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 Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Inspired by the Haiti earthquake disaster in 2010, the idea of Health eVillages came about when Donato Tramuto, Health eVillages’ co-founder and CEO of Physicians Interactive, and Kerry Kennedy, founder of the Washington D.C. based Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, were discussing ideas about what they could do to help the victims.

Launched in Sep 26, 2011 as a partnership between Physician’s Interactive Holdings, its subsidiary, Inc. and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, Health eVillages seeks to provide healthcare professionals working in challenging clinical environments with medical decision making, clinical diagnosis and training tools in easy-to-use mobile devices.

New and refurbished mobile phones and handheld devices (like iPads) are preloaded with clinical decision support reference tools like patient records, drug guides, textbooks and related medical data. These devices, which do not require web access, are given to clinical and healthcare workers to ensure that they always have medical information available. Besides medical alerts, the devices support access to references from over 50 medical publisher resources powered by, Inc.

Nurses and clinicians in Haiti, Kenya, Uganda and the Greater Gulf Coast area of the Southern United States have received these devices. “Health eVillages arm clinicians with a ‘gold standard’ medical reference tool-kit, so they are prepared for any situation and are able to properly treat even the most unique medical conditions. [In] most of the areas where these mobile devices have been given, people don’t have access to basic electricity let alone the most advanced medical treatment,” said Tramuto.

He added: “These devices enable them to identify the right dose, identify a condition or seek the latest research in a particular area. For each country we customize the software. In Haiti we have programs specific to nurses diagnosing a disease or condition particular to Haiti. The drug and dosage information is monitored accordingly.  Patient details can be entered in as well. Now there is no need to run around looking for information either about a patient or a condition”.

Using donated and refurbished phones, the project works very closely with medical officers and leaders of target communities to ensure that information is completely customized and specific to their area.

Health eVillages identifies clinics through partners and associates of the Robert F. Kennedy Center and Physician’s Interactive Holdings. Staff members from the project are sent to locations with specific programs most often requested by the medical personnel in the area.

They have seven pilot projects running and early data points shows that medical personnel rate their data finding methods very helpful. “We hope to raise more funds after the competition of our pilot projects”, said Tramuto. Health eVillages clearly has big plans for the future of mobile health technology.

(Source: AudienceScapes)
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012 5:08:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, April 21, 2012

Polycom Foundation expands global humanitarian organization's outreach to children in more than 20 countries through donation of Polycom RealPresence video solutions to enable face to face training of regional coaches.

Polycom, the global leader in open standards-based unified communications (UC), announced a philanthropic partnership with Right To Play, an international humanitarian organization that uses the transformative power of sport and play to give hope and teach essential skills to children living in communities affected by war, poverty, and disease. Polycom is donating Polycom RealPresence video collaboration solutions to Right To Play to expand the reach of their programs by improving global communications throughout the organization; connecting teachers, coaches, and community leaders with staff throughout the world; and directly linking donors to see the impact of their support.

"More trained local coaches and community leaders means more children around the world will be able to participate in Right To Play programs," said Johann Olav Koss, Right To Play founder and a four-time Olympic gold medalist. "Polycom's support and video collaboration technology will further strengthen our programs and help us use the power of sport and play to transform the lives of so many more children. With the ability to use video for training and other initiatives, we can reach even more children and get them playing and succeeding in life".

Founded in 2000, Right To Play has developed projects in more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East. In 2012, the organization is expected to surpass more than 1 million children participating weekly in Right To Play programs. Koss, who serves as president and CEO, has inspired an international team of 350 athletes – including Bonnie Blair, five-time Olympic gold medalist in speed skating – to serve as Athlete Ambassadors and assist in fundraising for Right To Play projects.

"Right To Play's mission is uplifting and their approach innovative and collaborative," said Geri Mitchell-Brown, director of Philanthropy and Community Relations, Polycom. "Our partnership with Right To Play reflects Polycom's commitment to bringing people together through the power of visual communication and aligns with our vision to make video collaboration ubiquitous in a more connected world. Right To Play is positively affecting the lives of children who need our help the most and we are honored to be able to contribute to this worthy cause".

(Source: Polycom)
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Saturday, April 21, 2012 6:19:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Indian graduate student has designed a mobile phone application that enables people with sight and hearing impairments to send and receive text messages.

The PocketSMS application was developed for Android smartphones, which are generally cheaper than Apple's iPhones. The application converts text into Morse code vibrations so that users can "feel" the message.

Regular mobile phones already use vibrations to alert users to incoming calls or messages. Anmol Anand, a graduate student at the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University in Delhi, realized that the same vibrations could also convey text message content.

He used the open source Google App Inventor to write a new application to covert each letter in a text message into Morse code — in which each letter corresponds to a set of a short and long tones — and then used the phone's hardware to vibrate for each letter.

An accompanying application, MorseTrainer, has been designed to teach deaf-blind users Morse code, and to use it without having to rely on smartphone keyboards, which can be difficult to see.

Text messaging is growing in importance as a tool for safety and social inclusion. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo late last year, for instance, a group of deaf users protested for their safety late last year when the government shut down text messaging services, the BBC reported.

In Uganda, the National Association of the Deaf is working on a project in which hearing students and deaf students learn how to send text messages together. "We saw that deaf kids were not integrating", said education consultant Sacha DeVelle, who was volunteering in Kabale with the charity Cambridge to Africa.

When teachers began showing pairs of hearing and deaf students how to send text messages, deaf children became far more integrated into the school community. "It encourages them to go on and do what they want to do, [for example] go to university or set up a shop", DeVelle said.

Anand's collaborator, Arun Mehta — president of the Bidirectional Access Promotion Society (BAPSI) — said that internet access is just as important for the disabled as everyone else. He said that the introduction of text-to-speech screen reading software had meant that "the gap between the sighted and the blind has shrunk dramatically. We would like to do that for the deaf-blind too."

Inclusive technology can help disabled people take part in everyday life, said Mohamed Jemni, a computer scientis at the School of Science and Technology in Tunisia.

(Source: SciDev)
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Thursday, April 19, 2012 9:55:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Patients of Singapore’s National Skin Centre (NSC) can now have an access to their treatment records and communicate with their healthcare team from homes.

The NSC today launched its online Patient Health Portal, the first for a health institution in Singapore, and possibly in Asia that will enable patients to conduct a variety of tasks related to their treatments, said Dr Steven Thng, consultant at the National Skin Centre.

The benefit includes corresponding with the healthcare team via email about medication, treatment and procedure queries”, he said.

Patients will also be connected to more information concerning their medical condition.

According to him, the NSC has more than one hundred people signing on this free service since it was piloted late last year.

In term of confidentiality, Dr Thng said that patients do not need to worry as they are required to use a secured password to log onto the website.

The NSC is a public tertiary-care institute that provides specialized dermatological services, trains and educates both medical students and post-graduate trainees.

(Source: FutureGov)
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012 10:54:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How can mobile communication help improve the quality of education? A Nokia smartphone will go to the owner of the best idea submitted to the fifth phase of the Education for All (EFA) Crowdsourcing Challenge organized by UNESCO, Nokia and the Pearson Foundation.

Starting on 12 March, and for a month thereafter, education and mobile learning stakeholders are all invited to participate by submitting mobile communication ideas for helping achieve EFA Goal n°5 that calls for the elimination of gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and the achievement of gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of good quality. Participants will also be invited to vote or comment on other ideas.

Several hundred proposals were generated during the first four phases of the EFA Crowdsourcing Challenge, which explored ways of using mobile communication to potentially help attain literacy, to contribute to achieving universal primary education, to address youth and adult learning needs, and to improve the quality of education.

To submit an idea, participants only need to click on the Create an Idea link to the right of the gender challenge introductory paragraph.

The winner of the fifth phase, who will be chosen by an expert panel of judges, will receive a Nokia smartphone. She or he will also get a chance to win a US$ 3,000 prize as well as a library of children’s books worth US$ 3,000, which will be donated to a non-profit organisation of the winner’s choice. Moreover, the best ideas from the EFA Crowdsourcing Challenge will be developed into concrete projects by Nokia and other project partners.

(Source: UNESCO)
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012 10:34:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, April 15, 2012

"ConnectaRSE para crecer” seeks to identify and recognize the best initiatives in rural areas of the country, who have had social and economic impact on its residents and / or communities, using telecommunications as a basis.

In this context Telefónica recognized the PNP Division of Acomayo in Cusco, third place winners in the "Grand Prize" category, for its training in the use of information systems to improve management of the police stations of Acomayo , Acopia, and Sagarará Pomacanchi.

 Acomayo Police Division implemented the system of requisitions of people and vehicles DATAPOL in each of the stations that what they are responsible for.

The contribution which was handed over by Telefonica was S/. 10, 000 which serve to ensure the sustainability of this initiative and continue the training in the basic use of office tools, Internet and installed systems that gives us the program.

The initiative launched by Major Wilbert Callapiña Durand was selected from 74 initiatives, as the third best approach to rural development through ICTs for the benefit of residents of rural communities.

(Source: Telefónica)

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Sunday, April 15, 2012 4:06:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 12, 2012

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is deploying a suite of cloud-based applications to more than 7 million students and nearly 500.000 faculty members in more than 10.000 technical colleges and institutes throughout the country.

Part of the Ministry of Human Resource Development AICTE is the governing body for technical education in India, certifying and managing technical colleges and institutes. While the demand for technical school graduates are rapidly picking up, AICTE has faced the challenge of how to ensure consistent and timely communications with its colleges in order to evaluate the curriculum and quality of education. With more than 10.000 colleges and institutes, some of which located in the most remote part of the country, AICTE needed a solution that was scalable and not too costly.

The Microsoft Live@edu suite of web-based applications includes email, web-based productivity applications and instant messaging. Each user will get 10GB of online space for email and additional 25 GB for online storage. AICTE expects this cloud deployment to “expand students" access to high-quality technical education and collaboration”.

AICTE also plans to deploy Microsoft Office 365, a more comprehensive suite of cloud-based productivity tools, when it becomes available later this year.

Dr S. S. Mantha, chairman of AICTE says that cloud implementation will "make for a truly progressive ecosystem and contribute to the country’s technical education by providing a better communication and collaboration platform for institutes and students.”

Deployment is underway and is expected to complete over the next three months.

(Source: FutureGov)
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Thursday, April 12, 2012 10:29:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Deal starts with Uganda, and will be rolled out to 20 more countries. Western Union and MTN Group, Africa's largest mobile phone company, Wednesday unveiled an international mobile money transfer service in Uganda that will be rolled out to all of telecom provider's 16 operations on the continent as well as five in other regions.

In October 2010, the two companies announced they had signed an agreement to offer international mobile remittance services in the 21 countries in which MTN operates. The five countries which this agreement covers but are not on the African content include Afghanistan, Cyprus, Syria, Iran and Yemen.

The service, announced at a press conference in Kampala, marks the debut of an offering from Western Union that allows the more than 2 million customers of MTN's mobile money transfer service in Uganda to add funds to their accounts that were sent through Western Union's system.

"We are indeed excited about this new collaboration with Western Union as it extends the reach of our innovative solutions beyond Uganda's borders", Charles Mbire, the MTN Uganda chairman of the board of directors said. "MTN Mobile Money has been successful in increasing financial inclusion in Uganda. MTN will continue to offer Ugandans life enriching services".

A press statement said that senders can transfer funds as they normally would -- either in person at 450,000 Western Union Agent locations in 200 countries and territories, from the Western Union website in 22 countries or directly from a bank account in selected countries.

The receiver of the funds simply chooses to "pull" the transaction into a MTN Mobile Money account. The new service also enables MTN customers to send money internationally with Western Union directly from their Mobile Money accounts for cash payout at Western Union Agent locations worldwide or to subscribers of mobile phone companies with which Western Union has agreements.

Isaac Nsereko, the MTN Uganda Marketing Officer performed a demonstration at the announcement, where he received a remittance of US$ 5 from someone in Colorado.

Western Union has similar agreements with Safaricom's M-Pesa in Kenya, Vodacom in Tanzania, Telmar Madagascar and Inova in Burkina Faso, according to Marcus Cudina, Western Union's senior vice president for strategy "This is the first operation to launch service in the MTN Group, the others will now be rolled out", Cudina said.

Western Union and MTN also announced that they will give away 9,000 branded mobile "Yellow Phones" via promotions throughout Uganda over the next few months.

MTN customers who receive these phones must already have an active MTN Mobile Money account or sign up for one in order to use the new remittance service.

"Our network of nearly half a million locations, our experience in moving money across borders, and our relationships with the world's most successful mobile operators such as MTN, ideally position us to introduce many people to cross-border financial services," said Nathalie Ferrant, inbound and business development director, Middle East and Africa, Western Union.

She said Western Union's Mobile Money transfer service will unlock new economic opportunities for thousands of underserved consumers in Uganda, whose financial needs are not being met elsewhere.

(Source: PC Advisor)
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012 6:25:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 09, 2012

With a staff of approximately 6000, Barwon Health is one of the largest and most comprehensive regional health services in the Australian State of Victoria. Having successfully reduced the elective surgery waiting list, improved Emergency Department wait times and finished last year with a budget surplus, last November Barwon Health was named “regional health service of the year”.

According to CIO Ann Larkins, Barwon Health’s ehealth journey began around 2005, the success of which she ascribes to their strategy of agile development, “our approach has been about incremental developments rather than a big bang”.

Having started with a basic system that provided pathology results online, this has been gradually developed in stages to now provide everything offered by the larger ehealth software providers including digital medical records, medications management, electronic messaging to GPs via Health Level Seven. “It has become a complete one stop shop clinical system” says Larkins, “not too dissimilar to some of your bigger companies … the product that we are using has evolved from a much smaller base but with much more of our input into it along the way”.

The benefit of this development methodology is that, “it is a much more agile way to respond to the requests of clinicians whereas some of the less responsive big companies find that difficult and challenging. We’ve achieved a lot in a small time with small agile developments”.

This has allowed for department specific systems be either integrated with or developed within the main clinical system. “We respect the needs of different departments to have their own system where there is need for them, but where there’s functionality already existing we pull them into the core”.

(Source: FutureGov)
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Monday, April 09, 2012 10:57:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, April 07, 2012

The International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) has developed 35 projects over the past five years as part of their programme to promote socio-economic development through the use of ICT in countries like Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Ghana, Mali, Uganda and Zambia.

Most of their projects focus on promoting food security and agricultural economic development. ICTs can help farmers, workers and entrepreneurs access market information, improve quality and productivity and strengthen business skills and employment opportunities.

IICD recently published a document that summarizes the main lessons they have learned about the use of ICTs to boost (rural) economic development between 2006 and 2010.

Some of the lessons that stand out are the importance of empowering and connecting individuals, strengthening and connecting with local organizations and linking sectors by improving knowledge flows and the policy environment.

"With the right tools, people in developing countries can considerably improve their livelihoods and quality of life. Better access to information and communication technology (ICT) is particularly vital in enabling them to achieve their goals".

(Source: IICD)

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Saturday, April 07, 2012 4:48:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Nan Chiau Primary School in Sengkang, Singapore in collaboration with Qualcomme and Microsoft will empower its students and teachers through custom-tailored mobile application enabling 24/7 access to educational resources.

Under the WE learn mobile education project, which uses 3G smartphones to create seamless classroom experience, some 350 third-grade pupils and teachers will experience the latest wireless technology that will ease a student-centric model of learning where educational materials can be accessed anytime and anywhere via smartphones.

The project is being supported by the Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) under the ICT masterplan in education to designate Nan Chiau Primary School as a model for primary schools throughout Singapore and Asia.

By equipping students with learning tools like mobile phones, our students have 24/7 access to educational content, web-based resources, and collaborative learning tools”, said Mr Tan Chun Ming, principal of Nan Chiau Primary School.

These tools give students the means to take responsibility for their own learning and enable teachers to provide individualized mentoring”, Chun Ming added.

All smartphones are equipped with MyDesk, a mobile learning platform to enable each student to access his or her assignments, relevant websites that contain podcasts, textual material and video clips and educational applications, such as mapping, drawing and animating, to practice both self-directed and collaborative learning.

Files created by the Nan Chiau students on their smartphones are backed-up and synchronized to a cloud-based teaching management system, providing each student an electronic portfolio that parents can review and teachers can access for grading and feedback purposes.

The national Institute of Education of Singapore is assisting teachers with the development of customised curriculum in English, Science and Chinese, and co-design technology to enable teachers to enact lessons using smartphones to support the students’ personalized learning, revealed Professor Looi Chee Kit, The National Institute of Education who is responsible for the WE learning project.

Nan Chiau Primary School is Singapore’s first school to set up the Centre for Educational Research and Application (CERA), the research centre for using ICT in teaching and learning in a primary school.

(Source: FutureGov)
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Wednesday, April 04, 2012 6:32:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 02, 2012

Kasetsart University, one of Thailand’s leading universities opened Mobile Development Centre last month to empower its students in innovating mobile software skill.

Mobile applications are the future for developers and we want to be a part to help encourage more numbers of Thai mobile developers”, said Assistant Professor Dr Putchong Uthayopas, Kasetsart University’s head of the Department of Computer Engineering.

The huge growth of mobile devices, especially smart phones and tablet devices, are expected to create a lot of room for mobile applications and software and that means great opportunity for Thai software developers and the software industry, he added.

The centre is expected to be a role model for other universities to set up facilities for their students to develop mobile application and software, according to him.

We invested THB 1 million (US$ 32,460 ) to build the centre, equipped with facilities like hi-speed internet connection, computer, and mobile devices both smart phones and tablet across platforms”, said Uthayopas.

Project head Anan Phonphoem said the centre focuses on three mobile platforms – IOS, Android, and Windows Phone. The centre’s main service is to provide facilities, including space, computers and mobile devices like smart phones and tablets, to Kasetsart University’s computer engineering students.

We set up this as a value-added service for our students. We are not including it as a part of the main curriculum. Almost five hundred of our engineering students who are interested in mobile development can come to the centre to use our facilities to develop their ideas into real applications”, he added.

Students skilled in mobile application can use the centre to be their workshop to develop mobile apps and then commercialize the app.

According to him, the project aims to encourage about 70 to 80 per cent of the five hundred students to be empowered with mobile development skills and be ready to enter the industry as entrepreneurs. Apart from providing facilities and tools, the centre will also offer training courses in technology and business matters.

“We will also work with the industry sector to collaborate in bringing knowledge of technology and business knowhow to our students,” concluded Phonphoem.

(Source: FutureGov)
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Monday, April 02, 2012 6:55:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Working Group for the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines–East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) identified three major projects to be included in the BIMP-EAGA Implementation Blueprint (IB) for 2012-2016.

According to Attorney Jonalyn Bagayan from the Mindanao Development Authority, the projects includes the roll out of the ICT rural outreach program, the establishment of the BIMP-EAGA rink (submarine cable), and the implementation of the Intelligence Clearance Identification (iClid).

The ICT Rural outreach program aims to improve ICT literacy of rural communities through the construction of e-telecentres equipped with e-Learning models and mobile applications.

In the Philippines, the Committee has identified 30 pilot sites in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for the roll-out of the e-telecentres. Each pilot site is expected to have 20 computers.

E.A. Trillink Inc. is the private sector lead of the program in the Philippines. The latter is investing US$33 million for the installation of around 2,000 telecentres in ARMM. Meanwhile, Brunei has successfully implemented the program’s first phase which includes training courses on e-commerce and the establishment of e-telecentres equipped with broadband internet, and other applications.

The BIMP - EAGA Rink project on the other hand, aims to develop BIMP-EAGA as a new hub and centre of investment by leveraging a Hybrid Communications Platform which would make use of sea cable, satellite, or terrestrial systems.

Lastly, the iCLid project will use a combination of Radio-frequency Identification and web technology to facilitate cross-border movement of goods and vehicles within the BIMP-EAGA region.

Brunei Darussalam has already implemented the first phase of the project in Sungai Tujoh and Kuala Lurah, and will extend it to Sabah and Sarawak checkpoints in Malaysia for the second phase. Each checkpoint is estimated to cost around US$1.5 million.

(Source: FutureGov)

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Saturday, March 31, 2012 4:05:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 29, 2012

When a large company or famous philanthropist donates computers to children to advance their learning and give them online access to the world, it makes an impact. But when the donors are young teenagers who revamped and renovated the computers themselves, it makes an even bigger impact.

Students and teachers at Forest Park High School, a public magnet school in Woodbridge, Va., say their school’s computer donation program has become an essential part of the learning experience. It has also become an essential asset for the community.

The program combines academic learning and hands-on lab work with community service. First students learn about computer systems and networks. Then they rebuild used computers and give them away to children and other schools needing computers.

It is the act of giving that solidifies the learning experience, says Brian Hackett, an instructional technologist at the school and co-coordinator for the program. “It becomes personal. You don’t get personal in learning until the kids see results of what they have learned”.

Hackett thinks education in general should head in the direction of combining schooling with community service. Applying academic material gives it relevance.

The students seemed to agree. “When we go to events to give the computers away, the parents and students are overwhelmed with joy. The smiles on their faces are amazing”, said Karl Stallknecht, a student at Forest Park. “You can see the big picture”.

As the students worked on restoring computers to mint condition during class, they spoke about their coursework with enthusiasm. They seemed to grasp the complexities of information technology as they discussed network systems, web hosting, cloud-based solutions, Linux operating systems, and various software programs. Listening to their high level of discourse, it was clear they understood as least as much about technology as the average adult working in the field.

(Source: eschool News)
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Thursday, March 29, 2012 4:45:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The digital gap that faced by Quechua-speaking communities of the Andes could be reduced thanks to two initiatives that create content in this language and replace the lack of Internet connectivity with off-line versions.

A project sponsored by One Laptop Per Child Association (OLPC by its acronym in English), works in an offline version, based on the Wikipedia online in Quechua language, so that could be used by students who speak that language and have no Internet connectivity.

"The wiki page in Quechua is too good and it is wasted because most Quechua speakers do not have Internet access" told Gonzalo Odiard to SciDev.Net, from the Association OLPC and Sugar Labs project, global initiative, which uses a computer learning platform for children to learn together through the computer.

Odiard had already successfully completed a similar project in Rwanda, based on the wiki kinyarwanda.

The project to provide a viewer for the wikipedia offline on computers using the XO which use OLPC program was created by Chris Ball in 2008, in Spanish and English.

Based on this project, "we developed a set of tools used to process files of wikipedia dump (a kind of backup of all contents of all pages in the wiki), select a set of pages, compress and prepare so they can be deployed locally on computers", said Odiard.

The community “Somos Azúcar” will do the same with wikipedia pages in Aymara and Guarani. This Projects would be aimed at users of the highland areas of Peru and Bolivia in the first case, and Paraguay in the second, where these languages are spoken, and where the population has not full Internet access.

The most important thing is that the project has no cost. "For every wikipedia collaborate volunteers who speak the language and that we are working, doing quality control and selecting relevant articles", said Odiard.

Another initiative, the Mozilla community in Peru, seeks to turn the Quechua language in one of the Firefox web browser, that is why the community has invited to all Quechua speaker and who wish, to contribute in the construction of the project.

(Source: SciDev.Net)
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012 9:40:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 26, 2012

The ICT Ministry and the Ministry of Finance released the draft law “Easy Pay - Digital Pay”, which seeks to bring transactional services to the entire population and expanding demand over the Internet.

The Deputy Minister for ICT, María Carolina Hoyos Turbay and Technical Deputy Minister of Finance, Ana Fernanda Maiguashca, presented the draft law 'Easy Pay - Digital Pay' during the Third Congress of Access to Financial Services, Payment Systems and Tools, organized by Asobancaria in Cartagena (Colombia).

The project serves a new digital payments business that will allow Colombians to make their transactions safely, efficiently and at lower cost. It also seeks financial inclusion of the population which develops informal productive activities, and thus tending to the formalization of the transactions in the economy.

"The idea is that people can do their financial transactions from their phones, tablets and other mobile devices, to no longer waste time on travel and rows. It is a great alternative for people who live in rural or remote areas of banking areas", said Vice ICT.

Technical Deputy Minister of Finance said that it is important a balance between protection and access to electronic transactions, as this project is part of the strategy that seeks that more Colombians are banked.

Now there are over one million users of mobile transaction, this thanks to the coordination of different actors in the government and the private sector, who in a joint, are driving the delivery of government subsidies through electronic wallets.

This mechanism has reduced prices incurred by the national government to meet the basic needs of vulnerable sections of the country, and also this social service is going to be provided in an efficient, quick and transparent way.

Mobile banking has grown substantially in recent years. According to the latest report of the Superintendency of Colombia, the channel used by financial users in Colombia is the cell phone, with a 26% of usability.

(Source: MINTIC –Colombia)
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Monday, March 26, 2012 10:27:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 23, 2012

The world's poorest countries can jump directly from the pre-electricity era into a new industrial revolution through an "energy Internet" — the uptake of renewable energy shared through communication technologies, argues economist Jeremy Rifkin.

"The great economic revolutions in history occur when new communication technologies converge with new energy systems", writes Rifkin.

And now — with industrial civilization at a crossroads and the need to transition to a post-carbon era — internet technology and renewable energies are coming together to create a new infrastructure for a Third Industrial Revolution, a decentralized system where millions of people can produce green energy locally and share it with each other.

Rifkin points out that because developing countries do not have an aging electricity grid, they can "leapfrog" into a new energy era by building new, distributed electricity systems. This will significantly reduce the time and cost of making the transition — the European Union needs to spend US$ 1.3 trillion between 2010 and 2020 to update electricity grids and keep up with renewable energy.

Economic development is impossible without reliable and affordable green electricity, says Rifkin, and this democratization of energy will help raise 40 per cent of the global population out of poverty. Power and control over energy will shift from "giant" fossil fuel companies to millions of small producers, diffusing risk as neighborhoods and regions pool resources to create local grids.

Establishing this infrastructure to transition to a Third Industrial Revolution will require setting down several 'pillars' simultaneously, which include shifting to renewable energy; building micro-power plants to collect renewable energies; and using the Internet to create an "energy-sharing intergrid".

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Friday, March 23, 2012 6:38:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 22, 2012

On 15 March, was held the Consumer's Day in the world and to celebrate it, the Superintendency of Industry and Trade in conjunction with the School Cafam, prepared virtual guides 'Alert and Safety in the Network', by which, children and young people will get information about the expected behavior on the Internet, warning of hazards and risks, plus tips and suggestions for browsing the network.

This is framed in the Act 1480 - 2011, through which was issued the Consumer Protection Statute, which protects the right of all consumers to be educated about their rights.

The Deputy Minister for ICT, María Carolina Hoyos, helped to launch the project, which intends to continue with the issue of virtual cards in matters of protection and safety of children as consumers, to allow- through the use of technological tools-present, disseminate and educate Colombians about their rights under the law in their role as consumers.

"For the ICT Ministry is a priority to develop strategies for our children, so they will be better users of ICT, especially Internet and, as such, they should respect their rights. Committed to that purpose, under the Digital Living Plan, we developed the strategy 'EnTicConfio', a novel model by which we produce, collect and disclose content to provide citizens with valuable tools to make better use of ICT ", said Hoyos, the Deputy Minister.

Also, the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce started to provide to manufacturers, suppliers and marketers of good services, as well as general users, the tool called VIRTUAL BOX, by which they can meet the demands that promote consumer to the entity, as an efficient and expeditious channel of communication with the SIC.

(Source: MINTIC –Colombia)

Further details

Thursday, March 22, 2012 4:32:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 21, 2012

South Africa is leading the way in launching mobile health (mHealth) services with some of the most successful and best known mHealth initiatives having been developed in this country. This is according to Andrea Monteiro, director of Mobile Health Africa, which will gather the leading minds in the industry in Johannesburg in May.

“Africa suffers more than 24% of the global burden of disease”, says Andrea, “but has an average of only two doctors per 10,000 people – a shocking statistic. It means that providing the majority of people in Africa with healthcare is a major challenge”. She says the evolution of mHealth services in Africa is enabling the drastic improvement of the healthcare infrastructure: “In its most basic form it will provide access to healthcare advice and information even in the most remote parts Africa”.

According to the Mobile Health Africa director, South Africa represents the ideal platform for the deployment and evolution of mHealth services. She explains: “The country has a brilliant telecoms infrastructure, both in terms of service provisioning and technology and is home to several entrepreneurial NGOs currently investing in mobile technologies. On a social level, mobile penetration rates are very high, and other mobile services such as mobile money/mobile banking are already well established and used successfully on a day-to-day basis”.

The objective is to evolve pilots to successful live mHealth deployments. Mobile Health Africa 2012 will provide the perfect platform for the establishment of the business models and partnerships needed to build sustainable and scalable mHealth services throughout Africa. The event will feature presentations from organizations and companies that are leading the development of mHealth initiatives on the continent.

Mobile Health Africa 2012 is part of the Connected Africa Forum, which will showcase the evolution of mobile lifeline services and applications in Africa, and highlight the evolving intersection between mobile money, mobile health and mobile agriculture.

More details
(Source: PR. Com)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 3:31:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In quarterly tracking studies through fall 2012, InterMedia is monitoring trends in awareness and use of mobile money in Tanzania, for the benefit of the financial access stakeholder community.

This first quarterly report, covering the period Sept-Nov. 2011, provides a concise view on levels of awareness and use, triggers and deterrents to use, what alternatives to mobile money services are being used, and perspectives on successful marketing of mobile money services.

As Key Points this report shows:

  • Ownership of a mobile phone in Tanzania is high with more than three-quarters (78 percent) of Tanzanians having household ownership of a mobile phone and 63 percent having personal ownership.

  • General awareness of mobile money (MM) services in Tanzania is almost universal with 93 percent of Tanzanians aware of at least one brand of mobile money services. However, only about a quarter of the population (24 percent) is actually using MM.

  • Use of mobile money is not even across demographic characteristics.

  • Usage of mobile money is positively associated with ownership of mobile phones.

  • Income often not a factor in usage of MM applications.

  • MM usage still restricted to sending and receiving money.

  • Non-MM users are not yet convinced that MM is reliable, trustworthy, or convenient.

  • Rural females living below the $1.25/day PPP poverty line, the population least likely to use MM currently, express the most interest in the product’s safety, security and convenience.

Full Report
(Source: InterMedia)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 5:10:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Shenzhen Scope Scientific Development Co won a contract to supply 900,000 tablet computers for first graders in government schools in Thailand under “One Tablet PC Per Child” scheme.

The Cabinet will approve this proposal next week for buying the selection of Scope under the cost of THB 2,482 (US$81) a piece in which the first lots will be distributed to first graders this May to promote a knowledge based and network-connect society.

The Education Ministry also plans to seek approval to purchase higher specification tablets for nearly 700,000 units for Grade 7 students.

Information and Communication Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap said the project committee had chosen “the company that proposed the lowest price of $81, excluding transportation costs”.

The selection of Scope to supply tablets for the project was based not only on price, but also on other criteria, the minister said and added they included tablet specifications, insurance conditions, and delivery time among others.

The other companies in the bid had offered to supply the tablets at higher prices. TCL Cooperation offered $89, Haier Information Technology (Shenzhen) Co offered $105 and Huawei Technologies Co proposed $135.

A government committee set a starting price of 3,100 baht per unit plus 300 baht for uploading e-content. The cost excludes shipping costs to Thailand.

The decision was made after a committee visited the production lines of all four companies in China. Of the 900,000 tablets the government will purchase, 860,000 will be distributed to all of the country’s first-grade students and the rest will be earmarked for teachers and kept as reserve inventory.

(Source: FutureGov)
Further details
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 5:16:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Located 160km Northeast of Hanoi, Ha Long—capital city of Quang Ninh province, Vietnam—”has started installing 30 wireless base broadcasting stations to provide free wifi for citizen and tourists” revealed Mr Nguyen Minh Hong, Director General, Department of Information and Communications, Quang Ninh province.

The project to offer free wifi for the main cities of Quang Ninh is estimated to cost about 350 trillion Dong (USD 17 million).

The first implementation phase required an investment of about 100 trillion Dong (USD 5 million) to “establish free wifi for Ha Long city”. Quang Ninh local government is working closely with the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (VNPT) to implement this project. VNPT is responsible for installing infrastructure and collect monthly wireless internet fee from local government and end-users who need better services for their entertainment needs.

Hong told FutureGov that the Ha Long project is expected to be finished before the end of April 2012 when the local tourism festival begins. The free wifi coverage will help meet internet access needs of local citizens, investors and tourists.

(Source: FutureGov)
Further details

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 5:04:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 13, 2012
This study examines how access to and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are transforming the economic opportunities available to poor and low-income women in India by promoting their entrepreneurial activity. What types of initiatives support small and medium enterprises for women, and through which ICTs? What factors shape a positive connection between ICTs and women’s business success? What barriers have been lifted and what opportunities realized? What types of impact are ICT-based initiatives having on women, their businesses and beyond? What promising pathways are being shaped, and what channels have yet to be explored?

The larger goal of this research is to identify how technology can be leveraged to create and transform entrepreneurial opportunities for women across the globe. The insights presented here are intended to inform programs, policies and investments that encourage women to start, strengthen and sustain businesses by adopting and using ICTs. Recommendations aim to provide direction for stakeholders—development actors, governments, and especially the private sector—on how they can support women’s entrepreneurship through ICT platforms, products and services.

(Source: International Center for Research on Women - ICRW
Full Report

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 5:21:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 12, 2012
March 8th is International Women's Day and to mark the occasion, the GSMA mWomen Programme has released a study called "Striving and Surviving – Exploring the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid". Drawn from 2,500 interviews with women (aged 16-64 in both rural and urban areas) living on less that $2 a day in Egypt, India, Papua New Guinea, and Uganda, the report looks at how mobile technology influences the way women approach health, economic development, and family relationships, and what mobile operators can do to reach more low-income women.

The report is divided into three parts; part one looks at the social, cultural, and economic factors that women at the base of the economic pyramid face in their daily lives, part two looks at the role of mobile technology in their lives, and part three looks at how technology can be used to further reach low-income women.
Some of the statistics pulled from the report show that when asked what the key benefits of mobile would be:
  • 80% reported being connected to friends and family
  • 58% said it would be useful in an emergency
  • 40% said it would cut down on travel time
  • 15% believed it would help them feel secure
  • 93% reported that mobile phones made them feel safer, while the same proportion particularly valued being connected to friends and family.
  • 41% reported that owning a mobile had helped them increase their income or their professional prospects
  • 85% of mobile owners reported a greater feeling of independence
Full Report
(Source: Mobile Active)

Monday, March 12, 2012 6:59:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
How can we understand the impact that mobiles are having on the livelihoods of the poor?

We all know that mobile phone use has grown exponentially in developing countries.  And that phones are having an increasing impact on the livelihoods of the poor by providing market prices, by supplying health information, by enabling financial transfers, etc.

A new working paper in the Development Informatics series – “Understanding Mobile Phone Impact on Livelihoods in Developing Countries: A New Research Framework” – argues the livelihoods approach is a good starting point.  But that it needs modification.

The livelihoods approach suggests four potential impacts of mobiles on the assets that underpin all livelihoods:
  • Asset substitution: saving time and costs for journeys, but adding costs for mobile expenditure.
  • Asset enhancement: greater efficiency in use of other assets e.g. for agricultural production or relationship-building.
  • Asset disembodiment: the conversion of assets to digital form e.g. the codification of social contacts, or digitisation of money.
  • Asset exchange/combination: e.g. the exchange of airtime or m-cash.
Important intermediaries – mobile operators, their agents, community-based organisations and NGOs, family and friends – help shape the extent and distribution of these impacts.  These are also shaped by the three livelihood strategies to which the poor apply mobiles:
  • Maintaining existing livelihoods and mitigating vulnerability: e.g. use of mobiles to maintain social networks that can assist in an emergency.
  • Expanding and enhancing existing activities: e.g. using mobiles to obtain greater earnings from existing produce, to save more effectively, or to obtain greater remittances from existing social contacts.
  • Diversifying into new activities: e.g. employment in the mobile sector, or use of mobiles to complete micro-work tasks.
(Source: ICT for development)
Further details

Monday, March 12, 2012 6:03:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
From 19th to March 23th, 2012, Bogotá, Colombia, will host the "South School on Internet Governance", whose main objective is to train professionals in all aspects related on Internet governance from a global perspective and with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean.

The objectives of this school are:
  • Create opportunities for training new generations of professionals who should actively participate in meetings in which they will form the future of the Internet.
  • Encourage young students of the Latin American and Caribbean region to engage in the international development of Internet policy and issues associated with their government.
  • Increase the representation of the Latin America and Caribbean countries in the development of spaces where to debate and define Internet governance.
During five days of intensive training, participants will learn how to govern the Internet; the political, economic, social and legal implications of Internet Governance; the international spaces for desicion makers; technical protocols and other aspects on Internet and Governance and its impact on development of Internet and its future.

The event is organized by the South School on Internet Governance (SSIG), supported by the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies , the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC), Government Online, Live Digital Colombia and the Training Center of High Technology.

The South School on Internet Governance is the first and only training program in Latin America and Caribbean that covers all aspects of Internet governance from a global and regional levels.
Internet Governance is more than the administration of domain names, according to the definition developed by the Working Group on Internet Governance in 2005, it is "The development and application of principles, norms, rules, procedures and programs that form the evolution and use of the Internet".

(Source: MINTIC)
Further details

Monday, March 12, 2012 4:01:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, March 11, 2012
According to Pew Internet and American Life Project, 80 percent of adults gather health information online and 88 percent of American adults have a cell phone, and among the cell phone owners 53 percent own a smartphone. Read Original Content

The World Health Organization has calculated that mHealth adoption could reduce costs for elderly care by 25 percent, reduce maternal and perinatal mortality by 30 percent, and improve TB treatment compliance between 30 percent and 70 percent. Read Original Content

The significant adoption of smartphones among physicians has not only led to an explosion of medical apps aimed at healthcare providers, but it has also cultivated an emerging trend of health and wellness apps aimed at empowering patients. Check out these three new apps that empower patients. Read Original Content

Webalo technology eliminates the need for traditional mobile application development tools and custom programming to provide in hours, instead of weeks or months, mobile access to the specific enterprise data and functions that smartphone and tablet users rely on to do their jobs.  This newsletter is sponsored in part by Webalo,

 Clinical trials by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Flinders Medical Centre will assess the performance of the world-leading handheld ultrasound device engineered and manufactured by Adelaide company Signostics Limited. Read Original Content.

(Source: MobileEnterpriseStrategies)
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Sunday, March 11, 2012 4:43:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 08, 2012

This paper makes the case for a National Software and Broadband Policy in support of the recently published draft National ICT Policy of January 2012 by the Ministry of Communications Technology's Ministerial Committee on ICT Policy Harmonization which includes in its objectives, "To encourage the development of Broadband services that will enable Nigerians enjoy the benefits of globalization and convergence".

Specifically, the paper builds on the Broadband Section of the policy which states that "It is widely acknowledged that broadband infrastructure is an enabler for economic and social growth in the digital economy.

Therefore as part of the universal service obligation, broadband access shall be made universally available to all citizens." This section of the policy sets the National Broadband objectives as - To accelerate the penetration of affordable broadband Internet in the country and - to foster broadband usage for national development.

The strategies put forward for achieving these objectives are that the Government shall:

  1. Provide periodic review of the broadband penetration targets in order to determine further action for broadband expansion;

  2. Promote both supply- and demand-side policies that create incentives for broadband backbone and access network deployment;

  3. Facilitate broadband development and deployment, leveraging on existing universal service frameworks;

  4. Provide special incentives to operators to encourage them to increase their investment in broadband rollout;

  5. Promote e-Government and other e-services that would foster broadband usages.

(Source: allAfrica)
Further Details

Thursday, March 08, 2012 3:42:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Survivors of the 2010 devastating earthquake in Haiti have this week started receiving cash subsidies through the first-ever mobile money transfer system in support of post-disaster housing reconstruction, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reported.

More than 2,000 mobile money transfers are planned in the next three months to 1,000 low-income families receiving subsidies totalling $500 to purchase construction materials such as cement, iron and wood at selected project-certified stores. The initiative is part of the ‘Community Support Centres for House Repairs’, a partnership between UNDP and the Government of Haiti.

Commissioned by UNDP and developed by Digicel, one of the country’s largest cell phone service providers, the mobile telephone cash transfers are helping boost financial inclusion in Haiti, where nearly two-thirds of the population has access to mobile phones, but only 10 per cent have bank accounts.

Beneficiaries can also access a mobile phone checking account, which is a safer method of keeping cash, reduces financial transaction costs, improves users’ ability to save and helps bring more people into the formal financial sector.

“Mobile phone vouchers create additional security and convenience here in Haiti, especially for women, who might feel more vulnerable when carrying large sums of money”, said Jessica Faieta, Senior UNDP Country Director for Haiti. She stressed that more than 40 per cent of Haitian households are led by women.

“With safer housing conditions, this initiative will also encourage the permanent return of camp residents to their neighbourhoods and repaired homes”, she added.

The Support Centres, known locally by their French acronym as CARMEN, have been empowering quake-affected communities in Port-au-Prince and the western town of Léogâne to directly take charge of house repairs, with engineering assessments and construction training.

Four thousand families have already registered to participate in the project, benefiting 12,000 people. Five thousand participants have been trained in construction techniques and 2,000 damaged houses have already been evaluated, according to UNDP.

(Source: United Nations)
Further Details

Wednesday, March 07, 2012 3:44:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 06, 2012
The study identifies the main healthcare challenges in each study country, and estimates the potential benefits over the next decade of large-scale mHealth solutions being made available, leveraging the best evidence available on mHealth pilots to date. It also examines the roles stakeholders need to play to help make this a reality.

Based on the explosive growth in global mobile phone penetration, a technology revolution is quickly gaining pace in healthcare. Around the world, healthcare systems are overburdened, costly and incapable of meeting the needs of a growing population. According to a new study from The Boston Consulting Group and Telenor Group, mobile health technology can offer sizeable benefits to all countries, lead to economic growth and promise a better life for individuals.

The study "Socio-Economic Impact of mHealth " - commissioned by Telenor Group and carried out by The Boston Consulting Group - is a comprehensive survey of the impact that mHealth initiatives can have in 12 countries. What unites them all is that mobile health technology can improve the quality, reach and effectiveness of services while reducing costs and the overall system burden.

Telenor Group has launched a number of mobile health initiatives across its markets. In Norway, an assisted living project helps the elderly stay longer at home through mobile alarm systems. In Thailand, a mobile text messaging service provides epidemic surveillance. In Bangladesh and Pakistan, a service called Healthline provides patients with a simple number to dial for both serious and non-serious medical needs. In India, mothers can obtain critical information about prenatal health via their phones. In Montenegro, a joint project with the EU provides a service for remotely located elderly people, enabled by one touch on a button on their mobile handset. In Serbia, mobile health technology is used to increase the quality of medical registration and reporting for the Roma community.

Among the key findings:

  • The necessary infrastructure is already in everyone's hands: 7.4 billion mobile subscriptions projected by 2015

  • The technology richness and network capacity is sufficient, both on simple feature phones and on smart devices

  • Currently, more than 500 mobile health projects are taking place around the world

  • Costs in elderly care can be reduced by 25% with mobile healthcare

  • Maternal and perinatal mortality can be reduced by 30%

  • Twice as many rural patients can be reached per doctor

  • Tuberculosis treatment compliance can be improved by 30-70%

  • 30% of smartphone users are likely to use "wellness apps" by 2015

  • Costs related to data collection can be reduced by 24%

  • Smartphone is the most popular technology among doctors since the stethoscope

(Source: Reuters News)
Further details

Tuesday, March 06, 2012 5:04:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 02, 2012

A farmers’ organization in Western Kenya uses mobile phones to access a digital marketplace and bypass middlemen. Now trading directly with exporters, the group is seeing dramatic increases in income. New mobile applications are also being used to provide timely information about disease outbreaks to farmers in Eastern Africa, so they can prepare and prevent the pests from affecting their livestock.

Understanding and addressing global agriculture developments - both positive and negative - are critical to improving smallholder livelihoods. These are just two examples of how the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) can improve smallholder farmers’ income and increase agricultural productivity. Expanded and increasingly affordable connectivity and tools, especially mobile phones, as well as advances in data storage and open access, have made ICT relevant to agriculture.

Now, the World Bank’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department (ARD) has teamed up with infoDev to connect smallholder farmers to knowledge, networks, and institutions.

“The missing link to achieving smallholder farmer growth has always been access to timely, cost-effective, and personally relevant information on improved practices, markets, prices, inputs, weather - and impending disasters,” said Mark Cackler, sector manager for ARD.

Smallholder farmers, who still provide a significant portion of the world’s food, need information to advance their work just as much as industrial-scale producers, but they often lack access to simple tools and technologies that can provide essential information on prices, markets, varieties, production techniques, services, storage, or processing. As a result, smallholder farmers remain dependent primarily on word of mouth, previous experience, and local leadership.

But this is changing as the types of ICT-enabled services useful to improving the capacity and livelihoods of poor smallholders are growing quickly. For example, short messaging service (SMS) is now enabling mobile phones to be used as a platform for agricultural information exchange.

(Source: The World Bank)
Further Details

Friday, March 02, 2012 6:50:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 29, 2012

ICTs and Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change

The CAMELTEC project focuses on radio's contribution to sustainable mountain livelihoods in the Peruvian Andes. This project aims to address technological, social, political and institutional issues that affected these communities.

CAMELTEC was broad ranging in its remit; aiming to address technological, social, political and institutional issues that affected these communities. There was a strong informational component based mainly around radio and offering meteorological warnings but also advice on husbandry to reduce the impact of climate variability on animal disease and death. Such advice was provided both in preparations for cold spells or other weather events, and during those events themselves.

The project also addressed itself to factors such as markets and market pricing for alpaca wool, and the organization of the alpaca farmers and the institutional support provided by local government and others.

Overall, the CAMELTEC project aims to use radio and other means to achieve three goals:

  • Strengthen local organizations such as farmer cooperatives to enable the introduction of sustainable (including climate sustainable) livestock practices.

  • Improve the quality and quantity of alpaca wool being produced, through good husbandry and reproductive management practices.

  • Improve income through changes to wool output and through better market access.

(Source: e-agriculture)
Full Report

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 10:30:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Choudhary, a former BBC journalist, with the support from the International Center for Journalists, with whom he is a Knight International Journalism Fellow, began an experiment in citizen journalism.

"We understood it would have to be cheap and that voice would be key -- because people are not comfortable with reading and writing", he said. The initial phase of the experiment, which revolved around the internet and community radio stations, "failed completely", he admitted. But then he took a different tack, focusing on mobile phones, which have a 74% penetration rate in India.

"Mobile is the most democratic tool in India today", said Choudhary. Although the mobile penetration rate in rural areas was about half the national level (36%), phones were still a common sight even in the most remote villages. "When we started working in 2004-5 in the villages, we did not see mobile phones. But there has been a sea-change. Mobile phone use has exploded".

The result, CGNet Swara (roughly, the "voice of Chhattisgarh") is a voice portal that allows anyone with a mobile phone to record or listen to news and items of interest. The operation is simple: on dialing the service's number, users press "1" to record a report, or "2" to listen to one. Once a report is recorded, it is verified and edited by a team of moderators before being made accessible on the service.

The service "did better than we ever expected", said Choudhary. He added that in the two years since it began, Swara has had 9,000 users, logged more than 30,000 phone calls and published 750 news stories, including a number which have had a big impact. For example, in January last year, Swara published a citizen journalist interview with Pitbasu Bhoi, a disabled man who said he had not been paid wages for 100 days of work on the government's flagship rural job guarantee scheme.

Other stories have shared allegations including villages being razed in raids by security forces, police brutality, food programs for poor children going months without receiving supplies, and resistance to land being taken over for mining.

(Source: CNN News)
Further details

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 7:24:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Under the auspices of the Global Research Alliance (GRA), Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS together with several partners from Europe, Africa and Australia has launched the GRA ICT4D project on a green and low-cost wireless communication network for rural Zambia.

In this project the Global Research Alliance (GRA) has initiated cooperation between major research institutes worldwide with the objective of challenging the lack of access to the world-wide communication infrastructure in rural areas of developing countries.

The GRA ICT4D project joins the efforts of VTT (Finland), CSIRO (Australia), the Meraka Institute (South Africa) and the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft in Germany and Portugal, to take advantage of each institute’s individual expertise to jointly develop a communication infrastructure suitable to provide Internet access in rural Sub-Sahara-Africa. The organization MachaWorks supports the initiative as a local anchor-point in rural Zambia.

More specifically:

  • CSIRO provides an efficient satellite-based infrastructure to reach rural areas;

  • Fraunhofer Germany provides a terrestrial wireless infrastructure to bring this satellite connectivity into the wide area;

  • Fraunhofer Portugal contributes with software solutions for mobile devices which will address local demands and will be piloted on top of the developed communication infrastructure;

  • VTT integrates its network management concepts to take advantage of the network’s context awareness;

  • Meraka contributes with its experience in wireless mesh concepts, in particular the community mesh and the wireless backhaul;

  • MachaWorks will support local deployment, test and evaluation at a rural area in Zambia.

The GRA ICT4D project is planned to last until the end of 2013.

(Source: Fraunhofer)
Further details

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 5:23:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 27, 2012

Recent mobile phone initiatives in Bangladesh are allowing patients to reach a health worker for advice at no cost 24 hours a day, receive prenatal care reminders and even send complaints about patient care.

“It is difficult to manage doctors for [a national population of] 140 million people. We are using mobile phone service to bridge this treatment gap“, Abul Kalam Azad, a senior official at the Directorate General of Health Services, told IRIN.

Close to 60 percent of the population - some 85 million people - use mobile phones in Bangladesh, according to a December 2011 report from the country’s telecommunications regulatory commission.

Cut off from formal medical care, some patients turn to untrained or “fake” doctors, leading to fatal remedies, said Azad, who wants to counter this trend with sound health advice.

Since 2009, the government has provided cell phones to 482 sub-district and district government hospitals, which are used as round-the-clock hotlines staffed by health workers.

Nationwide there is one doctor for every 3,200 residents and one hospital bed for every 1,738 people, according to government data published in 2011.

While this proportion of doctors to residents exceeds the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended minimum of one doctor per 10,000 residents to ensure basic health services, the picture in rural areas is markedly different.

“There are many hard-to-reach areas where it is difficult for the people to quickly rush to the hospitals. These people are getting health advice by the mobile phone health service”, said Azad. The country is in the bottom 20 countries ranked by NGO Save the Children for health workers’ ability to reach patients in need.

(Source: IRIN News)
Furhter details

Monday, February 27, 2012 10:50:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

WARID and Orange Uganda have joined the Mobile Money network to offer money transfer services to their clients. MTN's Mobile money and UTL's M-Sente are already in operation with DSTV, Umeme, NWSC among others using this service for customers to settle their bills.

At Case Clinic for example, you clearly see a notice displayed at the payment point that they accept mobile money payments. This can be helpful in a number of ways, assuming you are short on cash of course as you did not know the cost of the drugs coupled with the consultation fee, you could go ahead and call up a friend to bail you out by sending the money to your phone so that the medical bills can be settled.

Not so many people might be embracing it now but it will be a matter of time before this becomes a way of life though problems like load shedding can easily affect you if you do not charge your mobile phone.

To access your account which in this case is your mobile phone, it must be on. To receive money as well, the phone must be on because unlike SMS that can be delivered when the phone is switched on, you must use a service centre to retrieve mobile money messages.

(Source: Uganda Online)
Further details

Monday, February 27, 2012 8:41:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The start of the End User Computing learnership programme which will equip 34 young women in Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality was celebrated by the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa (PWMSA) and Bytes People Solutions (BPS)

This follows the signing of an MoU between the three primary partners PWMSA, Bytes People Solutions and the Media, Advertising, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Training Authority (MICT Seta) to train 180 young women in ICT in six municipalities. The municipalities are Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Metsweding, Sedibeng, Wesrand and Johannesburg Central.

Funding for the programme was provided by the Media, Advertising, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Training Authority (MICT Seta). The group of women from the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality are the second to start the programme following the commencement of the training in the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality in July 2011.

The learners are offered employment utilizing the workplace networks of the three partners. Learners are employed for one year, during which they will receive workplace training and coaching.

Bytes People Solutions, a company in the Bytes Technology Group, wholly owned by JSE-listed Altron, has a long-standing track record in ICT training, with more than 800 people a year passing through its doors, 59% of them female.

Dr. Ramokgopa, who is also a working committee member of the PWMSA and convener of the Gauteng Chapter, said that the programme had attracted young women who strongly believed that it would enhance their employment prospects. "The most important partners in this programme are the participants themselves", she said. "There is a high ICT illiteracy rate among women in the country, and this group of graduates is helping to address that. It’s vital that we continue to educate females in this industry as they play a key role in economic development”.

(Source: SkillsPortal)
Further details

Monday, February 27, 2012 4:23:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 23, 2012

Millions of people in Africa and the Middle East will be able to benefit from free, unlimited access to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia through their mobile phone, starting later this year. The scheme targets the region's 70 million customers of the mobile network provider Orange, who will be given free access to Wikipedia on their internet-enabled 'smart' phones.

The deal struck between Orange and the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, will allow Orange customers to read and download information from Wikipedia without the usual data usage charges. "Price is a strong barrier to people accessing the Internet, particularly in Africa", said Vanessa Clarke, spokesperson for Orange.

But the project will face several challenges, according to local experts. Catherine Ngahu, chair of the Kenya ICT Board, said few people in the region own a 'smart' phone that can connect to the internet. "Although there is increasing ownership of smart phones, there is still a large number of people who cannot afford them", she told SciDev.Net. "In order to widen reach, Orange should consider marketing lower cost smart phones".

Michael Njuku of the Kenya Revenue Authority said obstacles will range from low quality mobile handsets people own to a network provider's ability to handle the increased Internet traffic as customers try to access Wikipedia, sometimes millions at a time. "Governments in Africa must also do more to ensure that poor quality counterfeit gadgets are not imported into their countries", he said.

Clarke said the scheme will be rolled out in mid-2012, initially in about eight countries, and by December some 20 countries will benefit.

She said between seven and 15 per cent of Orange customers in Africa and the Middle East currently have phones that access the Internet, but the company plans to increase the proportion to 50 per cent by 2015.

Kul Wadhwa, Head of Mobile and Business Development at the Wikimedia Foundation, said he expects the scheme to encourage more people in Africa to read, contribute and download information from Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is the world's largest online encyclopedia, maintained by a global community of volunteers. It contains explanations of many scientific terms and issues, and some have suggested it could be used to share scientific knowledge.

(Source: SciDev News)
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Thursday, February 23, 2012 5:59:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More than 3000 public schools in the Philippines are now enjoying the learning and teaching benefits derived from the “desktop virtualization” technology applied in many e-Classrooms, as part of the Department of Education’s Computerization Programme.

The Computerization programme is an initiative by the Government that aims to have public elementary and secondary schools nationwide use Information Communication Technologies (ICT) in teaching, learning, school management, and governance.

This technology enables one host system to power six computers simultaneously. This is in contrast to an older practice where each desktop is connected to a Central Processing Unit (CPU).

By using desktop virtualization, schools can reduce the number of required CPUs in computer laboratories, thereby also reducing hardware costs by 50 per cent, 75 per cent on support costs, and 90 per cent on energy consumption expenses.

In addition, the said technology has the potential to improve student-to-computer ratios in many schools nationwide thereby also improving IT literacy of many students.

The same technology is also being adopted by many public schools in Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, and Bhutan.

(Source: FutureGov)
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 6:28:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 21, 2012
As part of its campaign "Back to School" (de vuelta al colegio), Movistar has launched in Peru the interactive space "Classroom 365", educational initiative that seeks to complement the education in schools, through the use of advanced multimedia tools and which is available to all customers of Movistar Speedy free of charge.
"This education portal is the difference between studying and learning, since through the pedagogical model Edutaiment "learn while you play", allows that thousands of children and young people have educational support online, with over 3,000 educational resources and multimedia secure social networking and moderate English courses and virtual teacher, that will help children to allay concerns quickly and efficiently, among other content ", explains Paul Aristizabal, creator of this tool and CEO of the company “Competir”, a provider of Classroom 635.

Currently, "Classroom 365" is present in five countries in the world, being the gateway of more relevant to contribution of learning in Latin America, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This dynamic tool will enhance the student learning in a fun and safe environment with moderate content and where you can find updated information according to the Peruvian school curriculum.

"We are committed with the education in Peru and a way to contribute is massifying broadband and giving our customers more and more content that will provide more value, such as "Classroom 365", we're sure that it will be a tool that will contribute greatly learning, "says Marcelo Echeguren, Commercial Director of Residential Customers of Movistar.

Through this initiative, Movistar is following the evolution in time of the forms of teaching and learning of students, in an efficient, fun, innovative and above all safe. "Classroom 365 brings closed the most advanced multimedia resources as educational films, blogs, charts, biographies, photo gallery, virtual teachers and an advanced search engine, which will make that the student can find their answers in an agile and entertaining way, also has a tutorial control for parents, allowing monitoring of the activities of children. Access to Aula 355 here.

(Source: Telefonica)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 4:51:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 20, 2012

Malaysia is introducing a Smart City-Smart Village initiative expected to contribute RM 95 billion (US$30.6 billion) to the national economy by 2020.

The project, to be implemented through the Global Science and Innovation Academy Council (GSIAC), aims to “balance development in the urban and rural areas, focusing on the use of green technology and ICT”, said GSIAC in a statement.

The goal is to improve everything from energy use to healthcare, education, traffic and shopping by doing it “smart” with the help of ICT and green technology”.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Tun Razak, who chairs GSIAC, has endorsed this programme with a vision to benefit and transform the living standards of the Rakyat. Smart community projects are expected to empower and connect communities with an inclusive socio-economic approach to growth based on the New Economic Model and Vision 2020 agenda.

(Source: FutureGov)
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Monday, February 20, 2012 10:40:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 16, 2012

The program “Padrino Tecnológico” has been introduced in the University of Alcala de Henares as part of the activities of CAPTA II, organized by the Chair for the Improvement of Personal Autonomy of Telefonica, which objective is the research, development, education and outreach to strengthen technologies such as "Internet of Things" and increase personal autonomy of certain groups (Disabled people, elderly, sick people ...).

The initiative has as protagonists to the "sponsors", volunteers who spend time for designing and developing ICT solutions for children with motor and / or cognitive high impairment. It also has the involvement of the University students as potential entrepreneurs, who could use the existing market niche around disability, who are nearly 1,000 million people worldwide.

Also concerning to the accessibility, experts from the National Center of Techniques Accessibility (CENTAC), the Polytechnic University of Madrid, and Telefónica, which participated in the conference, wanted to highlight the key issue that services based on “Internet of Things” will be viable and accessible for all society: design but taking into account all people, whatever their capabilities, making them affordable; paying attention in the security and privacy of data, taking advantage of them, and promoting digital literacy for easy using.

But “Internet of Things” is not only key for the inclusion in the society of people with disabilities, but also constitutes an industrial sector to develop, which may contribute to the sustainability of Health, for example, by telecare solutions for the chronically ill and to seek a healthy aging (keep in mind that at 2050, 30% of the Spanish population will be more than 80 years old).

At the meeting, attended by over 100 people, also they stressed the benefits of smart cities or smartcities. So, Javier Vizcaino, manager of Public Administrations of Telefónica for the Centre Territory, explained that these smart cities provide suitable information to public managers, so they can take better decisions, make easy the participation of citizens, promote efficiency in the use of energy resources, and improve accessibility.

(Source: Telefonica –España)
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Thursday, February 16, 2012 10:42:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Mostly when the people think of the Internet, there is a male predominance in most of the questions, especially in manufacturing and invention of new technologies. Previously, the role of women in the virtual world was not very significant. However, over the last years, this thinking has changed. Regarding this case, the CPBR5 # invited to six recognized ladies to discuss and review this issue: Julia Petit, Lemos Nina, Penatti Giovana, Lola Aronovich, Daniela Dantas, and the mediated of Fernanda Pineda.

Julia is a blogger, host of the "allied base" in the GNT and music producer. Nina is a journalist and writes for the magazine "TPM". Daniela Dantas, writes in the blog "Girls and girls." Lola is a professor at the Federal University of Ceará and blogger on "Lola Post Write." Giovana is editor of "YouPIX" and writer in the blog "Girl Geeks". Fernanda is an actress, producer and blogger "Fake Doll."

For guests, the myth of the "Club of Little Lulu" is still too prevalent among women. "Women like to talk to each other, not only because of similar issues, but why this woman understands the universe", Says Julia. Lola believes that what happens is the opposite. There are more "boys club” that the "Little Lulu" and those have more prejudice. The teacher said most of the jokes come from men and you see that kind of attitude as a child.

The younger audience, represented by Daniela blogger, says children are participating in public opinion polls of the blog, and which is predominantly female. Thinking about the content area, Julia believes in the feminine nature of talking more and in the issues addressed.

The guests believe in the expansion of the public information, what happens in recent years. With the rise of blogs and the rise of Internet access, women began to seek more information of interest in the web. However, this flood of content consumption aggravated the problem in people. Previously, they knew that they know not so much. Today, the pressure implied by the corporate media is so great that people end up buying the pieces before the main product, it is not necessary. "The lack of filtering of information is one of the main culprits of this desire to buy en masse", says Giovanna.

At the end of the talk, the guests were pleased with the progress of women in technology and fear of lack of knowledge of women, the tools used for work. And that's why Campus Party always tries to bring together diverse segments such as robotics and digital arts, for example, for a week, the participant may have contact with these areas and an open mind to new content.

(Source: Campus Party – Brasil)
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012 9:40:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Thailand decided to buy up to 900,000 tablet computers from China via a government-to-government contract with payment made in cash and produce for its One Tablet per Child scheme.

A memorandum of understanding on the planned procurement was signed by the two countries, said Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Minister Anudith Nakorntha yesterday.

We are negotiating the price and payment options with China”, he said. He also expected the negotiations to conclude this month.

He added that the negotiation would be based on mutual benefit. “The negotiation will be fair to both sides. China is a big manufacturer. It can offer tablets at a competitive price”.

Nakornthap revealed that the government had already approved a THB 1.9-billion budget (US$ 63.3 million) for the procurement of 560,000 tablets to the Ministry of Education, though the ICT ministry will handle the purchase.

However, he said that more funds would be needed because the Education Ministry plans to distribute the devices to all 860,000 first graders before the start of the upcoming semester in May. With some tablets to be given to children in other grades, the ministry will need up to 900,000 units of them.

(Source: FutureGov)
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012 3:43:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
In the villages of Nepal, the community radio programme Sajha Awaj (common voice) allows discussions on issues of importance to the women of the community through transmission to more than 160 community radio stations.  The programme is produced by the Association of Community Radio Broadcasters Nepal (ACORAB), a grantee of UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality. The programme delves into issues ranging from addressing cultural malpractices faced by rural women — such as being shunned during their monthly menstrual cycle — to women’s role in local politics and building a local motorway which is essential for rural women traders.

In Latin America, organizations like Puntos de Encuentro in Nicaragua and Asociacion de Comunicadores Sociales Calandria and Movimiento Manuela Ramos in Peru, provide critical public forums  for discussions on effective ways to end violence against women, on women’s access to justice and legal support through radio programming. Radio projects also form an important channel of information in post-conflict Iraq and Nepal. These initiatives are supported by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, managed by UN Women. Established in 1996, the Fund is the only multilateral grant-making mechanism exclusively devoted to supporting efforts to end violence against women and girls.

All these efforts have one thing in common — the power of the radio. According to UNESCO, radio can be found in the homes of 75 percent of the world population. For billions of people living in rural areas, or as urban poor, access to information is limited. Disconnected from the information gateway due to poverty, low literacy, limited electricity connections and access to communication technologies such as computers and internet, radio is often the only medium available. Run on batteries, lightweight, mobile and inexpensive, the popularity of the radio medium remains high, amongst the six billion people who have access to it worldwide.

Community radio uses the power of the medium, but redefines it to give a voice to the most marginalized communities. It creates a non-commercial platform, where ordinary people in rural communities, often the women of the community, own and produce the content they hear on the radio.

(Source: UN Women)
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012 4:38:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In the department of Chocó, the government of President Juan Manuel Santos, through the Ministry of ICT, delivers mobile classrooms with that seek to promote quality education, fostering development and reducing poverty through the use of ICT tools.

The mobile classrooms are a new concept of Computers for Schools, program from the ICT Ministry, that has given technology to about 7 million children in the public sector educational institutions in Colombia.

"We are promoting inclusion and educational equity throughout Colombia because these technological tools must serve all sectors of our country. The technology gives a child from Quibdó the same opportunities of any other child from another city", said Minister Molano Vega.

With the mobile classrooms, which are transported by all classrooms of educational center benefited, the students from different courses may have access to technology and digital content, which are the main support to improve the quality of education.

This was demonstrated by a recent study of CEDE from the University of Los Andes, which showed that education mediated by ICTs improve academic achievement and encourage students not to leave their classes, among other positive impacts.

The benefited schools from the new mobile classrooms in Chocó are the Educational Institute Antonio Ricaurte, which has over 70 students enrolled, and the Educational Institution Industrial Carrasquilla, where there is nearly 900 children.

"We hope make the best use of this equipments that come to us because these are low-income schools and these tools opens up new opportunities", said the rector of the school Carrasquilla, Lucia Diaz Torres. Meanwhile, the president of the Institution Antonio Ricaurte, Antonio Ledesma said that access to technology makes the children from Chocó citizens of the world.

(Source: MINTIC - Colombia)

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012 11:39:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

With internet usage on the rise, Pakistanis are turning to the blogosphere and citizen journalism to share their opinions. Hosh Media epitomizes the growing popularity of locally-based, online portals for citizen journalism in Pakistan.

According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the number of broadband internet subscribers rose from 26,611 in 2005 to 1,656,800 in September 2011; an increase of 1.5 million subscribers. It is also estimated that as of 2011, Pakistan’s population stands at approximately 187 million; of this, the internet penetration is estimated at over 20 million.

Given the proliferation of internet usage in Pakistan, local citizen journalism portals have also seen a rise in popularity. SeenReport, Gawaahi, Maati TV, and other blogs and websites initiated by local media outlets and independent journalists/bloggers have given Pakistanis with access to the internet the chance to have their voices heard.

Hosh Media, though, has a specific focus as a citizen journalism portal. ‘Hosh’ is an Urdu word that loosely translated means ‘to awaken,’ and that is precisely what it hopes to do. By connecting the blogosphere and traditional reporting in Pakistan, founder and Pakistani journalist, Sahar Habib Ghazi, wanted to create a fresh way to engage the public while infusing news with youthful perspectives and voices.

Hosh Media recently added six online journalism tutorials to its website which are short, interesting, well-packaged videos featuring veteran Pakistani journalist Abbas Nasir highlighting important subjects within journalism such as, "Covering Survivors of Abuse", "Quoting Anonymous Sources", and "News vs. Opinion" among other topics. These tutorials serve as a reservoir of information and articulate instruction for budding citizen journalists and bloggers.

(Source: AudienceScapes)
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012 1:24:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 09, 2012
As an integral part of the “Vive Digital Plan”, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) is going advance in the initiatives that let more Colombians can have access to computers, digital tablets, and smart phones and thus facilitate access to ICT tools.

In Colombia, there are about 10'530.000 of these ICT tools, which corresponds about 23% of the total population. To improve these figures, we have sought an alliance between government, operators, manufacturers and credit institutions to promote the use of computers throughout the country.

Among the strategies developed and as support to the Vive Digital Plan, Almacenes Éxito, Intel, UNE and HP joined to provide to the community an affordable way to buy computer with Internet access under the program "My First Computer“. This not only means an opportunity for social strata 1, 2 and 3; also means greater opportunities for companies to increase their sales.

Other advances that have been achieved through the combined efforts of the Ministries of Foreign Trade and ICT, was the elimination of import taxes for the terminals with Internet access, like for example computers, tablets and smart phones; which passed from 5% to 0%. The measure, which took effect from first January 2012, will increase significantly the demand for terminals in social strata 2, 3 and 4, so that, more Colombians have access to the information highway.

"The ICT Ministry took strong measures so the technology can reach everyone, and with this kind of work in partnership we will contribute to the reduction of gaps in knowledge of new technologies", said ICT Minister Diego Molano Vega.

(Source: MINTIC – Colombia)
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Thursday, February 09, 2012 4:37:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 08, 2012
The Australian government’s high-speed, fast-access broadband communications program will deliver health care services to older Australians, people living with cancer, and those needing palliative care.

The national broadband network (NBN) telehealth pilot program will more readily connect healthcare providers with patients, especially in regional, rural and outer metropolita areas. A telehealth pilot is being trialled in an area of NBN coverage – with first round of services to be operational by July 2012.

Australia’s telehealth services are supported by the $36 billion (US$38 billion) NBN roll-out, offering affordable broadband to homes, doctor surgeries, pharmacies, clinics, aged-care facilities and allied health professionals. Telehealth services remove many of the barriers, such as Australia’s “tyranny of distance,” as well as managing the time and cost involved in patients visiting healthcare providers or GPs.

These broadband-supported services, when fully operational, will transform the way healthcare is delivered nationally – while streamlining service delivery for groups in most need.

Senator Stephen Conroy, minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy, says telehealth will transform health care delivery in Australia. This trial will make a real difference to the lives of patients with high health care needs living in NBN early rollout areas, particularly those in regional, rural, remote and outer metropolitan areas”, he says.

With an aging population, the Australian government seeks to maximize the reach of health care services, while proactively managing medical conditions.

Existing Telehealth services are popular with patients and doctors, making it make easier for people to receive care and consultation through videoconferencing, as and when needed.

Six months after introducing Medicare rebates for telehealth consultations, the uptake has grown steadily – with more than 7,000 services provided by over 1,200 clinicians nationally, mostly to rural and remote areas.

(Source: FutureGov)
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Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:45:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 07, 2012
An online pilot program to help eighth- through 10th-graders who are struggling with Algebra I is being launched at 16 high schools and 23 middle schools throughout Oklahoma (USA).

About 10,000 students from low-performing schools are participating in the first year of the program, which is free to their school districts, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

“We wanted to reach students who are most struggling in Algebra I as they prepare to take end-of-instruction tests—one of the requirements for Achieving Classroom Excellence”, said state Superintendent Janet Barresi.

Teacher training is conducted by webinar and will continue through Feb. 8th. Training is also free to participating districts. “This is one of the state department’s efforts to assist low-achieving schools by providing additional resources to teachers and students”, Barresi said.

She said she hopes to expand the program across the state and reach students in younger grades after this pilot year.

After reviewing seven online programs, the state Education Department selected Apangea Learning Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pa., to provide the supplemental online math instruction and tutoring services.

“We were very impressed with the demonstration of this product and can see the high potential for Algebra I students who are struggling”, said Jeff Downs, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) director for the state Education Department. He said other states, including Texas, Idaho, and Indiana, have seen success from the program.

(Source: sChools News)
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Tuesday, February 07, 2012 7:01:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |