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 Monday, May 21, 2012

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

He said that through the project "Construction and implementation of pilot virtual centers to achieve contents in curriculum learning in primary and secondary- Apurimac" aims to provide a quality education.

The regional authority said Apurimac is entering to a new stage thanks to mining and stressed that rural children have the same opportunities as the city, they will receive a quality education.

Segovia said that mining companies operating in Apurimac pay the cost of Internet service, while the regional government will take care of maintenance. The proposal is embodied in an agreement to be signed soon.

"Apurimac will be the first region in the country that will have internet access throughout its jurisdiction, it means, from Chincheros until Cotabambas", he said.

He called on teachers to be trained, so that students receive quality education, since "the success of this project will be thanks to them".

He added that the initiative is a great tool that should serve to get out from the last places where Apurimac is found in regarding the quality of education.

The symbolic act of commissioning of the project took place on Thursday in the building of the regional government.

(Source: Andina News)
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Monday, May 21, 2012 5:33:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, May 19, 2012

Women in Gomboussougou, a village in the Centre-Sud Region of Burkina Faso, are now for the first time in their lives able to participate in debates and municipal meetings in their community. These meetings are also broadcasted by the community radio started by women’s association Pag La Yiri.

Before, it was unthinkable for women to be actively involved in their community and participate in municipal meetings, debates and exchange of ideas. However, now they can attend any of the meetings on the agenda that is interesting to them.

The meetings are facilitated by local citizen journalists that have received training in reporting skills. All the discussions are being recorded in order to be broadcasted by Pag La Yiri radio. This is a radio station by rural women organisation Pag la Yiri, that is supported by IICD. The broadcasts are in five local languages and French. Local primary and secondary school teachers are also contributing to this radio project.

The municipal meetings and debates follow after a women week that was held in February. Listeners were invited to talk about topics related to women empowerment and gender issues in rural areas and could call to the radio station to answer quiz questions. With the support of IICD and Dutch capacity building organisation PSO, Pag la Yiri will continue to produce targeted content for women, as well as integrating gender topics in existing programmes.

You can watch a video report about the project in Gomboussougou here:

(Source: IICD)
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Saturday, May 19, 2012 4:50:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 17, 2012

To commemorate this day, May 17 INICTEL-UNI held the International Forum "Women and girls in ICT". The event aims to promote the use of Information and Communication Technologies - ICTs on women and girls as a tool to integrate a gender equality perspective.

The event promoted by INICTEL-UNI, share the goals of ITU to encourages governments and institutions inviting girls and university students to spend a day on the premises or arrange visit programs observation ("shadowing") with female mentors in order to gain a better understanding of the opportunities offered by ICT.

This year, the World Day of Telecommunications and Information Society is especially devoted to the theme of "Women and girls in ICT", adopted by the ITU Council in 2010.

The celebration aims to ensure that vulnerable female half of the world progress towards equality. Gender equality is one of the main goals of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations.

The forum will bring all the sectors involved in the field to encourage the adoption of policies and strategies to promote ICT related to the female gender and achieve the integration. It will feature panelists from the following institutions: Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Education, Department of Lima Council Engineers Association of Peru, National Council for Science, Technology and Innovation - CONCYTEC, National University of San Marcos, the Regulator in Telecommunications - OSIPTEL, among other important entities.

(Source: INICTEL – Perú)
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Thursday, May 17, 2012 4:25:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The 2012 World Telecommunication and Information Society Award was presented to three eminent personalities: President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina, Huawei Chairman Sun Yafang, and Academy Award winning actor Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute of Gender in Media. The ceremony took place in Geneva to mark the 147th anniversary of the establishment of ITU in 1865.

The theme for the 2012 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day focuses on ‘Women and girls in ICT’. It is aimed at extending digital opportunities by providing avenues of advancement to professional women at the highest echelons of decision-making, and by encouraging young women to seek new careers within the sector.

In a message on the occasion of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “On this World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, I call again for wide-ranging efforts to close both the digital divide and the gender gap.  All people must be able to make the best use of information and communications technology to help create the future we want”.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré further reaffirmed that gender equality is a basic human right enshrined in the UN Charter, and one of the main objectives of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

We are focusing our efforts this year on women and girls, using the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to provide new digital opportunities to end discrimination, and to empower women and girls to participate fully in society” Dr Touré said. “Girls and young women with ICT skills will find jobs that offer creativity, innovation, and entirely new ways of working. And encouraging girls into the technology industry will create a positive feedback loop – in turn creating inspiring role models for the next generation”.

One such role model, is represented by H.E. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, President of Argentina who has spearheaded numerous digital initiatives such as the ‘Equal Connect Programme’ which aims to reduce the digital divide across Argentina’s educational system with a specific focus on developing quality digital content.

Ms Sun Yafang emphasized that positive role models and real gender equality are critical for the ICT industry. “The ICT market is full of uncertainties, requiring companies to be highly adaptive,” said Ms Sun. “In light of this, I have been promoting female manager development at Huawei. This programme gives preference to women in manager selection when all qualifications are equal. In this way, we can provide real development opportunities for our female employees.”

Ms Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute of Gender in Media, has dedicated herself to advocating more positive representations of women and girls in the media and knows well the importance of reinforcing positive role models.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012 10:26:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A group of primary schools in Kenya’s Pokot and Turkana tribes’ districts is improving its management and education quality by using computers and training teachers and administrators in the use of them. Ultimate goal is to significantly reduce the dropout rate of primary schools students.

In the first year, with the support of IICD and Edukans in the Connect4Change consortium and local partner NCCK Northrift, 4 schools will be targeted: 2 in West Pokot County and 2 in Turkana District. Both these areas are located in the Northern part of the Rift Valley Province. With the support of Edukans, community education facilitators train the School Management Committees on their roles and responsibilities in the management of their schools. These management committees are elected volunteers that have the mandate to approve or dismiss school’s decisions.

To this improved management training, IICD adds a digital component. An ICT officer was hired to support and train the schools and equipment was procured and distributed to the schools over the last few months. Coming June, staff will be trained in the use of basic ICT for  school administration (for instance the use of Excel) and will discuss what should be in the administration system. This will lead to a school administration system where teachers, headmasters and administrators can more easily store school results and monitor dropout rates. It is also easier for teachers and administrators to keep the enrollment lists up to date and to act swiftly if they see that someone is not attending class regularly. They can also see how not attending classes regularly has affected students’ grades.

Another advantage of a digitalised administration system is that it gets easier for School Management Committees in Pokot and Turkana districts to understand how money is spent and how this could be improved. In the future, an online component could also be added so financial and administrative data is also available (in a secure way) if the committee members or school staff are not at school and still would like to access the data. 

Also, the Pokot and Turkana are pastoralist people who are in a constant conflict over land and cattle. About a third of the the children in the IICD-supported schools in the region are orphan or miss at least one parent because of this conflict. There is a lot of distrust between the people, but schools indicate that they are interested in using computers to get closer. A proposed idea was for each school to build their own simple website to promote their school, which can also be used for Turkana and Pokot children to share their ideas and poetry. Though schools are quite far apart, at some point during the implementation phase, schools could also visit each other. Teachers and school management committees may be from different tribes, but their all have the same aim: improving education, and using ICT to do it.

(Source: IICD)
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 9:44:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Information and Communications Technology Ministry yesterday inked a THB-1.02-billion (US$ 32.8 mil) tablet-computer supply contract with the Chinese manufacturer Shenzhen Scope for the purchase of 400,000 tablets for primary school students.

The first 2,000 devices will be delivered next week and the rest to be arrived within 60 days. The model is specifically produced for Thailand, according to ICT Minister Anudith Nakornthap.

Under the contract, Thailand will buy 400,000 devices at THB 2,400 (US$ 81) per unit and a contract for the remaining 530,000 units will be signed later with the same price after the first batch of Scope Tablets passes government quality control standards. The remaining units must be delivered within 90 days from May 10.

“The specs are higher than what was specified in the terms of reference. This model is being produced specifically for this project, not according to the general specs offered in the market,” he said and added that the ministry’s committee would thoroughly check the devices’ specification.

Thailand Post will deliver the devices, which will have software installed, to school nationwide in July.

The devices, Scope’s Scopad SP0712 model, come in four colours- red, blue, silver and gold and features a seven-inch touchscreen, a 1.2 GHz single core CPU, 1 GB RAM, a storage memory unit of 8GB, Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, and a GPS navigation system for monitoring and tracking purposes. The devices also come with two-year international standard warrantee.

The purchase is under One Tablet PC Per Child campaign promise, a series of populist policies promoted by the ruling government which pledged to provide the country’s 860,000 first graders with the tablet PC.

(Source: FutureGov)
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 9:36:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ExxonMobil Foundation and Cherie Blair Foundation for Women released new research demonstrating how mobile phones can help women entrepreneurs develop and grow their businesses. The analysis across three emerging countries -- Egypt, Nigeria and Indonesia -- concludes there are a number of mobile technology-based solutions which, if tailored and scaled commercially, could support the business needs of women entrepreneurs.

Based on the research findings, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women will follow the study with a pilot program to provide women entrepreneurs with tailored mobile phone applications that will help them manage their businesses more effectively.

Research for the Mobile Value Added Services: A Business Growth Opportunity for Women Entrepreneurs report was conducted by the global management consultancy, Booz & Company. The report concluded that the extensive and ever-increasing penetration of mobile phones in developing and emerging markets presents a significant opportunity to women entrepreneurs who want to develop their micro businesses into flourishing small and growing enterprises. Mobile value added services are products offered through a mobile platform, such as text messaging and multimedia message services.

"We already know that when mobile technology is properly incorporated into daily use, it can address an ever-increasing range of needs", said Cherie Blair, founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. "Yet many of these technologies are not designed with a woman entrepreneur in mind. This groundbreaking research and subsequent pilot program will identify the technology that is most effective for women entrepreneurs and will provide women with new opportunities to maximize the effectiveness and reach of their businesses".

"In recent years, we have seen mobile phones evolve from a convenience to an essential business tool, enabling entrepreneurs to address pressing business challenges, increase access to new markets and operate more efficiently", said Suzanne M. McCarron, president of the ExxonMobil Foundation. "Yet all too often, women entrepreneurs around the world lack access to the technology and resources needed to succeed. Expanding the effective uses of mobile technology can help women earn more income and lead to more prosperity for them, their families, their communities and their countries".

Full Report
(Source: Market Watch)


Tuesday, May 15, 2012 4:45:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 14, 2012

“e-Agriculture” includes 8 500 members from over 165 countries

A global online community on the use of information and communication technologies in agriculture (called "e-Agriculture") run by FAO has received a prestigious award from the organizing body of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), called the WSIS Project Prize 2012.

The e-Agriculture Community today has grown to more than 8 500 registered members from over 165 countries, including development practitioners, policymakers, representatives of farmer organizations, researchers, and information and communication specialists involved in agriculture and rural development.

The e-Agriculture Community is active on three levels. A web-based, multilingual (English, French, Spanish) platform (www.e-agriculture.org)  provides a neutral space for knowledge sharing and collaboration. The Community also participates in face-to-face events organized around the world, and through in-country interventions lead by Community members and their institutions.

Holding discussion forums online allows the Community to reach tens of thousands of individuals annually, a level of participation that could not be achieved otherwise.

Partnerships with international, regional and national institutions, is an integral part of the continuing success of the e-Agriculture Community.

The e-Agriculture Community also provides the basis for the international community to monitor development and validation of conceptual models and methodologies, and to package and disseminate them once tested.

The e-Agriculture Community continues to make active use of social media, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The participation of young people in the sector, in addition to seasoned experts, is encouraged through collaboration with YPARD, including a blog series on the subject of "youth, ICT and agriculture".

(Source: e-agriculture)
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Monday, May 14, 2012 9:47:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Government of Brazil is organizing, with the support of the United Nations, the Sustainable Development Dialogues, a forum for civil society, to be held in Riocentro, between June 16 to 19, in the context of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development - Rio+20.

Ten topics will be debated, based on their relevance to the furthering of sustainable development. They are: (1) Sustainable development for fighting poverty; (2) Sustainable development as an answer to the economic and financial crises; (3) Unemployment, decent work and migrations; (4) The economics of sustainable development, including sustainable patterns of production and consumption; (5) Forests; (6) Food and nutrition security; (7) Sustainable energy for all; (8) Water; (9) Sustainable cities and innovation; (10) Oceans. The debates will be broadcast live through the UN website.

With the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Dialogues initiative is being launched through a digital platform in order to provide the wide public with a democratic space for discussion. The on-line debates on each of the ten themes of the Dialogues will be facilitated by researchers from renowned academic institutions around the world. The platform is available in four languages (Portuguese, English, French and Spanish), with an in-built tool that allows the translation of specific posts into 40 languages. It also includes a voting system through which a set of recommendations will be chosen for transmission to the participants of the Dialogues, in Rio.

This innovative bridge between civil society and Heads of State and Government is expected to contribute to the incorporation and engagement of stakeholders, based on the understanding that public participation is essential to the promotion of sustainable development as the paradigm for action.

For more information visit: http://www.rio20.gov.br/ or send an email to support@riodialogues.org

(Source: UNCSD)

Thursday, May 10, 2012 9:50:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 09, 2012

In about two months will be ready “Siembra”, an Internet portal that will allow to Colombian farmers to find all the information related to production chains, entrepreneurship programs and the status of their projects, among other benefits.

According to Juan Lucas Restrepo, Executive Director of Corpoica, entity that is developing the site, 'Siembra' will be a member of Agronet, the information system of the Ministry of Agriculture. "This portal will enable people to make a clear innovation management and competitive intelligence, especially from the agricultural context", the official said.

After registration, the person who enters to 'Siembra' can improve their knowledge of the business where he is, meet the existing demand and supply of goods and sectoral projects, and research findings.

'There you can learn about events and news. Additionally, it will create a space for video conferencing which can simultaneously connect up to 100 players. The idea is that you can also say, for which forums work ", said Restrepo.

This initiative is directly related to the proposed objective of Corpoica that is aimed at promoting research, development and innovation in agriculture. 'These three components should be the guiding framework for public sector investment", he explained.

In that sense, Corpoica prepares to gradually adjust their capabilities, structure and culture in order to guarantee the coherence of innovation policy for agriculture.

With the launch of 'Siembra' the first beneficiaries will be the 37members of formed groups, from which 34 have already made significant progress. These include cocoa, cotton, bananas, potatoes and beef.

(Source: La República de Colombia)
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Wednesday, May 09, 2012 12:20:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 07, 2012
TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading big ideas through a series of conferences and a free video platform, has continued its expansion into education by launching a brand-new TED-Ed website with tools to help teachers use video in the classroom. The new platform allows educators to customize videos with follow-up questions and assignments, TED says—an initiative that could help power the “flipped learning” model.

This is the second phase of TED’s expansion into education, following the launch of a TED-Ed YouTube channel last month with several educational videos. (See “Free video lessons offered by leaders in innovation, thinking”.) With the new TED-Ed platform, “you can use, tweak, or completely redo any lesson featured on TED-Ed, or create lessons from scratch based on any video from YouTube,” the organization says.

In other words, the site allows users to take any useful educational video, not just TED’s, and easily create a customized lesson around the video. Users can distribute the lessons, publicly or privately, and track their impact on the world, a class, or an individual student, TED says.

Teachers also can browse TED content based on the subject they teach. Each video on the TED-Ed site is tagged to a curriculum subject and is accompanied by supplementary materials to help teachers and students use or understand the video lesson.

TED-Ed’s commitment to creating “lessons worth sharing” is an extension of TED’s mission of spreading great ideas, the organization says.

(Source: eschool News)
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Monday, May 07, 2012 10:21:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 04, 2012
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and True Internet will continue jointly offering free Wi-Fi service for residents of the capital under the Bangkok Wi-Fi project for another three years, through April 29, 2015.

True will launch a similar free-service model in other major provinces, in line with its plan to expand its Wi-Fi network to cover 60 provinces this year from the present 40.

The Bangkok service covers about 20,000 spots across the city. It is available in two options. The first offers maximum download/upload speeds of 2 megabits per second/512 kilobits per second and free usage of five hours per month. The other provides a download/upload connection speed of 256kb/s and 128kb/s respectively and unlimited usage.

The service can reach a total of 150,000 users per six months. Users need to register with the project to receive passwords to log in to the service. They have to register for a new password every six months.

Under the collaboration, True will also expand the Wi-Fi network by 1,000 spots per year with the focus on hospitals, public parks and schools.

Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra and True Online chief commercial officer Charoen Limkangwanmongkol signed the memorandum of understanding to continue the project. True Internet is part of the True Online group. The governor said the BMA had approached all Internet providers to join this project, which is open for all to take part.

True is responsible for the cost of the network installation, equipment maintenance cost, and related cost of the project.The parties jointly initiated the Bangkok Wi-Fi project three years ago on an exclusive basis. At that time the service could serve a maximum of 100,000 users.

(Source: The Nation News Paper)
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Friday, May 04, 2012 9:38:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Social media, video games, blogs and wikis are playing increasingly important roles in classrooms across the country. Some worry that incorporating more social media and other technologies into education is leading to too much computer time, as well as to a generation of students deficient in the face-to-face social skills needed to survive in the workplace. Proponents say schools need to find ways to use these technologies to improve teaching and learning, or else risk losing the attention of digital natives.

A paper released earlier this week by the Brookings Institution addresses how social media, blogs and video games are improving education by increasing access to people and information in various forms, including Twitter feeds, blog posts, videos and books. These tools are also increasing people's ability to share information with networks and contribute their own thoughts.

The idea is that the data collected by video games and social media sites can be provided, sometimes in real time, to teachers who can then use it to better understand their students and tailor instruction to meet individual needs.

Companies like Knewton, Junyo and the Learn Lab in Pittsburgh and are all creating such systems that are being used by many schools across the nation.

(Source: Huffington Post)
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Friday, May 04, 2012 3:00:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP) is partnering with the Career Center at American University (AU) to provide virtual access to a host of career center services, including select professional development workshops and virtual advising for students in the Master’s of International Affairs in Comparative and International Disability Policy (CIDP) program.

The Master of Arts in Comparative and International Disability Policy (CIDP) degree, offered by the School of International Service at American University, is the centerpiece program of the Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP). The IDPP is led by the Center for Research on Collaboratories and Technology Enhanced Learning Communities (COTELCO), a joint research center at American University and Syracuse University.

  • Students can take courses from anywhere in the world, because courses are offered entirely online, and can be experienced in real time or accessed on demand

  • Anyone around the world can apply for the CIDP Master’s program

  • Faculty teach from geographically dispersed locations around the world

  • Accelerated one year or extended part time flexibility available

  • Courses incorporate Universal Design for Learning principles, and are accessible to blind, deaf, and mobility impaired students

  • IDPP's cyberinfrastructure consists of an innovative combination of virtual tools to make the program as accessible as possible

A CIDP Master’s degree empowers graduates to become global disability policy leaders. Courses teach the necessary skills for persons with disabilities to impact and influence the public policies that directly affect the disability community

The Nippon Foundation offers full fellowships for select CIDP students, with preference given to students from the ASEAN region who are blind or visually impaired; deaf or hard of hearing; and/or mobility impaired.

(Source: IPPD)
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Wednesday, May 02, 2012 10:42:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 30, 2012

The Institute of Systems Science of the National University of Singapore- (NUS-ISS) and IBM have announced collaboration, supported by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (iDA) and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), to create the Enterprise Social Business Centre of Excellence. This Centre will catalyze the transformation of Singapore’s workforce and ensure that Singapore is future-ready and able to leverage social media platforms to improve productivity, connect for innovation and create communities for competitive advantage.

Enterprise Social Business embeds “social” in all of its processes, connecting people to people, people to information, and data to insight. It is a company that engages its employees and clients in a two-way dialogue with social tools, transparent in sharing its expertise beyond its four walls, and is nimble in its use of insight for rapid change and action.

“This partnership allows us to tap on IBM’s technology and global expertise to deliver Enterprise Social Business know-how to businesses and organizations in Singapore”, says Dr Christopher Chia, Chairman of the Management Board, and Institute of Systems Science. “NUS-ISS will work closely with IDA and WDA to align the Enterprise Social Business training curriculum to the National Infocomm Competency Framework (NICF) and develop holistic continuing education and training pathways through various modular and qualifications programmes to widen and deepen the capabilities of industry professionals.”

According to NUS officials, Enterprise Social Business has the potential to unlock the intellectual capital within organizations, connecting experts and expertise, and paving the way for unprecedented innovation. By applying social technologies to business processes, it can radically improve the way organizations operate, for example, by linking skills to the right opportunities where and when they are needed. Enterprise Social Business can reveal the untapped power of data generated by these connections. By interconnecting key data created and applying analytics to gain insights, NUS will be able to make more intelligent business decisions.

The Enterprise Social Business Centre of Excellence will focus on three pillars: training, pilot and practice and research and development. Executive seminars conducted by this Centre will commence in May 2012. These seminars will help executives develop a business culture that fosters open collaboration and sharing among partners, clients, citizens and employees. The Centre aims to help businesses transform their relationships with their constituents by engaging new technologies and platforms that powerfully and connect them in trusted and experiential ways.

(Source: FutureGov)

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Monday, April 30, 2012 3:19:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, April 28, 2012

Global leaders from the US, Europe, Africa and Asia joined together today to debate and define a roadmap that will help break down barriers and overturn outmoded attitudes in a bid get more girls into technology-related studies and careers.

A high-level dialogue held at New York’s Institute of International Education and hosted by the International Telecommunication Union, the UN-specialized agency for information and communication technology, identified misguided school-age career counselling, the popular media’s ‘geek’ image of the technology field, a dearth of inspirational female role models, and a lack of supportive frameworks in the home and workplace as factors that, together, tend to dissuade talented girls from pursuing a tech career.

Inspired by the tremendous dedication of NGOs, universities, government agencies, industry and others around the world in organizing Girls in ICT Day events today, participants sketched our a basic blueprint for more successful approaches to attracting school-age girls to the fast-evolving technology field, and agreed to work together to change attitudes and boost female tech enrolment rates.

In his welcoming remarks to an invited audience of over 200 gender, education and technology experts, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré said: “Over the coming decade, there are expected to be two million more ICT jobs than there are professionals to fill them. This is an extraordinary opportunity for girls and young women – in a world where there are over 70 million unemployed young people”.

ITU’s Dr Touré closed the event with a call for partners to collaborate with ITU on a three-year ‘Tech Needs Girls’ campaign focused around four ‘Es’: empowerment, equality, education and employment. “This is a tremendous opportunity for us all, working together as partners, to make a real difference”, he said.

‘Girls in ICT Day’ is a new annual event on the UN calendar, and is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday in April. It was established through a formal Resolution at ITU’s four-yearly Plenipotentiary Conference in 2010.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)
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Saturday, April 28, 2012 4:36:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 27, 2012

"We and Technology", It is the special event that the National Institute for Research and Training in Telecommunications of the National Engineering University, INICTEL-UNI, held this April 26 as part of the celebrations for the International Telecommunications Day.

60 girls in public educational institutions of San Martin de Porres and Independencia (districts of Lima) will participate in workshops on electronics, robotics and CANSat (Bases to build a small satellite). Also, they visited the UNI-INICTEL facilities, laboratories and attend videoconferences with professional women in the ICT field residing abroad.

The attendees could talk to engineers in telecommunications and experience the site of women in this sector. Through this event they want to promote in Peru the use of Information and Communication Technologies - ICTs on women and girls, as a tool to integrate a gender equality perspective.

This year's theme "Women and girls in ICT" has been chosen by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations agency, to celebrate the "World Day of Telecommunications and Information Society" . Moreover, in this way promotes the 2010 designation of the ITU, in which every fourth Thursday of April an event takes place before the central celebrations of May 17.

(Source: INICTEL - Peru)
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Friday, April 27, 2012 3:52:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 26, 2012

This report was developed by the e-governance and Access to Information team in the Democratic Governance Group at UNDP’s Bureau for Development Policy, New York.

In this document various advantages of mobile technologies are mentioned, how they are creating new channels of communication between people and government and offering access to public information and basic services to people that previously had little to no access.

Mobiles can reach remote areas more effectively than other ICTs such as the Internet or fixed phone lines and sometimes mobile devices are simply the only option available.

"Mobile technologies are starting to have an indelible impact on human development, enhancing democratic governance and other development areas such as health, education, agriculture, employment, crisis prevention and the environment".

For people in rural areas mobile technologies can help them reduce the information gaps and give them access to market information from remote locations increasing trade and reducing travel costs.

"They are also being used to educate and keep citizens and vulnerable stakeholders abreast of environmental and energy-related issues, including weather patterns, climate change and responsible environmental stewardship".

Full Report
(Source: e-agriculture)

Thursday, April 26, 2012 3:55:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This report was developed by the e-governance and Access to Information team in the Democratic Governance Group at UNDP’s Bureau for Development Policy, New York.

In this document various advantages of mobile technologies are mentioned, how they are creating new channels of communication between people and government and offering access to public information and basic services to people that previously had little to no access.

Mobiles can reach remote areas more effectively than other ICTs such as the Internet or fixed phone lines and sometimes mobile devices are simply the only option available.

"Mobile technologies are starting to have an indelible impact on human development, enhancing democratic governance and other development areas such as health, education, agriculture, employment, crisis prevention and the environment".

For people in rural areas mobile technologies can help them reduce the information gaps and give them access to market information from remote locations increasing trade and reducing travel costs.

"They are also being used to educate and keep citizens and vulnerable stakeholders abreast of environmental and energy-related issues, including weather patterns, climate change and responsible environmental stewardship".

(Source: e-agriculture)
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 8:51:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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 Skyscape.com, 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 Skyscape.com, 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".

(Source:SciDevNet)
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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, www.webalo.com.

 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)  #     |