the aims of its YouthMobile Initiative,´ says Davide Storti, Programme Specialist of UNESCO. ¨The YouthMobile Initiative empowers young people all across the world to create mobile applications to address sustainable development challenges facing their communities, such as illiteracy and unemployment.´

The competition has a general category and two special categories, one dedicated to Apps aimed at the empowerment of women and the other for young people between 18 and 25 years of age. Each category will have five finalists, of which three will be prize winners. The first prize in each category is attendance at a VatorSplash event (including air travel, accommodations, and a financial award of 1,500 Euros), where the winner can learn from the best and exchange experiences with international investors. In addition, the winners will be supported with computer equipment and training.

Mobile for Change is expecting to attract over 3000 people with a minimum of 300 actual competition apps submitted. Participants will be mainly residing in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries, but other language speakers are welcome to enter, too.

It is still possible to register online on the competition’s official web page. The 25th of March begins the period in which each participant can upload his or her App. The voting begins on the 16 of May and the winners will be announced on 26 June in a final event.“

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 11:00:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“The kick-off meeting of a new EEA Grants co-financed project aimed at supporting women's tech entrepreneurship in Valencia region took place the 25-26 February in Gandia.

DAME is a transnational project promoted by the City of Gandia which aims to improve the entrepreneurial skills of women in the city and promote the implementation of personal projects and / or professional capable of being transformed into business.

For this, the project involves intensive training actions and accompanying with clients through specialized coachers in the field of personal development, technology, entrepreneurship and business management, together with other actions to improve the participation woman in a labor market highly influenced by digital technologies.

During the one year project DAME project users receive training and constant support during all phases of the process of their business start-ups, from the moment the idea is conceived, to the formation of teams, the implementation and consolidation of their businesses. As an innovative element participants have access to the use of the Launchpad methodology, which enables the women to test directly in the real environment every advance step or decision in the creation process.

DAME also includes a series of complementary actions contributing to ensure the achievement of its objectives and results. These interventions consist of on the one hand the creation of a Device Networking for Women Entrepreneurs Accompanying involving actors, institutions and structures of the territory, together with awareness measures aimed at promoting a positive image of women linking it to concepts such as entrepreneurship and technology.

The transfer of knowledge and leading European best practices is ensured through the European Centre for Women and Technology - ECWT.

This project is developed with the support of the Financial Mechanism of the European- Economic Area EEA Grant -in the Memorandum of Agreement between the Kingdom of Norway, Iceland, the Principality of Lietchestein and the Kingdom of Spain.

The EEA grant funds, promote the development of entrepreneurial projects of women in the European Union, under the "Program for Gender Equality and Reconciliation of Work and Family Life", promoted in Spain by the Institute for Women , Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality.

In connection with the kick-off event Eva Fabry the Director of ECWT presented the latest developments in regard to women's entrepreneurship and digital business start-ups on a European level  and Astrid Green, Member of ECWT's High-level Advisory Committee presented the concrete experiences of Athene Prosjektledelse, strategic partner of ECWT, in launching the Business Innovation Centre in Kosovo. “

(Source: ECWT)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 10:53:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Nigeria’s Federal Ministry has connected 1.4 million students across 27 federal universities in the country to internet, according to reports from Vanguard Nigeria.

Dr. Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s Communication and Technology Minister said the development is owed to collaborations between her Ministry, the country’s Ministry of Education and the World Bank’s STEP-B project in the deployment of fibre-optics cables to universities, medical colleges and the Nigerian Research and Education Network, NG-REN.

These developments are reportedly being executed under the Connect Nigeria initiative, and has also equipped 1,552 secondary schools with ICT and has exposed an estimated 1.5 million secondary students to basic ICT.

The Ministry also plans to float public access venues, PAVs, aimed at providing shared access to ICT facilities in underserved and unserved locations to various other demographics.“

(Source: Techcabal)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 10:48:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“The federal government has been called upon to make Information and Communications Technology (ICT) a compulsory study across primary and secondary schools in Nigeria, following the global adoption of ICT studies in schools.

A Lagos-based ICT expert, Mr. Temitope Ogunsemo, who gave the advice at a technology workshop in Lagos, said the call became necessary as a result of the impact that ICT is creating in various sectors of global economies.

At the workshop tagged: 'Creating the Future Workforce in a 21st Century Classroom', Ogunsemo explained that it was necessary to make ICT compulsory in schools for better knowledge in order to address some technicalities that will give Nigeria an edge in the global technology space, especially as the internet has made the world flat by providing easy access to information.

Ogunsemo, who is also the Managing Director of Krystal Digital Limited, a networks solutions firm, said students with ICT knowledge would assist to develop the nation, making use of their experience and advancement in technology.

The workshop, which was organised for information technology teachers in the South-west, was in collaboration with Microsoft Nigeria. He advised that secondary school students should be encouraged using ICT in communicating, teaching and learning in classrooms.

´These will facilitate their learning skills, knowledge and experience in information technology. This is a global world, therefore, there will be need for the youths to meet with global trend,´ Ogunsemo said.

He also stressed the need for the federal government to ensure that the use of ICT facilities is compulsory in schools for teaching and learning, noting that in spite of its potential in the development of IT education, not many schools in the country had extensively adopted ICT facilities for teaching and learning.

´Education has been greatly influenced by ICT, which has undoubtedly affected teaching, learning, and research. Its full adoption in Nigerian schools will have a positive impact on teaching, learning and research´ Ogunsemo said, adding that recent research had proven that ICT has great benefits and high potential to improve the quality of education at all levels.

He further explained that ICT has the potential to accelerate, enrich and deepen skills to motivate and engage students and to help relate school experience to work practices.

According to him, improved quality of education is essential for the creation of effective human capital in any country.

´The need for ICT in the Nigerian educational system cannot be overemphasised. In this technology-driven age, everyone requires ICT competence to survive,´ he said. He said plans were underway between his firm and federal government schools in the South-west to partner in building ICT infrastructure to enhance the students teaching and learning ability.

He explained that his firm has been carrying out training workshops for schools in the South-west and has trained several IT teachers from federal government schools, to enhance their knowledge with modern technology know-how.“

(Source: This Day Live)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 10:45:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 16, 2015

"Be the eyes for a blind person in need of help remotely through a live video connection if you are sighted or be assisted by the network of sighted users if you are blind.
Be My Eyes is all about contributing to and benefiting from small acts of kindness, so hop on board and get involved!

Blind users can request help from a sighted person and the sighted users will then be called for help. As soon as the first sighted user accepts the request for help a live audio-video connection will be set up between the two and the sighted user can tell the blind person what she sees when the blind user points his phone at something using the rear-facing camera.

As a sighted user you don't need to worry about missing a call and 'leave a blind person hanging' - you are a part of the bigger Be My Eyes helper-network and we will find the next available sighted person in the network. The challenges that the blind person needs help with can be anything from knowing the expiry date on the milk to navigating new surroundings.

See the CNN's video presentation here"
(Source: iTunes Apple)

Monday, March 16, 2015 11:16:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“The Vodafone Foundation has unveiled a portable "Instant Classroom" that it hopes will give 15,000 child refugees across Africa access to tablet-based education.

The digital school in a box, which has been unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, can be set up in 20 minutes and can be used in classrooms where there is no electricity. The Foundation has partnered with UNHCR to bring the Instant Classroom to 12 schools in Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over the next 12 months.

Each Instant Classroom is shipped in a secure and robust case that weighs 52kg and comes equipped with a laptop, 25 tablets pre-loaded with educational software, a projector, a speaker and a hotspot modem with 3G connectivity. The Classroom can be charged as a single unit from one power source in 6-8 hours, after which it can be used in a for an entire day without access to electricity.

The ongoing partnership between the Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR has already seen the benefits of tablet-based education in refugee camps. Through the Instant Network Schools programme it used tablets donated by Huawei to provide educational experiences to 18,000 pupils in the Dadaab refugee settlement in Kenya. The tablet-based lessons have proved so popular that attendance rates has improved by 15 percent on average.

It has always been the Foundation's approach to bring holistic solutions that include power, connectivity and devices into refugee camp schools. The box, however, is being introduced to help increase the reach of the programme and to make deployment faster and more efficient, the Vodafone Foundation's Oisin Walton explains to

´We can't with the current programme meet all the needs in the refugee camps,´ he says. ´We'd like to expand the programme and we're looking into this but we cannot reach all the schools in the camp at the moment so to support that the box means that you can actually bring all the equipment into a classroom where we haven't fitted internet and power.´

The Vodafone Foundation started working in its first school in October 2013 and has been working on the box since last summer. It took about six months to design the box and source the equipment and the first prototype was delivered in December 2014. ´But I would say it is based on 18 months work in refugee camps,´ says Walton.
As well as improving attendance rates, Vodafone and UNHCR's efforts to introduce technology into classrooms has encouraged children attending school not to turn up late, as if they do they are not allowed to use the tablets, he adds. ´It's amazing to see the impact and the excitement -- particularly in Dadaab.´

Not only are people keen to use the technology, but they are fully aware of the fact that the skills they are learning will open up more opportunities to them. ´When you're stuck in the camp, your opportunity to create a business or to be able to work aligns with your potential to work with technology,´ says Walton.

The plan now, he adds ´is to deploy 12 of these kits in the next twelve months in Congo (DRC), Kenya and Tanzania.´ All of the kits will go to new schools and the 15,000 new students the Vodafone Foundation will serve as a result should bring the total number of children benefitting from the programme to close to 45,000.

Over the coming months the Vodafone Foundation will also be putting more emphasis on content and training, says Walton. ´We have the technology now -- we need to create that link between the technology and the human factor, which are the teachers and what they're actually teaching on the ground, and that takes some time.´"


Monday, March 16, 2015 10:32:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, March 14, 2015

May 19-21, 2015 in Milan, Italy
During EXPO 2015

Microsoft Italy and Friendship Ambassadors Foundation invite female students/ professionals (age 18-24) to a special initiative called The Pink Cloud, which aims to encourage young women to undertake STEM studies and to inspire professional STEM careers.

Microsoft Italy will be providing full scholarships to qualified candidates, to attend and take part in The Pink Cloud Initiative, in Milan, Italy.

More about The Pink Cloud: The Pink Cloud is a special initiative developed by Microsoft, aimed at closing the gender gap in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in order to create a society based on gender-equal opportunities.

This is the third year of Pink Cloud; the 2015 theme is ´Science & Technology: Food for the Mind, Energy for the Future´. After successes in Florence 2013 and Rome 2014, The 2015 Pink Cloud will be held in Milan, which will be "at the center of the world" this year, thanks to EXPO Milan.
Apply via email. Only a LIMITED number of grants available.

Application Process:
Applications are accepted until April 13, 2015.“

More details

Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:57:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Egypt (NTRA) and the GSMA today announced an agreement to establish a framework of cooperation designed to promote Egypt’s mobile economy, recognising the transformative potential of mobile technology for economic growth, job creation, public services, businesses and wider digital inclusion of Egypt’s citizens.

Under the auspices of His Excellency Eng. Atef Helmy, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at a meeting between Eng. Hesham El Alaily, Executive President of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and the GSMA at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona.

His Excellency Atef Helmy, who chaired the meeting, noted: ´Egypt is determined to embrace the significant socio-economic opportunities offered by mobile. Broadband connectivity has become a key competitive differentiator in the global economy and our citizens will welcome the many benefits of greater access to mobile services in their personal and professional lives.´

Eng. Hesham El Alaily commented: ´The Memorandum of Understanding signed with the GSMA at Mobile World Congress this week reflects our intention to develop a supportive regulatory environment that is based on international best practices and aimed at attracting long-term investment in mobile network infrastructure and services in Egypt.´

´The GSMA is very pleased to be working with the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Egypt to increase citizens’ access to mobile broadband technologies across the country. It is only through close collaboration between the public and private sectors that we can drive access to affordable and ubiquitous mobile services amongst consumers,´ said Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA.

The agreement employs a multi-faceted approach that will address both the supply and demand sides of the Egyptian mobile market. Together, the NTRA and the GSMA will develop best practice recommendations on spectrum licensing and infrastructure sharing and promote mobile-enabled services for digital and financial inclusion, including e-Government and mobile money.“

(Source: GSMA)

Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:42:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, more than half of all girls say they don’t typically consider a career in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). At Cisco, we can change that – with the help of nonprofit partners like Techbridge, we can inspire girls to discover a passion for technology, science, and engineering.

As part of National Engineers Week and our efforts to empower the next generation of innovators and leaders, Cisco welcomed 30 fifth-grade girls from the Komatsu and Esperanza schools in Oakland, California to its San Jose campus earlier today, where they took part in a wide range of hands-on activities designed by Techbridge. Since launching in 2000, Techbridge has expanded academic options and STEM career opportunities for underrepresented minorities and more than 4000 girls in grades 5-12.

Shari Slate,Vice President and Chief Inclusion & Collaboration Officer at Cisco, attended the event and talked with several of the girls.´Cisco’s success has always been driven by our culture and our employees,´ she said. ´Through programs such as Techbridge, and with a focus on STEM, we have an opportunity to make a tremendous difference to people, our culture, company and customers.´

Volunteers from Cisco and representatives from Techbridge joined the girls for a role model session in the morning, sharing advice about careers in IT with the fascinated students. After, the girls participated in two hands-on activities – a ´PB&J Robot´ exercise and a Disney-themed activity.

Making STEM fun through hands-on practice

Most people know how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich – grab two slices of bread, spread peanut butter on one side, jelly on the other, then press the halves together. It sounds easy, but not when you’re trying to teach a robot how to make the perfect sandwich.

The girls worked together in teams of 4 to create a computer ´program´ for the ´robot,´ which read and followed the instructions exactly as written. If the girls wrote ´spread jelly on bread,´ the volunteer playing the part of the “robot” used their fingers to spread the jelly on the bread.

´I learned that you have to be very specific when talking to a computer,´ one of the girls said.

The directions needed to be clear and concise, and the girls needed to work together to reach their common goal. The activity not only helped the girls develop communication skills and teamwork, but taught them the basics of programming.

After the robot activity, students got the chance to put their new found programming expertise to the test on The nonprofit website launched in 2013 to increase participation by women and underrepresented minorities in computer science and STEM courses.

The girls completed one of the website’s many interactive coding activities, which are designed to make computer programming easy for any student. Their hands-on activity involved Disney’s Anna and Elsa, characters from the popular movie ´Frozen.´ Each student used a computer to write coded instructions for the virtual Anna or Elsa, who would take those directions and draw snowflakes on the left side of the screen.

The website’s series of lessons make computer-programming fun – rather than using text-heavy code, students manipulated puzzle pieces to write clear, simple instructions that came to life in the form of their favorite movie characters.

At the end of the day, the girls toured Cisco’s Executive Briefing Center and learned more about Cisco TelePresence collaboration technology. For many of the girls, the visit was their first experience with networking technology and engineering equipment.

The hands-on activities and mentoring from employee volunteers left their mark on the students. ´I would like to thank all the Cisco volunteers who helped us today to learn more about coding and how cool it is to be an engineer,´ one of the students said before leaving.

Visit Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility website to learn how Cisco is inspiring young women to pursue careers in STEM.“

(Source: CISCO)

Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:38:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“On March 8, the world will be celebrating International Women’s Day to honor the social, economic, and political achievements of women across the globe. The official United Nations theme for this event is ´Empowering Women - Empowering Humanity: Picture It!´

This year’s celebration will highlight the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago that sets the agenda for realizing women's rights. While there have been many achievements since then, many serious gaps remain. This is the time to uphold women's achievements, recognize challenges, and focus greater attention on women's rights and gender equality to mobilize all people to do their part. The Beijing Platform for Action focuses on 12 critical areas of concern, and envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination.

Telecentre Foundation (TCF) invites the members of the global telecentre community to join in the celebration by hosting local events that highlight and empower women and girls in communities. Add your event to our Events section and post some photos or videos so we can help you bring them to a global audience. Feel free to tag us on Facebook and Twitter too!

Additionally, you may join the conversation online by following the hashtag #IWD2015 on Twitter, or participate in the Facebook Live Q&A with UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson on gender equality taking place on Sunday, March 8, at 5pm GMT.

For more info about IWD2015, watch the video of UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as she calls on all countries to ´step it up´ for gender equality.“

(Source: TCF)

Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:24:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Airtel Kenya has connected Koinange Primary School in Nakuru County to the internet for free.

This is part of Airtel's initiative through the Internet for Schools program that seeks to provide data connectivity to schools across the country in an effort to support Kenya's education system.

Over 1200 Koinange Primary School students join thousands of students across the country who continues to benefit from free Internet connectivity from Airtel. The program offers the students free access to the Internet, allowing them to learn better and do more to be successful in life.

The event was graced by Nakuru County Governor Hon. Kinuthia Mbugua who acknowledged Airtel's commitment to the development of education in the county and across the country. ´On behalf of Nakuru County, I would like to thank Airtel for this initiative that complements the government efforts to develop the education sector. This is a clear testimony that the company cares about the community and strives to make a positive change,´ added Hon.

On his part, Airtel Kenya CEO Adil El Youssefi said, ´Airtel has chosen to invest in the development of education in the country through the provision of free access to the internet for students and living the Airtel spirit in the community.We believe that the students of Koinange Primary school will be proud to join this free information super highway for their own individual success and that of their communities.´

Last week, Airtel connected students in Cheptais high school (Bungoma County), Achego girls’ secondary school, St. Patrick’s Oduwa School and God Abuoro secondary school (Kisumu County), New Horizon College and Tadhib academy (Kilifi County) and Redeem Gospel Church- Mother’s Care Academy in Huruma, Nairobi County.

Airtel has so far connected over 60 schools across the country impacting over 50,000 students to date, with a plan to connect at least 1 million students to the internet.“

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:10:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“First-of-its-kind strategic partnership to advance shared commitment to gender equality by creating new opportunities for women in technology.

Intel, Rebecca Minkoff, and UN Women announce effort to expand pipeline of female engineers, support positive representations of opportunities for women in technology, and connect women around the world to opportunities to learn and lead through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and careers.

Rebecca Minkoff, the largest global fashion label helmed by a millennial female, has a long history of creative and innovative uses of emerging technologies.

Intel has a measurable commitment to diversity, having recently announced a groundbreaking US $300 million Diversity & Inclusion initiative, with the goal of full representation for women and under-represented minorities in its United States workforce by 2020.“

(Source: Intel)

Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:06:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Globecomm announced today that it has donated desktop computers to a school in the Tanzanian village of Selela to aid the mission of the Tanzanian Support Foundation to help small communities become more self-sufficient in education, healthcare, hygiene and clean water. A total of 14 computers, which were last used for e-welfare support for military operations in Afghanistan, and associated equipment will reach the school in 2015. The Foundation has also contracted with an organization called Viafrica to provide installation, maintenance and training for teachers and students.

The efforts of Globecomm and the Tanzania Suppport Foundation are matched by the Montessori Lyceum Flevoland (MLF), a secondary school in Almere, Netherlands. A workgroup of teachers and students from the school, calling itself ´Project S,´ has raised money and purchased teaching materials to improve education at the Selela school. A student group led by two teachers will travel to Selela in 2015 to give the Tanzanian students computer lessons and familarize them with the technology.

´Globecomm is lucky to have these enthusiastic and knowledgeable partners,´ said Globecomm CEO Keith Hall. Technology is our business and we are proud to donate the equipment to such a good cause. The Foundation and Project S will make sure that the gift of technology delivers on its potential.´

Globecomm was introduced to the Foundation by one of the company's employees, system engineer Tristan Linnenbank, who is based at Globecomm Europe in the Netherlands.

´Our school is grateful for the donation of Globecomm,´ said Kitty Kill, communications manager for the Montessori Lyceum Flevoland and a member of Project S.´ With the donation of the computers and other devices, the students of our school will be able to help the students in Selela get connected with the world.

Together we have been able to make the students in this small African village more self-supportive. We teach our own students awareness and to take care of the environment. Using pre-used computers is an excellent form of recycling and sustainability.´”

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:03:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 06, 2015

Today at Mobile World Congress, Cisco, Deutsche Telekom and Intel announced Challenge Up!, a joint Internet of Things (IoT) accelerator for startups from the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. The program aims at helping innovative IoT startups go-to-market faster through joint projects, mentoring, high-value networking and corporate assets. Selected companies may also receive strategic investment and support commercializing their product or service for global markets.

The program unites resources and experience from the startup initiatives of the individual companies, including Cisco® Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR), Intel® Business Challenge Europe and hub:raum powered by Deutsche Telekom. Interested startups can apply at The application period ends on May 25th.
´With Challenge Up! we are giving a great signal to the startup world, bringing together the resources and know-how of three corporations. We will use our combined experience for the benefit of the Challenge Up! program and the support of the startup community.´ – said Elias Drakopoulos, Senior Vice President responsible for Europe B2B at Deutsche Telekom.

Challenge Up! is designed for early-stage startups creating solutions for the Internet of Things/Everything (IoT/IoE) and related areas, including connected and smart solutions (smart home, smart city, smart energy, connected cars, wearables, Industry 4.0), information security, big data, analytics, connectivity and cloud computing.

Key elements of the program are Acceleration Week (to be held June 22-26, 2015), which will be sponsored by Cisco EIR, Intel® Business Challenge Europe and hub:raum, and a tailor-made, 4-month incubation program (July to October) taking place in Krakow, Berlin and Vienna supported by Cisco, Intel and Deutsche Telekom. Startups selected for the program participate for free with no equity required and keep their own intellectual property.

´We are looking forward to the creative ideas for new products and services from across the region to improve how we live and work together. By giving startups access to the complimentary resources of our three global companies we can help them accelerate their ideas into commercial success.´ – said Christian Morales, Corporate Vice President and General Manager Europe, Middle East and Africa at Intel.

´With an expected 50 billion things connected to the Internet by 2020, the Internet of Everything opens up great opportunities. To help better address these opportunities, Challenge Up! brings together the best of the technology world in an ecosystem of open innovation.´ - said Mike Flannagan, Vice President of Data & Analytics at Cisco.“

(Source: CISCO)

Friday, March 06, 2015 12:06:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 05, 2015

“Parents ‘want kids taught digital skills’ More three quarters of Australian parents think that digital skills and computer programming should be integrated into school curriculums, says the AIIA.

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has published a Digital Skills and Careers Report, in collaboration with National ICT Australia (NICTA) and the Australia Computer Society (ACS). The research was conducted by Newspoll.

The research, undertaken in late 2014, found that 61% of Australian parents believe it is important that children learn how to design, build or program computer applications. Less than 30% of respondents thought that the current school curriculum is adequate in preparing children with the skills they need for the future.
´The research reinforces concerns regarding the deficit in the national school curriculum,´ said AIIA CEO Suzanne Campbell. ´This is playing itself out in Australia’s comparative under performance across science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) capabilities.

´With youth unemployment and underemployment at high levels it is not surprising that Australian parents are concerned about the future employment opportunities of their school aged children,´ she said.

´The research found that 95% of parents would support their child’s decision to pursue a digital career. ´In the next ten years, as more content becomes digitised and processes automated, more jobs will require digital skills, and technology will become an even bigger part of our homes and workplaces.

´This is not just an issue for the future,´ said Campbell. ´As recently as last week it was reported that the IT industry has led the Australian jobs market with the largest proportion of new job ads – some 10.7% of total Seek new job advertisements in 2014. In fact the industry now represents the largest employment advertising classification – with the sector predicted to grow further in 2015.

´This digitisation is setting the scene for fundamental transformations in our economy. It is important that young people not only know how to use technology, but also how it works, and can be used to develop innovative new content and applications.

´The Newspoll research is consistent with work also released by the AiGroup this month, which highlights that STEM skills are increasingly important to the Australian workforce and competitiveness,´ Campbell said. Digital gender-equality advocate, AIIA Board member and recently appointed co-chair of the national Digital Careers program, Marie Johnson, has emphasised the role of ICT and digital technology as a major driver of employment in Australia.

´Digital technologies create high value and well paid jobs in all sectors of the economy such as mining, finance and retailing industries, as well as in the ICT industry itself,´ said Johnson. ´Australia’s ICT market is the fifth largest in the Asia Pacific region and the 14th largest in the world. Over the last ten years, it created more than 100,000 new jobs.

While national employment levels have risen by around 14% over the past decade, ICT professionals have seen a growth of nearly 50% over the same period. Technology-related jobs are projected to expand for years to come, making it an important source of employment growth for the future. ´To meet the challenges of the global digital economy Australia must be prepared to invest – in building digital technology capability and more generally the STEM skills essential to the jobs of the future´ said Johnson.“

(Source: ITWire)

Thursday, March 05, 2015 11:59:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Despite the phenomenal growth of mobile technology, too many girls and women are still missing out on the opportunities it can deliver, especially in education. The need to bridge this gap is the key message of the 2015 edition of Mobile Learning Week, opened by UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova and UN Women’s Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris today.

´Education is a human rights imperative – it is a development imperative – it is a security imperative,´ stated Irina Bokova in her opening address. ´This is why we must ensure every girl and boy can go to school, receive the right learning and contribute fully to society. Across the globe, this is not happening […] Girls and women are hit hardest.´

´Mobile technology can be an enabler of education. Mobile technology can offer learning where there are no books, no classrooms, even no teachers. This is especially important for women and girls who drop out of school and need second chances,´ said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

The International Telecommunications Union, describes mobile phones as the “most pervasive and rapidly adopted technology in history”. Of the seven billion people on Earth, over six billion now have access to a working mobile device. This means that mobile technology is now common in areas where women are underserved and educational opportunities are limited. Yet too many still do not have access.

´There is still a persistent gender gap in access to mobile technology.´ said keynote speaker Cherie Blair, founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. “Research shows that a woman in a low or middle income country is 21 per cent less likely than a man to own a mobile phone. In Africa, women are 23 per cent less likely than a man to own a mobile. In the Middle East the figure is 24 per cent and in South Asia, 37 per cent. The reasons women cite for not owning a mobile phone include the costs of handsets and data plans, lack of need and fear of not being able to master the technology.´

Mobile Learning Week provides a platform for highlighting these gaps, exchanging an sharing ideas of how they can be bridged and showcasing what works. The programme includes 80 workshops to build the capacity of mobile learning practitioners. It also includes a Policy Forum for government representatives to discuss ideas for mainstreaming and scaling up successful mobile learning interventions to promote gender equality in education, and to discuss the role of mobile technology as the international community develops new goals for education and development.

Participants include experts, policy-makers and private sector leaders from more than 70 countries. The members of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which meets at UNESCO on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 February, will participate in the Policy Forum.“

Further details

Thursday, March 05, 2015 11:55:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Mobile phones, tablets and e-readers with broadband connectivity could prove to be the long-sought answer in the global effort to bring high-quality, multidisciplinary education to people everywhere, especially the world’s poorest or most isolated communities, according to the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which held its 11th meeting at UNESCO headquarters in Paris today.

A report by the Commission’s Working Group on Education, led by UNESCO, indicated that, worldwide, over 60 million primary-school age children do not currently attend school; almost half that number never will. The situation worsens as children get older, with over 70 million not enrolled in secondary school. And while classroom computers can help, lack of resources remains critical. If an average of eight children share each classroom computer in OECD nations, in Africa teachers can struggle to share each computer among 150 or more pupils. But with increasingly sophisticated mobile devices now packing more computing power than the famed ‘supercomputers’ of the late 1990s, the Commission believes broadband-connected personal wireless devices could be the solution.

ITU figures show that mobile broadband is the fastest growing technology in human history. The number of mobile phone subscriptions now exceeds the world’s total population of around seven billion, and active mobile broadband subscriptions exceed 2.1 billion – three times higher than the 700 million wireline broadband connections worldwide.

Even more encouragingly, most of this progress has taken place in the developing world, which has accounted for 90% of global net additions for mobile cellular and 82% of global net additions of new Internet users since early 2010.

´Every day, everywhere, women and men are inventing new ways to use broadband, mobile telephones and computers to be empowered, more autonomous and free,´ said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. ´We need to tap this inventiveness to improve education, especially for girls and women. But we have a long way to go. Two thirds of illiterate adults are women, and two thirds of the world’s out-of-school primary-age children are girls. This is a huge injustice, and a gap that we must fill. The continued expansion of broadband combined with technology can help us make giant strides towards this.´

Established in 2010, the Broadband Commission is a top-level advocacy body which focuses on strategies to make broadband more available and affordable worldwide. It is chaired by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helú, with ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova as co-Vice Chairs. As the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals fast approaches, Commissioners are now focusing on ensuring broadband is recognized as a fundamental pillar of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which will be agreed at the forthcoming Sustainable Development Summit in New Year in September.

Today’s meeting of the Commission was held in conjunction with UNESCO’s flagship ICT education-focused event, Mobile Learning Week (MLW), co-organized this year with sister agency UN Women. Broadband Commissioners participating in the MLW High-level Policy Forum of ´Leveraging technology to empower women and girls´ took advantage of the opportunity to interact with Ministers of Education and senior representatives of international organizations on the uses of mobile broadband for education.

´Education is one of the most powerful uses to which broadband connectivity can be put,´ said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. ´For the first time in history, mobile broadband gives us the chance to truly bring education to all, regardless of a person’s geographical location, linguistic and cultural frameworks, or ready access to infrastructure like schools and transport. Education will drive entrepreneurship, especially among the young – which is why we must strive harder to get affordable broadband networks in place which can deliver educational opportunities to children and adults,´ he said.

Speaking at the opening of the Commission session earlier today, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda stressed that broadband should be regarded as a basic utility, like water and electricity. ´In Rwanda, investing in ICTs has been indispensable to the attainment of our development goals. Broadband enables business and social entrepreneurs to find ways to offer world class education at low cost, to populations that have never had access. These centres of knowledge already exist, but in order for developing countries and isolated communities, to access and use them productively, they will need faster, more reliable, and more affordable Internet. The same principle extends to government more widely, particularly in delivering essential services. Broadband technology can enhance public administration efficiency and accountability to citizens, no matter where they live.´

President Kagame was joined by co-Chair Carlos Slim Helú, who asked Commissioners to consider whether the power of ICTs was being sufficiently exploited in today’s school environments. ´Broadband and ICTs are now available in many schools around the world – but are we seeing a concrete impact in the quality of education? We need to be sure that the potential of broadband for education is fully leveraged so that successful initiatives, such as new online course platforms, and many valuable education and training contents, become quickly available to people worldwide. Technology should be used for inclusion, and we should make vigorous efforts to ensure this.´

The Broadband Commission first tackled the key issue of education in 2013 through a special Working Group on Education, led by UNESCO. At the morning session of the Commission earlier today, important reports emerging from ITU’s m-Powering Development and Smart Sustainable Development Model Initiatives were also presented to the group. The m-Powering Development Initiative report, developed by a multi-stakeholder Advisory Board led by ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), finds that technological innovations and initiatives that use mobile phones can potentially bring exponential benefits to entire communities and make a valuable contribution to the global development agenda. The report by the Smart Sustainable Development Model Initiative, also led by BDT, focuses on the link between ICT for Development (ICT4D) with ICT for Disaster Management (ICT4DM) and their role in sustainable development processes.

The key findings of the Broadband Commission’s Working Group on Education can be downloaded here. An Executive Summary of the report can be found here, and the full report is available here. “

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, March 05, 2015 11:39:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“Ericsson and The Coca-Cola Company have announced a pilot project to bring mobile connectivity to EKOCENTER, a social enterprise initiative designed to empower community well-being by bringing safe water, solar power and mobile communications, as well as basic goods and services to underserved communities. The pilot project will be conducted in collaboration with Tigo Rwanda and German start-up company, Solarkiosk.

´EKOCENTER is an innovative social enterprise that endeavors to help communities thrive by providing further access to resources. Engaging new partners to join this journey adds skills and expertise beyond our core enhancing the value for the people in these communities,´ said Beatriz Perez, Chief Sustainability Officer, The Coca-Cola Company. ´Connectivity has become a fundamental part of thriving communities and economies. We're excited about the solutions Ericsson can deliver to EKOCENTER, solutions we believe will foster positive change.´

Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson, says: ´Mobile broadband can address a wide range of issues that hinder development – from poverty to lack of electricity and safe water, to financial exclusion and gender inequality. Creating a community hub is a great way to empower women while making needed services available in a convenient way. The constellation of companies partnering to figure out commercially sustainable business models is very exciting and I think we will need to see much more of this type of innovation going forward to meaningfully address poverty and development in rural areas.´

Tongai Maramba, CEO of Tigo Rwanda, says: ´We are excited to be part of pioneering an ecosystem that will change the lives of entire communities.The EKOCENTER is an ideal platform for Rwandans to use our network to develop new skills by accessing different digital services.´

The Coca-Cola Company is partnering with Solarkiosk, to roll-out EKOCENTER in six countries in Africa and Asia in 2015. The unique design of the kiosk is tailored to meet the needs of underserved communities.

Lars Kruckeberg, CTO of Solarkiosk, says: “Solarkiosk's mission is the economic and social development in Base of the Pyramid communities worldwide. Our solar-powered, reliable source of energy provides a safe solution for off-the-grid communities, enabling them to conduct everyday activities many of us take for granted. Partnering with Coca-Cola and Ericsson brings us another step closer to fulfilling our goal of helping meet community needs.”

The modular kiosks will be run by local women entrepreneurs, and serve as a community center where people gather and have access to free and fee-based services. The new connectivity services could include education, health care, mobile commerce, information and entertainment.

Ericsson will initially deploy its Managed Rural Coverage (MRC) solution to provide Internet services to the EKOCENTER in rural Rwanda. The company's TV Anywhere service will enable access to education and healthcare content as well as infotainment capabilities, enabling the kiosk to become a connected hub. Ericsson will also provide EKOCENTER with its M-Commerce solution that enables people to make transactions using their mobile wallets. Based on success of implementation, Ericsson will potentially incorporate its services at additional EKOCENTER sites.“

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, March 05, 2015 11:16:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“IICD’s TeachTab and LearnTab project in Malawi has been nominated for the Computable Awards 2015 in the category of ‘ICT project of the year’. The announcement has been made shortly after the first study into the project’s effects on teachers and students was completed.

The nominations for the Computable Awards, regarded as the most important ICT Awards in the Netherlands, are selected based on the projects' success, innovation, sustainability and/or scalability.

Click here to read the official announcement and all about the nomination in the article 'IICD digitaliseert Afrikaans onderwijs' (in Dutch).

The TeachTab and LearnTab

IICD has developed and introduced the TeachTabs and LearnTabs in primary schools in Malawi to overcome the challenges of overcrowded and under-resourced classrooms.

These portable, low energy and affordable solutions are developed by IICD to be used in developing contexts. Their interactive capabilities enable teachers and students to interact in a more collaborative learning environment. They also provide teachers with access to digital educational materials. Teachers receive training in how to use the tablets to design and present content, as well as in the maintenance of the devices.

The TeachTab acts partially as a server, able to share information with and monitor the LearnTabs, and giving the teacher control over the whole classroom. The TeachTab also allows the teacher to interact with and prompt questions to the whole classroom at once using the interactive whiteboard functionality.

IICD has been nominated next to TalentQuest/Ready 4 work, LARS, PulseOn and MijnSchool, out of 49 contestants. The Computable Awards are considered the most important ICT Awards in the Netherlands. The selected projects are brought forward by readers of Computable Magazine based on the projects' success, innovation, sustainability and/or scalability. You can vote for IICD's project as of 27 April 2015 on the website

Initial results of the TeachTab and LearnTab project after three months of implementation.

A study into the first effects and perceptions of the teachers participating in the project shows promising results:

 • teachers are more motivated and experienced lower levels of workload after using the TeachTabs;
 • children’s motivation to learn and learning performance have increased after using the LearnTabs;
 • parents are more supportive and actively involved in school activities.

Before using the tablets, 56% of the teachers indicated that they never used a computer before.“

(Source: IICD)

Thursday, March 05, 2015 11:12:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“The acting director of Research and Development, Dr Bernard Bulwayo has appealed to unemployed youth to utilise Information Communication and Technology (ICT) to search for jobs and business plans.

Mr Bulwayo was speaking at youth pitso workshop held at Kanye Education Centre recently.

He said ICT has taken all positions in all ways, be at home, industry, jobs, agriculture and any other area in life.

Mr Bulwayo stated that ICT has transformed the world, hence the need for the youth in the rural areas to act and not be left behind with technology.
He said since new technology emerges every day, the youth must be innovative.

For his part, the Southern District commissioner, Mr Moses Gaealafswe appealed to youth to utilise government ICT programmes and create employment.
Mr Gaealafswe noted that the government established performance agenda to create employment opportunities for youth.

Commenting, most youth complained about shortage of land to start their own businesses, lack of market and appealed to relevant authorities to give them unused lands.
They also requested that unused boreholes be given to youth.

Giving a vote of thanks, Councillor for Gasegwagwa ward Mr Eric Chelenyane advised youth to form associations to help them work as a team and have one voice, calling on the youth to work hard to uplift their lives.

He appealed to youth to refrain from drinking alcohol excessively and attend churches for worshiping.“

(Source:Daily News)

Thursday, March 05, 2015 10:50:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“This was announced by Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) during the just concluded two day National ICT innovation forum, held at KICC in Nairobi.

Dr. Matiang’i said that they will work with the Ministry of Planning and Devolution, headed by Ms. Ann Waiguru to see that the young techpreneurs also get to benefit from the Uwezo Fund,

The Uwezo Fund exists to expand access to credit for the promotion of youth and women business and enterprises at the constituency level and thereby enhance economic growth towards the realization of the goals of Vision 2030.

In addition to the Uwezo fund, Dr. Matiang’i also said that the after the forum his ministry will work on establishing an Equity Fund to support ICT innovations which could be Quasi Government/Private and that they will focus on creation of ICT Centres of Excellence tied to government ICT spending.

The event was graced by President Uhuru Kenyatta who also asked Government institutions to use locally-developed ICT solutions to promote Kenyan innovators. ´We look to ICT to transform the way we do things in all sectors. Innovation will continue to transform service delivery in agriculture and food production, transportation, health, education, security, fiscal and financial management, justice, law and order among other sectors. The Government therefore, does not have to spend billions on imported innovations while the same could be developed locally,´ he said.

The president also urged all stakeholders to contribute to the addition of more ICT incubation hubs into the existing network as will enable more people to engage in innovative activities throughout Kenya.

“We are determined to expanding our ICT exports by directing our innovations to the regional and global market. I believe the ICT Sector can comfortably generate more than 180,000 jobs between now and 2017,” the president added.

The forum which included a showcase of ICT innovations at their various stages, made a commitment to create 180,000 jobs, contribute to 8 per cent of the GDP, create at least 55 globally competitive companies by 2017 if innovation is given the right environment which included a local content policy and review of procurement laws.

Others deliverables are generation of an upsurge of US$ 500 million, create one billion shillings in IT exports and provide internships to more than 15,000 interns in ICT. The event was also attended by Ms Ann Waiguru, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Devolution and Planning, Aidan Muhammed, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialisation and Hon Edwin Yinda, Chairman, ICT Authority among many other dignitaries.

(Source: CIO East Africa)

Thursday, March 05, 2015 10:38:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“IT seems that 2015 is the year for new things at IT Namibia as within a month of a very successful first Python Conference, the Namibian Business Innovation Institute (NBII) and Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS), in partnership with 1Billion Africa and Namibia Statistics Agency, hosted Namibia's first Open Data Innovation Hackathon recently.

NBII hosted the two-day programme at the Polytechnic of Namibia and at its Innovation Village.

The programme saw individuals with a passion for development and a desire for progress meeting, learning about open data and developing ideas based on what they had learnt during the course of the week.

Open data is very much what it sounds like - open data. This refers to making information available to the public, with the end goal being that the public uses this data creatively and innovatively to develop business concepts that will not only benefit individuals, but communities and the nation at large.

The first day gave the innovation practitioners a chance to meet the stakeholders and be introduced to the concept of Open Data. The keynote speech was made by Moses Amweelo (chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on ICT).

Other speakers included Steve Bezuidenhout (vice-chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on ICT), Mandela Kapere (chairperson of National Youth Council), Liina Kafidi (acting chief statistician of Namibia Statistics Agencies) and Juha Miettinen (chief technical adviser, SAIS).

The second day saw participants developing ideas based on what they had learnt, with the option of guidance from various leaders. This was especially fruitful, as the participants had the opportunity to immediately birth their fresh ideas.

A review of the ideas and progress was done the following Wednesday at the closing ceremony, where the innovators, young and old, presented their progress. Constructive criticism was given, as well as direction, which would help the concepts become something useful in and around the country.

The entire project was a stellar success, and set the ball off for open data in Namibia. In what the McKinsey Global Institute has referred to as the new 'gold mine' with a potential annual value of approximately US$3 trillion worldwide, Namibia can certainly reap rewards.“

(Source: Namibia News Digest)

Thursday, March 05, 2015 10:30:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

It is a call to the wider community for information, which will be the basis for the development of applications for the benefit of the population in disability status.

“The ICT Minister Diego Molano Vega launched Ayudapps, a call to the community to share via the Web page:, about barriers which are affecting to the population in disabling conditions as a base for the development of applications that meet needs and desires of the population.

´Ayudapps arises as part of the objective of the ´Plan Vive Digital 2014-2018´ to make Colombia a leader in the development of social applications,´ said the Minister. ´We seek precise barriers which affect more than 3 million people with disabilities in the country and which they face daily in the city, home, school, or even in the online information.´

To facilitate the provision, storage and processing of the information, Ayudapps classifies the information barriers in the following subjects: mobility and accessibility; health and work; usability and autonomy in activities of daily living; entertainment; education and training, and communication and ICT.

´At this early stage of the call we seek that Colombians give their opinions about the barriers that they think people with disabilities face in their daily activities. For example, impediments to mobilize in the city, lack of sidewalks and ramps ; unsuitable transport for people with physical disabilities, among many others,´ the Minister Molano said.

Based on the information that the community will provide, in the second stage the developers of the country will be invited to participate in the construction of technological developments that build to solve some of these barriers. The ideas that come will be received in private and have a confidential handling, and will only be considered for the MinTIC to choose the most consistent solutions with selected barriers.

Following this, a group of entrepreneurs selected by the ICT Ministry and Colciencias, will face the challenge of developing ICT solutions to put at the service of the population with disabilities.

´With this we seek entrepreneurs, besides being paid, take social consciousness and begin developing such applications or solutions that seek to improve the lives of Colombians, especially the vulnerable and poor,´ said Molano Vega. currently has a network of 71,000 developers and the purpose is to continue to link more people to make Colombia a leading developer of social applications for the poorest.

We invite you to participate and leave your opinions through the Web page Ayudapps

(Source: MINTIC)

Thursday, March 05, 2015 9:58:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 26, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: CISCO)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Biztech)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women in Leadership

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

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

Benefits of Gender-Diverse Workforces

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

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

Addressing the Digital Gender Divide

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

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

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

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

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

To access the report please visit:

(Source GSMA)

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

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

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

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

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

…as well as health advice.

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

Mobiles devices save lives

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

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

Prepare women & girls for the STEM jobs of tomorrow

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

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

(Source: UNESCO)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: GAATES)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: The Fiji Times)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: TCF)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Wake-up call'

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

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

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

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

'Options limited'

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: BBC News)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: ICTWorks)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Global Post)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: UNESCO)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 (Source: GSMA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Leadirship Newspaper)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Biztech Africa)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: TCF)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: IICD)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source:  Biztech Africa)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: CIO East Africa)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: East African Business Week)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: MINTIC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Biztech Africa)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: eLearning)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: All Africa)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: AFK)

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