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 Tuesday, March 24, 2015



“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)  #     | 

“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)  #     | 
 Monday, March 16, 2015


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: WIRED.co.uk.)

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

“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)  #     | 


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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:03:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 05, 2015

“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)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: CIO East Africa)

Thursday, March 05, 2015 10:38:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 19, 2015

“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)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 12, 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source:  Biztech Africa)

Thursday, February 12, 2015 4:52:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
“Massify Internet to generate equity, promote peace and Internet to improve education were some of the topics discussed during the meeting between President Santos and Mark Zuckeberg, CEO of Facebook.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: MINTIC)

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


“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 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)  #     | 
 Monday, December 15, 2014
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)  #     | 
 Friday, November 07, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: The Guardian)

Monday, November 03, 2014 11:00:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 21, 2014
“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)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 16, 2014


"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)  #     | 
 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)  #     | 

"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


“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)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 16, 2014


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


In order to tackle the lack of locally relevant content and improve the quality of education in rural areas of Peru, the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) has designed an integrated solution that turns largely unused laptops into digital offline libraries.

Student reading performance in Peru ranked last in the 2012 OECD PISA test, and rural education suffers considerably from a lack of culturally and linguistically contextualized learning materials and expertise. These digital offline libraries contain user-generated content in local languages and reflect the culture of Peru’s indigenous communities.

For the last 17 years, IICD has been using existing ICT in innovative ways to solve day-to-day problems faced by local communities. Although nearly five million Peruvians speak Quechua, Peru’s national curriculum is still mostly in Spanish. Spanish-speaking Peruvians are seven times more likely to achieve satisfactory scores on literacy and numeracy tests than Quechua speakers. The situation is much worse in disconnected rural schools. Peru’s most remote areas in the Andes suffer from poor infrastructure, a serious shortage of qualified teachers, lack of Internet connectivity and lack of relevant educational material.

As part of an effort to improve Peruvian education in general, the One Laptop per Child programme (OLPC) has already provided eight hundred thousand XO laptops for educational use, but due to lack of training and Internet connectivity, these laptops have gone largely unused. With suited pedagogical approaches and access to the right kinds of learning materials and expertise, these computers can be powerful tools for education. They offer students access to stimulating materials, like videos in their own language, and allow teachers to offer and create culturally relevant content and examples. The availability of educational material contextualized to indigenous cultures and traditional knowledge not only increases the development of students’ literacy skills, but also aids in the preservation of local identities.

(Source: IICD)

Monday, September 01, 2014 10:47:03 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)  #     | 
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)  #     | 
 Monday, August 11, 2014


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)  #     | 


On the 22nd July 2014, Camara attended the official opening of its first solar-powered computer lab in Gros Morne, Haiti. As part of Camara’s ongoing partnership with University College Dublin Volunteers Overseas (UCDVO), it is intended that this facility will become the first of many new e-Learning centres to be integrated into the region. This unveiling is the result of a Memorandum of Association signed over two months ago in University College Dublin by Maureen O’Donnell, Camara’s European and Caribbean Service Manager, and Caroline O’Connor, a representative of UCDVO. The memorandum outlined a plan to introduce a sophisticated solar-powered computer lab with an accompanying teacher training programme to the area; a plan that has now come to fruition.

Camara successfully installed twenty refurbished computers, while also providing a rudimentary training course for the teachers involved. UCDVO have shown their support by administering continuous, valuable teacher training to staff for the duration of their stay. In the coming weeks, Camara will begin work on a specialized training manual for teachers. It will be bilingual: available in  both French and Haitian Creole. Camara hopes this will continue to support staff and schools in the region.

This venture has been part of a collaboration between the two organizations that has been ongoing since 2009. An inaugural project in Morogoro, Tanzania was expanded to incorporate multiple schools and an extensive computer training programme.

UCDVO are already involved in many development projects in the greater Gros Morne area, and Camara are thrilled to have launched this new project in partnership with them. The installation of this solar-powered computer lab is an exciting new opportunity, allowing them to focus on one of the central issues impeding access to ICT in Haiti – that of electricity. Electricity is something of an exclusive resource in Haiti; it is quite expensive and generally unavailable outside of urbanized areas. Solar power offers an elegant, practical and renewable alternative.

(Source: Camara)

Monday, August 11, 2014 9:20:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 04, 2014


The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has announced a strategic partnership with the private sector to deliver e-learning programmes in Kenya to thousands of marginalized girls.

Project iMlango is an e-learning partnership, led by satellite operator Avanti Communications and its partners: the smartcard and digital payments system provider, sQuid; online maths tutoring provider, Whizz Education; and technology NGO, Camara Education. The integrated programme aims to improve learning outcomes for 25,675 marginalied girls, across 195 Kenyan primary schools.

Project iMlango addresses the cultural and financial issues that can lead to reduced school attendance and drop outs, with electronic attendance monitoring and conditional payments to families. At the programme’s core sits an internet learning platform, accessed via satellite broadband connectivity, where partners provide students with interactive, individualized learning tools.

According to the project lead, Project iMlango delivers:

- High-speed satellite broadband connectivity to schools;
- Personalized maths tuition with a virtual online tutor, alongside digital learning content for maths, literacy and life skills;
- Tuition and support to teachers to use ICT in their teaching;
- Electronic attendance monitoring with conditional payments – to incentivise families to send their daughters to school – for use with local merchants;
- In-field capacity in IT, technology and support resources;
Real-time project monitoring and measurement;

(Source: IT News Africa)

Monday, August 04, 2014 9:24:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Ghana will soon benefit from an innovative project from Samsung in which shipping containers repurposed into solar-powered classrooms will provide students in the most remote parts of Africa access to education and innovation.

Samsung's Solar-Powered Internet Schools Initiative is part of Samsung’s Citizenship program and it will bring mobile classrooms filled with gadgets to rural towns.

By outfitting a mobile shipping container with desks, a 65-inch electronic board, Internet-enabled solar-powered notebooks, Samsung Galaxy tablet computers and Wi-Fi cameras, children can receive a technology-rich education without traveling far away.

Each 12-meter portable classroom has space for up to 24 students to learn how to use computers and how to surf the Internet, many for the first time. The schools are specifically designed for African conditions, and can withstand energy-scarce environments, harsh weather conditions and transportation over long distances.

Fold-away solar panels provide enough energy to power the classrooms’ equipment for up to nine hours a day, and for one-and-a-half days without any sunlight. The solar panels are made from rubber, rather than glass, ensuring they are hardy and durable enough to survive long journeys across the continent.

Samsung is working with the Government of Ghana and the Ministry of Education, local educators, content developers, school administration and management to integrate the Internet Schools into local communities in Ghana by the end of July.

(More details)

Monday, August 04, 2014 9:12:00 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)  #     | 
 Monday, July 21, 2014


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)  #     | 


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)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 09, 2014
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)  #     | 


TOT has been expanding and developing its ‘Telephone for the deaf’ service to address the important need for personal communication tools for hearing impaired individuals, especially in situations where help is needed. There are now 500 telephone booths with the service installed nationwide, including 150 located in Bangkok.

To use the device, callers should go to a TOT public telephone that has an additional keyboard attached. Pick up the phone, insert a TOT public phone card and dial the designated number. The person at the destination must be using either a mobile phone or have a special phone provided by the TOT with a keyboard attached. Then, unlimited text can be sent at a cost of only 3 Baht per call. Once the caller is done he/she  just hangs up and removes the card.

TOT hopes that this service will facilitate hearing disabled individuals in being able to communicate through service equipped public and home phones. The language of the text message can be switched between Thai and English.

For more information the public can contact the TOT Innovation Institute by dialing the TOT hotline 1100, or access www.tot.co.th

(Source: National News Bureau & Public Relations)

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 12:46:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 19, 2014
Ghana's Open Learning Exchange (OLE) is introducing innovative teaching and learning models which involve the use of affordable technology tools to make learning more pleasurable, and improve universal literacy. Local experts and politicians believe technology is the ultimate solution to alleviate the country's low literacy levels. Last year, former finance minister Dr. Kwesi Botchwey called on students to take advantage of technology to enhance their knowledge.

According to BizTech Africa, these tools include the Raspberry Pi server, which houses the OLE's Basic eLearning Library (BeLL).  A Raspberry Pi is a small computer that uses an ARM 11 processor running at 700MHz with 512MB RAM. It uses much less power than a PC, and takes up much less space. 

OLE said the BeLL system, which is powered by the Raspberry Pi, is designed to work on or off both the electric grid andthe Internet. This ensures that the most marginalised students in resource-limited areas have access to high quality learning resources. OLE said the Ghana National BeLL network will be used to update each of the School BeLLs periodically with new resources.

A feedback functionality worked into the BeLL system will then send usage data (such as pupils‘ and teachers‘ comments and ratings of the effectiveness of the resources) to the Ghana BeLL, which would make such data available to educational authorities, curriculum developers,and resource developers, among others.

This, OLE said, will provide unprecedented, rich data that can help improve the effectiveness of the learning materials and strategies to achieve universal child literacy.

Most of Ghana's Grade 6 schoolchildren still cannot read or write properly even after five years of primary education. The majority of Ghanaian adults' handwriting is almost unreadable and their reading skills in English are also often very poor. It is this alarming situation that prompted OLE Ghana to team up with World Vision Ghana to launch the Ghana Reads project.

OLE Ghana director Kofi Essien told the press that the Ghana Reads project, currently being piloted in 28 schools, provides low-cost tablets and hand-held technologies to school children. This project is backed by effective pedagogical and teacher support strategies to increase access to high quality, interactive learning resources in the classroom.
                                                                                                                                                                   
 (Source: OAfrica )

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:38:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, June 14, 2014
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)  #     | 


A centre to train the youth in Information Communications Technology (ICT) has been officially opened in Koforidua, the Eastern regional capital.

The innovation centre which is a Government of Ghana-world Bank collaboration provides users with Internet, area for the assembling of hardware, software programmes, audio visual equipments to allow users interact with the world, a seminar room, among others.

The facility, which will be replicated in the remaining nine regional capitals, is also aimed at creating job opportunities for the youth.

Communications Minister, Dr.Edward Omane Boamah, who officially opened the centre said "all these innovation centres across the regional capitals will be linked up through the power of the internet and to the BPO centre at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle''.

The minister noted that the establishment of the innovation centre will enable business process outsourcing activities take place in all the regional capitals.

''The centre will help business outsourcing which hitherto happened only in Accra extended to the other regions'', he said.

In addition to the innovation centres, Dr.Omane Boamah stated that government is establishing twenty-one Community Information Centres (CIC) to add up to the eighteen it established last year.

"The CICs are a bit different from the regional innovation centres. It is a strategy to help diffuse ICT's to every nook and cranny of the country to engage our youth in a much more healthy way than what we have seen in the past and also give them decent Jobs through [provision of] appropriate skills in ICT'', he explained.

(More Information)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:27:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 06, 2014


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)  #     | 

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)  #     | 

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)  #     | 


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)  #     | 


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)  #     | 


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)  #     | 
 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)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 22, 2014
- 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)  #     | 


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)  #     | 
An ambitious project by Botswana’s Ministry of Labour through the National Internship, donor agencies and leading NGOs has seen the creation of a youth friendly portal to promote job creation in the country. According to the developers, “this is a platform with a job search function, youth mentoring and social and professional networking”, a source added.

Speaking during the stakeholders’ engagement session, the Botswana Innovation Hub CEO Allan Boshwaen said the youths in the country now have something to smile about. “A portal has been developed to support this program in partnership with Microsoft through the MIC initiative, with this portal we aim to aggregate all empowerment or employability initiatives or opportunities that are available for the youth and recent graduates, and provide them a one stop shop where they can access and explore opportunities that exist in the country”.

He added that a list of avenues to take the portal to the people was being explored. “After this stakeholder sensitisation session we plan to do a road show targeting the beneficiaries of this program being youth, recent graduates, SME or start-ups and other marginalized communities such as women, rural communities.

Stakeholders say the program will provide a full ecosystem to support workforce development across Botswana for job or talent research and professional skill enhancement.

“This is key to creating job opportunities and building businesses. This will help raise the countries competitiveness by developing world class workforce skills,’ noted one commentator.

“The world is becoming more and faster paced and Botswana should do more to keep up with this development”, commented Michael Murphy, Chargé d’Affairs US Embassy in Gaborone during the session.

Djam Bhakshandegi, the Director Public Affairs and Citizenship at Microsoft said her organisation was instrumental in facilitating the growth of ICT awareness on the continent. During an interview with Biztechafrica, she said ICT in Africa was growing exponentially especially among the youth, who she said were becoming more and more tech savvy.

“As Microsoft have invested a lot of time and expertise so that the greatest number of people in Africa have access to ICTs, and in this regard, millions of people have been impacted. In order to do this we are working with other companies so that those that don’t have access to technology will get it”, she assured.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:16:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The use of computers, mobile phones and other ICTs in community banking can assist microfinance institutions and credit officers in managing and recording loan payments, savings deposits and improving bookkeeping accuracy. But the potential of ICT solutions to improve the lives of rural women in Peru goes beyond giving them access to loans.

ICT-enabled solutions can assist microfinance institutions and community banks to set up skill training and adult education programmes that best address their need to train and advise their clients, not only to increase their chances of managing profitable businesses but also to improve their quality of life.

In Peru, the Connect4Change consortium led by IICD has developed together with PROMUC and Text to Change, an integral ICT-enabled solution that in 2013 serviced 21,000 women and aims to reach out to 160,000. Since most of the impoverished women benefitted by group-lending live in rural or semi-urban areas, they need training to learn the basics of financial services. The Connect4Change capacity development programme includes sessions about best practices in small business management, business plan development, insurances and over-indebtedness.

The ICT-supported community banking project uses mobile phones to send information about group meetings, financial products, credits, interest rates, late payments and loan payment reminders. Iin additions, they also receive information about best practices in managing funds and working capital to start off their own businesses.

Further details

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:09:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



SK Telecom announced on April 17 that they have developed a smartphone-based digital image management service which will allow videos to be transmitted digitally to counselors, who will help people with visual disabilities through  telecommunication with  live video footage.

The image management service will be comprised of wearable cameras, smartphone applications, a video management system and client program that feeds video  to the consultant’s personal computer or mobile device.

The wearable camera, which can be conveniently hung around an ear to provide broadened range of vision, will act as eyes for people with visual disabilities by recording high-definition video which is transmitted to a smartphone and then to a personal computer or a mobile device of the counselor who receives the live images on the video management software through SK Telecom’s LTE network.

The camera is also designed to be accessible for people with visual disabilities, meaning it will start automatically when powered. With the technology counselors at their desk will be able to help people with visual disabilities to cross the street or alert them to  obstructions, bus arrivals and so on. Also, the high-resolution images will enable counselors to check expiration dates on a milk carton or receipts, or read mails for them.

The service is expected to create job opportunities as well since counselors will be able to work from their homes, including employment for persons with disabilities who are sighted. SK Telecom will test the service for two months  and provide the service during the latter half of this year.

SK Telecom  will also help the disabled by contributing Internet-of-things network lines to an emergency safety service, administered by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, to about 2,000 households with severely-disabled members. It offers various services such as rescuing and emergency medical treatments in critical situations using sensors and Internet-of-things infrastructure.

An official at SK Telecom said, “We expect to help those with various disabilities and create job opportunities using information and communications technology. We truly believe that the technology that we have can contribute in building a better world, and look to expand the services to do so”.

(Source: GAATES)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 8:57:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 01, 2014
The Conference provided opinion-leaders and decision-makers worldwide with a sense of outstanding best-practices on accessibility – the Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies as selected by the Zero Project network of hundreds of experts – and their potential to make the world more accessible.

Let’s continue…
To jointly continue the good work, let us take this opportunity to encourage you to make use of the Zero Project Website where you can find a lot of additional information from the Conference on accessibility: All presentations are online and free to download. Also a lot of pictures from the Conference can be found here.

But there is a lot more on the website. All selected 54 Innovative Practices and 15 Innovative Policies 2014 on accessibility have been uploaded barrier-free to the website and can be fully searched by keywords, countries or tags. In addition to that, all shortlisted Practices that did not make it into the final selection have been researched by students team from Fachhochschule St. Pölten and are now online and fully searchable – another interesting set of more than 70 best-practices on accessibility worldwide!
And there is still more…

Find the full Zero Project Report 2014 and the Zero Project Worldmaps ready for download, as well as all 32 social indicators that measure the implementation of the UN CRPD in 130 countries. “Drill down” the data on the online map and find also all comments made by experts, and use Google Translate to translate it into your language. And you can download all the social indicators “raw data” as open source to start your own research. Please feel free to contribute to the research and include your own answers and spread the word to others that may want to fill in the questionnaires!

Watch here the Zero Project Video

(Source: Zero Project Website)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 12:21:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Get Online Week‘ has been launched in Egypt and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for the first time to empower and encourage the use of technology, raise awareness on the benefits of ICT and to promote the role of e-skills in the daily lives of every day people.

‘Get Online Week’ is a European digital empowerment campaign launched in Egypt by the United Nations Development Program (Egypt), the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology through its ICT Trust Fund, Microsoft Egypt and Telecentre Europe and Telecentre Foundation.

The theme for the campaign in the region is employment, digital jobs, social innovation and entrepreneurship for youth. UNDP in Egypt, and other GOW partners, engaged young innovators, entrepreneurs, public institutions, civil society and the private sector in a variety of diverse online and offline activities during the entire week.

On the 21st of March to the 22nd of March, computer science students from nationwide universities participated in a mobile application development marathon. For two days, participants worked on developing and prototyping their own mobile applications that tackled one of the following issues: Women Empowerment, Child Protection and Environment.

Throughout the week, a series of webinars on topics related to innovation and entrepreneurship were live streamed online by different Egyptian innovators. The audiences were able to watch and engage with the presenters in real time.

Furthermore, on Wednesday the 26th of March, a round table discussion on youth entrepreneurship and innovation was held at the UNDP Country Office in Cairo. Participants included representatives from Ashoka, Cairo Sitters, Egyptian Streets, Eventtus, Flat6labs Se3eedy Geeks, Supermama, Tawseela and Yomken.

 To learn more about Get Online Week check out http://getonlineweek-mena.com/ and www.facebook.com/getonlineweekMENA

Further details

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 12:02:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson weekend flagged-off the Digital Girls Club at the Federal Government Girls College, Bwari FCT . This was in continuation of the plan to have the club in I2 federal government girl's schools across the six geopolitical zones, in the country.

The Minister said the project was in recognition of the power and transformative potential of ICTs for development as the Ministry focuses on ensuring that Nigeria leverages the power of ICTs to bridge the digital divide between women and their male counterparts. She described the project as one of the ICT interventions of the Ministry of Communications Technology that will empower Nigerian girls and encourage them to embrace careers in ICTs.

For her, "ICT has 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. It also plays a crucial role in the socio-economic empowerment and development of communities and nations across the globe. She also described ICT as the bedrock of development, adding that "leveraging on this critical tool not only helps us create wealth and jobs, but it also enables development at all levels- health, agriculture, education, among others".

The minister said that president Goodluck Jonathan in a bid to empower women and girls in Nigeria, had created a gender empowerment scheme titled Girls and Women in Nigeria (G-WIN) and urged women to embrace ICT and bridge the digital divide.

She explained that the Digital Girls Clubs will teach the girls ICT skills and increase their knowledge of technology necessary for empowerment.

The clubs is being set up in twelve public schools that already have computer labs with internet access in the six geo-political zones of the country. Johnson noted that a curriculum to transform and positively impact on the girls has been developed to teach the girls relevant technology skills that will transform their lives.

A portal www.digitalgirls.org.ng has been created to act as a key tool to also stimulate and empower the girls to embrace and adopt ICTs.

According to the Minister, 1200 girls from the 12 pilot federal government schools will be impacted upon in the first instance and the Clubs will be set up across all the Federal Government colleges in all the states of the federation six months after the pilot test in the selected 12 schools.

The Clubs will be manned by professionals who will play a key role in stimulating the interest of the girls. Periodically mentors will be invited to give inspiring talks and participate in various ICT related activities that will interest the girls.

Current statistics in Nigeria reveals that Nigerian women make up 50 per cent of the population but hold less than 20 per cent of ICT jobs in the country. Also only about 33 per cent of women are online in Nigeria.

Further details

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 11:35:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 24, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further details

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


The Ministry of Information Communication Technology (ICT), Postal and Courier Services is organising the e-TECH AFRICA 2014 EXPO conference and exhibition scheduled for 11 – 14 March 2014 in collaboration with its strategic partners.

The theme for this year is “Promoting Competitiveness and Sustainable Growth Through ICTs”.

The conference will run parallel to the exhibition. The event is expected to bring a wide range of ideas, opinions, perspectives, research findings and expertise to expand knowledge frontiers for sustainable growth and development through ICTs. The event is also expected to draw people from the ICT Industry, civil society, academia and government to a discussion platform for national development. The e-TECH Africa 2014 Conference and exhibitions will provide a platform for creating awareness about the opportunities, challenges and benefits derived from the adoption of ICTs in Africa as well as initiate practical measures needed to extend the ICT reach.

The exhibitions and conference will also explore the enabling role of ICTs in the development of African countries.

Objectives of the conference
The general objective of the e-TECH Africa Conference is to arouse the interest of the Zimbabwean population in the use of ICTs for a successful transformation of Africa from an agricultural society to a knowledge society. In line with the African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE), the Conference is expected to:

a. Promote the right of all to have equal access to ICT value added services and to experience the advantages of using technological services
b. Develop, maintain and stimulate people’s curiosity, interest and enjoyment in ICTs
c. Promote the acquisition of appropriate technological skills, concepts, principles, methods and vocabulary
d. Leverage ICTs as a tool for socio- economic development especially in developing countries.
e. Attract more and new investments in the ICT sector
f. Bridge the digital divide.
g. Promote business linkages and partnerships.

The thrust of the conference is therefore to explore how ICTs can accelerate Africa’s developmental agenda and in the process transform Zimbabwe into a knowledge based society.

Conference Agenda
The conference will be characterised by key presentations followed by panel debates that will discuss how ICTs can be exploited to support sustainable economic development. Presentations and panel debates will focus on what can be done to sustain or speed up the developmental pace and close the ICT gap still exists particularly at national level and in Africa. It is therefore expected that key presentations will be made in and around the following areas:

• Building a Knowledge and Information Society
• Research and development in ICT’s
• ICT’s in Health and Agriculture
• ICT’s in Tourism and Entertainment
• Building a vibrant ICT industry
• The need for a well regulated ICT environment
• Bridging the digital divide
• The potential of ICT’s for sustainable growth
• Cyber Security & Cyber Ethics
• ICTs for Poverty Alleviation and Community Development
• Impact of e-Government on National Development
• E-learning for a developing economy
• Green Computing
• Cloud Computing

For more information please visit http://www.etechafrica.co.zw/ or email:  gchingonzo@ictministry.gov.zw or bmhonderwa@ictministry.gov.zw

(Source: TechZim)

Monday, March 24, 2014 5:55:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Nancy Sibo has been nominated Ms Geek 2014 for her mobile cow application project on Saturday, coinciding with International Women's Day. Ms Geek, which reards ICT projects by women, was organized for the first time in Rwanda.

Nancy Sibo, a student in the Agriculture Engineering faculty at the University of Rwanda Huye campus presented her application called Mobile Cow, an app that could be tied in the government's Gira Inka program to allow farmers monitor the oestrus cycles of cows.

She was chosen among 25 applications of women's initiatives from various higher learning institutes and universities in Rwanda. The second prize winner was Christine Bayizere, a student in Electronics and Electricity Engineering. Her project is a Wireless Black Box that to monitor vehicles and send alerts in case of an accident.

Josephine Tujyimbere came third with the Class Attendance Management System which uses fingerprint recognition to monitor students' progress. Chantal Mukundwa, a Computer Engineering & Information Technology student explained her proposed software, called the Nearby Item Locator System, which is both a web and a mobile application, that allows users to search for items they wish to buy, and receive a list of the nearest shops with those items in stock. She scooped the people's choice award from online voting.

The fifth was Eline Nyirangirimana, an ICT student who developed the Online Driving License Examination System that allows users to save time by taking their driving tests online. According to Akaliza Gara, a member of Girls in ICT, Ms Geek is an opportunity to celebrate the women in ICT and inspire other women to join the sector.

"There is nothing specifically male about ICT, it's something that both men and women can embrace and use to make the most of their career", she said.

Minister of Youth and ICT Jean Philbert Nsengimana indicated that the government through the Smart Rwanda program supports girls in ICT to contribute to the country towards its vision. He pointed out that while women have been economically, socially and politically empowered, the number of women in science and technology is still low. While 64% of the members of the chamber of deputies in Parliament are women, they only represent 16.5% in TVET.

Minister Nsengimana called on women to embrace science, mathematics, engineering and technology. "You are a generation that is going to transform this country and the continent", Nsengimana said.

Giovani Ntabgoba, the director of KLab in Kigali, promised the finalists a working place and mentorship to improve their projects in a suitable business orientation.

(Source: All Africa)

Monday, March 24, 2014 5:39:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The winners are iQube Labs, Health Central and Health IT. PHN also gave cash prizes to the three winning teams.

The landmark healthcare hackathon saw teams of tech entrepreneurs participate in the day long hackathon where PHN provided representative healthcare datasets that included facility level, household and programmatic data points for the leading causes of mortality, including malnutrition and malaria.

In addition, locations of primary healthcare centers and referral hospitals in all 36+1 states in the country were unveiled with state level human resource for health data and other socio-economic indicators.

Aliko Dangote, founding patron, PHN, meeting the winner of the healthcare hackathon, iQube Labs, said that “as part of the innovation pillar of the Alliance, we recently launched the Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace (NHIM), an intervention aimed at providing a convergence platform for identifying and incubating innovative health products, technologies and approaches.

He said this is in a bid to provide market linkages to enable promising health innovations such as iQube Labs achieve scale and impact on the nation’s effort in meeting Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 4, 5 and 6’.

iQube Labs used PHN healthcare datasets to develop an innovative mobile health solution to address supply chain challenges for essential health commodities and incorporated GIS/crowd sourcing layers to potentially estimate alternative routes to support the distribution and management of drugs in crises prone states.

Health Central showcased an integrated predictive service delivery tool while Health IT provided access and info about health infrastructure and human resources for health mapping to empower patients.

Jim Ovia, co-chair of PHN, congratulated the winners, stating that the NHIM comprises 3 core elements: virtual health innovation portal, health innovation hub/incubator and health innovation challenges/hackathons.

During the landmark hackathon, Muntaqa Umar-sadiq, the CEO of the Private Sector Health Alliance, in his remarks, stated that “it is humbling to see an army of computer programmers and tech entrepreneurs develop mobile and ICT solutions that will empower the true heroines of the Saving One Million Lives Movement: the thousands of midwives, female community and village health workers, working in many rural areas across the country to save the lives of women, newborns and children”.

Umar-sadiq said that PHN has engaged different segments of its private sector members to co-develop and unveil innovative partnership projects to contribute to the Saving One Million Lives Movement.

The private sector members, according to him, are telecommunication members, financial institution members, pharma/FMCGs members, healthcare providers, amongst others.

Kelechi Ohiri, the technical lead of the Saving One Million Lives Initiative and special adviser to the minister of health, added that “with access to data and capital, we believe that the tech community can play an important role in creating the enabling environment to accelerate progress in saving at least one million lives by 2015.”

(Source: Business Day News)

Monday, March 24, 2014 5:27:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Nairobi County Government has partnered with Internet Service Provider Wananchi Group to provide free Internet to schools in the city.

The pilot programme which begins immediately will cost the ISP Sh125 million to connect 240 schools to the World Wide Web.

Nairobi County Executive in Charge of Education Christopher Khaemba said on Tuesday that the initiative was expected to encourage e-learning in schools in line with the free laptops programme by the national government.

“Because the majority of school-going children are in the slums, this will also help us to structure those informal schools so that they are properly registered; they are subject to quality assurance inspections and so on. So this partnership with Wananchi is going to impact us in so many ways”, he said.

He underscored the importance of the project saying that it will open up opportunities for children especially in slum areas.

He however stressed the importance of teachers to take full advantage of the programme. “For the schools, there is need to inculcate values in students. There needs to be particular focus on empowering teachers so that they can teach the children to make good decisions so they may be able to use the internet in a safe way”, he said.
He further indicated that the County Government will be embarking on a major project seeking to develop infrastructure in all public schools within Nairobi.

“We are embarking on a massive infrastructural development and we are inviting partners to bring in their resources so that they may benefit children from Nairobi and by extension the whole country”, he stated.

Wananchi non-executive board member Richard Bell indicated that the Internet programme is set to be expanded to benefit about 2,000 schools in the County once the pilot phase is completed.

“After we have connected those schools, then we will gather some data and then do a full rollout of the project where we will end up connecting in excess of 2,000 schools throughout Nairobi. Although the County Schools will take preference as we are rolling out, the intention is to connect all schools including private schools”, he said. “This is a massive increase to the schools connected to the Internet. Our role is to provide the fibre from the schools. This is global best practice; it is done like this all over the world. We are glad that Nairobi will be the first County to benefit from such a program”.

Further details

Monday, March 24, 2014 5:17:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Kenya’s private schools, in conjunction with technology companies Microsoft, Intel, Safaricom and Mitsumi, have partnered to take affordable gadgets and learning solutions to all private schools across the country.

In the collaboration, Intel East Africa will provide training programs and material, Safaricom Limited will provide the data plan, Equity Bank will be the finance partner and Mitsumi Computer Garage will offer devices.

According to Peter Ndoro, CEO Kenya Private Schools Alliance, schools laptops worth between sh30,000 and sh55,000 bundled with relevant content and e-learning materials will be offered to learners in private schools.

¨We intend to train at least three teachers in all private schools on the use of the gadgets and the e-curriculum by the end of the year… we already have 32 trainer of trainers but we intend to increase that number to 102 so that we can train all the targeted private schools teacher before end of the year¨, said Mr. Ndoro.
There are about 3400 private schools in Kenya.

The alliance aims to ensure all private schools have provisions for cheaper laptops and relevant digital curriculum for learners before end of this year.

In the agreement, every Intel device purchased will come pre-loaded with approved Intel Explore and Learn, a one-stop shop for digital education content.

Specifically tailored finance options will also be provided through loans from Kenya’s Equity Bank and M-Changa, a mobile money-based way to contribute towards the purchase of devices. Special data packages from Safaricom will also be provided, consisting of 5 gigabyte and 10 gigabyte bundles.

“Through this platform, learners can easily access a wide variety of content including text books, set books, revision books, interactive past exam papers, rich multimedia (audio, video and animations)”, said Alex Twinomugisha – Business Development Manager, Intel Corporate East Africa.

“Teachers need proper training and the curriculum needs tweaking to fit the new era of technology in classrooms”, said Twimomugisha. There are over 60 in-built science experiments pre-loaded in the gadgets to be distributed by Mitsuni Computer Garage.

The gadgets, which private schools are expected to buy through a financial plan with Equity bank ranges from the very basic to the advanced depending on learners’ needs.

Better still the laptops, especially those targeting junior learners come bundled with a classroom management system to monitor students’ activity. The laptops for the small children are break-proof to withstand rough handling. The gadgets will also be fitted a theft deterrent software meaning if they are stolen or smuggled out of school they can be remotely locked and rendered unusable.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Monday, March 24, 2014 5:12:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Whether it's learning how to read and write or setting up your own farm, a Zambian computer tablet -- known as the ZEduPad -- is trying to open up the country's information highway.

The brain child of British tech entrepreneur Mark Bennett, the ZEduPad principally teaches users basic numeracy and literacy skills, aimed at primary school children. "It became clear that there was a huge need for this kind of technology", Bennett said, "particularly tablet technology, which has come a long way in Africa in recent years".

After arriving in Zambia 30 years ago under the British Aid Program, Bennett worked in the computer department at the country's national university for over a decade before deciding to go it alone.

We can really do something very major for the first time", he said. "We've invested about $5 million to date... It's totally all-encompassing and quite prescriptive so we are aiming at being able to get to an untrained teacher in a deep rural area in the African bush".

The ZEduPad is programmed in eight different languages native to Zambia with over 12,000 preloaded classes and lesson plans for untrained teachers in rural areas, according to Bennett.

Approved by the Zambian Ministry of Education, the educational tablet allows children to create a personal profile on its seven-inch screen to keep track of their progress as well as exposing them to e-mail and Wikipedia.

Bennett said the ZEduPad is set up to teach grades one to seven through interactive learning in every subject from math to PE, art and music. The technology comes at a time when Zambia's educational system is undergoing sweeping changes. Since 2001, the government has increased primary school enrollment rates by 90%. As a result, the World Bank has identified the landlocked southern African nation as having one of the most improved primary school education systems in the developing world.

Bennett added: "For years there was a problem with funding, education was not keeping up with population growth. Young people coming out of school and not being well suited or prepared to enter the job market.... We're trying to change that".

The ZEduPad gives children a grasp of vital technology skills in a landlocked country where broadband is scarce and only 18% of the nation's 14 million people have access to electricity, according to the World Bank.

In addition to following the national curriculum, the tablet also contains farming and health information designed for adults to help prevent the spread of killer diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.

(Source: CNN)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 2:42:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, 8 March, UNESCO joins forces with international and regional partners to launch the annual Women Make the News (WMN) initiative. This year’s WMN theme is “Advancing Global Partnerships to Achieving Gender Equality in and through Media.” It is closely linked to the International Women’s Day global theme, “Equality for women is progress for all”.

Research has shown that, on average, only 24% of people questioned, seen, heard or read about in the media are women. Only one quarter of board members governing media organizations are women. The media, as champions of freedom of expression and with their function to promote diversity, should treat this imbalance as a threat to the free expression of half the world’s population. Getting more women in the news needs to be a consistent commitment to achieve evolutionary change.
We are calling on our media partners to commit to ensuring that 30% of all experts interviewed in the news are women as a step towards achieving gender equality in editorial content.

Half the world’s population implies fifty percent of the viewership, listenership and readership of the world’s media. Responding to them is a sure business and development model. It is sure progress for media development and indeed sure progress for all. 

Likewise, UNESCO is inviting editors-in-chief of newspapers, radio, television online and offline to join this initiative, and to entrust women journalists and reporters with editorial responsibility for the newsroom on International Women’s Day or during the WMN initiative.

The WMN 2014 theme this year is connected to the success of the groundbreaking Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG) which was launched during the first Global Forum on Media and Gender which took place in Bangkok, Thailand, from 2 to 4 of December 2013. Through GAMAG, constructive dialogue between media partners and civil society will be strengthened, and all stakeholders can collectively work to give momentum to women's access to expression and decision-making by promoting a gender-inclusive media and communication environment.

Gender equality in all levels of decision making in media and in content involves all and has many dimensions as described in the UNESCO Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media resource. The media civil society, governments, private sector and development organizations can contribute. GAMAG and the WMN 2014 initiative unite all stakeholders to take action. Click here to view WMN website and see more about how you can get involved. Commit to this initiative and help to spread the word.

(Source: UNESCO)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 1:27:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 05, 2014



This study aims to provide a greater awareness and contribute to a greater awareness of society about the possibilities offered by ICTs for persons with visual, hearing and mobility disabilities, to improve their welfare and employment opportunities.

It delves into the facilities and difficulties to access and use three types of specific technologies: the mobile phone, Internet (including social networking and e-government) and the computer.

The core of the study is based on the exploitation of EPDFVE Survey 2013, for persons with visual, hearing and mobility disabilities between 18 and 64 years old living in Spain, designed specifically to know, from experience and perception of disabled people themselves, how they can access and use the various technologies listed. Also, we want to know what aspects of ICT are more useful to enhance their daily life, what are the limitations that these groups have to take advantage of its benefits and what demands and proposals make us to improve their access and use thereof.

The analysis of data from the 2013 Survey EPDFVE allows to answer various questions raised with regard to people with disabilities and the role of ICT in their daily lives.

Here is available for download, in PDF, a summary of the report with main conclusions. The full report (188 pages) must be requested by sending an email to infofve@corp.vodafone.es

Further details




Wednesday, March 05, 2014 7:04:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



Mobile phone applications unveiled this week aim to reduce the high number of young people who are not in schools in the Philippines by offering them new ways to engage in education.

The apps, which were presented this week at the Mobile World Congress (24-27 February) in Barcelona, Spain, include a portal to help those outside education find courses near them, an app to teach English to out-of-school teenagers through phone calls and another app to help teachers track the progress of students taking such courses.

In 2011, more than six million young people were outside the education system in the Philippines, according to the country’s National Statistics Office. The nation’s Department of Education aims to provide education to at least one million of them in 2014.

The government is confident it will meet this target partly through the use of mobile technology, Stephanie Velasco-Orlino, education programme manager at Filipino mobile operator Smart Communications, tells
SciDev.Net.

Mobile phones are widely used in the Philippines, with the population reported to send around two billion text messages a day, according to the
Philippines — Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts report published in June 2013 by telecommunications consultancy BuddeComm.

Overall, Asia’s mEducation market is projected to reach a value of US$6.8 billion by 2017, according to the GSMA, an association that represents mobile operators worldwide.

The three mobile applications unveiled this week are the result of a GSMA-facilitated partnership between the Philippines’ Department of Education and three telecommunications firms: Globe Telecom, Digital Mobile Philippines and Smart Communications.

“The mobile network operators in the country … are working to provide mobile education services to help the government to reach their goal faster”, says Velasco-Orlino.

Her company has just launched an online portal that allows young people who are not in school to find tailored training programmes.

Smart Communications also aims to build a database of its users so it can find out where these young people are located and tell them about courses that nearby education centres offer. This could help potential students find information on where to go to school, given a general lack of infrastructure and the destruction caused by typhoons.

The system is due to be available in the second quarter of 2014 both for smartphones with an internet connection and for older phones, through an interactive voice response (IVR) system.

(Source: SciDev.Net)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:58:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



Creating stronger connections between scientific research and teachers’ communities was the main objective of the EU project PATHWAY.

In collaboration with the UNESCO ASPnet schools of Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro and Serbia and the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), schools and teachers played a leading role in expanding students' experiences and their understanding of science.

With the purpose of promoting scientific culture and a better understanding the role of science and technology in schools and among young people in the South-East European (SEE) region and Europe, an online survey of ASPnet Schools was undertaken by the UNESCO Venice Office. Fifty three schools from 4 countries (Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro and Serbia) participated in the survey.

The response rate of all the schools (mainly from secondary and primary/elementary schools) was very high. The country that showed a major interest was Croatia with the highest number of filled forms. Half the schools chose one of the UNESCO ASPnet study topics for their school activities. The most popular topic among the schools was ‘Cultural Diversity, Peace and Human Rights’, although ‘Education for Sustainable Development and Cultural Heritage’ came immediately after.

The schools that responded to the survey also expressed interest in being part of the EU-Project PATHWAY and opening their schools to science and technology education. Bringing the students into close contact with science centers raise their interest and motivation to learn about science and be involved in scientific investigations. Hence, one of the ideas of PATHWAY was to connect schools with science centers and with scientific research in general, but also to focus on teachers' professional development in this field.

An objective of the project PATHWAY was to reinforce and strengthen networks and partnerships so they may play a significant role in promoting scientific culture in particular among young people. Students and teachers should be active in the process of creating and maintaining networks and partnerships.

The willingness of the UNESCO ASPnet Schools to collaborate offered a great potential for the further development and consolidation of the PATHWAY project.

(Source: UNESCO)


Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:55:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 




Facebook introduced SocialEDU, a pilot initiative that will provide students in Rwanda with free access to a collaborative online education experience. With SocialEDU, students in Rwanda will receive free data plans for accessing free edX MOOCs from some of the world’s leading universities.

Internet.org is about working together to remove barriers to access and give billions of people the power to connect to the knowledge economy,” said Javier Olivan, Vice President of Growth and Analytics at Facebook. “SocialEDU represents this kind of collaboration at its best”.

He noted that “We worked with the Rwandan government, a telecom company, a device manufacturer and an educational content provider to develop a plan to provide students with free, high-quality, localized educational content and create a social learning experience that is accessible via handheld devices. The initiative builds on the success of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) by making it possible to access high-quality educational content affordably”.

Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said, “The Government of Rwanda is excited to partner with Facebook to open up a world full of content and interaction to Rwandan students. The social education experience will accelerate innovation and propel Rwanda into a knowledge-based economy”.

He added that “We are committed to doing our part to make sure SocialEDU has the greatest possible impact in Rwanda. This is fully aligned with the Government’s Broadband for All policy and the Smart Kigali Initiative, a public-private partnership that provides free wi-fi in Kigali’s most popular squares, buses, hotels, and public buildings”.

At its core, SocialEDU addresses five critical barriers to access by bringing together: Free content, Free data, Affordable smartphones, Localized, social educational experience and a government that supports innovation.

In this program, edX (edx.org) will work with Facebook to create a social educational experience by building a mobile app that is integrated with Facebook. Airtel will provide free education data for everyone in Rwanda who participates in the program for one year, while Nokia will pitch in with affordable smartphones that will improve the quality and ease of Internet access.

The Government will also expand its Smart Kigali program to provide free wi-fi in campuses throughout the country, enabling students to access high-quality multimedia educational content. Furthermore, the Government will work with edX to adapt course materials for local students. Airtel will lead operations for the phone trade-in program.

Normally these types of apps consume a great deal of bandwidth to work properly. To ensure the success of the app in Rwanda, Facebook is providing engineering support to guarantee that the app creates a social experience that is optimized for a low-bandwidth environment.

Facebook will work closely with Ericsson to test the app’s functionality at Ericsson’s facility, which simulates a 2G environment to provide developers with immediate feedback on the app’s performance in alternative environments. Later this year, Facebook, in partnership with Ericsson, will launch a unique testing facility that simulates alternative environments for developers to use when creating apps for similar markets.

Airtel Africa’s CEO Christian de Faria said, “We are honored to participate in this noble initiative. Education is one of the key engines for economic and social growth across the continent, with Rwanda amongst Africa’s most respected countries for its outstanding development record. We will do everything possible to support this ongoing reform using Airtel’s technological capability in the data and mobile commerce environment, to facilitate Rwanda’s rapid progress”.

Nokia’s Executive Vice President for Mobile Phones, Timo Toikkanen said, “Our affordable smartphones help people make the transition from simple mobility to more sophisticated experiences. Playing a role in helping students get access to these experiences, such as social education, through the SocialEDU initiative is truly an honor”.

Improving global access to high-quality education has been a key edX goal from day one,” said Anant Agarwal, president of edX. “Nearly half of our 2 million students come from developing countries, with 10 percent from Africa. In partnering with Facebook on this innovative pilot, we hope to learn how we can take this concept to the world”.

With SocialEDU, students in Rwanda will receive free data plans for accessing free edX MOOCs from some of the world’s leading universities, including Harvard, MIT, U.C. Berkeley, TU Delft, Australian National University and ETH Zurich.

This platform will allow students to ask questions, engage with other students, interact with teachers, and participate in group discussions.

Further details


Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:50:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



Under the motto “No one can enjoy a human right to which one does not have access”, the international initiative Zero Project (www.zeroproject.org) mobilized its worldwide network of more than 1,000 disability experts in spring 2013 to map the state of the implementation of the CRPD and to find innovative practice and policy solutions on accessibility.

Download the full report

(Source: G3ICT)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:39:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 19, 2014


How do we make educational materials accessible to a girl from a poor family in Africa where over 50% of her female peers will never go to school? How can we get books into the hands of the poorest people on Earth?

The answer, at least in the immediate term, is mobile devices – and more precisely, mobile phones. Mobile devices are the most successful and ubiquitous information and communication technology in human history. They are plentiful in places where books and schools are scarce.

In less than a decade, mobile technology has spread to the furthest corners of the planet. Of the estimated 7 billion people on Earth, 6 billion now have access to a working mobile phone. Africa, which had a mobile penetration rate of just 5% in the 1990s, is now the second largest and fastest growing mobile phone market in the world, with a penetration rate of over 60% and climbing.

Mobile devices are transforming the way we communicate, live and learn. We must ensure that this digital revolution becomes a revolution in education, promoting inclusive and better learning everywhere.

From 17 to 21 February 2014, the UNESCO Mobile Learning Week will explore how mobile technologies can meet the needs of educators and help them improve their effectiveness. Under the theme of “Empowering teachers with technology”, MLW 2014 will consider the benefits as well as challenges associated with mobile learning—such as ensuring equity of devices, online safety, limited mobile-friendly content and the need for teacher training. “Technology can be a powerful education multiplier, but we must know how to use it… On its own, technology is not enough. Empowerment comes from skills and opportunities to use them. It comes from quality content that is inclusive, that draws on local languages and knowledge systems,” said UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova.

As mobile technology jumps from the margins of education to the mainstream, teachers will be key to the success of ICTs in teaching and learning. While not a panacea, mobile technology has a clear track record of improving educational efficiency. MLW 2014 will investigate how educators can best utilize mobile devices to achieve national and international learning objectives, including Education for All.

Despite impressive progress, the world is not on track to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadline. To ensure universal primary education UNESCO estimates that 6.8 million teachers need to be hired worldwide by 2015: 1.7 million are needed to fill new posts and 5.1 million are needed to replace outgoing teachers. These shortages—both current and anticipated— impede a wide range of development efforts by preventing young people from gaining access to the high quality instruction needed to excel in knowledge-based societies. The shortage of trained and motivated teachers is most acute in parts of the world where more and better quality instruction is desperately needed. In light of the urgency of the global teacher crisis, UNESCO wants to better understand how mobile technology can help prepare new teachers and provide professional development to working teachers.

Compounding the challenges of teacher supply, are concerns about teacher quality. Many children who are in school fail to develop basic competencies. As the latest UNESCO Global Monitoring Report reveals, 250 million students worldwide cannot read, write or count, even after four years of school. Close to 775 million adults – 64% of whom are women – still lack reading and writing skills, with the lowest rates in Sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia.

Improving educational access and quality requires political leadership, planning and action. To this effect, MLW 2014 will host a policy forum, symposium, research track, 11 half-day workshops, and 80 breakout presentations on the most cutting-edge topics, such as Open Educational Resources; classroom apps for smartphones and basic phones alike, content for tablets and netbooks; mobile learning pedagogics; building mobile learning apps; social media and more.

Mobile technologies hold the key to turning today’s digital divide into digital dividends, bringing equitable and quality education for all.

Further details

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 10:48:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 22, 2014
TALENTEDGE, India's premier technology training company, has unveiled plans to boost information technology education in Nigeria through a partnership with local internet company, Linkserve.

A statement by Talentedge, said the company would, through its multiple product lines, offer a bouquet of learning courses like individual learning programmes, campus learning schemes, corporate education programmes and government training projects.

It said the pact will bring to the Nigerian market, a bouquet of technology training applications that had already helped to change IT learning in India and other developing nations.

The statement also added that the agreement would also allow Linkserve to open training centres.

Talentedge said it would also work with other sub-franchisees to increase the educational knowledge base in Nigeria for a better trained workforce.“We are extremely delighted to sign an agreement with Linkserve Group as part of our endeavour to change the landscape of education in Nigeria by introducing affordable and quality education for millions of students.

"Even though we have been operational in Nigeria as KarROX, we are now re-entering the country with a renewed vigour by partnering with a strong player in the IT Industry like Linkserve.

"We hope to replicate the high standards of education set by us in India in Nigeria”, the firm stated.

The chairman of Linkserve, Chima Onyekwere, was quoted as saying the partnership with Talentedge was in line with the company's vision to bring to the Nigerian market quality educational training matched with the innovative spirit of Linkserve.

He hailed Linkserve as a true IT pioneer in Nigeria. Onyekwere, said Talentedge and Linkserve would help the Federal Government improve the quality of ICT education and to ensure that Nigeria benefitted from the increased advancement in the field.

(Source: All Africa)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:47:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 19, 2013


Imagine a world where disabled and non-disabled people have equal life opportunities; access to mainstream education, employment and career development opportunities, a world where disabled people are able to freely access buildings, transport and other services.  This is what we aim for.

India has a rich cultural and religious heritage. It is the world’s fourth largest economy, and with a population of over one billion, is the largest democracy in the world (World Bank, 2010). India is growing in many aspects, fast becoming a global player with great potential to develop and influence other countries.

There are many changes taking place in relation to Disability Equality in India and around the world; anti-discriminative legislations, ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled people (UNCRPD), CSR initiatives, Disability Equality Practices and many more.

However, whilst India is making rapid progress in addressing disability equality, over 50% of disabled people remain illiterate compared to 35% of the general population (Government of India, 2001). The deep inequalities experienced by disabled people are further exacerbated when combined with existing axes of social difference, such as gender and social status. This shows the greater need for change in attitudes towards, and awareness of disability equality and accessibility. We believe it is you who can initiate this change which will last a lifetime and beyond, that will see our children, grandchildren and generations to come grow up in a country that respects equality and provides opportunities for all.

Choice Internationl (UK) and NGI are bringing together national and international resources to provide an environment for innovation and creativity, through which we aim to initiate change in Disability Equality and Accessibility in India. This jointly organised conference aims to recognise the achievements in Disability Equality in India, whilst analysing the challenges we now face.

So join us at ‘Freedom of choice’- an International Conference on Disability Equality and Accessibility in India, and make a lasting difference!

NGI creates a platform for forward-thinking Indians and friends, connecting them for the betterment of their lives. The aim of this publication and its events are to explore, express, learn, share, and network across the globe, promoting India, Indians and friends globally via debate, discussion and knowledge sharing.

Choice International is a UK based, non-profit, international development organisation promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the UK and overseas focussing specifically on promoting leadership development of disabled people. The current focus on India is via the LEAD-India programme.

This conference aims to:
- Explore Disability Equality within Indian businesses and services to gain an understanding of disability equality relating to accessibility, perception of disability and disability legislation in India.
- Explore the importance of barrier-free design and infrastructure.
- Equip participants to become ambassadors and promoters of Disability Equality
- Create an opportunity for participants to meet and network, share skills, knowledge and experience in Disability Equality and promote the concept of a barrier-free environment in their respective fields.

Help to incorporate effective Disability Equality practices and barrier free design in all infrastructures developed within corporate, public and voluntary sectors.

(Source: Choice International)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 6:03:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The YouthConnekt Hangout, a web-based platform that uses social media channels to connect young people to role models, resources, entrepreneurship skills and employment opportunities, has been named the best innovative project by the United Nations.

The project was rewarded with a $75,000 prize during the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Africa Innovation Fair earlier this month.

YouthConnekt was initiated by the Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT) in 2012 as a platform to connect innovative young Rwandans to participate actively in the country’s economic transformation.

“Building the skills of young people, harnessing their energy, and realizing their aspirations will help Rwanda improve its living standards and foster inclusive economic growth. Empowering them with opportunities to reach and apply their full potential are our most important challenges and our most vital opportunities”, said Lamin Manneh, the UN resident coordinator.

He indicated that although Africa had made significant strides in economic growth, it needs to be translated into opportunities for the youth to address poverty.
“Youth unemployment is a big challenge. If we want to develop, we have to harness development resources; no country can develop without involvement of youth”, he said. “An innovative approach to development is imperative”.

Manneh also called on people to transform Africa by linking job seekers to opportunities, but reminded that skills were the primary starting point in creating employment.
“People seeking jobs need skills and qualifications”, he noted.

While YouthConnekt Hangout so far requires internet access and literacy to participate in it, ICT Minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana indicated that thanks to Hehe Ltd, a Rwandan company, the online services will be linked to phone short messages (SMS) to increase access to the platform, especially in rural areas.

He added that the UNDP prize will be used to strengthen and expand the project and urged the youth to explore and seize available opportunities. “We want to build an active and innovative community that is confident in its ability to solve its own challenges by making a smart use of the abundant opportunities around us” he said.

“We are focusing on developing the youth because they are the future and are more innovative while taking on community challenges and turning them into opportunities”.
The hangouts sessions will be focusing on sharing information on opportunities for youth economic empowerment through employment, entrepreneurship, access to finance, Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D).

In addition, youth personal development as well as social and political empowerment will be promoted. Young people will also use the platform to contribute to ongoing policy discussions at national and international levels, with a focus on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

(Source: The Sunday Times)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:55:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO has launched its Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Assessment Framework for the evaluation of countries’ readiness to create an enabling environment for MIL. The publication also aims to assess citizens’ competencies on MIL, particularly targeting teachers in service and training.

Since the rapid advancements in information and communication technologies took place, traditional notions of literacy have struggled to keep up with modern demands. The challenges are also linked to a growing influence of media and the need for better management of information and knowledge at professional and societal levels.

UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy programme represents a composite set of knowledge, attitudes and skills, necessary to access, analyse, evaluate, use, produce and communicate information, media content and knowledge in creative, responsible and ethical ways in order to participate and engage in personal, professional and societal activities. UNESCO believes that every citizen needs to learn and understand principles necessary for media and information providers to fulfil their functions in society, learn more about opportunities and threats coming from virtual world and manage resources. As such, MIL acts as a key factor for the participation in knowledge societies in the 21th century, ensuring capacities for lifelong learning and developing employability and inclusion for all citizens.

A central component of UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy strategy, the Global MIL Assessment Framework would enable Member States to carry out comprehensive assessments of the information and media environment, and to monitor at the regional and national level the extent to which citizens have acquired MIL competencies, particularly targeting teachers in service and training. This evidence-based information will subsequently help Member States monitor the effectiveness of the implementation of education and ICT policies in developing 21st century capacities, and help to design new strategies and action-oriented plans that fit best within country-specific contexts and conditions.

The publication presents an overall assessment framework composed of two tiers: country readiness, and assessment of competencies. It also includes a plan for national adaptation as well as concrete suggestions for data collection, analysis and application. It is intended as a living document to be further tested, adjusted and adapted to national needs and circumstances by its users – policy decision makers, teachers and local professional communities in information, media and education.

The Global MIL Assessment Framework is part of UNESCO’s commitment to the implementation of the Intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP) Strategic Plan, and particularly its priority on information literacy, and of the Plan of Action of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). It also contributes to the on-going debate on Internet Governance.

The UNESCO Global Media and Information Literacy Assessment Framework was prepared by UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector in close collaboration with UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics and with support of the Japanese Government.

The UNESCO Global Media and Information Literacy Assessment Framework can be accessed here.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:30:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Google India aims to help 50 million more women get online by 2014-end by undertaking a variety of initiatives across the country.

Though India is on its way to become the second largest Internet market, with 200 million users, overtaking the U.S., only one-third of the online users are women.

The Internet can play an important role in empowering women in India and help them transform their lives. It can help women achieve self esteem and express their views freely, open up new opportunities and help them gain education. At the macro level, these benefits can translate into lowering maternal and infant mortality rates, a higher GDP of the country and improving standards of living.

But lack of easy access to the Internet and lack of knowledge of how to use the global network and its relevance in their daily lives are the biggest barriers for women to get online. ‘Helping women get online’ is just that initiative which aims to overcome these hurdles. Google India aims to help 50 million more women get online by 2014-end by undertaking a variety of initiatives across the country. “We have already seen many cases of women benefiting greatly by using the Internet and we are really delighted to partner with leading brands in the country in this ambitious project”, said Rajan Anandan, MD and VP Sales & Operations for Google India.

The initiative will focus on creating awareness of the benefits of Internet and educating women to use it to improve their lives, and work with partners to enable easy Internet access points for women. In the first stage, Google will launch a mass media campaign and promote the specially designed website www.hwgo.com which will host content covering the very basics of the Internet and special content that is relevant to women, available in both Hindi and English. Women can call toll-free helpline number 1800 41 999 77 for answers to any query about the Internet.

The initiative follows the success of a pilot programme that was carried out by Google India at a village in Bhilwara, Rajasthan, where over 100,000 women were trained in the basic applications of the Internet.

Now the programme will be supported by Intel, HUL and Axis Bank through joint outreach efforts including Internet training in digital literacy. Intel is also launching a mobile app, “Easy Step,” for women and it would be available on Android playstore.

Google has partnered with a host of different companies which will create and share content relevant to Indian women on www.hwgo.com. These partners include Johnson & Johnson, Indiatimes.com, Healthkart.com and Babyoye.com.

The Bhilwara project covered girl students in the age group 13-18, housewives and working women. Basic training content was created in Hindi to help the women understand how they could use the Internet in their day-to-day lives.

(Source: The Hindu)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:23:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
SWAZI youth recently attended a regional Web 2.0 training in Malawi.

This was courtesy of the Strengthening Youth Employment Opportunities in ICTs and Agriculture in Southern Africa (SOFIA) project. Patrick Masarirambi from SOFIA said this was part of the stakeholders’ meeting held in Malawi from November 25 to 29, 2013. He said this was a trainer of trainers on Web 2.0 and social media aimed at equipping youths in the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in agriculture.

“Participants came from the three countries, namely Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia. About five youths were selected from Swaziland to go for the training in Malawi“. Graduates from this training will be required to replicate the acquired knowledge in their centres and young farmer groups. “Running concurrently with the training was the regional advisory committee meeting which comprised members from the three implementing partners”, he said.

Masarirambi said Swaziland was represented in the committee by Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Director of Youth Affairs Bheki Thwala and Lulote Executive Director Patrick Masarirambi as the implementing partner. He said also present was sponsor representative from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) Ken Lohento.

Masarirambi said the meeting looked into various issues that should be addressed so as to ensure the success of SOFIA. He said the training was facilitated by Chandrabose Sembho from Mauritius and it went well. “Participants from Swaziland held their own as they competed well in the training. “At least two of them, Vusi Shongwe and Wandile Nxumalo were among the best five participants as they scooped two of the five prizes.

“These trained youths are going to facilitate the national training on Web 2.0 sometime next year, where about 25 will be selected from all the regions in the country”, he said.

Masarirambi said communication and availability of internet through ICT would enhance the flow of information shared locally and internationally to update farmers on supplies, markets and the outbreak of diseases as well as availability of a new variety of seeds.

He said it had been shown that the use of ICT could significantly reduce marketing and production costs. Adding, he said this project would bring economic growth, thus cutting down unemployment among the youth and the levels of crime.

(Source: Swazi Observer)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 3:57:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 13, 2013


We are pleased to publish ‘Mobile Phone Network Data for Development’, a primer on how analysis of Call Detail Records (CDRs) can provide valuable information for humanitarian and development purposes.

Earlier this year we produced the Global Pulse “Big Data for Development Primer”, an introductory guide for the global development community, summarizing key terms, concepts, case studies and challenges around big data.

Our new primer, Mobile Phone Network Data for Development, is an accessible synthesis of a growing body of research on mobile phone data analysis in development or humanitarian contexts. For example, de-identified CDRs have allowed researchers to see aggregate geographic trends such as the flow of mass populations during after natural disasters, how malaria can spread via human movement, or the passage of commuters through a city at peak times.

The document explains three types of indicators that can be extracted through analysis of CDRs (mobility, social interaction and economic activity), includes a synthesis of several research examples and a summary of privacy protection considerations.

(Source: United Nations Global Pulse)

Friday, December 13, 2013 5:11:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Cabinet has rubber-stamped “South Africa Connect”, the Department of Communication’s National Broadband Policy, Strategy and Plan.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: My Broadband)

Friday, December 13, 2013 4:31:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ICT education to reach 8500 students in 33 provincial schools

ITU has selected Sri Lanka as one of five countries for the ‘Connect a School, Connect a Community’ project. Following the completion of a ‘Connect a school, Connect a Community’ project in Akuressa, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) initiated this project with ITU to extend the scope to cover 33 schools on the entire island.

This project was inaugurated today with the opening of the Computer Laboratory of the Watareka Kanishta Vidyalaya (Primary School), in Homagama, Padukka, Colombo District, by the Sri Lanka Minister of Education Mr Bandula Gunawardena. The ceremony was attended by Mr Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka and Chairman of the TRCSL, and Ms Eun-Ju Kim, Director of the ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, along with participating school principals and officials of the Provincial Education Offices.

The project will benefit over 8500 students in 33 schools located in areas of low ICT development, while also educating children with special needs.

The main objective of the project is to narrow the digital divide between rural and urban areas and provide digital opportunities to their communities. Transforming these schools into community ICT centres is expected to help marginalized and vulnerable groups, such as women, indigenous people, persons with disabilities and those living in rural, remote and underserved areas, and to empower them to contribute to their socio-economic development.

ITU and TRCSL have provided funds for the hardware and software required to equip the computer laboratories in schools. The schools will be responsible for the maintenance and operation of the facilities, while telecommunication operators will provide broadband Internet connectivity to at concessionary rates. “This school and rural community-oriented ICT project will be beneficial to the rural sector”, said Mr Weeratunga. “In the future, these schools will play a key role in the penetration of ICT knowledge into the rural and remote areas of the country”.

“The Ministry of Education is committed to equipping teachers and students in Sri Lanka with digital literacy skills in order to empower them to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the global economy”, said Mr Anura Dissanayake, Secretary in the Ministry of Education. “The project will bring technology into the classroom and allow teachers to teach their students critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration skills”.

“This is a smart initiative which sets a milestone in driving ICT access to rural and remote areas and benefits not only teachers and students but also the communities where they live”, said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “Such an innovative public-private-peoples’ partnership, which promotes school-based community ICT centres, represents an attractive, affordable, inclusive, scalable and sustainable step forward in providing digital opportunities for the people of Sri Lanka. This is certainly an excellent way forward to realize the Asia-Pacific Vision 2020: Smartly DIGITAL, which was endorsed last month by leaders at the Connect Asia-Pacific Summit held in Bangkok, Thailand”. Dr Touré was represented at the event by Ms Eun-Ju Kim, Director of ITU’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

The ‘Connect a School, Connect a Community’ project in Sri Lanka is a public-private-peoples’ partnership (4P) involving ITU, TRCSL, the Sri Lanka Ministry of Education, UNHCR, ICTA, SLT, Mobitel, Dialog Axiata, Metropolitan Computers, Daisy Lanka Foundation, Jinasena Training and Rehabilitation for ICT Education promotion of the Island.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Friday, December 13, 2013 4:21:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 09, 2013

New subtitling service makes FMQs more accessible.
 
A new service aimed at making First Minister’s Questions (FMQs) more accessible is now available on the Scottish Parliament’s You Tube channel. From today, subtitles will be available on the video archive of FMQs footage to improve accessibility and allow a wider audience to watch questions being put to the First Minister the same afternoon it is broadcast.

Running for an initial trial period, the new service will use the text from the Official Report and will be available on Thursday afternoon after First Ministers Question Time takes places and usually by 4.30 pm.

Speaking about the new service, Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body member David Stewart MSP said: “Openness and accessibility have always been at the heart of the work of the Scottish Parliament. I am delighted to announce that we will be trialling this new service as a way of bringing First Minister’s Question Time to as wide an audience as possible. Being able to see subtitled archived coverage so quickly is a significant step forward”.

The new service is the latest addition to the range of services available to those wishing to engage in Parliamentary business. These include providing information about the Scottish Parliament and its work in a range of different formats including Braille, audio, large print and British Sign Language.

In addition, where visitors are attending parliamentary business or going on a guided tour, BSL / English interpreters are available if booked in advance through Visitor Services.

People wishing to use the new service can go the Scottish Parliament’s You Tube channel. The archived video of FMQs will now include the option to add captions.
The initial trial will run until the end of December 2014.

(Source: The Edinburgh Reporter)

Monday, December 09, 2013 2:39:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 06, 2013
UK open IPTV platform YouView has released the second in a series of updates designed to deliver better accessibility for blind and partially sighted customers as well as those with motor skill and cognitive impairment, to improve the journey for this audience to find their favourite TV.

YouView
has improved the zoom functionality which now allows visually impaired users to zoom into and navigate the programme guide and select or record programmes. YouView describes this improved zoom functionality as market-leading in the UK, advising that it works with all aspects of the programme guide.

Other updates include the option of navigating the YouView programme guide using any USB connected UK keyboard or ‘Monster 2’ and ‘Clevy’ accessible keyboards, suitable for those people who struggle to hold a remote control or hold down two keys at once. Maps for these controllers are available at youview.com.

YouView has also developed series of ‘Grid Set’ navigation screens for the ‘Grid 2’ software computer programme, which allows severely disabled users to navigate the YouView programme guide with the press of just one button. Specialist software ‘Grid 2’ is designed to enable the use of computers and similar devices for this user group and is compatible with a variety of different input devices including switches and head-pointers. A computer running ‘Grid 2’ software can be connected to a YouView set-top box via an ‘IR blaster’ (infrared transmitter) which emulates the same signals as a remote control.

These updates follow an earlier accessibility release which included the option to change the iconic blue and black YouView programme guide to high contrast black and white, enabling visually impaired users to read the text more easily. Additionally, the mini screen available in the top right hand corner of the programme guide also now has the option to be switched off, offering easier navigation for customers with cognitive disorders and making navigation less distracting.

The free YouView app for iOS and Android mobile devices now also offers text-to-speech navigation of the programme guide so visually impaired users can find more information about TV programmes and remote record single programmes or a complete series. A high contrast version of the YouView app is also available. Further accessibility updates to the YouView app will be added in due course.

Susie Buckridge, Director of Product at YouView, said the platform’s goal had always been to ensure it was the easiest way for all of its customers in the UK to find the TV they love. “We hope these accessibility updates will give a wider range of customers the means to discover great TV and radio, by providing the tools to make our user interface and mobile applications easy to navigate. We are particularly pleased with the new zoom function which is a UK first and will give visually impaired users a much clearer user journey”.

The update will initially only be available on YouView set-top boxes purchased at retail and will be issued via a staggered roll-out over the coming weeks. Customers with YouView from BT or TalkTalk will receive accessibility updates early in 2014.

(Source: advanced-television)

Friday, December 06, 2013 5:37:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

As a part of its Voices of Youth Citizens initiative (formerly Digital Citizenship and Safety ), the Social and Civic Media Section of UNICEF commissioned InterMedia, along with its research partners, to conduct a study on the impact of digital technologies on young people. Specifically, the study focused on exploring how 152 children, 12 to 17 years old, in Kenya, use social media and other digital technologies, and what impact these technologies have on this group, particularly from the perspective of childrights.

The study involved holding digital youth clinics in four locations in Kenya, with children and young people who have access to mobile phones and the internet. It focused on understanding digital behavior, and perceptions of risk and safety among these active, young users of digital and social media.

Recommendations 

While the use of social and digital media is expanding rapidly among young people, parental support and the integration of digital media in education is lagging behind.  There is relatively easy access to entertainment and pornography, but there are fewer visible examples for parents and their children of how social media and digital technologies can be used for education, information, opportunity and empowerment. This will surely evolve as Kenya adjusts to the expanding information society; however, several recommendations emerge from this study that UNICEF can consider in the interim.

Download the Full Report here

(Source: Intermedia)

Friday, December 06, 2013 3:39:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Microsoft and The Future Project, a development initiative founded by Red Media Africa, have launched ‘Aiki Nigeria’, a new youth employment programme to help young Nigerians get the skills to set up their own businesses or get jobs.

Citizenship Manager, Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, Ugochukwu Nwosu, said: “Microsoft takes its citizenship engagement as primary to its work. In working with organisations, technology enthusiasts and governments at every level, we have emphasised the crucial importance of jobs for a new generation of Nigerians. This programme is a major step in leading a coordinated solution to this urgent problem”.

Aiki Nigeria has been developed closely with employers to ensure it offers employability requirements and later, the youths can take up job openings in these firms or be matched to other firms.

Aiki Nigeria has also launched a free online skills portal and career’s advice service, aiki.ng, to reach those in the rural areas. Aiki has been designed to give secondary and tertiary school students detailed information on how to start businesses, job opportunities, career tips, capacity building and networking. Young Nigerians also access training sessions and courses on personal development, consulting, entrepreneurship and project management, and offers one-on-one tailored advice from personal mentors from different occupational fields and mock interviews.

Executive Director, The Future Project and co-founder of Red Media Africa, Chude Jideonwo, said: "It is our ambition that through the new Aiki Nigeria programme we can help all young Nigerians, no matter where they are, to develop the skills they need to achieve their full potential”.

Launched five years ago, The Future Project invests in enterprise and expanding opportunities for young people. The enterprise support scheme aims to work with Microsoft to better build a community of talented job seekers and help match them to job opportunities and solve unemployment and related evils.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation with over 166 million people and for any nation looking for human resource and a market for its products, this huge population plays the answer.

According to the World Bank, over 22 per cent of this population is unemployed and even worse, the youth unemployment rate stands at 38 per cent.

(Source: This Day Live)

Friday, December 06, 2013 12:29:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
GIZ idea behind this workshop with African hubs was to network with pioneers and practitioners, to share experiences, create new ideas and discover opportunities in Africa which will eventually help promote international cooperations for sustainable development.

The event brought together a dozen of African hubs including, iLab Liberia of Liberia, iHub of Kenya, ActivSpaces of Cameroon, Klab of Rwanda, RLABS of South Africa, iLabAfrica of Kenya, icecairo of Egypt, Wennovation Hub of Nigeria, BongoHive of Zambia, iceaddis of Ethiopia and of course our AfriLabs.

In attendance were representatives from the KAIPTC of Ghana and a hosts of GIZ representatives from head offices in Germany and other African Countries.
During the workshop, we had the opportunity to visit Hubs, (iHub, M:Lab, iLabAfrica, Ushahidi) Incubators like (Nailab & iBizAfrica), and Strathmore University which houses the Safaricom Academy, iBizAfrica and iLabAfrica.

The Impact of hubs:
- Develop skills
- Create jobs
- Serve as implementing partner for both governments and development cooperations
- Serve as a focal point for the community
- Identify skills and bring them together under one roof where their potentials can be utilized effectively not only on the national scene, but globally as well.
- Help with local development since it creates local linkages.
 
The potential of digital innovation is every country’s business, because it has become the driving force for national economies, infrastructure development, renewable energy, green revolution and a new way for education. Since mobile devices/technology in general, had become one of the world’s potent development tool, it’s eminent that development cooperations look in the direction where mobile devices can be harness to produce a new way for development projects implementation in a mush faster, better and cheaper way. It is in this direction that hubs and incubators come into play. GIZ, from their perspective sees the impact of hubs in one word “CUBE”.

Create Innovation
- Use Knowledge
- Building Network
- Enhance Impact

These are relevant points in development and should therefore be incorporated by institutions in their strive to meet their projects deliverables.

(Source: iLab)

Friday, December 06, 2013 12:24:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 28, 2013
UNESCO organized a Youth Radio Workshop in Paris on 31 October for 27 attendees of the 8th Youth Forum at Paris Headquarters. During the workshop young people from all over the world had a chance to discover how to produce audio pieces for radio using practical exercises taken from the youth radio toolkit “Linking Generations”.
  


The workshop attendees, including youth delegates, observers, participants and organizers, learned how to write news items, prepare interviews and create vox pops. They also produced a number of audio pieces reflecting their views on gender equality and women’s empowerment in radio in their respective countries. Through radio young people shared their insights into the gender situation in Côte d'Ivoire, Rwanda, Mexico, France, Brazil, Germany, Senegal, Kuwait, Nigeria, Argentina, Ivory Coast and others. Some of them also highlighted challenges and successes in women’s political participation, in particular in accessing decision-making positions.

“The majority of journalists in my country lack proper training on media issues, and I believe it would be a good idea to organize a similar workshop in my country”, said Seleman Yusuph Kitenge, representative of Youth of United Nations Association of Tanzania. “There is a concern about media misleading the public, especially on crucial issues”, he added.

Towards the end of the workshop the participants created jingles demonstrating their support for World Radio Day 2014. Several participants from Africa expressed their commitment to celebrate World Radio Day within their youth organizations.

The theme of the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum was “Youth and Social Inclusion: Civic Engagement, Dialogue and Skills Development”. The Forum discussed youth civic engagement issues as well as the skills and competencies that are relevant and appropriate for young people to become employable or self-employed and to put their innovation, creativity and entrepreneurialism into practice.

Linking Generations” is a product of the Swedish funded project “Empowering Local Radio with ICTs” and is available online for use by radio stations, young people, policy makers, youth and radio advocates.

For more information on the toolkit, please read see the article: Linking Generations through Radio.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, November 28, 2013 4:19:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Until recently, many young Kenyans saw farming as an unskilled, unrewarding profession, suitable only for the retired or the uneducated. Now, however, a group of determined young farmers are challenging traditional prejudices and trying to explain the attractions of farming as a profession. They are the ‘Mkulima Young Champions’ and have become figureheads for a digital initiative to change the way farmers are viewed by young people. Using a range of technologies, they are proving that farming in Kenya really is a profitable 21st century career path.

The group – Mkulima means “farmer” in Kiswahili – was founded by Joseph Macharia, a farmer and agricultural expert, and is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Its aim is to draw more young people into farming, help them learn from each other, trade, and overcome the challenges of agriculture together.

Daniel Kimani, one of the Mkulima Young Champions, is a typical example of the new breed of Kenyan entrepreneurs who are starting to see the opportunities farming offers. A trained engineer, he set up an aquaponics system to rear fish and grow strawberries. Now he earns KSh300,000 (2,600€) a month from it.

His system is resourceful and ingenious. Ammonia produced by the fish is filtered out of the ponds through stone-filled towers, providing free fertiliser and water for the strawberry plants that grow on them. Daniel is one of those proving to a generation of Kenyans that technologically-enabled farming is clever, lucrative and not necessarily labour intensive.

Since Mkulima Young started featuring champion farmers like Daniel and others, Joseph Macharia has noticed an appreciable change in young people’s attitudes.
“By having Mkulima Young Champions who are educated and young,” he says, “the attitude of the youth [towards agriculture] has changed, from viewing it as an activity for the old, to a profession that they can mint millions from”.

The initiative is about far more than publicity, though. Using radio, SMS and social media, it engages young Kenyans to discuss agricultural topics. Listeners to radio programmes can give feedback online, helping to shape the content and making it more relevant.

Meanwhile, Mkulima Young’s Facebook page, which opened in January 2013 and already has 19,000 followers, has become a vibrant place where young people post links, photos and videos, ask questions, discuss issues and interact with other young people who are passionate about agriculture.

The initiative was presented at the ict4Ag conference in Kigali, Rwanda, 4– 8 November.

(Source: eLearning Africa)

Thursday, November 28, 2013 3:35:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 21, 2013

What exactly is the E-Campus Learning Portal (E-CLP)? In short it is a computerised teacher, examiner, library, course hand book and lesson planner for all school subjects, based on the new Namibian school curriculum. A learner or teacher can thus use the computer to access the same content and resources that any other teacher or learner can access throughout the country. They simply state which grade they are interested in and then select the subject from a list. The E-Campus Learning Portal (E-CLP) will then take the candidate through the course, using a series of slides that are narrated in English.

The E-CLP is an education initiative designed by the Institute of Information Technology (IIT), one of the leading ICT education organisations in Namibia. The content was developed by Namibian teachers and is continuously tested and updated by learners and teachers alike. It is tweaked and customised almost daily to ensure that it successfully addresses necessary areas in a way that is conducive to easy and fun learning, while still being educational. The content is accredited by the Ministry of Education through the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED).

Not only will the E-CLP revolutionise the way in which learners study but it is a powerful tool for teachers, as it provides them with lesson plans, class tests, sample exam papers and a step-by-step guide, which is based on the subject syllabus. Therefore, teachers can be assured that they are covering everything as set out in specific subject syllabus. Teachers can also use the developed lessons to physically teach in class while showing learners the graphics, pictures and animations to explain certain points.

Learners can benefit from using this highly interactive tool to learn in a simple yet productive manner. Animations, pictures and graphics make the learning experience more enjoyable; and audio is also available should the learner wish to listen to an explanation of what they have seen on the screen. The learner is also continuously tested on the subject matter through quizzes, tests and sample exams. These can all be printed out to simulate an actual testing environment. At the end of each module there is a printable summary of the module, allowing the candidate to study before actual exams and tests. Learners can now access the E-CLP at home and use it as a personal teacher at their convenience.

The E-CLP can also be employed as an effective home schooling system based on the Namibian curriculum. Grades 11 and 12 have been completed and new development of Grades 8-10 is underway. The E-CLP is not just an e-school learning programme for students to improve their marks but it also has many other features to prepare learners for life. Among other subjects, it covers computer Skills for ICT literacy and a comprehensive HIV and AIDS education fully covering the sensitive and sometimes uncomfortable topic. Using interactivity as well as practical images, the topic is made easier for teachers and learners who can access the E-CLP to get answers to the questions that they might be reluctant to ask in the classroom or in front of other people.

Another informative section is dedicated to career guidance to assist the learner to choose a suitable career. The learner can access a descriptive database of hundreds of job titles and is exposed to the aspects of studying for and finding a career including: Creating a CV/Resume; Attending Interviews and Job Hunting.

Not only will E-CLP be an important tool in nation building, it has also proven that Namibia is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to local content development.

Further details

Thursday, November 21, 2013 4:11:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A collaborative action research (CAR) study funded by Ericsson, and managed independently by a team of multidisciplinary experts from the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Columbia University Teachers College, University of Nairobi in Kenya, and Kampala University in Uganda, finds significant potential for improved teaching and learning with ICT tools. Specifically, the findings are only such when the tools are appropriately designed and adequately supported with infrastructure and ongoing professional development for teachers.

Investigators worked for one year to understand the effects, opportunities and challenges of integrating ICT into schools and teaching routines. To do that, university faculty and teachers worked in close collaboration at four rural schools in Kenya and Uganda.

Interviews, training workshops, surveys and observations conducted indicate significant improvements in teaching and learning when ICT tools and resources are well-designed with the school infrastructure and environment in mind, and when teachers are provided with on-going training and professional development in how to optimize these resources in their classrooms.

Research findings show that over the course of the study, guided use, training and professional development workshops offered essential support for teachers focusing on using ICT in their classrooms. There were significant increases both in teachers' reported skill and comfort with using ICT for educational purposes, as well as in the observed use of ICT in their classrooms. For example, where only 21% of teachers considered themselves to be "advanced" users of ICT at the beginning of the project; by the end, 45% of teachers were reporting themselves to be advanced users. There was also an 18% increase in reported use of ICT in the classroom over the course of the project.

Researchers compiled recommendations in several categories, including:

- Physical infrastructure, calling for policies for open access to hardware, electrical outlets throughout all classrooms and security;
- ICT infrastructure, where Wi-Fi networks, adequate airtime, and computers and projectors are basic needs;
- Teacher pedagogical skills and knowledge development along with basic ICT training, where professional development should be facilitated in partnership with local universities or Non-Governmental Organizations, among other steps;
- Open source teaching and learning resources, including use of Connect To Learn's online resource library and expanding the availability of locally relevant online resources;
- Student ICT participation and knowledge, which encourages teachers to assign online research and computer-based projects; and
- Public-private partnership implementation, urging each site to hire local facilitators to provide ongoing support to administrators and teachers, and forging partnerships with local decision-makers and telecommunications industry leaders to institutionalize the integration of ICT at all levels of education.

Download full report

Video about the ICT in Education Study

(Source: Ericsson)

Thursday, November 21, 2013 3:59:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with Motorola Solutions, has launched an initiative in Rwanda, which aims to link innovators from around the world with ongoing development programmes using mobile technologies.

The initiative, dubbed International Network of Social Innovators for Human Development (INSIHD), will provide a platform where innovators can interact and share their experiences with others on their innovations.

Laminm Manneh, the UNDP representative in Rwanda, said: “ICT has the potential to boost our economies and improve living standards of our people and that is why we want to equip the African youth with these technologies and accelerate our development”.

The launch makes Rwanda the third country in Africa where the network has been introduced after Kenya and Tunisia earlier this year.
Motorola Solutions, through the network, will help come up with initiatives addressing global challenges, as well as coordinate information sharing to enable investors learn and use technology and solutions from other countries across the network.

Travis Heneveld, representing Motorola at the launch, said, “We shall develop incubation labs and come up with financing modules to promote investments in line with the national government programs”.

Jean Nsengimana, Rwanda’s minister of youth and ICT, said: “Information and communication technologies (ICTs) must be an integral part in national development priorities and not be seen in isolation”.

He said ICT enables faster, more efficient and cost effective poverty reduction efforts and the country is ready to share experience of their innovations with other countries.

(Source: Humanipo)

Thursday, November 21, 2013 3:27:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 14, 2013
Leading multinational to co-host sessions at ITU Telecom World 2013 on implementation of e-education

ITU announced today that Intel Corporation, the global leader in silicon chip innovation, will join ITU Telecom World 2013 as a partner, co-hosting sessions on leveraging the power of information and communication technologies (ICT) to transform education.

The leading networking, knowledge-sharing and innovation showcasing platform for the global ICT community, ITU Telecom World 2013 will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, 19-22 November, bringing together an influential audience of private and public sector leaders from across the world.

Intel Education Solutions, created in recognition of the need for quality education to prepare tomorrow's workforce in an increasingly global economy, will host three interactive panel sessions and a ministerial round table at the event, focused on harnessing investment in ICT to accelerate technology adoption, transform education and advance economies and societies:

- Education Transformation: Content that Matters – how traditional educational material must evolve to make the most of broadband delivery and help students acquire 21st century skills.

- Education Transformation: Financing e-Learning Programmes – exploring the role of governments and public private partnerships in funding technology and multidisciplinary education projects.

- Education Transformation: From Vision to Action – learning lessons from current national and regional education transformation projects.

- Ministerial Roundtable on The Importance of ICT in 21st Century Education – bringing together the experiences, best practices and e-education initiatives of ministers from around the world.

“Education is critical to unlocking the power of grey matter, the human brain, the only natural resource distributed equally across the globe”, said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “Investing in ICT for education can transform outcomes for individuals, economies and societies at an unprecedented pace and scale. I believe that ITU Telecom World 2013 offers the ideal platform for government leaders and private sector innovators to come together, debate and share knowledge to ensure we achieve this common aim”.

“As a proud partner of ITU Telecom World 2013, Intel welcomes the opportunity to meet and learn from other leaders—and to share visions, practical strategies, and best practices from ICT-enabled education transformation initiatives that Intel has supported in more than 100 countries”, said John E. Davies, Vice President and General Manager, World Ahead Group, Intel Corporation.

Intel will also showcase its work on driving broadband adoption and education transformation on the showfloor at ITU Telecom World 2013, including new technologies, integrated solutions and real-life case studies supporting teaching and learning from kindergarten to university and beyond.

Elsewhere on the event programme, Intel executives will contribute to debates on Spectrum for the Future and The Internet of Everything. For full details of the ITU Telecom World 2013 programme, please see http://world2013.itu.int/event/programme/.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Thursday, November 14, 2013 6:02:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT) in partnership with UNDP, ADMA, TIGO, HEHE Ltd, National Youth Council and University Students’ Associations launched on November 12, 2013, series of Google+ Hangout sessions called YouthConnekt Hangout. This platform will serve as a channel for Youth, ICT players or anyone interested in both sectors to contribute to the country developmental agenda through debates.

The platform will have a practical, results-oriented format, including interactive, multi-stakeholder panel discussions, partnership announcements, as well as opportunities for participants to showcase their ICT development projects to potential partners and donors. The hangout will provide an excellent networking platform for leaders from the public, private and financial sectors to meet and forge new partnerships for the future.

This will be a bi-monthly program that will centre on different themes such as Youth Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Youth Access to Finance; Role of Youth in Peace Building; ICT4D, Environment; Investment Promotion; Sports and Culture; Role of Youth in Regional Integration; Sports and Culture, Reproductive health, HIV / AIDS and Drugs abuse among others.

Young people will be engaged in global policy shaping for sustainable development through information sharing; will create new opportunities for young people for skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship in ICT.

The hangout also reflects on the Post-2015 Development Agenda to help in defining the future global development framework that will succeed the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);

The Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said that “This will promote Youth employment through debates, will create a network of information sharing among youth on opportunities around them”.

He added that “This platform will help young people engaged in conversation with their leaders and get first hand information on the available policies and strategies on youth empowerment. Will promote ownership of Governments’ Programs among young people through providing ideas and solutions to some of the challenges they face”.

YouthConnekt Hangout started on Tuesday, 12 November, 2013 launched by MYICT in presence of its partners in this programme. YouthConnekt Hangout will be a bi-monthly event taking place on Tuesdays from 4:00PM to 5:00PM.

During this time millions of people in Rwanda and across the world will be gathering in different places to follow live this hangout.

(Source: MYICT)

Thursday, November 14, 2013 5:54:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


As part of the Technology Salon, a list of resources around the topic was created to serve as a reference about ICT4E in Rwanda. Many ICT4E initiatives are being implemented in Rwanda. Let's look at how the Rwanda Education Commons, an online platform, TeacherMate, handheld computers focused on literacy and XO laptops from OLPC are being used for learning in Rwanda.

ICT is supported at national levels in Rwanda from Vision 2020 which seeks to transform Rwanda into a middle-income country and a knowledge-based society by 2020 to the National Information and Communication Infrastructure (NICI) strategy which has ICT as the guiding policy to develop the Rwanda information and knowledge economy to the Ministry of Education's ICT in Education policy to integrate ICT at all educational institutions, at all levels.

Rwanda Education Commons
The Rwanda Education Commons (REC) was a USAID funded initiative with the Rwanda Ministry of Education (MOE), implemented by FHI 360 to promote the effective use of ICTs in education. In partnership with the MOE, REC expanded access to quality education by building communities of educators around the sharing of educational materials and resources. MOE was involved from the inception of the project, local staff were all Rwandan, and the project was housed and embedded within MOE's offices.
The REC program worked in four areas: policy, education content, hardware and software, and teacher professional development.

Teacher Professional Development
At teacher training colleges, many teachers were not computer literate when the project began. The project provided training to use technology and the REC platform at the teacher training colleges. As confidence grew, the use of REC for discussions, sharing information and accessing resources increased. Using technology moved from zero understanding to a basic competency. All teachers at the teacher training colleges used the portal. Coaches at the colleges now provide further training.

OLE: TeacherMates and OLPCs
TeacherMate is an application and tool that has pre-set lessons on literacy. OLE is working with Innovations for Learning, an organization that uses digital learning applications to improving student literacy, who created the TeacherMate. The OLPCs are being used to develop and remix open content for project learning activities.
A question asked was "which is better: the TeacherMate to OLPC?" Comparing the two would be like "comparing a cow to a goat". In other words, you can't, and you shouldn't. The objective and use of each one in the classroom is different. With the Teachermate the students engage with the content on one topic. The OLPC is creative, experimental and self-directed.

The Teachermate is game-based engagement. Teachers introduced the technology into the pedagogy and are using it as part of lessons with their students. The students learn the lesson and pass the test. It takes planning to decide how to use the OLPC in what classroom and context. With the OLPC the teacher become more like a facilitator in the classroom, and the potential for learning shifts and expands.

TeacherMate has specific skills built-in for literacy. It has a strong phonics component, introduces students basic phonograms and has dictation spelling activities to help students develop the skills needed to decode and spell new words. Teachers are learning how to identify, remix and adapt content on the OLPC. Open content is key. Some modules in English and math have been produced (The newly introduced OLPC tablets provide more content).

(Source: Technology Salon)

Thursday, November 14, 2013 3:01:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 07, 2013


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

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

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

Further details

Thursday, November 07, 2013 4:44:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Fear” was the word used often by women from Ngöbe-Buglé indigenous community in Costa Rica when they talked about their first experience in front of a microphone, computer or video-camera. Even more crippling than fear to speak in public or ask someone a question is a profound belief that a woman’s role should be limited to taking care of children and homes.

The exercise which solicited ideas for radio stories about Ngöbe-Buglé home-makers revealed that, although women practice traditional cooking, handicrafts and medicine on a daily basis, they do not consider themselves as guardians of traditions. Usually this role is reserved to sukia, a healer in indigenous societies across Central America. On their way to the knowledge society, Ngöbe-Buglé, Sutiaba, Nahoas-Nicarao, Chorotegas-Nahuas-Mangues y Cacaopera-Matagalpa and Guna communities have to count with illiteracy, unemployment and poverty. High rate of teenage pregnancies affects the number of girls continuing their studies.

To organize a series of workshops on ICTs, radio and video for women from indigenous communities in Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, UNESCO partnered with the Sustainable Development Network (RDS) NGO and the Indigenous Movement of Nicaragua, as well as Centre for Social Development Studies (CEDES) NGO in Panama. From July to October 2013, the workshops were taking place in San Felix, Chiriqui province in Panama; La Casona, Punta Arenas province in Costa Rica; and in Managua for participants from Pacific, Centre and North regions of Nicaragua.

After theoretical and practical courses, women recorded and edited stories about traditions, legends, cosmology as well as everyday community life. In the Rural College of La Casona, trainees scripted, played, filmed and edited socially-important messages. In Nicaragua, training yielded 12 audiovisual products and 20 radio and audiovisual pieces in Panama and Costa Rica. More than 75 women, mostly mistresses of families, acquired a combined set of competencies (knowledge, skills and attitude), graduating from users of mobile phones to potential producers of information and media content, who can make their voice heard. More workshops and exchange meetings are planned until December 2013.

UNESCO will continue strengthening communication capacities of indigenous communities, in particular women, with objective of introducing audiovisual content generated by the communities into media at provincial and national levels.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, November 07, 2013 4:18:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Donato Tramuto, the Founder ofHealth eVillages, announced last week that the organization has made a grant to the Lwala Community Alliance (LCA) for comprehensive Internet service that will improve connectivity between LCA clinicians in rural Kenya. The grant was announced during a visit to Lwala by Tramuto and other members of the Health eVillages team.

With this grant, LCA clinicians working in rural communities in Migori County, Kenya, will be able to communicate and consult directly with doctors at the LCA Hospital in Lwala to help them make critical decisions in the field for their patients. LCA programs focus both on treatment at the Lwala Community Hospital and prevention through health education and outreach in the surrounding communities.

Health eVillages is a program founded by Tramuto and Physicians Interactive in partnership with the not-for-profit Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights (RFK Center). Health eVillages provides iPod(R), iPad(R) and other handheld devices equipped with specialized references and clinical decision support tools to improve primary and preventive healthcare in underserved areas around the world.

"Health eVillages is excited to expand our support of the Lwala Community Alliance to promote better healthcare through wellness, preventative and medical care initiatives", said Tramuto, who is also the CEO and Chairman of Physicians Interactive. "The LCA is dedicated to providing comprehensive care to its patients throughout the region, many of whom cannot make the journey to the main clinic in Lwala. With this comprehensive Internet service, clinicians in remote rural areas are now able to communicate directly on site with doctors back at the Lwala Community Hospital to immediately discuss diagnoses and treatment options, instead of having to travel back to the hospital".

The Lwala Community Alliance was founded in 2006 by brothers Milton Ochieng, M.D., and Fred Ochieng, M.D., to create sustainable solutions for the Lwala community. The Vanderbilt University Medical School graduates created the LCA to fulfill the vision of their late parents to build a hospital and provide healthcare for residents throughout Migori County.

"We are honored to receive this grant from Health eVillages to improve the communications with our clinicians in the field", said James Nardella, LCA's Executive Director. "Due to the threats of HIV, malaria, other infectious diseases and poor sanitation, life expectancy in the region hovers just above 40 years. With this grant, our clinicians will be able to better serve our patients in a more immediate manner in remote rural areas. This will enable the residents of Migori County to take a more proactive role in their own comprehensive well-being".

(Source: HealthCare IT News)

Thursday, November 07, 2013 4:10:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Nigeria’s ministry of communication technology has unveiled a new set of initiatives aimed at empowering women and girls in the ICT sector.

Initiatives planned to boost the representation of women in the sector include ‘Smart Women Nigeria’, ‘1,000 Girls in ICT’ and the ‘ICT Girls Clubs’.

According to ICT minister, Omobola Johnson, the various initiatives are geared towards educating, empowering, developing and making women and girls “ICT savvy”.
According to the minister, two of the initiatives, the Smart Women Nigeria and the 1,000 Girls ICT training programme are planned to be launched on Monday, while the ICT Girls Clubs is expected to be launched in January 2014.

“The aim of these clubs is to help to bridge the existing digital divide between boys and girls and remove the barriers that discourage girls from embracing ICTs. The goal is to ensure that more girls embrace and adopt careers in ICTs. The clubs will teach animation, website development, blogging, software development, graphics design, games, computer programming among other", Johnson said.

Smart Women Nigeria, developed by the United States-based social enterprise, ChangeCorp, is to be launched in collaboration with women’s empowerment group, WIMBIZ.

The initiative, according to Johnson, seeks to promote the development of women in Nigeria by harnessing the power of mobile communication tools provided by ICTs. She said the Smart Women initiative would target women in a range of income brackets. The programme will offer them learning in communication skills, banking, financial, health, and family work/life balance issues.

Set to be launched in collaboration with Huawei, the 1,000 Girls in ICT initiative aims to equip 1,000 girls with crucial ICT skills necessary for empowerment and development of the girls.

Over three days, the girls will be trained in telecommunication networks, transmission network and GSM, LTE, WCDMA and other ICT skills. According to the minister, upon completion of the first phase, the top 200 students based on performance will be given further training to become Huawei-Certified Network Associates.

(Source: ITwebAfrica)

Thursday, November 07, 2013 3:52:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF announced a collaboration with UNICEF Uganda on U-report, a free SMS-based reporting tool that allows Ugandan youth to communicate with their government and community leaders using their cell phones.

Launched in 2011, U-report began as a grassroots text-messaging system that conducts weekly polls for youth to share observations/opinions and speak out on issues affecting their lives. To date, more than 240,000 young adults in Uganda have joined the program. In addition to responding to surveys, U-reporters send in 'unsolicited' text messages, hoping to be heard on topics ranging from health, education and gender-based violence. Today, UNICEF receives an average of 170,000 text messages per month. Approximately 20,000 of these are unsolicited messages and initial analysis suggested that seven percent of these require immediate action from community leaders or the government. As a result of U-report's growth, the volume of diverse data was becoming a challenge for the existing system, making it difficult to identify what emerging issues were trending and which were the most urgent messages. Since February 2013, U-report has been using text analytics and machine learning technologies from IBM Research to help deal with the flood of information by automating the classification of messages. UNICEF Uganda and IBM Research deployed A-Class, a text classification system trained to understand the content of the text messages and analyzes the data much faster, and with much more accuracy.

IBM analytics, working in combination with UNICEF Uganda's existing classification process are being used by UNICEF, partners and community leaders to make more informed decisions about where to place, and how to prioritize, development and relief work efforts.

"This project has the potential to change the lives of young people in Uganda simply by giving them a platform to communicate and be heard", said Dr. Sharad Sapra, Representative, UNICEF Uganda.

"Today we've created a richer U-report that makes sense of streams of data in real-time", he said. "This technology helps us understand the real impact of policies and development programs, the pulse of the nation at any given time and it even provides an early warning system on disease outbreaks or where we need to focus relief work".

(Source: All Africa)

Thursday, November 07, 2013 3:46:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 01, 2013
PREAMBLE

We, the participants in the second Women With the Wave High Level Forum Series on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Media Inclusion of Women and Girls and Persons with Disabilities, held in Hanoi, Vietnam on the 23rd and 24th October, 2013, make this affirmation of commitment to its goals and outcomes and to the empowering of women and girls and persons with disabilities through media and ICTs.

The first Women With the Wave Forum was held in Seoul, Korea in October 2012.  From that two-day forum the Statement on Empowering Women through Media and ICTs was developed and supported by participants and sponsors.  The statement included a commitment to overarching goals in relation to the empowerment of women and girls to fully participate in, and have access to, the media and information and communication technologies (ICT). It also provided a number of potential initiatives for practical application across the region and a call for participants and sponsors to engage and promote these initiatives. In the second forum 2013 we recognise that another diversity group, persons with disabilities, should be targeted for digital inclusion and employment opportunities in the media and ICT and identified necessary measures to promote their digital inclusion and employment opportunities in media and ICTs.

Therefore, we support a reinforcement of the 2012 Women with the Wave Statement and a call to move forward to implement the updated actions arising from presentations and discussions from the 2013 forum. We also support the additional commitment and relevant activities and outcomes for persons with disabilities.

In thanking the organizers of the 2013 Forum, the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Vietnam Television (VTV) and other partners, we note that women and girls make up 50 per cent of the world’s population and there are one billion people living with some form of disability and that equal rights and opportunity underpin healthy economies and societies.
Further, we recognize that the media has a crucial role to play in promoting women and persons with disabilities’ full participation in every aspect of life and society and, to this end, we invite ITU and ABU to endorse this statement with a view to seeking to assist in the practical implementation of its recommendations.

We also call on intergovernmental agencies, in particular ITU, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (ESCAP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN Women (UNW), professional associations of broadcasters, especially the ABU, regional training institutions, such as the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) and the Asian Media and Information Communication Centre (AMIC), commercial businesses and Foundations, relevant NGOs and tertiary education institutions, including University journalism and communication departments, to take note of this statement and to undertake, where applicable, to provide support for its recommendations.

COMMITMENT

We are committed to promoting widespread and affordable access to media and information and communication technology (ICT) for women and girls and a gender inclusive media and ICT environment that empowers women and girls to fully participate and give access to expression and decision-making in and through the media and new technologies of communication by being able to:

- work in the media and ICT fields across all levels and occupational groups on and off the screen;
- have access to technological and digital platforms including multilingual and localised content;
- achieve a positive, non-stereotypical and balanced portrayal across all forms of media and technological platforms, including the recognition of women with ICT careers and girls who use ICTs for their empowerment.

We are committed to promoting widespread and affordable accessible media and information and communication technology and a more inclusive media and ICT environment for persons with disabilities by being able to:

- work in the media and ICT fields across a range of levels and occupational groups on and off the screen;
- have improved access to technological and digital platforms and use accessible media and  ICT including multilingual and localised content;
- contribute to a positive and balanced portrayal across media and technological platforms.

IMPLEMENTATION

Specifically, we declare support for the practical application across the region of the following agreed activities and outcomes of the Forum:

-development of a diversity action plan for ABU in 2014;

-implementation of the Broadcasting for All: Focus on Gender guidelines that include strategic and practical applications for use in media and ICT workplaces to promote and implement a gender mainstreaming corporate culture throughout organizations particularly focusing on policies and training that include workplace behaviour, work and family balance conditions of service, positive gender initiatives and career development;

-encouragement for the determining of a framework for the broad provision of training and access to technological and digital media by women and girls and persons with disabilities;

-applying existing research, surveys and findings of the portrayal, stories, faces and voices of the female population as well as persons with disabilities across the region and formulating a broad strategy for the application of fair representations across organizations and platforms and to change stereotypes in media content, language and presentation;

-championing media leaders who promote content and balanced images of girls and women and persons with disabilities;

-piloting UNESCO’s Gender Sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM) as a practical tool to assess and encourage gender equality and women’s empowerment in media;

-collaborating with partners, such as the ITU, to promote women and girls in media and ICTs, including developing programming story lines with women and ICT careers, organising events on International Girls in ICT Day, promoting the Women’s Digital Literacy Campaign and supporting the recommendations of the 2013 Broadband Commission Working Group on Broadband and Gender;

-securing industry-wide commitments to take steps towards positive change to promote success stories on radio and television broadcasts;
-sharing existing resources amongst stakeholders, particularly in regard to gender and disability;

-gaining specific attention and assistance, from the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) through its various specialized departments and its member organizations, to the needs of smaller media institutions (such as in island regions and remote areas), thus enabling out-reach to women and girls and persons with disabilities and their empowerment in marginalized societies;

-development and distribution of educational modules for use in secondary schools, tertiary education institutions and other scholastic agencies (and, where applicable, by distance learning modes and techniques) to introduce students to gender and media/ICT issues, and the role of media in society;

-making use of accessible broadcasting tools such as the ITU report, Making Television Accessible and the ITU Standardization Bureau Focus Group on Audio Visual Accessibility toolkit to work toward accessible media and ICTs for persons with disabilities, including by setting targets for introducing accessible broadcasting, accessible emergency communications and supporting a campaign for the accessible broadcasting of the 2016 Paralympic Games.

-adopt measures to ensure the early warning system and disaster risk reduction programs are accessible for persons with disabilities and meet universal design principles and UNCRPD, including provisions for access to alternative communication systems.

CONCLUSION

We recall the inspirational discourse of the two-day ABU/FES/ITU/UNESCO/VTV sponsored Women With the Wave High Level Forum and, in particular, the successful media and ICT case studies and models shared by speakers from throughout the region. The collegiality of fellow Forum participants, the professionalism of the videos and films they exhibited to the Forum, the commitment of keynote presenters and the atmosphere of optimism expressed by all present have reinforced our belief that affirmative action on the Forum recommendations is vital to ensuring the forward progress of the empowerment of women and girls and people with disabilities through media and ICTs.
To this end, we call on all who can assist to recognize the digital wave now sweeping the world and to join us in supporting the preparation of women and girls and people with disabilities for the opportunities and benefits which the knowledge society is now bringing to families worldwide and which will do so even more in the future.

******

Friday, November 01, 2013 4:59:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The link between disability and poverty is, in the words of the World Bank, “strong, and goes in both directions”. Many people with disabilities struggle to survive every day in the wake of conflicts and wars, which swell their numbers. This exacerbates the delivery of basic services hitting the disabled, especially women, even harder. Stigma and exclusion from education often prevail. Thus simply accessing the fundamental right to education becomes precarious.

Yet educating a child with learning disabilities is a sound, long-term investment. Not only does education reduce welfare costs and reliance on household members, it also minimises discrimination and alleviates poverty in the process.

According to estimates by the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report 2007, most disabled children in Africa do not go to school at all. Currently 72 million children of primary school age worldwide are not in school. And of those, one third suffers from disabilities.

In view of the data, achieving the EFA Targets and MDGs by 2015 may yet prove impossible unless access and the quality of education improve: and eLearning may well hold the answer. Online learning for the disabled has to become user-friendly and take their individual needs into account, whether that means giving the blind more time to use assistive technology or ensuring that audio files for the hearing-impaired are accompanied by transcripts and captions.

Crucial assistive technology in education ranges from low-tech options such as reading stands to high-cost computer technology such as Braille display. Although text-to-speech software has vastly improved opportunities for those with disabilities to engage with ICTs, the real deal comes in the shape of hardware complete with loudspeakers, a Braille keyboard and screen-reader software which converts all text on a screen to audio output. Similar programmes transcribe content onto Refreshable Braille displays.

However, all these assistive technologies come at a cost. Usually, the combined average cost comes to around 9,000 euros. Even with a state allowance, footing such a bill is no mean feat for anyone – disabled or otherwise – living on an average salary. Fortunately, several projects are underway to find affordable solutions.

Thus the question arises: how are educational institutions in Africa faring?

A three-year research scheme piloted by Kenyatta University in 2007 saw the Dolphin Pen project target 200 students in secondary and tertiary education. Conceptualized by the international charity Sightsavers, this Dolphin pen is a lightweight USB drive containing screen reading and magnification software, now available at cost price for organisations working with the blind in Africa and India.

Governments are also doing their part. Last year Malawi, a country in which less than half of 15 – 29-year-olds with disabilities ever go to school, and only 28% find work, passed the Disability Act, thereby guaranteeing the right to non-discrimination in education and employment. The impact remains to be seen.

In June of this year, the World Intellectual Property Organization said that it will negotiate an international copyright treaty to improve access to books for the blind. IPA Secretary General Jens Bammel said: “Together with libraries for the visually impaired, online booksellers and the vendors of smart phones and e-book readers, publishers are producing more and more books in the formats that visually impaired people (VIP) need”.

(Source: eLearning Africa)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:49:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Telecentre.org Foundation is partnering with Ashoka Changemakers and General Electric in a brand new initiative called, "Women Powering Work: Innovations for Economic Equality in MENA". We believe that there is a multiplier effect of investing in women. Empowering women economically not only contributes to economic growth, but also enhances the wellbeing and resilience of societies as a whole.

The Women Powering Work: Innovations for Economic Equality in MENA online competition is looking for innovations that enable the full economic participation of women. The competition opens for entries on August 21st, 2013, offering three prizes of $25,000 each to the most innovative solutions. Visit the contest online until November 6th to enter your own idea or to nominate a leading social innovator.

On October 22, join us in a special Twitter Chat, which will announce 2 of the early entry prize winners. Details of the chat are as follows:



Follow #womenWork hashtag on Twitter to receive updates about the competition.

(Source: Telecentre.org)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:39:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Do you have a winning product or service for women?

Submit an entry by 29 November to win the GSMA mWomen Global Mobile Award

The GSMA mWomen Programme aims to increase resource-poor women’s access to and use of mobile phones and life-enhancing mobile services in low- and middle-income countries. Launched in October 2010, the initiative is a key industry response to the findings of the GSMA and The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s Women and Mobile: A Global Opportunity study, which estimated that 300 million fewer women subscribed to mobile than men, suggesting a US$ 13 billion missed market opportunity.
Today, the GSMA mWomen programme objectives are to:

- Encourage industry to serve resource-poor women
- Increase availability of life-enhancing value-added services
- Promote solutions to women’s barriers to usage.

The programme pursues these objectives by offering seed funding and consulting support to help mobile operators and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) design and launch products and services to increase women’s access and use of mobile. The programme also generates and shares insights on the commercial and social value of serving women, as well as emerging lessons about economically sustainable ways to serve women with mobile at scale.

The GSMA mWomen Award celebrates products, services, distribution models, devices, applications or other innovations that increase mobile access and use by resource-poor women in low- and middle-income countries. For example, in addition to winning this prestigious award last year, Ooredoo’s Asiacell increased the proportion of women in its subscriber base from 20% to 40%, reaching nearly two million women, through its suite of products and services for the women of Iraq.

Shortlisted candidates will be published by the GSMA in January 2014, and one winner in each category will be announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday 25th February 2014.

Further details

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:31:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
                                                     
Invitation for a consultation
by ITU and UNICEF on
Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection

The draft Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection have been prepared in the context of the International Telecommunication Union’s Child Online Protection (ITU COP) initiative and apply to the safety of children when using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). They aim to provide advice on how industry can work to help ensure children’s safety when using the internet or any of the many associated technologies or devices which can connect to it or use it, including mobile phones and games consoles. The draft guidelines have been developed through an initial consultation of the ITU COP members and are now open to a broader consultation until 29 November 2013.

The purpose of these Guidelines is to:
- Establish a common reference point and guidance to the ICT and online industries
- Provide guidance to companies on identifying, preventing and mitigating any adverse impacts of their products and services on children’s rights
- Provide guidance to companies on how to promote children’s rights and responsible digital citizenship among children and young people.
- Suggest common principles that, though requiring different models of implementation for different industry players, could potentially form the basis of national or regional pan-industry commitments.

A copy of the draft version of the Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection is available here [PDF] along with a set of questions at the end to facilitate your input and feedback on the draft.

Responses can be sent to the following mailboxes: cop@itu.int and csr@unicef.org. This feedback will provide input for the development of the final Guidelines will be released in January 2014. All feedback will be treated as confidential. An anonymous summary will be provided following the consultation. We appreciate your valuable time and support for the initiative.

For further information, please contact the UNICEF CSR unit on csr@unicef.org (Eija Hietavuo and Amaya Gorostiaga) or the ITU COP on cop@itu.int (Carla Licciardello).

Further information

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:16:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A new study commissioned by Intel Corporation and conducted by Penn Schoen Berland examining global attitudes toward technology innovation challenges existing perceptions on technology champions and hotspots. The research reveals millennials (ages 18 to 24) are the least enthusiastic about technology today yet are optimistic for future technology that delivers a more personalized experience, while women in emerging markets are the most optimistic about innovations in technology.

The "Intel Innovation Barometer" reveals millennials globally show a stark contrast to their reputation as digital natives who can't get enough technology in their lives. A majority of millennials agree that technology makes people less human and that society relies on technology too much.

However, millennials also believe technology enhances their personal relationships (69 percent) and have great hope that innovations will positively impact education (57 percent), transportation (52 percent) and healthcare (49 percent). This generation is also slightly more willing than their oldest cohorts to anonymously share birth dates, GPS records and online shopping history if it helps to improve experiences.

"At first glance it seems millennials are rejecting technology, but I suspect the reality is more complicated and interesting", said Dr. Genevieve Bell, anthropologist and director of Interaction and Experience Research at Intel Labs. "A different way to read this might be that millennials want technology to do more for them, and we have work to do to make it much more personal and less burdensome".

Millennials want future technology to make life better, more simple and fun. Eighty-six percent believe technology innovation makes life simpler, and more than one-third think technology should know them by learning about their behavior and preferences. They want experiences that help them stay in the moment and be their best selves.

Women Carry the Tech Torch
The survey revealed that older women and those living in emerging markets are enthusiastic about the role of technology in their lives. Globally, women over 45 years of age are slightly more likely than younger women to say that people don't use enough technology. They also are more likely to say that technology makes people more human, helping to deepen their relationships.

These female tech fans are even more pronounced in emerging markets such as China, where more than 7 out of 10 women over the age of 45 believe people don't use technology enough. Women in emerging markets across ages believe innovations will drive better education (66 percent), transportation (58 percent), work (57 percent) and healthcare (56 percent). Women in emerging markets would be willing to embrace technologies others may consider to be too personal to improve their experiences: software that watches their work habits (86 percent), students' study habits (88 percent) and even smart toilets that monitor their health (77 percent).

"Women historically have become avid users of technology when that technology solves a problem, helps us organize our lives and that of our families as well as aids us in saving time and time shifting", added Bell. "I have to wonder whether this data is showing that women are optimistic because they see technology innovation that is starting to deliver on the promise of better fitting into the rhythms of our days, helping with our specific concerns and needs, and creating new compelling experiences that women and men alike will find valuable".

(Source: Intel Newsroom).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:33:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Getting more girls interested in a digital career and getting more women into digital jobs would benefit the digital industry, women themselves and Europe's economy. This is the key finding of the European Commission survey on women active in the ICT sector, published last week.

According to the study, there are now too few women working in the ICT sector:

1.Of 1,000 women with a Bachelors or other first degree, only 29 hold a degree in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) (as compared to 95 men), and only 4 in 1000 women will eventually work in the ICT sector.
2.Women leave the sector mid-career to a greater extent than men and they are under-represented in managerial and decision-making positions (even more than in other sectors).
3.Only 19.2% of ICT-sector workers have female bosses, compared to 45.2% of non-ICT workers.

But if the trend were reversed and women held digital jobs as frequently as men, the European GDP could be boosted annually by around € 9 billion (1.3 times Malta's GDP), according to the study. The ICT sector would benefit since organisations which are more inclusive of women in management achieve a 35% higher Return on Equity and 34% better total return to shareholders than other comparable organisations.

The study also suggests that women who work in the ICT sector earn almost 9% more than women in other parts of the economy, and also have greater higher flexibility in arranging their working schedules and are less susceptible to unemployment (by 2015, there will be 900,000 unfilled ICT positions in the EU).

European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes said: "We now know, beyond doubt, that more women in a business mean a healthier business. It is high time the IT sector realised this and allowed women a chance to help the sector and Europe's economy benefit from their enormous potential".
The study also suggests four priority areas where action should be taken:

1.Building a renewed image of the sector among women and society, with actions such as disseminating most appealing ICT topics for young women (exciting, diverse, profitable etc.);
2.Empowering women in the sector, e.g. promoting, together with industry, harmonised European educational curricula to foster clear and straightforward ICT careers paths;
3.Increasing the number of women entrepreneurs in ICTs, e.g. improving access to seed and venture capital programs for women entrepreneurs;
4.Improving working conditions in the sector, e.g. by highlighting the improved performance of businesses employing women.

Further details

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:28:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


In several countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, women have equal access to Internet than men, but  women have disadvantage respect the use. This situation limits both personal and professional development of the female population than growth with equity in the countries of the region under the new technological paradigm, a new study released last week by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The rate of Internet use among women is on average 8.5 % lower than of men in 10 countries with available information included in the document “Women in the Digital Economy: Overcoming the threshold of inequality”, whose findings have feeded the work of the XII Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, which was held last week in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The digital economy includes the telecommunications infrastructure - particularly broadband networks - industries of information and communications  technology (ICT) - hardware , software and applications- and the degree of users' digital literacy.

In all countries has increased, in recent years, the proportion of men and women who report using the Internet from any access point , but only in Brazil , Mexico and Uruguay the gender gap narrowed. In the rest of countries widened. The difference between women and men is nearly 5 % in Chile (39.3 % vs. 44 %) , a country that has one of the highest rates of use of this technology. In Peru, meanwhile, 26 % of women and 34.1 % of men say they are users.

This gender digital divide is more common in urban than rural areas and mainly affects older women of all educational levels. In El Salvador the difference between women and men with tertiary education is five points ( 70.3 % versus 75.5 %), while in Honduras is almost three percent (71.2 % and 74 %). In Brazil , on  other hand, 4.3 % of women and 7.4 % of men 65 years older report using internet, the same happen in countries like Costa Rica (3.1 % and 7.1 %) and Ecuador (2.1% and 4.1 % ).
The prevalence of Internet use increases, as well as the income level of households rises, but the gender gap is smaller in those groups where the technology is less accessible. In Uruguay, the least unequal country in this area, 34.5 % of women in the first quintile report using Internet against 63 % in the fifth quintile.

The only situation where inequality is reversed is in the case of women employees, showing Internet use rates higher than those of men. The latter data indicates that having skills for use of ICT can be a powerful tool for the employment of many women.

But, almost half of the women in the region (representing 50.9 % of the population, over 300 million people) have no any link with the labor market: the female economic activity rate reaches 49.8 % ( for male the rate reaches 78.7 % ) and one per every 10 women are employed in domestic service, one of the lowest paid work and less social protection.

Ensuring women's economic autonomy, increasing their labor market participation and recognizing the unpaid work that they perform mostly, are some of the main challenges that the countries of the region are facing, raises the ECLAC. And as  in the digital economy the gender inequalities, present in the rest of society, are reproduced, policies that prevent occupational segregation, wage gaps prevention and promote a fair gender division of labor are necessary.

Full Report (In Spanish):

(Source: CEPAL)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:20:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Seventh Annual IGF Meeting was held in Baku, Azerbaijan from 6-9 November 2012. The main theme for the meeting was: ‘Internet Governance for Sustainable Human, Economic and Social Development’.

Development and growth in the modern age is directly associated with the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). At present, the level of application of ICT is among the main indicators of intellectual and scientific potential, transparency in the public administration and the solution of social and economic problems. ICTs are playing an increasingly important role in the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as a powerful tool to fight poverty, empower women, increase the education level, and improve environmental management.

Considering this pivotal fact, the Government of Azerbaijan pays special attention to the development of information technologies. Azerbaijan’s National ICT Strategy (2003 - 2012) has promoted the widening use of ICT tools to raise efficiency and transparency in the public sector, and recognizes innovation as one of the underlying principles for ICT application. Azerbaijan is also well - known regionally and internationally for its promotion of the information society as a national development priority. Azerbaijan hosted the 7th Internet Governance Forum in 2012 and declared 2013 the Year of Information and Communications Technologies.

Concerted national efforts invested by the Government of Azerbaijan have enabled the country to become one of the best performers among the CIS countries according to the 2012 Global Technology Report by the World Economic Forum. The ICT sector grew twice in size, on average, in the span of every 3 years covering the period of 2004 - 2013.

The Republic of Azerbaijan is a leader among CIS countries when measuring the density of Internet users during the last three years. In 2012, this figure increased from 65 % to 70%. Likewise, the quality of internet services as well as external internet connectivity increased by 2.2 times in 2012. Prices also reduced by approximately 35% compared to 2011 according to the World Economic Forum.

Consequently, given Azerbaijan’s success in creating an enabling ICT policy environment and its demonstrated effectiveness in e-government over the past decade after the establishment of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan (MCIT), the Internet has slowly become an integral part of individual, private and public/state activities. Azerbaijan ranks very high in the region in terms of Internet access. On behalf of the Government, MCIT was fruitfully involved in all IGF events that took place. An up-to- date e-governance portal has been created by the Government of Azerbaijan, which connects 40 line ministries that provide online services to citizens as well as the public and private sector. This enables the government institutions to facilitate fast and quality delivery of e-government services and is considered as a huge step towards the formation of an e-society in the country.

Click here to download the Full Report

(Source: UNPAN)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:11:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Intel Newsroom)

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


From 2-4 December 2013, hundreds of leaders and decision-makers in media organisations, civil society actors, governments, UN agencies, business and human rights advocates will gather at Imperial Queens Park hotel in Bangkok, Thailand to evaluate the trends in gender inequalities in the media and formulate collective and creative solutions to reduce gender disparities. The Global Forum on Media and Gender will be hosted by the Kingdom of Thailand National Commission for UNESCO and the Thammasat University.

Objectives of the Forum:
One of the key outputs of this forum will be to set up a Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMG). The purpose of the GAMG is for the media and all other stakeholder groups to stand together for real and sustainable change.

UNESCO and partners will put the spotlight on the need to reduce gender inequalities in media during the Global Forum on Gender and Media being held in Bangkok, Thailand from 2 to 3 December, 2013. The Forum will be an important follow-up to one of the critical areas of concern of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, Women and the Media Diagnosis, and its strategic objectives.

Gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEwe) issues will perhaps be the development priority of the next decade or two. This topic will take marked prominence in the Post 2015 MDGs formulation. According to the report of the thematic consultation, Addressing Inequalities - Post 2015 Development Agenda, “Gender-based discrimination and the denial of the rights of women and girls, remains the single most widespread driver of inequalities in today’s world”.

In the area of media and gender, statistics indicate worrying trends in women's representation in media content, staffing and management.

In taking note of these statistics, UNESCO and partners organized this global forum as part of broader and continuing efforts to empower women and reducing gender inequalities, given the potential of both elements to advance economic and social development. The urgency of this event is reflected not just in the timing but also in the issues to be discussed and the calibre of international stakeholders being brought together to build a coalition to push for action to reduce gender inequities in the media.

On-site and remote participation
During this global event, thousands of stakeholders, participating on-site and from remote locations, will lend their voices, intellectual capacity, collective creativity and ingenuity to the development of comprehensive linking-up of efforts to address the following issues:

- Gender-sensitive policies and strategies in media (particularly PSBs, government-controlled media, private, and community radios – including those online).
- Gender mainstreaming in journalism education.
- Safety of women journalists online and offline.
- Media and information literacy and gender.
- Reporting on issues affecting women including gender-based violence, women in conflict and post-conflict situations.
- Media, legal and regulatory frameworks and national gender polices/strategies.
- Facilitate citizens’ media dialogue on gender equality.
- FOE and regional and global trends: the gender dimensions.

Further Information

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:59:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Innovation for Girls’ Education is a perfect theme for the 2013 International Day of the Girl Child. It recognizes the importance of preparing girls for a changing world; a world in which technology will play an increasingly significant role. It suggests the need for new ways of working, to provide quality education where ‘business as usual’ has failed. It speaks of the shift in the ‘girls’ education dialogue’ from one of access and learning, to one of empowerment.

This can be seen in the growing number of new initiatives that seek to build girls’ confidence and sense of agency. Many of them have been implemented by UNGEI’s partners and showcased on this dedicated space. In an uncertain and increasingly interconnected world, education has the power to transform people and promote positive, shared values. For girls, education can also transform society, by building the self-confidence of girls and women, improving their position in society and challenging inequalities.

Around the world, governments, civil society and the private sector are introducing innovative approaches to girls’ education. The World We Want platform recently hosted a three week interactive dialogue on Innovating for Girls’ Education, where practitioners shared stories about promising programs that expand access, promote learning, address social and financial barriers or collaborate through new partnerships. This has become a space rich in resources and ideas that can be adapted and implemented to address girls’ education challenges.

…in India
In the slums of Gomtinagar in Luchnow, India, girls from very poor families attend Prerna, an all-girls formal school run by a private NGO (Study Hall Educational Foundation). The school meets in the afternoon to accommodate the needs of girls whose economic circumstances require that they work. Community and parents play an important role in making the school a success. For example, girls’ parents must sign an agreement to protect their girls from child marriage. What is innovative about this school is the main goal. It is not so much about learning outcomes as life outcomes. Their goal is to support girls to become women who see themselves as equal persons having the right to equal participation in an unequal society, and to be equipped with the appropriate skills for such equal participation. Classes from preschool through grade 12 are interactive and activity-based. The girls study gender and empowerment along with science and math, and they are supported by a strong peer and teacher network. So far the results have been impressive with girls staying, achieving and graduating to take up either work or further study.

….in Kenya and Uganda
In Kenya and Uganda, the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), seeks to prevent the dropout of girls from school due to early pregnancy and marriage. The project - Adolescent Sexual & Reproductive Health: Fulfilling African Girls’ Rights - focuses on strengthening awareness, knowledge and skills among teachers, peer educators, community leaders and parents. It applies methods proven to work in FAWE’s approach to girls’ education and their Tuseme youth empowerment clubs. It provides mobile interactive platforms, and support to adolescents in assisting implementation of school re-entry policies for teenage mothers.

…and in Africa
In rural areas of Africa, Camfed works with young people to develop an innovative curriculum, ‘My Better World’, to empower young people to take charge of their well-being. This curriculum is founded on the recognition that a narrow academic focus does not adequately prepare young people for life beyond school. By developing a broad range of qualities such as self-reliance, resilience and problem-solving, young people will be empowered to take ownership of their own well-being; learning to ‘be well’ (have their needs met) and ‘do well’ (act to improve their life or the lives of others). The delivery of My Better World is led by networks of young women who are volunteering to work as Learner Guides. Through a mobile-phone based platform developed by Camfed, the Learner Guides freely connect young people across regions and provide them with learning modules and peer mentoring beyond the classroom.

The International Day of the Girl Child celebrates the importance of girls and how education can be the force that propels them to reach their full potential. It also provides a platform to showcase innovation which breaks boundaries for new partnerships, engages girls and women in the design as well as the delivery of programs, enables girls to achieve new levels of ambition, or extends existing programs to reach marginalized girls.

To help governments, civil society and others to present their innovative work in education, UNGEI launched a Fund for the Documentation of Good Practice in Girls’ Education and Gender Equality which provides an opportunity for good practices to be systematically documented and shared within and between countries and regions. These stories will be collected and showcased on our website.

Furthermore, UNGEI’s new mini-podcast series entitled Changing the World for Girls will highlight the experience of a range of girls’ education advocates, researchers and practitioners. The first in the series will be released in the coming weeks. To learn more about what it takes to educate a girl, we also invite you to view this film where we explore such questions and how best …To Educate a Girl.

UNGEI stands committed to and will continue fight for the right of girls to get an education. We will also continue to support the Global Partnership for Education’s mandate to ensure that all girls complete primary school and go to secondary school in a safe, supportive learning environment.

(Source: UNGEI)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:39:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Tecno America Economia)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:29:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Global prizes will recognize outstanding projects designed to further accessibility and affordability of ICTs.

For the third consecutive year, ITU has launched a competition that recognizes excellence in the implementation of projects and initiatives which further the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) goals of improving connectivity to information and communication technologies (ICTs), particularly within underserved communities.
Organized into four phases which will run until mid-April 2014, the contest comprises 18 categories directly linked to the WSIS Action Lines outlined in the Geneva Plan of Action. Winners for each category will be announced at an award ceremony on 13 April 2014, during the WSIS+10 High-Level Event.

The WSIS Project Prizes provide a high-profile, international platform for recognizing and showcasing success stories and models that could be easily replicated. They are designed to empower communities at the local level, giving all stakeholders working on WSIS projects the opportunity to participate. In particular, they recognize the commitment and efforts of stakeholders – no matter how big or small – to use ICT as a powerful tool improve social inclusiveness and economic development.

Next year’s awarding of the 2014 WSIS Project Prizes takes on a special significance in the light of WSIS+10 Review Process.

“I am pleased to see so many stakeholders making such great achievements in the implementation of the WSIS outcomes, and inspiring others to do the same”, said Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General of ITU. “I hope to see even more countries and stakeholders engaging in the process and sharing their valuable knowledge with others through this platform”.

Submissions can be made online at www.wsis.org/prizes until 1st November 2013.

Testimonials from past winners
“Receiving the 2013 WSIS Project Prize was a tremendous honour and an important recognition that public libraries are powerful partners in development. Winning such an esteemed prize gave us extra validation that our innovative approach connecting libraries with technology is working”. Rima Kupryte, Director of EIFL.
“The victory of the electronic licensing of Kazakhstan in the international WSIS Project Prizes 2013 competition served as a great incentive and became the pride of the entire project team, including both public authorities and the business community…After receiving the award, experts from several countries visited Kazakhstan to learn more about our experience in introducing the project and our plans for further development. We would be very glad if other Kazakhstan projects would take part in this important competition in future”. Ruslan Ensebayev, Chairman of the Board, NITEC, Kazakhstan.

“Winning the prize means that even small nations can give examples to the world of how to successfully design and execute ICT projects to increase the accessibility of new technologies to poor people, in line with the Millennium Development Goals.Our team has received many congratulations, and other countries have asked us for advice. We are very glad to share our expertise and collaborate with countries to help them to replicate the model”. Patricio Carvajal, Digital Literacy Director, Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society, Ecuador.

“It is important to win this contest because it gives official recognition to your work and confirms that you are doing the right thing”. Thomas Mueller, Deputy Head of Programmes, Child Helpline International.

“It is an incentive for the team to further transform our e-government programmes into a more reachable, available, secure, and seamless service for citizens". Khaled H. Al Ajmi, Ministry of Higher Education, Saudi Arabia.

More information on last year’s winners can be found at WSIS Stocktaking: Success Stories 2013.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:17:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 10, 2013
Young social entrepreneurs seek to change the world with technology

ITU Telecom has announced the winners of its third annual Young Innovators’ Competition. Open to young social entrepreneurs between ages 18 and 26 from around the world, the competition seeks innovative digital solutions in the form of start-ups or initial concepts meeting global developmental challenges. The winners will be heading to ITU Telecom World 2013, the leading networking, solutions showcasing and knowledge-sharing event for the global ICT community in Bangkok, Thailand, 19 - 22 November.
From over 600 entries from 88 countries worldwide, 10 submissions were selected as having the greatest possible social impact and potential for business success:

- Al Dalilah Advanced Operational GPS represented by Ahmed Fawzi from Egypt – an advanced tracking and first response system using meteorological data.
- Broad Street Maps represented by Hannah Judge from the USA – producing individualized healthcare maps to support health organizations.
- KUMBA Connect represented by Keston Perry from Trinidad and Tobago – an interface connecting unemployed Caribbean migrants with technical skills based in the UK with Caribbean-based companies.
- Land-Sea Digital Bridge represented by Nguyen Tran Hoang from Viet Nam – an HF digital radio communication system connecting fishing boats and shore stations.
- M-Tambula represented by Brenda Katwesigye from Uganda – providing the elderly with easy access to public services using Interactive Voice Response over mobile phones.
- NduruApp represented by Thomas Kioko from Kenya – a one-stop mobile app to manage all aspects of road safety.
- Open Curriculum represented by Varun Arora from India – an online platform for local K12 educational material for standard, primary and secondary schooling.
- SalvageHub represented by Oscar Ekponimo from Nigeria – a web and mobile platform to reduce food wastage at individual and retail levels.
- SiSwApp represented by Timothy McDermott from Australia/ Swaziland – an English-SiSwati  translation app aimed at migrant workers.
- Tudlo Disaster and Emergency App represented by Yvone Loremia from the Philippines – a multi-purpose information platform for emergency and disaster situations.

At ITU Telecom World 2013 in Bangkok, the Young Innovators’ Competition winners will take part in an accelerator programme to take their projects to the next level via one-on-one mentorship sessions with start-up mentors and business experts, hands-on workshop training, peer mentoring from the winners of the 2012 competition, and the opportunity to showcase their projects to the event's influential audience at the InnovationSpace on the showfloor. The winners will also be competing for up to USD 5,000 prize money for great concepts, and up to USD 10,000 for innovative start-ups.

“These are bright young minds with creative technological solutions to developmental challenges both in their communities and in the wider world”, said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Toure. “Bringing the competition winners to the forefront of the global ICT stage at ITU Telecom World connects them with the event's influential audience, with the entrepreneurial experiences and with the success stories of their expert mentors and their peers from 2012. These are the connections and conversations that matter, with the power to make a real difference in the world”.

For further information on the Young Innovators Programme and Competition, please see world2013.itu.int/event/young-innovators-competition-2013/

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 1:44:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Huawei, in partnership with the Angola Ministry of Education and Unitel, has launched phase two of E-Net, a project to connect schools in Angola. 



“The objective of this project is to promote bridging of digital divide among Angola youth, at the same time enhancing research and development in ICT leading to localized innovations’, said Mr. Leon Liu, Director at Huawei Technologies Angola Representative office. He added that Huawei was committed to collaborate with local partners such as the government and Unitel to advance Angola as knowledge based economy.

The digital inclusion project will benefit over 18000 youth, covering the 18 provinces of the country. The first phase has already connected Bie, Cabinda, Luanda, Benguela, Kwanza Norte, Malanje, Huambo, Uige, and Huila. The second phase is expected to cover the provinces of Zaire, Moxico, Kubango, Kwanza Sul, Bengo, Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, Namibe and Cunene.

Investment in infrastructure, competitive internet pricing, and enabling regulatory environment are key in enhancing Africa’s connectivity. According to Internet World Stats, by end of June 2012 Angola internet users were 2,976,657 forming a 14.8% penetration of the country’s population, translating to Africa’s 1.8% internet users. Initiatives such as the E-net project are key in increasing the country’s connectivity and internet usage.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 11:27:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The four-year UNESCO-China Funds-in-Trust (CFIT) project, launched in 2012, is starting its second year, enhancing the capacity of local Teacher Training/Education Institutions through information and communication technology (ICT) in 8 African countries.

Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, and Namibia were the first to join the project. They finished their needs assessment and project planning phase, and are now starting to implement. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Liberia, Tanzania, and Uganda are joining the project in October 2013, and will start their needs assessment and project planning very soon.

For the first time since the commencement of the CFIT, representatives from the 8 countries will gather in Paris and meet with international experts, UNESCO staff, permanent delegates of the 8 countries and China. This meeting, taking place between 9 and 11 October 2013, marks the 1st anniversary of the project. During the meeting, participants will take stock of achievements, review the lessons learnt, and more importantly, pave the way ahead for the 8 target countries.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 11:14:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Humanipo)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 10:42:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 07, 2013
Intel follows 'Women and the Web' Report with action, furthers Commitment to educating Women and Girls in Developing Countries.

Last week Intel Corporation announced "She Will Connect", a new program that commits to expanding digital literacy skills to young women in developing countries. Intel will begin the initiative in Africa, where the gender gap is the greatest, by aiming to reach 5 million women and reduce the gender gap by 50 percent. To achieve this, Intel will work with a diverse set of partners including global and local NGOs and governments.

Findings from the groundbreaking "Women and the Web" report released by Intel in January revealed concrete data on the enormous Internet gender gap in the developing world and the social and economic benefits of securing Internet access for women. The report issued a call to action for stakeholders to double the number of women and girls online in developing countries in three years. She Will Connect demonstrates Intel's commitment to this action by not only providing digital literacy skills to girls and women, but also by pushing the concept of digital literacy forward through new, innovative and scalable models.

"The Internet has transformed the lives of billions of people", said Shelly Esque, vice president of Intel's Corporate Affairs Group and president of the Intel Foundation. "It functions as a gateway to ideas, resources and opportunities that never could have been realized before, but our research shows that girls and women are being left behind. We believe that closing the Internet gender gap has tremendous potential to empower women and enrich their lives as well as all the lives they touch".

In conjunction with She Will Connect, Intel pledged a 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action and is celebrating the United Nations' second International Day of the Girl on October 11. The theme for this year's International Day of the Girl emphasizes the importance of girls' education worldwide.

"When we think about what the world is going to look like in the coming 20 years, we have to do more to make sure that women as well as men, girls as well as boys are empowered to use new technology to further their own aspirations", said Secretary Hillary Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative 2013 annual meeting last week.

"She Will Connect" will test a new model that integrates digital literacy with gender and development programming targeting women and girls:

- Online Gaming Platform – Intel is developing an online gaming platform to innovate the delivery of digital literacy content through an interactive, engaging approach for smartphones and tablets in a game-infused environment. With the gaming platform, learning can take place in a mediated environment, individually, across devices and in the context of a peer network.

-Peer Network – Intel and World Pulse are working together to integrate World Pulse's digital empowerment training into existing digital literacy programs and connect women to a safe and supportive peer network. Through the World Pulse platform, women can exchange ideas, find support and mentorship, and obtain relevant content tailored for women. This innovative approach will push the field of digital literacy so learning can take place not only as an individual in a shared computing environment but also through peers.

Beyond Africa, Intel is expanding on its ongoing commitment to empower girls and women globally, with continued work in India with a goal to reach 1 million women with Intel's Easy Steps digital literacy training program in the next year. In Latin America, Intel is partnering with several governments and organizations providing digital literacy training with a special focus on fostering entrepreneurial skills in Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

In addition to launching "She Will Connect", Intel is celebrating International Day of the Girl by building on its strong culture of employee volunteerism for Global Giveback Day. Championed by leaders from the Intel Network of Executive Women and the Women at Intel Network, employees will collaborate with organizations in support of education and empowerment of girls and women. Intel is also hosting screenings of the transformational film Girl Rising around the world on October 11 to raise global visibility about the importance of educating girls.

(Source: Intel Newsroom)

Monday, October 07, 2013 2:40:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Indian Government is developing a National Mission on ICT aiming to create a national IT platform connecting all schools, providing students and teachers with opportunities to collaborate and share knowledge.

Through this mission, the Government is looking to take on a learner-centric approach in delivering education by facilitating the provision of infrastructure that will connect the schools to internet at minimum 10 mbps.

Radha Chauhan, Joint Secretary of Secondary Education, Government of India, shared, “Latest technological innovations will be used to share multimedia and web content through the platform. Apart from creating a better governance system for the schools, we are aiming to deliver quality education to all students in the country through the National Mission by equipping both students and teachers with technology”.

The government is also weighing the provision of mobile devices such as tablets to all students at the high school level. Other than ICT, the framework is also looking to bring transparency to governance in the schools.

More details

Monday, October 07, 2013 2:21:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 27, 2013
Twenty one new rural telecentres have been opened in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka earlier this week as part of the Information Infrastructure programme of the Sri Lanka’s ICT development strategy, e-Sri Lanka.

These ICT service delivery centres, known as Nenasalas (‘nena’ means ‘knowledge’ and ‘salas’ means ‘shops’), are based on the vision of developing e-societies connecting community members to information and e-services.

Nenasalas serve as ICT hubs, linking the students, farmers and business owners to the internet and providing access to IT knowledge and skills with computer literacy classes. They serve as bases for radio broadcasts of market prices and agricultural information to farmers and telehealth facilities.

Moreoever, they have facilities for visually and hearing impaired individuals with audiobooks and hearing aids.

Chairman of ICT Agency (ICTA), Professor P. W. Epasinghe has said that the aim of the Nenasalas is to accelerate the process of equipping people with IT knowledge and facilities. The e-Sri Lanka strategy states the establishment of a network of 1000 Nenasalas to providing the communities with “affordable access to information and communications technologies”.

Epasinghe said that the opening of the new telecentres “coincides aptly with the economic development taking place in the North with the dawn peace in the country”, as the Northern Province recovers from the end of 25 years of civil strife.

There are currently a total of 699 Nenasalas across the country, with 19 more to be opened in the North.

Further information

Friday, September 27, 2013 4:24:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

International Day of the Girl Child 2013 – Innovating for Girls' Education
“Innovating for Girls’ Education” E-discussion on the World We Want platform
You are invited to participate in this new e-discussion!
Join the conversation by registering at http://worldwewant2015.org/education2015
Go to Week One discussion and participate: http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/391846

The fulfillment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves. While there has been significant progress in improving girls’ access to education over the last two decades, many girls, particularly the most marginalized, continue to be deprived of this basic right. Girls in many countries are still unable to attend school and complete their education due to safety-related, financial, institutional and cultural barriers. When girls are in school, perceived low returns from poor quality of education, low aspirations, or household chores and other responsibilities keep them from attending school or from achieving adequate learning outcomes.

Innovation will be an important strategy in addressing the nature and scale of barriers girls continue to face and in ensuring they receive an education commensurate with the challenges of the 21st century. Smart and creative use of technology is one route to overcoming gender barriers to girls’ learning and achievement, but innovation in partnerships, policies, resource utilization, community mobilization, and most of all, the engagement of young people themselves, can be important catalyzing forces.

International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations in 2011 and celebrated annually on 11 October. In recognition of the importance of fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward, the theme of International Day of the Girl Child for 2013 will be: Innovating for Girls’ Education. UNICEF as a leading agency for the coordination of the theme and related events is starting a new e-discussion with a similar theme, on the World We Want online platform. The discussion will be coordinated by the Youth Advocacy Group of the United Nations Global Education First Initiative (GEFI).

The e-discussion aims to gather and learn about innovative approaches, ideas and solutions from different regions, countries and communities that help improve girls' education and their learning outcomes, particularly of those most disadvantaged. The e-discussion will be facilitated by expert moderators and will run for three weeks from 16 September to 6 October, each week covering a new theme. The theme of Week One is Innovation in Education Infrastructure.

How can I participate? After you register online, simply click on the E-Discussion: Innovating for Girls' Education – WEEK ONE (and consecutive weeks). Contribute by leaving your views, ideas and stories of innovative solutions in a new Comment window.
Join the conversation by registering here: http://www.worldwewant2015.org/education2015

(Source: Women Watch)

Friday, September 27, 2013 4:16:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
As part of its ongoing commitment of developing Egypt through technology, Intel took a leap forward to reduce the digital illiteracy in Egypt at the difficult times that the country is going through politically. Intel will deliver educating initiative "Evolve your Life, live it with strength" on the importance of technology, latest technologies in the market and entrepreneurship trainings to Egyptian youth through a 2 months roadshow to Egyptian governorates to bridge the gap between the knowledge that students acquire during their academic study and the practical experience required by the labor market in both the public and private sectors.

As societies mature and people express themselves through their spending, technology is a status symbol that plays to their needs and helps them show how they are ahead of others. Proportion of individuals in urban areas using computer reached 41.1%, while the proportion of individuals in rural areas using computer reached 29%. Intel believes that technology opens up a world of opportunities for people from education, career, to entertainment and social life, as there is good growth for technology penetration potential in Egypt. During "Evolve your Life, live it with strength" technology awareness initiative will reach out across six governorates (Alex, Cairo, Mansoura, Minya, Tanta, Zagazig) through series of educational activities to provide opportunities for young learners to obtain key skills needed for tomorrow's success, with a focus on the importance of technology use, problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration which will increase technology knowledge and innovation capacity in the market to meet the immediate employment needs in the market and to develop the Egypt's labor market efficiency which currently marks 119 from 148 globally.

"We live in a world of opportunities. It starts with the potential we all have inside to succeed, connect, and be inspired. Intel's mission is to deliver technology advancements that become essential to the way we work and live. We truly believe that technology can play a huge role in ending the digital divide in Egypt and driving personal growth, be it in developing job skills or providing easy access to quality education, healthcare and critical government services. Our quest is to bring nation awareness for digital literacy by pursuing their passions to promote social progress and to successfully compete in the global marketplace." Stated Ahmed El Zoghby, Market Development Manager, Intel Egypt.

According to a research conducted by Intel Egypt, Egyptian youth are lacking the main importance of technology use in education and career building as it is consider a luxurious device; around 68% purchase devices to stay only up to date, 48% use devices for gaming only and 24% are not prioritizing devices purchase in their lives. Throughout everyday life, technology is universal and Intel understands this. When buying a computer for the first time, choice of device will come down to what the needs and requirements are. Intel's mission is to create awareness about the different technology usage and to delight its customers by delivering technology advancements that become essential to the way they work and live which will improve Egypt's Technological readiness which currently ranks 100 from 148 countries globally.
 
"The world is changing rapidly, PCs open your eyes to what is happening globally and help you expand your knowledge of the world. We believe consumers should enjoy a wealth of choice across the devices they use to keep in touch socially, stay in the know, get entertained, work and play". Added Ahmed El Zoghby, Market Development Manager, Intel Egypt.

Egypt is one of the highest-growth potential IT markets in the Middle East as it has a 7.89% yearly growth of internet users in Q1 2013 estimated internet users of 33.34 million compared to 30.90 million at the end of Q1 2012 and Internet penetration reached 40.09%. People in developing economies are keen to connect to the internet and seek out the opportunities for learning, entrepreneurship, creativity and socializing. Intel will channel the potential we all have inside to succeed, connect, and be inspired, by giving access to entertainment, education, and being connected with others. It empowers people who are purchasing technology for the first time through its innovation and choice in devices.

(Source: Zawya)

Friday, September 27, 2013 4:03:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: BBC News Africa)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download the full version of the new report here.

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

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

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

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

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

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

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

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

(Source: FutureGov)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 10:11:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The government through the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has established fully equipped modern computer laboratories in over 1,000 government-owned secondary schools across the country. Speaking at the Uganda Institute of ICT in Kampala on Friday, Bob Lyazi, the Director of the Rural Communication Development Fund at UCC said about $10m had been invested in the initiative.

Each of these laboratories carries at least 40 custom made computers built to suit conditions in Uganda’s secondary schools.

There are about 1,050 government-owned secondary schools in Uganda. According to Lyazi, the remaining schools will get computer labs in the next one year.
Lyazi further disclosed that of the 1000 computer labs, 600 have already been connected to the internet while the rest will acquire internet within the next one year. Other than being used as a fountain of knowledge by the schools, Lyazi said the computer labs are also been used to impart Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills in residents.

“We have so far imparted over 50,000 people across the country with ICT related skills such as computer maintenance, internet connectivity, computer repairs, CD burning, website designing, computer science among others”, said Lyazi.

The residents who live close to the secondary schools make use of the computer labs during evening hours and on holidays when not in use by the students. However, the terms of enrolling in the training are subject to negotiation between the schools and the residents.

“We are proud of this project. Uganda is the only country in Africa where there are computer labs in nearly all government schools. Because we have computer labs in these schools, starting next year, computer studies will be compulsory at A level and Uganda will be the first country in Africa to take such a move”, said Lyazi. “The idea behind this project is that, ICT should become an integral part of the lives of Ugandans. ICT also needs to be integrated into our education system because ICT’s are awash with infinite information. At the end of it all, our country will get easily transformed once these ICT skills become widespread across all villages in Uganda”, added Lyazi.

The project to establish computer labs in secondary schools is a five year program launched in late 2007. Asked why the project was not rolled out to primary schools, Lyazi said it would be unaffordable for government now since there are over 13,000 government owned primary schools in the country.

Lyazi was speaking as guest of honor at the graduation of 250 primary school teachers from Kampala’s Nakawa division who underwent a month long training in an ICT introduction course conducted by the Nakawa based e-Learner Uganda.

(Source: New Vision)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 10:07:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Algeria will host its first TechCamp at the end of this September. The dates are September 28 and 29. This two-days meeting is a first step towards the consolidation of the Internet ecosystem in the country.

According to the organizers: "The TechCamp, is a series of interactive lectures that focus on capacity building of young Algerians through the use of information and communication technologies".

A TechCamp, to reiterate, is a lecture series that takes place in more than 90 countries worldwide. These meetings bring related ICT specialists with civil society and young technology enthusiasts.

These lectures are considered a highly interactive event, inviting participants to work in small groups on local issues and opportunities in technology. TechCamp Algeria is an event organized by World Learning, a non-profit organization which operates in several countries.

For more information, see the event website: http://techcampalgeria.org/

(Source: Afrique IT News)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:44:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: BYND 2015 Web)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:36:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
- Activity on digital technologies and youth took place from September 9 to 11 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Corobicí .
- More than 500 participants from the member countries of the ITU participated in presence and virtually in this first edition of the Summit.

What will be the new Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations , after 2015? To help to define this to global leaders, young people around the world flocked to Costa Rica under the I World Youth Summit BYND 2015 , organized by the Government of Costa Rica and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU ).

As we approach the deadline for compliance with these objectives, this summit was the ideal, both in person and virtually, for youth aged 18 to 25 years around the world to make their voices heard in this important process and propose possible solutions to meet the present and future challenges.

"This is one one truly exciting and challenging time to be young by the great opportunities offered by information and communication technology (ICT) to meet your goals, but this technological world also brings risks and challenges. The ITU has welcomed our initiative to organize a global forum for young people around the world to come to our country to discuss the opportunities of the Internet and also on how they can promote health, entrepreneurship, safety and freedom . We are eager to welcome hundreds of young people who help advance consensus on global ICT; we want them to be the stars of this digital world , not just using it, but also helping to build a suitable architecture for its governance", said Mrs. Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica.

BYND means Broadband and Youth Networking Dialogues, but BYND 2015 also refers to the English word “Beyond”. This is how the United Nations system is identifying the sustainable development agenda after the Millennium Development Goals, which was remade in 2015. All ideas that will be taken from this activity will facilitate to include ICTs as one of the pillars of the United Nations agenda. In fact, the activity allows youth to ensure their inclusion in the major decisions of this century, and which is likely to manifest their political priorities and decision-making: these will be included in a collective statement to be presented at meetings General Assembly of the United Nations later this month by Mrs. Laura Chinchilla, President of the Republic.

"What is the potential of digital technologies for development? Young people are the new players in this world, and they are the pioneers in the use of new technologies. This is the reason why their voices are essential to define the development priorities for their generations, especially through the use of digital tools at their disposal, and productive ways that empower them", said Alejandro Cruz, Minister of Science, Technology and Telecommunications.
Through a series of workshops, lectures and interactive discussions that revolved around the use of ICT for the common good, these young people discussed on topics defined, which are entrepreneurship, innovation and employment, lifestyles and health; cybersecurity and online protection for children, sustainable development and environment, and processes of governance and civil society.

"This summit will mark a difference between before and after of what is in the minds of the young. It is a matter of pride that the ITU has chosen our country to host the first edition of this event, and this is a evidence that the work we have been doing since years ago in favor of young people is paying off", said Mr. Manuel Obregon , Deputy Minister of Culture and Youth.

In addition to the main topics discussed, at the forum was held the BYND 2015 Hackathon. This was an event where creative young people with skills in programming, graphic design and project management  had 24 hours to develop prototypes of innovative technologies to support the scope of the Millennium Development Goals. Youth participants were accompanied by lectures, short training and relevant mentoring testimony of the industry.

Keynote speakers and guests of this activity were Mrs. Laura Chinchilla, President of the Republic , Mr. Hamadoun Touré , ITU Secretary- General , Mrs. Patience Jonathan, First Lady of Nigeria , Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani , Prince Catarí , Ms. Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the United Nations on Violence against Children, and Mrs. Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, vice president of the Dominican Republic, among others.

BYND 2015 was inclusive, because there is not only around 500 participants in the country, as well as there was enabled crouwdsourcing platform, or open collaboration online, available to those unable to participate in person. As of 1 September, this virtual community added 2,500 users and more than 900 individual ideas that have received 13,717 votes with nearly 11,068 comments . Even the tag # BYND2015en microblogging network Twitter has generated comments of 4.5 million people. Also, around 3,000 people from about 60 different countries have participated with hubs or centers of discussion from their cities and sent their comments online.

Links of interest:
· 2015 BYND homepage. See here the brochure of the event.
· 2015 BYND Program is available here, information on sessions and speakers here.
· Videos on BYND 2015 available here.
· Platform for crowdsourcing: http://ideas.itu.int/
· Community Google+
· YouTube Channel
· Conversations on Twitter # BYND2015

(Source: Presidencia de Costa Rica)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:16:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 11, 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: La Nacion Newspaper)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 1:43:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, September 08, 2013

Each issue of ICT Update focuses on a specific theme relevant to ICTs for agricultural and rural development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, and features a selection of commissioned articles. The printed bulletin also contains a Guest editor contribution, Tech Talk, Resources, Dispatches and a ‘Question and Answer’ section.

This issue of ICT Update is about e-Agriculture strategies.

Issue 73- August 2013

Contents:

- Harnessing ICT strategies for ACP agriculture, Harsha Liyanage and Ken Lohento

- e-agriculture strategies: the case of Ivory Coast, Ken Lohento and Mark Speer, with contributions from Noël Kouable

- A telecom operator in West Africa, Fatoumata Doucoure and Catherine Flouvat

- CARICOM’s e-agriculture strategies, CARICOM

- ICT-triggered knowledge revolution in India, Madaswamy Moni Bookmark

- Bookmark:User-centred mobile app development

-Q&A:Catapulted into the information society, Jackson Miake

- ICT tools for the uneducated, Edward Addo-Dankwa

Further details


Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:46:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Rural Zimbabwe is characterised by a lack of proper infrastructure, a limited electricity supply and poor road networks. Traditionally, communication to these areas has always been limited.

However, over the past five years mobile phones have begun providing a means of communication, connecting Zimbabwe's rural population with urban dwellers.

According to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), a body mandated to issue licences in the postal and telecommunications sector, Zimbabwe now has a mobile penetration of 97 percent.

"The increase in mobile penetration has been triggered by increased investment in communication infrastructure in both urban and rural areas, meaning that marginalised people can now afford to use mobile phones", POTRAZ acting director Alfred Marisa told IPS.

Mobile phones have slowly become the simplest and cheapest mode of communication in this southern African nation.

According to the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency's 2011-2012 Poverty Income Consumption and Expenditure Survey, which was released in June, 7.7 percent of Zimbabwe's economically active population is unemployed. This is a marked contrast to previously reported unemployment figures of 85 to 90 percent.

The report also noted that 8.2 million Zimbabweans in rural areas are poor, while 10.7 percent of the rural population is unemployed. It is estimated that 72 percent of Zimbabwe's 12.75 million people live in rural areas.

But despite these high poverty figures for rural Zimbabwe, mobile phone usage is growing rapidly there.

According to Frost and Sullivan Growth Partnership Services, an international company that conducts business research to accelerate growth, "despite the high levels of unemployment, the number of mobile phone subscribers in Zimbabwe has increased from less than two million at the end of 2008 to more than 10.9 million in 2013".

According to Josham Gurira, an economist at the University of Zimbabwe, access to mobile phones will continue to change rural Zimbabwe.

"Access to information and communication technologies is now considered a basic human right and mobile phones have offered the best opportunity to enhance the digital divide which could have prevented it. The use of mobile technology has empowered many people and is regarded as a key tool in helping alleviate global poverty", Gurira told IPS.

"The adaption of mobile technology has redefined the way people communicate and the growth in mobile phone use has shaped a new way of engagement and connection. Mobile phones are providing Zimbabwe with an opportunity to develop", he said.


(Source: All Africa)

Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:26:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Thailand’s ICT Ministry is cooperating with Chulalongkorn University Demonstration School (elementary level) to pilot IT applications that could improve teaching effectiveness and education quality, under the national Smart Education plan. 




TOT, a State-owned telecom company, and a team of programmers have developed applications have developed educational software for the tablets. The Ministry is to pilot the educational tablets at the Chulalongkorn University Demonstration School.

It seeks to promote information technology as a medium of instruction in the school, improving effectiveness of education delivery, and enabling teachers to track the students’ progress and manage records efficiently.

Minister for ICT, Anudith Nakornthap, said, “With the ‘One Tablet PC per Child’ programme, the Ministry of ICT has accelerated the development of information technology for the education sector to meet international standards”.

The educational software is compatible with popular platforms, such as Windows, iOS and Android, in order to increase educational opportunities and encourage students to make extensive use of the tablets, the Minister added.

“Patterns of educational instruction are changing, as modern IT applications are developed for the education sector. This, combined with better connected government agencies and cloud services, has changed the potential of innovation in the education sector”, remarked the Minister.

In addition to IT infrastructure, he highlighted the need for developing curriculum standards, developing teachers’ IT skills and promoting research and evaluation in order to create sustainable transformation in the education sector.

The Minister shared, “The Thailand Smart Education programme is currently in pilot stage, and based on the results, the tablets will be extended to other schools in the future. The programme looks to transform the learning paradigm with a learner-centred development model and one-to-one digital classrooms. The programme aims to instil lifelong learning and allow students to learn from anywhere, at any time”.

Further details

Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:19:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

UNESCO’s Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development moves into a second phase in its open consultation with all stakeholders on the new concept of “Internet Universality”, with the release this week of a second version of a concept paper.

This follows a series of internal and external consultations by the Communication and Information Sector, most recently with the sister programmatic sectors at UNESCO. Since the process began at the WSIS+10 review meeting in February 2013, the concept has also been canvassed at eight international fora.

The concept of “Internet Universality” provides an overarching understanding of key elements of the Internet. These are the underlying norms that contribute to shaping the use and development of Internet: (i) free and human rights based; (ii) openness; (iii) accessible to all; and (iv) multi-stakeholder driven participation. The four can be summarized by the mnemonic R – O – A – M (Rights-based, Open, Accessible, Multi-stakeholder driven).

By bringing together UNESCO’s existing positions on the Internet, the concept of “Internet Universality” could help to frame much of UNESCO’s Internet-related work in education, culture, science, social science and communication-information for the strategic period of 2014-2021. It could provide a common point of reference and lead to enhanced synergies between sectors.

In addition, the concept could support UNESCO’s work in facilitating international multi-stakeholder cooperation in regard to the Internet, and it could also highlight what the Organization can bring to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development thanks all those who have commented on earlier drafts for their valuable suggestions. As part of an evolving discussion, the second version of “Internet Universality: A Means Towards Building Knowledge Societies and the Post-2015 Development Agenda” is offered for further feedback from all stakeholders.

(Source: UNESCO)

Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:10:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ICT4Ag conference will take place in Kigali, Rwanda, in November, discussing the ICT future of agriculture. 




Intending to spark conversation on the ICT influence on value chains, advocacy and policy development, the conference will promote the establishment of a dynamic and enabling environment in agricultural areas.

From November 4 to 8 farming, fisheries and livestock fields are invited to participate in the discovery of new innovations, learning about useful technology and sharing experiences with global stakeholders.

In this preparation meeting the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said that Farmers in Rwanda want to know how they can use new and existing ICT tools to boost their production.

Minister Nsengimana urges agriculture & ICT experts to see how new technologies can support the entire chain in agriculture process

On the other hand the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Agnes Kalibata said that new solutions will be introduced to boost agriculture sector in Rwanda; added that Youth will be able to bring new ideas which will be very useful to the whole African continent.

Over 400 participants are expected. Representing the public and private sector in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific and further afield, delegates will discuss how increased investment and adoption of ICTs in the agricultural sector will contribute to improved value chains and more effective advocacy and policy processes in agricultural and rural development (ARD).

Issues related to ICT trends and their impact on ARD, capacity building, enabling environments, scaling up and sustainability will also be discussed.

Participants include a variety of industry members such as academics, entrepreneurs, developers and operators.

Aimed at the media, a competition about the promotion of industry-based success stories was launched to discuss the enabling environment, gender main streaming through ICT and the promotion of agribusiness through ICT.

(Source: Ministry of Youth and ICT of Rwanda)

Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:00:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 29, 2013

Google is giving $25,000 dollars to each of the five most inspiring stories of how the web has played a pivotal role in transforming lives in Africa. As a nod to encouraging sustainable ventures, the money will be put toward improving winning entries. The competition, dubbed Africa Connected, runs from August 27 through October 31.

The idea of Africa Connected is more than just Google promoting its own products for corporate gain (though Google is undeniably pitching its products to new web users). Instead, the projects highlighted by the initiative will inspire others to change their community. The collection of success stories will also show how the internet can have a social and economic impact on Africa. As Google puts it, one of the most important ways to get people online is to “help increase the visibility of what African people are actually achieving on the web”.

The entry requirements are:
- Be 18 years of older and a resident of an African country (other than Sudan due to economic sanctions)
- Be willing to showcase how the internet, in conjunction with a Google product, has improved African lives
- Have a Google+ account

Individuals, teams, businesses, and NGOs are able to submit. Entrants may submit multiple stories and can vote for their own submissions. The deadline for entries is October 31st.

Judging looks to be a thorough process
Winners, slated to be announced in March 2014, will be selected across five categories and then matched against five criteria:
- originality of concept
- level of social/economic impact
- relevance to country/region
- use of Google products
- potential to scale

After submissions are collected, a shortlist will be narrowed down to 20 semi-finalists of which senior judges will limit to 10 finalists. The online community (those with a Google account) will then pick the five most engaging stories.

Further details

Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:30:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

After spending about six months in the process every year, Lobeni has managed with outstanding efforts to get her licence renewal so far, but this clearly costs her a lot of money and time that she often cannot afford. Just like Lobeni, nurses and midwives in Malawi have to follow these courses and ICTs are playing a role to make this possible in rural areas without the burden of travelling to main towns.

Thanks to an ICT-based Continuing Professional Development (CPD), implemented by IICD in collaboration with the National Organization of Nurses and Midwives (NONM) in Malawi, Lobeni has not only gained more credits to renew her licence, but she has also enhanced her computer skills, access to current health information and self assessment.

Besides more complex comprehensive solutions on e-learning systems (CMS, LMS, etc.) the project started right after the ‘stone age’, by having staff from NONM scan the official nurse manual, which was later saved as PDF and made accessible to all nurses at the health facility. NONM also bought laptops, modems and Internet bundles, and trained about 20 nurses in basic ICT skills. A CDP coordinator, who is in charge of grading the exams within this system, was also trained.

Common challenges usually found in rural and often impoverished communities, such as shortage of equipment and frequent power blackouts, can be overcome by expressly setting up solutions with minimum bandwidth and energy requirements. Yet in this kind of ICT-based projects, the main challenges are often people-related. In order to facilitate multi-stakeholder involvement and create local ownership, the project and technical solution are designed together with the implementing partner, including the capacity development activities, training, installation and customisation.

Aiming to explore and analyse the possibilities of taking the NONM’s CDP platform to the next level, IICD’s Technical Adviser Maurizio Bricola travelled to Malawi earlier this year, “we had a very productive first meeting that ended up with four main action points. After the meeting I had a session on Drupal and Quiz module with the ICT officer to discuss local installation and customisation”.

NONM made a prompt start in three hospitals, the Mchinji District Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre and St. Andrew Hospital in Kasungu, with a potential to reach out to about 1000 nurses.

Further details

Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:23:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Ejisu -Juaben Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Afrifa Yamoah Ponko, in collaboration with the management of Subah Infosolutions Ghana, has launched an Information Communication Technology (ICT) training centre at Ejisu for the youth to build their capacity in the assembling and repairs of computers and mobile phones.
The ICT centre, dubbed SITENPREC Project, is expected to provide opportunity for the youth to acquire entrepreneurial and employable skills to make them more competitive in the job market.

Sobah Infosolutions Ghana assembled 40 computers for the project, which is expected to motivate students from the basic to the tertiary levels to delve into the basics of e-learning and research to broaden their horizon.

In an address during the launching of the project, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Yaw Adusei, who was the guest of honour, commended the Ejisu-Juaben Municipal Assembly for collaborating with the management of Sobah Infosolutions to initiate the project.

He said the slogan of the project- bringing technology closer to the people- was in line with the government's plans to empower the people through the imparting of knowledge to them.

While urging the youth to take advantage of the project and register in their numbers to enable them access the facility, Mr Adusei advised them to "desist from abusing the facility to pursue cybercrimes and anti-social activities".

For his part, the Ejisu-Juaben Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Afrifa Yamoah Ponko, assured the people of the assembly's desire to always engage in productive partnership intended to promote the interest of the citizenry.

He pledged to further collaborate with Sobah Infosolutions to expand the facility for it to accommodate 100 students at a time. In his address, the Managing Director of Subah Infosolutions, Mr Birendra Sasmal, said besides offering opportunity for the youth to use the facility for e-learning, students who registered with them also stood the chance of acquiring entrepreneurial skills in ICT.

According to Mr Sasmal, the company had so far expended GH¢300,000 on the project and assured that with the launching of the e-learning at Ejisu, six more centres would be launched in other parts of the country to motive the youth to nurture their potentials in ICT programmes.

More details

Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:17:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The nation’s capital has joined Cape Town and Stellenbosch in the race to roll out fast internet to the public, to the especial benefit of the poor, in a move that signals a newfound understanding of ‘digital rights’.

The idea that access to the internet is something other than a cutting-edge luxury has been slow to filter into South African discourse. Yet the evidence shows that access to the Internet is far from a luxury for the poor. It is better understood as an enabler of existing rights on a large scale, as well as the most powerful means of job creation and business creation currently known. The poor are least likely to receive government services timeously and fully, but also least able to complain about it and hold those responsible accountable. In a South African context in which one’s likelihood of receiving the services one is entitled to, rises exponentially with one’s ability to punish the officials concerned when they fail to provide the services, giving the poor access to advanced information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure can change lives.

Even where this rationale is not understood or accepted, the business case for free public wifi more than stands on its own, and some of the nation’s leading municipalities have duly set about making digital rights real.

The City of Tshwane aims to roll out free wifi to poor neighbourhoods, built-up areas and major centres of learning as early as November this year. The first phase will encompass the venerable Church Square, the University of Pretoria in Hatfield, the Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve campus, a community centre in Mamelodi, one of the nation’s largest townships, and another college.

Next year, Phase Two will focus on schools, with the total connectivity of all government schools and higher learning centres by 2016. This builds on the success of the city’s push to connect 100 municipal offices, libraries, and contact centres, now complete. Most hearteningly, the city’s approach is enlightened about the intersection between public investments and grassroots entrepreneurship: spare capacity on the city network will be sold to private service providers, who will be providing a fast internet service to parts of the city in which there is very little choice in internet provider – or no internet service at all.

(Source: The South African)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 9:49:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Ministry of Education announced on Monday 26 August its plan to upgrade schools in rural or remote areas by enhancing access to information communication technology services.

The ministry said it believed an effective use of ICT could overcome the limitations of education in the most remote areas of the country.
The ministry will first inject 5.9 billion won (US$ 5.3 million) to provide tablet computers and smart devices as well as wireless network connections for 300 schools with fewer than 60 students by next year.

It also plans to provide ICT workshops for students and teachers at the schools, and will gradually expand its support to other schools in the areas, the ministry said.

(Source: The Korea Herald)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 9:39:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 22, 2013


Tablet-based learning has started taking shape in Malawi with the launch of Tablet-Based Learning project by a United Kingdom based educational software publisher EuroTalk.

The project currently being piloted in some schools in the country is a culmination of partnership between the governments of Scotland and Malawi. Government of Malawi through the ministry of education, science and technology launched the scheme in 2010 piloting the use of tablet technology in 30 schools with the EuroTalk app ‘Masamu’ (a local word for mathematics) which is intended to teach basic numeracy.

EuroTalk said in a statement that one of the leading Universities in the UK, The University of Nottingham will be evaluating the project next month in order to establish if children using EuroTalk’s ‘Masamu’ maths application learn faster than their classmates.

The statement which says the study will take place at Biwi Primary School, Lilongwe, which was selected for the project by the ministry of education, also says up to 300 children aged 5-6 will be involved in the study which will be led by Dr Nicola Pitchford, from the School of Psychology at The University of Nottingham. Children will be tested at the start of the evaluation, in pattern processing, motor co-ordination and simple maths skills before spending 30 minutes each day in the Learning Centre, currently under construction using the Masamu apps on iPad mini tablets.

“They will then be tested again after six weeks later, to examine what learning has taken place among these children compared to other students”, the statement says adding that if the results show significant educational gains, EuroTalk will scale up the project in Malawi. Andrew Ashe, EuroTalk’s managing director observes that in a country like Malawi, where class sizes often exceed 100 pupils, many children don’t get the learning opportunities they so desperately need.

“We believe that high quality, local language, educational applications on tablet technology can be life-changing, and we look forward to seeing what the study reveals”, he said.

The goal, EuroTalk says, is to bring the best possible education to one billion children, and the team sees the forthcoming evaluation as a vital step.
The company is using Malawi as a model and depending on how successful it will be, the project will expand to other countries across the world, producing the applications in each child’s local language.

EuroTalk, which was established in 1991, is a company best known for its range of language learning software in over 130 languages, which has been used by more than 20 million people worldwide.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:35:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Gauteng's 2 200 public schools will have access to uncapped wi-fi and 3G connectivity and 88 000 Huawei tablets will be distributed to students from next year as part of the province's e-Learning Solution.

The R396.2-million project will facilitate learning by addressing the digital divide and will provide all pupils an e-mail address and free internet access. It will replace the Gauteng Online Schools Programme, provincial Finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe said on Wednesday.

"The rebranded e-learning solution will be rolled out at the beginning of next year and will be up and running in January 2014 when schools reopen", Nkomfe said. "The Gauteng Online programme succeeded in improving computer literacy in public schools and demystified phobias associated with the world wide web".

The replacement of the initiative is expected to build on this foundation.

"Exposing our learners to e-learning techniques ought to occur at a tender age", he said. "We therefore elected an e-learning solution that could mediate meaningfully, but in a sustainable manner, while being financially viable".

Connectivity and cloud solution firm Cloudseed won a two-year contract to provide network connectivity for the project, following which the Gauteng Broadband Network will provide this service.

Short-term insurance will be provided for losses and damages, along with ongoing maintenance and support.

(Source: All Africa)

Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:24:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Nafham Project, a new online education platform, is working to improve the Egyptian education system by capitalizing on the power of the internet and modern technology. Created in 2012, Nafham, (meaning “we understand” in Arabic), offers interactive online classes for primary and secondary level students. Students have access to videos, social media websites, and other educational resources that teach Egyptian students curricula approved by the Egyptian Ministry of Education.
Students access the material by logging into nafham.com. The coursework is divided by semesters and the semesters are further divided into two additional parts. Instructors are allowed to post creative educational media that supplements the lessons. Parents can track students’ progress through regular reports. The site fosters student participation and accountability by utilizing social media websites like Facebook.

Nafham is unique because its content - which includes 6,845 videos for 3,000 primary and secondary level lessons – free for students. Its educational videos are between 15 and 20 minutes long. Lessons include a series of corresponding exercises and activities that further engage the students with the coursework. Various groups have had a hand in Nafham’s video production. Some videos are aired on other educational channels while others are created by volunteers and/or even fellow classmates that want to help their peers.

Currently, Egypt’s schools are over capacity. This overflow has taken a toll on the nation and the economy. The Egyptian Information and Decision Support Center reports that classroom size often exceeds 60 students. It “has a negative impact on student achievement and skill development, and at the same time opens the door to dropping out of school”, states Mohammad Habib, a founding member of Nafham. With over 1.1 million students, Egypt’s education system has trouble providing specialized education tailored to individual students’ needs. Additionally, many Egyptian families struggle to afford the US$100 tuition fees and private tutoring costs.

Nafham’s founders, Mohamad Habib, Mustafa Farhat, Hashem Ali, and Ahmad El Alfi, recognized this dilemma and other problems in Egypt’s education system. They decided to take action. Using the internet as the medium for improvement, they created the “learning management platform” in 2012. Some say it is like the Khan Academy of the Middle East.

The site wants to encourage a love of education and help students grasp the learning process in a digital age, while “erasing crippling cultural obstacles to education success that exist in some environments, such as the phenomenon of ostracizing successful students”. Nafham hopes this is only the beginning of success for Egypt’s education system and the rest of the country.

(Source: Open Equal Free web)

Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:05:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Most welcome as the virtual gateway of rural and enclaved areas to the world, the communities of Ako, Misaje, Jakiri, Oku and Ewoh in the North West Region now sound off with multi- purpose community telecentres.

The respective centres officially went functional from August 5-7, 2013 with the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Jean Pierre Biyiti-bi Essam, cris-crossing the communities with prescriptions for the populations to embrace and preserve the facility for posterity.

On -the-spot in the beneficiary Divisions of Bui, Donga Mantung and Momo, Minister Jean Pierre Biyiti-bi Essam said the telecentres are a precious gift of President Paul Biya whose commitment to develop the nation never dims. He said the centres meet standards and were conceived to serve the people without discrimination. He stressed that they are indispensible tools for human existence and development with revelations that more centres will be constructed to cover a majority of localities and lift their level of computer literacy. Conceived to take communication facilities to virtually every community, the telecentres enhance communication without tears. It is a poverty-alleviation project that checks rural exodus, creates indirect jobs, opens chances for competition in business ventures and enhances the government's resolve to decentralise. Each centre carries infrastructure, computers, information equipment and furniture worth about FCFA 70 million. They are open to the general public and cover compartments with opportunities for postal services, ICTs, telecommunications, training, financial services, telephone, internet, e-mail, typing, digitalised printing and video editing. They also have a lot to offer in telephone services, fax, photocopy, scanning, internet, online services, community radio services, research and secretariat works etc.

The commissioning exercise was a rare moment for beneficiary communities to show gratitude with gifts and messages that demonstrated their commitment to stand by the government for peace, progress and development. In Ewoh, the Mayor of Batibo council, Tenoh Lawrence saluted government's efforts to decentralize communications as a prerequisite for development. He prayed for the effective operation of the centres after the fanfare of inaugurals while an elite, Rt. Col Weriwoh Godfred hailed government for efforts to take Ewoh and neighbourhoods out of darkness with the planting of modern day communication facilities.

Further details

Thursday, August 22, 2013 9:44:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 15, 2013
 The technologies are instruments that allow the learning process among children, due to their role to incentive the teaching in various contents, said Tuesday the minister of Education, Pinda Simão.

Pinda Simão said so at the ceremony meant to present the training project in new technologies of rehabilitation, sponsored by Lwini Foundation.
According to the minister, with the training based on new technologies the teachers will understand the fundamental elements for transformation the educative system needs in order to achieve the high quality of education, with equity and equality of opportunities.

In his view, these changes always require courage and determination by all educative community, specially to improve the professional and human skill of teachers.
He also said that all process of change depends on the knowledge of teachers, the kills, collaboration, creative thinking and commitment and affection in the actions.
In this perspective, he said that training in technology of rehabilitation will make up an inspiration source to create new possibilities to adequate and enrich the teaching-learning process.

Pinda Simão noted the teachers along their training will have the opportunity to share experience that will operate as tools that will neutralize the barriers for the learning process.

(Source: All Africa)

Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:46:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The use of multimedia tools to facilitate broader community participation is enabling some of the more marginalized communities in Peru to share more engaging and relevant local knowledge among their people. “Participatory video is a methodology to reach the deepest emotional action triggers of people”, said Peruvian film-maker and Andean activist Rodrigo Otero.

During a workshop organized by IICD in Cusco, facilitated by Otero who is also an expert on participatory video processes, participants and local organizations agreed that video is a communication technology appropriate for their intervention areas due to its effective way of collecting and transmitting indigenous knowledge, culture and traditions of their communities.

“Participatory video making is related to various experiences in different places worldwide that privilege the role of communities both in the production and diffusion of videos in today’s modern society”, said Otero.

Since 2011, IICD supports the efforts of civil society organizations to integrate ICT in Education through the Connect4Change programme in Peru. Six organizations are currently involved in the implementation of intercultural bilingual education (Educación Intercultural Bilingüe - EIB in Spanish), a nation-wide experimental plan aiming at a more balanced and contextualized education across several Peruvian regions such as Cusco, Huancavelica, Apurímac, Junín and Ayacucho.

A major aspect of EIB is to bring culturally relevant and bilingual education to the classroom by using Spanish and Quechua. Quechua is the mother tongue of 13.2%1 of Peruvians and the language that is widely spoken by some of the most excluded communities in the rural areas where the six Connect4Change-supported organizations intervene. Other aspects of EIB include linking the Andean culture to modern educational practices, for example reintroducing traditional Quechua songs into teachers´ pedagogical methods in the classroom.

During the three-day workshop in May, a group of 20 participants, from technical staff of the six organizations to teachers working in poor communities, explored the basics of participatory video making in a very practical and hands-on training. The first day was dedicated to introduce participants to filming techniques such as “in front of and behind the camera”, “seeking the beauty” or “show and tell” with practical exercises. On the second day, participants learned to write a storyboard using the techniques from day one and shot a 10-minute outdoors interview. The workshop concluded with a round of deliberations regarding the suitability of participatory video methodologies to convey EIB values in the school.

Further information

Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:42:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The project to support the implementation of the ‘Bachelor-Master-Doctorate’ (LMD in French) reform through ICTs capacities building in different universities in West Africa countries (PADTICE) seeks to enhance students’ daily life. Furthermore, the project will improve Higher Education’s quality and access.

With the LMD system, students are at the heart of the training, with a self-learning content. PADTICE seeks to reinforce the current training and managing system in Higher Education by focusing on the benefits offered by the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Thus, several actions should be established:

- Supporting the development of an online and distance learning,
- Developing learning spaces for students,
- Helping with the difficult setting of LMD reform (deficiency and/or inaccessibility of learning resources, lack or weakness of the required tools to manage student’s schooling, etc.)
Thus, the project aims to increase universities’ ICTs capacities through three components:
- Setting up physical and virtual ICT infrastructure,
- Ensuring the acquisition of equipment and hardware,
- Building capacities in the areas of ICT, university teaching, accreditation and quality assurance and research.

Concerning the acquisition of software tools, it is planned to accompany the establishment of 8 specific platforms such as a digital library which should improve the supply of university libraries. The development of internet portals which should be real information and communication tools is also part of this evolution. Furthermore, universities will benefit from modern and efficient managing tools to run the university system.

The building of “access rooms”, at least in the eight main universities of the project, will accompany the strategies already developed by universities to facilitate the access to ICTs for students, administrative staff and teachers. Plus, trainings will be organized in order to take over ICTs and strengthen the university community capacities and skills to use these tools. “Technologies give a plus for students” affirms Youssouf Ouattara, Coordinator of the project at UNESCO Dakar.

An online access to knowledge, a plus for UEMOA universities
One of the key points of the project seeks to make the courses handout available, including outside the class. The publishing online of handouts by teachers should enable students to directly get classes’ educative resources that they are currently taking with difficulties in the crowded lectures. This would also help to provide some online-learning and open universities to a wider audience.

African students are also part of the Y generation
“Students seem to be ahead of universities in the use of ICTs today. Most of them have a smarphone and e-mail addresses, they are going at least once a month in an internet cafe or have an access to Internet" notes Ouattara. "This process should be accompanied to fix their use of ICTs in learning processes” he adds.
Universities need to be accompanied to meet the current evolutions and provide the appropriate training.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:35:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The GSMA announced it is partnering with the Generalitat de Catalunya in the “mSchools” programme, a multi-year, multi-faceted mEducation initiative by the Mobile World Capital Barcelona. The mSchools programme is designed to lower dropout rates, improve student attainment in schools across Catalonia and throughout Spain and, ultimately, to better prepare students as they pursue further education and employment in today’s digital world. This new initiative builds on a successful mSchools pilot programme undertaken in Catalonia by the GSMA and the Generalitat earlier this year and could enhance the learning experience for 1 million students in Catalonia alone.

“While dealing with the continued impact of the global economic crisis and educational systems that were designed to address the needs of students in the pre-digital era, educators are being asked to deliver more with far less,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General of the GSMA. “Mobile can help change this dynamic. Mobile enables access to up-to-date materials, improves collaboration and strengthens learner engagement, opening up new ways of teaching and learning that improve achievement and employability. We are pleased to be joining with the Generalitat de Catalunya to bring the power of mEducation to students in the Mobile World Capital”.

The mSchools programme being launched today comprises several elements:
- An App Education Course, a computer science elective that will be offered in Catalan high schools to teach students about application design and prototype development;
- A Supporting Entrepreneurship in mEducation programme designed to help entrepreneurs and support mEducation;
- The Mobile Learning Awards, run by the Generalitat de Catalunya and recognising the integral role of mobile technology in education by Catalan schools, honouring innovative teacher and student-led projects; and
- A Mobile History Map, a pilot to develop a geo-positioning app that allows students to collaboratively create or edit content on relevant points of interest within one kilometre of their schools.

To support the mSchools initiative, the GSMA will contribute €500,000 per year through 2018, funding technology, resources and the delivery and management of the programme. Further, the GSMA will leverage experience gained from mEducation deployments around the world to implement global best practices with educators and administrators participating in the initiative.

The programme brings together public and private institutions; organisations currently participating include A Crowd of Monsters, Barcelona Loves Entrepreneurs, Incubio, King, Social Point and Softonic, who will support the App Education course with expert staff. Mobile operators Telefónica, Vodafone and Orange will also support the mSchools initiative.

“The GSMA is very proud to be partnering with the Mobile World Capital, leading mobile operators and the private sector to help create an educational environment that will enable young people throughout Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain to build important new skills that will prepare them for new opportunities in the future”, added Bouverot.

(Source: GSMA)

Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:07:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 12, 2013
Equality and non-discrimination constitute a basic and general principle relating to the protection of human rights of all persons. It is an indivisible part of international human rights law, binding on all member states of the United Nations, founded on the principles of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Despite this fact, discrimination of persons with disabilities remains a daily reality in most countries that are members of the United Nations and have signed the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities which range from more visible forms such as segregated education and denial of employment opportunities to more acts of discrimination against disabled citizens such as imposition of physical, psychological and social barriers resulting in social exclusion of persons with disabilities.

Over the past 10 years, protecting the rights of disabled people all over the world has been placed number one priority and objective by promoting new disability legislation more especially in countries which are signatory to the international treaty both in specific policy fields and under a global approach of treating disability as a human rights issue.

For Africa, the African Union (AU) is repositioning the disability forum in a more comprehensive African legislation that will prohibit all forms of discrimination on grounds of disability and provide effective and dissuasive remedies to discrimination within member states and ensure that African rehabilitation institutions become effective in addressing disability matters.

The focus is more on information provision to society, which is an eye opener, but also looks at potential new barriers for the social inclusion of persons with disabilities.
Considering the fact that we are in a world of information and communication technologies (ICTs), persons with disabilities should be part of new development. As the world is offering these new opportunities to everyone, it is more significant for persons with disabilities, as they use technological assistance for daily activities to a higher extent than people in general.

With technological equipment adapted to the abilities of everyone, disabled end-users would be able to participate in all aspects of social life on more equal terms than ever before.

(Source: All Africa news)

Monday, August 12, 2013 5:41:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
A recent survey was conducted on Women24 with 2000 of the site’s readers. The aim of the survey was to help marketers and ad agencies find out what makes South African women tick and what their online behaviour is.

The survey findings reveal that Women24 readers are highly engaged online. 83% of the respondents said they used the internet to gather information, 78% of them regularly take online reviews into consideration when shopping and 33% watch online videos at least once a week. 21% also spend more than three hours a day on their phone or mobile device.

This active engagement online is reflected in Women24′s Effective Measure numbers. Women24 features as the biggest female focused website in the Unique Browser category (Effective Measure’s benchmark of choice) with an average of 267,689 UB’s per month over the last three months.

The site also recorded a total average of 1,846,845 Page Impressions over the last three months.”Women24 is the top website for women in South Africa, consistently occupying this top spot in the benchmark measurement categories for the industry, proof that the content policies are meeting the needs of female readers” says Gustav Goosen, CEO for The SpaceStation, the digital media sales agency who exclusively represent Women24. “Our survey has shown that the Women24 reader embraces being online and has a lifestyle geared towards living digitally”, says Goosen. The results show that 50% of the respondents shopped online at least once a month, while 95% of them entered competitions online and 50% also confirmed they engage with online ads on a regular basis.

The Women24 reader is savvy and educated – 75% have a tertiary education and 44% earn more than R30k per month. But they also embrace family and down time, with 57% of the readers choosing a family as the ultimate female status symbol and 70% using their spare time to go on holiday in South Africa.

Says Lili Radloff, Women24′s editor: “Our readers are loyal and very specific about where they want to be online. The site’s editorial policy is to provide content that is frank, original and fearless and to create a platform where women of all ages and cultures can share their stories and get advice from a team of experts”.

“We conduct surveys like these to assist our clients and agencies in understanding the people they are communicating with, and to help them and their team strategically make the best decisions for their campaigns”, says Women24 channel manager at The SpaceStation, Vicki Steenkamp.

The SpaceStation has created an infographic from the survey results, which is available on the news section of www.thespacestation.co.za. The company is also available on Twitter @SpaceStationZA.

Further details

Monday, August 12, 2013 5:36:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


A new ICT incubation centre has been inaugurated in Tinapa, Cross Rivers state, Nigeria, continuing the government support of entrepreneurs in the country.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the governor of the state, Liyel Imoke, said the Information Technology Development Entrepreneurship Acceleration (iDEA) is the first of its kind in the geopolitical zone.

“It will provide young men and women with capacity and intellect to compete globally”, Imoke said. Imoke said the fruition of the project is the actualization of a vision jointly shared by the federal government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Communication Technology and the government of Cross Rivers state.

The centre, which is a part of the Tinapa Knowledge City (TKC), will allow young people to showcase their abilities. Imoke added it could transform the state’s economy and produce products that could compete on the global field.

(Source: Humanipo)

Monday, August 12, 2013 5:30:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The government has provided 459 schools and institutions with fully furnished and equipped Information Communication Technology (ITC) laboratories and Internet access.
So far, 38 colleges of education, 37 national vocational training institutes, 26 technical institutes,10 youth leadership training centres and 249 senior secondary schools have benefited from the government’s schools connectivity project.

Other beneficiaries are 25 junior high schools, 49 nursing colleges and 25 community development vocational institutes. The Minister of Communication, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, made this known at the meet- the-press in Accra last week.

The minister used the platform to announce the official launch of the ITU‘s Regional Development Forum (RDF) and the Africa Regional Preparatory Meeting (ARPM) for the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) scheduled for Accra, this year. The RDF will be held from October 1, 2013, while the ARPM will be held from October 2 to 4, 2013.

With the country’s development in the ICT sector, the minister said the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2011 listed Ghana as one of the top 10 most dynamic performing countries in Information Communication Technology (ICT) development.

Ghana is said to have improved its global ranking by four places and its ICT Development Index (IDI) increased from 1.81 to 2.23 whereas the average for Africa is 1.88.
According to the minister, Ghana placed 117 in the world, and sixth among sub-Saharan African countries in ICT usage.

The ITU is the global and specialized agency of the United Nations with a responsibility to regulate, standardize, co-ordinate and develop international telecommunications.
Dr Boamah said the upcoming RDF would be used to deliberate on issues relating to trends in telecommunications and ICT in Africa, broadband policy and e-applications.
The conference will also deliberate on cyber security, development of public-private partnership for improved capacity building in the ICT sector and the future of the information society.

The ARPM, according to the minister, was in preparation towards the WTDC in 2014. He said the meeting would be used to assess the implementation of action plans of the WTDC.

Enumerating some of the successes in the ICT sector, the minister said the over-all submarine cable capacity of the country so far was 12.3 Terabit.
According to him, in fulfillment of ITU commitments and that of the government to provide employment to persons with disability, the Akropong and Wa schools for the Blind have been selected as sites for the pilot phase of the disability connectivity project.

Also, he said Community Information Centers (CICs) had been built as access points for ICT in the under-served areas, adding that currently 93 CICs were fully furnished and equipped to provide community Internet access and an avenue for low cost ICT training.

According to the minister, the cost of bandwidth in Ghana had witnessed substantial reduction over the years from $10,000 per month of two megabits to $1,200 today of the same two megabits.

(Source: Ghana Web)

Monday, August 12, 2013 5:20:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Technology vendors Dell and Microsoft have been working to deliver classroom technology for remote regions and, in particular, into schools that have not previously had access to any form of computing technology.

Mamoeketsi School in Lesotho is profoundly aware of the importance of technology in educating and empowering young people. The school is located in Lesotho, near Maseru. HIV/AIDS affects a third of the population and around 50 per cent of the school’s students are orphans. Most are familiar with poverty. Although the government invests 12 per cent of its gross domestic product in education – and the country’s literacy rate is one of the highest in Africa – few students have access to technology. Less than 5 per cent of the population has access to the Internet or even basic mobile phones with text and call functions. However, through the efforts of Moliehi Sekese, a charismatic maths and science teacher at the Mamoeketsi School, students now have access to affordable technology that is significantly raising their academic achievements and enhancing their potential.

After attending a Microsoft Shape the Future event – an initiative that supports access to technology in developing countries through partnerships with companies such as Dell – Sekese was inspired to see how technology could engage pupils in a dynamic way. She devised a project about native plants and herbs, requiring students to report to her by text message through mobile phones borrowed from relatives or friends. The project was a huge success, exciting students so much that Sekese found herself receiving text messages in the middle of the night. Sekese realized that the school needed to empower students with access to technology, but cost was a major barrier to this.

Mamoeketsi School wanted to implement an affordable, low maintenance IT solution to provide its students with access to the internet, supporting research and collaboration, so the school implemented a shared computing solution with Dell ‘zero clients’ and Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Server to deliver a lowcost, centrally managed computing environment for students.

As a result of its dynamic use of technology in teaching, the school has reduced truancy. While access to technology can be a big motivator for students and increase attendance and engagement in learning; it can be challenging for students who are slow learners. Shared computing addresses this by enabling the teacher to remotely monitor and interact with an individual student from the teacher’s computer station. Sekese says: “Children who are slow learners often feel embarrassed about asking questions in class and so they stop coming to school. Truancy has stopped being a problem since we deployed the solution because I don’t have to disrupt the rest of class or call attention to the slowest learners”.

“Technology Enhances Learning and Life” is one of the twelve opinion pieces featured in the eLearning Africa 2013 Report. To read more about the annual publication, please visit: http://elearning-africa.com/media_library_publications_ela_report_2013.php.

Further information

Monday, August 12, 2013 5:01:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 02, 2013
The Minister of Information and Civic Education, Moses Kunkuyu says Government is focused at improving the services and livelihoods of the people of Malawi through Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

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

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

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

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

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

Further details

Friday, August 02, 2013 11:23:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project has so far covered 407 schools across the country. At least 207,026 laptops have been distributed, according to Nkubito Bakuramutsa, the OLPC Coordinator in Rwanda Education Board.

Bakuramutsa told The New Times yesterday that Rwanda has been ranked third globally after Peru and Uruguay in terms of rolling out laptops in primary schools. He added that at least all 30 districts have five OLPC-enabled schools. “The project now focuses on seeing each school in all 416 sectors equipped with laptops”.

The project that was launched in 2008 aims at boosting Rwanda’s goal of becoming a knowledge-based society.

Bakuramutsa said that 2,200 schools have also been equipped with servers, wireless access points and digital content including, e-books, math, science and English courses.
“The server is also equipped with a school management and information system and security features to track laptops in case of theft or loss”.

According to Sergio Romero, OLPC Vice President Africa, Peru tops the list in the world when it comes to OLPC rollout in schools with about 750,000, Uruguay (approximately 475,000) and Rwanda in third position with more than 200,000.

The project has also trained 10,000 teachers with basic ICT skills to enable them to prepare and teach their lessons in digital format.
Bakuramutsa further said that with such a massive deployment, the OLPC programme is looking at establishing a modern call centre that would provide online maintenance support to schools.

(Source: The New Times)

Friday, August 02, 2013 11:19:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is providing multimedia tablets and training to 160 teachers at 11 schools in the Eastern Cape as part of a project that aims to develop a mobile teaching model that can be applied countrywide.

The CSIR's Meraka Institute said on Friday that it had completed a one-year pilot phase in which 17 teachers at Arthur Mfebe Senior Secondary School in Cofimvaba were trained in using digital content on tablets to support traditional teaching and learning.

A comprehensive mobile learning curriculum had been developed for this purpose, the CSIR said, and learnings from the pilot phase were being applied in the first phase of the project, which would see tablets rolled out to 11 additional schools over the next two years.

The rollout began on Friday, and would be followed by a second phase, starting in 2014, in which tablets would be rolled out to a further 14 schools.

The Meraka Institute's Merryl Ford believes that the innovative use of mobile technology has the power to transform education.

"These devices will help to change the landscape of education in rural areas, allowing teachers and students greater access to knowledge and education resources", Ford said in a statement on Friday.

She added that the project was "turning old models and approaches upside down by starting with the most disadvantaged schools in the country ... If what we're doing works in rural schools, it will work anywhere".

The project employs a "learn to earn" model, in which teachers get the opportunity to earn their tablets by attending training courses once a month in the afternoons, and by using them in their classrooms to support teaching and learning processes. This is further supported by a system in which teachers are rewarded with "digital badges" to encourage their progress.

Once the teachers at each school show that they are ready, the rollout will be extended to learners as well. At Arthur Mfebe Senior Secondary, the second phase began on 18 July with each matric student receiving their own tablet to support their studies.

"We want to develop a sustainable, replicable model that can be implemented across the country", Ford said, adding: "The project is a partnership between ourselves, government, teachers and learners where everyone has a responsibility to make it work.

"We are doing this with the schools, not for them, and we hope that by helping them become agents in their own success, the project will be successful far beyond our involvement".

The project, dubbed ICT4RED, is a sub-projects of the over-arching Technology for Rural Education Development (TECH4RED) project, a collaborative effort between the national departments of Science and Technology, Basic Education and Rural Development and Land Reform, and the Eastern Cape Department of Education.

Further details

Friday, August 02, 2013 11:13:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
A project aiming to provide high school students with the needed and most recent academic materials has been launched in Liberia. The Project is being launched by the ASHESI University in the Republic of Ghana, and is currently piloted at the RICKS institute in Monrovia.

Three students, currently in Liberia for the pilot the project, Mohammed Kessir, Martha Adjou Kinu and Kpetemeni Siakor, the project is intended to give education through Technology.

Siakor said: "For a very long time people have known ITC as a course by itself but I think Technology is a tool and if it is tool, it is a means, not an end in itself. This is about using technology for the purpose of giving education so this is not about giving people Technology it is about giving education but deliver through Technology".
Siakor said the project is a software network project that is used to download the most recent textbooks and academic materials from the website for students who find it difficult getting access to the needed materials for their studies to prepare them for future public exams.

Siakor told FrontPageAfrica that with the latest revelation made by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that the country's education system is a mess and needs attention points to the need for more help high school students with access to textbooks to help them prepare for public exams.

Siakor said the project was initiated by him at the University and because of the significant impact it has made in the lives of students, the administration of the ASESI University decided to help in making it bigger for a lager impact.

Siakor also disclosed that because of the importance of the project, the University solicited outside help from some individuals.

Siakor said, the software sever is currently posted at RICKS, but they are currently accepting other students and schools administrators who have interest in accessing the facility.

"The purpose of this project is not to make students lazy, or get teachers out of the class but it is only intended to support learning and prepare people for exams, Siakor said".

(Source: All Africa)

Friday, August 02, 2013 10:56:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 26, 2013
The Young ICT Developers Community, an ICT network aimed at training young Nigerian professionals in web/mobile application, IT Security and network technologies has been launched by PortalS Network and Software Solution Limited in Lagos.

Emeka Onwenu, PortalS’ managing director (MD), said the community is in line with the Nigerian government’s YouWin initiative.

He told This Day the community is meant to promote technology acquisition, individual productivity and economic development.

Onwenu said: "PortalS is courtesy of the ongoing federal government entrepreneurship initiative to build creative businesses and individuals towards national development.
“The vision of the federal government in respect to the national development by 2020 truly demonstrates a sound objective proposition for a better future of growth and advancement, mostly as it affects the young entrepreneurs of which without a truly defined action-based strategy will only remain a forecast dream, hence the initiative to instill the knowledge in various field on ICT in the young ones".

The community is also pushing to create ICT social innovation hubs at secondary schools across the country.

(Source: Humanipo)

Friday, July 26, 2013 10:38:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Gender equality is a basic human right enshrined in the United Nations Charter. In the year 2000, at the United Nations Millennium Summit, the Millennium Development Goals were established and signed by 189 heads of state around the world: a list of eight overarching goals for developing countries to achieve by 2015 was outlined. Within this list, Goal 3a sought to 'eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015'. Indicator 9 of this goal was to measure the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, in the ratio of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education. However, the targets set by MDGs and other global forums have largely been missed on the African continent, partly because in Sub-Saharan Africa the number of out-of-school girls has decreased more slowly, from 25 million in 1999 to 17 million in 2008, according to the World Bank (2011).

For many years, the education of the girl child has not been a priority in many parts of the developing world because of a number of reasons, ranging from cultural, biological and social. This disparity has been reflected in areas of politics, leadership and business which have for many years, with some recent changes, been dominated by men.

The birth and rise of new media is, however, changing the story for many girls in Africa who have been given an opportunity to compete with their male counterparts. A new generation of girls using technology to change their story is being born. An example from Uganda is the GirlGeekKampala, a group of young enthusiastic girls who have come together to encourage the culture of programming among female university students all over Uganda. Their goal is to facilitate favorable competition in developing applications for sale, to match their male counterparts.

Similarly, in South Africa, ShetheGeek is on a mission to empower women globally through training with technology and innovation. In Kenya, a fast growing technology base within East Africa, the school of Open Kenya initiative is creating positive impact and changing mind-sets (Creative Commons Blog, 2013). The initiative provides girls with peer mentorship, learning through the use of open educational resources, and using the Internet to objectively achieve their goals and actualize their ideas, while actively solving issues in their communities. Beyond individual efforts of girls trying to help fellow girls, institutions such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) strive to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide. Access to ICTs, the United Nations says, empowers women and girls to take their rightful place as equals in the world.

It is evident that investing in a girl child's education is empowering a girl to make informed decisions about her life, to aspire for greater goals in life beyond marriage and to compete favorably with her male counterparts in politics, business, leadership and other fields, with one main goal of creating positive social change and contributing to the development of her society or nation. It is therefore important for leaders to encourage the culture of tolerance and acceptance in men, of women who break even in politics and other male dominated professions and cease to look at them as competitors or threats but rather as companions and team players in achieving a better good for society.

"How Technologies Can Help with Investing in Girls Education" is one of the twelve opinion pieces featured in the eLearning Africa 2013 Report. To read more about the annual publication, please visit: http://elearning-africa.com/media_library_publications_ela_report_2013.php.

(Source: All Africa)

Friday, July 26, 2013 10:12:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


On 12th/7/2013, MTN Uganda, in partnership with the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) have re – established the Kampala Public Library (KPL) creating a one-stop centre for members of the general public and specific groups such as tourists and investors to utilize the facility to request for and receive information about Kampala city.
With the growing trends in technology, MTN Uganda has bridged the library’s digital divide and increased the utilization of information technology in the acquisition of modern knowledge for lifelong self-learning. The MTN Foundation has provided equipment and internet connectivity solutions to KCCA.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, the CEO MTN Uganda Mazen Mroué reaffirmed MTN’s commitment in providing ICT support to improve service delivery of the library and stated that the connectivity will create online linkages to the centre to increase its usage and visibility. This is also in line with the MTN Foundation’s corporate social responsibility areas for 2013 which include Education, Health and National priority areas.

KCCA’s Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi commended MTN Uganda for their contribution towards the expansion of the facility and stated that the company’s technological support will go a long way in creating a facility that will offer comprehensive and timely information about Kampala City.

KCCA seeks to expand the use of the current facility by introducing new uses for the existing areas and incorporating technological aspects, themes and other elements that will enhance the image of a modern area of information usage and consumption.

The Kampala Public Library fully revamped now boosts full free WiFi connectivity as well as brand new desktop computers to aid users of the facility get access to more online resources during their research or casual reads.

A member of the technical team from KCCA equally pointed to the construction of an Online Library Catalog to boost the full digitization of the library facilities.
MTN’s contribution equally went towards the remodeling of the children’s library, with donation of more reading facilities for children.

(Source: PC Tech)

Friday, July 26, 2013 9:49:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 18, 2013


The Western Cape government is planning to tap into children's hunger for technology by giving them tablet computers. Premier Helen Zille revealed her government's plans at the launch of a teacher training programme in Mitchells Plain yesterday.

This week more than 9000 grade 7, 9 and 12 teachers will undergo training in the third phase of the programme, which is to be implemented next year. They are being trained on pace of teaching, curriculum coverage and pupil assessment.

"Technology has become a very important component of education", said Zille.

"We have succeeded in getting a computer lab into every school in Western Cape - now we are looking at introducing telematics". Pupils will be able to download subject content and work out where they should be in the curriculum.

Zille said the provision of the tablet computers "will be costly but worth every cent". Western Cape's education budget for 2013-2014 is R15.6 billion.

(Source: Times Lives)

Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:41:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
UNESCO supported the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture to hold a workshop on Harnessing the Use of Open Educational Resources (OER) for the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT CFT) in Jakarta, Indonesia on 27 June 2013. The workshop focused on the potential of OER for supporting the rollout of the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers and its potential to contribute to Indonesia’s educational goals for building knowledge societies.

The Executive Chairman of the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO, Prof. Dr. H. Arief Rachman, highlighted in his opening remarks the importance of the development of OER - based teacher training tools for ICT integration, which makes the project activities relevant to real world problems. Prof. Dr. Rachman also underscored the need to ensure that Indonesia’s 2.7 million teachers are properly trained to integrate ICT effectively in their teaching. This UNESCO-supported workshop contributed to the Indonesian Government’s objectives to promote the use of ICT for the construction of knowledge societies, ensuring that teachers have the necessary ICT skills for quality teaching and learning.

The important work that Indonesia has undertaken in developing a policy on OER and teacher training standards for ICT CFT (in cooperation with Intel) was underscored by participants as an important basis for the development of project activities.

The discussions focused on the priority area of technical vocational education at secondary level. In this regard, it was agreed to focus the project activities on teacher education materials in this area.

The workshop gathered participants from the Ministry of Education, non-governmental organizations and the World Bank. Private sector partners involved in the development of ICT CFT, namely CISCO, INTEL and Microsoft, were also invited to participate in the event.

This activity is part of UNESCO’s continued efforts to promote 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). After the adoption by UNESCO of the Paris OER Declaration in 2012, the implementation of this activity in Indonesia, Kenya and Oman is supported by the Hewlett Foundation.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:36:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


At the first UNESCO International Conference on Memory of the World in the Digital Age (Vancouver, 2012), the President of the International Council of Archives (ICA), Martin Berendse, argued for an international coalition to realize a Roadmap for the Digital Preservation of the Memory of the World. This idea found its way into the Vancouver Declaration. There is a pressing need to establish a roadmap proposing solutions, agreements and policies that ensure long term access and trustworthy preservation. This roadmap should address issues like open government, open data, open access and electronic government. It should dovetail with national and international priorities and be in full agreement with human rights.

UNESCO, IFLA, ICA, Koninklijke Bibliotheek and DEN Foundation initiated a follow up meeting to prepare an action plan that is planned to take place in The Hague, the Netherlands, on 5 and 6 December 2013. UNESCO National Commissions from Canada, Korea and the Netherlands are cooperating with the UNESCO Secretariat to organize this meeting, at which international experts like Roly Keating (British Library) and Margaret Hedstrom (University of Michigan School of Information) will explain the urgency for closer cooperation between industry, government and heritage institutions, including users. The goal of this meeting is to prepare a platform where key stake holders can meet and discuss issues of long term preservation, and decide on practical measures.

As a preparation for the Hague meeting, the organizers have proposed a two hour preparatory workshop at Digitalheritage2013, in order to collect feedback from the global heritage community on this initiative and to gain up to date information on issues that the platform should tackle.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:30:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


An online tool that can help developing countries plan and implement information and communications technology (ICT) projects could cut failure rates and costs, the latter by up to 80 per cent, a conference has heard.

The Strategic Planning, Architecture, Control and Education (SPACE) platform — currently in 'beta' test' — generates country-specific business and management plans, together with administrative, technological and legal recommendations, according to Amjad Umar, chief executive of NGE Solutions, the company behind the tool. It also cuts the planning process from months to a few hours.

Governments and individuals in developing nations often lack the capacity to plan ICT projects, Umar told SciDev.Net during the High-level Segment of the UN Economic and Social Council meeting in Geneva last week (1-4 July).

"In developing countries, failure rates are very high — around 85 per cent — partly because they don't know what is involved in planning and managing ICT projects", he says.

The high fees of ICT consultants also lock out large parts of the population, including local governments, from the knowledge needed to fill this gap, he adds.
SPACE is an open access platform with a knowledge base that combines information on sectors including education, healthcare, agriculture and economic development with ways to build ICT systems such as broadband access, mobile computing and social networks for these sectors. It allows factors on a country to be included. The platform also takes into account specific considerations for the different requirements of 150 countries.

It also offers project management advice, business simulations and, through an experiences repository, aims to build up best practice examples. By specifying the requirements and goals of their project with step-by-step instructions, users can quickly generate a plan for implementation, says Umar.
A few similar tools exist, he adds, but they focus only on the planning stages and do not contain sector knowledge.

SPACE is suitable for large- or small-scale projects in both the private and public sectors. Examples include an ICT training centre in Nigeria, an ICT village in Nepal and an entrepreneur in South Sudan who has set up his own consultancy, says Umar.

With the action plan as a starting point, SPACE also aims to link users to local, national and international partners to help complete their projects.

(Source: SciDev Net)

Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:21:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Namibian government aims to embark on a programme to take ICTs to isolated rural schools, and is seeking investment partners to support the plan.
This emerged at the Namibian Investment Seminar staged for potential investors at Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg, South Africa,  on July 02.

Education is an important focus area in the Namibian Government’s development plan, said Tuaundamuje Keeja, Deputy Director, Corporate Planning at the Ministry of Education. He highlighted an initiative aiming to deliver ICTs to rural schools not supported by the national power or communications grid.

Keeja cited projects such as the solar-powered container ICT lab concept, which is making ICTs available to underserved schools. “It is difficult for us as a Ministry to provide ICT services to all schools, but we want to connect all schools for the benefit of Namibia’s children”.

The investment seminar also noted that Namibian industry is set to boom on a number of fronts, particularly in light of its major port expansions, new mining potential and ambitious agro-processing goals.

Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Tweya Tjekero, and High Commissioner Marten N. Kapewesha headed a panel of sector authorities to outline the multiple investment opportunities available to South African and international investors.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:01:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
WeWi unveils an all-terrain Ubuntu Linux laptop that runs entirely by the power of the sun and never needs to be plugged in. The device called SOL was developed to accelerate education in developing countries.

The company held a launch event at the London Convention Centre where it demonstrated the fully functioning pre-production prototype.

The laptop, called SOL, is an all-terrain ‘sport utility’ device, which the company developed to help accelerate education in developing countries around the world.

SOL is equipped with a battery and can run for about eight to 10 hours without charge. The device isn’t meant just for the developing countries. “We are currently working on additional models for explorers and adventurers. SOL is self-sustainable and runs on green energy. It is a great device for everyone around the world”, David Snir, the company’s C.E.O explains. “We have been in talks with several universities looking for computers to do field work such as Geology, we are even looking into preparing and certifying SOL to Mil-Spec [U.S Military Standard] which would open another market”.

SOL will first launch in Ghana. WeWi’s focus on Ghana stems from the company’s recent international expansion into the country where the Canadian corporation collaborated with its African subsidiary on the project.

“We saw a great need for affordable computing in areas where power infrastructure can not sustain the large growth in population or where there is simply no access to electricity at all”, says Roland Carson, C.T.O of WeWi. “A future where people are able to study and work with computers without any access to electricity is very important for advancing education and will help shaping a better future for many individuals in those countries”, Roland continued.

SOL is expected to cost $300-450 and will come preinstalled with Ubuntu Linux and a suite of office/productivity software.

Further details

Thursday, July 18, 2013 1:56:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Teachers Media is an innovative, 21st-century system for raising standards of teaching and learning by sharing good practice through broadcast quality video. They believe that by partnering with education ministries they can be the next step in the evolution of the original initiative that was funded by the UK government.

As a modern converged service, Teachers Media uses a combination of broadcast TV, broadband and emerging mobile platforms to reach and influence many more teachers than traditional training methods could. This model has proven to be a cost-effective solution to improving educational outcomes on a national and international scale, leading the way in reflecting the latest thinking on how to transform the performance and aspirations of the teaching workforce.

The Teachers Media model promotes a peer-to-peer approach to professional learning, rather than the more traditional top down methods. It promotes reflective learning, rather than knowledge based learning. By harnessing the narrative power of video, it reaches hearts as well as minds.

To achieve this, their model relies on the highest possible broadcast quality or innovative content, and makes best use of the latest digital technology to deliver content to teachers and educators. Research shows that teachers are far more likely to transform their practice if they have the opportunity to personally witness alternatives, rather than just be told about them.

Angela Ney, Teachers Media founder, said:  “We believe in solutions and we look for governments that believe in accountability. I strongly believe that in order for my children to have a future, we need to look to Africa, support the change, work to achievable measures and commit ourselves to this cause”.

(Source: eLearning Africa)

Thursday, July 18, 2013 1:43:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 25, 2013
On Friday 07 June 2013, MTNers officially launched the fund-raising campaign for the education of the girl child and undereducated children of Kousséri and the 10 municipalities of the Logone and Chari. This ceremony that held at the company’s head office in Douala witnessed the massive participation of employees whose kind donations enabled to raise a significant sum of money, given that, each staff is supposed to contribute 1000 F CFA per day, being 21 000 F CFA in 21 days in order to change lives in Kousséri and promote access to education for all. There was also the donation of didactic materials and other school stationery.



On Saturday 08 June 2013, MTNers nationwide carried out various actions. In view of reacting in alignment with the new vision and mission of the enterprise which is that of providing customers a new digital world for a brighter future, MTNers met with people of all works of life and various communities in order to familiarize them with this new world. In the Littoral region, the Government High Schools of Makepe and Japoma respectively played host to this caravan which brought together students, teachers, associations, the elite and residents. More than 350 people were trained on social networks, internet, ICT and computer basics. MTN employees, equipped with computers, tablets, smartphones etc, organized several sessions where several workshops enabled to connect the communities to this new digital world which is that of today and tomorrow.

This MTN multimedia caravan dubbed “Welcome to the New World” equally visited in the North region the towns of Garoua, notably the Roumde Adja and Bibemire neighbourhoods, Maroua, especially Pitoare and Arde quarters, Ngaoundere in Sabongari and Burkinabe in the as well as Bertoua where the training was particularly meant for inmates of the Marie France Orphanage of Nkolbikone.

In the Centre region, MTNers went to Nkolmesseng where a discussion on new information and communication technologies enabled to sensitize the population on the importance of Education for all, in a world where analogy has definitively given way to digitization. Demonstration and experimentation sessions on ICTs enabled to reassure the population who, with regard to their uncertainty, did not already believe that they as well could have access to these tools for their education and development.
Earlier on, in the week, MTNers of the North West region accompanied by the Inspector for Basic Education in Santa, Bamenda visited the village of Baligham in North West region, where an elated population appreciated the training on basic computer skills. The villagers, about 1000 in number, comprised of students, teachers, and traditional authorities.

Focus shall be placed on other localities next week in order to provide a greater majority with access to the new world.

(Source: Africa News)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 5:50:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
According to the World Bank and African Development Bank report, there are over 650 million mobile users in Africa.

Isolated from myriad information communication technologies, rural youth in Namibia have turned to mobile phones to engage in social debates and access information.
Selma Alweendo is from Okaukamasheshe Village. On a late Sunday morning, Alweendo is already consumed up in her phone. At that moment, she projected all sorts of reactions-smiling, shaking her head in disbelief and humming while she scrolls through her phone.

A closer observation, she is compiling a text as she listens to a radio show on a youth commercial radio station. “There is an interesting show on radio. I am submitting my contribution via Facebook”, she said on Sunday.

“What else is there to do here in this village? This place is isolated from any other facilities. We have no computers, no television and no newspapers. But thanks to my mobile phone, in addition to phone calls and messaging, I am able to engage and create accounts on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter”, Alweendo added.
Alweendo is one of the many young people in rural areas socially excluded from many developments, including mainstream information means, who have turned to mobile phone to engage in social and national debates.

Alweendo justifies that there are a limited activities to engage in and rarely any modern facilities reach their village. “If I want a newspaper, I will have to travel about 20 kilometers to Oshakati, the nearest town. In fact I have to spend about 40 Namibia dollars (about 4 U.S. dollars) to get to town. I would rather save that and spend it on airtime for data to browse”, she told Xinhua News.

With the airtime, Alweendo said that, she is able to do more on her cellphone as compared to having travelled to town. “I can even read the newspapers online. But internet is expensive in Namibia and slow here. One minute you are facebooking, and in a few seconds next thing you know you have ran out of credit”, she added.
“But if I run out of credit, I ask people I know to transfer me a minimal 2 Namibia dollars. Imagine if five people transfers me 2 Namibian dollars, it takes me far”, she giggles.
The rapid and increased use of mobile phones widely attributed to increasing connectivity and spread of network coverage across the country. Namibia has 99% mobile network coverage across the country, according the mobile service provider MTC’s website.

Tutaleni Asino, a scholar and educationalist at Penn State University during the e-learning conference held in Windhoek late May, said that mobile devices such as phones excite young people and encourage engagement. “Many people in Namibia do not have computers and even more do not have internet. On the other hand, just about every mobile phone these days can connect to the internet”, argued Asino.

Certainly, according to Asino, mobile devices have and are changing society whether we want to admit it or not.

Further details

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 5:43:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
E-textbooks, open source textbooks and mobile education have been suggested by a new report as an alternative to get South African education up to standards.


Published by the Southern Africa Bishops Conference Parliamentary Liaison Office, the report by Kenny Pasensie discussed solutions to the textbook issues in South Africa, following delivery problems in 2012.

“South Africa’s education system is beset by a multitude of problems, and prominent amongst them is the government’s inability to provide the necessary learning materials on time”, the report stated.

The use of e-textbooks is motivated by its adaptability across multiple platforms with advised employment as from a computer or tablet. “The real challenge is to put a cheap, reliable reading device in the hands of those who need it”, the report said.

Affordability is the greatest hampering issue, while cost-effective updates are a good aspect. Open source textbooks includes streaming videos, multimedia applications and podcasts with the advantage of open copyright, according to the non-governmental educational organization Open Educational Resources (OER) Africa.

Although acknowledging affordability and durability as complications, the use of e-readers in combination with open source resources is recommended due to its unlimited material usage on a variety of devices. This will also bridge the obstacles of a lack of local content developers and broadband internet connectivity. Mobile education is regarded as a viable solution due to the high usage of mobile devices in South Africa.

Referencing World Wide Worx’s 2012 Internet access report, it points to 7.9 million South Africans using mobiles for internet access.
“Digital textbooks, mobile education and other publishing models already exist, and perhaps it’s time the government invested wisely in these alternatives”, Pasensie concludes.

Further details

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 5:36:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Ericsson and Entel announce the launch of Connect To Learn, an initiative that offers quality education for rural students, in three schools in Chile that previously did not have access to technology in education. Connect To Learn in partnership with Millennium Promise and the Earth Institute at Columbia University is using the latest technology to improve educational opportunities for rural students, especially girls.

Through Connect To Learn, mobile broadband connectivity has been implemented in the Arturo Prat Chacón secondary school as well as two primary schools, all located in rural Ninhue, in the Bío Bío Region of southern Chile. The program in the Arture Prat Chacón school also includes online educational resources, a cloud-computing solution in a low-maintenance and easy-to-use model and relevant training for teachers. The technology deployed gives students and teachers access to 21st-century 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.
Manuel Araya, Corporate Affairs Manager, Entel, says: "With Connect To Learn, students and teachers benefit from access to global news, information and the latest educational content, and can collaborate with fellow students and teachers around the world, despite their remote location".

Entel is providing optimized 3G connectivity to the selected schools to ensure good connectivity, as well as free Internet connections.
Carla Belitardo, Head of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson Latin America, says, "This initiative demonstrates our commitment to enabling our vision for a Networked Society in Chile and in Latin America. Mobile broadband is a key enabler for access to a quality education in all communities, even the most rural. Delivering cloud-based computing services and connecting them is a major step toward bringing quality education".

Since 2010, Connect To Learn has been deployed to help students in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Brazil Senegal and Djibouti helping students access quality learning resources for a 21st-century education.

School-To-School Connections
Through Connect To Learn, Entel and Ericsson are also introducing School-To-School Connections, a flagship program, pioneered by co-founders Millennium Promise and the Earth Institute. High school students at the Juan de Mairena Institute in San Sebastian de los Reyes, Spain, created their very own global classroom, connecting through a video call session with students from Arturo Prat Chacón High School, located in Ninhue, southern Chile, as part of the School-To-School Connections partnership program facilitated by the Connect To Learn initiative.

The program connects classrooms in rural and urban communities around the world to foster cross-cultural learning and cultivate global awareness, understanding, and collaboration.

The goal is that the School-To-School Connections program will help create a sense of commonality among young people and a sense of shared responsibility for tackling the global challenges we all face. In 2011, with School-To-School Connections in mind, Connect To Learn commissioned a team from Columbia University Teachers College to create a set of curricular resources based on the Millennium Development Goals in order to support shared lesson planning between teachers at partnered schools and collaborative learning among their students. Video calls and emails help facilitate their work together and build relationships among participants.

(Source: Ericsson)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 5:28:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Education specialists at iLearn, a provider of ONSITE instructor-led and ONLINE elearning training methodologies, say custom eLearning has emerged as a successful and increasingly popular methodology to education and training requirements.



Custom eLearning course development is the term applied to the process of creating and converting of existing instructor-led course content into an electronic learning format.

There is significance to this, particularly for companies that deliver repetitive training interventions such as inductions, and, policies & procedures, for example, says Richard Rayne, Managing Director, iLearn.

The service provider has a comprehensive portfolio of online learning solutions that address elearning requirements of the corporate market, across all sectors of business. This includes Learner Management System, Generic course content such as IT & Business Skills and custom course development.

Custom eLearning forms part of its services offering, one that addresses many of the issues experienced by businesses in training delivery strategies and successful rollout.
“These businesses require more scale and flexibility and shifting the course delivery of an existing Instructor-Led-Training format into a far more exciting elearning experience. Online learning provides students with far more flexibility to accessing learning at their own time and pace, and organizations can more accurately assess the impact of learning using built in pre- and post assessments. Clients also then own the course content and have the flexibility to distribute it as much as they like”, says Rayne.

According to Rayne the option to customise eLearning course content has been available within the training and education market for some time - however, it is only recently that the technology has advanced to make the option truly accessible and practical.

“The result is that development has become far more agile and quicker to market”, he says.

Rayne says the benefits associated with custom eLearning include a significant cost reduction in not having to employ teams of trainers and administrators to deliver ‘production-line’ type training and evolving the training experience into something that is more progressive and modern.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 5:20:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT) in collaboration with Work Bank hosts the Smart Rwanda Days on 17-18th June 2013. The event is part of a co-creation exercise involving global experts and Rwandans running on social media and which aimed to identify possible “Smart” solutions (in this context, meaning “innovative, information-driven, ICT – enabled”). It is a high level meeting which is designed to help stakeholders develop a shared vision for Smart Rwanda.

Smart Rwanda will be a citizen-centric and business-friendly, accessible and sustainable Information and Service Delivery ecosystem, realized through public and private investments, to transform the economy and enhance the well-being of individuals and the community.

In his key note address the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said that “Smart Rwanda aims at looking at all innovative ways ICT can drive to achieve socio-economic transformation agenda of our country… Key to the success of Smart Rwanda is sustainability of all our interventions. Our strategy will be to rely on the much needed private sector resources and capabilities”.

Smart Rwanda will harness the transformative powers of ICTs and their cross-cutting nature to help increase the productivity of other sectors, help achieve the targeted 11.5% average GDP and economic transformation hence the ten Smart Rwanda verticals i.e. Smart Education, Smart Healthcare, Smart Governance, Smart Business, Smart Agriculture, Smart Environment, Smart Job Creation, Smart Infrastructure, Smart Girls and Smart Cities.

Smart Rwanda will also contribute to rural development and reduction of poverty to less than 30% through deployment of Smart Villages throughout the country.
Through Smart Rwanda, the ICT sector reaffirms its role as a leader in innovations. The sector aims to do things Smarter, which is to do more with less. To ensure sustainability of development initiatives for example, the sector will deploy Public-Private Partnership (PPP) models, and Green technologies.
Minister Nsengimana said that “Key to the success of Smart Rwanda is sustainability of all our interventions. Our strategy will be to rely on the much needed private sector resources and capabilities”.

“The Government of Rwanda approach will be to intervene in only those indispensable public good projects where it does not make business sense for private sector actors to invest or to invest in early-stage ventures so as to showcase opportunity and stimulate future private sector investment”, stressed Minister Nsengimana.
The global Open Data movement is growing rapidly. Governments at all levels view open data not only as a tool for transparency and accountability, but also a powerful catalyst for innovation, entrepreneurship, and improved public services.

The World Bank's experience partnering with countries across the world has reinforced its conviction that Open Data can be a powerful tool for smarter development and improving the lives of millions of people.

(Source: MYICT)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 5:14:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 20, 2013
Desafio Intel provides entrepreneurship education and Silicon Valley immersion for the best computing startups by university students and recent graduates from across Latin America. This program contributes to developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Latin America by providing a bridge between these high potential young entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley, converting them into the most competitive tech start-ups in Latin America. Through Desafio Intel, the participants will receive training, mentorship and access to the best practices of entrepreneurship from Silicon Valley and around the world.

The eight finalist have been announced – meet the teams who will be representing their countries at the Finals at YouNoodle Camp this year. Congratulations to all the entrepreneurs!

Appetite+, Venezuela
Have you ever wondered what apps your friends have? Or what apps they actually like? How about a better way to discover cool new apps? Appetite+ is a social network for app-discovery that allows you to see into your friends Iphone to find great apps they use.



FractalUp, Peru
There is no clear order when learning in the noisy world of education. eLearners need a guide map and good quality content. FractalUp assists your learning search with graphical paths. It’s more precise than googling and less tedious than wikis, because it shows your position, using a Dynamic EdTech Engine.

LUX Sensor, Brazil
Our startup is developing an OptoElectroMechanical system to analysis fluids and gas by measuring refraction index using a high sensibility method patented by UNICAMP. Our system is the solution for fuel-optimized engine control for fuel quality, required by the automaker to get efficiency and performance demand by the government.

Mobile Monitoring Station, Chile
Measurement of worker-related variables, such as heart rate or air pollutants is usually done with fixed sensors. This limits the spatial coverage and does not give a true picture of the workers status. We propose gathering this information with wearable sensors and upload readings to a centralized cloud service. A service business model, with a cloud-based interface and leased hardware, allows customers to have a worry free experience, focusing solely on the important information gathered directly by workers in the field.

Modular Thoracic Strap for the Automated Monitoring of Vital Signs, Costa Rica
Detect potential health problems in a person, giving notice of the state of vital signs in the exact moments of crisis by creating a modular thoracic band based on medical parameters; with the purpose of facilitate the work of those responsible for the care of patients with certain physical limitations.

SchoolControl, Mexico
SchoolControl is a communication platform through which teachers, students and parents can find school information, such as: grades, announcements, calendars, events, reports, tasks, homework and details about the academic performance of the student. Access to all this information, using any desktop, mobile devices such as, iPhones, iPads, WP7s, & Blackberries.

WeHaus, Argentina
Home Automation Made Simple – Value added service for telcos.

Whelmo, Colombia
Whelmo is a light weight bracelet to wirelessly monitor harms to a baby’s health. Whelmo can measure the baby’s heart rate, blood oxygen level and location, and send the information to a mobile device. Whelmo will help you protect your baby when you can’t be at his side.

(Source: Desafío Intel)

Thursday, June 20, 2013 4:22:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Opening the African Libraries in the Digital Age session, Darren Hoerner, Programme Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and session chairperson, suggested that “Libraries are reaching outside their walls”. “Reaching out”, changing shape and developing new forms were certainly the recurring themes of the session, as speakers from across Africa shared their experiences and case studies of how libraries in Africa are adapting to the needs of their users in 2013.



The first speaker was Deborah Jacobs, Director of the Global Libraries initiative, who began by making the case for libraries as indispensable “pre-existing community platforms for development” that already possess the buildings, staff and services needed to reach out to their local communities. She highlighted inspiring instances of libraries extending their services far beyond just lending books: in Uganda, the Busongora Community Library provides an SMS service, a radio show and training events to over 500 farmers in the region, whilst in South Africa, young people living in an impoverished area of Cape Town receive ICT training as well as access to further training and employment opportunities via their library’s high-speed Internet connection.

Reporting on the status of libraries in Namibia, Veno Kauaria, Director of the Namibia Library and Archives Service (NLAS), shared the success of the Ministry of Education in its efforts to secure the essential development role of libraries in the national agenda. Through negotiations with the Prime Minister, the Ministry won the ability to use part of the its library budget, which was previously reserved for books alone, to buy ICTs, and now all libraries in Namibia employ at least one professionally-trained librarian. “We told ourselves that we need to be relevant”, explained Kauaria, pointing to the NLAS’s dedication to aligning itself with the national development goals of poverty, unemployment, health and education.

Kuauria’s point was echoed by Agnes Akuvi Adjabeng of the Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana, who advocated the use of social media and the Internet by library services: “Libraries need to come up and be seen”, she said, “Today, our readers do not come to us … it is necessary that we take double steps to make use of the resources available to us”.
Charles Kamdem Poeghela, Director of the