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 Friday, November 14, 2014

"Policy and regulatory changes to focus on greater ICT accessibility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to download the report."

Further details

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

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

Further information

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

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

The winners are:

Big Data and analytics

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

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

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

Smart Cities

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

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

IoT/Cloud

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

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

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

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

(Source: Cisco)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further information

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

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

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

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

(Source: WOUGNET)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Daily Observer Gambia)

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

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

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

(Source: Angola Press)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Information

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: The Guardian)

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

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

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

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

The seven GEM-TECH winners are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: IPA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further details

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

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

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

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

Further details

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further details

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Biztech Africa)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: The New Times)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: UNESCO)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: IT News Africa)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:23:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"Ericsson has today announced the launch of the sixth annual Innovation Awards, a competition in which university students are given the opportunity to be drivers of fundamental change in society.

The theme of the 2015 competition is ´The Future of Learning´ - how can we make learning accessible for all? What do we need when lifelong learning becomes necessary for everyone? What are the new tools and methodologies when learning becomes an online activity and it happens more and more away from school buildings?

In Ericsson's vision of the Networked Society, technology fundamentally transforms the ways we organize our lives, businesses and societies. But only recently has the connectivity and computational power once reserved for industrial applications become intensely personal - embedded not just into our mobile devices and cloud software, but into our everyday expressions, interactions, relationships and desires. The result is an unprecedented capacity for individual empowerment and innovation.

Empowered by technology, students and progressive teachers are catalysts for fundamental change. New skills and the passion for constant learning are becoming increasingly important. A new ecosystem is emerging that is greatly impacting, and in some cases redefining, established systems and institutions.

We hope and expect many good ideas about the future of learning from students around the world. The winners will receive a prize 25 000 EUR, with the runners-up receiving 10 000 EUR and 5 000 EUR going to the third-placed team.

All semi finalists and finalists will also be given the opportunity to an interview for internship or permanent employment at Ericsson.

The competition is open to team of two to four people, and Ericsson recommends a combination of technology and business students in the team. To apply and register to the competition visit www.ericsson.com/innovationawards

Last year's winner in the student category was Team WorkMode from South Africa for their collaboration."

(Source: Ericsson)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:19:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“UNESCO has entered into its first-ever partnership with a private company based in sub-Saharan Africa. The Funds-In-Trust agreement between Airtel Gabon and UNESCO will support Train My Generation: Gabon 5000, a three-year project to provide scientific and entrepreneurial training through ICT to thousands of young people in Gabon, plus deliver new skills to secondary school teachers.

The mobile company will provide $4.3 million for the project, which will be implemented by UNESCO. It will start with the establishment of ten Cyber Centres equipped with servers and computers at schools in Libreville, Port Gentil, Oyem, Franceville, Bitam and Lambaréné.

At the signing ceremony in Paris, the Director-General of UNESCO welcomed the partnership with Airtel, pointing out the potential of such cooperation with African corporations. ´The African Private sector is extremely dynamic and I am very proud today to sign UNESCO’s first partnership with a company based in Sub-Saharan Africa,´ stated Irina Bokova.

Olivier Herve Njapoum, the Director-General of Airtel Gabon, added that his company was convinced that the youth of Africa will contribute to the development of the continent if they are provided with good training. ´Through this partnership, Airtel wishes to benefit from the expertise of one of the most important organizations of the United Nations System […], UNESCO, whose programmes in Africa contribute to the promotion of innovation based on knowledge technologies,´ he said.

The Ambassador of Gabon, Gisèle Marie Hortense Ossakedjombo-Ngoua Memiaghe, welcomed the partnership with enthusiasm, invoking ´studies that prove that there is a cause and effect link between the development of telecommunications and economic development.´

5,000 young people, aged 18 to 35, will receive basic ICT training during the first phase of the project, which will also provide training in online teaching to 100 secondary education science teachers. The teachers will use their skills to provide online educational support to 15,000 secondary school students preparing their end of school exams. But because the platform used for educational support will be easily accessible, scholastic support is expected to reach a far greater number of students.

Smaller groups will be taught how to develop applications for mobile phones, operate cyber cafés and set up cooperative maintenance centres, through the Train My Generation: Gabon 5000 project.”

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:11:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 16, 2014

"The Director General of Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, FIIRO, Dr. Gloria Elemo, has said that an estimated 1,500 small and medium scale enterprises are expected to be set up across the country in the next one year through the 250 Research and Development (R&D) technologies/outputs developed by the institute.

Speaking ahead of the Investment and Technology Week being put together by the institute, she said that not less than 50,000 direct job opportunities will also be created following the adoption of the technologies by the 774 local government areas in the nation, even as she said that 75,000 entrepreneurs have so far benefited from FIIRO technology transfer.

She noted that the 250 R&D outputs to be showcased at the four days event, which kicked off today (Tuesday, October 14, 2014), would also spur more Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, interest into the country.

Elemo added that the investment week is part of the institute's effort to deliver more effectively on its mandate for rapid industrialization of the national economy, as well as create employment opportunities to reverse the worsening unemployment in the country.

´The overall aim of the programme is to showcase the institutes over 250 R&D outputs suitable for investment by micro, small, medium and large scale entrepreneurs to enhance job creation and improve on the national Gross Domestic Products.´

We are hoping that at least 35 technologies would be well structured and adopted in all the local governments, which is 774. So, the projection is that if every local government tries to adopt at least two technologies, we will have a total of about 2,000 jobs each.

´When you look at others that are coming in to buy into the technologies, various commercial organisations, students coming in, National Association of Nigeria Students, NANS, organizations like SURE-P and other organized sectors, we are expecting that minimum expected jobs that can come out of this catalyst should be at least 250,000. This will definitely reduce unemployment level in the country,´ she said.

´We just concluded training of a number of youths on our National Techno-entrepreneurs Initiative, but our target is 2,000 youths on annual basis as part of our contribution to national development and corporate social responsibility programme, to transfer technology to them and also lead them to proper infrastructure that will definitely establish them on the field."

(Source: Vanguard Newspaper)

Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:46:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"Tigo-owned Kigali-based technology incubator think has announced the first four companies selected for support, with the winners to be offered US$15,000 in funding, access to Tigo networks across Africa, mentoring and business development education.

BizTechAfrica reported in August think had received over 100 applications from nine countries, and the incubator has now chosen four teams it says represent innovative, digital, private sector solutions that demonstrate the potential to scale across Africa, with the four companies now invited to participate in a six-month accelerator programme beginning early next month.

The companies are Egyptian startup Beliaa, a mobile app for road assistance that uses GPS location services and provides traffic tracking and other transportation information features, Nigeria’s Cribpark, which is a platform for real estate matching, home design and architecture, Ghanian company PollAfrique, which offers a research platform allowing respondents to participate in incentivised surveys via a number of channels, and Rwandan firm TorQue, which delivers channel management software for wholesale distributors in the beverage and telecommunications industries.

The winning startups were picked from applicants from Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Benin, Uganda and Benin.
Tongai Maramba, general manager of Tigo Rwanda, said: ´The companies we have selected for think show innovation in a crowded playing field. The founders are smart, determined and have the potential to scale their firms across the continent. After a rigorous review process, we have selected companies that demonstrate incredible promise.´
The incubator said it forms one part of a growing ecosystem to encourage technology development across Africa, and will work closely with The Office RW and incubator kLab to co-host networking and skills-building events.

VC4Africa, GSMA, MEST Ghana, Venture Wave San Francisco, Afrilabs, iHub Nairobi and Carnegie Mellon University all assisted in promoting the application process.
´Rwanda is becoming a hub for technology innovations, and think is a great addition to our vibrant ecosystem. We cannot wait to see the next African startups bourgeoning from Rwanda,´ Rwanda’s minister for youth and ICT Jean-Philbert Nsengimana said."

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:42:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“The MTN Foundation and Cameroon’s Ministry of Secondary Education have recognised teachers who make the best use of ICTs in education.

Open to all secondary school teachers in Cameroon, the competition to select the best teacher in using and integrating ICTs was launched in May 2014 by the Ministry of Secondary Education (MINESEC) and MTN Foundation with the following objectives:

- Instil healthy emulation amongst secondary school teachers without distinction of discipline, in the use of ICTs;
- Drive the taste for research in innovative teaching methods;
- Contribute to meet the objectives of quality education.

The projects submitted to the competition were assessed by a jury chaired by the Inspector Coordinator of Pedagogy in charge of Computer Science at MINSEC and comprised of two (02) members of the MTN Foundation and two (02) representatives from MINSEC.

After objectively assessing the projects, the Minister of Secondary Education published by Release N°0001/14 MINESEC/CAB of 18 September 2014, a list of ten winners, with each from the 10 regions of Cameroon for the 2013-2014 academic year, who have distinguished themselves by their contribution towards improving learning through integrating ICTs in teaching methods and techniques.“

More information

Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:40:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"Universal primary education (UPE) will remain a distant dream for millions of children living in countries without enough teachers in classrooms. Current discussions of the post-2015 development agenda include a target to bolster the supply and training of teachers as part of efforts to ensure that every child is in school and learning. To help formulate and monitor this type of target, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) produces an annual set of projections concerning the supply of and demand for primary teachers at the global and national levels. According to the latest data, more than 27 million teachers will need to be recruited to ensure every child’s right to a primary education by 2030.

This eAtlas features a wide range of UIS projections and indicators about teachers, based on results of the Institute’s annual survey involving more than 200 countries and territories and partnerships with organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat."

Further details

Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:37:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"Ericsson, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and Millennium Promise further enhance education access for young girls through ICT solutions. Connect To Learn goals are being achieved by improving the access to and quality of education by connecting students globally through mobility, broadband and cloud solutions. As of June 2014, over 40,000 students have received access to quality educational resources enabled by the cloud-based ICT solution deployed in their schools and new deployments are underway.

Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson, says: ´As we approach the United Nations International Day of the Girl, we recognize the positive impact education can have on a girl's life, on her family and community. That is why we will continue to provide technology solutions as well as the expertise of our employees to create lasting change in communities all around the world.´

In Myanmar, Connect To Learn is launching in more than 40 schools with partners under the UK government's Girls' Education Challenge. Up to 600 scholarships will also be provided to marginalized girls, enabling them to stay in school and complete their secondary education. The deployments are supported by mobile operator Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) and will benefit 14,000 students/girls. Jan Wassenius, Head of Ericsson in Myanmar, says: ´We are pleased to work with our customer, MPT and other partners to help bring Connect to Learn to Myanmar. Greater access to education and to connectivity will indeed provide more study and employment opportunities for these students, and we are honored to be a part of this undertaking.´

In Ghana, Connect To Learn is launching its' ICT program in the Millennium Village in Northern Ghana SADA region with mobile operator Tigo, which will be benefiting over 7,000 students, in four secondary schools. This will build upon Connect To Learn's girls scholarship program, which was launched in SADA in 2012.

Roshi Motman, CEO for Tigo Ghana, says: ´Girls in the 21st century need to be provided with innovative learning experiences and quality education. ICT offers them the opportunity to bring their personal ambitions and passions together and make meaningful contributions to society by developing cutting-edge innovative solutions. Tigo Ghana is excited to partner with Ericsson on the Connect to Learn program and hope several girls will be empowered to stay ahead in digital literacy. We believe the adoption of digital lifestyles foster appropriate productivity skills and opportunities in ICT offer economic freedom and independence for women to work from anywhere including remote locations and across industries.´

In Sri Lanka, the Connect to Learn program creates a partnership between Ericsson, Mobitel, Open University of Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth of Learning that aims to bring ICT and computer literacy education to teenage girls in farming communities in Sri Lanka, empowering and equipping them with the ICT skills required to pursue tertiary studies and employment opportunities. The ICT solution deployed will give students and teachers access to the most modern educational tools and resources, and the ability to connect to other schools around the world to foster collaborative learning, cross-cultural understanding and global awareness.

Currently, Connect To Learn gives access to quality educational resources enabled by the cloud-based ICT solution deployed in their schools. These students attend secondary schools in Millennium Villages in Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Malawi and Rwanda. Connect To Learn is also deployed in schools in Ghana, Cape Verde, Djibouti, India, China, Buhtan, Chile and Brazil. The ICT in education report identifies challenges in providing ICT-based education and, underlining possible solutions, the study offers a universal framework for measuring Interventions in schools."

(Source: Ericsson)

Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:33:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 09, 2014


“UNESCO Chair Program, Women, Science and Technology in Latin America.

The research was performed under the Program for Promotion of low-carbon development and social cohesion, executed by ECLAC in conjunction with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ).

The purpose of this research is to understand the rationality of the public and private policies to promote the IT industry, in particular the SSI, and verify whether they  incorporate and support the gender equality and / or encourage the participation of women. It also proposes to determine how symbolically is constructed this group of women from the companies, which problems they have to face and what solutions they propose to overcome and contrast these discourses and interventions with the experiences, visions and demands of women leaders in the SSI sector. For this, they surveyed and analyzed policies, programs and best practices in Europe, and later compared these practices with the stage of completion and the particularities of these existing instruments in Latin America and the Caribbean, delving into the cases of Argentina, Costa Rica and Colombia.”

Access the publication here

(Source: FLASCO Argentina)

Thursday, October 09, 2014 9:58:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Close to 60% of women in Senegal are illiterate, according to UNESCO figures. Successive administrations of Senegal – from Senghor to Diouf via Wade and now Macky Sall – have long wondered how in heaven’s name they can reverse this sad state of affairs, and help these unfortunate women regain their dignity.

However, the Gods of technology have heard Mariam Thiam’s prayers and have responded. Thiam (40), mother of five and involved in a polygamous marriage, has lived to tell the tale of being able to now read – though gradually – the SMSes coming through her cellphone thanks to the National Literacy Programme for Youth and Adults Based on ICTs (PNEBJA-TIC in its French acronym).

The programme, launched in 2013, aimed at enrolling and training more than 14000 people, the Senegalese government said.

Despite this modest success, Senegal’s ICT-packed literacy projects face serious funding problems as the government only allocates 1% of the education budget to this programme, whereas experts recommend at least 3%.

This led the United Nations to give a helping hand to ensure that a big portion of women and girls like Thiam become literate and improved their lives. It is in this spirit that UNESCO launched an ICT-based project called PAJEF, which is a two-year Literacy Progamme for Women and Girls aiming at training 40000 women and girls from 15 to 55-year-old to read and write.

UNESCO Dakar said the programme offers quality literacy through the use of Internet, TV, mobile phone and CD-DVD in national languages and French. UNESCO Dakar, which supervises all UNESCO offices in Africa, also said the project will be rolled out in several African countries. ´The fight against illiteracy is a national issue that requires a lot of commitment from everyone,´ government representative Mamadou Mar said.

Thiam told Biztechafrica that being able to read and write has helped her take control of her life and look at life from another angle.”

Further details

Thursday, October 09, 2014 9:37:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“In its continuous effort to bridge the gap between theories taught in the classroom and real life situations, Vodacom Business Nigeria has organised a two-day industrial tour for students from the Department of Engineering and Information Technology, Covenant University, Nigeria.

According to the tech giant, the visit was aimed at providing first–hand experience and a unique opportunity for the students to gain insight into a working environment related to their field of study. The industrial tour, which took place at Vodacom’s offices in Ikoyi, focused on´Demystifying Cloud Computing´ where students got in-depth knowledge of cloud technology, how it works and how it is applied to modern businesses.

The Managing Director, Vodacom Business Nigeria, Guy Clarke, said: ´Our commitment is centered on the concept that the more knowledgeable the youth are, the greater their opportunity for employment. We know that Cloud Computing plays a big role in the ICT industry today and it would contribute to the further growth of Nigerian businesses as the technology is gaining wider acceptance in the business world´. According to him, the workshop is one of the company’s many contributions towards the development of skills and job creation opportunities for young people.

Cloud computing will continue to change the world and in many cases, young people drive this process even without knowing it. With millions of youths in Nigeria connected to the Internet, many use cloud through collaboration and social networking tools. There is no better way to encourage this change than exposing the young people to the technical, business and leadership skills required for Cloud technology innovations.”

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, October 09, 2014 9:33:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“MTN Ghana has revealed the details for Version 2.0 of the MTN Ghana Application Challenge. Back in 2013, Software Engineer Setriakor Nyomi was named as the overall winner with his Oware 3D application.

According to MTN Ghana, this year’s edition under the theme ´Promoting innovative local apps development´ is open for submission of apps from October to 28th of November 2014. It challenges Ghanaian app developers to code locally relevant and user-friendly apps to suit local taste.

CMO Rahul De stated that: ´In addition to consolation prizes for runners-up, each category will award a cash prize of GHC 15,000, and the overall winner will receive a cash prize of GHC 20,000.´

´The mobile application market is inextricably linked with the explosion of smartphone penetration and usage by consumers worldwide. As the smartphone market grows rapidly in Ghana, and especially on MTN network, it is imperative that we have apps developed locally and tailored to our market,´ he said.

According to MTN Ghana: ´The mobile application market is creating employment and generating income for an estimated number of 2.3 million people across the world. It is also said that apps generate around €10 billion per year in revenue for the European Union, which has about one 1 million apps available.´

The last edition of the apps challenge was a success, according to MTN Ghana, as most of its winners are experiencing rapid patronage of their apps on MTN play and other platforms.

´MTN Apps Challenge Version 2.0 has one goal, and that is to reward the most innovative and locally-relevant mobile apps developers. Entries of apps will be accepted in three categories: education; lifestyle; and games and entertainment.´”

(Source: IT News Africa)

Thursday, October 09, 2014 9:28:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"IICD believes that equipping teachers with pedagogical tools and access to information can bring about large-scale social changes in entire educational systems. Many of the gaps in education in developing countries can be bridged with the help of ICTs and enhanced capacities for creating, sharing and using information and educational materials.

It is globally acknowledged that quality education has the power to combat poverty and stimulate long-term development. Despite this consensus, 130 million schoolchildren are still unable to read, write or do basic math* because of poor standards in education, overcrowded classrooms and under-qualified teachers. In its new position paper, IICD draws on nearly 20 years experience of bringing ICT solutions to classrooms to show that by building the ICT capacities of teachers, students gain the skills needed to succeed after school.

IICD’s experience in this field has shown that simply equipping schools with innovative tools is not enough to improve teaching and learning in the classroom. The success of ICT in the classroom cannot be achieved through one single solution. For this reason, IICD offers a range of integrated ICT solutions that aim to holistically overcome challenges and change classroom dynamics. Each of our solutions is made up of four parts: 1) equipping schools with locally appropriate ICT tools, 2) training local stakeholders on the effective use of these tools, 3) creating relevant educational materials, and 4) enabling the ICT environment to support sustainable changes in education."

More information

Thursday, October 09, 2014 9:23:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"Portland Community College (PCC) has teamed with Desire2Learn (D2L) to introduce a massive open online course (MOOC) for educators that will address Web accessibility concerns associated with online learning.  



PCC and D2L are working together to offer this practical, hands-on MOOC to help all educators become more versed in the issues of web accessibility in online education.
Specifically, the following goals are to be achieved by course participants:

- Create accessible photo images, diagrams, and charts for online courses
- Create accessible audio and video components for online courses
- Create accessible HTML content pages for online courses
- Create accessible course content in other formats
- Building a Web-accessibility knowledge base.

'At PCC, we are committed to improving Web accessibility in our online program and advocate for the needs of students. We make it a priority to provide faculty, course designers and instructional technology professionals with the knowledge and skills to create offerings with accessibility in mind,' said Loraine Schmitt, director of distance education at PCC, in a prepared statement. ' We realize many institutions are faced with resource challenges and we are excited that this free MOOC on accessibility teaches educators some of the best practices we use at PCC to make educational content accessible to students.'

Successful participants will have the option of receiving an electronic not-for-credit completion certificate from D2L at the end of the course.
For more information, visit opencourses.desire2learn.com"

(Source: GAATES)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:50:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"Young Rwandans who will be able to come up with software applications aimed at enhancing public service delivery are set to win cash prizes that go up to $5,000 (Rwf 3.5 million) in a newly launched competition by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Speaking at the launch of the competition on Thursday in Kacyiru, Kigali , the UN resident coordinator, Lamin Manneh, said they were focusing on how to apply innovation in improving people's daily livelihoods.

´As an emerging economy, we are focusing on applying innovations to improve livelihoods and opportunities provided by mobile technology,´ he said.

UNDP, which is organising the competition in partnershio with the Ministry for Youth and ICT (MYICT) and Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), wants the youth to develop software that can be downloaded on mobile phones and be used by citizens for continuous feedback to authorities on the level of public service delivery.

The information gathered from the software will be analysed by RGB and shared with the relevant government institutions for action, as well as inform research and policy.
Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Youth and ICT minister urged the youth to take advantage of the opportunity to help grow country's economy.

´Don't look at the $5,000 cash prize. The benefits could be much more if you looked at public satisfaction with services delivered using your software,´ he told the youth.
The winner will walk away with $5,000, the first-runners up with $2,000 while the second-runners up will take home $1,500.

Applicants have up to 28th November this year to present their projects to the organisers."

(Source: All Africa)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:29:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"A public-private partnership among USAID, NetHope, Intel Corporation, World Pulse, World Vision, UN Women, and Women in Technology in Nigeria

The Alliance will create a ‘movement’ that addresses the Internet gender gap by bringing more than 600,000 young women online in Nigeria and Kenya in the next 3 years.

Alliance partners will combine efforts to transform the lives and livelihoods of girls and women in Africa through digital literacy training, relevant content, policy work, and online social networks. The Alliance will introduce girls and women to the transformative benefits of the Internet. All partners share a common interest in increasing access to and use of the Internet to realize the socio-economic benefits for all of bringing more girls and women online. This effort will expand opportunities for young women to generate greater income, receive a quality education, increase their sense of empowerment and equity, extend their support networks, and increase their political participation.

BRIDGING THE INTERNET GAP

Digital Literacy: The integration of digital literacy training into gender and development programs enables women to access hardware, software, Internet connectivity, and ongoing support. With mobile platforms, individuals can follow different learning paths through a variety of channels, such as a mobile learning platform, and phone and tablet apps.

Knowledge and Voices: The power of digital media connects women and gives them a global voice. Addressing relevancy through women-tailored content and peer networks is critical. The Internet can empower women by providing them with an opportunity to connect with people outside of their communities, which, in turn, creates a strong incentive for women to continue using information and communications technologies (ICTs). This will provide long-term benefits in increased confidence and expression.

Economic opportunities: Internet use can increase the opportunities for women and girls in employment, online work, or improved businesses. ICT-enabled employment opportunities and skills training can generate social and economic opportunities for those employed, their families, and their communities.

The 'movement': System-level collaborations can enhance the inclusion of women and girls in the information society. Together, the Alliance will create a movement to address the challenges of the Internet gender gap by building, fostering, and supporting an ecosystem of partners."

(Source: USAID)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:13:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"The United Nations E-Government Survey presents a systematic assessment of the use and potential of information and communication technologies to transform the public sector by enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, access to public services and citizen participation in the 193 Member States of the United Nations, and at all levels of development."

View Publication

Further details

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:07:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"The Kenyan ICT Authority has partnered SAP for the second year to train at least 100 young Kenyans with high-end ICT skills to the value of approximately US$6,000 per student.

The SAP Skills for Africa programme, which will be offered on scholarship to unemployed recent university graduates, will be carried out at the Techno Brain offices in Nairobi.
 
SAP Skills for Africa targets recent graduates interested in finance and business development, in line with Kenya’s ICT Master Plan 2014-17, which recommends developing talent and nurturing a workforce skilled in ICT to meet the needs of the industry.

Cabinet Secretary at the Ministry of ICT Dr Fred Matiang’i commended the achievements of the initiative and called on more companies to design similar projects. 'We churn out thousands of graduates into the market, but they face a challenge in getting jobs as they do not match the skill set that employers are looking for. We are tackling this head on and our goal is to partner with the private sector to increase the capacity of our people in ICT,' he said.

The ICT Authority and SAP have signed a three-year partnership agreement to collaborate on innovation and incubation programmes, general ICT awareness and literacy, skills development and internship programmes, best practice sharing on process improvement and joint research initiatives.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the ICT Authority Victor Kyalo said: 'Capacity and literacy is a major component of what the authority is mandated to promote. We are working to achieve this through various partners in the private sector and academia. This is a key ingredient to Kenya success to becoming a hub in ICT excellence.'

'A key component of SAP’s Africa Growth Plan, is the training of 8,000-10,000 new consultants in Africa in the next seven years. These skilled people, in the main economic hubs of Africa, will enable governments and private sector to improve the way they do business across the continent and ultimately the World – driving prosperity through job creation,' said Andrew Waititu, Managing Director of SAP East Africa.

Successful candidates will go through a training programme, certification and internship placements, with the scholarships targeting candidates that graduated between December 2011 and December 2014 for internships to run in the first quarter of next year."

(Source: BizTech Africa)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:02:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"Today the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Facebook announced a new partnership to support women entrepreneurs around the world by providing them with Facebook business resources and mentor support.

The collaboration will involve Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s Mentoring Programme, which connects mentors with women entrepreneurs from developing countries.

Facebook is creating a new online portal designed to support these entrepreneur mentees in growing their businesses, including best-practice guides, how-to videos, and inspiration from other like-minded business owners. The portal includes an ´ask an expert´ function where Foundation mentees can receive assistance from a Facebook expert on creating their Page, acquiring new customers, and building their online presence.

Facebook will hold a business bootcamp webinar for mentees and mentors to launch the portal and walk them through these new resources. In addition, Facebook employees will join the Foundation’s Mentoring Programme as volunteer mentors and work one-on-one with women entrepreneurs to help them take their small and medium enterprises to the next level.

´Facebook is a natural partner for my Foundation,´ said Cherie Blair QC, CBE. ´When women are able to become financially independent, this not only transforms their lives for the better but also positively impacts the lives of their family members and people in their communities.´

´This partnership combines many things Facebook cares about: the power of small businesses to connect to more customers; the power of technology to drive economic growth; and the power of entrepreneurship to help women achieve economic independence,´ commented Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. ´We are thrilled to be teaming up with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women because they, too, are focused on bringing and scaling support to more entrepreneurs around the world.´

Cherie Blair Foundation CEO, Sevi Simavi, said, ´Many of the Foundation’s mentees regularly ask for training on using social media and Facebook, so we are enthusiastic about this partnership and the new learning opportunities it will make available to the women we work with´."

(Source: Cherieblairfoundation)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 9:56:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 25, 2014
“Microsoft 4Afrika has announced a new Collaboration Challenge with AfriLabs to increase knowledge sharing across the hub network in Africa and spur innovation. The challenge, officially launched at this year’s DEMO Africa event, is tasking hub members with proposing and delivering an activity, process or tool that fosters collaboration within the AfriLabs network.

AfriLabs’ core function is to facilitate collaboration, which requires the right platforms, mechanisms and incentives for hubs and their teams to share information and dialogue. The winning solution will receive $15,000 from Microsoft and technical support to develop it. The hubs within the AfriLabs network will be provided with a more efficient way to learn from each other’s best practices and build more sustainable models.

´Collaboration fuels innovation. It encourages people to learn from each other and build on better and bigger ideas,´ says Annie Njenga innovation hubs manager for Microsoft. ´Innovation hubs give developers a collaborative space where organisations can assist them with the technical and business skills needed to get their businesses off the ground. They bring different people together who otherwise would never have met, and create successful companies that strengthen local economies.´

According to the World Bank, there are currently 90 innovation hubs across Africa. AfriLabs, a pan-African network of technology and innovation hubs, makes up 35 of these. Two of these hubs, the Co-creation hub in Nigeria and the iHub in Kenya, have been recognised as best performing models. The iHub has launched 152 successful local startups to date, encouraging the local Kenyan government to commit to establishing a tech hub in each of its 47 counties. ´The encouragement of a vibrant innovator ecosystem is essential to the growth of Africa’s knowledge economy,´ says Fernando de Sousa, General Manager of Africa Initiatives at Microsoft. ´To remain relevant and sustainable, the hubs will need to not only promote innovation, but also focus on their monetisation.´

However, many hubs have been unable to find models that ensure sustainability from the initial grants that got them started. ´Challenges like finding the right partners, determining the correct strategy and sustainability model, having the right team and skills in the hub, and the involvement of government can be difficult to navigate,´ says Tayo Akinyemi, Director at AfriLabs.

The Collaboration Challenge has been designed to help stimulate collaboration and knowledge sharing within the Afrilabs network and fully leverage the knowledge, skills and resources that are available through the network and its partners.

´If you look at the success of Silicon Valley, you’ll see it lies in collaboration.´ Research done by the Accenture Institute for High Performance pins it down to close ties among outstanding educational institutions, research organisations and businesses. ´That’s what we’re aiming for throughout the pan-African network,´ says Annie Njenga.

Hub members who enter the challenge will have until the 24th of October 2014 to submit their concepts and vote for their favourite ideas. All those proposing an application need to design it for the Windows platform and host it on Microsoft Azure, an open and flexible cloud platform with a single software-as-a-service offering that manages the entire lifecycle of an application. The winning individual or team will receive financial, technical and mentorship support from Microsoft to help them execute the concept.

The challenge will be run on Hylo, a social network that enables skilled collaborators to coalesce around shared intentions and challenges. Individual participants and teams can submit an ‘intention’ in the form of a brief description of the proposed idea. Others may respond by submitting their own ideas, requesting information from the idea’s originator, or submitting an ‘offer’ to help develop someone else’s idea. The winning concept will be the one that garners the most overall support.”

(Source: AfriLabs)

Thursday, September 25, 2014 9:48:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Jonathan Mosen, who has been blind since birth, spent his evening snapping photos of packages in the mail, his son’s school report and labels on bottles in the fridge. In seconds, he was listening to audio of the printed words the camera captured, courtesy of a new app on his Apple Inc iPhone.

´I couldn’t believe how accurate it was,´ said Mosen, an assistive technology consultant from New Zealand.

The new app that allows people who are blind to listen to an audio readback of printed text is receiving rave reviews after its first day of availability and is being heralded as a life-changer by many people.

People with vision disabilities say the KNFB Reader app will enable a new level of engagement in everyday life, from reading menus in restaurants to browsing handouts in the classroom.

The US$99 app is the result of a four decades-long relationship between the National Federation of the Blind and Ray Kurzweil, a well-known artificial-intelligence scientist and senior Googleemployee.

According to its website, K-NFB Reading Technology Inc and Sensotec NV, a Belgium-based company, led the technical development of the app.

Kurzweil, who demonstrated the app on stage at the NFB’s annual convention in June, said it can replace a ´sighted adviser´.

Taking advantage of new pattern recognition and image- processing technology as well as new smartphone hardware, the app allows users to adjust or tilt the camera, and reads printed materials out loud.

People with refreshable Braille displays can now snap pictures of print documents and display them in Braille near-instantaneously, said NFB spokesman Chris Danielsen.
The app has already given some people greater independence, users said on Thursday and Friday on social-media sites such as Twitter.

One early adopter, Gordon Luke, tweeted that he was able to use the app to read his polling card for the Scottish Referendum.

The app will be available on Android in the coming months, Kurzweil told Reuters in an interview. He may also explore a version of the app for Google Glass, a postage stamp-sized computer screen that attaches to eyeglass frames and is capable of taking photos, recording video and playing sound.

´Google Glass makes sense because you direct the camera with your head,´ Kurzweil said.

Kurzweil started working on so-called ´reading machines´ in the early 1970s after chatting on a plane with a blind person who voiced frustrations with the lack of optical-recognition technology on the market.

A few years later, ´Kurzweil burst into the National Federation of the Blind’s offices in Washington, DC, and said he had invented a reading machine,´ recalled Jim Gashel, a former NFB employee who currently heads business development at KNFB Reader. ´It was phenomenal.´

Kurzweil’s first reading machine was the size of a washing machine and cost $50,000.

The technology has continued to improve over the past few decades — the new smartphone app can recognize and translate print between different languages and scan PowerPoint slides up to 7.6m away — but it was not available on a mainstream mobile device until now.

Previously, it cost more than US$1,000 to use the software with a Nokia cell phone and a camera.

San Francisco-based Bryan Bashin, executive director of the non-profit Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, said the KNFB app shows the positive and profound impact that technology can have.

´There are innumerable times in life that I’ll have a bit of print and there will be nobody around who can help me out, and I’ll just want to know something as simple as ‘Is this packet decaf or caffeinated coffee?´´ Bashin said.

´The ability to do this easily with something that fits in your pocket at lightning speed will certainly be a game changer.´”

(Source: GAATES)

Thursday, September 25, 2014 6:23:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“ Mobile phones are common, if not ubiquitous, in most developing nations. But not in Myanmar - until now. For years, the Myanmar government kept a monopoly on the SIM cards needed to connect to mobile networks. As recently as 2009 they cost approximately US$2,000.

Then things began to change. Since 2011, the price of SIM cards has fallen to about US$1.50. And the number of mobile subscriptions has risen from fewer than 600,000 in 2010 to nearly seven million by the end of 2013, in a country of more than 50 million people. The newly available technology is changing how farmers and brokers do business. In the countryside and in the city, agricultural workers say the new phones save them enormous amounts of time and money.

This audio slideshow explores how lower SIM card prices have dramatically changed how farmers do business.“

See here the video presentation.

(Source: SciDevNet)

Thursday, September 25, 2014 6:11:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“The State National Bank for Economic and Social Development of Brazil (BNDES funds) launched in Sao Paulo an exclusive line of credit for the Brazilian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on the sector of Information Technology, which pretends to invest in innovation.

The program has a credit calculated on 300 million reais (about US$ 126.9 million), with an interest rate of 4% per annum for companies with 'innovative' profile, according to the presentation of MPMEs innovative, as it was called the credit from BNDES and DESENVOLVE SP, the regional development agency.

"The company that has a card BNDES is already classified as innovative", without bureaucratic procedure to present the projects to justify the range, told to Efe the Innovation director of the Brazilian Association of Software Companies (ABES), Jamile Sabatini.

The ABES gathers more than 80% of companies in the information technology sector and is responsible for presenting the MSME innovative to SMEs.

According to ABES, the field of information technology in Brazil is one of the biggest in the world, with a 3% share of the global market and growth rates three times the international average, achieving 4.8% of annual increase.

Because the market potential, indicated by the ABES, the credit line will boost up the sector in the Brazilian economy. ´It was because these experiences that we started talking with BNDES, showing that allocating resources on the innovation, the companies grow. The return to the society is huge because it creates jobs, generates income and bring economic development,´ said Sabatini.

The ´Zero Interest´ program, held in the southern state of Santa Catarina, which borders with Argentina, awarded 20 million reals (US$ 8.4 million) in 37 companies in the region through the Financier of Studies and Projects (FINEP ).

In Santa Catarina, told Sabatini, some SMEs came to grow up to 5.000% with that incentive.

In one year, the regional government recovered the money given to those SMEs with the taxes, because the contribution of those firms increased significantly, thanks to their exports.

´In 2008 was the time of crisis and some employers told us that if there was not this resource, they would have bankrupted,´ said Sabatini, for whom with the current unfavorable numbers of the economy, ´it is important that companies seek this resource.´

Sabatini, however, admitted that the annual rate of 4% for the new line of credit is high and therefore he warned that SMEs must ´know how to take advantage´ of these resources."

(Source: America Economía)

Thursday, September 25, 2014 6:08:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“On 12 September 2014, the Trinidad and Tobago national phase of the Agrihack Talent Caribbean has ended and the "Team Agri-Info" has win this importat competition hosted by Community HUB.

The four Trinidadian students composing the Team Agri-Info, Kris Adams, Mikaeel Andrews, Nicholai Rajkumar and Jairaj Singh, will now fly to Suriname, where they will have the opportunity to compete among the finalists to win the Agrihack Talent Caribbean, that will take place in Paramaribo, Suriname, from 6 to 12 October 2014 in occasion of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture.

The Agrihack Talent Caribbean is a regional initiative focusing on ICT for Agriculture, organised by the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), in collaboration with different institutions including the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and ConnectiMass. The main objective of this initiative is to support the development of ICT innovations and entrepreneurship in agriculture by young people.“

More information

Thursday, September 25, 2014 6:04:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"First museum-based Cisco Science Fellowship for Innovative Learning Technologies to foster science engagement and innovation through technology.

Today, Cisco and the Ontario Science Centre announced their vision to advance the Centre's interactivity and accessibility. Cisco's investment in state of the art Information Communication Technology (ICT) will help transform the Ontario Science Centre into a ´connected museum´ allowing it to engage even broader audiences in innovative and interactive approaches to exploring science. In addition, Cisco is also funding the first ever museum-based Cisco Science Fellow for Innovative Learning Technologies, with the appointment of the Centre's Sabrina Greupner.

A Commitment to Science Literacy is Important for Canada's Economic Success

According to the World Economic Forum, in the past five years Canada has fallen to fifteenth from ninth place in economic competitiveness. In addition to investments in science, technology and innovation, competitive economies need innovative workforces that are literate in science and technology. Both organizations recognize the importance of a culture of science and innovation for Canada's economic success.

´With one million visitors per year, including more than 180,000 students, the Ontario Science Centre is one of the most visited cultural attractions in Canada. This collaboration will allow us to develop new modalities of interaction with our visitors and to reach audiences beyond the Centre. Cisco's vision to enable innovation, particularly in education, is closely aligned with our own, and is one of the reasons this is an excellent relationship,´ said Dr. Maurice Bitran, CEO, Ontario Science Centre. ´Cisco's leadership in this alliance has been both innovative and inspirational, and with their technology solutions and expertise, we hope to offer our visitors unparalleled learning experiences that will inspire the next generation of innovators.´

Creating a Next Generation ´Connected Museum´

This collaboration will provide the technological infrastructure necessary to bring science literacy and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning to broader audiences.

Both organizations will work to modernize and upgrade the Centre's information and communication systems, allowing it to collaborate with initiatives such as the forthcoming Cisco™ Internet of Everything Innovation Centre in Toronto and Cisco's Connected North program that enhances education and health care services in remote northern communities.

´Today's students will be the architects of tomorrow's Internet of Everything. Encouraging students to learn and engaging with them in new and exciting ways is key to inspiring them with the energy and creativity that drives scientific and technological innovation,´ said Nitin Kawale, president, Cisco Canada. ´By exploring technology solutions and integrating them into the new Science Fellowship, Cisco and the Ontario Science Centre hope to light a spark in the youth of today and encourage them to explore the potential that science and technology have to offer.´

Visionary Leadership Provided by Cisco Science Fellow for Innovative Learning Technologies

While Cisco offers a number of academic fellowships for science and technology education, the Cisco Science Fellow for Innovative Learning Technologies is its first museum-based fellowship. The goal of this fellowship is to improve science engagement and literacy through the use of integrated technologies.

´With a shared commitment to a culture of innovation, learning excellence and engagement with science, this new alliance opens up so many exciting opportunities,´ said Sabrina Greupner, manager of the Science Centre's Weston Family Innovation Centre and the newly appointed Cisco Science Fellow in Innovative Learning Technologies. ´As a liaison between organizations, my goal is to bring together external collaborators with our researchers, programmers, teachers and science experts to create innovative learning experiences and encourage the sharing of best practices.´

This fellowship will allow for research, development and innovation in the use of integrated technologies and solutions for learning science, enhancing the Centre's Science Education program, the largest museum-based program of its kind in Canada."

(Source: CISCO)

Thursday, September 25, 2014 5:58:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 19, 2014
More than 500 participants connected with tech entrepreneurs and experts from some of the most exciting names
 
With a curiosity to find out more about what it’s like to work in tech, more than 500 youth participated in the first-ever Tech Fest on 6 September 2014. Professionals from global tech companies, up-and-coming start-ups and local tech groups shared their experiences and advice with these participants.

Tech Fest seeks to raise awareness of the tech industry among the youth, while providing them the opportunity to network, as well as learn and dabble with some of the latest technologies. The highlights from the afternoon of activities included a live demo of the Red Rhino – a made in Singapore open-top fire-fighting vehicle; exploring a Nanyang Polytechnic student project which uses Microsoft Kinect sensor for infantry training; students writing their first lines of code in Ruby and Python; as well as a mock interview session with Google.

´We are thrilled by the overwhelming response for Tech Fest, especially with it being a totally new event. We were oversubscribed, but that was a happy problem for us.

Some rising and big names in the tech circle supported Tech Fest, and IDA will keep working with the industry to find new ways to inspire young Singaporeans to build and experiment with tech. Singapore is on its way to be the world’s first Smart Nation, and Tech Fest is just one of the many cool events that we will be organising for the tech ecosystem as we move towards that goal,´ said Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA.

´One of the speakers said nothing is wasting time, so if you are wasting time, then you are doing something that you are passionate about. So it’s not always that you need to get good grades and everything. That was really important. It’s a different perspective I would say´said Benjamin Wu, 25 years old, SMU student.

Tech Fest is organised by the IDA, in collaboration with Autodesk, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PayPal, Red Hat, Garena, GrabTaxi, Razer, Carousell, Hope Technik, Tinkertanker, ViSenze, Zopim, GeekcampSG, Singapore Geek Girls and Kosagi.”

(Source: IDA)

Friday, September 19, 2014 10:11:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“ABOUT 120 teachers from Doregos Private Academy and St Bernadette School in Nigeria are in the processing of becoming the first schools in Nigeria and Africa to get certified in the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Standard, Digital Literacy and Microsoft certifications towards preparing students for the new academic session with 21st century skills which they will need in a world where technology is prevalent and quickly changing.

 The teachers from the schools will be certified as Microsoft Certified Educators (MCE) and Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3) professionals. These certifications differentiate Doregos and St. Bernadette Schools from other teachers in Nigeria and Africa. The Microsoft Partners in Learning Group has a professional development programme to help teachers develop the attributes needed for innovative teaching.

The teachers are undergoing rigorous training for four weeks at New Horizons, the world’s leading IT training institution in Nigeria where they will also sit for the international certification online to test their competencies in all areas based on the examination body. This landmark achievement has set a standard of ICT digital literacy and teaching with technology in schools today for others to emulate.

Mrs. Clementina Doregos, proprietress of the two schools said the training will aid them to be on same level with what transpires abroad.

She explained that her visit to top schools in USA and UK where teachers and students are collaborating, innovating and solving problem in classroom in real time shows that teaching has gone beyond didactic method of training to collaborative method where teachers and students share knowledge real time in classroom with the use of technology.

 Managing Director of New Horizons, Tim Akano, said that ´Mummy Doregos is such an exceptional proprietress that is ready for change driven by innovative way of adding value to her students, teachers, parents and schools.´ He added that the proprietress informed him how she wants her teachers to be certified and empowered yearly by using technology to train the students.

New Horizons has developed a curriculum for teachers in line with UNESCO Standard, Digital Literacy and Microsoft certifications to empower and equip them with 21st century teaching skills and test their competency. This will address one of the reasons for the mass failure in West African Examinations Council (WAEC).

According to the Head of National Office, WAEC, Charles Eguridu many Nigerian teachers are not competent and some teachers could not even read and how will they impact knowledge you do not possess. He also said that teachers find it difficult to do competency tests which some state had to reserved for obvious reasons, so the quality of the teachers in the systems is such that one can not vouch for their competence.”

(Source: The Guardian)

Friday, September 19, 2014 10:00:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Founded on the idea that Information and Communication Technologies can be leveraged to contribute to social change, Barefoot Law Uganda was initiated by a team of enthusiastic Ugandan lawyers passionate about making positive contributions to the lives of ordinary Ugandans.

Mr. Abila Gerald, who founded the Barefoot Law aims at providing free legal service to Ugandan people using information and communication technologies – especially social media to address the rampant ignorance of the common people about the law, their rights and need for legal redress.

In an earlier interview with Voice of America (VOA) News in May 2014, Abila, 30 said ´I travel a lot, and a lot of people in areas I travel to were like me before I started studying the law… the level of legal ignorance. And access to legal services is too low,´ he said.

Last week, a team of Barefoot Lawyers through a partnership with Women of Uganda Network(WOUGNET) spoke to participants of the ReachUp project – the project implemented by the Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) Uganda and WOUGNET builds capacity of young women and men (youth) on how they can use technology to improve their businesses and nurture business potential to reduce the rampant youth unemployment in Uganda.

The Lawyers, introduced youth to the ideas behind Barefoot Law project and explained the different online platforms and social media that they use to answer/respond to legal questions posed by thousands of people in the country. They also availed themselves freely to respond to any legal issues that the youth had.

The team of Barefoot Law answered many legal questions affecting the youth including land issues, domestic issues, contracts and employment issues and many others. Mr. Micheal Kwizera and his colleague Timothy spent more than three hours interacting with youth, answering questions and listening to their innovative ideas.

Because women and youth in Uganda faces serious socio – economic and political challenges including ignorance of their rights and the law including access to free legal services , WOUGNET and barefoot Law decided to make this possible to women in Uganda and their partnership began by making access to legal services easier for women and youth from Kampala and this is expected to be rolled out to other areas including Northern Uganda.

Speaking in an earlier interview, Mr. Abila said -
´Ninety-seven percent of lawyers in Uganda are within the capital,´ he said. ´So 97 percent of lawyers serve a population of 2 million people, and the remaining three percent is left to serve a population of around 36 million. So how do you overcome such challenges using technology?´

Abila’s decided Barefoot Law, which he founded two years ago, would be the answer. The team uses web 2.0 and social media to address legal issues to majority of average and poor Ugandans.

Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) is a Non – Governmental Organisation initiated by several women’s organisations in Uganda to promote and support the use of Information and Communications Technology as tools to share information and address issues of sustainable national development collectively.“

(Source: WOUGNET)

Friday, September 19, 2014 9:55:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Telstra is providing more options for people with disabilities to access communication services, with three new initiatives launching today including a new portal on Telstra.com that allows customers to identify which mobile device in the Telstra range will best suit their particular needs.

Speaking today at the ACCAN ‘Connecting Today’s Consumer Conference in Sydney, Group Managing Director Telstra Consumer, Karsten Wildberger said the new portal was designed to help everyone, but particularly older Australians and people with disability, to easily find the features that may make it easier for them to connect.

´We want all our customers to have a brilliant experience with us, and helping them find the devices and apps that best meet their needs is fundamental to that,´ said Mr Wildberger.

Based on the Mobile Manufactures Forum (MMF) Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative, the new portal lets users search for features that may assist specific disabilities such as speech, vision, cognitive and dexterity impairment. Examples include:

- Adjustable vibrating alerts that can help people who are deaf,
- Gesture navigation that can help people with dexterity disabilities navigate around their phone, and
- Voice output of caller ID for people who are blind or low vision.
Telstra is the first carrier globally to provide customers with direct access to this important information.

This function will make the purchase decision and access to mobile phones easier for our customers, especially for seniors and the more than four million Australians who have disabilities.

´It is exciting to announce this new initiative at the annual ACCAN conference, as the idea to develop this site was born at the ACCAN-Telstra conference held in August 2013´, Mr Wildberger said.

´In addition to announcing the new portal, we can also confirm we have removed the use of CAPTCHAs from our website and added open captions to 14 popular BigPond movie titles. We plan to increase the number of titles with open captions over time, until the technical capacity that will enable closed captions to be offered across all platforms is completed.´

Telstra’s purpose to create a brilliant connected future for everyone includes breaking down the barriers that make it a challenge for some members of the community to enjoy the benefits of modern mobile communications.

Telstra has a strong commitment to improving access to communications for customers with disability and has a three-year Disability Action Plan to continue to improve our activities and drive new initiatives in this space. This is our sixth three-year Disability Action Plan.”

(Source: GAATES)

Friday, September 19, 2014 9:38:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Mobile telephony continues to make its way – slowly but triumphantly – into the rural areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), improving the lives of millions and bringing ICTs at the doorstep of the less fortunate communities, where poverty rate stands at 76%.

To date, Vodacom Congo appears to be leading the pack in this aspect, with more than 1000 cities and villages currently covered by its network in this Central African nation.

One of its recent rural projects is the coverage this year of the village of Basoko, in the Oriental Province, about 1300 km north-east of Kinshasa.

Basoko resident Nafisa Bilinga, currently visiting her extended family in the capital Kinshasa, told Biztechafrica that mobile telephone has changed the lives of many in that city and throughout the province, as communicating with the outside world was no longer a hassle as it is used to be.

´All you need now is a device and a sim card packed with units´, Bilinga said proudly.

However, certain operators have done more than facilitating their rural users to just send SMSes or making phones calls. This is the case of Airtel DRC, which launched a health service called ‘Airtel Santé Info’, an innovative service that helps callers to consult a medical doctor – or put it simply to seek medical advice – over the cellphone.

In an under-equipped country such as the DRC where rural patients have to travel thousands of miles to get to a make-shift clinic, the service is said to have helped many rural folks to know instantly which bug is eating their bodies.

´From now on, the mobile phone will act as a relay in real time between doctors and their patients´, Airtel marketing manager Eddy Kapuku said at the launch.
One only needs to dial 3535 to get access to the service.

In the East’s war-torn areas, mobile telephone is also proving to be an effective tool for helping millions of displaced populations to rebuild their lives.

Care International conducted Umoja Plus and Ujio Yetu, two pilot mobile money projects, in the rural cities of Masisi and Lubero, in association with the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry, UK’s Viiv Health and Airtel DRC.”

(Source: BizTech Africa)

Friday, September 19, 2014 9:21:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“On the 28th of August, the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is celebrating the launch of MapAbility platform, a ground-breaking online map designed to inform students with disabilities about the accessibility level of European Higher Education Institutions [HEIs].

ExchangeAbility and its subproject, MapAbility are supported by a coalition of partners in delivering this project. With this new online map, ESN is using MapAbility data to provide students with disabilities with an exclusive guide to accessibility in European Universities.

A committed team of students from across Europe founded the project, which maps out the entire Higher Education Area. The group – who are all the volunteers of ESN – created a questionnaire to investigate the accessibility level of Higher Education buildings and to gather information about the services HEIs can offer students with disabilities.

Preliminary MapAbility research reveals mixed results for accessibility in European HEIs: although a third of institutions have no Disability unit to welcome students with disabilities, over two thirds of HEIs have essential facilities such as elevators and accessible bathrooms.

The project also hopes to promote common understanding of the diverse range of accessibility needs in Europe. The goal would be to increase the facilities available for students with disabilities and to improve the perception of different forms of disability in European HEIs.

MapAbility is a sub-project of ExchangeAbility, an ESN program with the wider aim of increasing the participation of students with disabilities in international mobility programs”.

(Source: GAATES)

Friday, September 19, 2014 9:10:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“The fourth edition of Colombia 3.0 met digital entrepreneurs content. For three days national and international experts, academics and investors had an appointment to discuss the latest developments in the industry.

More than 14,000 people attended the conferences, workshops and panels for which were invited 120 experts from 19 countries (Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador, United States, India, Venezuela, Canada, Germany, Brazil, Chile, Norway, United Kingdom, Peru, Ecuador, Belgium, Spain, Panama, Uruguay).

Participants included big industry players such as Javier Olivar, International Director of Facebook; Paul Debevec, Oscar winner for his work on Avatar; David James, production designer of the company DreamWorks; Dawn Rivera-Ernst, Director of Talent Development and Scope of Walt Disney Animation Studios; Ady Harley, head of music partnerships of Google Play; Isaac Bess, business strategist of YouTube; Jorden Woods, President and Co-Founder of Silicon Valley Fundraising and Camilo Gomez, manager of Online Partnerships Group for Colombia of Google and co-founder of Nubello Jorge Araújo Muller. 

According to the statistics the balance of this event is more than positive. Thanks to the support of Proexport, the first round of business in Colombia 3.0 ended with the business expectations of $ 1.3 million among the 15 international buyers and 27 exporters from Bogota, Armenia, Cali, Manizales, Medellin and Pereira, around the development of different contents such as games, animations and software.

The MINTIC Contents' director,  Juan Sebastián Sandino, said that the fourth edition of Colombia 3.0 ratified the magnitude of the digital revolution that Colombia is living now. Also, he mentioned that this event showed that the developers and creatives have matured in the articulation of new business models and monetization of their products. He said that the great progress made by the ICT Ministry to bring the Internet to all Colombians and the entry into operation of Vivelabs are consolidating their industry. He concluded that their country has a great opportunity to become a major player in the development of digital content. The information highways are routed. It's time to exploit them.“

(Source: MINTIC)

Friday, September 19, 2014 9:05:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 16, 2014


UNESCO’s experience in Senegal demonstrates that mobile phones, computers, internet and TV make literacy courses much more attractive for illiterate women.

“We have demonstrated that technology increases illiterate women’s interest in learning new skills and helps build their confidence, as they are able to read and write their own messages and use the keyboard to correct their own sentences,” says Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar. According to her, the transition women make in the classes to using mobile phones and computers has become an attraction and pooled a lot of interest.

Since 2011, UNESCO Dakar has been running the PAJEF literacy project in Senegal in partnership with government, NGOs and local communities. While some beneficiaries receive literacy classes face-to-face,   the majority of women learn through DVDs, online and mobile applications and television programmes.

Through this project women can improve both their literacy and IT skills as well as vocational and life skills, which are also integral parts of the literacy package.  In addition, the project includes financial support given to each class for learners to develop their own income generating activities. 

 After the good results obtained in Senegal, UNESCO announced the extension of the project to Kenya and Nigeria. Gambia has also shown interest in replicating the project and yet more countries, including Pakistan and Namibia, are interested in learning more. In this way the project PAJEF is being considered as a model for other countries to increase the literacy nationwide and particularly among women.

(Further details)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 8:33:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |