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 Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: GAATES)

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: eLearning Africa)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Zawya)

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



“Telefónica Educación Digital and Qualcomm Wireless Reach announces today the launch of the Mobile for Change competition (www.mobile4change.org) with the patronage of UNESCO and full support of its YouthMobile Initiative.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: UNESCO)

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: ECWT)

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Techcabal)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: This Day Live)

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


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

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

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

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

Monday, March 16, 2015 11:16:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, March 14, 2015

“THE PINK CLOUD INITIATIVE
May 19-21, 2015 in Milan, Italy
During EXPO 2015

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

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

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

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

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

More details

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: GSMA)

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

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

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



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

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

Making STEM fun through hands-on practice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: CISCO)

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


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

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

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

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

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

(Source: TCF)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Biztech Africa)

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Intel)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: CISCO)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: ITWire)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further details

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: UNESCO)

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Biztech Africa)

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



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

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

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

The TeachTab and LearnTab

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: IICD)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source:Daily News)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Namibia News Digest)

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

´With this we seek entrepreneurs, besides being paid, take social consciousness and begin developing such applications or solutions that seek to improve the lives of Colombians, especially the vulnerable and poor,´ said Molano Vega.

Apps.co currently has a network of 71,000 developers and the purpose is to continue to link more people to make Colombia a leading developer of social applications for the poorest.

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

(Source: MINTIC)

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: CISCO)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Biztech)

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Women in Leadership

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

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

Benefits of Gender-Diverse Workforces

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

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

Addressing the Digital Gender Divide

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source GSMA)

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


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

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

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


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

…as well as health advice.

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

Mobiles devices save lives
 

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

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

Prepare women & girls for the STEM jobs of tomorrow

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

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

(Source: UNESCO)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: GAATES)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: The Fiji Times)

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: TCF)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Wake-up call'

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

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

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

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

'Options limited'

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: BBC News)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: ICTWorks)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Global Post)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 
(Source: UNESCO)

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 (Source: GSMA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Leadirship Newspaper)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Biztech Africa)

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


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

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

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

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

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

(Source: TCF)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: IICD)

Thursday, February 12, 2015 4:58:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 06, 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Biztech Africa)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: eLearning)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: All Africa)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: AFK)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: UNESCO)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Intel Asia Pacific CSR Journal)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: UNESCO)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: PRWeb)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

´We want to go to a step further.´

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: The New Times)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source:  MYICT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: UNESCO)

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: OFA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Ericcson)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: IT News Africa)

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


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

Download full report here)

(Source: IICD)

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



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

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

(Source: Angola Press)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: CIO East Africa)

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: IDA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: FBC)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 11:43:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"Dimension Data, the US$6 billion ICT solutions and services provider, has announced that 45 learners have graduated today from its innovative Saturday School Programme.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Dimensio Data)

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: MYICT Rwanda)

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: UNESCO)

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



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

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

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

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

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

(Source: The New Times)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 10:28:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



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

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

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

(Source: W.TEC)

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



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

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

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

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

(Source: CIO East Africa)

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 10:10:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) today announced a 30-day extension of the entry for its Innovation Prize Award (see also #IPA2015). Applications can now be received by 30 November 2014 at 24h00 GMT. With a total prize share of US$150 000, African innovators stand to gain much more, such as recognition through our unique IPA brand, increased opportunities to attract investments, continental and international media attention, and the chance to positively transform the African innovation landscape.

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: AIF)

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 9:59:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Two Nigerian youths, Messrs Anthony Oniwon and Abdulganiyu Onabanjo were the cynosure of all eyes, Wednesday week, Night in Cape Town as they carted away a whopping $35, 000, approximately, N6 million, as winners of Etisalat Pan-African Prize for Innovation 2014.

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

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

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

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

(Source: Vanguard)

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

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

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

Challenge 1 on Local Digital Content with Challenge Partner Ooredoo

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

Challenge 2 on Open Source Technologies for Disaster Management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Young Influencers Day – 7 December


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

Start-up Day – 9 December


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

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

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

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

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

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

A new global report produced by Intel Corporation indicates that girls and women involved with ´making,´ designing and creating things with electronic tools, may build stronger interest and skills in computer science and engineering – which could potentially reduce the growing gender gap in these fields.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Intel Newsroom)

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: eLearning Africa)

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


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

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

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

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

Skilled individuals to sustain South Africa's fast digital growth

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Bizcommunity)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Biztech Africa)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: NCWIT)

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

AWARDS

A) Mobile Application Development

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

B) Scratch Programming

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

C) Blogging

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: W.TEC)

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



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

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

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

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

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

How to Become a TCA Agent

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

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

(Futher details)



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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Intel)

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



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

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

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

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

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

(Source: eLearning)

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

"Policy and regulatory changes to focus on greater ICT accessibility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to download the report."

Further details

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

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

Further information

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

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

The winners are:

Big Data and analytics

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

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

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

Smart Cities

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

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

IoT/Cloud

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

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

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

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

(Source: Cisco)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further information

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

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

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

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

(Source: WOUGNET)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Daily Observer Gambia)

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

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

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

(Source: Angola Press)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Information

Monday, November 03, 2014 11:10:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Inaugural GEM-TECH Awards bring winners from around the world to Busan, Korea to highlight the transformative power of ICTs

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

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

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

The seven GEM-TECH winners are:

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

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

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

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

Category 5: Closing the ICT gender gap, ensuring ICT accessibility for women, such as digital literacy training and ensuring affordable and meaningful access to ICTs by women.
Winner: Telecentre.org Foundation Philippines

Category 6: Efforts to reduce online threats and to build women’s confidence and security in the use of ICTs
Winner: Association for Progressive Communications (APC) South Africa

Category 7: ICT and broadband strategies, policies and frameworks that promote women’s digital empowerment
Winner: Federal Ministry of Communication Technology Nigeria

The awards were sponsored by Gold Partners the Sultanate of Oman, the Republic of Rwanda, the Swiss Confederation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Silver Partners Cisco Systems and Facebook.

Congratulating the seven winners out of a field of 37 finalists, ITU’s Dr Touré praised the exceptionally high quality of nominations, and stressed that much still needs to be done to leverage the full power of ICTs to improve the lives of women and men.

´It is almost 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – so where do we stand today with reference to Gender Equality and Mainstreaming?´ asked Dr Touré, who pointed to a ‘gender digital divide’ that is particularly worrying in the developing world. ´ITU estimates that some 200 million fewer women are online compared to men. Women are coming online later, and more slowly. Without remedial action, it is estimated that the internet gender gap could grow to 350 million within three or four years. Equality in access to broadband is not only an issue of right and wrong; it also makes commercial and economic sense,´ he said.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said ´We need all of you to join our efforts, so that these inspiring GEM-TECH winners and others working at the forefront of digital inclusion are leading a turning point for women’s digital empowerment through technology.´

This morning’s ceremony also recognized six GEM-TECH ‘Global Achievers’ – organizations and individuals recognized for exceptional long-term commitment to furthering the issue of ICT and gender. They are: Alcatel-Lucent’s StrongHer initiative; Cisco Systems’ Distinguished Consulting Engineer, Monique Morrow; Academy Award winning actor and advocate Geena Davis; GSMA’s Connected Women programme; Intel Corporation’s Director of Social Impact, Renee Wittemyer, and former Serbian Minister of Communications and State Secretary for Digital Agenda, Jasna Matić.

The award ceremony was followed later in the day by a lunchtime GEM-TECH High Level Dialogue, where winners and partners had the opportunity to showcase their projects and initiatives, and where other experts from industry, civil society and government joined a stimulating debate on the topic of ‘Gender and ICTs: why gender equality matters and where do we stand today?’, moderated by Korea’s Jie-ae Sohn. The GEM-TECH HLD can be viewed on archived webcast in seven languages at: www.itu.int/pp14/webcast.

The day’s ICT and gender-related activities will wrap up this evening with an exclusive gala dinner event held at Nurimaru APEC House on Busan’s Dongbaekseon Island.“

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Monday, November 03, 2014 10:57:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“´With 2000 innovators from 48 countries entering in its first three years; IPA 2015 takes investment in unleashing and supporting sustainable African led innovation past half a million USD

The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) is calling on all African innovators to submit their entries for the fourth edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) competition. The IPA is presented annually, enabling and encouraging African pioneers to develop creative ideas and techniques to overcome some of the challenges faced by the continent and support sustainable development.

´At the African Innovation Foundation we are passionate about Africa and its potential, that we firmly believe will be led by empowering a new generation of African innovators and entrepreneurs. But we also recognise that this new generation needs the resources and the opportunities to realise their ambition,´ said AIF and IPA founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais. ´IPA provides a platform to encourage and harness these entrepreneurial skills in order to help improve the lives of Africans and to help realise untapped potential. The prize is also a great way of unleashing creativity and promoting growth within the African continent.´

The IPA is becoming integral to facilitating ground-breaking thinking, creativity and driving awareness to the outstanding work being done in Africa by Africans. IPA 2013 winner, AgriProtein went on to raise $11 million to build its first two commercial farms in Cape Town.

´Africa needs meaningful investment to alleviate poverty and provide inclusive prosperity. To achieve this, we need to be able to provide environments that promote quality investment for the people and reduce risks. Forums like the IPA are necessary to make the most of the continent's investment,´ said AgriProtein spokesperson, David Drew.
All innovations are evaluated based on the following criteria: originality, marketability, scalability, social impact and Scientific/technical aspects. The best submission will be awarded a grand prize of USD 100 000.  The second prize of USD 25 000 will be awarded to an innovator with an innovation which has the best commercial and business potential. An additional award is a special prize granted to the innovator whose innovation has the best social impact in the community.

The IPA encourages entries in five key categories: Agriculture and Agribusiness, Environment, Energy and Water, Health and Wellbeing, ICT applications, and Manufacturing and Services Industries.

Recognising home grown innovative ingenuity, the prize contributes to increased funding of start-ups, adoption of new and emerging technologies and accelerated growth of the private sector. With ever changing economic and social environments, it is critical that proposed solutions tackle issues affecting African lives, and that they are effective and are different from the existing ones.

IPA 2014 named Dr Nicolaas Duneas and Mr Nuno Pires from South Africa the winners of the grand Prize and received USD 100’000 for their Altis Osteogenic Bone Matrix (Altis OBM TM), the first injectable porcine derived BMP medical device in the world — an innovative product for the treatment of bone injuries and voids through the use of a regenerative biological implant.

The IPA also beckons all investors, governments and other stakeholders interested in evaluating, investing and maximising the continent’s resources to participate in this innovative and empowering initiative and make a significant change through generous contributions that will accelerate the Africa’s economic growth.

The deadline for submitting applications for IPA 2015 is 31 October 2014 at 24h00 GMT. For more information on competition categories, conditions of entry, and submission details, please visit: http://innovationprizeforafrica.org/. ”

(Source: IPA)

Monday, November 03, 2014 10:49:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

“ ´Young Mobile Innovator of the Year´ and ´Connected Women: Leadership in Industry´ Awards Created to Mark Global Mobile Awards 20th Anniversary.

The GSMA today introduced two special awards that have been developed to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Global Mobile Awards. The ‘Young Mobile Innovator of the Year’ and ‘Connected Women: Leadership in Industry’ awards will be presented at the Global Mobile Awards ceremony at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 3 March 2015.

The first new award, ‘Young Mobile Innovator of the Year’, is designed to showcase young and exciting new talent from across the mobile ecosystem and is open to anyone between 18 and 25 years old, working in an organisation or independently, or currently pursuing further education. The second, the ‘Connected Women: Leadership in Industry’ award, will recognise leadership in the establishment of initiatives that have a positive impact in reducing the digital skills gap and attracting and retaining women and girls in mobile and telecommunications.

´These additional awards will put the spotlight on individuals and organisations that will be shaping the face of the mobile industry in the years to come,´ said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “The ‘Young Mobile Innovator of the Year’ award provides a platform for up-and-coming individuals to showcase exciting new and innovative mobile ideas, and the ‘Connected Women: Leadership in Industry’ award will honour individuals, enterprises and initiatives that are working to close the ICT skills gender gap and inspire female leadership in technology around the world.´

Candidates for the ‘Young Mobile Innovator of the Year’ award must be able to demonstrate their ideas and provide evidence of early stage attention from prospective customers. Finalists will be invited to attend Mobile World Congress, where they will pitch their ideas in a live innovation session to a of panel judges who will select the overall winner. Successful entries to the ‘Connected Women: Leadership in Industry Award’ should exhibit value through thoughtful design and successful implementation of initiatives that accelerate the growth of the female digital economy by encouraging and retaining women in the technology industry.”

Further details

Monday, November 03, 2014 10:43:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) and CCI Learning have announced a partnership to provide innovative learning experiences that promote 21st century business, technology and communications skills among Canadian youth.

Through their partnership, ICTC and CCI Learning have identified industry certification ´crosswalks´ within Canada’s Focus on Information Technology (FIT) program. Developed by the ICTC, with top educational specialists and ICT employers, FIT is a nationally-recognized certificate program promoting digital literacy to advance youth skills development, experiential learning and development of effective learning resources for students and teachers. It provides secondary school students with valuable course pathways fostering ICT skills development.

´To identify these crosswalks, we conducted a thorough analysis of learning outcomes within ICTC's FIT certification paths, comparing them to skill sets required for leading IT industry certifications. In many cases, FIT learning outcomes almost completely matched with certification objectives such as those within CompTIA Strata and the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Software Development certification” said Malcolm Knox, CCI Learning President and CEO. ´Many provinces already include the same learning outcomes as the ICTC FIT certification paths.´
´Providing secondary school students with a clear and compelling pathway to further ICT training is a critical part of addressing technology skills shortages´ said Namir Anani, ICTC President and CEO. ´Our partnership with CCI Learning will be a model for achieving this for similar agreements across the country.´
Schools choosing to integrate these systems will provide triple recognition to graduates through national, provincial and industry level certifications. Students can graduate with multiple industry level certifications in addition to their current certification programs, bolstering chances for career success.

CCI Learning and ICTC’s FIT Certification Industry Crosswalk provides the most effective education solution. It ensures Canada’s success in the global digital economy by investing in technology education that is tangible and applicable to the labour market.“

Further details

Monday, November 03, 2014 6:30:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 21, 2014
“UNESCO organized an intensive high-level Workshop on Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to significantly enhance the quality and access to higher education for thousands of Nigerian and African students. The Workshop was held in Lagos, Nigeria, from 10 to 11 September 2014 and attended by 30 senior faculty members of NOUN.

The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is an Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institution, the first of its kind in the West African sub-region. The University at present has 54 Centres spread across the country. It is Nigeria's largest tertiary institution with over 150,000 enrolled students.

The Workshop at NOUN is part of the African component of the Globalizing OpenupEd Project, which aims to empower key national higher education institutions to offer courses with full open licenses (OERs), and to transform them into Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are defined as any type of educational materials in the public domain, or released with an open license allowing free use, adaptation, and distribution. They present educational institutions with a strategic opportunity to increase the quality of educational materials.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are characterized as free-of-cost, openly-accessible, online courses which can support ‘massive’ numbers of students.

By transforming OER courses into MOOCs that can be accessed free-of-cost and easily via mobile phones, NOUN hopes to ‘massively’ increase the number of enrolments from Nigeria, Africa and internationally.

OpenupEd is the world’s first MOOC Initiative that offers learners several unique innovations:

1.courses are to be made immediately/progressively available as OERs with at least CC BY SA licenses;
2.the University partners will offer full recognition and additional credit for fees;
3.some courses are to offer cohort-independence.

The Project is led by Abel Caine, UNESCO Programme Specialist in OERs, and Professor Fred Mulder, UNESCO OER Chair.

With support from the European Commission, UNESCO is globalizing OpenupEd in Africa working with the Africa Council for Distance Education (ACDE), and in Asia working with the Asian Association for Open Universities (AAOU).

The Workshop was facilitated by Dr Robert Schuwer of the Open University of the Netherlands. Using extensive OER and MOOC models, the delegates identified 10 pilot courses to be updated and offered with the Creative Commons Attribution (BY) ShareAlike (SA) license. A new course on the History of NOUN will be the pilot MOOC.

Abel Caine, from UNESCO, was very pleased with the Workshop, ´NOUN is one of the very few universities worldwide to freely share their intellectual wealth with a Portal of all their courses. They are now extending this gift with open licenses to allow other universities to freely and legally use the NOUN materials.´

NOUN extended a great honour to the UNESCO Team allowing Mr Caine and Professor Fred Mulder to present the NOUN Senate comprising of over 100 academics on Tuesday 10 September.

The Workshop was extensively promoted by local media including the Nigeria Guardian newspaper and Nigeria TV with many comments on Twitter and shared photos.
The medium-term goal is to launch the Africa OpenupEd Initiative with at least 3 African universities offering fully open-licensed MOOCs by the seminal World Education Forum in Incheon, South Korea, in May 2015.”

Further details

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:43:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"MTN has joined three leading global technology companies as sponsors of this year’s AMPION Venture Bus, which seeks to enable entrepreneurial talent in Africa to develop innovative solutions on the continent by making best use of the power of mobile technology.

MTN as well as SAP and Microsoft will financially support AMPION's 2014 operations and enable the newly established NGO to successfully operate on a pan-African level and generate long-term impact. Free hardware and bandwidth granted by Inmarsat will provide the AMPION Venture Buses with satellite connectivity.

Microsoft will additionally provide a package of free software and training to winning startups of the 2014 AMPION Venture Buses. Interested entrepreneurs, designers and coders still have a chance to apply for a seat on the Venture Busesonline. More than 700 applications from all over the world have been reviewed by AMPION as of today for the 180 seats on the Venture Buses.

Global healthcare leader Merck will be AMPION’s prime sponsor for the East African Venture Bus. Participants on the Venture Bus travelling from Tanzania to Rwanda will specifically focus on developing e-Health solutions. The East African Venture Bus will be accompanied by a CEO-selected Merck representative. E-Health experts are specifically encouraged to apply for this Venture Bus.

In September 2014, AMPION had launched two crowdfunding campaigns to aid with operational costs and to finance an extensive Fellowship Program for the most promising start-ups; the first crowdfunding campaign on 1%Club has now been successfully completed and is being granted 70% of its €15.000 funding goal through The Cheetah Fund, which is powered by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.

 AMPION will utilise this momentum to mobilise support for its remaining crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Reaching the overall crowdfunding goal of €50,000 will enable AMPION to set up a Fellowship Programme for a maximum amount of African start-ups and entrepreneurs with considerable funding and incubation.

Commenting on the strategic partnerships, Fabian-Carlos Guhl Founder & MD, AMPION, said: ´We are delighted to work with our new sponsors MTN, SAP, Microsoft, Inmarsat and Merck in Africa. Sponsoring and partnering with AMPION is an investment into the African mobile technology, start-ups and ICT space of tomorrow – and the creative entrepreneurs behind it. We are proud that world leading companies are convinced that our work is making a difference and decided to be a part of it.´"

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:39:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and the Chief Executive Officer of Alcatel Lucent, Michel Combes, today signed a cooperation agreement designed to promote gender equality.

The agreement, signed at UNESCO’s Headquarters, aims to increase the representation and participation of women in professional life through partnerships with universities, social networks and corporations.

´We are very happy to establish a partnership with a cutting-edge technology company like Alcatel Lucent that has a strong grassroots base, especially in the area of our global priority: gender equality,´ said the Director-General. ´Throughout my travels, I have seen girls and women take leadership. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize sends a wonderful message that education matters and that grassroots level activism makes a difference.´

´Gender diversity is close to our heart, and empowering women with digital technologies is an important part of our work,” said Michel Combes. ´Societies have not encouraged girls to pursue scientific and engineering careers, and we have embarked on many actions in this area, including through m-learning. We are proud to have a strong grassroots movement, created by employees for employees, with a membership of over 1,000 in 50 countries.´

Over two years, the partners will draw on the model provided by StrongHer, a social network created by Alcatel Lucent to improve the participation of women in the group’s decision making process.

UNESCO and Alcatel Lucent have been working together for a long time in the Broadband Commission, notably in the working group on gender.

Since its creation, UNESCO has been at the forefront of efforts to promote the rights of women and their empowerment. In 2008, gender equality became one of the Organization’s two global priorities."

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:32:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Civil war has caused a teacher shortage in Sudan, but that hasn’t stopped a group of teenagers from wanting to learn or an inspiring foreign teacher from joining the class to teach students how to teach themselves via development of their own learning app.

The classrooms are busy in Khartoum. Class sizes frequently exceed 60 students and they are getting bigger. Many students are entering class after fleeing from civil war, poverty and famine in South Sudan or from the from tribal conflicts in Darfur. Learning in a Sudanese classroom is not easy, but it can made more manageable it seems, with clever deployment of technology.

A foreign teacher from Australia teaching at Comboni College had an ambitious idea on how to improve the education situation in the school by tasking students to learn how to teach themselves by developing a smartphone application. The project has encouraged students to think retrospectively. It’s an exercise in revision, requiring them to think about everything they have ever learnt about learning English and then putting it into a format that other students can learn from.

The application is being built with an online app building platform, there is no coding involved. Their contribution to the app is purely content.

One of the students, Tijwok, said helping develop the application had made him more happy. ´At first I did not know what this special project was about, Teacher Tim just said it was a special project, it involved mobile phones and it would make me famous. I am happy it is helping me and my classmates improve English.´

Teacher Tim was more emphatic, ´I just wanted to use my powers for good and improve the lives of some kids in Sudan.´A donation to the project can be made here.

99 Tablets are currently running a crowd funding campaign to supply tablet computers to the school so that students can start learning from the app that they helped create. 99tablets.org aim to start a global education revolution in the developing world by putting tablet computers in front of students who need them the most.”

(Source: IT News Africa)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:23:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"Ericsson has today announced the launch of the sixth annual Innovation Awards, a competition in which university students are given the opportunity to be drivers of fundamental change in society.

The theme of the 2015 competition is ´The Future of Learning´ - how can we make learning accessible for all? What do we need when lifelong learning becomes necessary for everyone? What are the new tools and methodologies when learning becomes an online activity and it happens more and more away from school buildings?

In Ericsson's vision of the Networked Society, technology fundamentally transforms the ways we organize our lives, businesses and societies. But only recently has the connectivity and computational power once reserved for industrial applications become intensely personal - embedded not just into our mobile devices and cloud software, but into our everyday expressions, interactions, relationships and desires. The result is an unprecedented capacity for individual empowerment and innovation.

Empowered by technology, students and progressive teachers are catalysts for fundamental change. New skills and the passion for constant learning are becoming increasingly important. A new ecosystem is emerging that is greatly impacting, and in some cases redefining, established systems and institutions.

We hope and expect many good ideas about the future of learning from students around the world. The winners will receive a prize 25 000 EUR, with the runners-up receiving 10 000 EUR and 5 000 EUR going to the third-placed team.

All semi finalists and finalists will also be given the opportunity to an interview for internship or permanent employment at Ericsson.

The competition is open to team of two to four people, and Ericsson recommends a combination of technology and business students in the team. To apply and register to the competition visit www.ericsson.com/innovationawards

Last year's winner in the student category was Team WorkMode from South Africa for their collaboration."

(Source: Ericsson)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:19:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“UNESCO has entered into its first-ever partnership with a private company based in sub-Saharan Africa. The Funds-In-Trust agreement between Airtel Gabon and UNESCO will support Train My Generation: Gabon 5000, a three-year project to provide scientific and entrepreneurial training through ICT to thousands of young people in Gabon, plus deliver new skills to secondary school teachers.

The mobile company will provide $4.3 million for the project, which will be implemented by UNESCO. It will start with the establishment of ten Cyber Centres equipped with servers and computers at schools in Libreville, Port Gentil, Oyem, Franceville, Bitam and Lambaréné.

At the signing ceremony in Paris, the Director-General of UNESCO welcomed the partnership with Airtel, pointing out the potential of such cooperation with African corporations. ´The African Private sector is extremely dynamic and I am very proud today to sign UNESCO’s first partnership with a company based in Sub-Saharan Africa,´ stated Irina Bokova.

Olivier Herve Njapoum, the Director-General of Airtel Gabon, added that his company was convinced that the youth of Africa will contribute to the development of the continent if they are provided with good training. ´Through this partnership, Airtel wishes to benefit from the expertise of one of the most important organizations of the United Nations System […], UNESCO, whose programmes in Africa contribute to the promotion of innovation based on knowledge technologies,´ he said.

The Ambassador of Gabon, Gisèle Marie Hortense Ossakedjombo-Ngoua Memiaghe, welcomed the partnership with enthusiasm, invoking ´studies that prove that there is a cause and effect link between the development of telecommunications and economic development.´

5,000 young people, aged 18 to 35, will receive basic ICT training during the first phase of the project, which will also provide training in online teaching to 100 secondary education science teachers. The teachers will use their skills to provide online educational support to 15,000 secondary school students preparing their end of school exams. But because the platform used for educational support will be easily accessible, scholastic support is expected to reach a far greater number of students.

Smaller groups will be taught how to develop applications for mobile phones, operate cyber cafés and set up cooperative maintenance centres, through the Train My Generation: Gabon 5000 project.”

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 9:11:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 16, 2014

"The Director General of Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, FIIRO, Dr. Gloria Elemo, has said that an estimated 1,500 small and medium scale enterprises are expected to be set up across the country in the next one year through the 250 Research and Development (R&D) technologies/outputs developed by the institute.

Speaking ahead of the Investment and Technology Week being put together by the institute, she said that not less than 50,000 direct job opportunities will also be created following the adoption of the technologies by the 774 local government areas in the nation, even as she said that 75,000 entrepreneurs have so far benefited from FIIRO technology transfer.

She noted that the 250 R&D outputs to be showcased at the four days event, which kicked off today (Tuesday, October 14, 2014), would also spur more Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, interest into the country.

Elemo added that the investment week is part of the institute's effort to deliver more effectively on its mandate for rapid industrialization of the national economy, as well as create employment opportunities to reverse the worsening unemployment in the country.

´The overall aim of the programme is to showcase the institutes over 250 R&D outputs suitable for investment by micro, small, medium and large scale entrepreneurs to enhance job creation and improve on the national Gross Domestic Products.´

We are hoping that at least 35 technologies would be well structured and adopted in all the local governments, which is 774. So, the projection is that if every local government tries to adopt at least two technologies, we will have a total of about 2,000 jobs each.

´When you look at others that are coming in to buy into the technologies, various commercial organisations, students coming in, National Association of Nigeria Students, NANS, organizations like SURE-P and other organized sectors, we are expecting that minimum expected jobs that can come out of this catalyst should be at least 250,000. This will definitely reduce unemployment level in the country,´ she said.

´We just concluded training of a number of youths on our National Techno-entrepreneurs Initiative, but our target is 2,000 youths on annual basis as part of our contribution to national development and corporate social responsibility programme, to transfer technology to them and also lead them to proper infrastructure that will definitely establish them on the field."

(Source: Vanguard Newspaper)

Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:46:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"Tigo-owned Kigali-based technology incubator think has announced the first four companies selected for support, with the winners to be offered US$15,000 in funding, access to Tigo networks across Africa, mentoring and business development education.

BizTechAfrica reported in August think had received over 100 applications from nine countries, and the incubator has now chosen four teams it says represent innovative, digital, private sector solutions that demonstrate the potential to scale across Africa, with the four companies now invited to participate in a six-month accelerator programme beginning early next month.

The companies are Egyptian startup Beliaa, a mobile app for road assistance that uses GPS location services and provides traffic tracking and other transportation information features, Nigeria’s Cribpark, which is a platform for real estate matching, home design and architecture, Ghanian company PollAfrique, which offers a research platform allowing respondents to participate in incentivised surveys via a number of channels, and Rwandan firm TorQue, which delivers channel management software for wholesale distributors in the beverage and telecommunications industries.

The winning startups were picked from applicants from Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Benin, Uganda and Benin.
Tongai Maramba, general manager of Tigo Rwanda, said: ´The companies we have selected for think show innovation in a crowded playing field. The founders are smart, determined and have the potential to scale their firms across the continent. After a rigorous review process, we have selected companies that demonstrate incredible promise.´
The incubator said it forms one part of a growing ecosystem to encourage technology development across Africa, and will work closely with The Office RW and incubator kLab to co-host networking and skills-building events.

VC4Africa, GSMA, MEST Ghana, Venture Wave San Francisco, Afrilabs, iHub Nairobi and Carnegie Mellon University all assisted in promoting the application process.
´Rwanda is becoming a hub for technology innovations, and think is a great addition to our vibrant ecosystem. We cannot wait to see the next African startups bourgeoning from Rwanda,´ Rwanda’s minister for youth and ICT Jean-Philbert Nsengimana said."

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:42:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“The MTN Foundation and Cameroon’s Ministry of Secondary Education have recognised teachers who make the best use of ICTs in education.

Open to all secondary school teachers in Cameroon, the competition to select the best teacher in using and integrating ICTs was launched in May 2014 by the Ministry of Secondary Education (MINESEC) and MTN Foundation with the following objectives:

- Instil healthy emulation amongst secondary school teachers without distinction of discipline, in the use of ICTs;
- Drive the taste for research in innovative teaching methods;
- Contribute to meet the objectives of quality education.

The projects submitted to the competition were assessed by a jury chaired by the Inspector Coordinator of Pedagogy in charge of Computer Science at MINSEC and comprised of two (02) members of the MTN Foundation and two (02) representatives from MINSEC.

After objectively assessing the projects, the Minister of Secondary Education published by Release N°0001/14 MINESEC/CAB of 18 September 2014, a list of ten winners, with each from the 10 regions of Cameroon for the 2013-2014 academic year, who have distinguished themselves by their contribution towards improving learning through integrating ICTs in teaching methods and techniques.“

More information

Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:40:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"Universal primary education (UPE) will remain a distant dream for millions of children living in countries without enough teachers in classrooms. Current discussions of the post-2015 development agenda include a target to bolster the supply and training of teachers as part of efforts to ensure that every child is in school and learning. To help formulate and monitor this type of target, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) produces an annual set of projections concerning the supply of and demand for primary teachers at the global and national levels. According to the latest data, more than 27 million teachers will need to be recruited to ensure every child’s right to a primary education by 2030.

This eAtlas features a wide range of UIS projections and indicators about teachers, based on results of the Institute’s annual survey involving more than 200 countries and territories and partnerships with organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat."

Further details

Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:37:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"Ericsson, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and Millennium Promise further enhance education access for young girls through ICT solutions. Connect To Learn goals are being achieved by improving the access to and quality of education by connecting students globally through mobility, broadband and cloud solutions. As of June 2014, over 40,000 students have received access to quality educational resources enabled by the cloud-based ICT solution deployed in their schools and new deployments are underway.

Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson, says: ´As we approach the United Nations International Day of the Girl, we recognize the positive impact education can have on a girl's life, on her family and community. That is why we will continue to provide technology solutions as well as the expertise of our employees to create lasting change in communities all around the world.´

In Myanmar, Connect To Learn is launching in more than 40 schools with partners under the UK government's Girls' Education Challenge. Up to 600 scholarships will also be provided to marginalized girls, enabling them to stay in school and complete their secondary education. The deployments are supported by mobile operator Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) and will benefit 14,000 students/girls. Jan Wassenius, Head of Ericsson in Myanmar, says: ´We are pleased to work with our customer, MPT and other partners to help bring Connect to Learn to Myanmar. Greater access to education and to connectivity will indeed provide more study and employment opportunities for these students, and we are honored to be a part of this undertaking.´

In Ghana, Connect To Learn is launching its' ICT program in the Millennium Village in Northern Ghana SADA region with mobile operator Tigo, which will be benefiting over 7,000 students, in four secondary schools. This will build upon Connect To Learn's girls scholarship program, which was launched in SADA in 2012.

Roshi Motman, CEO for Tigo Ghana, says: ´Girls in the 21st century need to be provided with innovative learning experiences and quality education. ICT offers them the opportunity to bring their personal ambitions and passions together and make meaningful contributions to society by developing cutting-edge innovative solutions. Tigo Ghana is excited to partner with Ericsson on the Connect to Learn program and hope several girls will be empowered to stay ahead in digital literacy. We believe the adoption of digital lifestyles foster appropriate productivity skills and opportunities in ICT offer economic freedom and independence for women to work from anywhere including remote locations and across industries.´

In Sri Lanka, the Connect to Learn program creates a partnership between Ericsson, Mobitel, Open University of Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth of Learning that aims to bring ICT and computer literacy education to teenage girls in farming communities in Sri Lanka, empowering and equipping them with the ICT skills required to pursue tertiary studies and employment opportunities. The ICT solution deployed will give students and teachers access to the most modern educational tools and resources, and the ability to connect to other schools around the world to foster collaborative learning, cross-cultural understanding and global awareness.

Currently, Connect To Learn gives access to quality educational resources enabled by the cloud-based ICT solution deployed in their schools. These students attend secondary schools in Millennium Villages in Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Malawi and Rwanda. Connect To Learn is also deployed in schools in Ghana, Cape Verde, Djibouti, India, China, Buhtan, Chile and Brazil. The ICT in education report identifies challenges in providing ICT-based education and, underlining possible solutions, the study offers a universal framework for measuring Interventions in schools."

(Source: Ericsson)

Thursday, October 16, 2014 10:33:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 09, 2014


“UNESCO Chair Program, Women, Science and Technology in Latin America.

The research was performed under the Program for Promotion of low-carbon development and social cohesion, executed by ECLAC in conjunction with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ).

The purpose of this research is to understand the rationality of the public and private policies to promote the IT industry, in particular the SSI, and verify whether they  incorporate and support the gender equality and / or encourage the participation of women. It also proposes to determine how symbolically is constructed this group of women from the companies, which problems they have to face and what solutions they propose to overcome and contrast these discourses and interventions with the experiences, visions and demands of women leaders in the SSI sector. For this, they surveyed and analyzed policies, programs and best practices in Europe, and later compared these practices with the stage of completion and the particularities of these existing instruments in Latin America and the Caribbean, delving into the cases of Argentina, Costa Rica and Colombia.”

Access the publication here

(Source: FLASCO Argentina)

Thursday, October 09, 2014 9:58:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“MTN Ghana has revealed the details for Version 2.0 of the MTN Ghana Application Challenge. Back in 2013, Software Engineer Setriakor Nyomi was named as the overall winner with his Oware 3D application.

According to MTN Ghana, this year’s edition under the theme ´Promoting innovative local apps development´ is open for submission of apps from October to 28th of November 2014. It challenges Ghanaian app developers to code locally relevant and user-friendly apps to suit local taste.

CMO Rahul De stated that: ´In addition to consolation prizes for runners-up, each category will award a cash prize of GHC 15,000, and the overall winner will receive a cash prize of GHC 20,000.´

´The mobile application market is inextricably linked with the explosion of smartphone penetration and usage by consumers worldwide. As the smartphone market grows rapidly in Ghana, and especially on MTN network, it is imperative that we have apps developed locally and tailored to our market,´ he said.

According to MTN Ghana: ´The mobile application market is creating employment and generating income for an estimated number of 2.3 million people across the world. It is also said that apps generate around €10 billion per year in revenue for the European Union, which has about one 1 million apps available.´

The last edition of the apps challenge was a success, according to MTN Ghana, as most of its winners are experiencing rapid patronage of their apps on MTN play and other platforms.

´MTN Apps Challenge Version 2.0 has one goal, and that is to reward the most innovative and locally-relevant mobile apps developers. Entries of apps will be accepted in three categories: education; lifestyle; and games and entertainment.´”

(Source: IT News Africa)

Thursday, October 09, 2014 9:28:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"Portland Community College (PCC) has teamed with Desire2Learn (D2L) to introduce a massive open online course (MOOC) for educators that will address Web accessibility concerns associated with online learning.  



PCC and D2L are working together to offer this practical, hands-on MOOC to help all educators become more versed in the issues of web accessibility in online education.
Specifically, the following goals are to be achieved by course participants:

- Create accessible photo images, diagrams, and charts for online courses
- Create accessible audio and video components for online courses
- Create accessible HTML content pages for online courses
- Create accessible course content in other formats
- Building a Web-accessibility knowledge base.

'At PCC, we are committed to improving Web accessibility in our online program and advocate for the needs of students. We make it a priority to provide faculty, course designers and instructional technology professionals with the knowledge and skills to create offerings with accessibility in mind,' said Loraine Schmitt, director of distance education at PCC, in a prepared statement. ' We realize many institutions are faced with resource challenges and we are excited that this free MOOC on accessibility teaches educators some of the best practices we use at PCC to make educational content accessible to students.'

Successful participants will have the option of receiving an electronic not-for-credit completion certificate from D2L at the end of the course.
For more information, visit opencourses.desire2learn.com"

(Source: GAATES)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:50:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"Young Rwandans who will be able to come up with software applications aimed at enhancing public service delivery are set to win cash prizes that go up to $5,000 (Rwf 3.5 million) in a newly launched competition by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Speaking at the launch of the competition on Thursday in Kacyiru, Kigali , the UN resident coordinator, Lamin Manneh, said they were focusing on how to apply innovation in improving people's daily livelihoods.

´As an emerging economy, we are focusing on applying innovations to improve livelihoods and opportunities provided by mobile technology,´ he said.

UNDP, which is organising the competition in partnershio with the Ministry for Youth and ICT (MYICT) and Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), wants the youth to develop software that can be downloaded on mobile phones and be used by citizens for continuous feedback to authorities on the level of public service delivery.

The information gathered from the software will be analysed by RGB and shared with the relevant government institutions for action, as well as inform research and policy.
Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Youth and ICT minister urged the youth to take advantage of the opportunity to help grow country's economy.

´Don't look at the $5,000 cash prize. The benefits could be much more if you looked at public satisfaction with services delivered using your software,´ he told the youth.
The winner will walk away with $5,000, the first-runners up with $2,000 while the second-runners up will take home $1,500.

Applicants have up to 28th November this year to present their projects to the organisers."

(Source: All Africa)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:29:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"A public-private partnership among USAID, NetHope, Intel Corporation, World Pulse, World Vision, UN Women, and Women in Technology in Nigeria

The Alliance will create a ‘movement’ that addresses the Internet gender gap by bringing more than 600,000 young women online in Nigeria and Kenya in the next 3 years.

Alliance partners will combine efforts to transform the lives and livelihoods of girls and women in Africa through digital literacy training, relevant content, policy work, and online social networks. The Alliance will introduce girls and women to the transformative benefits of the Internet. All partners share a common interest in increasing access to and use of the Internet to realize the socio-economic benefits for all of bringing more girls and women online. This effort will expand opportunities for young women to generate greater income, receive a quality education, increase their sense of empowerment and equity, extend their support networks, and increase their political participation.

BRIDGING THE INTERNET GAP

Digital Literacy: The integration of digital literacy training into gender and development programs enables women to access hardware, software, Internet connectivity, and ongoing support. With mobile platforms, individuals can follow different learning paths through a variety of channels, such as a mobile learning platform, and phone and tablet apps.

Knowledge and Voices: The power of digital media connects women and gives them a global voice. Addressing relevancy through women-tailored content and peer networks is critical. The Internet can empower women by providing them with an opportunity to connect with people outside of their communities, which, in turn, creates a strong incentive for women to continue using information and communications technologies (ICTs). This will provide long-term benefits in increased confidence and expression.

Economic opportunities: Internet use can increase the opportunities for women and girls in employment, online work, or improved businesses. ICT-enabled employment opportunities and skills training can generate social and economic opportunities for those employed, their families, and their communities.

The 'movement': System-level collaborations can enhance the inclusion of women and girls in the information society. Together, the Alliance will create a movement to address the challenges of the Internet gender gap by building, fostering, and supporting an ecosystem of partners."

(Source: USAID)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:13:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"The United Nations E-Government Survey presents a systematic assessment of the use and potential of information and communication technologies to transform the public sector by enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, access to public services and citizen participation in the 193 Member States of the United Nations, and at all levels of development."

View Publication

Further details

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:07:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"The Kenyan ICT Authority has partnered SAP for the second year to train at least 100 young Kenyans with high-end ICT skills to the value of approximately US$6,000 per student.

The SAP Skills for Africa programme, which will be offered on scholarship to unemployed recent university graduates, will be carried out at the Techno Brain offices in Nairobi.
 
SAP Skills for Africa targets recent graduates interested in finance and business development, in line with Kenya’s ICT Master Plan 2014-17, which recommends developing talent and nurturing a workforce skilled in ICT to meet the needs of the industry.

Cabinet Secretary at the Ministry of ICT Dr Fred Matiang’i commended the achievements of the initiative and called on more companies to design similar projects. 'We churn out thousands of graduates into the market, but they face a challenge in getting jobs as they do not match the skill set that employers are looking for. We are tackling this head on and our goal is to partner with the private sector to increase the capacity of our people in ICT,' he said.

The ICT Authority and SAP have signed a three-year partnership agreement to collaborate on innovation and incubation programmes, general ICT awareness and literacy, skills development and internship programmes, best practice sharing on process improvement and joint research initiatives.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the ICT Authority Victor Kyalo said: 'Capacity and literacy is a major component of what the authority is mandated to promote. We are working to achieve this through various partners in the private sector and academia. This is a key ingredient to Kenya success to becoming a hub in ICT excellence.'

'A key component of SAP’s Africa Growth Plan, is the training of 8,000-10,000 new consultants in Africa in the next seven years. These skilled people, in the main economic hubs of Africa, will enable governments and private sector to improve the way they do business across the continent and ultimately the World – driving prosperity through job creation,' said Andrew Waititu, Managing Director of SAP East Africa.

Successful candidates will go through a training programme, certification and internship placements, with the scholarships targeting candidates that graduated between December 2011 and December 2014 for internships to run in the first quarter of next year."

(Source: BizTech Africa)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:02:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"Today the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Facebook announced a new partnership to support women entrepreneurs around the world by providing them with Facebook business resources and mentor support.

The collaboration will involve Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s Mentoring Programme, which connects mentors with women entrepreneurs from developing countries.

Facebook is creating a new online portal designed to support these entrepreneur mentees in growing their businesses, including best-practice guides, how-to videos, and inspiration from other like-minded business owners. The portal includes an ´ask an expert´ function where Foundation mentees can receive assistance from a Facebook expert on creating their Page, acquiring new customers, and building their online presence.

Facebook will hold a business bootcamp webinar for mentees and mentors to launch the portal and walk them through these new resources. In addition, Facebook employees will join the Foundation’s Mentoring Programme as volunteer mentors and work one-on-one with women entrepreneurs to help them take their small and medium enterprises to the next level.

´Facebook is a natural partner for my Foundation,´ said Cherie Blair QC, CBE. ´When women are able to become financially independent, this not only transforms their lives for the better but also positively impacts the lives of their family members and people in their communities.´

´This partnership combines many things Facebook cares about: the power of small businesses to connect to more customers; the power of technology to drive economic growth; and the power of entrepreneurship to help women achieve economic independence,´ commented Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. ´We are thrilled to be teaming up with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women because they, too, are focused on bringing and scaling support to more entrepreneurs around the world.´

Cherie Blair Foundation CEO, Sevi Simavi, said, ´Many of the Foundation’s mentees regularly ask for training on using social media and Facebook, so we are enthusiastic about this partnership and the new learning opportunities it will make available to the women we work with´."

(Source: Cherieblairfoundation)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 9:56:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 25, 2014
“Microsoft 4Afrika has announced a new Collaboration Challenge with AfriLabs to increase knowledge sharing across the hub network in Africa and spur innovation. The challenge, officially launched at this year’s DEMO Africa event, is tasking hub members with proposing and delivering an activity, process or tool that fosters collaboration within the AfriLabs network.

AfriLabs’ core function is to facilitate collaboration, which requires the right platforms, mechanisms and incentives for hubs and their teams to share information and dialogue. The winning solution will receive $15,000 from Microsoft and technical support to develop it. The hubs within the AfriLabs network will be provided with a more efficient way to learn from each other’s best practices and build more sustainable models.

´Collaboration fuels innovation. It encourages people to learn from each other and build on better and bigger ideas,´ says Annie Njenga innovation hubs manager for Microsoft. ´Innovation hubs give developers a collaborative space where organisations can assist them with the technical and business skills needed to get their businesses off the ground. They bring different people together who otherwise would never have met, and create successful companies that strengthen local economies.´

According to the World Bank, there are currently 90 innovation hubs across Africa. AfriLabs, a pan-African network of technology and innovation hubs, makes up 35 of these. Two of these hubs, the Co-creation hub in Nigeria and the iHub in Kenya, have been recognised as best performing models. The iHub has launched 152 successful local startups to date, encouraging the local Kenyan government to commit to establishing a tech hub in each of its 47 counties. ´The encouragement of a vibrant innovator ecosystem is essential to the growth of Africa’s knowledge economy,´ says Fernando de Sousa, General Manager of Africa Initiatives at Microsoft. ´To remain relevant and sustainable, the hubs will need to not only promote innovation, but also focus on their monetisation.´

However, many hubs have been unable to find models that ensure sustainability from the initial grants that got them started. ´Challenges like finding the right partners, determining the correct strategy and sustainability model, having the right team and skills in the hub, and the involvement of government can be difficult to navigate,´ says Tayo Akinyemi, Director at AfriLabs.

The Collaboration Challenge has been designed to help stimulate collaboration and knowledge sharing within the Afrilabs network and fully leverage the knowledge, skills and resources that are available through the network and its partners.

´If you look at the success of Silicon Valley, you’ll see it lies in collaboration.´ Research done by the Accenture Institute for High Performance pins it down to close ties among outstanding educational institutions, research organisations and businesses. ´That’s what we’re aiming for throughout the pan-African network,´ says Annie Njenga.

Hub members who enter the challenge will have until the 24th of October 2014 to submit their concepts and vote for their favourite ideas. All those proposing an application need to design it for the Windows platform and host it on Microsoft Azure, an open and flexible cloud platform with a single software-as-a-service offering that manages the entire lifecycle of an application. The winning individual or team will receive financial, technical and mentorship support from Microsoft to help them execute the concept.

The challenge will be run on Hylo, a social network that enables skilled collaborators to coalesce around shared intentions and challenges. Individual participants and teams can submit an ‘intention’ in the form of a brief description of the proposed idea. Others may respond by submitting their own ideas, requesting information from the idea’s originator, or submitting an ‘offer’ to help develop someone else’s idea. The winning concept will be the one that garners the most overall support.”

(Source: AfriLabs)

Thursday, September 25, 2014 9:48:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Jonathan Mosen, who has been blind since birth, spent his evening snapping photos of packages in the mail, his son’s school report and labels on bottles in the fridge. In seconds, he was listening to audio of the printed words the camera captured, courtesy of a new app on his Apple Inc iPhone.

´I couldn’t believe how accurate it was,´ said Mosen, an assistive technology consultant from New Zealand.

The new app that allows people who are blind to listen to an audio readback of printed text is receiving rave reviews after its first day of availability and is being heralded as a life-changer by many people.

People with vision disabilities say the KNFB Reader app will enable a new level of engagement in everyday life, from reading menus in restaurants to browsing handouts in the classroom.

The US$99 app is the result of a four decades-long relationship between the National Federation of the Blind and Ray Kurzweil, a well-known artificial-intelligence scientist and senior Googleemployee.

According to its website, K-NFB Reading Technology Inc and Sensotec NV, a Belgium-based company, led the technical development of the app.

Kurzweil, who demonstrated the app on stage at the NFB’s annual convention in June, said it can replace a ´sighted adviser´.

Taking advantage of new pattern recognition and image- processing technology as well as new smartphone hardware, the app allows users to adjust or tilt the camera, and reads printed materials out loud.

People with refreshable Braille displays can now snap pictures of print documents and display them in Braille near-instantaneously, said NFB spokesman Chris Danielsen.
The app has already given some people greater independence, users said on Thursday and Friday on social-media sites such as Twitter.

One early adopter, Gordon Luke, tweeted that he was able to use the app to read his polling card for the Scottish Referendum.

The app will be available on Android in the coming months, Kurzweil told Reuters in an interview. He may also explore a version of the app for Google Glass, a postage stamp-sized computer screen that attaches to eyeglass frames and is capable of taking photos, recording video and playing sound.

´Google Glass makes sense because you direct the camera with your head,´ Kurzweil said.

Kurzweil started working on so-called ´reading machines´ in the early 1970s after chatting on a plane with a blind person who voiced frustrations with the lack of optical-recognition technology on the market.

A few years later, ´Kurzweil burst into the National Federation of the Blind’s offices in Washington, DC, and said he had invented a reading machine,´ recalled Jim Gashel, a former NFB employee who currently heads business development at KNFB Reader. ´It was phenomenal.´

Kurzweil’s first reading machine was the size of a washing machine and cost $50,000.

The technology has continued to improve over the past few decades — the new smartphone app can recognize and translate print between different languages and scan PowerPoint slides up to 7.6m away — but it was not available on a mainstream mobile device until now.

Previously, it cost more than US$1,000 to use the software with a Nokia cell phone and a camera.

San Francisco-based Bryan Bashin, executive director of the non-profit Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, said the KNFB app shows the positive and profound impact that technology can have.

´There are innumerable times in life that I’ll have a bit of print and there will be nobody around who can help me out, and I’ll just want to know something as simple as ‘Is this packet decaf or caffeinated coffee?´´ Bashin said.

´The ability to do this easily with something that fits in your pocket at lightning speed will certainly be a game changer.´”

(Source: GAATES)

Thursday, September 25, 2014 6:23:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“ Mobile phones are common, if not ubiquitous, in most developing nations. But not in Myanmar - until now. For years, the Myanmar government kept a monopoly on the SIM cards needed to connect to mobile networks. As recently as 2009 they cost approximately US$2,000.

Then things began to change. Since 2011, the price of SIM cards has fallen to about US$1.50. And the number of mobile subscriptions has risen from fewer than 600,000 in 2010 to nearly seven million by the end of 2013, in a country of more than 50 million people. The newly available technology is changing how farmers and brokers do business. In the countryside and in the city, agricultural workers say the new phones save them enormous amounts of time and money.

This audio slideshow explores how lower SIM card prices have dramatically changed how farmers do business.“

See here the video presentation.

(Source: SciDevNet)

Thursday, September 25, 2014 6:11:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“The State National Bank for Economic and Social Development of Brazil (BNDES funds) launched in Sao Paulo an exclusive line of credit for the Brazilian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on the sector of Information Technology, which pretends to invest in innovation.

The program has a credit calculated on 300 million reais (about US$ 126.9 million), with an interest rate of 4% per annum for companies with 'innovative' profile, according to the presentation of MPMEs innovative, as it was called the credit from BNDES and DESENVOLVE SP, the regional development agency.

"The company that has a card BNDES is already classified as innovative", without bureaucratic procedure to present the projects to justify the range, told to Efe the Innovation director of the Brazilian Association of Software Companies (ABES), Jamile Sabatini.

The ABES gathers more than 80% of companies in the information technology sector and is responsible for presenting the MSME innovative to SMEs.

According to ABES, the field of information technology in Brazil is one of the biggest in the world, with a 3% share of the global market and growth rates three times the international average, achieving 4.8% of annual increase.

Because the market potential, indicated by the ABES, the credit line will boost up the sector in the Brazilian economy. ´It was because these experiences that we started talking with BNDES, showing that allocating resources on the innovation, the companies grow. The return to the society is huge because it creates jobs, generates income and bring economic development,´ said Sabatini.

The ´Zero Interest´ program, held in the southern state of Santa Catarina, which borders with Argentina, awarded 20 million reals (US$ 8.4 million) in 37 companies in the region through the Financier of Studies and Projects (FINEP ).

In Santa Catarina, told Sabatini, some SMEs came to grow up to 5.000% with that incentive.

In one year, the regional government recovered the money given to those SMEs with the taxes, because the contribution of those firms increased significantly, thanks to their exports.

´In 2008 was the time of crisis and some employers told us that if there was not this resource, they would have bankrupted,´ said Sabatini, for whom with the current unfavorable numbers of the economy, ´it is important that companies seek this resource.´

Sabatini, however, admitted that the annual rate of 4% for the new line of credit is high and therefore he warned that SMEs must ´know how to take advantage´ of these resources."

(Source: America Economía)

Thursday, September 25, 2014 6:08:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“On 12 September 2014, the Trinidad and Tobago national phase of the Agrihack Talent Caribbean has ended and the "Team Agri-Info" has win this importat competition hosted by Community HUB.

The four Trinidadian students composing the Team Agri-Info, Kris Adams, Mikaeel Andrews, Nicholai Rajkumar and Jairaj Singh, will now fly to Suriname, where they will have the opportunity to compete among the finalists to win the Agrihack Talent Caribbean, that will take place in Paramaribo, Suriname, from 6 to 12 October 2014 in occasion of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture.

The Agrihack Talent Caribbean is a regional initiative focusing on ICT for Agriculture, organised by the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), in collaboration with different institutions including the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and ConnectiMass. The main objective of this initiative is to support the development of ICT innovations and entrepreneurship in agriculture by young people.“

More information

Thursday, September 25, 2014 6:04:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"First museum-based Cisco Science Fellowship for Innovative Learning Technologies to foster science engagement and innovation through technology.

Today, Cisco and the Ontario Science Centre announced their vision to advance the Centre's interactivity and accessibility. Cisco's investment in state of the art Information Communication Technology (ICT) will help transform the Ontario Science Centre into a ´connected museum´ allowing it to engage even broader audiences in innovative and interactive approaches to exploring science. In addition, Cisco is also funding the first ever museum-based Cisco Science Fellow for Innovative Learning Technologies, with the appointment of the Centre's Sabrina Greupner.

A Commitment to Science Literacy is Important for Canada's Economic Success

According to the World Economic Forum, in the past five years Canada has fallen to fifteenth from ninth place in economic competitiveness. In addition to investments in science, technology and innovation, competitive economies need innovative workforces that are literate in science and technology. Both organizations recognize the importance of a culture of science and innovation for Canada's economic success.

´With one million visitors per year, including more than 180,000 students, the Ontario Science Centre is one of the most visited cultural attractions in Canada. This collaboration will allow us to develop new modalities of interaction with our visitors and to reach audiences beyond the Centre. Cisco's vision to enable innovation, particularly in education, is closely aligned with our own, and is one of the reasons this is an excellent relationship,´ said Dr. Maurice Bitran, CEO, Ontario Science Centre. ´Cisco's leadership in this alliance has been both innovative and inspirational, and with their technology solutions and expertise, we hope to offer our visitors unparalleled learning experiences that will inspire the next generation of innovators.´

Creating a Next Generation ´Connected Museum´

This collaboration will provide the technological infrastructure necessary to bring science literacy and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning to broader audiences.

Both organizations will work to modernize and upgrade the Centre's information and communication systems, allowing it to collaborate with initiatives such as the forthcoming Cisco™ Internet of Everything Innovation Centre in Toronto and Cisco's Connected North program that enhances education and health care services in remote northern communities.

´Today's students will be the architects of tomorrow's Internet of Everything. Encouraging students to learn and engaging with them in new and exciting ways is key to inspiring them with the energy and creativity that drives scientific and technological innovation,´ said Nitin Kawale, president, Cisco Canada. ´By exploring technology solutions and integrating them into the new Science Fellowship, Cisco and the Ontario Science Centre hope to light a spark in the youth of today and encourage them to explore the potential that science and technology have to offer.´

Visionary Leadership Provided by Cisco Science Fellow for Innovative Learning Technologies

While Cisco offers a number of academic fellowships for science and technology education, the Cisco Science Fellow for Innovative Learning Technologies is its first museum-based fellowship. The goal of this fellowship is to improve science engagement and literacy through the use of integrated technologies.

´With a shared commitment to a culture of innovation, learning excellence and engagement with science, this new alliance opens up so many exciting opportunities,´ said Sabrina Greupner, manager of the Science Centre's Weston Family Innovation Centre and the newly appointed Cisco Science Fellow in Innovative Learning Technologies. ´As a liaison between organizations, my goal is to bring together external collaborators with our researchers, programmers, teachers and science experts to create innovative learning experiences and encourage the sharing of best practices.´

This fellowship will allow for research, development and innovation in the use of integrated technologies and solutions for learning science, enhancing the Centre's Science Education program, the largest museum-based program of its kind in Canada."

(Source: CISCO)

Thursday, September 25, 2014 5:58:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 19, 2014
More than 500 participants connected with tech entrepreneurs and experts from some of the most exciting names
 
With a curiosity to find out more about what it’s like to work in tech, more than 500 youth participated in the first-ever Tech Fest on 6 September 2014. Professionals from global tech companies, up-and-coming start-ups and local tech groups shared their experiences and advice with these participants.

Tech Fest seeks to raise awareness of the tech industry among the youth, while providing them the opportunity to network, as well as learn and dabble with some of the latest technologies. The highlights from the afternoon of activities included a live demo of the Red Rhino – a made in Singapore open-top fire-fighting vehicle; exploring a Nanyang Polytechnic student project which uses Microsoft Kinect sensor for infantry training; students writing their first lines of code in Ruby and Python; as well as a mock interview session with Google.

´We are thrilled by the overwhelming response for Tech Fest, especially with it being a totally new event. We were oversubscribed, but that was a happy problem for us.

Some rising and big names in the tech circle supported Tech Fest, and IDA will keep working with the industry to find new ways to inspire young Singaporeans to build and experiment with tech. Singapore is on its way to be the world’s first Smart Nation, and Tech Fest is just one of the many cool events that we will be organising for the tech ecosystem as we move towards that goal,´ said Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA.

´One of the speakers said nothing is wasting time, so if you are wasting time, then you are doing something that you are passionate about. So it’s not always that you need to get good grades and everything. That was really important. It’s a different perspective I would say´said Benjamin Wu, 25 years old, SMU student.

Tech Fest is organised by the IDA, in collaboration with Autodesk, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PayPal, Red Hat, Garena, GrabTaxi, Razer, Carousell, Hope Technik, Tinkertanker, ViSenze, Zopim, GeekcampSG, Singapore Geek Girls and Kosagi.”

(Source: IDA)

Friday, September 19, 2014 10:11:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Founded on the idea that Information and Communication Technologies can be leveraged to contribute to social change, Barefoot Law Uganda was initiated by a team of enthusiastic Ugandan lawyers passionate about making positive contributions to the lives of ordinary Ugandans.

Mr. Abila Gerald, who founded the Barefoot Law aims at providing free legal service to Ugandan people using information and communication technologies – especially social media to address the rampant ignorance of the common people about the law, their rights and need for legal redress.

In an earlier interview with Voice of America (VOA) News in May 2014, Abila, 30 said ´I travel a lot, and a lot of people in areas I travel to were like me before I started studying the law… the level of legal ignorance. And access to legal services is too low,´ he said.

Last week, a team of Barefoot Lawyers through a partnership with Women of Uganda Network(WOUGNET) spoke to participants of the ReachUp project – the project implemented by the Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) Uganda and WOUGNET builds capacity of young women and men (youth) on how they can use technology to improve their businesses and nurture business potential to reduce the rampant youth unemployment in Uganda.

The Lawyers, introduced youth to the ideas behind Barefoot Law project and explained the different online platforms and social media that they use to answer/respond to legal questions posed by thousands of people in the country. They also availed themselves freely to respond to any legal issues that the youth had.

The team of Barefoot Law answered many legal questions affecting the youth including land issues, domestic issues, contracts and employment issues and many others. Mr. Micheal Kwizera and his colleague Timothy spent more than three hours interacting with youth, answering questions and listening to their innovative ideas.

Because women and youth in Uganda faces serious socio – economic and political challenges including ignorance of their rights and the law including access to free legal services , WOUGNET and barefoot Law decided to make this possible to women in Uganda and their partnership began by making access to legal services easier for women and youth from Kampala and this is expected to be rolled out to other areas including Northern Uganda.

Speaking in an earlier interview, Mr. Abila said -
´Ninety-seven percent of lawyers in Uganda are within the capital,´ he said. ´So 97 percent of lawyers serve a population of 2 million people, and the remaining three percent is left to serve a population of around 36 million. So how do you overcome such challenges using technology?´

Abila’s decided Barefoot Law, which he founded two years ago, would be the answer. The team uses web 2.0 and social media to address legal issues to majority of average and poor Ugandans.

Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) is a Non – Governmental Organisation initiated by several women’s organisations in Uganda to promote and support the use of Information and Communications Technology as tools to share information and address issues of sustainable national development collectively.“

(Source: WOUGNET)

Friday, September 19, 2014 9:55:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Telstra is providing more options for people with disabilities to access communication services, with three new initiatives launching today including a new portal on Telstra.com that allows customers to identify which mobile device in the Telstra range will best suit their particular needs.

Speaking today at the ACCAN ‘Connecting Today’s Consumer Conference in Sydney, Group Managing Director Telstra Consumer, Karsten Wildberger said the new portal was designed to help everyone, but particularly older Australians and people with disability, to easily find the features that may make it easier for them to connect.

´We want all our customers to have a brilliant experience with us, and helping them find the devices and apps that best meet their needs is fundamental to that,´ said Mr Wildberger.

Based on the Mobile Manufactures Forum (MMF) Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative, the new portal lets users search for features that may assist specific disabilities such as speech, vision, cognitive and dexterity impairment. Examples include:

- Adjustable vibrating alerts that can help people who are deaf,
- Gesture navigation that can help people with dexterity disabilities navigate around their phone, and
- Voice output of caller ID for people who are blind or low vision.
Telstra is the first carrier globally to provide customers with direct access to this important information.

This function will make the purchase decision and access to mobile phones easier for our customers, especially for seniors and the more than four million Australians who have disabilities.

´It is exciting to announce this new initiative at the annual ACCAN conference, as the idea to develop this site was born at the ACCAN-Telstra conference held in August 2013´, Mr Wildberger said.

´In addition to announcing the new portal, we can also confirm we have removed the use of CAPTCHAs from our website and added open captions to 14 popular BigPond movie titles. We plan to increase the number of titles with open captions over time, until the technical capacity that will enable closed captions to be offered across all platforms is completed.´

Telstra’s purpose to create a brilliant connected future for everyone includes breaking down the barriers that make it a challenge for some members of the community to enjoy the benefits of modern mobile communications.

Telstra has a strong commitment to improving access to communications for customers with disability and has a three-year Disability Action Plan to continue to improve our activities and drive new initiatives in this space. This is our sixth three-year Disability Action Plan.”

(Source: GAATES)

Friday, September 19, 2014 9:38:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Mobile telephony continues to make its way – slowly but triumphantly – into the rural areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), improving the lives of millions and bringing ICTs at the doorstep of the less fortunate communities, where poverty rate stands at 76%.

To date, Vodacom Congo appears to be leading the pack in this aspect, with more than 1000 cities and villages currently covered by its network in this Central African nation.

One of its recent rural projects is the coverage this year of the village of Basoko, in the Oriental Province, about 1300 km north-east of Kinshasa.

Basoko resident Nafisa Bilinga, currently visiting her extended family in the capital Kinshasa, told Biztechafrica that mobile telephone has changed the lives of many in that city and throughout the province, as communicating with the outside world was no longer a hassle as it is used to be.

´All you need now is a device and a sim card packed with units´, Bilinga said proudly.

However, certain operators have done more than facilitating their rural users to just send SMSes or making phones calls. This is the case of Airtel DRC, which launched a health service called ‘Airtel Santé Info’, an innovative service that helps callers to consult a medical doctor – or put it simply to seek medical advice – over the cellphone.

In an under-equipped country such as the DRC where rural patients have to travel thousands of miles to get to a make-shift clinic, the service is said to have helped many rural folks to know instantly which bug is eating their bodies.

´From now on, the mobile phone will act as a relay in real time between doctors and their patients´, Airtel marketing manager Eddy Kapuku said at the launch.
One only needs to dial 3535 to get access to the service.

In the East’s war-torn areas, mobile telephone is also proving to be an effective tool for helping millions of displaced populations to rebuild their lives.

Care International conducted Umoja Plus and Ujio Yetu, two pilot mobile money projects, in the rural cities of Masisi and Lubero, in association with the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry, UK’s Viiv Health and Airtel DRC.”

(Source: BizTech Africa)

Friday, September 19, 2014 9:21:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“On the 28th of August, the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is celebrating the launch of MapAbility platform, a ground-breaking online map designed to inform students with disabilities about the accessibility level of European Higher Education Institutions [HEIs].

ExchangeAbility and its subproject, MapAbility are supported by a coalition of partners in delivering this project. With this new online map, ESN is using MapAbility data to provide students with disabilities with an exclusive guide to accessibility in European Universities.

A committed team of students from across Europe founded the project, which maps out the entire Higher Education Area. The group – who are all the volunteers of ESN – created a questionnaire to investigate the accessibility level of Higher Education buildings and to gather information about the services HEIs can offer students with disabilities.

Preliminary MapAbility research reveals mixed results for accessibility in European HEIs: although a third of institutions have no Disability unit to welcome students with disabilities, over two thirds of HEIs have essential facilities such as elevators and accessible bathrooms.

The project also hopes to promote common understanding of the diverse range of accessibility needs in Europe. The goal would be to increase the facilities available for students with disabilities and to improve the perception of different forms of disability in European HEIs.

MapAbility is a sub-project of ExchangeAbility, an ESN program with the wider aim of increasing the participation of students with disabilities in international mobility programs”.

(Source: GAATES)

Friday, September 19, 2014 9:10:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“The fourth edition of Colombia 3.0 met digital entrepreneurs content. For three days national and international experts, academics and investors had an appointment to discuss the latest developments in the industry.

More than 14,000 people attended the conferences, workshops and panels for which were invited 120 experts from 19 countries (Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador, United States, India, Venezuela, Canada, Germany, Brazil, Chile, Norway, United Kingdom, Peru, Ecuador, Belgium, Spain, Panama, Uruguay).

Participants included big industry players such as Javier Olivar, International Director of Facebook; Paul Debevec, Oscar winner for his work on Avatar; David James, production designer of the company DreamWorks; Dawn Rivera-Ernst, Director of Talent Development and Scope of Walt Disney Animation Studios; Ady Harley, head of music partnerships of Google Play; Isaac Bess, business strategist of YouTube; Jorden Woods, President and Co-Founder of Silicon Valley Fundraising and Camilo Gomez, manager of Online Partnerships Group for Colombia of Google and co-founder of Nubello Jorge Araújo Muller. 

According to the statistics the balance of this event is more than positive. Thanks to the support of Proexport, the first round of business in Colombia 3.0 ended with the business expectations of $ 1.3 million among the 15 international buyers and 27 exporters from Bogota, Armenia, Cali, Manizales, Medellin and Pereira, around the development of different contents such as games, animations and software.

The MINTIC Contents' director,  Juan Sebastián Sandino, said that the fourth edition of Colombia 3.0 ratified the magnitude of the digital revolution that Colombia is living now. Also, he mentioned that this event showed that the developers and creatives have matured in the articulation of new business models and monetization of their products. He said that the great progress made by the ICT Ministry to bring the Internet to all Colombians and the entry into operation of Vivelabs are consolidating their industry. He concluded that their country has a great opportunity to become a major player in the development of digital content. The information highways are routed. It's time to exploit them.“

(Source: MINTIC)

Friday, September 19, 2014 9:05:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 16, 2014


UNESCO’s experience in Senegal demonstrates that mobile phones, computers, internet and TV make literacy courses much more attractive for illiterate women.

“We have demonstrated that technology increases illiterate women’s interest in learning new skills and helps build their confidence, as they are able to read and write their own messages and use the keyboard to correct their own sentences,” says Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar. According to her, the transition women make in the classes to using mobile phones and computers has become an attraction and pooled a lot of interest.

Since 2011, UNESCO Dakar has been running the PAJEF literacy project in Senegal in partnership with government, NGOs and local communities. While some beneficiaries receive literacy classes face-to-face,   the majority of women learn through DVDs, online and mobile applications and television programmes.

Through this project women can improve both their literacy and IT skills as well as vocational and life skills, which are also integral parts of the literacy package.  In addition, the project includes financial support given to each class for learners to develop their own income generating activities. 

 After the good results obtained in Senegal, UNESCO announced the extension of the project to Kenya and Nigeria. Gambia has also shown interest in replicating the project and yet more countries, including Pakistan and Namibia, are interested in learning more. In this way the project PAJEF is being considered as a model for other countries to increase the literacy nationwide and particularly among women.

(Further details)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 8:33:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Darius Ishaku, has announced that the training of 100 youth in ICT skills for this region will start on September 15th.

Mr. Ishaku said that the Ministry would carry out this training in collaboration with companies such as Swift and the private consultancy firm, Just Nigeria Ltd.

According to the Minister, "This initiative places emphasis on vocational training tailored towards providing the identified trainees with the needed essential skills and competences to become active players in their chosen sector of the economy". Also, he said that because information and communication technology is one of the biggest sectors in Nigeria, it poses a great opportunity to engage the country’s extensive young population. 

According to the statistics, there are around 44 million Nigerian mobile phone subscribers. The Minister said, "With more than 100 million active phone users and some 50 million persons having access to the Internet, phone assembly plants are therefore the best investment for youths to benefit from“. In this way the Minister noted the importance of developing the necessary technical skills among youths to foster further development of  his country.

The Ministry also mentioned that the government’s  “Transformation Agenda” and commitment to improving the lives of youth, including through ICT. Unfortunately some of the projects from the government faced obstacles, such as lack of funding.  Despite these challenges, he programme recently completed training for 100 Niger Delta youths in its skill acquisition programme, carrying out trainings and providing each participant with N100,000 to start their own businesses once they completed training.

(Source: All Africa)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 8:26:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


According to a report by the International Women's Media Foundation (2011) on global status of women in the news media, men occupy the vast majority of managerial and news gathering positions in the Asia-Pacific region, while women take up barely 13% of senior management positions. Factors such as institutionalized prejudices and gender stereotyping are behind the marginalization of women in terms of the career choices and opportunities for upward mobility available to them.

This year, as a follow-up to the Global Forum on Media and Gender (Bangkok,2013), UNESCO and UN Women have partnered with the International Federation of Journalists Asia-Pacific (IFJ) to conduct a Research Study on Media and Gender in Asia-Pacific. This study aims to inform the debate on gender equality in the media and propose concrete actions to improve the current situation.

The study will build on IFJ’s previous work in the area and analyze samples of countries in South Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific. The study will follow the UNESCO’s Gender Sensitive Indicators for the Media and the use a combination of surveys, analysis of the media content and case studies.  Areas of research include the situation of women in the media; the number of women in senior positions and the issues affecting this representation;  the role that unions, associations and women´s networks could and do play; and finally, best practice case studies of campaigns, media workplaces as well as coverage and representation of women.

The recommendations of  the study will be presented regionally and globally in relation a to the platform of action of Beijing (PAB) +20 review process  and the post 2015 development framework .The objective is to inform the national, regional and global policies and programmes. A first draft of the study will be introduced at the Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, which will be held in Bangkok in November 2014. The final report is expected to be presented at the 59th session of the Commission on Status of Women in March 2015.

For more details

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 2:38:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
On September 08, 2014 a literacy app will be launched by the Nal'ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, in partnership with Mxit Reach.

Mxit is a South African social networking platform, which will provide access to stories, and educational materials to anyone with a mobile.  This company has five million users every month.

According to Carole Bloch, Director of the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA),"Research shows that being told stories and being read to at home are the things most likely to help make children successful learners at school. Stories, particularly when read or heard in home languages, help children develop their language skills and imagination as well as their thinking and problem-solving skills. But not all South Africans have access to children's books and stories - particularly in their mother tongue.

What most South Africans do have is a cellphone, with mobile penetration now over 100% in the country. By harnessing this tidal wave of mobile communication technology use in our country, we hope to get even more adults reading and enjoying stories with their children so it becomes part of their daily lives."
Because children are often just as skilled in technology use as their parents, they are able to read stories on their own or experience the rewards of sharing stories with their parents. 

"There is a tendency for parents to engage less with their children around E-books and other forms of digital content. Language and literacy skills are best developed in the discussion and engagement that takes place when caregivers and young ones share a story together - and this includes the sharing of stories found on digital devices".

To address this, on the Nal'ibali reading-for-enjoyment app, they invite adults to sign-up with their children for stories and motivational tips in the language of their choice. The app prompts users to share stories with their children, given that frequent practice with reading will encourage higher levels of literacy. Users also earn points for finishing stories and answering questions.  Finally, the app provides a library of stories, including audio stories, quizzes, and space for reviews.  Soon, features will be added to enable younger children to practice rhymes and all users will be able to ask experts reading- and writing-related questions. 

The app currently enjoys more than 60,000 subscribers and seeks to expand its use. “In that way,” Andrew Rudge, CEO of Mxit Reach says, “the company can make a lasting contribution to the development of a reading culture in SA”.

Further details

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 2:32:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


FutureGov pre-selected candidates for the annual FutureGov Awards in the category of Digital Inclusion. The shortlisted programmes are the Sarawak Action Plan from Malaysia, Sistem E-Livestock from Indonesia, ‘SMU Mobile’ programme by Singapore Management University  from Singapore, ‘Zero Counters’ project by Subang Jaya Municipal Council from Malaysia and  Bankers-Builders-Buyers (BBB+B) Programme by Home Guaranty Corporation from The Philippines.

The Chief Minister’s Department of the Malaysian State of Sarawak created the Sarawak Action Plan to facilitate efficient delivery of services to citizens  living in the sparsely populated areas of the country. The program has achieved significant progress including the Sarawak’s eKiosk roll-out, which provides remote access to bill payment, checking of information on application status, and feedback reporting.

The Sistem E-Livestock is an app developed by the E-Government Department of the University of Indonesia and tested in Sumatra. The app provides an e-service that uses GIS to manage the identification, registration, and documentation of cows and to monitor their movement within the country.

Singapore Management University’s (‘SMU Mobile’) programme is a great example of a mobile app designed to specifically meet the needs of its target group. This app provides access to a wide range of transactional, location-based and social media services and widens the access to course and library services through mobile web, Windows Phone, Apple and Android apps. The service has achieved more than 10,000 page views in a month.

Subang Jaya Municipal Council’s Zero Counters’ project has a target to reduce face-to-face transactions by 80 per cent by 2016 and has already made significant progress towards reaching this goal.  While maintaining community’s access to services, the project has reduced service time for exception handling to an average of 17 minutes.

The Home Guaranty Corporation in the Philippines has launched its Bankers-Builders-Buyers (BBB+B) Programme with the objective to mobilize funds for social housing.  As a part of the government’s mandate to widen home ownership in the Philippines, the programme guides homebuyers through the complex home loan application and purchase process. The innovation originates from the agency’s partnership with the private sector that aims to create online tools addressing each stage of the loan origination and home purchase process.

The FutureGov Awards is an annual peer-review process, administered by the FutureGov editorial team since 2007. This year the contest received over 550 nominations from across the Asia Pacific.

The winner will be announced at the 11th annual FutureGov Summit in Kuala Lumpur in October.

(Source: FutureGov)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 2:26:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 01, 2014


UNESCO’s YouthMobile Initiative recently concluded the 3rd round of workshops in Nairobi, Kenya for 40 young people on mobile app development. The training is part of a seven round series of workshops hosted in partnership with the Developer School of Kenya.

A series of intensive training workshops on mobile application development for youth for sustainable development in Kenya has been ongoing during the summer in Nairobi, Kenya.

From 17 July 2014, 40 young people received mobile app development training. The workshops were within the framework of the new and innovative UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative in partnership with the Dev School and Kenya National Commission for UNESCO.

The UNESCO Eastern Africa Office provided extensive assistance to the training initiatives. The YouthMobile Initiative aims to empower youth with the high-level skills and confidence to create mobile apps that are locally-relevant and contribute to the reduction of chronic youth unemployment.

The global objective is to engage at least 25,000 young people and sell at least 5,000 mobile apps by 2017.

At a time when the world is looking for new ways to build peace and achieve sustainable development, encouraging innovation and creativity in the  youth of the world will be vital in effectively addressing these challenges.

The Nairobi workshop was held in partnership with the Dev School, a start-up from Kenya with aspirations to introduce coding to youth across the nation. Founded in 2013 by a young Kenyan, Ms. Martha Njeri Chelimo, the Dev School has now successfully run two rounds of training in Nairobi. In these workshops, students are able to extensively study programming languages, mobile platforms, web application frameworks, front end development, writing and entrepreneurship.

The 40 young people who participated in this summer’s workshop learned mobile app development from the MIT App Inventor curriculum. Peer trainers guided students in building Android applications and focused on creating apps that would solve specific local problems.

Linus Onyango, Chairperson at the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO Youth Forum, said: “The Mobile Application Training has been the most exciting and innovative undertaking related to ICT in which the UNESCO Youth forum Kenya has participated. The mobile Application training has been on for six weeks now and the attendance has been amazing. The class is always full and the trainers have been great in giving the learners an introduction to mobile apps development. I would like to thank UNESCO’s Regional Office, the Dev School, the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO and the Kenyan youth for making Nairobi YouthMobile a success”.

Since the Dev School’s inception, the number of students participating in workshops has been steadily increasing. Graduating students have had great success in finding employment within the growing IT industry in Kenya.

There will be a hackathon in September, where students will be required to fully develop their final mobile applications for presentation. In the hackathon, the students will build Android applications in the following areas: education, unemployment, culture, water and sustainable development.

To find out more about the UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative, follow on Twitter @YouthMobile_ or visit the website: www.youthmobile.org
UNESCO is organizing similar YouthMobile workshops in South Sudan, Nigeria, Lebanon and Jordan.

(Source: UNESCO)

Monday, September 01, 2014 10:19:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Chief Executive Officer of Tigo (Tigo Ghana limited), Roshi Motman, is encouraging more girls to study ICT including software, web applications and hardware engineering.

According to her, the ICT industry offers women the opportunity to bring their personal ambition and passions together and make a meaningful contribution to society by developing cutting-edge innovative solutions.

She also believes careers in ICT offer economic freedom and independence for women to work from anywhere including remote locations and across industries.
The Tigo CEO interacted with young women from Nima and Maamobi, suburbs of Accra, at the ‘Tech needs Girls’ training centre.

The centre is run by a Tigo Reach for Change ambassador, Regina Agyare, a social entrepreneur committed to introducing and encouraging young girls to study ICT. Roshi Motman was delighted by the enthusiasm of the young girls and pledged Tigo’s continuous support for  the project. She urged the young women to be confident and challenge the status quo as they will be constrained by history, processes and systems.

‘Tech needs Girls’ is a social enterprise project aimed using technology to encourage and empower young girls to pursue various careers in ICT through hands-on training and mentorship.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Monday, September 01, 2014 10:04:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU, the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) is looking for innovative ideas on how ICTs can help smart cities to slow down or mitigate the effects of climate change and thereby improve people’s health.



This might include novel technologies or combinations of existing technologies, services, and systems which would shape a smart city. It may focus on monitoring or reporting on climate change, mitigating or adapting the impact of climate change on society, or on changes in technology and society that lead to a greener community.

Are you an entrepreneur under the age of 30 and interested in winning up to USD5000 in funding, plus mentorship, networking, and high-level exposure before an influential global audience of decision-makers?

Are you interested in working on concepts and ideas for new social start-ups which directly address climate change and its negative impact on health through a process of co-creation?

Do you want to be part of the select group of 10 young innovators from all over the world present at ITU Telecom World 2014 in Doha, Qatar?
Apply now at: https://ideas.itu.int

Deadline: Tuesday, October 7 2014
Find out more on ITU Telecom World 2014 at telecomworld.itu.int

(Source: GAATES)

Monday, September 01, 2014 8:57:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Rwandan tech incubator Think has received over 100 applications from nine countries for a six-month programme beginning in September in Kigali.

Backed by mobile operator Tigo, Think opened applications to startups and developers from Rwanda and the rest of Africa last month, and will pick the best five teams to join the programme.

Tigo said it will offer selected startups seed financing, structured training and coaching programmes, as well as access to product testing resources and potential customers and investors.

The incubator said it has received over 100 applications from a variety of tech startups and early stage companies from Rwanda as well as Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Benin, Uganda and Benin.

“We are excited to welcome the first batch of talented entrepreneurs at Think. We are calling on tech entrepreneurs across the continent with solid ideas for digital innovation for Africa. Tigo is looking forward to investing in their skills and ingenuity”, Tigo Rwanda general manager, Tongai Maramba, said.

“Think is part of a large and growing ecosystem to encourage technology development across Africa. In Rwanda, Think is already working closely with The Office RW and kLab to co-host networking and skills-building events”, Think said.

“In addition, both of these co-working spaces have supported the Think incubator in outreach to promising startups in their networks. In the larger ecosystem, Think is seeking to partner with leaders in the tech development, incubation, and business development in the world”.

VC4Africa, GSMA, MEST Ghana, Venture Wave San Francisco, Afrilabs, iHub Nairobi and Carnegie Mellon University have all been assisting  in the application process and have expressed interest in supporting Think tech entrepreneurs.

“Rwanda is becoming a hub for technology innovations, and Think is a great addition to our vibrant ecosystem. We cannot wait to see the next African startups bourgeoning from Rwanda”, Rwanda’s minister for youth and ICT, Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, said.

Further details

Monday, September 01, 2014 8:46:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


A free app to help blind people, which uses different smartphone functions to translate tapping gestures into text, launched this week.
The Simpleye app will initially be available for free for Android smartphones.

“It should be available to everyone who needs it”, says the app’s Indian designer Sumit Dagar, who is also working on developing one of the world’s first Braille smartphones.

Dagar is looking to charge users in developed countries a small amount to recover start-up costs, although he hopes to keep the app free in the developing world where the majority of blind or visually impaired people live.

Touching the screen using different tapping or swiping gestures works by imitating Braille, says Dagar. The app also gives audio feedback, reading  words created by the gestures out loud, and even pointing out words that do not make sense.

Dagar is now looking to make the app multilingual so that non-English speakers can use it. He says he has a working prototype or "launcher" that has basic functionalities such as desktop tools, calling, text messaging and a calculator. More complicated aspects like navigation and music are still being designed.

However, progress on the Braille smartphone has been slowed down by lack of funds and high production costs, which currently stand at about US$ 800 per piece. Dagar says he may approach organisations such as the UN or Google for possible collaborations in the near future.

He hopes his smartphone will eventually work with apps such as Facebook; he plans to approach these organizations directly to achieve this.

A decision still has to be made on whether to release a basic version of the phone with compromised functionality — without navigation for example — or to wait until the full functionality is available, says Dagar.

OwnFone, the UK-based designers of the first Braille phone that went on sale for £60 (US$100) earlier this year in the United Kingdom, says they plan to launch a Kickstarter project to raise funds to make their product available internationally. OwnFone’s first international partner is based in Australia, but the company gives no details about whether the phone will be available in developing countries or how much they would charge in these areas. OwnFone congratulated Dagar’s efforts. “The more devices on the market to help the blind or the partially-sighted, the better,” they said.

A spokesman from the UK-based Royal London Society for Blind People praised Dagar’s app, saying, “Simpleye is a great typing alternative for blind and partially sighted Braille users, and we applaud the efforts of developers working to expand the choice of accessibility apps for vision impaired smartphone users.”

(Source: Scidev Net)

Monday, September 01, 2014 4:30:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 21, 2014
SMEs can now enjoy broader coverage of technology solutions and a simplified application process through the incorporation of the $500 million IPG programme into "Increase SME Productivity with Infocomm Adoption & Transformation" (iSPRINT). The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced IPG earlier this year in the Singapore Budget 2014 Speech.

The enhanced iSPRINT scheme will boost SMEs' productivity and growth. There are three new elements in the enhanced iSPRINT: piloting of new sector solutions, scaling up of already proven sector solutions and leveraging access to high-speed connectivity to achieve more with technology.

The enhancement was announced today by Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the opening of the 16th Annual SMEs Conference & 17th Infocomm Commerce Conference, organized by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Dr. Yaacob said that the enhancements aim to make the adoption of ICT solutions more accessible to SMEs. "Global and technological trends have made the businesses highly competitive and SMEs must make use of technology to compete and succeed. The opportunities and possibilities are there, it is up to you (SMEs) to take advantage of the resources the Government has provided".

Mr. Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA said, "Tech enables business transformation. To build the world's first Smart Nation, we need pioneers among our SME to innovate with tech and transform their businesses so that they can compete even more effectively in Singapore and reach new markets overseas".

IT vendors and SMEs who wish to pioneer new and scalable solutions that can automate and transform a particular sector may now receive support of up to 80% capped at $1 million. SMEs, on the other hand, that wish to deploy proven sector-specific solutions in their business, may also benefit from this scheme. SMEs can choose solutions from a growing pre-qualified list and may now receive support of up to 70%.

To encourage SMEs to deploy technology into their businesses, SMEs can also enjoy higher speed connectivity with the support from IDA if they adopt selected solutions. These include support for SMEs' fibre subscription plans of at least 100 Mbps and implementation of Wireless@SG services at their business premises.

At the same time, SMEs will also not need to make any claim submissions for the above enhanced iSPRINT support. The enhanced iSPRINT is expected to support up to 10,000 companies over three years. Whilst all sectors with SMEs will benefit from this scheme, 5 sectors that will benefit significantly for productivity and growth are retail, food & beverage, construction, logistics/transport and tourism & attractions.

Further details

Thursday, August 21, 2014 6:43:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


On July 9, the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD)-led Connect4Change consortium, together with preferred partner Text to Change and the Forum for African Women Educationalists in Malawi (FAWEMA), launched a campaign aimed at creating an environment in which children’s rights are recognized and respected. The initiative uses ICTs to map the local situation of children, particularly in schools and focusing on girls, to raise community awareness of child abuse and to advocate for children’s rights. It empowers the community to voice their concerns and puts a structure in place for facilitating follow-up and feedback.

In this campaign, SMS and radio are used to mobilize communities around issues affecting children’s rights and education. Parents, teachers and other community members are encouraged to enrol in a mobile platform informing and surveying participants on various children’s rights topics, and both SMS and radio are used to further raise awareness and sensitize the community to these issues. The messages focus on child abuse in many forms, including but not limited to child marriage, child labor, sexual harassment and severe punishments by teachers. A toll free line has been designed to report incidents of child abuse, and reported cases are to be followed up by linking to the appropriate authorities such as the Victim Support Unit, mother groups or the Ministry of Gender and Social Welfare.

Our experience shows that inclusion of all community stakeholders from the beginning is crucial in advocacy work. Furthermore, the diversity of issues addressed by this campaign requires the engagement of all community stakeholders to support and hold each other accountable to their shared goals. For these reasons, IICD worked to include not only local authorities, but also school management committees, teachers, parent-teacher associations, teacher training colleges and primary education advisors in the workflow.

Advocacy initiatives such as this child protection campaign are an important part of the ICT4D work that IICD pursues. Keeping issues such as child abuse on political and community agendas is a central component of bringing about sustainable social changes in the countries in which they work. In this initiative, by advocating children’s rights via an ICT platform, parents and educators in the community become better equipped to deal with these concerns and offer their children a safer environment for learning and living.

(Source: IICD)

Thursday, August 21, 2014 6:35:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore’s (IDA) inaugural Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) conducted its first class on 6 August, receiving an overwhelming response. The data sciences specialization course caters to  Singaporean working professionals and achieved more than 350 registrations, with strong participation from both the private sector and the public sector alike.

With Singapore gearing up to be the world’s first Smart Nation, data sciences and analytics are  becoming increasingly relevant and are  playing a greater role in businesses and government organizations in terms of  handling operational efficiency, engaging customers, as well as anticipating and delivering services. Professionals with training in data sciences and analytics are  expected to be in demand. McKinsey forecasts that there will be a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 data sciences and analytics professionals by 2018 in just the US alone.

In partnership with course provider Coursera, the MOOC pilot offers Singaporeans from different professional backgrounds the opportunity to develop vital skills that respond to this growing demand for data sciences and analytics talent, providing them with opportunities and improving career prospects. An industry recruitment report has shown that data professionals can expect to earn from $80,000 up to $180,000 or even more per year.

The IDA MOOC pilot has attracted a broad base of participants with a good proportion of applicants having five years or less of working experience. However, the course has also attracted experienced professionals with about 60% of the applicants having 5 years or more working experience.

While about 30% of the applicants come from an IT background, 40% are from a wide range of sectors such as healthcare, finance and education, reflecting data sciences and analytics’ ability to be applied across sectors and areas of work. The remaining 20% of applicants come from data-related professions, seeking to build upon their existing skills.

“We want the participants joining IDA MOOC to not only benefit from a high quality of learning that improves career prospects, we also want participants to network with...and learn from... like-minded members of industry”, said Mr. Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA. “This is an important part of building a data sciences and analytics community in Singapore”.

(Source: IDA)

Thursday, August 21, 2014 6:19:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), together with Intel, launched the All Africa Girls STEM Competition aimed at enhancing girls' interest, participation and performance in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and to help the girls pursue careers in these fields.

The inaugural competition took place in Nairobi from 13th - 14th August 2014 and featured a team of 35 all-female finalists drawn from the 15 African countries where FAWE has presence.

Kenya was among the countries participating in the competition, sending 6 participants to the competition all drawn from Meru County. Other countries participating included Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zanzibar.

Speaking at the event, Intel's Africa Program Director, Suraj Shah, said "The technology sector has recently faced allegations of being a male dominated sector. Partly to blame for the situation is that not many women pick a career path in technology. Intel has chosen to be at the forefront of promoting gender balance and female participation in the technology sector, especially in Africa where technology's contribution to the economy has been growing at a fast pace".

The FAWE Science, Mathematics & Technology (SMT) programme, initiated in 2004, is aimed at increasing the participation and performance of girls in Science, Mathematics and Technology subjects in primary and secondary schools in Africa.

The programme is implemented in FAWE's Centres of Excellence (COEs) and in non-COEs schools across countries where FAWE has a presence. The collaboration between FAWE and Intel is in line with Intel's "She Will Connect program", which is an innovative combination of digital literacy training, an online peer network, and gender-relevant content.

Through the program, Intel endeavors to work with an ecosystem of partners to close this gap globally, beginning in Africa. Intel created the program as a result of the Women and the Web report in developing countries that showed 25% fewer women were online than men and in Sub-Saharan Africa, the gap rose to 43%.

As a result of this initiative, young women get the opportunity to acquire or improve digital literacy skills and expand their understanding and use of technology so that they can connect to health, government, and educational information, economic opportunities, and gender-specific resources. Consequently, these young women are able to receive better education, enhance their political participation, have a stronger voice in their communities, and increase their income by connecting to new economic opportunities.

This event created a platform for female students to test their creative, technological and innovative minds through the various STEM projects that they initiate, think through, conceptualize, develop and present for competitions at the school, national and African regional levels.

In addition to bringing together the girls, the event also brought together prominent women professionals and scientists who will  provide mentoring and motivational talks to encourage the young girls through sharing their experiences, among other activities.

Among these professionals were former FAWE beneficiaries who have made it through their education and who can serve as an inspiration to the upcoming Scientists, Mathematicians, Engineers and Technological experts.

(Source: All Africa)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 10:02:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 13, 2014


As ICTs infiltrate all aspects of our lives, it is critical for females to actively engage as members of the Information Society.  ICTs can provide for greater gender equality in careers, which is one of the goals of the Venezuelan government. 

Many countries around the world face a shortage of trained ICT personnel and Venezuela is no exception.  In particular, the government recognizes the role girls and young women can play in filling this impending gap, promoting programs such as Infocentros Canaimitas, holding training in telecommunications and providing free software to its citizens. 

The number of Internet users in Venezuela is also rapidly increasing.  In the first quarter of 2014, data service providers estimated the number of Internet users in the country as 13 million, 50% of whom were female, demonstrating the need for discussion on women and ICT.

Recognizing the work of ITU, including its annual International Girls in ICT Day, Venezuela understands this need for further discussion on the use of ICTs for female empowerment.  As part of the “Conference on Internet Development and Social Transformation” in Caracas on Tuesday, August 12, organized by the Association of Internet Users Venezuela, Internauta, participants received training on gender mainstreaming and social issues surrounding women and ICT.  Nerissa Aguilera, a computer specialist and participant in a variety free software initiatives, delivered this training.  Aguilera is also a member of Accessible World, an organization that develops and disseminates accessible technologies for persons with disabilities.

Additional conference discussion topics included the transition from IPv4 to IPv6, free “Infogobierno” technologies, the need for a sovereign system of traffic exchange points, and other issues related to the use of ICTs for social development.

For further information see http://www.internetvenezuela.net.ve/

(Source: Conatel

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 2:46:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 11, 2014


ITU is proud to announce the launch of an online platform to gather public opinion on the role that ITU could play to promote the use of ICTs as a tool to empower youth. This initiative serves as a follow-up to the BYND2015 Summit, held in San José in September 2013 and organized by ITU, together with the government of Costa Rica.

As agreed by ITU Council 2014, the platform has been made available, at the request of Costa Rica, to gather input on a resolution on youth, to be presented to this year’s PP-14 conference.

In order to expand the reach of this initiative, ITU would like to invite all ITU Membership to share and promote this platform with all relevant stakeholders, including academic institutions and youth-led civil society organizations.

The outcome of the consultation, which will take place from 1 August until 15 September 2014, will be posted on ITU´s thematic page on youth issues, for the consideration of all delegations taking part in PP-14. For further information please visit the website of the consultation, available at www.itu.int/youth.

#PP14Youth
​ITU is inviting young people around the world to share their thoughts and opinions on the scope and mandate of our future work related to youth. Through this online consultation, members of the public can provide input to the policy document which will be presented to ITU's upcoming Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-14) in Busan, Republic of Korea from 20 October - 7 November 2014. The #PP14Youth initiative aims to build on the successful experiences of the BYND2015 Summit, held in San José, Costa Rica in September 2013.

Contributing your thoughts and ideas is simple! Here's how to do it:

1. Read the draft policy document
2. Make your suggested edits and comments
3. Keep checking back to stay updated with how the policy document is evolving
4. Tell others to get involved with #PP14Youth

Further information

Monday, August 11, 2014 12:48:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The fourth version of Colombia 3.0, which brought together more than 130 experts in digital content from 14 countries, was held in Bogotá in order to promote the software industry, develop creative solutions and to reduce poverty in the South American country.

The event brought together business owners and entrepreneurs in digital animation, web and mobile development, video games, music, convergence, business and monetization of convergent media, explained the Minister of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) of Colombia, Diego Molano.

The minister said that Colombia strives to be a world power in the field of digital content, but that they are also looking to technology as a tool to "solve the problems of Colombians, including poverty". For this, the government has allocated, for the next four years, about $ 10,000 million for infrastructure, application development and training.

This event took place in the vicinity of the "Zona T", in the north of the Colombian capital, where there are restaurants, exclusive shops and entertainment places.
The organizers believe that this is time to promote the software industry, the digital content scenario and young Colombian talent.

"We have put in black and white for a week everything that is happening in Colombia with the ICT industry, but especially the industry linked to creativity", Molano said. The minister also said that the Colombian software and applications developers will be highlighted, because "they are making the revolution of information systems in the government".  Additionally, he said, the event offers business opportunities for Colombian entrepreneurs and investment opportunities for foreigners.

(Source: America Economía)

Monday, August 11, 2014 12:23:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Akvo builds open source internet and mobile software which is used to make international development cooperation and aid activity more effective and transparent. They provide the software as a service to the vast majority of the organizations with which they work, backed by a partner-support and training team.

Akvo is a non-profit foundation headquartered in the Netherlands with staff in Sweden, Kenya, Burkina Faso, the UK, Germany, Spain, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Finland and the United States. Akvo’s tools are open source and used by over 1,500 organizations throughout the world in areas such as water, sanitation, health, education and economic development.

Products:

Akvo RSR stands for Really Simple Reporting. It’s a web- and Android-based system that makes it easy for development aid teams to bring complex networks of projects online and share progress with everyone involved and interested.

Akvo FLOW is a mobile phone and online service that transforms field monitoring using Android smartphones.

Akvo Openaid helps governments and big international organizations present aid-spend data online in easy to navigate ways so they can meet transparency obligations.

Akvopedia is a portal for online knowledge on smart, low-cost, sustainable water and sanitation technology and approaches.

(Source: Akvo)

Monday, August 11, 2014 12:19:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
KiBO Foundation, a social enterprise focused on developing skills and unleashing the capacity of youth through ICT skills in Uganda, has started a programme in Entebbe to help young people with disabilities attain IT skills.

The KiBO programme is expected to benefit over 350 youth in the municipality.  The program seeks to generate change by  providing schools with content that will open up their students’ minds to becoming great leaders and entrepreneurs.

Abraham Temu, KiBO´s Founder & Managing Director, said: "KiBO Foundation, Cisco and Entebbe Municipality officially launched a Community Knowledge Center (CKC) to provide members of rural communities, and especially the deaf, access to technology, to enable them find jobs, start businesses, gain education, and increase their financial self-sufficiency".

The project is set to help people with hearing difficulties acquire IT knowledge to make them better suited for the job market.

Temu also added that the Entebbe CKC was started two years ago and has trained hundreds of community members to date, including the youth and teachers, who are awarded certificates of accomplishment. He said "this will act as a demonstration centre from which youths will have access to the best technology in the world, unlike the current situation where students find difficulty in research because of lack of information centres".

This programme is part of a commitment by Cisco, a global IT company, to provide useful content and technology to disadvantaged groups in Africa, so that they can have access to what is happening around the globe.

"Through engaging municipalities in developing strategies that affect the young people, challenge their mindsets, we hope this will open up their minds to being great thinkers and pillars of change in their communities", Temu said.

KiBO hopes to set up seven more centres in other parts of Uganda including in Nebbi, Gulu, Amuru, Entebbe, Ntugamo, and Lira. In 2013, Cisco funded six CKCs across Uganda - Entebbe, Gulu, Lira, Nebbi, Ngora and Ntungamo Districts, with KiBO Foundation as the lead implementer; similar centers have been implemented across Africa to enable rural communities have access to Information and Communication Technology.

(Source: All Africa)

Monday, August 11, 2014 12:15:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


World Pulse is honored to join the Women and the Web Alliance, a groundbreaking public-private partnership which aims to create a movement addressing the gendered Internet gap by bringing more than 600,000 young women online in Nigeria and Kenya in the next three years.

World Pulse will collaborate with USAID, NetHope, Intel Corporation, World Vision, UN Women, and Women in Technology in Nigeria to transform the lives and livelihoods of girls and women in Africa through digital literacy training, relevant content, policy work, and online social networks.

World Pulse will provide digital empowerment training and a peer network of support to sustain women’s engagement and empowerment online. Building on its strong networks in sub-Saharan Africa, World Pulse will use its digital platform to unite and amplify young women’s voices, solutions and impact worldwide.

By introducing women to the Internet, sustaining their engagement and use of technology as a tool for social and economic empowerment, World Pulse is building a future where every woman and girl believes in the power of her own voice and uses it to build a free and equitable world where all life thrives.

The Alliance was announced at the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit event, Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa, hosted by the White House, the George W. Bush Institute, and the US Department of State. The event convened African First Spouses from more than 35 countries; non-governmental organizations and non-profit leaders; private sector partners; faith-based and grassroots organizations; and other leading experts.

Further information

Monday, August 11, 2014 12:03:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO, in conjunction with the Government of India, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Ministry of Human Resource Development of India, is organizing an international event titled “From Exclusion to Empowerment: Role of ICTs for Persons with Disabilities”, which is scheduled to take place from 24 to 26 November 2014 in New Delhi, India.

This international event will bring together more than 500 leading policy makers and practitioners in the field of disabilities, communication and information specialists and ICTs developers, together with leaders in politics, education, civil society, culture, business, media and industry, as well as UN family organizations. These stakeholders will discuss these vital issues in order to enhance human rights and fundamental freedoms for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in every aspect of life.

The major objectives of this international event are to showcase the potential and benefits that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) provide in terms of access to information and knowledge for persons with disabilities around the world and to encourage all stakeholders to take concrete measures for the empowerment of persons with disabilities through the use of inclusive and accessible ICTs.

Current estimates suggest that 1 billion people, 15% of the global population, are living with some form of disability. Though they have been referred to as the ‘world’s largest minority’, many persons with disabilities are not provided with equal access to education and gainful employment. They are thus denied the opportunity to take an active part in their communities and grow as individuals. It is imperative that this issue be dealt with, specifically under the auspices of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and with a view to the Post-2015 inclusive-development agenda.

UNESCO is convinced that ICTs can help mitigate the digital divide and foster the inclusion of persons with disabilities within an educational context, as well as within society as a whole. Inclusive and accessible ICTs can be used to address the needs of persons with a variety of disabilities, to the extent that they encourage personalized lifelong learning, employment and social participation.

This international event strives to gain better understanding of the possibilities afforded by these new technologies, and will be comprised of three main events:

1.The international conference, which will aim to raise public awareness amongst a variety of stakeholders: policy and decision makers, leaders within education, industry, IT and media sectors, and public and private organizations.

2.The “We Care Filmfest,” which will play a large part in raising awareness about disability through the medium of film. While an important issue, disability has received precious little visibility; as a result, prejudice and negative stereotyping towards disabled persons is prevalent.

3.The ICT Exhibition portion of the conference, where mainstream and assistive ICTs will be on display in an interactive workshop format and exhibition space. ICT solutions developers and providers will be encouraged to present existing ICTs and good practices, to develop new solutions, and to create a network for progress within this domain.

Overall, recommendations will be made for specific actions and innovative solutions will be shared, so as to encourage new policies, products, services, and cross-sectoral collaboration to empower persons with disabilities. It is through efforts like these that meaningful change can be effected, and UNESCO and its partners are proud to present and engage in this important conference.

For more information about the international event, please visit the following website: http://www.unesco.org/ict-disability/

(Source: UNESCO)

Monday, August 11, 2014 11:41:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 04, 2014


It is important to show some of the most significant scholarly contributions to knowledge and action towards expanding women’s participation in all communication platforms. The publication proposes a pragmatic research agenda for the Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG), looking back, building on the past and looking to the future.

This volume is divided into four main sections: 1) Gender-based violence, media and information; 2) Women’s access to media; 3) Gender and media policy and strategies; 4) Gender, education, and media and information literacy. The authors are all experts on the advancement of gender equality. Moreover, they have been involved in both scholarly and advocacy actions with visible impact at global, regional and national levels. UNESCO is pleased to have cooperated with the International Association of Communication Researchers in the preparation of this publication.

Download full text here


More information

Monday, August 04, 2014 9:18:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The first ever Pan-African Women in Tech meet up will take place as a virtual event in August, supported by simultaneous live viewing events in Uganda, South Africa and Ghana.

Organized by Women in Tech Ghana, Women in Tech Zambia, Women in Tech Uganda, and Girls in ICT Rwanda, the event aims to bring together women working in technology across the continent. The organizers note that “some Women in Technology clubs exist already but, to date, no one has attempted to build a pan-African network, allowing us to compare our challenges, learn from other countries and connect across borders to expand our influence”.

They elaborated: “Working in technology can, at times, be an isolating experience for women, especially in Africa. The impact of this can limit women’s professional growth in the sector. Women need mentors, role models and a network to share their experiences, challenges and skills”.

The meet up will be held on 2 August 2014, at 12pm GMT, 2pm CAT, 3pm EAT.

Register for live stream event or viewing parties at https://womentechafrica.wordpress.com

(Further details)

Monday, August 04, 2014 8:57:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



Digital Education Group (DEG), an academic consulting firm specialising in classroom technology, has launched a new search engine for schools called “Easy School Find.”

The Search Engine project aims to serve as a platform for useful educational information, ideas and updates for parents and corporate institutions, as well as to promote schools and other educational facilities.

Speaking at the launch, The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DEG, Mr. George Sackey, said the project was expected to offer Ghanaians from all parts of the country the chance to easily access and search online for schools of their choice.

He added that the project was carefully designed with outstanding and colourful layouts that would offer users the opportunity to comment and send instant feedback and ratings.

Mr. Sackey noted that the Project would offer incomparable benefits to parents and all prospective students in terms of simplifying school searches by allowing them to access relevant information about schools through  state of the art technology.

For her part, The Branch Manager of “Easy School Find”, Miss Priscilla Adom Tawiah, disclosed that the project would benefit a wide variety of people by providing the latest educational products and services, information, ideas and updates.

She said the platform provided by the “Easy School Find“ project would help parents, guardians and students with detailed directions to schools as well as virtual information on those schools.

According to her, "Easy School Find" would provide the general public with the most cost-effective and efficient means of advertising and promoting educational institutions on a global platform.

 (Source: BizTech Africa)

Monday, August 04, 2014 8:36:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 31, 2014
Discover the 10 award-winning best practices from the Actions for Digital Culture contest, organized by the Digital Italy Agency, to promote digital literacy and inclusion.

The first edition of Actions for Digital Culture received 101 applications. The award winning 10 were selected in May 2014, but additional initiatives will be posted on the contest database until July, 31st.

The award-winning initiatives were selected on the basis of their consistency with the objectives of the Italian National Programme for Culture, Education and Digital Skills and on their sustainability, scalability, size, verifiability, actual or potential impact, user-friendliness and openness.

Below are the 10 winning best practices in digital literacy and inclusion: check them out (Italian  only).
  • Digital Culture for citizens
- The network of local associations to disseminate digital culture
- DITEDI - District of Digital Technologies
  •  Digital Inclusion
- Bread and Internet
- CoderDojo Italy
  • Working Digital Skills
- Development of digital professional skills at INAIL according to the standard e-CF
- Professional competence profiles for the Web

  • Digital Skills for the Enterprises
- The Italian school to catch up with Europe: Core EUCIP in curricula in technical colleges
- Meet No Neet 2
  •  Digital Skills for PA
- METID MATCH: build with the digital culture
- The 100 Schools Project

Digital literacy is the topic of the ongoing discussion on ICT4Society Café: join the debate and let us know about your experience and good practices!

More details

Thursday, July 31, 2014 9:20:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Eko-Konnect is holding an app competition in Nigeria as part of its 2014 Software Freedom Day Celebration.

Eko-Konnect challenges applicants to identify a challenge to either students or management of Higher Institutions of Learning and build an app to solve this challenge. Apps will be exhibited on Friday, 19th September, 2014 at the Yaba College of Technology and winners will be announced on Saturday, 20th September, 2014 at the same venue.

Send your Abstract by Friday, 22nd August, 2014 to eko-geeks@eko-konnect.net.ng.

Only eligible applicants will be contacted.

Further details

Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:54:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
DEMO has released the names of the 40 start-ups that have qualified to launch their products on the DEMO Africa stage in September 2014.

Topping the list is Nigeria with 14 qualifying start-ups, followed by Kenya, Ghana and Egypt. Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa and Ethiopia will each have two representatives at the weekend event, while Tunisia, Benin, Cameroon, Uganda and Zimbabwe had earned their space at the DEMO Africa platform.

DEMO Africa is the flagship initiative of the Liberating Innovation in Opportunity Nations or LIONS@FRICA partnership, an innovative new partnership aimed at enhancing and deepening the start-up and innovation ecosystems of fast-growing African economies.

LIONS@FRICA brings together the US State Department, Microsoft, Nokia, InfoDEV, and the United States Agency for International Development, among others, to support and amplify Africa’s budding start-up and innovation ecosystem.

According to a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the Minister of Communication Technology on Media in Nigeria, Mrs. Efem Nkanga, more than 400 applications were received for the DEMO Africa 2014, but only 242 met the threshold for the adjudication. Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana submitted  the highest number of entries. Out of 12 categories for application, Nkanga said communication attracted the highest number of applications, with 76 applications received, and the category would have the highest number of representation with 14 projects of the final 40 being in this category. She said that the finance and banking category would also have a good representation of eight out of 18 entries accepted. Other categories that will have high representation on the DEMO Africa stage, according to her, include retail, health and education.

Start-ups, however, shied away from water and sanitation, and waste management and recycling. No entries were recorded for these two categories, an indication that stakeholders still had to work on entrepreneurs’ confidence to encourage homemade solutions across all sectors.

Commending the African entrepreneurs, the Nigerian Minister for Communication Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, said, “This presents another opportunity for African tech start-ups. Africa may have missed out on the industrial revolution, but we surely will not in the ICT revolution. Through innovation, we will put Nigeria and Africa in general on the ICT map.

“Realising the huge potential of the software industry, we have put in place a set of initiatives that will assist the tech start-ups to create successful businesses, which will directly create jobs and wealth”.

The DEMO Africa Executive Producer, Harry Hare, reportedly acknowledged the efforts by all the participating start-ups and called upon the investors to support the work of the young entrepreneurs.

He said, “We had really amazing entries this year, but unfortunately the DEMO Africa team can only accommodate 40 for now. ”Hare said the high number of entries was inspiring, adding, “It only shows that entrepreneurs have risen above the fear of venturing into new waters to create new products”.

He said, “This in itself shows that confidence levels in Africa-made solutions are steadily rising. I am confident that we will get to levels where we can generate solutions that can be applied globally”.

(Source: IT News Africa)

Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:42:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 21, 2014
The funding boost for the Computers in Homes digital literacy programme, announced recently, has been welcomed by the 2020 Communications Trust.

“We appreciate this on-going support from Government,” said Laurence Millar, Chair of the 2020 Communications Trust. “This will help us continue to tackle the digital divide for families with school-aged children who do not have access to a computer and internet in their homes.”

Computers in Homes ticks all the boxes in terms of government’s digital priorities and target groups and is strongly supported by communities throughout New Zealand and especially by Members of Parliament for the most remote and disconnected regions, many of whom have seen first-hand the benefits for their constituents.

“We have a waiting list of over 3000 families, and we believe there could still be more than 70,000 families with school-aged children without access to the internet in their homes”, said Mr. Millar. “We are looking forward to the results of the Census later this year to get an up-to-date picture on the extent of the digital divide”.

“Computers in Homes currently supports families in 17 low income communities from the Far North to Otago. Today’s announcement means that we can support another 1500 families during the next year, and continue to respond to demand in these regions”.

“Government has announced the 21st Century Learning Reference Group to provide expert advice on digital literacy in schools to indicate the importance of digital skills for New Zealand’s future. Digital inclusion is an important part of our future, and expanding the programme to reach 5,000 families every year would cost less than 1% of the Government’s investment in ultra-fast broadband. We urge the Government to keep investing in digital literacy alongside the infrastructure spend, to ensure New Zealand gets the expected economic and social returns”, Mr. Millar concluded.

(Source: e-Learning Porirua)

Monday, July 21, 2014 9:46:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Youth Affairs Minister Nikki Kaye has today opened Youth Fund 2015 with $200,000 available for community projects.

“The Ministry of Youth Development’s Youth Fund is unique in that it supports projects designed and led by young people aged 12 to 24, or projects by youth organisations in partnership with young people, that develop community participation”, Ms. Kaye says.

“Panels of young people will assess applications to determine successful projects and where the funding will go, resulting in a completely youth-led initiative. The more opportunities we can give young people to participate in decision-making and get involved in service in their communities, the better”.

Youth Fund 2014 funded 47 projects last year, from the Pheonix Performing Arts – a programme of workshops and mentoring for young people involved in the performing arts – to the INSPIRE youth mentoring conference. A Westland Rural Education Activities programme, the conference taught Grey and Westland districts’ youth a range of skills in events management, communication, and financial management.

More than 7000 young people participated in the Youth Fund 2014 projects. “We cannot underestimate the value to our country of investing in young leaders”, Ms. Kaye says, “particularly through projects where young Kiwis lead the way in solving problems in their communities.  This funding, along with other Government initiatives such as the $2.5 million Youth Enterprise Initiative that was announced in Budget 2014, is giving young people opportunities to upskill and make a positive contribution to their communities”.

The funding available for each project in the 2015 Youth Fund ranges from $2000 to $7000. Projects must begin from 1 January 2015 and be completed by 30 June 2015.
Applications close on 11 September 2014.

For information: www.myd.govt.nz/funding/youth-fund.html

(Source: Official Web of New Zealand Government)

Monday, July 21, 2014 9:36:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Today, the effective application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in education is a key policy priority for many countries around the world. However, inclusion of persons with disabilities is often not adequately ensured, encouraged and supported with necessary normative and legislative instruments, resources and funding mechanisms. To help its Member States to establish linkages between different legislative and policy fields such as education, technology and human rights, UNESCO, together with G3ICT and the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education, brought together key stakeholders from the public and private sector, leading experts in inclusive education and ICT, members of civil society and persons with disabilities for the elaboration of a Model Policy for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Education.

The purpose of the Model Policy is to serve as a resource document for developing the contents of new and existing national policy documents  or for auditing or implementing existing policies. Building on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006), specifically Articles  9: Accessibility; Article 21: Freedom of Expression and Opinion, and Access to Information; and Article 24: Education, the document provides the rationale and practical steps for the following:

- Integration of inclusive ICTs in education for inclusion of persons with disabilities,
- Identification of key requirements for national legislation,
- Establishment of concrete policy objectives and actions,
- Development of a national implementation strategy, and
- Creation of a coherent and effective financial mechanism.

The document also includes templates for benchmarking and monitoring the completion of the policy actions, a list of key questions proposed for the elaboration of policy agenda, and a technical glossary.

The Model Policy for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Education is now available in English and will be available shortly also in French.

(Source: UNESCO)

Monday, July 21, 2014 9:27:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Deputy Director of the British Department for International Development in Ghana (DfID-Ghana), Ms. Charlotte Pierce, has pledged the commitment of DfID to working with the Government of Ghana to give all young people the opportunity of good quality education.

Ms. Pierce said DfID was currently helping 120,000 girls, who had dropped out of school in Ghana, to return to primary school and over 80,000 disadvantaged girls to complete their secondary education. She disclosed that in pursuit of its goal of helping more young people, particularly girls, to be in school, the British Government launched a programme dubbed ‘The Girls Education Challenge,’ under which one million girls across the globe are to go to school and learn.

Ms. Pierce spoke at the launch of Ghana’s first interactive distance-learning project, Making Ghanaian Girls Great! (MGCubed), at Prampram in the Greater Accra region. Ms. Pierce said MGCubed received funding under the (DfID)’s Girls' Education Challenge (GEC) programme to help it address the challenges of teacher quality, teacher absenteeism and poor student learning by equipping two classrooms in every school with solar-powered computers and projectors through which real-time, two-way interactive distance lessons could occur. She urged all stakeholders including parents, head teachers, district, community and traditional leaders, school children and the staff of project implementation and partner organizations to work together for the success of the project.

In an address, Dr. Gordon Carver, MGCubed Project Director, said the project was an attempt to use technology to achieve certain simple educational goals of attracting girls and boys to come to a classroom and learn relevant material through engaging activities, guided by a well-trained teacher.
Dr. Carver also stressed the need for partnership and collaboration among stakeholders to make the project a success.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Monday, July 21, 2014 9:21:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


While interventions like interactive whiteboards and school management information systems have proven successful time and time again in the International Institute for Communication and Development’s (IICD) projects, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution in ICT4Education. For this reason, IICD is always searching for innovative ways to offer effective and efficient solutions. This month, IICD’s TeachTab and LearnTab, an IICD-developed tablet designed for educational use, was piloted in one primary school and one teacher training college in Malawi. Partnering with Don Bosco Youth Technical College, IICD aims to use these low-cost tablets to address the problems of educational resource shortages and overcrowded classrooms faced by many Malawian schools.

Tablets offer certain advantages that make them very appealing for ICT4Education projects: they are portable, low energy, affordable and offer interactive capabilities. Whereas standardly available tablets come pre-assembled and with a particular set of capabilities and functionalities, IICD is instead taking advantage of the rapidly dropping costs in ICT hardware by ordering the individual components of the tablets and assembling them with basic software that allows the teacher and all the students in the classroom to interact simultaneously. This results in a solution not only much more practical, but also much more affordable than installing a traditional computer lab or other ICT solutions.

Using the TeachTab, teachers can control the whole classroom and monitor what students are doing with the LearnTabs. Teachers can install or block applications remotely and broadcast text, presentations, videos or audio to all devices. The TeachTab also allows the teacher to interact with and prompt questions to the whole classroom at once using the interactive whiteboard functionality. Using the LearnTab, students can work in small groups, collaboratively post answers to quizzes prompted by the teachers or edit the same document or project together.

(Source: IICD)

Monday, July 21, 2014 9:10:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Government agencies are increasingly using social media to engage with citizens, share information and deliver services more quickly and effectively than ever before. But as social content, data and platforms become more diverse, agencies have a responsibility to ensure these digital services are accessible to all citizens, including people with disabilities.

Accessible, universal technology ensures the success of people with disabilities in the workplace.  A lack of accessible technologies constitutes a major barrier to the employability and productivity of persons with disabilities.  Increasingly employers use social media in recruiting and in the workplace and, as not all social media platforms are accessible, according to the U.S. Government, this practice excludes the 20 percent of the U.S. population living with a disability. 

To address this issue, as part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies and the Social Media Accessibility Working Group have developed a Toolkit of best practices in social media accessibility.    
 
This guide to Improving the Accessibility of Social Media in Government was created with the input of social media leaders and users across government and the private sector.  It is a living document containing helpful tips, real-life examples and best practices to ensure that your social media content is usable and accessible to all citizens, including those with disabilities.

To begin exploring the Toolkit, simply select from this table of contents:

- Who Developed This Toolkit?
- Why Is The Accessibility Of Social Media So Important?
- What You Will And Won’t Find In This Toolkit?
- General Social Media Accessibility Tips
- Platform-Specific Social Media Accessibility Tips – e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vine, Blogs, etc.
- Additional Resources
- How To Provide Feedback or Contribute Content To This Toolkit

Further details

Monday, July 21, 2014 8:51:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 16, 2014


The government of Botswana is making concerted, legislative efforts to catch up with other countries in Africa, like Rwanda and South Africa, who are speeding ahead in the faculty of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Speaking during the recent 12th Southern Africa Research and Innovation Management Association Conference (SARIMA), Professor Torto of Botswana said parliament has already approved a National Innovation Fund which will provide seed and early stage funding for technology based start-ups and ventures, as well as established companies with viable innovation concepts.  The objectives of the 12th SARIMA conference were to develop the discipline of research and innovation, including professional development and promotion of best practices, in order to foster and coordinate activities related to research and management at local, national, regional, and international levels.

Torto said in this day and age science, engineering, technology and Innovation (SETI) “hold answers to new complex challenges that governments are facing. He commended the host country Botswana for making significant strides in mapping the landscape of science, technology and innovation (STI) and emboldening national frameworks.

“Over the past 60 years, both developed and developing countries have recognized this fact by increasing the number of SETI government bodies, establishing new SETI legal frameworks as well as implementing a diverse set of new SETI policy instruments”, said Prof. Torto.

In this light, according to Torto, the country is poised for progress and reform, including upgrading the country’s science systems and building capacity for monitoring and evaluating performance. 

Torto said building a sound higher education system has now become a “national priority.”  To date, Botswana has invested in two new public institutions of higher learning. One of these focuses on science and engineering, while the other on agriculture and natural resources.

He said, although funding and financing research and innovation is an expensive enterprise, it is critical for both Botswana and other countries to build an inclusive and diverse knowledge society.
 
(Source: BizTech Africa)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 12:11:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


On 10th July the European Commission launched its “Connected Communities” initiative – an umbrella for several systems designed to connect towns, cities, local broadband partnerships and operators to the advice they need to access finance and develop tailored business models for bringing fast broadband to their community.

All parties working at a local, regional and national level are invited to submit their concepts and plans for broadband deployment projects to the European Commission. Requests must be received before 15 October 2014, and the best concepts will receive the Commission's "seal of approval", and access to more in-depth support.

Some current examples of best practice include:
  • Reggefiber in the Netherlands, a project which started in 2010, has contributed greatly to the rollout of ultra high-speed fibre to the home (FttH), thanks to financing from the EIB and six commercial banks.
  • Iliad, in France, which signed a €200 million project with the EIB in 2012 to finance the rollout of next generation networks in France, 65% of which is earmarked to FttH development.
European Commission Vice President @NeelieKroesEU said: "If you're a local authority, a region, or a committed broadband activist, we are here to help you! We want to connect you to practical support and finance to help you achieve your vision for your community”.
Types of support on offer include:

  • Individual feedback: initial assessment of a local broadband plan to determine what support can be offered.
  • World Bank technical assistance: the World Bank is cooperating with experts from the European Commission who will help develop business models and advise on how your project can achieve the necessary scale to be eligible for private or public financing.
  • European Investment Bank: The Commission has provided seed money for the EIB, as part of its Connecting Europe Facility, to deliver tailored financing for broadband projects, backed by the bank‘s AAA credit rating.
  • European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF): The EU has €453 billion available to all regions between now and 2020. Access to, and quality and use of ICT (including broadband investment) is, for the first time, one of the top priorities for these grants.
  • State aid: The Commission has defined special rules to assist in the granting of state aid for broadband, in ways that do not harm competition. This has seen a significant increase in the amount of state aid offered by Member States in recent years. A handbook is now available to assist you in requesting legal state aid (IP/14/535).
Why do we need a Connected Communities initiative?
The Digital Agenda targets are as follows: 100% of EU households to have 30 Mbps broadband and 50% households to subscribe to 100 Mbps or more, by 2020.
Investment in broadband networks is falling short and the current data shows that 64% of EU households have 30 Mbps available and only 3% have connections of 100 Mbps.

The high-speed broadband development is slow in particular in semi-urban and rural as well as economically disadvantaged areas. Only 18% of European rural households have access to high-speed broadband.

(Further details)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 12:06:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO supported the Rwanda Board of Education in carrying out a two-day consultation meeting in Kigali from 7 to 8 July 2014. Held under the theme “Review and Validation of the ICT Essentials for Teachers Curriculum”, the event aimed at supporting the implementation of the Rwanda ICT for Education Policy through UNESCO’s ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT CFT).

The meeting in Kigali included a discussion on the development of openly licensed teacher training materials to be available as open educational resources (OER), to facilitate the integration of ICT in classrooms in Rwanda.

In line with the ICT in Education Policy Paper, it is foreseen that the outcomes of this workshop would support the development of an OER-based curriculum for in-service training to ensure that capacity building courses are tailored to local needs in terms of using  ICT for quality teaching and learning.

The objectives of the new curriculum will be the following:
  • aligning the ICT CFT to support the Rwanda ICT in Education Policy;
  • defining the objectives of teacher training materials to support the use of the ICT CFT; and
  • outlining the process for the development of OER to support training materials.
Participants in the meeting included representatives of the Rwanda Education Board, the University of Rwanda teacher training institutions, as well as the British Council, and non-governmental organizations. Participants noted the importance of the workshop, especially in order to use the ICT Competency Framework for developing teacher training programmes that are in line with national policies and strategies.

This activity is a direct follow-up to the implementation of the Paris OER Declaration that was adopted in June 2012 at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. It is also part of UNESCO’s continued efforts of promoting the application of ICT to enhance the quality of and access to education, including the stimulation of production, sharing and access to open educational resources (OER).

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 11:44:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Indigenous communities may benefit from new computer technology that allows them to access educational resources and the internet using their own language. An international and interdisciplinary group is currently working on using this technology to reduce the digital gap and help protect cultural diversity in Mexico.

This effort is part of a wider project called Heliox, which is developing a free, inclusive operating system using a version of the existing fully open-source GNU/Linux system. New features such as translation software to assist indigenous speakers, as well as archives and educational content in local languages and direct links to websites are being added to this operating system.

“Free software is allowing us to serve people, minorities, who are not the goal of companies”, says Roberto Feltrero, a researcher in cognitive sciences at the National Distance Education University, Spain, and the project’s director. Feltrero first developed assistive Heliox to help people with disabilities access computers, designing innovations such as screen magnifier software and a device to control the mouse using head movements.

When he visited Mexico and met a group of philosophers of science interested in promoting the autonomous use of technology in indigenous communities, they began to work on the Mexican version of Heliox.

Heliox guides users to applications, files and websites through text and voice messages that appear in their chosen language when the cursor is pointed at icons. This helps guide users without needing much computing knowledge.

“If you tell a person ‘Firefox’ or ‘open file’ even in their native language, they will not understand because it is a computer language. In fact, 96 per cent of the words used in a computer system do not have a translation”, explains Feltrero. “We do not want only to translate because we want to reach people who have probably never used a computer”.

Heliox is saved on a memory stick along with software that automatically configures it to any computer in less than two minutes. “You do not have to do anything”, Feltrero explains, adding that Heliox can work on old computers.

With a budget of nearly US$8,000, provided by Mexico’s National Institute for Indigenous Languages, Feltrero and his team have already translated Heliox into Mexican Spanish, and indigenous tongues Mayan, Náhuatl and Mixe.

Luz Lazos, the project’s diversity consultant, who is based in Mexico, says, “It is not restricted to these languages. It is a system for any community anywhere in the world to develop their own Heliox and revitalize their language”.

Heliox’s creators expect that the Mexican version of the software will be released for free later this year. At the same time, indigenous communities will be given 20 old computers with Heliox installed.

In addition to the translation software, the team is developing educational and scientific content in indigenous languages to be included as archives in Heliox.
The objective is to show communities they can use text, video and audio editors to jointly create and share content based on their own cultures, values and traditions.
“There is a surprising connection between the principles and values in free software communities and the ones in indigenous communities, such as communal work or meritocracy”, says Lazos.

Gustavo Gómez Macías, a Mexican expert in programming and free software, says Heliox will be a “wonderful tool”. But he adds that it is important to make sure there are no compatibility problems between GNU/Linux and hardware, which is often a problem due to its complexity, and to ensure automatic updates are available. Feltrero is confident that these challenges will be adequately addressed.

(Source: SciDev Net)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 11:08:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 14, 2014



This is an annual special achievement award for outstanding performers and role models in Gender Equality and mainstreaming in the area of ICTs. Please note that this award is applicable for both women and men.
This is a ITU-UN Women Joint Award.

Background:
Women’s digital empowerment and their full participation in the information society is one of ITU’s key objectives. The 2010 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference strengthened Resolution 70 (Rev. Guadalajara, 2010) on “gender mainstreaming in ITU and promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women through information and communication technologies” and subsequently, the ITU Council, at its 2013 session, adopted the ITU Gender Equality and Mainstreaming (GEM) policy. 

To promote this policy, and recognize and reward ITU members and other Stakeholders who are leading the way in using ICTs to expand opportunities for women and girls, Secretary General has launched the annual GEM-TECH Awards, which will be conferred for the first time at the 2014 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-14) in Busan, Republic of Korea in partnership with UN Women and will inter alia celebrate and commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and its impending implementation review in 2015.

The first ITU-UN Women GEM-TECH Awards will be awarded in seven categories covering crucial topics of gender equality and mainstreaming in and through ICTs, and are open to all stakeholders working in related areas.

1) Objective: 
The ITU - UN Women GEM-TECH Award will demonstrate a commitment to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment through ICTs.

2) Format:
Open call to all Stakeholders working in the ICT Landscape.

3)Stakeholders Eligible to Apply for the Awards
Governments 
Private Sector
Civil Society
International Organizations
Academia

4) Award Categories – 7 Categories

1.ICT Applications, Content, Production Capacities and Skills for Women’s Social, Political Empowerment and Women’s Empowerment Linkages with Sustainable Development.
2.ICT Applications, Content, Production Capacities and Skills for Women’s Economic Empowerment and Poverty Reduction.
3.Promoting Women in ICT Sector - initiatives aimed at attracting, retaining and promoting women within the ICT sector and into decision-making positions (private and public sector).
4.Enabling Girls to Become ICT Creators - initiatives aimed towards providing girls with an opportunity to become not just active users but also creators of ICTs and content.
5.Closing the ICT Gender Gap - Ensuring ICT accessibility for women, such as digital literacy training and ensuring affordable and meaningful access to ICTs by women. Initiatives aimed at measuring the ICT gender gap including research and data on women’s engagement with ICTs and their impact.
6.Efforts to Reduce Threats Online and Building Women’s Confidence and Security in the Use of ICTs.
7.ICT and Broadband strategies policies, framework that promote women’s digital empowerment.

5) Timeline

STAGE I: 5 July : Launch of  the Award
STAGE II: 5 July- 5 September -Nomination stage (This award is open to Organizations and Individuals. Please note that self-nominations are welcome)
Propose a nominee here: http://www.itu.int/en/action/women/gem/Pages/award.aspx
STAGE III:  5 September- 5 October- Selection stage
STAGE IV:  21st October Announced at the PP-14

More details

Monday, July 14, 2014 7:02:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Innovative open source technology for emergency telecommunications

ITU’s Young Innovators Competition 2014 has launched the second of its 2014 series of challenges, soliciting innovations using open source technologies for disaster management and offering winners the chance to win up to USD 10,000 in seed funding, plus the opportunity to showcase their work at ITU Telecom World 2014 this December in Doha.

Challenge-2 asks 18-30 year old start-up founders from across ITU’s 193 Member States to submit their winning ideas via its dedicated crowdsourcing platform. It also seeks innovators with ideas for taking the iconic technologies of the “maker culture” – the community of do it yourself inventors, creators and designers – such as 3D printing or robotics and applying these to saving lives in disaster situations, together with low cost, low entry barrier technologies, to reach the world’s most vulnerable communities.

The deadline for submissions is 31 July 2014, 24:00 UTC+2.

“With their flexibility and adaptability, open source technologies have tremendous potential to be key disaster mitigation tools in situations where a timely response is vital, both to save lives as well as to help rebuild communities after a disaster has occurred,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “Innovations that are designed to save lives are critical in our quest to mitigate the devastating effect of natural disasters, and I urge young social entrepreneurs worldwide to use their skills in developing these technologies and apply their vision, ambition and creativity to meet this growing global challenge”.

About the Competition
First launched in 2010, this annual competition offers young people the chance to take part in workshops on entrepreneurial skills, opportunities to meet and network with leading ICT players, and to showcase their projects at the InnovationSpace, a dedicated show floor pavilion at ITU Telecom World 2014.

This year's competition comprises of a series of challenges aimed at solving real-life developmental issues through the innovative use of technology with effective social impact. The competition began with Challenge-1 on Local Digital Content, and will continue with further challenges in the run up to ITU Telecom World 2014 in December. Two start-ups will be selected as winners of Challenge-2 by a Selection Committee of experts and invited to attend ITU Telecom World 2014, along with the winners of the other 2014 challenges. Joining them will also be the finalists of the 2013 edition of the competition, who will report on progress of their winning projects.

Visit ideas.itu.int for more information on Challenge-2, to find out more on the winners of Challenge-1, and to apply or comment on submissions. You can also visit the Young Innovators Facebook page or contact us directly at young.innovators@itu.int.

ITU Telecom World 2014 will take place 7-10 December in Doha, Qatar. For more information on how you can be a part of this key event, visit telecomworld.itu.int

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Monday, July 14, 2014 6:54:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Introducing ICT innovations in the elderly care not only contributes to a better life for seniors, but also saves costs on social and healthcare systems. Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS, Joint Research Centre, European Commission) presented the preliminary findings of two case studies of ICT in long-term care from Scotland (UK) and the Limousine Region (France) at the Social Innovation Conference in Brussels in May 2014. The two cases studies are part of the ongoing project called “Long-term care strategies for independent living of elderly people (ICT-AGE)”.

Scottish Telecare Development Programme
The programme addressed the need to reduce healthcare costs of elderly people aged 65+ in 2006-2011. By installing remote emergency systems in elderly homes, the programme achieved €91 million of cost savings and increased the quality of life, safety and independence of more than 43, 000 users. It helped to reduce hospital admissions and stay length, admissions to care homes, and, caring tasks, thereby reducing stress for informal carers and increasing their ability to retain paid employment.

Home Automation and Advanced Telecare
The project in the Limousine region (Creuze, Corrèze and Haute Vienne Departments) in France began in 2010 and focused on preventing falls. Falls are a  major public health problem, costing an estimated €2 billion each year. Sensors, light paths, and alarm systems connected to a Telecare centre aimed to reduce the number of falls, and resulted in reduced hospital admissions, depression of the elderly, and their overall need for care. This programme saved the Corrèze Department an estimated €6.300-7.300 per person a year.

Key Success Factors
Public funding is necessary to support such business models. Nonetheless, other funding sources (user) also contribute to the sustainability of the business model. In addition, political engagement and local stakeholders’ involvement, extensive training to all involved actors and mainstreaming strategies prove to be crucial as well. It is important to run awareness campaigns and promote such projects to drive the development, deployment and adoption of ICT-based services and to inform societies about future solutions in elderly care.

Project website:ICT-AGE

(Source: Careplus)

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 3:34:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Japan’s Government will connect all hospitals, clinics and pharmacies nationwide as part of broader plans to address Japan’s ageing population problem, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has told FutureGov.

Yasushi Yoshida, Director General for ICT Strategic Policy Planning at the Ministry, told FutureGov that the government wants to increase the adoption of electronic health records by small and medium-sized hospitals. “Many big hospitals have already introduced electronic health record systems. But it’s not easy for medium to small hospitals to introduce this because of the expenditure involved”, he said.

The government is encouraging these hospitals to use a cloud technology to minimize costs: “We are recommending to medium to small hospitals to use more efficient systems using cloud, since the cost is lower”, he said.

Japan’s government faces the challenge of providing healthcare for a “super-ageing society” and the government is looking at how ICT can be used to collect and analyze healthcare Big Data to address the issue. The government has plans for a longer-term project to improve data collection and analysis by building a nationwide network connecting all hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and nursing centres.

Yoshida explained the current situation: hospitals are connected to a cluster of clinics around them, and there are 150 such clusters across the country. However, these clusters are not connected with each other and information flows only one way from the hospital to the clinics.

“In the future, we would like to connect all hospitals nationwide, including connecting the hospital-clinic clusters with each other”, Yoshida said. “We would like more hospitals and clinics to participate in the network. Information should flow both ways”, he added. The government also plans to include pharmacies and nursing centres in the network, as they are currently excluded from the clusters.

Although there is no official target for the completion of the network, Yoshida hopes to see it completed in the next five years, though he acknowledges that this will be a difficult goal to accomplish in this time frame.

(Source: FutureGov)

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 2:03:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The International Task Force on Teachers for EFA is a voluntary global alliance of EFA partners working together to address the shortage of qualified teachers needed to achieve universal primary education by 2015 and to provide a quality education for all.

The Task Force is holding a consultation on inclusion and equity in teachers‘policies and practices via an online discussion forum. Input from this consultation will feed into the drafting of a policy brief on this issue.

The following three questions will be asked to the participants in an effort to deepen the themes of inclusion and equity in policies and teaching practices:

1. On a daily basis, how can teacher help to promote equitable and inclusive education?
2. Are there equitable and inclusive teaching policies for marginalized children in your country? Are teachers involved in the implementation of such policies?
3. Which strategies should be put in place in schools to help teachers facilitate inclusion and fair treatment of marginalized children?

The International Task Force on Teachers for EFA is inviting institutions and experts from all regions of the world, including both developing and developed countries, to share the challenges, priorities and practices of their education systems and contribute to discussions and debates in the online forum. We also invite our members to extend the invitation to their respective network(s).

When, local time: Wednesday, 2 July 2014 (All day) to Thursday, 17 July 2014 (All day)
Where: France
Type of Event: Working group/Expert Meeting
Contact: m.lacasse@unesco.org

Further details

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 1:45:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) today announced a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America Commitment to Action, valued at $3.71 million dollars, to engage 10,000 middle school girls in learning computing concepts. The announcement was made at the CGI America meeting in Denver.

NCWIT’s Commitment to Action will scale the successfully piloted NCWIT AspireIT initiative, which enlists technical high school or college women in designing and leading computing programs for younger girls. This innovative “near-peer” approach allows young women to become role models and build leadership skills while encouraging younger girls to pursue computing.

"This initiative was born from young women’s enthusiasm for technology and desire to pay it forward,” said Ruthe Farmer, Chief Strategy & Growth Officer of NCWIT. "Who better to invite girls to explore and experiment with technology, than the young women they look up to and aspire to be like? NCWIT AspireIT provides the national infrastructure needed to harness this energy and rapidly bridge the computing education gap for thousands of girls nationwide”.

Research shows that peer influences can have a positive effect on girls’ plans to pursue computing. “Near-peer” role models serve as real-life examples of other girls interested in technology and computing while reducing the effects of stereotype threat – reduced confidence and performance when one is reminded of gender stereotypes, such as “girls are not good at math or technology”. Find out more with NCWIT’s Girls in IT: the Facts (www.ncwit.org/thefactsgirls) report.

"Not only has leading an AspireIT program been a tremendous benefit for the students but I have also learned to challenge myself to take charge and inspire the girls through my love of technology,” shared Noor Muyhi, a computer science student at New Mexico State University and an NCWIT AspireIT Program Leader. “My goal is for every girl in the program to feel 110% supported and to leave the camp with a spark of curiosity towards technology fields".

The NCWIT AspireIT pilot has launched 70 programs, providing an estimated 115,000 hours of computing education to over 2,000 girls in 23 states. To fulfill the CGI Commitment NCWIT will engage 600 high school and college members of the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program and 250 partner organizations to co-create and deliver 400 computing-focused after-school programs for middle school girls across the country through 2018. Find out more at www.ncwit.org/aspireit.

Commitment partners include the Intel Foundation, which provided the initial startup funding for NCWIT AspireIT and has made a long-term investment in scaling the program, with additional support from Google, the Northrop Grumman Foundation, Microsoft, Sphero, the UC Irvine Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, and Tata Consultancy Services. Partners provide financial support, technical assistance, hardware and software, curricula, and volunteers to work locally with the programs.

Further details

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 12:39:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 27, 2014


Last week, Gayaza High School, a girls’ institution with a long history of excellence, showcased their e-Learning centre. Ronald Ddungu, the Deputy Head Teacher said they have adopted an inclusive approach to e-Learning where teachers have actively integrated technology and teaching.

Students can now access class notes andhomework and carry out research in a timely manner,allowing them to fully benefit from Uganda’s educational curriculm.

Ddungu said this innovative e-Learning initiative wonGayaza High School USD15,000 during this year’s Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain during March.

“The use of technology in schools in Uganda will help improve the delivery of the curriculum. Gayaza High School will work closely with other schools and mentor their teachers in adopting the use of technology in their work”, Ddungu said.

During a recent tour of the school, Mark East, General Manager of Global Sales and Operations at Microsoft, said, “The government of Uganda needs to set a policy and infrastructure for schools to access internet and technology because Information Technology is a tool that each student needs to have a right to.’

He said, “Teachers, like those in Gayaza, need to learn how to effectively integrate ICT into their curriculum and classrooms. It helps create immersive learning experiences that improve students’ experiences and skills through technology.”

Eastsaid Microsoft’s approach to e-Learning is a not a one-device-fits-all solution. With access to ICT in schools still unevenly distributed, schools across Uganda are at different levels of implementing e-Learning programs and therefore have different needs. “For instance, there is a high teacher absenteeism rate in Uganda, as reported by the BBC, meaning that 40% of public school classrooms don’t have teachers teaching in them,” he said.

The company recently launched the Microsoft4Afrika Virtual Academy, which delivers free IT training from Microsoft experts, and covers topics such as app development, coding, business intelligence and virtualisation.

Microsoft plans to continue delivering relevant, effective and scalable technologies, services and programs. As eLearning progresses in Africa, the company looks forward to continuing its efforts in improving learning for all.

(Source: Business Week Newspaper)

Friday, June 27, 2014 8:39:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
New, mainstreamapproaches and tools are needed to improve visual accessibility for people with low vision , according to a special article in the July issue of Optometry and Vision Science, the official journal of the American Academy of Optometry. “Visual accessibility makes an environment, device, or display useable by those with low vision,“ says Anthony Adams, OD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of the journal.

According to a review by Gordan E. Legge, PhD, of the University of Minnesota, vision science, in collaboration with other fields, has a key role to play in developing technologies and designs to promote visual accessibility for the millions of people living with low vision.

In recognition of his pioneering work on low-vision research and visual accessibility, Dr. Legge was named the 2013 Charles F. Prentice Award Lecture Medalist.  Established in 1958, the Charles F. Prentice Medal is awarded annually to an outstanding scientist who has contributed significantly to the advancement of knowledge in the visual sciences.

Low vision is defined as a chronic vision disability that adversely affects daily functioning and that is not correctable by glasses or contact lenses. It is estimated that there are between 3.5 million and 5 million Americans with low vision, and this number is expected to increase as the population ages.

In his Prentice Award Lecture, Dr. Legge—who suffers from low vision himself—proposed to “embed low-vision research more explicitly in the real world” in order to reduce barriers to visual accessibility. He shares examples of his research in two key areas: architectural accessibility and reading accessibility.

Architectural design has great potential to enhance visual accessibility for people with low vision. Dr. Legge gave illustrated examples of how low vision can make it difficult to navigate architectural spaces; these  obstacles and hazards may even change with the light at different times of the day.

His research includes the development of software tools to promote the design of visually accessible spaces. These tools reflect the impact of reduced visual acuity and contrast sensitivity, as well as predict whether architectural features can be seen by people with low vision. Dr. Legge writes, “We need practical models of low vision capable of predicting real-world object visibility”.
Dr. Legge’s work also includes efforts to increase reading accessibility for people with low vision. Advances such as electronic readers provide powerful new tools to improve reading accessibility, but there’s still a lack of knowledge of how best to use the features they provide. Research is needed to understand the interacting effects of variables such as display geometry, visual acuity, viewing distance, print size, and font.

Dr. Legge urges low-vision researchers to work with other disciplines—including software and hardware developers and design professionals—in solving the problems of visual accessibility. He writes, “Where we succeed, we will contribute to vision science by showing how vision functions in the real world, and we will find better ways to reduce barriers facing people with visual impairment”.

Further details

Friday, June 27, 2014 8:33:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


MTN Uganda, through the MTN Uganda Foundation, has unveiled a fully equipped,state of the art bus dubbed the “MTN Internet Bus“. The Bus, which is the first of its kind in Uganda, will be a vital tool in carrying out MTN Uganda’s vision of enhancing ICT Education across the country.

The MTN Internet Bus is equipped with sixteen high-end computer workstations, as well as access to High-speed Internet Connectivity Service powered by MTN 3G and 4G LTE technology and Wi-Fi coverage. The Internet Bus is estimated to have cost in excess of Ushs. 600 million andwas unveiled at a Press conference held at MTN’s Nyonyi Garden offices.

At the launch,  MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer Mazen Mroué said the introduction of the MTN Internet Bus is part of MTN Uganda’s new vision of delivering a “Bold, new digital world.“ The company aims to create a unique customer experience, drive sustainable growth and improve MTN customers‘ lives.

Mroué said the MTN Internet Bus, along with other ICT awareness initiatives throughout the country, will serve to develop the technological capacity of Ugandans and strengthen the nation’s economy.  This Bus also plays a vital in briding the gap between rural and urban areas by promoting computer literacy in rural zones.

Further details

Friday, June 27, 2014 8:27:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Savannah Fund is a seed capital fund specializing in USD25,000-USD500,000 early stage investmentsin  high growth technology (web and mobile) startups in sub-Saharan Africa. Initially focused on East Africa, the fund aims to bridge the gap between early stage/angel and venture capital investments  that currently exists in Africa. The Fund combines capital andmentoring networks, both in the region and from Silicon Valley through  an accelerator program, as well as a follow-up independent seed fund, to achieve its goal.

An experienced and technology savvy team, with members who have founded companies or are actively involved in angel investing, manages the fund. Members of the team have also run successful accelerator programs in the past and understand the unique Subsaharan African environment. Theyare backed and supported by local, regional and international networks of “angels“ and venture capitalists on whose expertise they draw to help startups succeed and grow into fully fledged regional or global companies.

They believe in the potential for Africa to become a global technology innovator by developing sustainable for-profit companies that both create jobs and make an impact. Take a look at their accelerator or connect with themon AngelList if you have a more mature startup.

(Source: Savannah-fund)

Friday, June 27, 2014 6:58:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



IITE, the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, aims to promote equal access to education and inclusion of the most vulnerable segments of society through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

IITE has strived to improve the access and quality of education for disabled persons by means of ICTs since 1999. Within this framework, the Institute has held a number of international expert meetings and workshops in partnership with well-known experts from various countries, including the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, Australia and the USA. This experience enabled the Institute to develop a specialized training course named: "ICTs in Education for People with Special Needs". A team of international experts from Italy, the Russian Federation, Australia, Denmark, and other countries, headed by Dr. Edwards (United Kingdom), developed this course.  The course presents the best international experiences in the field of general and specific ICT application in education for a wide range of people with special educational needs, as well as policy advice.

Policy changes and consolidated efforts of governments and civil society are necessary to reduce the extensive gap that exists in access to, and use of, digital technologies by people with disabilitiesICTs can both ease an individual’s access to life-long learning andcontribute to new career and business opportunities. ICTs also grant vulnerable groups and individuals access to the political, economic, scientific and cultural activities of a society, thereby helping to resolve social inequalities.

As part ofthe UNESCO initiative to promote a broader view of the concept of inclusive education, IITE supportspolicy dialogue to initiate the development of national e-inclusive strategies aimed at the following:

  • increasing disadvantaged and excluded groups` access to ICT infrastructure;
  • promoting basic ICT literacy and vocational training programs targeted specifically at the most vulnerable segments of society;
  • and supporting regional, sub-regional and inter-country cooperation and exchange of good practiceson the extension of ICTsto excluded groups.
ICTs offer great potential to support life-long learning for all groups of learners, including those with disabilities. The application of ICTs can compensate for the lack of natural functions, thus contributing to appropriate learning environments for students with disabilities.

The direct beneficiaries of the activities in this field are policy and decision-makers who are responsible for or involved in the development of educational policies and plans; experts in teacher training and vocational development; as well asteachers themselves.

(Source: UNESCO)

Friday, June 27, 2014 6:41:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 25, 2014


British Council is taking a lead role in the development of a unified curriculum for integration of ICT in education for the purpose of the rollout of the National Laptop Project. A joint workshop was held at the Kitengela Conference Centre & Resort Park, and brought together key stakeholders from the Jubilee Laptop Project (JLP) Consortium consisting of Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Ministry of Education, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Microsoft, Intel, Technology Partners, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, UNESCO, and Kenya Literature Bureau.

The national laptop project is expected to run from January 2014 by which time 50,000 teachers need to have been trained on ICT integration in the classroom, besides device assembly, applications uploading, content development and delivery of devices to schools among others. It is envisaged that the teachers training should be done by end of August 2013 before which there should have been induction workshops for technical teams, master trainers and training of trainers.

This writing workshop represents the first stage towards achievement of ICT integration capacity building for primary school teachers in preparation of the school laptop project. This meeting aimed to review existing content from various curricula on ICT skills and integration with a view to isolating relevant content. Thereafter, the involved stakeholders plan to rewrite each module with an emphasis to enhancing pedagogy for the teaching profession and improving learning outcomes. With this in mind, we hope to harmonize the ICT integration curriculum and adjust it within working objectives of the UNESO ICT competency standards. It is also key to note the aim of developing relevant manuals, ICT baseline survey tools and web-based collaboration systems for trainers.

Of particular importance was the time given to participants to interrogate the available content in detail and come up with a synchronized curriculum on key areas, some of which are good practice from the Badiliko and Spark a Child’s Digital Future projects. These areas include: school leader training, 21stcentury skills, basic ICT skills , internet, mail groups, social media networks, ICT integration in teaching and learning, ICT integrated lessons and managing environments, interactive digital content, safety, security and ethical issues, first line basic maintenance and support, assessment , monitoring and evaluation.

A harmonization curriculum team has since been established, and comprises 30 key stakeholders. It is envisaged that this team will address a number of key expectations mainly touching on: content format, identifying teachers for training of trainers and master trainers, structures for teacher management (support structure and types), consolidation of partners in curriculum harmonization, gap analysis,wholesome retooling of the teacher: online services (registration, pay slips, promotion, profile updates, casualty, real-time data, poll survey and collaborations),budget and sponsorship for capacity development and incentives: certification, professional development and promotion.

The teachers are the custodians of the ICT project, and will actually do the groundwork in terms of equipping students with these very vital IT skills. By directly involving them in these preliminary stages, they have a great opportunity to exercise ownership of the project. Having the teachers input at this early stages means that the final product content, execution, structures and workings are clear from the very beginning and resonate with their specific needs.

Through this initiative also, the government, will be able to aptly roll out the ICT project in line with its vision of bringing ICT skills to schools. By getting necessary input from all the key stakeholders, the government is guaranteed of getting an end- product that resonates with the people, by the people and for the people.

Source: British Council

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 1:20:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 19, 2014


UNESCO’s Institute of IT in Education (IITE) with the University of London  recently launched its first Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on "ICT in primary education". More than 7000 participants from 166 countries are registered, with over 3000 participants from emerging economies.

The MOOC is designed as a professional development course for teachers, head-teachers, leaders and policymakers in primary education, but is open to all with an interest in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The course team has instructors from 8 different countries.

The course will look at  why and how  teachers integrate ICT into primary education. It analyses examples from schools in different parts of the world, and brings professional teachers, head-teachers and policymakers together to share their best ideas and inspiring stories. The course materials were developed by a group of international experts, led by Professor Diana Laurillard of the University of London, based on studies carried out for UNESCO IITE.

The basis of the course is not a particular theoretical approach, but a collection of good and interesting experiences and examples of ICT in primary education from different countries across the world. It is based on the conviction that ICT, when used well, is a vital tool to help all children achieve their learning potential.

This first course, launched on 27 May 2014, is free and open to all. It runs for 6 weeks, and provides 4-10 hours of study each week, depending on the pathway the participant chooses to take. There is an option of receiving a certificate of completion, and/or a statement of accomplishment. Potential participants can see the course description and register here.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:57:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"Knowing how to code?" or "literacy of the XXI century? " - UNESCO's YouthMobile initiative and Intel Software  hosted a round table on this issue on Friday, June 13, the day of the5th edition of Futur en Seine (CNAM, Paris), with the support Cap Digital.



Learning how to code is  is no longer only about training engineers, but rather to give all citizens the means to create, work, and  manage a lot of information, and take a critical look at technologywhile having fun. In this context, “coding” must be seen as a new way to learn more than mere “coding techniques”.

With its new "YouthMobile" initiative, UNESCO wants as many girls and boy as possible to have the opportunity, through the code, to use technology to address local and global issues related to sustainable development. UNESCO and its partners strive to provide young people with the high level skills and confidence necessary for the development, promotion and sale of mobile applications.

Many volunteers around the world are already deploying “coding” trainings, but these programmes are often not easy for parents or teachers, rather than technicians, to replicate, translate, or adapt.

Intel Coding for Kids, an open source package of trainings and software incorporating international best practices in this field, meets the criteria of UNESCO's YouthMobile initiative. Educational and/or non-profit partner associations can freely adapt and build their own programmes, within the framework of international deployment.

In this approach, code is used as a means of artistic creation, and to facilitate understanding of social, scientific and environmental problems. The proposed pedagogical model is based on the peer-to-peer concept. The code is introduced very gradually and at each step the learner acquires ready-to-use expertise.

In addition, the round table organized by UNESCO and Intel Software will focus on other innovative approaches recently adopted in France, such as by Simplon.co and Ecole42, and will try to assess the feasibility and sustainability of larger deployments and similar initiatives, particularly in emerging countries.

The Futur en Seine festival will take place from 12 to 22 June 2014, in the heart of Paris and across the Île-de-France. For more information:http://www.futur-en-seine.fr/fens2014

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:50:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Digital Literacy 2.0 (Dlit2.0) is a European project, funded as part ofthe Lifelong Learning Programme, that aims to help you use Web2.0 applications in your everyday life.

Web 2.0 can ease your daily life and will help you to
- stay in contact with family & friends
- find bargains and snips
- have a voice in public debate
- make use of services that are free of charge ... and much more.

DLit2.0 follows an ICT-based “train the trainer“ and “qualify the users“ approach. It sets out to develop and implement training programmes for staff in informal learning settings such as public libraries, community and care centres to enable them to use Web 2.0 to provide ICT based informal instruction and distance learning to socially disadvantaged people. Once they are trained, these staff members will enable new Internet users to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to make full and safe use of the World Wide Web, improving their motivation to learn and empowering them to participate in social life. Essentially, Web 2.0 provides learning opportunities and reduces educational barriers.

DLit2.0 compiles best practices, strategies and success criteria from different European countries into one comprehensive and innovative strategy, with special emphasis on innovative, non-formal learning approaches and collaboration models. The project reflects transnational, transsectoral and interdisciplinary cooperation and creates value by based on knowledge, empowering people in inclusive societies and ensuring that citizens have access to lifelong learning toolsto master "New Skills for New Jobs".

Further details

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:28:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Over 130 international delegates gathered in Singapore on 16 June 2014 to discuss innovative solutions for an ageing society in the new era of ICT-enabled growth and to create opportunities for people with disabilities to capitalise on the digital wave.

Jointly organised by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), Singapore e-Government Leadership Centre (eGL) and Institute of System Science (ISS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS), the workshop delved into ways to make ICT more accessible to the aged and people with special needs in order to enable them to participate in the digital economy.

Supported by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Waseda University and International Academy of CIOs (IAC), the event included government officials, academia, NGOs, VWOs and industry players from 24 economies.

"Governments today face higher expectations from citizens who use their best online transaction experiences from around the world, including that with the private sector as a yardstick for the quality of government digital services. Hence, it is no longer sufficient for Government to just provide and upkeep services online, but to innovate, and keep on innovating to raise the bar of public service and to enhance the service experience of citizens when they interact with the government", said Mr Amos Tan, Director, Strategy and Innovation Division (SID), IDA.

Consensus drawn at the workshop included the need for international cooperation and broad-based steps to be developed now, in particular the acceleration of innovation, design of secure and resilient environments, building strategic ICT capabilities, aligning policies with user-driven needs, promoting scalable solutions, harnessing data analytics for citizen participation, recognising the need for increased cross-cutting research and raising social awareness about ageing and disabilities.

"Learning from international best practices and the implementation of comprehensive strategies is a good start to address the needs of the elderly and people with disability in Singapore. We will continue to promote research and innovation of services in sectors such as healthcare, finance, training, transportation, community development, housing and e-government so as to provide an environment for the ageing and disabled folks with capabilities, opportunities, responsibilities and resources to maintain active participation and social inclusion. In addition, we advocate the use of design thinking to achieve good design to enable products, services or ICT for the elderly and people with disability", said Mr Lim Swee Cheang, Director of ISS.

The workshop concluded that to meet the challenges of the 21st century and to mitigate the social and economic impacts of people with special needs, economies must embrace the culture of innovation and enhance collaboration among governments, businesses and citizens. This includes social and organisational innovation, as well as the unlocking of information technologies through increased research and innovative new models.

(Source: IDA)

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:12:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, June 14, 2014


Announced at the World Economic Forum recently, Intel is partnering with the Rockefeller Foundation to further the She Will Connect initiative which aims to promote women in Africa and eventually other emerging markets’ tech scene.

A recent Women and the Web report suggested that, in developing countries, there are 25% fewer women than men online. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the gap rises to 43%. In light of this discovery, Intel launched the She Will Connect programme last year September which will aim to give women greater opportunities in this space.

The initiative strives to halve the digital gender gap in Africa, by empowering five million women through digital literacy programs, with initial pilots in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.

According to general manager of the Intel World Ahead Program, John Davies, “Technology in general and the internet in particular, has transformed the lives of billions of people. It opens up opportunities and possibilities that never could have been realized before. But women and girls are being left behind – which is why we are investing alongside other organizations to close the gap through Intel She Will Connect”.

As reported by CIO, this recent partnership will further help people from the She Will Connect programme with employment opportunities. Rockefeller Foundation Africa’s managing director, Mamadou Biteye, further explains the philanthropic foundation’s role.

The partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation will seek to connect those trained through the program to employment opportunities. Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa Regional Office elaborated on the Foundation’s role:

“We will work together with Intel to connect high potential but disadvantaged young women in our target African countries to online jobs through tools and training that will provide them with best practice guides to assist them in successfully accessing online jobs, earn an income and build their skills and digital work experience”.

Launched in 2013, Digital Jobs Africa is an initiative by Rockefeller Foundation that seeks to connect disadvantaged youth to jobs in the digital economy. “We will seek out more partnerships with pioneering private sector players who have a shared vision around addressing the youth employment challenge”, concludes Biteye.

(Source: Ventureburn)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:45:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Habaka Madagascar Innovation Hub hosted on Friday May 16 the Antananarivo StartUp Cup, offering cash and free incubation to winning startups.

The event, part of the global StartUp Cup initiative and supported by Orange Madagascar, offers three winners the chance to share US$3,100 as well as free incubation at the hub.
 
The overall winner will also go on to represent Madagascar at the next World StartUp Cup.

Andriankoto Ratozamanana, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) at Habaka, said the seven finalists were picked by a local judge based on lean startup criteria.

“The ideas we received are impressive indeed”, Ratozamanana said. “The tech startup scene in Madagascar is in its early age, that’s why we opted for the StartUp Cup model”.

The event was streamed live online in French and viewers can vote for their chosen startup online.

HumanIPO reported last year Habaka, which was founded in 2011 and registered as a non-profit in April 2013, launched the HARIASA National Technology Innovation Contest, looking to stimulate the creation of a startup ecosystem within the country.

Ratozamanana said innovation had the potential to be economically beneficial to Madagascar.

“Innovation will boost the growth of Madagascar’s economy because it will create local industry”, he said. “Naturally it can solve many local issues and our people will be proud to buy good quality local products or works in good condition in a local company that is very innovative and competitive”.

(Further details)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:38:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Rural communities in Lesotho deserve to be connected just like anywhere else in the world, according to Nthabiseng Pule, executive secretary at the Universal Service Fund (USF) of Lesotho.

Pule was discussing rural infrastructure at the 2014 SatCom and World Rural Telecoms Congress Africa event in Johannesburg, South Africa on 21th May.

“Some of the towers with the highest traffic are in the rural areas”, she said, while highlighting the challenges of making sure the mountainous country was covered by voice and data services.

“They [people in rural areas] make use of communication technology a lot because they want to sell their sheep and cattle and also track their mohair payments”, she said.

Pule said the government is trying to find alternatives to smartphones for internet provision.

“A smartphone’s power doesn’t last long, so we are looking for alternatives”, she said.

HumanIPO reported last month low-cost smartphones are key to internet penetration in Africa.

“Growth is going to come from mobile phones and particularly low-end smartphones that are starting to flood the market”, said Dave Duarte, South African entrepreneur and social media expert.

(Source: HumanIPO)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:31:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


In 2008, UNDP’s ICT Trust Fund —established with the Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology—joined forces with the World Health Organization, Vodafone Foundation and the Siwa Community Development and Environment Conservation Association to launch an initiative aimed at both eradicating female illiteracy and helping women to find new or better employment.

In addition to teaching 8,800 women how to read and write, the initiative is providing women skills and materials needed to take control of their lives. For example, the programme put a special emphasis on computer skills, so in addition to providing training in business development and problem solving, it equipped the participants with their own personal computers.

As a result, women enrolled in the programme learned to read and write, improved their agricultural and handicraft production abilities and acquired online marketing skills. Siwa women now promote their products through an online store.

Aware of prevailing social norms in the oasis, programme instructors brought the classes into women’s homes. They transformed the traditional tableya—a low, round, dining table around which rural Egyptians sit cross-legged and eat—into a so-called tabluter. A tabluter is a customized, ergonomic computer embedded in the tableya; the computer hosts a single central processing unit that can run up to four independent computers. The newly tailored tableya is foldable, making it easy to carry around from home to home.

In 2012 alone, the initiative trained 120 women on the device, in addition to 10 more who were taught how to be literacy instructors, ensuring the ongoing life of the project. Fatma Ibrahim was among the first group of women to complete their literacy programme on a tabluter.

The project team is currently training non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the Siwa governorate to use the tabluter to teach reading and writing. UNDP is also creating a business model for these NGOs so they can offer free literacy classes. UNDP and its partners are preparing to bring the entire initiative to five more oases in Egypt.

(Source: UNDP)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:23:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Nearly 20 years ago, the world came together in Beijing for the Fourth World Conference on Women. There, 189 governments adopted a visionary roadmap for gender equality: the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Some 17,000 participants and 30,000 activists pictured a world where women and girls had equal rights, freedom and opportunity in every sphere of life.

While much progress has been made in the past two decades, no country can claim to have achieved equality between men and women. It is time for the world to come together again for women and girls and complete this journey.

UN Women is launching a year-long campaign to re-energize the vision laid out at the Beijing Women’s Conference. Our goal is straightforward: renewed commitment, strengthened action and increased resources to realize gender equality, women’s empowerment and human rights. We call it: Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It!

The Beijing Declaration laid out actions to address 12 critical areas of concern for women and girls across the globe. Governments, the private sector and other partners were urged to reduce women and girls’ poverty, ensure their right to access education and training, safeguard their health – including their sexual and reproductive health, protect women and girls from violence and discrimination, to ensure that technological advances benefit all, and to promote their full and equal participation in society, politics, and the economy.

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action remains the most comprehensive global agreement on women’s empowerment and gender equality. If only it had been implemented!
Notwithstanding, today we can celebrate progress. More girls are going to school. More women are working, getting elected, and assuming leadership positions. But in all regions of the world, and in all countries, women continue to face discrimination because they are female.

We see it every day. In pay inequity and unequal opportunities at work… in stubbornly low representation of women leaders in the public and private sectors… in the continuing scourge of child marriage, and in the pandemic of violence experienced by one in three women globally – a number greater than the population of Europe.

Perhaps even more startling is the fact that if the Beijing negotiations occurred today, they would likely result in a weaker agreement. We all have a responsibility to keep pushing ahead for full implementation, because every time a woman or girl is held back by discrimination or violence, humanity loses.

Since the Beijing Conference, irrefutable evidence has accumulated showing that empowering women empowers humanity.

Further details

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:18:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 06, 2014
The Digital Enterprise programme provides free group training and face-to-face support for small-to-medium enterprises and not-for-profit organisations to help improve the way you do business and deliver services online.

The Australian Government is providing $16.8 million in grant funding to establish and support the Digital Enterprise programme in 69 communities across Australia.

The Digital Enterprise programme is helping small-to-medium enterprises to improve their productivity utilising new technologies, learn how to reach wider markets through an online presence, use videoconferencing more regularly and find ways to increase business efficiencies.

The programme is assisting not-for-profit organisations to build relationships with customers, clients and donors through social media and more efficient delivery of products and services using the internet.

A list of Digital Enterprise service providers is available to help you find your closest Digital Enterprise training programme.

Within the Digital Enterprise programme there is access to online training through the Virtual Advisor programme that is primarily assisting Indigenous Australians, small-to-medium Indigenous owned and operated enterprises, and not-for-profit organisations located in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia. Visit the Virtual Advisor programme page for more information.

(Source: Department of Communication – Australian Government)

Friday, June 06, 2014 9:38:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Nathan Han, 15, of Boston was awarded first place for developing a machine learning software tool to study mutations of a gene linked to breast cancer at this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public.
Using data from publicly available databases, Han examined detailed characteristics of multiple mutations of the BRCA1 tumor suppressor gene in order to "teach" his software to differentiate between mutations that cause disease and those that do not. His tool exhibits an 81 percent accuracy rate and could be used to more accurately identify cancer threats from BRCA1 gene mutations. Han received the Gordon E. Moore Award of US$75,000, named in honor of the Intel co-founder and fellow scientist.

Lennart Kleinwort, 15, of Germany received one of two Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards of US$50,000. Kleinwort developed a new mathematical tool for smartphones and tablets that brings capabilities to hand-held devices that previously required more sophisticated and expensive computing tools. His app allows users to hand draw curves, lines and geometric figures on the touch screen and watch the system render them into shapes and equations that can then be manipulated at will.

Shannon Xinjing Lee, 17, of Singapore received the other Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award of US$50,000 for developing a novel electrocatalyst that may be used for batteries of the future. Researchers have been looking for ways to make rechargeable zinc-air batteries practical, as they would be safer, lighter in weight, and have six times the energy density of lithium ion batteries, making them ideal for hybrid vehicles. Lee found that her activated carbon catalyst, which she made entirely from carbonized Chinese eggplant, greatly out-performed a more sophisticated commercial catalyst in stability and longevity tests and will be environmentally friendly and inexpensive to produce.

"The world needs more scientists, makers and entrepreneurs to create jobs, drive economic growth and solve pressing global challenges," said Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation. "Intel believes that young people are the key to innovation, and we hope that these winners inspire more students to get involved in science, technology, engineering and math, the foundation for creativity".

This year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair featured more than 1,700 young scientists selected from 435 affiliate fairs in more than 70 countries, regions and territories. In addition to the top winners, more than 500 finalists received awards and prizes for their innovative research, including 17 "Best of Category" winners, who each received a US$5,000 prize. The Intel Foundation also awarded a US$1,000 grant to each winner's school and to the affiliated fair they represent. Additionally, the Intel Foundation presented a select number of students with experiential awards, including the new 11-day trip to China to attend the country's largest national science competition, speak with researchers at Intel's lab in Shanghai, and visit the Panda Research Base in Chengdu.

A full listing of finalists is available in the event program. The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2014 is funded jointly by Intel and the Intel Foundation with additional awards and support from dozens of other corporate, academic, governmental and science-focused organizations. This year, more than US$5 million was awarded.

To learn more about Society for Science & the Public, visit www.societyforscience.org, and follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter.

To get the latest Intel education news, visit www.intel.com/newsroom/education, and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Further Information

Friday, June 06, 2014 9:23:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Touchscreens may have kicked-off a mobile computing revolution, but they didn't do much for the visually impaired. OwnFone, which launched a customizable mobile phone for kids and the elderly back in 2012, is now offering its stripped-down handset with braille or raised text contact buttons. The 3D-printed hardware lets you select up to four contacts that can be assigned to the device, making it ideal for emergencies and people who need to stay in touch with family or carers on a regular basis. It's available right now for a base price of £60, plus an additional monthly charge of between £7.50 and £15.00 per month -- depending on how much call time you want or need.

(Source: Engadget)

Friday, June 06, 2014 5:58:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 16, 2014
The first-ever Accreditation@IDA targeting innovative tech product start-ups launched

IDA Labs, located at IDA's headquarters at Mapletree Business City and the National Design Centre (NDC) were officially opened on April 24. The labs will serve as a place to experiment, collaborate and build innovative products and solutions that address real world challenges. A third lab to be housed in one of the National Library Board's libraries is also being planned.

A new Accreditation@IDA programme was also launched at the opening event. It aims to help innovative technology start-ups build their credentials so that they can be positioned as qualified vendors capable of handling projects by government agencies and large enterprises.

Companies that apply for accreditation will need to undergo technical assessments to ascertain their product's core capabilities and claims. IT service providers HP and Cognizant will provide the software testing tools, along with accreditation best-practices and methodologies, at an accreditation lab set up within IDA Labs@HQ.

The accreditation programme will be open for application in July 2014. Companies' financial performance and operational capabilities will also be taken into account in the process. Successful companies would be awarded an accredited status for 18 months.

To enhance market opportunities for accredited technology start-ups, IDA will be engaging potential buyers in the public and private sectors to support these companies. For example, IDA will facilitate Proof-of-Concepts and product demonstrations to potential buyers and stakeholders. In addition, the Government procurement process is being reviewed to facilitate Government's procurement from accredited companies and enable Accreditation@IDA to be considered in place of financial grading for start-ups.

"At IDA, we are constantly looking at different ways to help grow Singapore-based tech companies that have the vision to build tech products that address big challenges. IDA Labs and the Accreditation@IDA programme are two examples of how we want to help in practical ways to support the building of some great tech-product companies", said Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA.

As the support of industry partners is instrumental in growing tech talent and building tech companies and products, IDA Labs is partnering Red Hat to provide IDA Labs users with advice from Red Hat experts and the open source community. IDA Labs and Red Hat will also organise an international challenge to discover innovative technology projects that not only meet functional requirements, but also user-friendly and design-centric.

IDA Labs is also working with Intel to provide its latest technologies, R&D resources and technical expertise to IDA Labs users. Intel will also help local ICT companies bring their products to overseas markets via its global platforms.

IDA Labs' partnership efforts also extend to the Singapore Management University (SMU) Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The SMU community can use IDA Labs to test their ideas and eventually translate them into actual products and solutions. IDA Labs and SMU will facilitate the commercialisation of innovations, either through co-development or by adopting solutions to be used in government projects.

With the support of the Ministry of Education, IDA Labs will also be holding the Learn@Labs Day from 27 to 29 May. Students from different schools will have the opportunity to learn about and tinker with various technologies such as Arduino, Robotics and 3D Printing.

More than 150 guests attended the official opening and had the opportunity to view showcases and experiment with technologies brought together by IDA and IDA Labs' partners. Some of the showcases include the accreditation testing tools, Internet of Things (IoT) platforms and innovative tech hardware developed by students.

(Source: IDA)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:35:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL) builds and invests in Singapore and global infocomm technology start-ups. Managing more than S$200 million, we accelerate the development of start-ups in their formative phase, and invest further as they move towards growth and expansion. IIPL plays a central role in building a vibrant and sustainable ecosystem in Singapore for start-ups to flourish through our investments, partnerships across sectors and global reach.

We are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore.

What we do

Accelerator

In order to further stimulate the growth of home-grown, innovation driven tech start-ups, Infocomm Investments is working with corporations, universities and professional accelerators to cultivate promising tech start-ups at the seed and early stages. We bring promising tech start-ups to the accelerator programmes that are tailored to suit start-ups at different stages of maturity and/or industry verticals. We aim to build 500 Singapore-based high growth tech start-ups through such acceleration programmes over the next 5 years.

Potential partners and entrepreneurs who are keen to explore our accelerator programmes are welcome to contact us at info@infocomminvestments.com

Investment
Infocomm Investments invest alongside leading VCs to take companies to their next stage of growth. We target Singapore companies that are building a strong international presence or overseas companies expanding to new markets in Asia (from a base in Singapore.) Our investments cover various segments including Consumer Web, Mobile applications and Infrastructure, SaaS and Cloud Infrastructure, Games and Enterprise IT.
Equity-financing aside, we seek to add value to our portfolio companies through our wide network. We’ve helped companies recruit talent, connect with potential customers or partners, and bring advisors on board through strong relationships we’ve built over the past decade.

JTC LaunchPad @One-North
We are a significant participant in this initiative. Building on the success of Block 71, JTC LaunchPad @One-North is an initiative to further develop the area as Singapore’s start-up cluster. The space will provide start-ups with affordable and quality spaces which will help to seed their growth, catalyst networking and collaboration opportunities as well as build an even stronger start-up community in Singapore.

Community & Outreach
Singapore has become a strategic hub for many tech entrepreneurs to locate their business operations. At Infocomm Investments, we are committed to be an active member of the tech community, contributing in various ways to help build a strong pipeline of tech start-ups that have the potential to scale globally.

Sponsorship Support
At Infocomm Investments, we advocate and support appropriate events and activities that can benefit the innovation-driven, tech start-up ecosystem in Singapore. We would like these activities to have positive impact, in a quantifiable sustained manner, in one or more ways:

  • Building and growing start-ups into disruptive, significant businesses
  • Establishing and leveraging on relationships with the investor, accelerator, customer (or user), and media communities to propel start-ups
  • Identifying and channelling tech talent to the tech start-up ecoystem
  • Benefitting start-ups, entrepreneurs, technologists, incubators, accelerators, start-up mentors, investors, tech companies, user organisations, relevant agencies, entrepreneurship educators and students
This is a constructive way for us to work with partners across private and public sectors, in Singapore and globally, helping us to play a central role in building a vibrant and sustainable ecosystem in Singapore for tech start-ups to flourish.

You can contact our Marketing and Outreach Team at info@infocominvestments.com

  (Source: Infocomm Investment)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:27:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Grey Group Singapore (“Grey”) announced that the agency has developed two innovative mobile applications (“apps”) aimed at improving the quality of life of people with hearing disabilities. Developed with inputs and full support from the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf), the proprietary apps transform smart phones into intelligent devices that help the lives of people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing easier and safer.

Say it With Signs
Although smart phones are fast becoming ubiquitous devices in the hearing world, people with hearing disabilities has limited use of them as a communications tool, relying more on text messages and over the top (OTT) applications that deliver visual content.

This poses a challenge when there is difficulty for a caller to key in a text message, such as when the caller is driving or if the caller is a pre-school child. Say it With Signs helps address this challenge by processing audio messages during a phone call into digital hand signs displayed on the receiver’s mobile phone. The receiver of the call, who is a deaf person, can easily view this sign language on their mobile phones and reply to the caller via a text message.

Hearing Aide
Hearing Aide provides people with hearing disabilities with support during emergencies by processing ambient sounds and transmitting visual and kinetic notifications to the user. Upon recognizing a specific audio signature, the app will process this and notify the users of the impending danger via a 20 second vibration and a visual message displayed on the mobile phone screens.

This app is pre-loaded with 5 standard “alarms” or “alert sounds” such as, ambulance, fire brigade, police sirens, fire alarm and smoke detector. Users have the ability to customise the app according to their needs by adding sounds between 90 – 120dB into the databank of alert sounds and renaming labels of the notifications to warning messages they prefer or are familiar with.

SADeaf President, Dr Christopher Low Wong Kein shares, “These applications are breakthroughs for the Deaf community. At SADeaf, we are always on the lookout for innovations that can better the lives of our clients. Say it With Signs and Hearing Aide are certainly two applications that will fast become integral to our clients in their everyday lives. I have no doubt that our clients will be looking forward to have the apps installed on their phones. It was indeed a pleasure working with the highly creative and attentive team at Grey Singapore. We are glad that they have thought of the needs of people with hearing disabilities”.

(Source: GAATES)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:18:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


ECWT and E-SCN are pleased to announce a strategic partnership based on their mutual focus of equality and opportunities for youth within the ICT sector. This is specifically in line with the promotion of STEM and in particular CS education to girls, as well as increasing female representation in the ICT workplace.

E-SCN’s project and advocacy activities range from Digital Inclusion initiatives all the way up to workforce development projects, with an overall interest in reducing skills gaps, and youth unemployment. The Danish based network organization also has a strong focus on the recognition and use of the e-Competence Framework, which is a reference framework of competences applied within the ICT sector, that can be used by the individual ICT user, private sector, public sector, academia etc.

In recognition of the launch of this strategic partnership, E-SCN and their existing partners Carnegie Mellon University spin-off company, PROXCER, and Telecentre-Europe are making a donation to provide girls across Europe the opportunity to gain credentials and proof of skills within different areas of ICT.

PROXCER, based in Dublin, Ireland, is the only company in the world to deliver Authentic Examinations. Authentic Examinations are the heart of PROXCER’s method for evaluating the capability of an individual to write software accurately, by measuring the test-takers ability to program realistic problems in a professional environment, using a real programmer’s toolkit. The concept was developed and is used at world renowned Carnegie Mellon University, and spinoff company PROXCER is now bringing this opportunity to academia and private sector globally.

Through collaboration with E-SCN, PROXCER will be donating batches of SDE (Software Developer Examination) vouchers and preparation material to all National Point of Contacts of ECWT, so that a set of girls already engaged in ICT in many countries will have the chance to measure their skills.

Telecentre- Europa collaborating with ECWT already in connection with e-skills events, under mutual understanding of the benefits deriving from collaboration between two different but equal level strong EU umbrella networks, represents the European digital inclusion and digital literacy sector in Europe. Their members are focused on helping individuals get online, teach them basic and advanced digital skills and help individuals benefit from opportunities that the ICT sector can offer.

Telecentre-Europe, Microsoft, and E-SCN are currently engaged in a project which gives young people in formal and informal education, as well as unemployed youth, the opportunity to prepare for and take Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) and/or Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certifications. This project is now being extended to ECWT, where 400 girls will now have the opportunity to become certified in either MOS or MTA throughout Europe.


(Source: ECWT)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:06:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The European Commission is looking for Europe's best startups in this year's Tech All Stars competition. The lucky winners will have exclusive access to Europe's most prestigious startup events and will pitch to the likes of Sir Richard Branson and Chad Hurley.

European Commission Vice President @NeelieKroesEU said "Part of businesses success is making the right connections and the European Commission can help open doors. Finalists will get connected to EU funding sources, successful entrepreneurs and other influential people".

The competition is open to EU registered startups younger than 3 years, which have raised less than €1 million in external funding. Applications are open until May 22nd 2014.

Tech All Stars Competition
  • 10th-11th June 2014. Over two days, 12 finalists get to know London's vibrant startup scene, connect, learn and get inspired by successful entrepreneurs. Finalists will be trained and challenged in an eliminatory pitch battle and a distinguished selection panel will chose the top three.
  • June 12th Founders Forum London. Top three finalists pitch their startup to a world-class audience of tech leaders and investors. The best European startup will be elected, and the winner will be announced by Neelie Kroes
  • Summer 2014. The Grand Tech All Stars Winner will be panellist at the European Commission's Digital Agenda Assembly again rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers of the tech world.

Previous Tech All Star Winners include Irish company Trustev which offers real time, online verification using social fingerprinting technology (see MEMO/13/557) and Cognicor a Spanish start-up offering an automated complaint resolution service (see MEMO/12/472).

Background
StatupEurope is the European Commission action plan to strengthen the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs in Europe and contributing to innovation, growth and jobs. It is a Digital Agenda initiative supported by @NeelieKroesEU to help innovative tech companies start in Europe and stay in Europe.

Further Information

Friday, May 16, 2014 8:52:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Telecentre Academy (TCA), the capacity building arm of Telecentre.org Foundation, will soon be launching a new course entitled “Women, Entrepreneurship and ICTs”. Designed specifically for women with an enterprising spirit and an idea of what they want to start, the course seeks to equip participants with the necessary knowledge and skills in entrepreneurship and encourage them to pursue entrepreneurial activities.

Recognizing the gap between training initiatives focused on the use of ICT tools in the enterprise world and those full blown business administration courses that take much longer to complete, TCA developed its latest course offering in an effort to bridge this particular gap.

The course, which will delve into the practical aspects of starting a business, will be made available in English and Spanish and is expected to kick off in June in Europe and Africa. It will run for a period of 8 weeks or a total of 40 work hours. A self-directed and collaborative learning approach will be employed where the participants themselves will set their learning goals and link them to their enterprising activities. A tutor will be on hand to facilitate the learning process and guide them through the training and exercises.

All participants who will successfully complete the course will obtain a corresponding certificate from TCA. Through this course which was developed in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), TCA also hopes to build a community of practice where people who have taken the course can exchange knowledge, experiences, resources and good practices.

TCA will be offering the course for a minimal fee, the rate of which may vary per country. Some scholarships and discounts may be awarded depending on local demand.
Interested in partnering with TCA and introducing this entrepreneurship course to your network? Don’t hesitate to contact the TCA team.

Further information

Friday, May 16, 2014 7:01:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


1,700 High School Students Compete for More than US$5M in Los Angeles.

The world's largest high school science research competition, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public, comes to Los Angeles May 11-16. Approximately 1,700 high school students selected from 435 affiliate fairs in more than 70 countries, regions and territories will share ideas, showcase cutting edge research and inventions, and compete for more than US$5 million in awards. The full list of finalists is available in the event program (starting at page 47).

Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation, and Rick Bates, interim CEO and chief advancement officer of Society for Science & the Public, will be available for comment at the event. "Through the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Intel aims to empower students to develop innovations that positively impact the way we work and live", said Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation. "We hope the competition will not only shine a spotlight on the finalists' achievements, but also encourage more youth to embrace science, technology, engineering and math".

"By earning the right to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, student finalists have proven they have the capability and desire to become the leading scientists and engineers of tomorrow", said Rick Bates, interim CEO and chief advancement officer of Society for Science & the Public. "Intel ISEF is not only a chance to compete for awards but an opportunity to learn, be inspired, and share their research with fellow top young students from around the world".

To learn more about Society for Science & the Public, visit www.societyforscience.org, and follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter.

Further details

Friday, May 16, 2014 6:54:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Cisco is on a mission to make Kenyan girls embrace ICT careers and be part of the ever growing sector of the economy.

This comes amid reports by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that the number of school girls opting to study technology-related disciplines on the decline in most countries worldwide.

Cisco hopes to join ITU to champion the catalytic role a tech career can play in creating exciting, far-reaching opportunities for women and girls. The company recently hosted a ‘Girls in ICT Day’ for girls aged between 14-18 to hear about the vital role that ICT plays in employability today and how the Internet of Everything will create the jobs of tomorrow.

“Cisco has been involved in ‘Girls in ICT Day’ since it started four years ago. We understand the value of a diverse workforce, and believe that many more girls would pursue careers in ICT if they were better informed about the many different types of jobs available within the sector’, said Hital Muraj, Corporate Affairs Manager, East and Central Southern Africa.

The 26 girls from various institutions were mentored by representatives from from Global Peace Foundation, Safaricom and UNESCO, and encouraged to embrace ICT careers and reap from the male-dominated sector.

The Girls in ICT Day is an annual day of activities organized by the International Telecommunications Union aimed at improving the understanding of careers in ICT among girls.

To help inspire girls to consider a future in technology, ITU established the ‘Girls in ICT Day’ back in 2010 and supports the global organization of activities every year on the fourth Thursday in April. Currently in its 4th year, global momentum around Girls in ICT Day continues to grow with over 100 countries touted to hold events hosted by governments, private sector and NGOs in 2014.

This year Cisco will be hosting 2,500 girls at almost 80 of their offices worldwide and across 37 countries in EMEAR giving them the opportunity to network with each other and other role models to inspire them to consider an IT career.

During their visit to Cisco, students will be able to experience and engage with Cisco’s technologies for themselves, including collaboration platforms such as TelePresence and Jabber.

These platforms will enable interaction on the day and beyond with other Girls participating across the globe and of the leading women working within Cisco and its partners and customers.

“By 2020 there will be approximately 50 billion objects connected to the Internet. At its essence, the Internet of Everything is the networked connection of people, process, data and things…and is set to create an unprecedented level of disruption across industries, globally”, said Muraj.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Friday, May 16, 2014 6:45:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The latest ITU report, Digital Opportunities: Innovative ICT Solutions for Youth Employment, carries an important message for youth, the private sector, academia and government policy makers seeking to address youth unemployment: youth need digital skills if they want to get a job or start a business.

Digital literacy is effectively a prerequisite for employment and starting a business in all countries, and ICTs should be prioritized in all national youth employment and entrepreneurship strategies.

Firstly, how bad is youth unemployment?
According to the ILO Global Trends for Youth Unemployment 2013 report, 73 million young people were unemployed worldwide and three times as many are underemployed. A further 621 million youth are said to be “NEET” — not in education, employment or training. Youth make up 17 per cent of the world’s population and 40 per cent of the world’s unemployed.

High youth unemployment not only hampers economic growth, but for youth it can be a debilitating experience that affects their ability to lead productive and rewarding lives. Urgent attention is needed to address the plight of youth and provide them better opportunities for employment.

One of the causes of youth unemployment is a skills mismatch between what the market is seeking and what institutions of learning – both formal and informal – are providing. Many employers claim they cannot find people with the job skills they need. Youth without digital skills are being cut out of a growing number of job and business opportunities.

Policy makers reading this report could draw only one conclusion: To promote youth employment it is essential that youth in their countries obtain digital skills, including how to become ICT creators.

ICTs should be included in youth employment and entrepreneurship strategies for three key reasons:

1.More jobs and businesses require ICT skills
2.ICTs are transforming the way young digital entrepreneurs do business
3.There is an explosion of online learning opportunities and resources for job seekers and digital entrepreneurs

ICTs are transforming old market sectors including farming, manufacturing and the health sector, and creating new market sectors that didn’t exist even a few years ago, like social media management, gaming and the mobile apps economy. The demand for both basic and more advanced ICT skills cuts across all sectors, from agriculture and construction to education and service industries to ICT jobs themselves, in both developing and developed countries. Basic digital literacy is increasingly required just to find job listings and apply for a job.

What kinds of opportunities exist?
Youth with mid-level digital skills can earn wages through offshore services, such as information technology outsourcing (ITO) and business process outsourcing (BPO), crowdsourcing and microwork (task-oriented work opportunities for data entry, coding, tagging and other text-based tasks).  Mobile financial services like M-PESA are making it easier for young people to receive payment for services rendered. CrowdFlower is one example of crowdsourcing which hires people in more than 70 countries.

Youth trained as ICT creators are working developing apps, games and social network websites.  Since the iPhone was introduced in 2007, the app economy has generated roughly 752,000 app related jobs in the US and 530,000 jobs in the European Union as of 2013, according to Vision Mobile. While currently much of the apps development taking place in developing countries is for export to the US, Europe and Asia, it is expected that in a few years’ time, local demand in developing countries will reach the levels of demand in Europe and North America as smartphone penetration rises.  This will give rise to a need for apps development relevant to local languages and content.

New ways of working and learning
The report also highlights new ways digital entrepreneurs are working, such as tech hubs or app labs. These are business incubation spaces that provide solutions to young digital entrepreneurs: they provide Internet connectivity, support structures (including shared office space), mentorship and collaboration. Tech hubs and app labs are springing up throughout the developed and developing world including Applabs funded by the Grameen Foundation in Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia and Uganda.

Despite the fact that digital skills are not systematically being taught in all schools, the report recognizes that youth can obtain vital digital and business skills online. The report documents the explosion of new learning opportunities that can enable youth to get the right skills, including Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), open courseware and mobile learning as well as hackathons and mobile app competitions.  All of these opportunities point to the need to promote collaborative learning in digital skills development strategies.

The report includes a number of policy recommendations, including ensuring digital skills and collaborative learning is part of school curricula, hosting innovation and co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and funding app contests and competitions.

ITU’s Telecommunication Development Sector (BDT) has created a new Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Resources Database to assist young people to find and use these digital opportunities. This database contains resources for finding employment, becoming an entrepreneur, learning technical and soft skills, finding a mentor, searching for funding, networking, and many other valuable services.

Access the full report here and find out more about ITU’s work for Digital Inclusion and visit ITU’s Youth Employment Database.

(Source: ITU Blog)

Friday, May 16, 2014 5:41:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 08, 2014
CWIT Funds Computing Outreach Programs for Girls Nationwide.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) announced the 2014 program sites for NCWIT Aspire IT –- a national technology education initiative for middle school girls, supported by Intel, Northrop Grumman, and Google.

In 2014, NCWIT AspireIT will serve more than 1,300 middle school girls with over 50,000 instruction hours in computing and technology during workshops, after-school programs, and summer camps. NCWIT AspireIT capitalizes on a "near-peer", hands-on approach. Middle school girls learn programming, game design, robotics, e-textiles and more through programs created and led by young women in high school and college. NCWIT granted $123,500 to 46 local programs across 19 states focused on inspiring middle school girls to consider careers in technology.

"Our Aspirations in Computing community has thousands of tech-savvy young women who want to share their passions for technology with the next generation,” said Jennifer Manning, NCWIT AspireIT Manager. “They make wonderful role models, connecting and inspiring middle school girls in ways that adults can’t”.

NCWIT AspireIT is a component of NCWIT Aspirations in Computing, a talent development initiative designed to increase female participation in technology by providing structured, long-term engagement and support from middle school through high school and from college into the workforce. Find out more at http://www.aspirations.org.

(Source: NCWIT)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 10:10:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Hearing the doorbell, the fire alarm or a tap that has not been properly turned off are everyday situations that can become a problem for a person who is hard of hearing. The Tecnalia Centre for Applied Research has developed a tool to pick up and identify ordinary sounds that are produced in the home environment in order to help people with hearing disabilities.

It is a mobile phone app designed to assist people who have limitations of this type in their daily lives.

All the users have to do is download the app onto their Smartphones, which will inform or alert them in real time about the various sounds that are produced around them. The first version of the app is available free of charge at Google Play under the name MyEardroid. Being portable, its advantages are that it is available anywhere at any time and does not depend on fixed installations. What is more, it can be personalized and each user can select the sounds that are relevant to him/her. The alert is made by means of vibration, text or image.

The app could benefit anyone who is severely or deeply hearing disability by supporting them in the home, in a hotel room, at work or anywhere indoors. What is more, it will also benefit the people around them as these alerts will give them peace of mind.

After launching this APP, Tecnalia is aiming to go on adding new sounds and to identify other milieu in which the app could offer its users advantages.

Tecnalia is committed to one of the big future challenges: to improve people’s life quality, and one of its aims is to achieve this in the sphere of ageing and disability. So by applying new technologies, the research center is developing new support products and services that allow people with special needs and their carers to access information and services as well as to carry out their daily activities as independently as possible in order to improve their quality of life.

See the video presentation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65DnzrJBtuo

(Source: GAATES)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 10:02:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Singapore government will set up a S$8 million (US$6.3 million) Digital Inclusion (DI) Fund to raise the adoption of infocomm for low-income households, and encourage social innovations to help voluntary welfare organisations better manage the well-being of their beneficiaries with relevant technology, announced Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information.

“The Internet today is increasingly becoming a utility for individuals, households and organisations. The Government has been stepping up its efforts at digital inclusion to ensure that no segment of the community is excluded from the benefits that the internet can bring – for example, access to information and e-services”, he said.

The Government’s existing programmes include the NEU PC Plus Programme, Silvercomm Initiative and Infocomm Accessibility Centre reach out to students from low-income families, senior citizens and persons with disabilities respectively.

The DI Fund will help individuals and households level up and enjoy the benefits that come with advancements in digital technology as Singapore prepares to wire up as a Smart Nation.

For example, targeted households will benefit from home internet access to surf for information and perform digital voice calls.

(Source: FutureGov)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 9:38:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO literacy project for girls and women in Senegal (PAJEF) is becoming an attraction. Its innovative teaching methods and approaches have grabbed the attention of other countries, which also struggle with high illiteracy rates. This week (30 April–2 May 2014) 14 policy-makers and education specialists from Nigeria are in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, to learn more about the PAJEF experience.

Last month, a delegation from the Gambia came on a study visit, which generated interest from a number of countries, including Pakistan and Namibia.

The PAJEF literacy project has successfully implemented literacy courses through mobile phones, computers, the internet and television, which, coupled with vocational skills training, have proven effective in reaching out to illiterate women. It is a partnership between the Senegalese government, UNESCO and the multinational private sector company Procter&Gamble.

Launched in January 2012, the project aims to improve access to education for 40,000 neo-literate and illiterate women aged 15-55 years in Senegal before it ends in June 2014. Based on the success of the project in Senegal, a similar literacy project was launched in Nigeria in March 2014.

South-south cooperation
The Nigeria project seeks to accelerate and underpin national efforts to achieve Education for All. The aim is to benefit 60,000 girls and women in the Federal Capital Territory and Rivers State within the next three years.

The Nigerian delegation will visit literacy and tutoring classes, where adolescent girls are strengthening their literacy skills through vocational training. They will also visit a virtual class where girls and women are using learning application accessible through mobile phones and computers. They will experience the digital blackboard, the so-called ‘Sankoré kit’, which has been installed in all classrooms used for the PAJEF project since the end of 2013.

The delegation will have the opportunity to get familiar with the educational radio and television structure within the Senegalese Ministry of Education. They will also learn about the popular TV programme Diek ak-Keureum, which is delivering literacy courses specifically designed for a female audience and broadcasted during daytime on national TV.

Education transforms lives
Educated girls and young women are more likely to know their rights and to have the confidence to claim them. In the words of UNESCO's Director-General, Irina Bokova: “Girls education is a development multiplier and one of the most powerful transformational forces we have to build peace and social inclusion”.

In 2011, UNESCO launched “Better Life, Better Future”, a global partnership for girls’ and women’s education, which addresses two main areas requiring more attention – secondary education and adult literacy. It introduces programmes aimed at stemming the drop-out of adolescent girls in the transition from primary to secondary education and in lower secondary schools, as well as focuses on scaling up women’s literacy programmes through stronger advocacy and partnerships.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 9:14:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO held a four-day workshop on ICT for teacher training from 7 to 10 April 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya. This event is part of UNESCO’s continued efforts of promoting the application of ICTs to enhance the quality of and access to education, including the stimulation of production, sharing and access to Open Educational Resources (OER).

The workshop aimed at populating a knowledge deepening course for primary education teachers in Kenya with national and international OERs and thus builds capacity of participants to enable them to adapt and customise Open Education Resources (OER) and thus support deployment of the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers within the Kenyan context. Furthermore the workshop capacitated participants in instructional design principles, including ideal structure of a blended course delivered as professional development opportunity. Mr Andrew Moore, the facilitator of the workshop stated that “there is need for OER ICT CFT to complement the Kenya Governments One laptop per Child project as this will enhance its integration to the country’s education programme”.

The training attracted participation of Kenyan ICT CFT OER courseware developers from the Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Teachers Service Commission, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa, Kenya Education Management Institute, Kenya Institute of Special Education, Kenya Technical Teachers College, Strathmore University, and Inoorero University. Many, if not all of the participants found the workshop to be of great value and of great need for themselves or their respective institutions. Participants were ready to take on the challenge posed during the workshop and were eager to move on to integrating the concepts they had been taught into practical activities.

This workshop comes as a follow up of the workshop held from 18 to 22 November 2013 that took stock of existing ICT teacher training initiatives in Kenya and proposed the UNESCO project to focus on offering additional professional development opportunities to those teachers and school managers who had completed the initial ICT integration training. The UNESCO project will enable the Teacher Service Commission to offer ‘follow-up’ training at a slightly higher level using a different mode of delivery in order to contain costs for both the project coordinators and participants.

This activity is a direct follow-up to the 2012 World Congress on Open Educational Resources which released the Paris Declaration on OERs calling on Governments to openly license all educational materials produced with public funds. Supported by a generous grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (USA), UNESCO is working with the Governments of Kenya, Oman, Bahrain, and Indonesia to implement dynamic and relevant policies to guide and recognize teachers and learners to find, adapt, use, develop, and share open educational resources.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 8:52:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
International Girls in ICT Day was again sponsored by International Telecommunications Union on the fourth Thursday of April (which this year turned out to be 4/24/14). The initiative, launched by ITU with the purpose of raising awareness of the importance of involving girls in ICT fields, aims to promote the benefits that ICT careers may offer.

In 2012, many African nations celebrated International Girls In ICT Day. Organizations in at least 16 African nations participated the following year. This year, we note roughly the same number of events. Also, it is worth noting that we have observed more female-oriented African tech events during the course of the year – a testament to the lasting success of the official Girls in ICT Day.

By our count, at least 13 African countries held or will hold a gathering this month to get girls excited about ICT. Most events directly aimed to encourage girls to pursue careers in ICT.

Cameroon: Girls in Tech Cameroon celebrated in Yaounde, with an emphasis on professionalism.

Congo-Brazzaville: Femtic Congo, with the support of the telecoms regulator ARPCE, celebrated with a series of panels on ICT and employment.

Cote d’Ivoire: The Ministry of Posts and ICT (along with the Ministry of Solidarity, Family, Women, and Children) hosted an event with the organization Femmes & TIC.

 
 
Ethiopia: International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in collaboration with Africa Union Commission, UNECA, UNDP, UN Women, other UN Agencies and the private sector held an event in Addis Ababa.

The Gambia: Girls in ICT Gambia held a logo design competition and school debate on the importance of ICTs.

Ghana: The Ministry of Communications, with the assistance from other ministries, held an event in Koforidua (Eastern region).

Kenya: AkiraChix, for the second time, hosted a day-long event at iHub Nairobi for high school and university girls interested in ICT. Successful female entrepreneurs were on hand to share their experiences.

Liberia: The Ministry of Gender and Development held an event where iLab Liberia, among others, gave a presentation.

South Africa: Intel Africa and Girls Invent held a coding session for girls.

Uganda: The Commonwealth Peoples’ Association of Uganda, supported by the Government of Uganda, held an ICT-themed debate on April 9th.

Other posts, videos, and anecdotes about how African girls are utilizing technology were also shared under the hashtag #GirlsinICT.

Just because the official Girls in ICT Day is over doesn’t mean that we should forget about strengthening the involvement of girls in ICT! In Africa, girls generally have less access to a formal education, let alone one involving the latest technology. Providing girls with access to ICT (and role models to foster their passions) is vital if African nations are to become information-based societies.

(Source: Oafrica)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 4:07:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 30, 2014


UNESCO has published a report explaining how mobile technology is used to facilitate reading and improve literacy in developing countries. The report was published  on 23 April, on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day.

The report, Reading in the Mobile Era, highlights that hundreds of thousands of people currently use mobile technology as a portal to text. Findings show that in countries where illiteracy rates are high and physical text is scarce, large numbers of people read full-length books and stories on rudimentary small screen devices.

The report, the first-ever study of mobile readers in developing countries, provides valuable information about how mobile reading is practiced today and by whom.
Worldwide 774 million people, including 123 million youth, cannot read or write and illiteracy can often be traced to the lack of books. Most people in Sub-Saharan Africa do not own a single book, and schools in this region rarely provide textbooks to learners.

Yet the report cites data showing that where books are scarce, mobile technology is increasingly common, even in areas of extreme poverty. The International Telecommunication Union estimates that of the 7 billion people on Earth, 6 billion have access to a working mobile phone.

 Video: Interview with Mark West, one of the authors of the report

UNESCO’s study of mobile reading was conducted in seven developing countries, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Drawing on the analysis of over 4,000 surveys and corresponding qualitative interviews, the study found that:

- large numbers of people (one third of study participants) read stories to children from mobile phones;
- females read far more on mobile devices than males (almost six times as much according to the study);
- both men and women read more cumulatively when they start reading on a mobile device;
- many neo- and semi-literate people use their mobile phones to search for text that is appropriate to their reading ability.

The study is intended as a roadmap for governments, organizations and individuals who wish to use mobile technology to help spread reading and literacy. The report recommends improving the diversity of mobile reading content to appeal to specific target groups such as parents and teachers; initiating outreach and trainings to help people transform mobile phones into portals to reading material; and lowering costs and technology barriers to mobile reading.

(Source: UNESCO)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:41:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s minister of communication technology, has inaugurated Digital Girls Clubs in 12 federal government girls Schools across the country, which she said was aimed at empowering Nigerian girls and encouraging them to embrace careers in ICT.

The 12 pilots will impact 1,200 girls, with the clubs later set to be launched across all federal colleges, offering a curriculum teaching girls relevant technology skills.

“The Digital Girls Club is part of the Girls and Women initiative of the federal government geared at empowering Nigerian women and girls”, Johnson said. “The administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in a bid to empower women and girls in Nigeria created a gender empowerment scheme titled Girls and Women in Nigeria (G-WIN) with the sole aim of positively impacting and improving the lot of women and girls in Nigeria”.

She said Nigeria needed to increase the participation of females in ICT. “Getting more girls into ICTs is a task we are committed to at the Ministry of Communication Technology. We want to ensure that Nigerian girls are encouraged and empowered to embrace ICTs. It is critical to get girls to adopt ICTs so that they are not left behind in the digital revolution changing communities and nations across the globe”, she said.

“Our desire is that the Digital Girls ICT Clubs will empower Nigerian girls and lead to the development of an army of ICT compliant girls that will contribute to the economic growth and empowerment of Nigeria in the future”.

An online platform was also launched to serve as a tool for stimulating and empowering girls to embrace and adopt ICTs. “ICTs are powerful transformative tools that foster development and advancement of economies – whether developing or advanced. It is a useful tool for bridging the digital divide in most economies”, Johnson said.

“It also plays a crucial role in the socio-economic empowerment and development of communities and nations across the globe. It is the bedrock of development and the leveraging of this critical tool not only helps us create wealth and jobs, but it also enables development at all levels – health, agriculture, education”. She said the Ministry of Communication Technology was working hard to ensure Nigeria leverages the power of ICT to transition to a knowledge-based economy.

(Source: Humanipo)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:37:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
London Schoolgirls Build Mobile Apps in Tech City on Girls in ICT Day

The GSMA hosted an interactive app building workshop to celebrate Girls in ICT Day, the ITU’s annual global initiative to empower and encourage young women to consider studies and careers in ICT. A class of 13-year-old schoolgirls from east London school Bethnal Green Academy visited creative hub BL-NK in London’s Tech City to gain perspectives and insights from four successful women in technology and to build their own mobile apps.

Speakers at the event included:
- Maria Molina, Principal, Communications, Media & Technology, AT Kearney
- Ranwa Sarkis, Head of Sales Operations, Facebook
- Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA
- Lucy Paine, Junior Project Manager, Telefónica

Each speaker shared their personal experiences and offer words of advice to inspire the young female audience, a number of whom have yet to decide on their GCSE subjects. Members of the GSMA will also work with groups of students to mentor them for the day and share their own personal insights and experiences of working in the mobile industry. The aim of the event was to encourage these students to consider taking STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and to explore the exciting and varied career opportunities in technology.

“There is much more to be done to encourage girls to pursue learning in subjects such as engineering and computer science, which open up possibilities of working in exciting careers in technology,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA. “Mobile is a particularly dynamic and vibrant area right now and it can also open up career opportunities across a range of industry sectors, for example, creating connected cars, advancing mobile commerce or even designing the master plan for a smart city. We are delighted to support the ITU’s Girls in ICT Day to help develop those critical science, technology and math skills that can serve as a foundation for a variety of careers”.

“I warmly welcome the GSMA’s Connected Women initiative to help close the ICT skills gender gap and attract and retain female talent in the mobile industry. The continued growth and development of vital tech skills and expertise in London and our major cities will ensure the future of the UK digital success story,” said Joanna Shields OBE, Chairman of Tech City UK and UK Ambassador for Digital Industries. “Digital innovation is helping us reimagine entire industries, generate economic growth and create new jobs. I hope that today’s app workshop in Tech City will inspire local schoolgirls to study STEM subjects as foundation for future, exciting careers in the technology sector”.

A range of apps will be developed by the schoolgirls:

- Beat the Bullies – resources and videos to help children who are being bullied or who think their friends are in trouble
- Local Lowdown – activities to do in their local area including shops, socialising and maps
- My Digital Hero – pick someone they look up to (anyone from Lady Gaga to Emma Watson) and create an app dedicated to her, featuring videos, quotes and pictures
- Top Tech Tips – create a set of tips and tricks for new users of a specific technology (e.g. Facebook, iPhone)

The Connected Women programme is focused on creating global awareness of the business case for greater involvement of women in the mobile industry and to motivate the sector to take positive action. In addition to that workshop, the Connected Women programme has hosted other successful events in Barcelona, London, New York and Shanghai. To find out more about the GSMA Connected Women initiative, visit www.gsma.com/events/connected-women

(Source: GSMA)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:24:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


A fun, FREE, interactive IT Career Showcase for Secondary School Girls Years 8 to 11.
3 and 4 June 2014
Location: Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood

The Go Girl Go for IT expo aims to encourage girls to take up careers in ICT – it brings together female role-models who work in a vast number of industries – from banking to television, multimedia to medicine, and much more. Speakers at the event will show that ICT careers for women are viable, enjoyable, global, and rewarding.

What will happen at the Go Girl event?
At Go Girl 2014, students will hear from and have the opportunity to talk to talented and inspirational role models with IT careers. There will be access to a wealth of information that will assist students in making informed IT career decisions.
The program includes a series of interactive presentations, and features a tradeshow where girls can talk in person to company representatives. Lunch is provided with entertainment.

Who should attend?
The event is open to all high school girls from years 8 to 11. We encourage all students to attend, regardless of the subjects they are currently studying.
It is also recommended that the following teachers/advisors attend:
 - Year 8, 9,10 and 11 Year Advisors
- Careers Advisors
- IT Teachers
- Business Teachers

Attendance at this event is free.
Visit www.gogirl.org.au for more information and to register

(Source:vicICTforwomen)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 2:52:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações

 

24th April 2014

Girls in ICT Day, an initiative backed by ITU Member States in ITU Resolution 70, will be celebrated this year on April 24th. The main goal is to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Portugal is joining these celebrations again by carrying out two initiatives at Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações | Museu das Comunicações:

- March and April - a school and university contest about ICT issues will take place at FPC | MC (What is the impact of the digital revolution for the professions in the future? Is it important to increase the number of women working in the ICT sector?)

- 24th April - a roundtable debate with the participation of women connected to the ICTs industry, the announcement of the school competition winners and the delivery of the prizes.

For more information see the following websites: Portuguese version of the site | ITU

(Source: FPC)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:17:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
- The device uses raised points to depict information from a computer
- Blind people can use the Incendilumen to control the computer
- It will allow blind people to open and close different windows

Argentinean students from the country’s National Technological University are developing a tablet-like computing interface for blind people.

They plan to develop a final prototype over the next two months and launch it in just over two years, as a joint venture with a technology firm based in Buenos Aires.

The device acts as an interface between the user and a computer, says Guido Muchiutti, one of the seven team members and the device’s inventor. He tells SciDev.Net that the product depicts information from the computer screen and allows the user to control the computer.

The prototype, named Incendilumen, which means ‘turn on the light’ in Latin, has a surface covered with 2,000 tiny rods that rise and fall to represent information such as graphics, buttons and windows.

“Our interface translates data so blind people can feel it by touching what appears on the screen, whether icons or words in the Braille system”, says Leonardo Hoet, a professor of from the same university and a member of the team.

Incendilumen was a finalist in the Argentinian technology and design contest Innovar 2012, and won funding from the country’s ministry of science to develop the product further. Leandro Sereno, president of the Association for People with Visual Disabilities in Argentina, who tested the prototype, is enthusiastic about the device.

“When it is ready it will be fabulous because, with it, blind people can feel what appears on the screen and interact with it”, he tells SciDev.Net. “For instance, we can use different windows, and icons to open them or close them, something currently impossible for us. It would be very useful for surfing the internet¨.

Ariel Lutenberg, a researcher in Buenos Aires University’s Faculty of Engineering, praises the device, but says that many challenges remain to ensure this Argentinian innovation succeeds.

“The problem is always going beyond the laboratory and getting a product to sell”, he says. “It means lowering costs, mass production and other complicated issues in countries like Argentina. Things are different in Silicon Valley or Israel, for instance”.

The Incendilumen team hopes to make the tablet as cheap as possible and available to both institutions and individuals.

See here a video by the Incendilumen team about the innovation (in Spanish): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRGSullF-i4

(Source: SciDev)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:05:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Its that time of year again, where we bring together girls from different high schools and women in the tech industry together for a day of intense fun and brainstorming around career opportunities for girls in technology!



AkiraChix, for the second time, will be hosting a Girls in ICT Day event on April 26th, 2014 at iHub between 9:00a.m and 5.00p.m. This event is geared towards exposing young ladies in high school and university to career opportunities available to them in the tech industry. They will get to interact with girls who have benefited from the mentorship program in the past, as well as women working in the tech industry locally.

We will continue to provide updates as we get closer to the day of the event.
If you have a sister/friend in high school who you think would benefit, sign them up on their eventbrite page: http://akirachixgirlsinict14.eventbrite.com

(Source: Akirachix)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:57:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


In a crucial step towards making online public services more inclusive, Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) of India has launched a set of tools to develop online content in local languages for the various e-government portals and services.

The localisation portal offers basic tools and services for making e-government applications available in the official language of each state apart from English. Tools are currently available to support 6 Indian languages, and will gradually be made available for the other 16 official languages in India.

Each project under India’s National e-Governance Plan has several online applications and portals, and the localisation portal provides standards, best practices and guidelines to support the agencies undertaking localisation of their applications.

Joint Secretary for e-government at DeitY, Rajendra Kumar, shared that the localisation tools have already been used for seven projects, including content for health, e-district, public distribution system, pension, education and agriculture.

(Source: FutureGov)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:28:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Last week, World Pulse, a partner of Telecentre.org Foundation, launched the second of three phases of its Women Weave the Web Campaign. After Digital Access which was the main focus in Phase 1, Digital Literacy now takes center stage in Phase 2.

What tools would you like to have access to in order to feel more comfortable online? What challenges did you face when learning to use the web? These are but some of the questions that Phase 2 of the campaign hopes to find the answers to. It is all about the tools, resources, and training that women need to espouse the Internet and truly take advantage of its benefits.

How to Participate
To participate, simply write in your journal and share your experience on digital literacy. World Pulse will then analyze your recommendations and deliver them to key decision makers, including government officials and technology companies! For more details on participation, read How to Participate.

Resources, Resources, and more Resources!
Digital literacy starts with tools, trainings, and resources, so World Pulse and its partners, to include TCF, have joined forces to bring you some great ones! Check out the Campaign Resources section where you can learn and share information on digital tools!

In this phase of the campaign, TCF lends its support through the provision of its free training and certification on Google tools. Learn more about this here.

For more information about the campaign, check out the World Pulse website.

(Source: Telecentre.org)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:16:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The European Competition 2.0 asks teachers and educators to share the creative and effective ways they are using online resources or applications in their teaching practice.

How to enter
To enter you need to make a short video showing your teaching practice that involves the internet or mobile app. The video must be a maximum of 2:30 minutes. Then you must register on the Ed2.0Work project website and submit your video. The deadline to enter is 12 September 2014 at 12.00noon. Visit the competition website for more information on how to apply.

Judging and prizes
The winners will be decided by an international panel of judges. The winners will be invited to present their ideas (all expenses paid) at the European Conference in the Applications of Enabling Technologies, 2014 20-21 November 2014, Glasgow, Scotland.

The judging team includes:
Russell Stannard
Shelly Sanchez Terrell
Sylvia Guinan

About Ed2.0Work
Ed2.0Work is a European Union funded education project that has two missions:
- To create a network that spans education and the world of work and is designed to improve the use of Web2.0 tools in both fields.
- To create a set of tools for the empirical evaluation of Web2.0 tools

The project will create a network between stakeholders in the education and work sectors that will examine how both should be using Web2.0 in the education and work environments.

Further details

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:57:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Ooredoo partners with ITU for development of local digital content

ITU has launched the fourth edition of its popular ‘Young Innovators’ competition, seeking out talented young thinkers and social technopreneurs across the globe, and encouraging them to showcase their innovative ideas at the upcoming ITU Telecom World 2014 in Doha in December this year.

The annual competition, which was launched in 2010, offers young people the chance to take part in workshops on entrepreneurial skills, opportunities to meet and network with leading ICT players, and to showcase their projects at the InnovationSpace, a dedicated show floor pavilion at ITU Telecom World.

The first challenge of the 2014 edition focuses on ‘Local Digital Content’. Open to 18-30 year-old start-up founders from across ITU’s 193 member states, the competition is looking for the most promising tech start-ups that are inspiring the creation, aggregation or digitization of dynamic local content, particularly in non-Latin scripts.

Entries can be submitted by start-ups that are involved in script content, resolving the technical challenges of digitizing non-Latin scripts through innovative technologies, or pinpointing fresh uses for older technologies, such as optical character recognition, voice recognition or translation software.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Toure said, “I am delighted to announce the first challenge of the latest edition of the ITU Telecom World 2014 Young Innovators’ Competition. Last year’s competition brought us inspirational concepts and projects from innovative young people around the world, all of which had significant potential social impact and impressive business potential. I look forward to exploring the latest innovations at ITU Telecom World 2014 this December in Doha”.

The first stage of the contest has been launched in partnership with Ooredoo, which is supporting Qatar’s hosting of ITU Telecom World 2014. With strong experience in encouraging relevant local content and inspiring start-ups across the MENA region and Asia, Ooredoo will provide invaluable support for the contest.

Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al Thani, CEO, Ooredoo Qatar, said, “We’re excited to support this first challenge in the Young Innovators’ competition. We know that new digital content can inspire people and open new opportunities in their lives, and we believe strongly that each and every market deserves relevant content in their own languages that is tailored to their interests”.

About the Competition
Two start-ups will be selected as winners of this challenge by a Selection Committee of experts and invited to attend ITU Telecom World 2014.

At the event itself, selected Young Innovators will enjoy mentoring and workshops on entrepreneurial skills, opportunities to meet and network with leading ICT players, and the chance to showcase their projects at the InnovationSpace, a dedicated show floor pavilion.

Prize money of up to USD 10,000 in the form of seed funding will be awarded to implement and bring to scale winning start-ups. The competition will comprise a number of different challenges, the first of which focuses on local digital content.

The deadline for initial submissions is 30 May 2014, 24:00 GMT +2.
Visit https://ideas.itu.int/ for more information on the challenge and to apply or comment on submissions. You can also visit the Young Innovators’ Facebook page or contact us directly at young.innovators@itu.int.

ITU Telecom World 2014 will take place from 7-10 December 2014 in Doha, Qatar. For more information on how you can be a part of this key event, visit http://telecomworld.itu.int/

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:51:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Qatar Friendship Fund ((QFF)) Tunisia, Tunisiana (part of Ooredoo) and Microsoft have announced the launch of Intilaq, a USD18mn incubation programme, to enable young entrepreneurs in Tunisia to launch ICT-related start-ups.

Intilaq is the next stage in the evolution of the Startup Factory, Tunisia’s first end-to-end support programme for start-ups launched by Tunisiana in 2012. Now, with the support of the QFF and Microsoft, the initiative is being expanded to support a comprehensive incubation programme as well as a coaching and nationwide knowledge-sharing approach, with a particular focus on encouraging young people to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions in the ICT sector.

Youth unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) averages around 27%, with Tunisia seeing unemployment rates of 40% for university graduates and 24% for non-graduates. Ooredoo and its companies across the world are taking a multi-faceted approach to this issue, working with respected national and international partners to support entrepreneurship, employment and education programmes.

The launch of Intilaq is the latest in a series of significant initiatives to enable young people to learn more about starting their own business and provide them with knowledge and financial resources to launch and manage a start-up.

Speaking at the launch event, Abdullah Nassir al-Homidi, Qatar’s ambassador in Tunisia and president of the QFF, said: “The Qatar Friendship Fund strives to give a significant boost to the youth, giving them support and accompanying them step by step into their projects. We hope to have a direct impact on those who will build Tunisia’s tomorrow and therefore enhance its economy in the long term”.

Kenneth Campbell, general manager of Tunisiana, said: “This initiative will have a significant impact as it will establish a unique economic platform for start-ups, enabling the development of the sector. Last year, Startup Factory was a resounding success that discovered significant untapped potential, and today we move into higher gear with larger ambitions”.

Mohamed Bridaa, general manager of Microsoft in Tunisia, said: “Intilaq is a first in Tunisia. It is a pioneering project that works to promote, develop and strengthen the capacity of Tunisian youth to propel innovation and creativity. In this sense, Microsoft will share its expertise notably in the field of information technology”.
Intilaq will also work as an incubator for international enterprises, adding a new dimension to incubation programmes for the region.

(source: Gulf Times)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:20:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |