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 Monday, March 24, 2014


UNESCO is now seeking feedback from stakeholders on how it should design and implement a comprehensive study of Internet-related issues that will present options for future actions within its mandate. Comments are requested before 30 April, after which the draft concept paper and questions will be finalized, and the research will commence.

This wide-ranging Internet study arises from a resolution agreed by UNESCO’s 195 Member States during the Organization’s General Conference in November 2013.

By mandate of Resolution 52 of UNESCO’s 37th General Conference in 2013, the study is required to cover the fields of (i) Access to information and knowledge, (ii) Freedom of expression, (iii) Privacy, and (iv) Ethical dimensions of the information society, and also explore possible options for future actions. The results will inform the Organization’s reporting to the 38th General Conference in 2015.

The resolution requires that the study be done through an inclusive multi-stakeholder process which includes governments, private sector, civil society, international organizations and the technical community.

These consultations will be done through an online questionnaire, meetings with UNESCO Member States, and UNESCO participation in events such as the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance (NETmundial), WSIS High Level Review Events, the Internet Governance Forum, the Freedom Online Conference, and the Stockholm Internet Forum.

The draft concept paper for the study, proposed by UNESCO’s Secretariat, outlines how the fields can be conceptualized and presents related research questions. The guiding framework is the draft concept of “Internet Universality”. By summarizing core Internet principles relevant to UNESCO’s mandate and fields of competence, the notion of “Internet universality” highlights four R-O-A-M principles: (i) that the Internet should be Human Rights-based (ii) “Open”, (iii) “Accessible to All”, and (iv) nurtured by Multi-stakeholder Participation. As part of the consultation, feedback is also sought on this draft concept.

To send your written comments on the Draft Concept Paper and the Draft Concept of Internet Universality, please write to Internetstudy(at)unesco.org.

Further details

Monday, March 24, 2014 6:26:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 11, 2014


In the evolving knowledge societies of today, some people are overloaded with information, others are starved for information. Everywhere, people are yearning to freely express themselves, to actively participate in governance processes and cultural exchanges. Media and information literacy (MIL) provides all citizens with critical competencies to survive in the 21 Century.

Recognizing that to achieve MIL for all will require national policies, UNESCO has published Media and Informational Literacy Policy and Strategy Guidelines.
This comprehensive MIL Policy and Strategy Guidelines resource is the first of its kind to treat MIL as a composite concept, unifying information literacy and media literacy. These guidelines offer a harmonized approach, which in turn enables stakeholders to articulate more sustained national MIL policies strategies, describing both the process and content to be considered.

As Professor Ulla Carlsson, Director of the Nordic Information Centre of Media and Communication Research, notes in her Preface, “this publication is of vital importance toward improving efforts to promote MIL on national and regional levels”.

Without MIL policy and strategy, disparities are likely to increase between those who have and those who do not have access to information, enjoy or not freedom of expression, and are able or not to critically engage in modern governance and a connected world which are powered by information, media and technology.

The Guidelines is divided in two parts. Part 1, MIL Policy Brief, is designed for policy or decision makers and can serve as a summary of the publication. Part 2 is divided into several comprehensive chapters and covers the following topics:

- how to enlist MIL as development tool;
- conceptual frameworks for MIL policies and strategies; and
- model MIL policy and strategies that can be adapted by countries globally.

This new publication is part of a comprehensive MIL Toolkit being developed by UNESCO in cooperation with its partners. The full MIL Toolkit will include:

- MIL Curriculum for Teachers (already produced and available here);
- Global MIL Assessment Framework (already produced and available here);
- Guidelines for Broadcasters to promote MIL and User-Generated Content (already produced and available here);
- an online multimedia MIL teaching resources tool; and
- model online MIL and intercultural dialogue courses (one is already developed and available here).

Further Information

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:09:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 26, 2014
UNPAN online training courses are available to anyone with Internet access and are provided free of charge. The courses are available in English, Russian and Spanish. Please login or register to view and access the courses available listed below:

Courses Available for Registered Users

Electronic and Mobile Government
- Principles of E-Government
- Infrastructure for E-Government Development
- Strategies and Methodologies for E-Government
- E-Government Interoperability (English and Russian)
- Open Government Data for Citizen Engagement (NEW!)

Institution and Human Resources Management
- Decentralized Governance
- Human Resources Managers Capacity Development
- Gestión Presupuestaria Basada en Resultados (Spanish)
- La Calidad en las Organizaciones Públicas (Spanish)
- Strategies for Strengthening Public Sector Human Resources Management for Africa's Development (Coming Soon...)

Knowledge Management in Government
- Knowledge Management in Government Organization
- Strategic Intelligence

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs
)
- Citizen Engagement and the Millennium Development Goals
- Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation for MDG Implementation
- Play and Learn: MDG Progress Game

(Source: UNPAN)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 12:22:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 22, 2014

We are excited to announce the launch of our WWW: Women Weave the Web Campaign! Join World Pulse in supporting women who are using the Internet to transform the world. From the streets of Nairobi to the plazas of Buenos Aires, women are logging on and sparking change. Now is the time to break down the digital divide. Participate in our campaign to make sure that every woman can access the tools that will empower her!

Our newly launched campaign is poised to crowdsource the wisdom of grassroots women leaders like you on issues related to digital inclusion and empowerment. With the launch of the campaign, we're kicking off the Digital Access phase to find out about challenges you have accessing the Internet and the solutions you and your community are developing. In a few months, we'll turn our focus to Digital Literacy and then to Digital Empowerment, to gather your ideas on the tools you need to fully espouse the web, as well as how the Internet empowers you to create real and powerful change on the ground. World Pulse will analyze the submitted testimonies, and, in conjunction with our partners, present your ideas and recommendations to important international forums, policy leaders, media outlets, and technology companies. Together, we can make sure our voices are heard in the halls of power, calling for the digital inclusion and empowerment of all women around the world!

Want to write a story? Take a picture? Connect with other women? There many ways to get involved with the campaign, from writing a journal entry on digital access to uploading a photo of your local library, or mapping internet cafes that are safe for women. Take a look at our How to Participate page to learn about all the ways that you can get your voice heard on this important issue!

This year, we have joined forces with several partners to bring some incredible opportunities and prizes to campaign participants! These opportunities include the $20,000 Lynn Syms prize, to be awarded to an outstanding grassroots woman and visionary voice using digital tools to effect change and advance her community work.

Campaign participants will also be able to apply to become a part of the Beyond Access Community, an initiative aimed at supporting local libraries in implementing community development programs. To be eligible for all the prizes, you first need to submit a journal entry to the campaign, so submit your story now!

(Source: World Pulse)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:53:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 13, 2013
Cabinet has rubber-stamped “South Africa Connect”, the Department of Communication’s National Broadband Policy, Strategy and Plan.



Cabinet has approved the National Broadband Policy, Strategy and Plan, and the gazetting of the National Integrated Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy Green Paper for public consultation.

The Government Communications and Information System department issued a press statement today (Thursday, 5 December 2013) in which it outlined the discussions and decisions made by cabinet yesterday.

In the statement, Cabinet said the National Broadband Policy, Strategy and Plan, collectively referred to as “South Africa Connect”, will contribute significantly to economic growth, development and job-creation.

“The overall goal is to achieve a universal average download speed of 100Mbps by 2030”, Cabinet said. “To reach this target in a progressive manner, there are reviewable targets starting with an average user experience speed of 5Mbps to be reached by 2016 and available to 50% of the population, and to 90% by 2020”, Cabinet said.
Cabinet said that targets are also set for schools and clinics and general public sector connectivity.

“The rapid evolution of broadband technology means that these targets will be reviewed annually”, Cabinet said.

Cabinet also said that it has approved the gazetting of the National Integrated Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy Green Paper for public consultation.

The Green Paper deals with the need to amend policies and regulations to take account of the rapid changes in ICT in recent years. Among the issues it focuses on, Cabinet said, are telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services. Public hearings will be held in all the provinces early next year, Cabinet said.

(Source: My Broadband)

Friday, December 13, 2013 4:31:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 07, 2013


“Women In African History: An E-Learning Tool” corresponds to the two global priorities of UNESCO – Priority Africa and Gender Equality – and represents a crucial step to expand and disseminate knowledge of the role of women in African history to counter prejudices and stereotypes in the framework of “The Pedagogical use of The General History of Africa”. In line with UNESCO’s Gender Equality Action Plan, the Project seeks to empower women through ICTs and access to information and knowledge to promote an accurate understanding of their role in the economic, social, cultural, and political development of the region.

“Women in African History: An E-Learning Tool,” implemented by the Knowledge Societies Division in the Communication and Information Sector of UNESCO, is an internet platform that consists of multimedia content including comic strips, interactive pedagogical units, audio modules, and quizzes in order to highlight the role of women in African History.

The first phase of the project (2012/2013) is dedicated to the development of the architecture of the platform and the production of the first eight modules; a particular emphasis is given to historical women figures from Africa and the African Diaspora. In this way, the project develops ICT tools for knowledge acquisition and sharing that encourages the general education and ICT capacity of young women, promotes the use of ICTs, and capitalizes on intangible heritage to promote the link between culture, education, technological innovation and sustainable development.

Further details

Thursday, November 07, 2013 4:44:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 01, 2013
The FCC's Accessibility and Innovation Initiative is pleased to commemorate October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

In recent years and on a global scale, the spread of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices has been dramatic. A driving force behind this has been the revolution in mobile apps. Hundreds of thousands of apps have been developed for various mobile platforms, including Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Nokia, and Windows Phone. From a disability perspective, apps may be subdivided into the categories of accessible apps and assistive apps.

For the disability community, there are two vital kinds of apps: accessible and assistive. An accessible app is designed according to accessibility guidelines for user interfaces so that people with a range of physical or mental capabilities can operate the software successfully, such as people with visual, hearing, dexterity, or cognitive disabilities. An accessible app generally has a mainstream rather than disability-specific purpose. It benefits a broad user base in the accomplishment of human tasks that are commonly pursued.

An assistive app, on the other hand, helps people with particular impairments surmount what might otherwise be experienced as limiting consequences of a disability, (e.g., identifying paper currency to a blind person, facilitating direct sign language communication for a deaf person, inputting text from dictation by someone with a dexterity impairment, or giving reminders to someone with a cognitive disability). Naturally, an assistive app also has to be an accessible app to those who particularly benefit from it.
Mobile apps — both accessible and assistive — are showing great potential for improving the lives of people with disabilities. This is partly because of two other technological trends that enable mobile functionality: cloud computing and broadband connectivity. The convergence of these technologies means that an app can solve complex problems almost instantaneously by quickly delegating the analysis to a specialized computer at a distant location and then returning the result to the user, who is often unaware of what is being done locally or in the cloud. The portability of the mobile device means that a person with a disability can carry a powerful, supportive problem-solving device wherever he or she goes -- at home, at play, or at work.

Raising the level of mobile accessibility tends to raise the level of disability employment. Apps are continually being developed to improve productivity in almost every profession. Many are completely free while most others cost only a nominal amount. Each mobile platform usually makes it easy to search for and install apps from an online store. Commercial apps typically offer a trial version so that evaluating accessibility is possible in advance.

As we close out National Disability Month, here are some related resources:
- The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy promotes National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).
- The FCC's Accessibility Clearinghouse contains extensive data on accessibility features of mobile phones and on free, assistive apps.
- Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act mandates accessibility of information and communication technologies that are produced or purchased by the federal government, including mobile technologies.
- The federal government offers a gallery of free mobile apps produced by various agencies.
- Federal agencies also contribute to a catalog of mobile code snippets and developer tools so that useful apps may be produced more easily.
- The World Wide Web Consortium has published best practices for the design of websites intended to be browsed on mobile devices.
- CTIA has collected links to accessibility guidelines for app developers targeting various mobile platforms.

(Source: Official FCC Blog)

Friday, November 01, 2013 4:04:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Mobile Monitoring Station, a team of student entrepreneurs from Chile, won the 9th annual Intel Global Challenge at UC Berkeley, a global business plan competition that encourages student entrepreneurs to tackle some of the world's most pressing issues through computing technology. The competition provides a unique entrepreneurship experience by giving teams access to top venture capitalists and investors in Silicon Valley.

Mobile Monitoring Station, comprised of team members from engineering research and development company SoluNova, Chilean mining company Coldeco and the University of Chile, created a set of portable sensors that collects industrial workers' biomedical data, such as heart rate, in real time. The sensors, which are applied directly to the workers' clothes, transmit valuable biomedical information to devices such as smartphones, which then push the data to the cloud. The solution will be offered as a service, supplying industrial sites with the hardware and software for a monthly fee per worker. The winning team, driven by the lack of existing data on industrial workers' exposure to health risks, expects the sensors to result in a considerable drop in health dangers in this industry.

"At Intel, we know that innovation is critical to growth for individuals, businesses and economies", said Staci Palmer, Intel's director of Global Strategic Initiatives and Marketing in the Corporate Affairs Group. "Through the Intel Global Challenge at UC Berkeley, students around the world gain lifelong entrepreneurship and innovation skills they can apply throughout their careers, in fields ranging from healthcare to transportation".

The Intel Foundation awarded $100,000 total in cash prizes, including a $50,000 grand prize and three $10,000 awards for teams taking first place in the following categories: Internet, mobile and software computing; computing for social innovation; and hardware and computing. In addition, four $5,000 special awards were presented.

Innovations from the three first-prize winners included industries ranging from technology to healthcare. Gameleon of Bulgaria developed a cloud-based platform that allows anyone to create, publish, play and monetize Web games with only a browser, regardless of programming skills or experience. Karmashop of Mexico created a crowd-funding platform that allows users to customize how they receive donations and, in return, gives donors "Karma Points". For example, through a Karmashop campaign raising money for community members affected by the recent floods in Mexico, donors have the option to contribute items including drinking water, first aid and shelter. Tensive of Italy developed implantable biomaterials for the reconstruction of large bone and tissue defects, caused by osteoporosis, trauma or tumor removal. The patented technology replicates the patient's blood vessels and accelerates the natural regeneration of bone and tissue.

(Source: Intel Newsroom)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:05:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 15, 2013


The National Public Education Administration (ANEP), Plan Ceibal and Antel in Uruguay launched last Tuesday a series of exclusive plans for students and teachers of public education , seeking to continue narrowing the digital divide and professionalize the teaching profession.

The first of these plans gives to users of the platform Ceibal math credits that can be redeemed for "bits" and through them access to minutes in cell communication, voice messages, gigs of Internet to use from home, tablets and phones.

"It is important that students have Internet at home and extend the classroom schedule to their home , this is what we are doing", said the president of Plan Ceibal, Miguel Brechner.

The president of Antel, Carolina Cosse, said today that there are 800 schools connected to the internet and by the end of the year they expect to reach 1,200.
On other hand, it was presented a plan to purchase tablets for 47,000 public school teachers, by which professionals can access to the devises through a grant from the ANEP of U $S50 per unit. In addition, they will not pay IVA taxes. Teachers can choose from 47 different models of tablets of various brands.

In turn, teachers may benefit from different Antel plans to use the internet. Among them is a plan with no credit limit of $ 198 per month which includes 3 GB of traffic , more than double of the traffic of a common plan.

The flat-rate plan for teachers has a cost of $ 490 per month and allows internet connected from anywhere.

The authorities also announced that the traffic exchanged with educational and government websites (edu.uy and gub.uy) will be free for Antel´s  customers in Uruguay.

(Source: Tecno America Economia)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:29:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The European Parliament’s Committees on Legal Affairs (JURI) and Women’s Rights & Gender Equality (FEMM) have today voted (40 for, 9 against and 2 abstentions) to support a proposal by the European Commission to address the gender imbalance on company boards in Europe. With this vote, the European Parliament (which decides with the Council of Ministers on an equal footing on this proposal), paves the way for further progress of the draft law in the EU legislative process.

The vote coincides with a new report on women in decision-making, released by the European Commission today, including figures on women on boards at major publicly listed companies in the EU. The latest figures (from April 2013) show that the share of women on boards has increased to 16.6% (from 15.8% in October 2012). The figures also show the different levels of representation amongst non-executive directors (17.6% women up from 16.7% in October 2012) and senior executives (11% up from 10.2%).

"Regulatory pressure works. The cracks are starting to show on the glass ceiling. More and more companies are competing to attract the best female talent. They know that if they want to remain competitive in a globalised economy they cannot afford to ignore the skills and talent of women", said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. "The example has been set by countries such as France and Italy, who have adopted legislation and are starting to record significant progress. I would also like to thank the rapporteurs Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou and Evelyn Regner for their tireless efforts and support on the Commission's proposal. We have got the ball rolling. I will continue working with the Parliament and the Council to make swift progress on the draft law which places qualification and merit centre stage".

These are main points from the report voted today by the JURI and FEMM Committees:
   - It confirms the Commission's approach to focus on a transparent and fair selection procedure (so-called "procedural quota") rather than introducing a fixed quantitative quota.
  - Small and medium-sized enterprises remain excluded from the scope of the directive but Member States are invited to support and incentivise them to significantly improve the gender balance at all levels of management and on boards.
  - There will be no possibility for Member States to exempt companies from the Directive where members of the underrepresented sex make up less than 10% of the workforce.
  - It strengthens the provision on sanctions by adding a number of sanctions that should be obligatory, rather than indicative, as the Commission has proposed. Sanctions for failure to respect the provisions concerning selection procedures for board members should include the exclusion from public procurement and the partial exclusion from the award of funding from the European structural funds, the two Committees say.

Next Steps: In order to become law, the Commission's proposal needs to be adopted jointly by the European Parliament and by the EU Member States in the Council (which votes by qualified majority). Todays' decisive vote follows positive opinions on the initiative from three other Parliament committees: the Employment (EMPL), Internal Market (IMCO) and Economic Affairs (ECON) Committees (MEMO/13/672). The JURI and FEMM committees, which are jointly responsible for piloting the proposal through the Parliament, have now adopted their report. This will pass to the European Parliament’s plenary session for a vote expected in November.

The Council, which on this proposal decides on an equal footing with the European Parliament, took stock of progress achieved under the Irish Presidency at the meeting of Employment and Social Affairs ministers (EPSCO Council) on 20 June 2013 (MEMO/13/584). The Lithuanian Presidency is now pursuing the discussions further.

Further Information

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:09:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 10, 2013
The Union Cabinet today approved the National Policy on Universal Electronic Accessibility that recognizes the need to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disabilities as well as to facilitate equal access to electronics and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

This policy has been prepared after incorporating comments and suggestions from various stakeholders, an official press release said.

The policy will facilitate equal and unhindered access to electronics and ICT products and services by differently abled persons (both physically and mentally challenged) and to facilitate local language support for the same.

This shall be achieved through universal access to electronics and ICT products and services to synchronize with barrier free environment and preferably usable without adaptation. Differently abled persons all over the country will benefit from this policy, the release said.

According to it, the following strategies are envisaged for the implementation of the policy:

• Creating awareness on universal electronics accessibility and universal design.
• Capacity building and infrastructure development.
• Setting up of model electronics and ICTs centres for providing training and demonstration to special educators and physically as well as mentally challenged persons.
• Conducting research and development, use of innovation, ideas, technology etc. whether indigenous or outsourced from abroad.
• Developing programme and schemes with greater emphasis for differently abled women/children.
• Developing procurement guidelines for electronics and ICTs for accessibility and assistive needs.

India ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2007 which, among other things, says that "State Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities, access on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including ICTs and systems and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public".

Many countries who are signatories to UNCRPD have legislation policy or a framework to ensure equality for those with disability.

Electronics and ICTs are key enablers in mitigating barriers faced by differently abled persons and in helping them to provide better opportunities for livelihood, the release added.

(Source: NetIndian)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 11:01:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s communication technology minister, has described the country’s young people as the early adopters of technology, responsible for the high internet penetration rate amongst the youth.

Speaking yesterday at the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO) Forum in Abuja, Johnson said: “Internet penetration is fastest amongst the youth. This is not surprising as young people, when they can afford them, are predominantly early adopters of technology”.

She said it was apt that the forum was focusing on the use of ICT by young people, especially how they use such technologies to engage on governance and developmental issues.

“Nigeria recently became the location of the largest user base of Facebook users in Sub-Saharan Africa”, she said. “About half of the 11 million Nigeria users are under the age of 25, which perhaps underscores the importance of understanding how young people make use of ICTs”.

On the importance of the forum, she said it would allow developing nations like Nigeria which have developed national broadband plans to learn from developed countries like the United Kingdom, which is already implementing similar policies.

She said: “While an increasing number of countries, including Nigeria, have recently developed or are developing National Broadband Plans; countries that had done so earlier provide important opportunities to learn about the implementation of such plans. These countries provide valuable insights on what works and why; as well as what can be improved upon and what to avoid during implementation”.

(Source: Humanipo)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 10:42:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 27, 2013


Eighteen digital hubs for Kenyan primary schools, allowing pupils access to computers and the internet, have been officially launched. Funded by the British council and Microsoft, they are intended to serve more than 100 schools.

The BBC's Frenny Jowi says a hub she visited in Nairobi had 21 computers. Give the numbers, they seem like a drop in the ocean, but the scheme is a significant step for Kenya's state education sector, she says.

Kenya's 639 state primary schools are often overcrowded, with up to 1,000 pupils at each institution,  the reporter says.
The hub at the Kilimani School in the capital, Nairobi, will be serving five schools altogether - and sessions will be timetabled. But the reporter says it was evident that the pupils at Kilimani were enjoying the computer lab.

"The computers are easier to use and give a lot of information about what you are studying", one 10-year-old boy told the BBC. Each desktop computer is loaded with Microsoft's Encarta reference encyclopaedia.

The digital hubs now also have full and free internet access following a three-year deal with telecoms giant Bharti Airtel, the British Council said. They have been built over the last year and during that time, some 2,000 teachers have been trained in IT skills, it said.

Kilimani's headmaster Gideon Wasike said there has already been a positive effect on students since the pilot hub had opened in August 2012. "It has motivated them and has raised their esteem and their interest in learning", he told the BBC. "They're able to do a lot of research on their own".

The BBC correspondent says the hub project - dubbed Badiliko, meaning "change" in kiSwahili - was officially launched at a ceremony at Kilimani school on Wednesday morning.

The scheme has also been launched in eight other sub-Saharan countries, establishing 127 digital hubs in total.

In recent years, Kenya has become a centre for information technology - and the government has launched a project to build a new city by 2033 intended to be an IT business hub called Konza Technology City and nicknamed "Africa's Silicon Savannah".

(Source: BBC News Africa)

Friday, September 27, 2013 3:39:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
A new report released today demonstrates how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), have become a positive force of transformation and a crucial element of any personal development, empowerment and institutional framework for inclusive development.

While the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) represent a concerted effort to address global poverty, there is a striking gap in the current MDGs and their inclusion of persons with disabilities. The estimated 1 billion persons with disabilities are still excluded from equitable access to resources (education, healthcare, etc.) and as a result persons with disabilities experience disproportionately high rates of poverty. In spite of the conclusion of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006, disability remains largely invisible in most mainstream development processes.

The High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development (HLMDD) of the sixty eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly, taking place in New York, provides a historic opportunity to rectify this omission and will discuss the issues that should be reflected in the post-2015 framework for development.

“The ICT Opportunity for a Disability-Inclusive Development Framework” contributes to a better understanding of the extent to which ICTs can enable and accelerate the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities. It lists challenges that are still to be addressed while outlining concrete actions to be undertaken by each group of stakeholders and a set of indicators to help measure progress towards the achievement of a disability-inclusive development agenda.

This report is the result of collaborative input from the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development, the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ICT), the International Disability Alliance (IDA), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Microsoft, the Telecentre.org Foundation and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Launching the report, Secretary General of the ITU, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, said “The use of information and communication technologies should be at the heart of any strategy to promote the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities. We have the tools at our hands; the remaining challenge is to expand access to these technologies to all and to make ICTs accessible and affordable for persons with disabilities”.

The content is based on feedback from a global consultation on ICT, Disability and Development, carried out from 20 May to 17 June 2013 in support of the preparatory process of the HLMDD. The consultation gathered over 150 expert inputs from relevant organizations and key individuals from over 55 countries and representing multiple stakeholders, including governments, academic institutions, organizations of persons with disabilities, civil society organizations, private sector and regional and international organizations.

The report highlights that when ICT are available, affordable and accessible, they can significantly improve the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society.

- Web services constitute the access technology with the greatest impact in promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all areas of development (e.g. social networking, teleworking, online educational classes, telemedicine).

- Mobile devices and services constituted the second-most valued ICT. In particular, the use of mobile phones is instrumental to enable independent living of persons with disabilities (e.g. SMS, captioned telephone, mobile banking services, and access to emergency services).

-Television is the third-ranked ICT in the assessment, specifically for its use as a tool to access government services and information (e.g. news broadcasts, information and education programmes).

Regarding the challenges to overcome, some barriers are universal while others affect specific areas of development.

- The cost of assistive technologies, which is comprised of the cost of the technology as well as the cost of assistive technology assessment, training and support services, is still one of the main barriers that prevents many persons with disabilities to fully access healthcare services, benefit all educational levels, be competitive in the labour market and to live independently.

- A lack of access to ICT accessibility technologies is a pervasive barrier that is further reinforced by the lack of policies which foster widespread availability of accessible ICTs and the lack of effective policy implementation.

- Limited availability and use of ICT in general greatly constrains the use of ICT as a solution to tackling development challenges.

Addressing these barriers requires the collaboration of the main stakeholders involved in each sector, as well as concrete actions to be undertaken by each group of stakeholders and relevant indicators to monitor progress.

- Governments can play a key role in stimulating the introduction of ICT-enabled solutions adapted to the needs of persons with disabilities, increasing the availability of accessible ICTs and promoting the affordability of assistive technologies in social, educational, economic and other domains. One priority action is the inclusion of accessibility requirements in procurement policies. In addition, governments can foster a greater awareness of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a comprehensive and integral instrument which highlights the importance of ICTs and accessibility for the enjoyment of one’s human rights and fundamental freedoms. This entails updating disability legislation to include ICTs in the legal definition of accessibility. Through regular consultation with organizations of persons with disabilities, they can improve the provision and quality of accessible ICT.

- Private sector entities can contribute by increasing research and development efforts, incorporating universal design principles at the earliest stage possible and recruit persons with disabilities in product development departments to develop accessible ICTs. Another priority action is to address the shortage of IT professionals with ICT accessibility skills (in-house training, industry gatherings and publications). The private sector can further remove attitudinal barriers towards hiring persons with disabilities and promote accessible and inclusive workplaces. Through these contributions, employers can greatly contribute to a society where persons with disabilities can participate in work life, and have increased independence.

- Civil society organizations have a key role in raising policymakers’ awareness of the remaining accessibility barriers, becoming more active in the work conducted by international standards organizations. Furthermore, they also have the ability to bring about social progress and economic growth by raising the awareness and building the capacity of persons with disabilities and their relatives in using ICT to facilitate their own economic and social inclusion. Finally, advocating for the mainstreaming of the use of the universal design principle in all development efforts is crucial for ensuring that the international development framework is disability-inclusive.

- The UN system and other international organizations must implement operational activities to meet disability-inclusive development goals, complemented by the monitoring and evaluation of development efforts at the global, regional and national levels. Also necessary are performance reviews to assess whether development policies, programmes and projects are effective and results-driven. It is imperative to ensure that this analysis is quantitative and supported by consistent data, and that such analysis is designed with the participation of persons with disabilities, in order to make sure that the correct factors are measured. Lastly, the UN must ensure that it keeps implementing awareness-raising activities and mobilization campaigns in order to create a demand for national governmental action.

- International standards organizations can also play a special role in enabling a disability-inclusive development agenda by providing a neutral platform from which to develop and/or harmonize international standards and provide recommendations related to accessible ICTs. To achieve this, standards development bodies must facilitate the participation of relevant experts and delegates with disabilities. Furthermore, these organizations can contribute to the promotion of R&D focused on developing specific ICT-enabled solutions for persons with disabilities. International standards organizations must also raise policy makers’ awareness of accessibility barriers to be addressed.

The report is released during the High-Level side-event to the HLMDD “The UN delivering as one in enabling a disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond”, taking place today, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Download the full version of the new report here.

For more information on ITU, visit: http://www.itu.int/accessibility

Follow ITU on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ITU/103018419782973

Follow ITU on Twitter: https://twitter.com/itu

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Thursday, September 26, 2013 11:01:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 26, 2013
Most promising ‘emerging market’ could turn out to be women
A new report released today by the Broadband Commission Working Group on Broadband and Gender reveals a ‘significant and pervasive’ ‘tech gap’ in access to information and communication technologies (ICTs). Globally, the report estimates that there are currently 200 million fewer women online than men, and warns that the gap could grow to 350 million within the next three years if action is not taken.

Entitled Doubling Digital Opportunities: Enhancing the Inclusion of Women & Girls in the Information Society, the report brings together extensive research from UN agencies, Commission members and partners from industry, government and civil society, to create the first comprehensive global snapshot of broadband access by gender. It was officially launched by Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), who has led the Working Group since its establishment at the 6th meeting of the Broadband Commission in New York last September.

The report reveals that around the world, women are coming online later and more slowly than men. Of the world’s 2.8 billion Internet users, 1.3 billion are women, compared with 1.5 billion men. While the gap between male and female users is relatively small in OECD nations, it widens rapidly in the developing world, where expensive, ‘high status’ ICTs like computers are often reserved for use by men. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the report’s authors estimate that there are only half the number of women connected as men.

Worldwide, women are also on average 21% less likely to own a mobile phone – representing a mobile gender gap of 300 million, equating to US$13 billion in potential missed revenues for the mobile sector.

“This new report provides an overview of opportunities for advancing women’s empowerment, gender equality and inclusion in an era of rapid technological transformation”, said Helen Clark. “It calls for social and technological inclusion and citizens’ participation, explaining the societal and economic benefits of providing access to broadband and ICTs to women, small entrepreneurs and the most vulnerable populations. Most importantly, this report shows ways in which we can further advance the sustainable development agenda by promoting the use of new technologies in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment”.

The report speculates that today’s untapped pool of female users could also represent a market opportunity for device makers, network operators, and software and app developers that might equal or even outstrip the impact of large emerging markets like China or India.

“Promoting women’s access to ICTs – and particularly broadband – should be central to the post-2015 global development agenda”, said Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General and co-Vice Chair of the Broadband Commission. “The mobile miracle has demonstrated the power of ICTs in driving social and economic growth, but this important new report reveals a worrying ‘gender gap’ in access. We need to make sure that all people – and most crucially today’s younger generation – have equitable access to ICTs. I believe it is in the interest of every government to urgently strive to redress this imbalance”.

Research highlighted in the report indicates that, in developing countries, every 10% increase in access to broadband translates to a 1.38% growth in GDP. That means that bringing an additional 600 million women and girls online could boost global GDP by as much as US$18 billion.

The report also emphasizes the importance of encouraging more girls to pursue ICT careers. By 2015, it is estimated that 90% of formal employment across all sectors will require ICT skills. Professionals with computer science degrees can expect to earn salaries similar to doctors or lawyers – yet even in developed economies, women now account for fewer than 20% of ICT specialists.

ITU’s ‘Girls in ICT Day’, established in 2010, aims to raise awareness among school-age girls of the exciting prospects a career in ICT can offer. This year, over 130 countries held Girls in ICT Day events, supported by partners including Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, ICT Qatar, Microsoft, the European Commission and many more. To help older women get online and take advantage of new technologies, ITU also has a partnership with Telecentre.org which is on track to train one million women in ICT skills by the end of this year.
 
The Broadband Commission Working Group on Gender was initially proposed in 2012 by Geena Davis, actor, advocate and ITU’s Special Envoy on Women and Girls. The group’s first face-to-face meeting in Mexico City in March 2013 attracted 69 Commissioners, special representatives and guest experts, making it the best-attended Working Group of the Commission to date. The Group held its second face-to-face meeting in New York on 20 September, just ahead of the full meeting of the Commission. It was attended by Commissioners, representatives and special high-level guests, included Nigerian Minister for Communication Technology Omobola Johnson and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

In addition to releasing the new report on Broadband and Gender, the Broadband Commission also released the second edition of its global snapshot of broadband deployment, entitled The State of Broadband 2013. The report features country-by-country rankings tracking countries’ performance against the four broadband targets set by the Commission in 2011, as well as a new gender-related target set by the Working Group in March, 2013.

Photos of the full meeting of the Commission and the Working Group on Gender can be viewed and downloaded from Flickr at: http://bit.ly/K5rJsS
Broadcast-quality footage can be previewed and downloaded from ITU’s Virtual Video Newsroom at: www.itu.int/en/newsroom/Pages/videos.aspx

Video can be viewed on ITU's YouTube Channel at: http://bit.ly/Z37E8A

Photos of the full meeting of the Commission can be viewed and downloaded from Flickr at: http://bit.ly/18WPPij

Photos from the meeting of the Working Group on Gender can be viewed and downloaded at: http://bit.ly/1gyFUCo

Broadcast-quality footage can be previewed and downloaded from ITU’s Virtual Video Newsroom at: www.itu.int/en/newsroom/Pages/videos.aspx

Video can be viewed on ITU's YouTube Channel at: http://bit.ly/Z37E8A

The full report of the Working Group on Gender can be viewed at: http://www.broadbandcommission.org/Documents/working-groups/bb-doubling-digital-2013.pdf

For more information on the Broadband Commission, visit: www.broadbandcommission.org
 
Follow the Broadband Commission on Facebook: www.facebook.com/broadbandcommission

Follow the Broadband Commission on Twitter: www.itu.int/twitter

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Thursday, September 26, 2013 10:43:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 17, 2013
South Korean Ministry of Education announced last week that 67.1 billion won (US$61 million) will be spent on students for IT purposes.

The total education funding this year, amounting to 3.185 trillion won (US$2.8 billion), will benefit 4.37 million primary and secondary school students across the nation.
The education funding project of city and provincial offices of education is designed to support high school tuition, after-school classes, IT devices and school meals for students from low income families.

The 67.1 billion won (US$61 million) IT fund will be spent on 240,000 students for PCs, internet, and communication expense.
Fewer students - a drop of 13,000 - will benefit from this IT fund due to the rise in internet fees, according to the ministry, even though the budget increased by 2.4 billion won (US$2.2 million).

The overall education fund has gone up by 504.5 billion won (US$465.6 million), benefiting 397,000 more students compared to last year. 428.4 billion won (US$395.4 million) will be provided to 386,000 students (or 20 per cent of the entire high school students) for high school tuition, which includes admission fees, tuition and school operating expenses. 790,000 students will receive 251.8 billion won (US$232.4 million) for after school classes. Another 2.4374 trillion won (US$2.2 billion) will be provided for school meals, including free meals, benefiting 4.37 million students, or 67 per cent of students.

(Source: FutureGov)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 10:11:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 

We, the participants of the BYND2015 Global Youth Summit, represented here and online, on behalf of  other  young  people  around  the  world,  in  recognition  of  our  unique  place  and  role  in  a  deeply transformed  and  interconnected world,  which will be shaped by the  post-2015  global development agenda declare the following:Youth  are  transforming  our  world.  We  are  a  force  for  progress.  Ensuring  our  full  participation  in decision-making processes is vital to improving democracy.  We urgently require measurable targets to monitor the empowerment of young people at regional, national and international levels.

We call on  member states  to provide more flexible, dynamic, transparent  and open structures  for governance that engages more directly with citizens. We call  for the creation  of open data, information  and technical knowledge, in all  areas  critical to our  lives.  Health,  civic  engagement,  online  protection,  environmental  protection  and  economic success all  depend  on having  unfettered access  to knowledge which  ICTs can  extend  to everyone. The spread of information amongst  young people  can directly  foster empowerment and innovation on a global scale.

The  key  to  a  new  global  development  agenda  is  innovation.  Old  methods  and  systems are  poorly suited  to  the  transformed  and  interconnected  communities  we  live  in  today.  We  call  on  member states, civil society and the private sector to foster innovation to build the future we want. A key  barrier  is  a lack of  universal,  global access to  ICT  technologies, platforms  and devices and the underlying infrastructure to  support them. Youth can act as  both beneficiaries and  ambassadors for wider and improved access.

We  require  equitable  and  universal  access  to  ICTs,  particularly  for  women  and  girls,  and  other groups marginalized by the digital divide, for the following reasons (in order of priority):

To get ahead:
- We call on governments, civil society and the private sector to work together to provide the training and resources young people need to innovate and create the businesses and industries of the future;
-  We seek access to education and knowledge sharing, regardless of where we are or whether we can pay;
-  We need new and innovative methods that lower barriers to youth employment and ensure decent, rewarding and fulfilling work;
-  We want to  ensure  all students  have access to  ICT  skills  and technologies  for  their intellectual, economic and political empowerment ;
-  We  require  education  systems  that equip  students  with  the  theoretical  knowledge and  a  practical  mix  of  marketable,  innovative  and  relevant  skills  to  compete  in  a global digital economy.

To change our world:
- We  demand  a  voice.  We  ask  that  member  states  pursue  methods  to  make  voting, openness  and  accountability  more  feasible  online.  We  believe  this  will  make governments  more  accessible,  open  and  understandable.  We  further  call  for sustained,  youth-driven  mechanisms  by  which  to  make  our  voices  heard  at  local, national and international levels;
- We  are  deeply  concerned  by  the  barriers  between  leaders  and  young  citizens.  We call for innovative use of communication technologies  as  a  means of  engaging  with those who represent us;
-  We seek online spaces where we can share and express the richness and diversity of our cultural heritages and religious practices, and break down barriers of intolerance and  fear,  and  building  communities  based  on  cultural  preservation  and  mutual respect;
-  We seek means to move from social commentary  to social change and become more responsible  and  proactive  global  citizens,  including  through  strong  support  for community-based volunteerism.

To respect our environment:
-  We seek better access to and dissemination of  honest and accurate information  on environmental  issues  and  guidance  on  steps  we  can  take  to  protect  the environment;
-  We  call  on  member  states  to  leverage  innovative  ICT-based  tools  for  warning, information, preparedness and recovery in the face of natural disasters;
-  We  urgently  require  broader  and  more  efficient  use  of  renewable  and  sustainable energy and food sources, as well as means and methods to further expand their use, most noticeably in the agricultural sector;
- We seek a world where we don't have to choose between quality of life and quality of  the  environment,  through  ethically  sourced  products  and  commodities, sustainable resource use, green businesses and proper disposal of e-waste;
-  We  call  for  commitments  from  member  states,  civil  society  and  businesses  to support  those  who  choose  to  be  environmentally  responsible,  through  incentives and rewards.

To be smart and safe:
- We  recognize  the  positive  and  negative  aspects  of  new  technologies  and  call  for information,  education  and  support  to  make  our  online  communities  safe  and secure. We urge educational institutions and  digital content creators to aid us in this process;
-  We  advocate  that  the  same  rights  of  freedom  of  speech,  association  and  privacy granted in the  real world be explicitly extended online;
-  We urge  fellow young people to  act  and present themselves  responsibly online  and for educational and social structures to guide us in this process;
-  We call for policies and appropriate and effective  frameworks that protect the use of private data and intellectual property, and deter online criminal activity.

To be healthy:
-  We seek innovative systems which connect people to information on health services, including mental health services,  to improve issues of accessibility, affordability and acceptability;
-  Geography should not be a barrier to health care. We seek technologies that connect us with health care remotely;
-  We  seek  tools  to  better  inform  us  about  healthy  lifestyles  and  health  concerns, which help us act on that information, especially in areas of sexual and reproductive health,  and  in  dealing  with  issues  of  disability,  including  knowledge  to  reduce problems of stigma and fear associated with many diseases;
-  We  call  for  the  widespread  availability  to  report  and  receive  information,  through ICTs,  of  outbreaks,  disasters,  epidemics  and/or  other  events  which  endanger  our health;
-  We  call  on  member  states  to  empower  young  people  to  develop  ICT  tools  that improve  the  experience  of  health care  while taking into account best practices and bioethics that are currently part of offline healthcare processes.

In Conclusion:
We call on the United Nations, the international community and all member states to consider our words  and  put  them  into  action. We  call  upon  all  young  people  around  the  world,  in  partnership with world leaders,  to treat this document  not as an outcome but  as a starting place  for continued dialogue. Young people  should be included as  full partners  in  the post-2015 process and preserve the world we want for the youth of tomorrow.

Access to the declaration text here:
http://www.itu.int/en/bynd2015/Documents/bynd2015-global-youth-declaration-en.pdf

(Source: BYND 2015 Web)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:36:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 11, 2013


- Young people from 60 countries share their ideas with world leaders
- There was 80 participants in Marathon for developing mobile and web tools.

Although their appearance and origin are diverse, around 500 young people between 18 and 25 years old gather in the country to converse in the same language: the technology.

The young people, including 120 Costa Ricans, are attending the World Youth Summit: BYND 2015, an encounter that challenges them to sculpt their future with weapons offered by today's technology.

The event is held from Monday September 09 until September 11 at the Crowne Plaza Corobicí.

During the first day, the attenders were integrated at various conferences, workshops and talks with a common goal: to draw conclusions and generate ideas that become the raw material to meet the  new called Millennium Development Goals, among which are reduction of poverty, child mortality and hunger and achieving universal primary education, promote gender equality and protect the environment.

With this desire, during the afternoon of Monday also began a marathon or “hackathon” that promotes the development of tools (such as apps) for mobile devices (phones and tablets) and web platforms.

Luis Diego Oreamuno, one of the coordinators, considers that the young people will work for 24 hours to create technology solutions in three areas: education, sustainability and health.

"We conducted a previous session with experts, we formed teams and now they can identify problems and propose a solution from technology", he said. Representatives from technology companies like Microsoft and Cisco talked with young people and gave them some advice. One of them, Howard Charney, Cisco vice president, said that "there is not a single person as intelligent as a group of people".

Those words went into the ears of young people as Cesar Lopez, from Technical School Don Bosco, who entered with five other partners to participate in the “hackathon”. " This event aims to generate different solutions to the problems facing the world today. It's a great opportunity to express different ideas of a new generation that has grown up surrounded by technology", Lopez held.

Also Akhtar Badshah, director of Microsoft 's Corporate Citizenship, made his contribution of inspiration: "A ¨hackathon¨ is a way to unleash creativity , integrating different people and perspectives. To give answers to the problems", Badshah encouraged.

(Source: La Nacion Newspaper)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 1:43:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 02, 2013
The Minister of Information and Civic Education, Moses Kunkuyu says Government is focused at improving the services and livelihoods of the people of Malawi through Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Kunkuyu said this in Blantyre on Monday during the official opening of a 5-day Television white Spaces (TVWS) training for ICT stakeholders in Malawi.

The physics Department of Chancellor College of the University of Malawi, in partnership with the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has embarked on a project called Malawi White Spaces Project which aims at providing broadband connectivity to rural Malawi at affordable cost using the identified gaps (White Spaces).
The meeting is geared to finding means and ways of how to reach out to rural masses with ICT using the white spaces in channels that are free in a given site or region.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the training, Kunkuyu said the government of Malawi is committed to promote universal access to ICT services by facilitating a conducive environment for enhanced collaboration between the public and the private sector through PPP arrangements.

"I am glad to inform you that Malawi is one of the five countries in the world which are currently involved in the pilot phase of this project. This demonstrates the strategic focus on ICT development under the wise and dynamic leadership of the current administration”.

The country has placed ICT high on its agenda through such initiatives as the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) and the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP).
"This project will therefore go a long way in supporting these initiatives through the upliftment of the socio-economic status for the rural masses", said Kunkuyu adding that there will be challenges in the implementation that require close cooperation between the industry, leaders and MACRA.

Kunkuyu said the training will facilitate improved broadband connectivity to the rural areas utilizing the identified White Spaces and that the project's initial pilot phase starting September, targets areas which are key to social and economic development like hospitals, schools, the defense forces and the Seismology Unit for earthquake monitoring.

Further details

Friday, August 02, 2013 11:23:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 20, 2013
The City of Joburg Broadband Project will go live on 1 July 2013 after a 3 year build phase, which BWired will operate for 12 years. The completion of the fibre optic network covers all 7 regions of the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) municipality, and will deliver a live network that will immediately be able to offer key services to all municipal buildings connected to the network. This fibre optic network was designed by Ericsson South Africa and uses world-class technologies utilized in Smart Cities around the world, and marks one of the biggest rollouts of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere in terms of its 1.2Tb core capacity and 940km coverage, giving the City of Johannesburg true Smart City Status.

The Johannesburg Broadband and Network Project (JBNP) is the realisation of the city’s long term vision of developing the city’s economy which will see the positive stimulation of opportunities for the business sector in terms of small to medium enterprises, effective access to public services, the development of the youth in Johannesburg and increased employment opportunities for all.

All civil work was completed at the end of April 2013, with the fibre installation work being at 90% completion at this time.

The network build will be completed at the end of May 2013. When the Network goes live on the 1stJuly 2013, it will offer full WAN accessibility, VPN services, and will bring internet to all of the CoJ buildings in the region. The JBNP will be service ready to transition all of the agreed upon services as of 1 July 2013.

“We support the vision of the CoJ, and the completion of this successful build phase on time and within budget, is testament to our commitment to the project and its objectives”, said Musa Nkosi, BWired CEO. The network was developed by the CoJ in partnership with Ericsson, with the aim of creating a platform for bridging the digital divide within the CoJ. The delivery of the network will allow the CoJ to assume Smart City status, which is supported by a strong broadband backbone. The benefits of broadband to any city are far-reaching – including economic growth, the enhancement of the public service offering through e-government, added capacity and efficiencies for private enterprises, social benefits through e-learning, job creation through community portals, and right though to city wide platforms for emergency services.

“The principle behind this network was to provide ICT communications at a vastly lower cost, not only reducing the CoJ’s communications costs, but enabling the rest of the residents of the city to benefit from the network roll out”, said Nkosi. Although connecting all of its buildings, the CoJ will only use a small percentage of the projected network capacity, meaning other telecoms service providers, and industry at large can plug into the remaining capacity on a wholesale and open access basis. “We are already working with one of country’s largest mobile service providers with over 200 sites connected and operational to date. We are also running a number of POC’s with Tier 1 ISP’s, as well as other network Operators. This shows how BWired is extending its network’s functionality beyond the CoJ Municipality requirements and realizing true inclusion for all within the City of Johannesburg”, added Nkosi.

The CoJ Broadband Project will enable digital inclusion through the provision of affordable broadband to the public.

(Source: IT News Africa)

Thursday, June 20, 2013 3:56:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 14, 2013
Mauritania’s efforts in improving its telecommunications connectivity through expansion of fiber-optic broadband networks has received a boost after the board of executive directors of the World Bank approved $30 million in International Development Association credits to support the government’s efforts.

The World Bank’s Director for Regional Integration, Colin Bruce, said that they “want to harness Africa’s ongoing ICT revolution to address the development challenges confronting West African states”. He stated that the availability of reliable regional broadband networks will ensure that communications, commerce and trade in services across borders to be done with less hassle. He said that a high capacity network is “the cornerstone of developing a modern regional economic zone in West Africa”.

The expansion of its fiber-optic broadband networks is part of the second phase of a $300 million West Africa Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (WARCIP) aimed at connecting the 16 countries of the region with the world. The program counts on the potentials of the private sector in order to allow a fast roll out of infrastructure and expansion of telecoms services through public-private partnerships.

In a statement released by the bank, there are expectations that the investments being made towards the project will lead to an expansion in accessibility, quality improvement and reliability of voice and internet service communications. The above mentioned are considered as major factors in attracting private sector investment in ICT services and the provision of cheaper services.

Only a little above 100,000 of the 3,5 million of Mauritania’s population are Internet users. This figure is equivalent to 3,3% making it to be among the lowest Internet rates on the continent. Research indicates that a 10% increase in internet broadband penetration leads to about 1% of economic growth.

(Source: The North Africa Post)

Friday, June 14, 2013 1:45:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 16, 2013
ITU, the Kofi Annan Foundation and One Young World are working together on a new series of youth-oriented online discussions designed to stimulate debate among young people around the world on challenges central to their lives and prospects, such as unemployment and democratic governance.

Former UN Secretary-General Annan will launch the Kofi Annan Dialogues: LIVE series on Wednesday, 15 May, with the first online discussion to take place over the Google Hangout platform from 11:00 - 12:30 CET.

With the topic of ‘Young People and Leadership’, this first session gives six aspiring young leaders the opportunity to share their views with Mr Annan, watched by a global audience who will be able join the conversation and pose their questions via social media.

The outreach to young audiences will form a key element of a direct youth engagement process building up to ITU’s BEYOND 2015 Youth Summit in Costa Rica and the One Young World Summit in South Africa, to be held in September and October respectively.

ITU will host the first Dialogue from its Geneva studios on the occasion of the WSIS Forum 13 event taking place this week (13-17 May) at the Geneva International Conference Centre. The world’s largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community, WSIS Forum is focused on defining strategies to help countries and organizations more effectively harness the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, now less than two years away.

“I congratulate Kofi Annan on an excellent and much-needed initiative to reach out to youth. These online Dialogues are an excellent example of using the power of ICTs to connect people to influence change”, said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré. “Our young new generation of ‘digital natives’ feel completely at home communicating online – and harnessing today’s social media channels allows us to create a truly global platform that cuts across geographical boundaries and brings in voices from right around the world”.

Participate in the first live Dialogue:

When: 15 May, 11h00 - 12h30 CET
Where: http://dialogueslive.kofiannanfoundation.org/
How: Send your questions via Twitter
#kofiannanlive #BYND15 #OYW #WSIS
Follow the Kofi Annan Dialogues: LIVE on Twitter and Facebook at: https://twitter.com/KofiAnnan #kofiannanlive
https://en-gb.facebook.com/pages/Kofi-Annan/228449696042

Learn more about ITU’s forthcoming BEYOND 2015 Youth Summit here.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Thursday, May 16, 2013 6:19:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 01, 2013


The United Nations E-Government Survey presents a systematic assessment of the use of ICT to transform and reform the public sector by enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, access to public services and citizen participation in 193 Countries.
  
We are pleased to inform that the Government of Costa Rica (Digital Government Secretariat), in partnership with the National University of Costa Rica, has kindly provided the translation of the United Nations E-Government Survey to all Spanish- speaking countries.    

The E-Government Survey has been adopted by United Nations Member States and economists as a useful tool to benchmark e-government development.  The Survey is also a tool to guide policies and strategies on how Member States can improve overall public service delivery and bridge the digital divide. 

Main Findings:

Progress in online service delivery continues in most countries around the world. Among the e-government leaders, innovative technology solutions have gained special recognition as the means to revitalize lagging economic and social sectors.  One of the key findings that emerges from the 2012 Survey is that while it is important to continue with service delivery, governments must increasingly rethink their e-government approach by placing greater emphasis on institutional linkages among government structures in a bid to create synergy for inclusive sustainable development.
 
The Spanish edition may be accessed and downloaded directly from the United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) at: http://workspace.unpan.org/sites/Internet/Documents/EGovSurvey2012_Spanish.pdf.

(Source: UNPAN)

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 11:19:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 18, 2013


Wanted: your views, experiences, ideas, suggestions and recommendations on inclusive education.

On behalf of the Education Taskforce of the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities, UNESCO and UNICEF are organizing an online discussion from 22 April to 12 May to address the following questions:

- What do we understand by the concept of inclusive education?
and
- What are the key recommendations for an effective implementation of Article 24 of the Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities?

Take part in the discussion by joining the Knowledge Community on Inclusive Education at this link

Worldwide, more than one billion people live with some form of disability. Young people with disabilities have particular difficulty gaining access to both education and work and the right to education remains a challenge.

The online discussion will bring together civil society organizations, UN agencies, development agencies, NGOs, and academia who work to advance the rights of children with disabilities. This discussion is part of the “Building Inclusive Societies for Persons with Disabilities” community which has been established for the promotion of the UN Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities.

Further information

Thursday, April 18, 2013 10:24:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 11, 2013
The Government of Costa Rica announced the first week of April an initiative to install Internet in all public schools in the country in order to reduce the digital divide and improve educational tools.

Currently 4800 public schools have Internet and this year will reach 100% coverage with the installation of the service in the 151 missing schools, according to a statement from the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), State supplier of electricity and telecommunications services.
Connections, most broadband, are part of a joint project between ICE, the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MICIT), signed last Wednesday.

"We engaged to bridge the digital divide in education" said in the statement the Education Minister Leonardo Garnier, who also highlighted "the importance of this company for the future of education in Costa Rica".

In Costa Rica, a country of 4.5 million people, about 940,000 students began the school last February  in public schools nursery, primary and secondary education.
Costa Rica's investment in education is 7% of gross domestic product and the level of literacy is 97.6%, according to official data. 96% of children attend school, although 2% do not finish primary school, while in the case of high school, 86% of young people are going to school, but the dropout rate is 11%.



(Source: El Carabobeno Newspaper)

Thursday, April 11, 2013 3:23:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 22, 2013
Bangalore, the capital of the state of Karnataka, will become the first city in India to offer free wireless internet to residents.
A government-appointed ICT panel called the Karnataka ICT Group recommended the creation of two internet hotspots in popular shopping destinations in the city earlier this year.

“A smartphone revolution is happening in India, but connectivity is still an issue here”, stated Mohandas Pai, Chairman of the ICT panel. “We wanted to provide seamless internet access to people.

A pilot test has been initiated, and is expected to run for six months. A local internet service provider has been selected to run the pilot. “Once the pilot finishes, we will talk to other private ISPs and figure out a revenue-sharing model”, said Pai.

The ICT Group will evaluate the network and announce possible expansion plans once the pilot is finished.

(Source: FutureGov)

Friday, March 22, 2013 4:49:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Coordinated by UNESCO, the Report emphasizes the importance of broadband as a means of accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goal of Universal Primary Education and the Education for All goals. Less than three years away from the target date for achieving these goals, 61 million children of primary-school age, and a further 71 million of lower secondary-school age, are not in school. In addition, close to 793 million adults – 64% of them women – lack literacy skills, with the lowest rates in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia.

“Education is a human right that strengthens the dignity and capacities of women and men -- it is also a motor for the sustainable development of societies as a whole” emphasized UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, in presenting the Report to the Commission. “We must make the most of every accelerator towards 2015, and we know broadband technology is one key accelerator, leading a revolution in how we communicate, live and learn”.

At the meeting the Director-General also welcomed the adoption by the Commission of a new advocacy target “to ensure gender equality in broadband access by 2020”. According to data presented at the meeting, the difference in use of Internet between men and women is about 25%. This reaches 45% in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Broadband can empower women by connecting them to a wide range of resources -- to learn, to improve health, to engage in income-generating activities and to create content”, the Director General emphasized. “We often speak of the digital divide – this masks also a gender divide”. Gender equality is one of two cross-cutting priorities of UNESCO and the adopted advocacy target will serve a reference on Organization’s work.

The full version of “Technology, Broadband and Education: Advancing the Education for All Agenda” can be downloaded here.

(Source: UNESCO)

Friday, March 22, 2013 4:46:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Mr Emmanuel Onyeje, Microsoft Country Manager of Anglophone West Africa has said the development of the African continent depends on the youth to make use of the power of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to transform the continent.

He said the willingness of the African youth to exploit the new information and communication technologies would help create a robust continent that would safeguard the future of the younger generations.

“A continent which fails to accept, adapt and make use of ICT is automatically disqualified to see development and forced to remain a marginal player in this world of creativity and innovations”, he said.

Mr Onyeje was speaking to students of the Ghana Technology University College (GTUC) to encourage them to make good use of ICT to foster development and transformation on the continent.

He expressed Microsoft's willingness to support African students in ICT to enable them to contribute towards the transformation and development of the continent.
He said investing in the youth would help build a strong economic and social foundation to secure the future of the continent.

Mr Onyeje noted that Microsoft had put in place measures to discover young and promising ICT experts who were willing to bring about transformation on the continent through ICT.

He said the young people would be trained and given the opportunity to exhibit their creativity, adding that it would also stop them for going outside the continent to seek greener pastures.

“We live in a global knowledge economy where knowledge, learning, and information communication technologies are the engines for social and economic development”, he said.

Dr Robert Baffour, Vice President of the GTUC encouraged the students to be creative and innovative to become ICT "gurus" to help to secure a solid and quality foundation for the African continent.

(Source: Ghanaweb)

Friday, March 22, 2013 4:32:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 13, 2013
To mark International Women’s Day, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics released an interactive tool to highlight the progress and pitfalls in girls’ and women’s education.

This tool uses a game approach to engage a general audience of a wide age range (including teachers, students, activists, pupils, etc) concerning gender disparities in enrollment and transition rates from primary to secondary and tertiary education. Users put themselves into the game by creating their own characters and then compare their situation with those of other characters around the world. They can also explore the data further by using a ‘time machine’ to change the settings of their characters.

This tool will be available from 01 to 15 March, in English, French and Spanish to reach a wide audience. The UIS seeks the support of UNESCO Headquarters, field offices, associated school networks and other partners (NGOs, IGOs, etc.) to promote this product, which will be automatically updated with new data in the future. The general appeal of this tool/game offers great potential for UNESCO’S social media channels.

Mind the Gap link: http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Pages/mind-the-gap.aspx?SPSLanguage=EN



(Source: UNESCO)


Wednesday, March 13, 2013 7:12:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Broadband connectivity carries unprecedented potential to bridge education divides, transform learning and improve skills for the globalized economy provided that governments make broadband accessible, empower teachers and students to use technology, support the production of local language content and promote open educational resources, says a new report just released by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development.

Technology, Broadband and Education: Advancing the Education for All Agenda, the outcome report of the Broadband Commission’s Working Group on Education, provides a vision of how access to high-speed technologies over both fixed and mobile platforms can be extended so that students and teachers everywhere can reap the benefits – for themselves and for their communities.

The report was presented during the opening session of the World Summit on the Information Society +10 at UNESCO’s Paris Headquarters from 25 to 27 February, in the presence of UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), who co-chair the Broadband Commission. It will be presented to all of the Broadband Commissioners at the 7th meeting of the Broadband Commission, on March 17 in Mexico City, hosted by the Carlos Slim Foundation.

Coordinated by UNESCO, it emphasizes the importance of deployment of broadband as a means of accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goal of Universal Primary Education and the Education for All goals. Less than three years away from the target date for achieving these goals, 61 million children of primary-school age, and a further 71 million of lower secondary-school age, are not in school; and an estimated 1.7 million extra teachers will be needed to achieve universal primary education. In addition, close to 793 million adults – 64% of them women – lack literacy skills, with the lowest rates in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia.
The report recognizes that participation in the global economy is increasingly dependent on skills in navigating the digital world, but warns that traditional school curriculums still tend to prioritize the accumulation of knowledge above its application, and fail to train students in the ICT literacy skills they will need to ensure their employability in the knowledge economy.

The report confirms that, by 2009, in OECD countries about 93% of 15-year-olds had access to a computer and the Internet at school, with a ratio of eight students per computer. In developing countries, on the other hand, access to ICT facilities remains a major challenge. For example, a study in Kenya, published in 2010, stated that only 3% of schools had Internet access, while in most African countries, there are on average 150 schoolchildren per computer.

While fixed broadband infrastructure constitutes the bulk of high-speed connectivity in many countries, the ICT service with the steepest growth rate is mobile broadband. According to ITU figures, in 2011, growth in mobile broadband services was 40% globally and 78% in developing countries, where it is often the only way of connecting to the Internet.

Download the full version of the new report at:
http://www.broadbandcommission.org/work/working-groups/education/BD_bbcomm-education_2013.pdf

(Source: UNESCO)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 9:54:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 18, 2013
The Global Impact Study of Public Access to Information & Communication Technologies is a five-year project (2007-2012) to generate evidence about the scale, character, and impacts of public access to information and communication technologies. Looking at libraries, telecenters, and cybercafes, the study investigates impact in a number of areas, including communication and leisure, culture and language, education, employment and income, governance, and health.

Within Ghana, the study covered areas in the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Western regions, which were considered as the most commercial regions in the country and therefore could provide credible information on Public Access Venues.

Recently, the Ghanaian Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) held a dissemination workshop for the aforementioned global impact study and how it relates to current government initiatives.

TASCHA will be releasing their final overall research report at the end of February. In the meantime, follow the dialogue on Twitter: @taschagroup | @ictimpact.

Further details

Monday, February 18, 2013 3:49:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 08, 2013
The inclusion of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) can help to eliminate the borders in access to health, while improving the access to global knowledge for the benefit of professionals and users of health services.

For example, the incorporation of these technologies can help the health sector to exchange information about patients and treatments more quickly and safely, including pharmacological knowledge, methodologies healthcare or medical procedures.Through the inclusion of ICTs, it is also possible to improve access to health services through remote care systems, thereby enhancing universal access to health even in isolated areas.

Furthermore, these technologies enable greater access to knowledge by citizens and professionals, facilitating the exchange and dissemination of information through technology platforms. Therefore, the incorporation of ICT in the health sector is an effective way to combat the problems of this key sector for economic and social development of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Check out the infographic to learn more about the advantages of using ICT in the health sector:


(Source: BID)

Friday, February 08, 2013 10:24:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 31, 2013
Millions of students benefit from free online courses that offer dozens of institutions.

All shows that 2013 will be the year of the MOOC, or massive open online courses, for its acronym in English. A new way of teaching and learning in higher education content is spreading from the campus of the best universities anywhere in the world.

The phenomenon of MOOC born in the United States in the hands of a few visionaries, such as the artificial intelligence theorist and ex  professor of Stanford, Sebastian Thrun. Although early experiences have several decades, it was not until 2012 that the phenomenon has become massive. During the last 12 months born major technology platforms to which universities have engaged their courses.

"It has emerged everything, since to being top chefs, learn to be more artistic, master in new sports, new tools, new programming languages, other languages and to become better teachers", wrote in their blog the Udacity responsible at the same time of their purposes for the new year. Created by Thrun and two colleagues, also they make clear its objectives in their mission statement: "Our mission is to provide higher education to the world in an accessible, attractive and effective way. We believe that higher education is a basic human right and we intend to empower our students to develop their skills so they can advance their careers". In just one year since its founding, Udacity has enrolled more than 150,000 persons.

At glance Udacity's web gives an idea of what you can learn in a MOOC. There are introductory courses in computer science or physics, artificial intelligence learning intermediate or advanced courses in programming and applied cryptography and robotics.

But more important is the content and philosophy of the MOOC. Like previous learning platforms are online. No matter where you find one, just a decent connection to sign up. But now are massive, in theory you can register as many people as you want. The MOOC are also open, which brings with it its free. It is a fundamental point of the philosophy in which it is based on: democratize and globalize higher education.

Although the phenomenon of individual initiatives came out from great teachers (Thrun and others), universities also have joined to this initiative. The MIT and Harvard University created edX, a massive online courses platform, to which have joined other senior centers as Berkeley College in Georgetown or Wesleley, last December. With the addition of the last two centers, edX also goes a step further in the contents. But if it is to have universities, the broadest platform is Coursera. Also born in 2012 now has more than two million students, making it the largest university in the world.

In the background of the coming revolution there is a change in the educational paradigm.

(Source: El Comercio NewsPaper)

Thursday, January 31, 2013 5:28:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Communications, Stella Tembisa Ndabeni-Abrahams said she hoped that this initiative will enhance learner education and help make their lives and their community better.

“In our efforts to provide broadband connectivity to unconnected schools, the department has partnered with Vodacom because we believe that well-resourced and equipped learners will perform better and will improve the matric pass rate. Such partnerships are critical if we are to offer quality education to our learners and to schools, particularly those that have previously not been exposed to such learning opportunities.

“We are delighted to be handing over the computers as it is part of our schools connectivity initiative. We are committed to connecting schools nationwide through both public and private partnerships”, said Ndabeni-Abrahams.

Vodacom’s Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs, Maya Makanjee, said the centre was not only expected to improve learner pass rates, but also ensure that learners have had some exposure to ICTs by the time they reach tertiary level.

School Principal Nombuyiselo Boya said she was humbled by the donation.

“Our school had no computers. We are humbled to be recipients of the mobile computer centre specifically for our learners. This will expose our learners to the internet and will also help improve the quality of education we offer our learners”, she said.

(Source: UNPAN)

Thursday, January 31, 2013 4:34:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Thailand’s Ministry of ICT has set a goal to expand 300,000 additional free Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide in the second quarter of 2013.

ICT Minister Group Captain Anudith Nakornthap said that the expansion of Free Wi-Fi is part of the move to push forward Smart Thailand project to provide the public an access to the internet, as well as a preparation of the country’s ICT network to welcome the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

The Minister spoke during an academic seminar among Thai and Japanese-related agencies on “Wireless Broadband Experience”.

Meanwhile, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications commission (NBTC), Thailand has earlier approved a budget of TH฿ 950 million (USD 31.9 million) to promote the MICT’s free public Wi-Fi project.

The NBTC Secretary-General Thakorn Tanthasit said that the Free Wi-Fi service would be made available at some 30,000 locations across the country including state universities, city halls, district offices, state hospitals, and major tourist destinations.

The installation of 150,000 access points will be set up with five access points per location at the speed of 2Mbps per second. One access point can accommodate up to 15 users at 20 minutes per access, and not more than two hours/ person / day, according to him.

Further details

Thursday, January 31, 2013 4:25:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 17, 2013
On Wednesday 9th ITU opened its doors to some 350 students from across Europe as host of the Model UN programme run by the Lycée International of Ferney-Voltaire #FerMUN13.

From 8:30am, the entrance lobbies and reception areas were abuzz with young voices as 200+ students from the Ferney Lycée and another 150 students from the Germany, the UK, the British School of Geneva, and different cities and towns across France including Grasse, Grenoble, Lyon and Paris, arrived to collect their badges and start their lobbying work.

The event gave ITU a chance to showcase its exceptional conference organizing skills, as teams from across the Union assisted the Ferney MUN Committee with everything from registration and badging to room allocation and seating plans, audio-visual and live webcast support, training for student interpreters and translators, onsite photo and video production, graphic design and printing for promotional banners and two onsite FerMUN13 magazines, and media relations activities.

The FerMUN club was founded in 2006, and is the world’s first fully bilingual MUN programme, thanks to the merging of the French and English chapters last year.
ITU Secretary-General Dr Touré told a packed room of student delegates, teachers and UN staff that he was impressed to be surrounded by so many bright and inspirational young people who were committed to debating technology issues in a spirit of international cooperation. “As young men and women, you hold the keys to the future in your hands. In a hyper-connected world, that future includes ICTs in every aspect of modern life – from schools and hospitals and government offices, to homes and businesses and public spaces. Yours is the most connected generation that has ever lived. That connectedness offers fantastic opportunities for engagement and empowerment, as information is accessed, used, created and shared to build tomorrow’s Knowledge Society”, he said.

In recognition of ITU’s role as the UN’s specialized agency for information and communication technology, the FerMUN13 students chose the theme of ICTs as the way forward in development, peace and prosperity.

Eight different committees discussed issues ranging from the combat against cyber-terrorism in the Disarmament and International Security Committee, to e-agriculture as a solution to the problem of global food security, and whether satellite imaging can be a useful tool in development.

Students also discussed whether telecommunications can help achieve greater empowerment, equality, education and employment for girls through greater access to ICT opportunities. The group’s Human Rights Council debated whether or not access to the Internet should be considered a human right, and whether international legislation regulating social media platforms should be put in place.

Finally, the students of the ECOSOC Committee discussed the importance of development of an online education system to ensure access to education for all, and whether telecommunications should be considered as a necessity for economic development.

(Source: ITU Blog)

Thursday, January 17, 2013 9:10:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Two lines written in a social network can awake a sleepy language and cause deep feelings inside of people. Under the name of tweets, published five times a day through various phrases made up with one hundred forty characters, a language that may sound distant and preterit becomes close and present, living in the realms of Twitter.
That is happening with the account @hablemosquechua. "We are taking a language that is a bit asleep to instant language technology that is Twitter, like a robotic memory aid"; says Kiko Mayorga, codirector of Escuelab, laboratory that develops technologies to meet local needs.

When they started over a year ago, they used only 4 words: water, fire, sea and sun. Then Irma added fluency to her native language that she learned in Apurimac, and which she had to combine with the Spanish when she moved to Arequipa, forced by terrorist violence.

"Quechua does not adapt easily to technology terms, as it is the Spanish language, it is harder”, says Irma. Five years ago she started working in the free software translation self-taught, advised by the American historian Amos Batto. Even though there is Office in Quechua made by Microsoft, its collective Runasimipi translated Abiword into Quechua, a free program. She likes that her work can integrate more people.

"Before, I always found softwares provided in English and Spanish but not in Quechua. I am happy that it exists now; it is like having the right to walk freely in the streets. Now there is a strong rebound in learning the Quechua language and should give the right to learn this language to everybody", says Irma.

(Source: Newspaper El Comercio)

Thursday, January 17, 2013 8:56:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Open Educational Resources, or OERs, offer a potential tool for impacting education in developing countries and fast growing economies, particularly in the emerging technology hubs of Africa. These open, freely available educational resources can provide top education for people who don’t have access to universities or education in developing countries, but there is fear that educational resources created in highly developed countries will be of little use to those in developing countries because of cultural and economic differences.

Open Educational Resources are described by UNESCO as being teaching, learning or research materials that are free to distribute or adapt. The MOOC is a great example of an OER, and organizations like Coursera, Udacity and edX are working in conjunction with top universities in the States and around the world to get university courses online and accessible the world over. Connexions, a global repository of educational content, has resources at all levels of education, and the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) set up the OER Commons to give teachers and students access to some 30,000 educational resources online.

There has been a huge amount of debate about the relevance of these kinds of resources in the developing world, particularly in Africa, a continent which is currently seeing rapid economic growth and technological innovation. Using open source materials in developing countries could potentially lead to a greater knowledge gap between the developed world and the developing world, with Africans becoming consumers of knowledge rather than producers. Because of the high cost involved in the creation of OERs, African countries with fewer resources may not have the means to create and distribute their own materials and resources.

On other hand, there is already a push toward open information sharing going on in many of Africa’s tech hubs. Organizations like Siyavula in South Africa and others around the Continent are creating OERs for use in their own countries and in wider Africa, and are creating a pan-African community of resource creators. OpenRwanda is a web portal educating and encouraging Rwandans to use the open source materials available to them. The Peer2Peer University in South Africa and the African Virtual University, a pan-African intergovernmental organization both offer free online courses with the aim of increasing access to education in their home continent. While progress is being made, it is still necessary for governments and policymakers to foster the development of OER materials that are relevant to education systems across Africa.

There were many who agreed with the motion, while the opposition argued that there is a lot of negative potential around OERs. Neil Butcher, OER Strategist for the Southern African Institute of Distance Education (SAIDE), suggested that OERs were just the tip of the iceberg, and that the educational sector needed a fundamental overhaul.

Further details

Thursday, January 17, 2013 8:25:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Connectivity between patients requiring medical advice and the hospital is practical and effectively provides crucial medical support. BNH Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, believes in investing in communication technology fundamentals to connect health anywhere, and anytime.

Despite being centrally located between Silom and Sathorn Road, Bangkok’s business, financial, and entertainment districts, BNH’s network reaches further under the “Urban Community” concept.

“Virtual Emergency Room (ER)”, launched in 2011, serves as a direct means of communication between BNH’s Emergency Room (ER) and patients via Skype. Initially, this telehealth service covered only nearby hotels, serviced apartments and condominiums where many foreigners, tourists, and foreign businesspeople live but has now expanded beyond this.

Patients or helpers can speak to and see the nurses in the ER from wherever they are with simple tools including internet connection, a computer, a tablet PC or a smart phone that supports video calls. People wishing to contact the hospital need to add the hospital identification “bnhhospital” to their contact list.

BNH’s Emergency Room (ER) staff is on standby 24/7 to receive calls and provide medical advice and support. Using a web camera, the nurses can see the condition of the patients, assess the situation and provide advice based on their findings. Bystanders can be instructed and guided to provide first aid and even Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) while the ambulance is dispatched.

The Virtual ER project has been managed by co-operation between the hospital’s international marketing and IT department. A network system for Virtual ER has been installed separately from the main hospital’s network to create an independent and dedicated connection. In the ER, computers and high-definition cameras for Skype have been configured exclusively for this project.

(Source: FutureGov)


Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:58:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 09, 2012

Over 500 people attended the first day of the three-day conference, Making the Connection – value chains for transforming smallholder agriculture. Held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the event attracted a broad range of individuals representing the private sector, government, civil society, farmers’ organizations and academia.

Value chains are all about making effective connections between farmers, input suppliers and buyers; between processors and supermarkets or buyers overseas. “It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this topic,” said CTA director Michael Hailu in his opening remarks. He quoted a popular Ethiopian saying: “You have the horse; you have the field – now it’s up to you to make things happen”.  Much, he said, could be achieved by conference participants over the coming days.

Mobile phones and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) are playing an increasingly important role in supporting agricultural value chains. This was the focus of the third parallel session, moderated by Ken Lohento of CTA. Shaun Ferris of the Catholic relief services (CRS) provided an overview of how different ICT technologies and products are being used to develop and improve agricultural value chains. Fritz Brugger of the Syngenta Foundation discussed the way in which his organization had used ICTs in index-based crop insurance schemes. Peter Thompson of Jamaica’s Rural Agricultural Development Authority highlighted the role of mobile phones in connecting farmers with information on everything from markets to the weather. “Agricultural losses to Hurricane Sandy would have been much greater had it not been for the text messaging service alerting farmers to how to cope with the hurricane”, he said.

Two presentations focused on specific interventions. One described the development of a dairy value chain in Kenya. In Nyala, Technoserve helped small-scale dairy farmers to develop a thriving market. This in turn benefited a range of other businesses, such as fodder producers, stimulating employment both within and beyond the agricultural sector. Tadesse Meskela described the astonishing success of the Oromio Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union in Ethiopia, which now boasts over 200,000 members organized in 217 co-operatives. There was much to learn about the importance of leadership and the development of a strong cooperative model.

(Source: This is Africa Online)

Friday, November 09, 2012 12:21:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Asia-Pacific leaders attending a high-level United Nations-backed technology gathering heard a call for an increased presence of women in the region’s media, information and communication technology (ICT), and communications industries.

The two-day ‘Women with the Wave’ forum in Seoul, Republic of Korea, urged media industry leaders, governments and international organizations to “work harder to promote greater female representation” in industry workplaces and on the airwaves, according to a joint news release from the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Asia Broadcasting Union (ABU), a non-profit, non-government, professional association that aims to advance broadcasting in the region.

The gathering identified the need for a “gender-inclusive” environment in all occupational groups to encourage women and girls to seek on- and off-screen communications and technology jobs, the release said.

The forum also called for women to be given greater access to technological and digital platforms, and argued for a positive, non-stereotypical and balanced portrayal of women and girls across all forms of media and technological platforms.

US actress Geena Davis, who was recently appointed ITU’s Special Envoy for Women and Girls, set the tone for the gathering’s final statement with her endorsement of its aims in her keynote address on the first day of the 10-11 October conference.

“The time for change is now, and all of you in this room are powerful agents of change”, said the Oscar-winning actress. “I’d like to applaud Asian broadcasters, filmmakers, Internet stakeholders, academics and others in taking the lead to change the image of women and girls in ICTs”.

(Source: UN News Centre)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 4:03:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

As part of the CIARD Movement, AIMS is organizing during Open Access Week 2012 a series of webinars on the theme “Making Agricultural Research Information Publicly Available and Accessible”. The event is co-sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD).

In total 7 webinars will be held from Tuesday, October 23 until Friday, October 26. Jean-Claude Guédon and Alma Swan will focus more in general respectively on the status of Open Access in the agricultural domain and Open Access policy developments. Wouter Gerritsma will talk about value-added services for the Wageningen Institutional Repository and Enrica Porcari will highlight the experience of CGIAR. The event will be closed by 3 webinars consisting each of 3 short presentations talking about respectively "Promotion of Open Access", "Search Engines for Open Access Web Resources" and "Digital Repository Development Use Cases".

Dates: Tuesday, October 23 until Friday, October 26.

Do not worry if you can not make it: the sessions will be recorded and you can play them back from the AIMS, CIARD and SIDALC (Agricultural Information and Documentation Service of the Americas) portals.

For more details and to access each webinar go to: http://aims.fao.org/oa-week-2012

(Source: FAO)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 1:33:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 12, 2012

To mark the first ever International Day of the Girl Child, ITU members and partners are today joining forces to launch the Tech Needs Girls Prize, a new global technology competition designed to inspire more girls to embrace technology and invent the future.

Our future is being shaped by technology and, with over 95% of all jobs now having a digital component, the information and communication technology (ICT) sector is an exciting place to be. Yet, as a global shortage of ICT professionals looms and the uptake of girls and women into ICT-related study declines, research reveals that technology has an image problem. Put simply, too many talented young girls mistakenly consider an ICT career to be boring, geeky, uncreative or a career path that lacks the ‘world-changing’ component many aspire to.

Working in partnership with lead players in the ICT, education and media industries, ITU’s new annual Tech Needs Girls Prize aims to dramatically shift perceptions. The prize targets girls between the ages of 9 to 18 at the very time when they start forming opinions about their place in the world and their choice of career path. ITU and its partners will name and tailor a suite of competitions to different specialist areas, offering girls around the world a variety of options to get involved, gain confidence in their abilities, demonstrate their creativity, explore their ‘inner entrepreneur’ and learn first-hand how ICT can make a real difference.

“Empowering women and girls is a key part of ITU’s mandate of ‘connecting the world’. I am looking forward enormously to seeing the imaginative submissions that will come in from girls right around the world, and hope that this new prize will encourage many of them to consider a future in this most exciting of industries,” said Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General.

The Tech Needs Girls Prize 2013 will be awarded as part of the annual Girls in ICT Day celebrations. ITU is working with leading players including Cisco, Intel Corporation and the G(irls)20 Summit to inspire girls to take the tech challenge. Geena Davis, ITU’s own Special Envoy for Girls and ICT, will also be lending her voice and the important work of her institute to ensure that girls are better equipped to be leaders and creators in the world of technology. Full details of the prize, partners and the competitions will be released over the coming weeks.

The prize forms part of ITU’s Tech Needs Girls campaign, launched at Girls in ICT Day this year, which is leveraging the convening power of ITU to bring players in the ICT, education and media industries together. This global call to action aims to transform the wide-ranging number of programmes and organizational initiatives into a force for movement on the urgent issue of ensuring girls and women play a much more substantive role in the ICT sector and are better empowered to harness technology to transform their lives and their futures.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)


Friday, October 12, 2012 1:59:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 11, 2012
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) and the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) are jointly organizing the Women With the WAVE: High Level Forum on Digital Inclusion of Women and Girls, which is held in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 10-11 October 2012. This is in line with WTDC Res. 55 (Doha, 2006): “Promoting gender equality towards an all-inclusive information society”, Plenipotentiary Resolution 70 (rev Guadalajara, 2010): “Gender mainstreaming in ITU and promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women through information and communication technologies”, and the 4th World Conference on Women Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and media have an enormous impact on virtually all aspects of our lives, while being recognized as a critical enabler for socio-economic and cultural development in all countries around the world. The rapid progress of ICT technologies and proliferation of media platforms creates new opportunities to attain higher levels of development through ICT and media. The ability of ICTs and media to reduce many traditional obstacles, especially those of time and distance, makes it possible to use their potential to achieve digital inclusion for millions of people all over the world. Under favorable conditions, these technologies can be powerful instruments, increasing productivity, generating socio-economic growth, job creation and employability, and improving the quality of life of all.

Regrettably, recent studies have shown that the benefits of the ICTs and broadcast media revolution are still unevenly distributed between developed and developing countries and within societies. ITU, ABU, KBS, Forum partners and supporters are committed to turn the existing digital divide into a digital opportunity for all. These organizations have joined forces to promote digital inclusion of already marginalized social groups who risk being left behind the digital wave sweeping the world, particularly of women and girls.

For further information regarding this event, contact Ms. Aurora A. Rubio (aurora.rubio@itu.int)

(Source: ITU - Regional Office for Asia & Pacific)

Thursday, October 11, 2012 10:55:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 17, 2012

The service - 'Business Women' - was introduced by Nokia West Africa, in partnership with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women (CBFW) and MTN. Cherie Blair, founder of CBFW, told journalists that women entrepreneurs are faced with significant barriers to scaling up their businesses, including access to affordable resources, marketing channels and training inputs.

According to Blair, the new information service aims to address this imbalance by providing essential entrepreneurship tips, delivered via SMS to mobile phones with the Nokia Life service.

Women entrepreneurs present at the launch of the service expressed optimism that the new information service would assist them in overcoming some of the social and economic barriers preventing women from reaching their economic potential.

Respondents agreed that computers and the internet allow women to build entrepreneurial success; however, mobile phones have the most potential because their portability and ease of use make them a particularly friendly tool to support women's business growth.

James Rutherford, the Vice President of Nokia West Africa, said the initiative was part of Nokia's "commitment towards connecting people to new opportunities, including making women a larger part of the next billion of people to be connected".

"Nokia Life is by far the world's largest mobile information service suite helping consumers in emerging markets learn, live and share information better", he said. "The foundation invests in women entrepreneurs to build and expand their businesses; and in doing so, benefit not only them but also their families and communities. We are delighted to partner with the foundation to provide Nigerian women with the best information available to help their businesses.

The service will be available for free, for the first six months, to Nokia Life users who are also currently subscribed to MTN Nigeria.

(Source: Daily Times)

Monday, September 17, 2012 4:57:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Futurecom is the largest and most qualified Telecommunications event in Latin America, with special focus in Brazil. 14 000 attendees from more than 40 countries participate at Futurecom Brazil. 

Futurecom struggles to be an environmentally responsible event by reducing the impacts to the environment, becoming an example to be followed in the management of environmental impacts. We encourage exhibitors, sponsors and partners to do their part.

It has a 20.000 sqm. exhibition area and an outstanding International Congress with more than 250 speakers and 3500+ delegates. Most of worldwide ICT companies participate at Futurecom, as well as all Brazilian Fixed and Mobile Carriers. Futurecom 14th edition will be held in the city of Rio de Janeiro, from October 8th to 12th, 2012!

Link Box:

http://www.futurecom.com.br/, Facebook, Twitter  #futurecom, Linkedin and Youtube

For more information see:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7j-tbg7XE4&feature=player_embedded

(Source: Innovationsky)


Monday, September 17, 2012 4:40:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The capital city of South Korea will be providing smartphones and free wireless Internet service at homeless shelters as part of the city government’s Social Networking Service, education program for 300 homeless people who are trying to reintegrate back into society.

Under the program, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and its partners will be providing second hand smartphones, donated by citizens to homeless residents, which they can use during hosted workshops on how they can interact with society through the social networking services. In addition, workshop attendees are also taught how they can make better use of mobile applications available in their smart phones.

After completing the workshops, each homeless resident will receive a new smartphone with a KRW 20,000 credit. From then on the users will be responsible for adding credit themselves. However, even if the credit runs out, the phone will still work wherever free Wi-Fi is available.

According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, by using smartphones, homeless people can now search for jobs and employment related information, online, anytime, anywhere. Furthermore, they will be able to reconnect with their family and friends and interact with the rest of society through social networking services.

(Source: FutureGov)
Further details

Monday, September 17, 2012 4:32:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Remote, mountainous, and hard-to-reach areas like Uganda’s Kabale district suffer from inadequate access to information of all kinds. Because the region, located in the southwestern corner of Uganda, is predominantly agricultural, timely and relevant information for farmers in Kabale would significantly help improve their livelihoods.

A mobile phone application developed by the project Life Long Learning for Farmers in Uganda (L3F Uganda) is helping Kabale farmers get the information they need. The project sends text messages with agricultural updates and information to about 1,000 farmers. This information, disseminated twice weekly by L3F Uganda, has helped farmers get valuable guidance on market access, fertilizer application, plant spacing, timely planting, local diseases, and other topics. The project is a partnership of Commonwealth of Learning, Makerere University’s Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo, and local community organizations, and was instituted as a pilot project in Bufundi, a sub-county of Kabale, in 2009 with the hope of extending it to all of Uganda.

The main aim of L3F Uganda is to help solve the many challenges farmers confront in the region. These include inadequate road networks, preventing farmers from getting to markets; a lack of credit and financial services; volatile market prices; and a lack of up-to-date information about seeds, weather patterns, appropriate fertilizers, pests, and other agricultural issues. Traditionally, the government’s agricultural extension service was the main source of information for farmers in Uganda, but the current ratio of extension workers to farmers in the country is 1:24,000, rendering the service largely ineffective. In Bufundi, the ratio is 1:46,000.

(Source: iconnect)                                                                                                                                                        

Further details


Monday, September 17, 2012 3:21:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 31, 2012

With the socialization of public policies and experiences in telehealth and medicine in the ICT sector, the ICT Ministry participated in the Third International Telemedicine Conference where over 150 representatives of the health sector met to discuss technology and health.

The event, organized by the Center for Telemedicine in Colombia, with the participation of national and international experts in the field of telemedicine, telehealth and e-health held various  academic sessions such as workshops, lectures, courses and specialized tradeshow to showcase advances in telemedicine industry.

"With the development of telemedicine in Colombia we are saving lives, professionals in Health have increasingly tools to practice, making that all people receive timely medical care and quality, regardless of where they are, all this thanks to the opportunities offered by today's technology "said Johanna Pimiento, Manager of the Program e-Government, who participated in the first day of the Conference.
ICT Ministry and telehealth.

Since Act 1419 of 2010, which establishes guidelines for the development of telehealth in Colombia and its development; which aims to support the Social Security System in Health on principles of efficiency, universality, solidarity, integrity , unity and quality telehealth as public policy seeks to improve through technology, health conditions of the Colombian population, particularly the ones who are socially and economically vulnerable, finding themselves in places difficult to access and out of reach from the health institutions of medium and high complexity.

With the implementation of the Plan “Vive Digital” from the ICT Ministry, which seeks to promote the massive use of the Internet to make a leap to prosperity for all, through the program “Compartel” and its National Fiber Optic, connection will be provided to 780 IPS across the country and is currently in the process of shaping the Telehealth Committee, which will promote the conditions for telehealth develop effectively in the country.

(Source:MINTIC – Colombia)

Friday, August 31, 2012 8:50:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 20, 2012

To enhance and attain the health component of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Abia State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Broadbased Communications Limited to provide fibre optic network across the state.

The chief marketing officer of Broadbased Communications, Mr. Chidi Ibisi, said that the fibre optic network would put Abia on the telecommunications super highway and revolutionalise the healthcare delivery system in the state.

“Farmers in the rural areas would have access to new methods of farming as extension officers can talk to farmers in the rural areas at the same time through video conferencing”, he said, adding that the state governor can also use the network to make a broadcast.

The chief marketing officer explained that the benefits of Abia’s journey into the information superhighway would be felt everywhere across the state because hospitals, schools, government ministries, departments and agencies, banks would all be connected to the network.

“It is a super highway that can carry everybody, a next generation broadband network that can carry a lot of data”, he said, noting that telecommunications companies operating in Abia could log into the fibre optic network for efficient services.

Special adviser to the governor on NEPAD, Hon Longman Emeka Nwachukwu, who facilitated the fibre optic networking agreement with Broadbased Communications, told that Abia was well poised to utilize the full benefits of ICT to drive its development.

(Source: This Day News Paper)
Further details


Monday, August 20, 2012 8:11:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Like most of the farmers in developing countries, farmers in India also lack proper access to market information. Realizing this information gap, a free SMS-based product called “Fasal” that connects rural farmers with buyers and provides them with real-time price information in India is developed by Intuit.

 It facilitates the relationship between sellers and buyers, whether through finding marketplaces or determining market rates. The service uses complex matching algorithms to ensure that the multiple service messages reach the farmer every day, providing him with data so that he can make informed decisions. Itis rapidly becoming popular among farmers in the Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh states with the outreach count reaching to 9,24,838 and 8,000 new members joining the fasal community every week.

 

Access the Fasal website here: fasal.intuit.com/index.html

(Source: e-agriculture)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 5:33:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Both institutions seek to create synergies to develop solutions engineering, product design and methodology, using ICT as a tool to connect to most Peruvians, especially in rural areas.

The agreement also aims to strengthen the initiatives being developed by the Rural Telecommunications Group of Catholic University (PUCP) through which it has deployed wireless networks in various parts of Cusco, Cajamarca and Loreto and currently provides access to the Internet via the WiFi network allowing for example to have the service of Telemedicine in border areas.

Telefonica and the Rural Telecommunications Group of Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) signed on Friday 13 July a cooperation agreement through which the agencies are seeking to join forces with the aim of developing solutions based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) that allow telecommunications to be brought to rural America.

Through this agreement, both institutions seek to create synergies to develop engineering solutions, products, design and methodology, using ICT as a tool to connect to most Peruvians, with special attention to the needs of rural areas that have a lack of telecommunications services and / or with limited access.

Both institutions are committed to develop outreach activities and academic specialization programmes, courses, seminars, forums and conferences to enhance participants' skills and improve their experiences in ICT.

(Source: Telefonica)
Further details

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 5:25:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

WeFarm is a worldwide peer-to-peer knowledge sharing network being piloted by the Cafédirect Producers’ Foundation (CPF) with very exciting results so far.

The content is created by the users; sharing their knowledge and innovative ideas from farmer to farmer across continents and languages, and enabling people with no access to the internet to harness its power, through even the most basic mobile phone, to improve their lives.

The internet platform will support smallholder farming communities to:

-          Strengthen their farming practices and livelihoods by accessing relevant information from other smallholders.

-          Showcase practices and products developed within their community, and strengthen links with potential partners.

-          Share, learn and benefit from experiences and innovative solutions.

-          Create networks and use for this technology that cannot be envisaged yet. In the process the project will gain a life of its own and become self sufficient.

Two years after this simple idea was born, WeFarm has grown into a pioneering test system, which has now been successfully piloted with farmers in Kenya and Peru. WeFarm wants to be the first port of call for any farmer, anywhere, who has a problem to solve or a solution to share.

For further information see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPzfxuqB6ok

http://www.e-agriculture.org/sites/default/files/uploads/media/WeFarm_About.pdf

(Source: Wefarm)





Tuesday, July 17, 2012 5:18:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Agricultural workers in Ethiopia such as farmers and researchers came together in Addis Ababa to discuss a farmers market information system (FMIS). This system will include a text message information service for farmers in Ethiopia’s Oromia province.

Purpose of the workshops was to identify the needs of several actors in the agriculture field such as farmers, farmers unions, agricultural experts and traders and suppliers of cultivation products. The meeting also allowed the agriculture workers to classify their requirements on the features of the farmers market information system and. The system will be built by Ethiopian mobile technology company Apposit LLC with the support of Connect4Change consortium members IICD, Texttochange and ICCO and Dutch ICT company 1Zero.

The Farmers Market Information System will function as a database with a mobile component, giving its users all the information they seek, in different user interfaces, adjusted to their needs.

Field visits in local farmers market organizations, indicated that more than 50% of the farmers in the Oromia Region make use of mobile phones and value this use in their daily life. Through the FMIS, the farmers will be able to receive information on market prices for their products, the weather forecast, or availability of fertilisers with a simple text message. In addition to this, they will be provided with solar mobile chargers to facilitate them, as at the moment, every time they need to charge their phones, they are forced to visit the nearest village on a market day and pay an amount of money to have it charged.

Farmers market organizations and unions will use the Farmers Market Information System to aggregate data from individual farmers about what and how many products they grow. With these data, they will be able to analyze and monitor the production of agricultural goods in their area.

The Farmers Information System will also be used by traders and suppliers of cultivation products to retrieve information on which products are being cultivated and provide the farmers with the necessary market information or products such as fertilizers suitable to their crop.

In the first phase, the Farmers Market Information System will be used by 16500 farmers in the Oromia Region, with the possibility to upscale it to other provinces. The system will be developed by the Ethiopian mobile technology company Apposit LLC with the support of IICD and fellow Connect4change members, ICCO and Texttochange,  as well as with the support of 1Zero.

(Source: IICD)

Further details

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 6:02:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Khon Kaen University (KKU), Thailand recently became the first university in Thailand and in Southeast Asia to roll out the Google App for Education to facilitate learning, with the collaboration of teachers and university staff. 200 buildings throughout 8.96 million square meters of the KKU area are now connected with wireless internet of 60 access points, allowing students to do online learning and information searching anywhere and anytime, said KKU President Associate Prof Dr Kittichai Triratanasirichai.

“Our mission is to be an international university and be a hub in the northeast for students from overseas. The university has been focusing on IT investment as a vital tool to support education for several years”, he added. With 2,000 subjects are available in the KKU Learning Management System (LMS), students can access to these electronic learning materials via the internet connection, both wired and wireless.

KKU wants to be an international university and ICT is an important tool to assist us achieve the goal. Studying at KKU, student learning will be facilitated by the ICT infrastructure along with the ICT knowledge that is a must and required skill for graduation students”, said Dr Tiratanasirichai. KKU is located 449 kilometres northeast of Bangkok, with 12,000 staff and hospitals which includes 2,000 teachers and 10,000 staff, and 43,000 students.

“All will be encouraged to use Google Apps in the next three months. Now, around 10,000 users are using Google Apps”, said KKU’s vice president of academic and IT, assistant Prof Denpong Soodphakdee.

He added that KUU’s e-learning system is enabled by the Mooddle system, a free Web-based learning managment system that allows educators to create effective online learning sites. Google Apps will be integrated into the university’s LMS. Apart from e-learning benefit, the students is able to arrange their learning plan such as planning their study time talbe, checking the subjects, and dates of examinations throughout the semester.

KKU cannot only save time, but it can also save the cost of service deployment to the staff. “The cost of IT investment is low but there is more efficiency in performing routine tasks and teaching services. In the future, KKU can provide partial distant-learning for graduation students”, said Soodphakdee.

(Source: FutureGov)

Further details

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 5:55:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

More than 5,000 residents of the community of Chalhuanca in Aymara in the province of Apurimac, will benefit from access to Broadband Internet for free, under the Digital Chalhuanca project, promoted by the regional government and the mining Suyamarca, member of Hochschild Mining Group.

The provincial municipality of Aymara, the regional government of Apurimac and mining company opened in the previous day (Wednesday) Chalhuanca Digital, which will benefit communities of Suyamarca influence of the mining and surrounding communities as Cotaruse, Pampamarca, Iscahuaca, Promesa and Colca, also Pallancata, Santa Rosa and Ariso.

Hochschild Mining's president, Ignacio Bustamante, said that the project will require an investment of one million dollars, from what they have invested US$ 670,000 and 80 percent of the cost is borne by Minera Suyamarca and the rest will be assumed by local and regional authorities.

"It's a historic moment for Apurimac it is the first digital community in the country and this experience we will replicate in major districts of the region as Abancay, Andahuaylas and Cotabambas" he said.

He explained that the project has two stages and its implementation will take four years, the first step is the implementation of basic infrastructure to meet the needs of technology and communication technology which is required by the digital city.

In the second stage they will prioritize the needs of training in the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in education, employment and productive.

Meanwhile, the president of the Apurimac region, Elijah Segovia said that this project starts Apurimac digital inclusion in the framework of social inclusion promoted by the government, adding that help improve the educational level of the region, which is one of the main objectives of its management.

(Source: Andina)

Further details

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 5:50:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 28, 2012

An intensive camp for budding female programmers and engineers hopes to increase the number of women in the tech world.

Women earn the majority of bachelor degrees in the U.S., but only 24% of females work in technical fields. "Girls and boys at 12 or 13 like math and science the same, but then something shifts. There’s a cultural perception that a coder or engineer looks like a white male", says Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code and former New York City Deputy Public Advocate.

So she founded Girls Who Code, a summer program with backing from Twitter, General Electric, Google, and eBay that wants to help close the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) gap by giving high school girls (ages 13 to 17) the opportunity to learn more about what engineering and technology careers have to offer--and by giving them the confidence to pursue their goals.

The New York City program, which kicks off this summer, will have 20 participants, representing all of the city’s boroughs and 12 different ethnicities. "We wanted to focus on girls who didn’t have a lot of access at home or schools that were passionate about technology", says Saujani.

The Girls Who Code participants will have a jam-packed summer schedule, with activities planned Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Every week will have a different theme (mobile apps, robotics, entrepreneurship, etc.) and speakers will come talk to the girls every day. Already, Girls Who Code has lecturers like General Electric CMO Beth Comstock, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, and Gilt Groupe founder Alexis Maybank lined up. Once or twice a week, the participants will take field trips to various tech startups and established companies, including Twitter, Google, Facebook, and General Assembly.

During the final two weeks, the girls will work on their final projects, which will ask them to solve problems using tools they’ve learned during the summer. One example: The girls might be asked identify a challenge in their neighborhood, and develop something--a video game, say, or a mobile app-- to address it. The girls will receive feedback and help from their mentors teachers, and at the end of the program, they’ll have the opportunity to showcase their ideas to a group of entrepreneurs and engineers.

(Source: Fastcoexist)
Further information

Thursday, June 28, 2012 3:49:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Backed by research and respected companies, a new platform aims to show the benefits of going online.

The site, called A Platform for Good (PfG), will launch in September with a mission to help shift the conversation away from the negative focus that so often appears in the media about youth online experience to a conversation that highlights the positive opportunities the internet has to offer. Through this approach, the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) aims to bridge the generational digital divide by increasing adult comfort with technology and understanding of the opportunities it offers.

By leveraging existing social media platforms that young people and their parents already use, A Platform for Good will have widespread appeal for a number of age groups, FOSI believes. PfG will provide the following:

  • Kids and teens will access incentive-based, interactive activities that teach them about online safety issues in a fun, engaging way. PfG will also foster participation and collaboration with youth.
  • Parents will receive conversation starters and tips via text and social networking sites to encourage families to discuss current events and turning recent news into learning experiences.
  • Teachers will find new instructional opportunities, including interesting videos and web-based activities to inspire their students.

 “A Platform for Good is an opportunity to provide people with a positive message about online safety education”, said Kim Sanchez, chair of FOSI’s board of directors and a director of privacy and online safety at Microsoft, in a statement.

According to FOSI, PfG is not looking to replace the many online safety programs already available in schools, but, rather, to add a new layer to the conversation by focusing on the research that focuses on teens and their online experiences and “promoting incredible stories of technology being used ‘for good’; and work to spur dialogue between parents, teacher, and youth about what it means to be a responsible digital citizen in our ever-connected world,” explained Nancy Gifford (special projects coordinator for the Family Online Safety Institute - FOSI).

(Source: eschool)
Further details

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 5:18:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 11, 2012
African Leadership in ICT (ALICT) is an African Union Commission initiative, supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and implemented by GESCI (Founded by the UN ICT Task Force).

Policy incoherence and misalignment in the Education, ICT, Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) sectors, and a lack of effective leadership to address this issue, has been identified as one of the greatest obstacles to the development of knowledge societies in Africa. Socio-economic development depends on well developed and implementable Education, ICT and STI policies that compliment one another and advance each sector’s goals. The ALICT course will build the capacity of future African leaders to contribute effectively to the development of knowledge societies by imparting new leadership skills to them. These new leadership skills will provide participants with the attitudes, ideas, management tools, and strategies to act as change agents, assisting their ministries and organisations to develop coherent and well aligned polices in Education, ICT and STI.

Course Vision
Work with future African leaders in ministries and organisations to advance knowledge society development across Africa.

Course Objectives
- Equip existing and future African leaders with a commanding understanding of the key elements in the development of knowledge  societies.
- Build leaders’ capacities to be agents of change in their own ministries, organisations and regions for the development of knowledge societies.

For further information check: http://www.gesci.org/african-leadership-in-ict-alict.html

(Source: GESCI)

Monday, June 11, 2012 6:37:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The World Wide Web Foundation announced the publication of Accelerating Development Using the Web: Empowering Poor and Marginalized Populations. This publication is supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the book is a compendium of articles by recognized experts describing the real and potential effects of the World Wide Web in all major aspects of economic and  social development.

The book fills a gap in the current store of knowledge by taking a broad view, offering detailed commentary from fourteen  experts who are deeply engaged in the field of ICTs for development, many with extensive experience in developing countries,  and each able to emphasize the key questions, challenges, and successes unique to their field.

The research unites themes of technological innovation, international development, economic growth, gender equality, linguistic and cultural diversity and community action, with special attention paid to the circumstances surrounding the poor and  vulnerable members of the Global Information Society.

Readers will be able to draw parallels across each field and see where similarities in the deployment of ICTs for development exist and where there are divergences.

Download the full text here

(Source: Web Foundation)

Monday, June 11, 2012 10:07:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 08, 2012
The Minister of Information and Communications Technologies, Diego Molano Vega, hold important meetings this week and participate in key events in Washington (United States) for the development of Colombian Plan "Vive Digital".

Molano Vega participate as a speaker at the meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on strategies for using ICTs in poverty alleviation in the region.

Participants, who include, the ICT Minister of Colombia, the Deputy Minister of Communications of Peru, Raul Perez, Secretary General of the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organizations (CANTO), Regenie Fraser, the Executive Director of Policy CISCO Technology Andres Maz, and the Americas director of Microsoft, Pedro Julio Uribe, exchange ideas on how policies in the region are having the desired effect of encouraging private sector investment to accelerate the penetration of broadband and Internet use in all sectors of society.

"An estimated 10 percent increase in market penetration of broadband services in Latin America would mean an increase in GDP of 3.2% and a productivity growth of 2.6%. There is ample evidence to support the fundamental role of broadband in the economic development of our nations", said Minister Molano Vega.

Likewise, ICT Minister will participate in the Government Leaders Forum Microsoft's event held since 1998 to analyze the role played by information technology in pursuit of prosperity, economic development and strengthening of democracies in countries.

The main focus this year will be the impact on the future of Latin America and the Caribbean, taking into account the role of women, international cooperation, the sustainability of cities, open government and education, all aimed at decreasing of poverty.

(Source: MINTIC)

Further details


Friday, June 08, 2012 11:35:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The GSMA mAgri team invites to a one hour webinar on Wednesday 27th June (at 14.00 UK time) sharing practical and actionable lessons which can be applied to the design and marketing of mobile information and advisory services for women smallholders.

The mAgri Programme identifies opportunities where mobile can have the most impact to mitigate these problems. They are uniquely placed to bring together mobile network operators, agricultural organisations, NGOs, ICT professionals and donors to act on these opportunities.

Half of all farmers in the developing world are women, and in some countries such as Rwanda women account for 70% of the agricultural workforce.

Women farmers are less productive than men but if they had equal access to resources, including quality and actionable information, women farmers could grow 30% more food.

With a focus on service design and marketing, this webinar will focus on how mobile operators, VAS providers and agricultural NGOs can provide women farmers more equal access to mobile information and advisory services. Armed with better access to information, women farmers can make more informed decisions, increase their resilience and ultimately improve productivity and incomes.  Subject matter experts in gender and agriculture will share their insight and draw on best practice from closely related programmes and initiatives (such as gender-responsive extension programmes and using ICTs to empower rural women).

Reserve your Webinar seat at:https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/213949574

(Source: GSMA)

Friday, June 08, 2012 9:34:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Video can be produced at low cost and has the potential to reach a very large audience. New technology, especially digital video equipment, is making video an increasingly popular way to inform, educate, and entertain.

The aim of this book is to educate those working in NGOs, government agencies, and other institutions about how they can use video for development. The book is divided into four sections.

1. Overview of the various uses for video in development (particularly agricultural and rural development)

2. Guidelines for using video for development, based on research and experience

3. Nine case studies to highlight a range of possibilities

4. Resources for further information, including a bibliography and list of relevant organizations

With a  clear objective, thorough research, and high level of organization, this book is an excellent resource for anyone who would like to better understand how video can help reach across barriers and accomplish development objectives.

The full book is available here.

(Source: Anancy and e-agriculture)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012 3:53:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Over 50 Africans and Latin Americans gathered in Bolivia and Uganda to share their experiences with using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for education and health. These Cross-Country Learning Events (CCLEs) took place from 21 to 26 May 2012 and were organized by IICD and its Connect4Change consortium partners.

In Bolivia, African and Latin American participants deliberated on the theme ‘Improving the quality and equity of Education through integrating ICT’ and in Uganda partners shared their experiences and lessons on ‘ICT in health’.

The meeting objectives of the CCLEs in Uganda and Bolivia were:

   - Active learning on what works and what does not in using ICTs to enhance the quality of health and education
   - Sharing of innovative ideas and peer advice, and identification of good practices
   - Linking and networking among individuals, projects and organisations working in this field
   - Building on participants’ experiences to inform C4C´s practice and programmes

 The cross-country learning event in Bolivia, hosted by CEPAC was officially opened on by CEPAC’s Managing Director Widen Abastoflor Sauma. In his opening speech, he emphasised that ‘the power to learn is within the human being’.  With these words in mind, participants actively commenced the workshops sessions aimed at sharing knowledge and experiences.

The programme also included project visits to schools that are successfully using ICT for improved learning. For many participants these visits led to new insights. Stephan Agbenyo from Ghana vitited a school in Yapacani that is generating and digitising its own content. On his blog, he writes that he is impressed about “the special involvement of parents in the projects and the integration of technology in the classroom.”

In Uganda, a similar programme was followed and participants from all over Africa shared their stories on how ICTs are used to improve health care delivery in Africa. Christopher Kulanga from the Nkhoma Hospital in Malawi said: “The interaction, the sharing is just amazing. There are stories that are so inspiring and motivating. They give me the driving force”.

(Source: IICD)

Further details

Wednesday, June 06, 2012 3:44:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The constant challenge for a fruit producer company is to minimize the incidence of plagues and illnesses, attain competitive prices through the increase of unitary yield and production cost reduction, improve process and product quality and diminish environmental impact.

It is essential for this process to have a technological infrastructure which captures production data, stores and process them, and disclose strategic information for decision making.

Starting from these premises, the FruTIC project was born. Its objective is to increase the productive efficiency of the citric sector, favoring its competitiveness and the completion of market requirements through the implementation of the ICT System (Information and Communication technologies) that offers strategic information for the citric management based on a periodic environment and phenological monitoring of cultivation and its main plagues.

FruTIC is designed for those producers who want to improve its profitability and get access to quality certification standards.

An integrated producer to FruTIC is able, for example:

  • To know the state of budding and flowering in their varieties

  • To know the most favorable harvest date for its fruit

  • To know how much water needs to be restocked by watering

  • To receive instantaneous warnings of meteorological events

  • To be more certain about whether or not to control a plague in the farm

  • To know the evolution of plagues and illnesses related with citrus

  • To achieve a production protocol with International certifiable standards

FruTIC offers information to increase profitability of citrus companies, allowing a more efficient use of agrochemicals, a superior fruit quality and a better access to international certifications. FruTIC data is personalized according to the requirements of the producers adhered to the system.

FruTIC offers two types of services for citrus management, classified as public and private. They present information in different ways Public information: free access information through FruTIC website. Private information: personalized and easily reached service through the FruTIC website by means of a user name and password.

(Source: FruTIC)
Further details


Tuesday, June 05, 2012 10:26:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More than half of India's population live in rural areas and off-the-map villages. Most are remote and too isolated to benefit from the country's impressive economic progress. Yet there's a growing desire among people in rural India to be part of its modernisation process.

"India is a country which has more than 600,000 villages and connecting these areas with internet broadband will have a paradigm shift", says Sachin Pilot, the minister of state for communications and information technology. Increasingly the government is looking at better ways to reach remote, rural India. And it is hoping that technology will provide a solution.

"It's time for our IT roots to go further inland and make sure that those areas which are tribal, rural and far-off geographically are brought to the ambit of the IT revolution", says Mr Pilot.

While the country boasts the world's second fastest-growing mobile market, it is lagging behind when it comes to internet connectivity. According to a new study by the British risk analysis firm, Maplecroft, India is at 'extreme risk' from a lack of 'digital inclusion.'

The country's IT revolution is sometimes thought to benefit only the better off. According to the study, a lack of digital inclusion could hamper the country's economic potential as well. But while India is trailing the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia and China in the drive to get its population connected to digital technologies, the government says it has big plans.

By 2014, it wants to connect 160m Indians to hi-speed internet. Through a range of public services, it's hoping to bridge the digital divide and bring awareness to those who are missing out on India's IT revolution.

"The challenge before all of us is to create the demand among people to want these data-heavy intensive services," says Mr Pilot.

"We are trying to educate the people, make it a demand driven process where the villagers in far-off areas are expecting and wanting that connectivity. And then they will be able to pay some price for that."

(Source: BBC News)
Further details


Wednesday, May 30, 2012 5:46:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 21, 2012

Apurimac is the first region to provide free Internet service through pilot virtual centers which will be built and implemented with the support from mining companies operating in the area, announced its regional president, Elias Ruiz Segovia.

He said that through the project "Construction and implementation of pilot virtual centers to achieve contents in cu