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 Friday, 23 November 2012
SMART Technologies, a leading provider of interactive whiteboards for classroom learning, has recently released a new SMART Notebook app for the iPad. The software allows students to indulge in the SMART experience at school, home or on the go.

SMART reports that their software is already used by over six million teachers and forty million students worldwide. The new SMART Notebook app for the iPad will enable students to access most of the tools usually used on the SMART Board interactive whiteboard – from email and file sharing to word processing and image editing. Students with iPads can therefore work on their assignments with ease and then email their homework directly to their instructor.

“SMART Notebook continues to be the software of choice for teachers looking to add interactivity into their daily lessons”, says Linda Thomas, Vice President, Products, SMART Technologies. With material displayed on a colourful screen and sound, graphics and Internet access, a typical SMART lesson is designed to make teaching and learning easier.

For teachers, the new SMART Notebook app allows for easy lesson planning. SMART have said, “Student material can also be displayed on the SMART Board interactive whiteboard for whole-class learning by wirelessly streaming the iPad content using AirPlay with an Apple TV. By using the SMART Notebook app for iPad, pupils and teachers can stay on track and save time by being able to work with the same material on both interactive displays and iPad at school or at home”.

(Source: eLearning Africa)

Friday, 23 November 2012 11:54:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary, Dinky Soliman, citizens can take part by indicating the location or name of the street, time when they found the homeless child together with other relevant details such as nearby landmarks and tagging it to DSWD’s designated Twitter account @savestreetkids.

Information submitted to the DSWD will then be relayed to the agency’s “reach-out team” for immediate action. In addition, the agency will also be updating the status of each reported incident by indicating the location of the “reception action centre” where the homeless child is temporarily sheltered.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development is seeking to engage the public, via the popular microblogging site called Twitter, to help save the lives of homeless children in the streets of Metro Manila.

(Source: FutureGov)

Friday, 23 November 2012 11:52:41 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
With little access to formal extension services, a rural Zambian community set up an internet connection to develop local agriculture, education and energy facilities. The community is now using local radio to encourage other villages to do the same.

There have been very few studies into the effects access to broadband internet can have on agriculture in rural Africa. The reason for that is simple: broadband internet is still very rare in rural Africa. But in Zambia, a rural community, called Macha, does have broadband. There, internet and agriculture – and much more – combine as part of an integrated project to inspire the local community to reach its collective potential.

Traditionally, people have earned their living here through subsistence farming, mostly growing maize. Although agriculture always sustained the community, cultivation practices had not changed in many years. NGOs and internationals consultants came and went. And Macha remained a typical rural area with bad roads, scattered water pumps, limited electricity, patchy mobile phone coverage, dilapidated schools and health facilities.

In 2003, in a cooperative effort, community members came together to build a wireless network that would connect Macha to the internet via a satellite connection. They started with a VSAT link that offered download speeds of up to 128 kbps. The service soon became so popular that the bandwidth could not cope with the volume of internet traffic. The problem eased in 2011 when Macha upgraded the connection to a microwave link via a newly available cell phone network, which offers speeds of 2 Mbps, making it truly broadband.

The internet link is further distributed throughout the community via a wireless local area network (WLAN). There are more than 100 wireless access points, offering connectivity to both offices and homes. Surveys and measurements show that Macha has an active internet community of around 200 individuals, 67% of whom are on line for more than three hours a day. Half the users access the internet from home, and 71% use it frequently to surf the web for educational purposes.

As well as having a channel to communicate with friends and family outside of the community, access to the technology produced a discernible difference in agricultural practices within the first year. One community member found information on the web about sunflower farming, and decided to give it a go. A few years later, sunflower farming has blossomed in the village and it is now the community’s second most important cash crop.

(Source: ICT Update)

Friday, 23 November 2012 11:49:09 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Library’s maternal health SMS service reaches over 90 women

Northern Regional Library’s Technology for Maternal Health Project has got off to a flying start: 94 pregnant women are now receiving vital health information sent directly to their mobile phones; the library’s health corner has been formally launched, and 10 health workers have been trained to use computers to conduct research.

Northern Regional Library in Tamale is working in partnership with the local development agency Savana Signatures to implement the maternal health service. Savana Signatures provides technical support for the SMS service, helped install the library Health Corner and provides information and communication technology (ICT) training for health workers.

The library’s new Health Corner has five computers where health workers and members of the public have free access to the internet. The library reports that health workers especially are using the computers to seek information for lectures and presentations they conduct at antenatal clinics in Tamale and rural areas.

Each computer has been installed with content provided by international agencies, including Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA); Medical Aid Films, and the Ghana health service. All content for the Heath Corner and the SMS service is carefully checked by a committee of local health workers to insure that it is accurate and locally relevant.

In addition to providing free access to computers, the library’s Health Corner is a training centre where Savana Signatures provides essential ICT training for health workers, to improve their research and communication skills. Ten health workers have received training, and another ten are to be trained in October.

The library Health Corner was officially commissioned by the Deputy Northern Regional Minister and the Northern Regional Health Director of the Ghana Health Service. It is attracting intense interest, and other health service providers, for example, the Tamale Teaching Hospital, are approaching the library with requests for information in different formats – film, audio and text – and for their maternal health education programmes.

(Source: EIFL – Ghana)

Friday, 23 November 2012 11:46:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Two Secondary Schools to Benefit from 90 Girls' Scholarships, 50 Netbook Computers, and Internet Connectivity

Connect To Learn has been launched in Léona, Senegal with the announcement of 90 multi-year secondary school scholarships for 90 girls and the installation of 50 netbook computers supported by broadband connectivity for two secondary schools in the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) site in Léona. The launch at the Collège d’Enseignement Moyen was attended by MVP staff, students, teachers, parents, administrative authorities, education officials, and representatives of Ericsson and Tigo, two of the organizations supporting the effort.

Connect To Learn implements mobile broadband technology to connect classrooms to a 21st century education by enabling access to vital teaching and learning resources. The computers and connectivity contributed by the program’s technology partners will also allow teachers to improve their skills and knowledge and therefore the quality of secondary education in the schools where they work.

Through funds raised by Connect To Learn from individual and corporate donors, the program has also announced that they will offer multi-year scholarships this year for 90 young women to enroll in these schools. Girls eligible are MVP residents who have achieved academic excellence and whose families are unable to sustainably fund their education at the secondary level.

Connect To Learn is a partnership between the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Ericsson and Millennium Promise. As part of its contributions as chief technology partner for the initiative Ericsson has donated the 50 mobile broadband enabled computers and two video projectors. Tigo, the cell phone service provider that has joined the initiative in Senegal, is providing free Internet service that allows the netbooks to connect to the Internet through Tigo’s mobile phone network.

(Source: Connect To Learn)

Friday, 23 November 2012 11:41:27 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Leveraging the power of ICT to help improve the quality of education for students through access to teaching and learning resources has become a useful tool within an increasingly networked society.

Technology improves educational opportunities by enabling personalized study. It also enhances the potential for learning through community-based education and access to educational resources, even in remote rural schools.

Connect To Learn was launched in 2010 as a collaborative effort between the Earth Institute providing advice on development, education, and evaluation; Ericsson as lead technology partner; and Millennium Promise, a non-profit organization.

Building on the expertise of each partner, Connect To Learn identifies strategies to integrate teacher professional development with 21st century ICT-based teaching, tools and practices in classrooms.

Connect To Learn also combines a cloud-based ICT solution developed by Ericsson for schools with the on-the-ground experience of partner NGOs. It aims to remove ICT support tasks from teachers and provides them with technology that is simpler to manage, so teachers can focus on improving the quality of education.

The solution is provided as a service, and is designed for users with little or no IT competence.

Improved access, energy efficiency and reduced costs are possible because users do not have to worry about virus protection, software updates and content-control capabilities for safe Internet browsing, application installation or maintenance. All tasks which are managed in the cloud.

Connect To Learn partners recognize the transformational role that broadband and other ICT solutions can play in scaling up access to quality education through innovative programs such as this one.

(Source: ICT4U)

Friday, 23 November 2012 11:35:38 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 16 November 2012
This study investigates whether women have limited access to savings services delivered via the mobile phone. It examines women’s mobile phone and savings behaviour to understand whether the mobile phone creates a barrier to the savings services through lack of technical knowledge and mobile phone access.

Women members of Grameen Foundation’s savings project at Cashpor Microcredit, based in Varanasi, India are the focus of the study. 65 randomly selected Cashpor clients throughout the Varanasi region were interviewed. Women were asked to self-select into one of three categories of mobile phone ownership, telling us whether they own a phone, borrow a phone or have no access to a phone. The interviews focused on three main themes: How women use mobile phones; savings services; and how knowledge about the phone is shared among their community, particularly with children. The data collected highlight some gaps in service and further our understanding of how these women, men and their families use mobile technology.

In summary, this study found three important lessons.

  • Promoting mobile phone ownership among women is an important component to ensuring that they gain unobstructed access to savings services, or any service delivered through the phone

  • Providing mobile phone literacy training is essential among these women

  • The children of Cashpor clients know much more about mobile phones than their parents.

Download the Full Report

(Source: GSMA Women)

Friday, 16 November 2012 13:33:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

It can be downloaded from the Internet and enable them to identify the skills that students must develop.

The Peruvian Ministry of Education, as part of the national mobilization for the improvement of education and whose motto is "We all can learn, no one is left behind", has been made available to all teachers in the country, a set of teaching materials that will identify skills that students must develop.

These materials, called "Routes of Learning" can be downloaded from the following link:, which contents bundles of Communication and Mathematics; Kits self-assessment, and guides.

Fascicles of communication and mathematics skills have to be achieved for children of 5 years old of initial and students of first and second grade. They also contain the respective performance indicators.

On other hand, the self Kits guide the teachers of the second grade to reflect on their teaching methods, assess how much students have learned, and analyze the results.

Finally, the mentioned guidelines propose a designing Guide for educational institutions, goals, strategies and commitments necessary to improve student learning in the areas of communication and mathematics, taking into account the results of the Census for Student 2011.

(Source: MINEDU)

Friday, 16 November 2012 13:30:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Women farmers experience a lack of access to resources globally—in the form of production inputs, labor, credit, training, and information. Their enormous contributions to food production, subsistence farming, and the agricultural labor force in the developing world means that ensuring gender mainstreaming in information and communication technology (ICT) is a priority for global food security. It is also central to a global development agenda based on human rights and effective and sustainable development outcomes.

This briefing paper addresses these and related approaches in ICT services for agriculture that support sustainable practices and promote gender equality.

Download the full paper here

(Source: USAID)

Friday, 16 November 2012 13:23:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Kenya's claim to being Africa's leader in information and communication technologies (ICT) got a boost last month, when IBM announced it would place its first African research lab in the country's capital Nairobi.

The announcement, on 13 August, is a feather in Kenya's cap. Like other African nations, it is looking to the private sector to pad out national spending on research and development (R&D) and boost innovation.

By getting the lab, Kenya joins countries like Australia, Brazil, China, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Switzerland and the United States, which host the computer giant's other research units.

'IBM Research – Africa' will conduct basic and applied research in areas including the use of modern technology to improve government efficiency, root out corruption and manage city services, such as water utilities and traffic control.

The lab will serve Africa as a whole, and house IBM researchers alongside Kenyan and other African talent, selected and nurtured through a Resident Science Programme.

"The IBM research lab will not only rubber stamp Kenya as Africa's leader in ICT, but will help the country to transform into a knowledge-based economy", Bitange Ndemo, permanent secretary in Kenya's ICT ministry, was quoted as saying in a press release.

But the decision means other African countries with ambitions in ICT leadership will need to do some soul-searching to work out how to achieve their technological aspirations.

(Source: SciDev)

Friday, 16 November 2012 13:20:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
In a bid to help expose Ghanaian female students to the world of technology and new opportunities, the government of Ghana has established an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) club for Tamale Girls Senior High School.

This novelty club is expected to be replicated across the length and breadth of the country, according to the Ghana's Ministry of Education.
Member of the Female ICT Teachers Association of the Ghana Education Service, Barikisu Seidu added that the "club is to stimulate the interest of the students in ICT learning and application to improve the number of females participating in ICT, which has become the source of opportunities".

Seidu said women were the bedrock of the society arguing that women would always be in a better position to impart the ICT knowledge onto their children as opposed to men.

"The ICT could enhance girls' chances of acquiring jobs as well as exploring other vital opportunities", Seidu said.

The director of Savana Signatures, Stephen Agbenyo urged the students to make good use of the opportunities offered by the club.

He noted that the new club would teach the female students about website development, blogging, internet researching, and other use of ICT tools for teaching and learning.

(Source: Biz Community)

Friday, 16 November 2012 13:18:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 14 November 2012

It will be focused on analyzing and raising awareness about the needs and mobile-based solutions for groups under risk of digital exclusion in Latin America (low-income and isolated communities, chronic patients and people with disabilities). Relevant stakeholders from all over the world will participate providing their expertise from technological, social and politic-economical perspectives.

The M-Inclusion awards for “Apps4Change” Challenge Program 2012, which recognizes groundbreaking mobile solutions for social inclusion, will take place during the conference.

Specific objectives:

    Bring together and facilitate the dialog amongst key actors in mobile technologies for social and digital inclusion in Latin America.

    Analyze the needs of the risk groups in terms of education, health, accessibility and economics needs.

    Identify and analyze the existing mobile technologies and initiatives that can cover the previously mentioned needs.

    Identify the trending mobile solutions relevant for mobile social inclusion.

    Promote awareness about the needs of shortening the gaps of social and digital inclusion in Latin America.

The outcome of this first Open Forum will shape the M-Inclusion Road map for social and digital inclusion in Latin America,  containing needs for social inclusion focused on the disadvantaged groups represented within the project, as well as mobile solutions based on new existing and trending technologies applied to main  scopes for social inclusion (economic, geographic, educational and health inclusion).

The audience of the event will be:

    Mobile Technologies: researchers, developers and technology providers

    End-users associations and communities: Disabled, elderly, low-income, isolated areas, social exclusion groups, chronics, etc

    Political stakeholders: Latin America and European with relevant links to regulatory issues and the market

    Financial and funding actors.

Further details about the location and the schedule in the agenda.

(Source: M-inclusion)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012 16:46:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Blue-Ribbon Group of Media Leaders Concludes a Year of Deliberations
With Release of Report and Review of Best Practices

The Healthy MEdia Commission for Positive Images of Women and Girls, consisting of more than 50 leaders from the media industry, creative community, academia, and youth-serving nonprofits, completed more than a year of deliberations today by releasing a report offering a variety of recommendations and best practices to encourage more healthy and realistic portrayals of women and girls across all media.

The Commission Co-Chairs – Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; and former Federal Communications Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate, International Telecommunications Union Special Envoy and Laureate for Child Online Protection – announced the release of the group’s report during the Third Symposium on Gender in Media of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

Recognizing the need for gender balance and positive portrayals of women and girls in the media, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), along with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and The Creative Coalition hosted the Healthy Media for Youth Summit in the U.S. Capitol in October 2010. At that time, a broad cross-section of stakeholders gathered to chart a course to promote healthy media for the benefit of all young people and recommended that a Healthy Media Commission be formed to develop recommendations supporting a more positive and gender-neutral media environment for women, promoting the healthy development of a girl’s social, emotional and physical well-being.

The objective of the report, according to its Executive Summary, is “to develop recommendations supporting a more positive and gender-neutral media environment for women, promoting the healthy development of a girl’s social, emotional and physical well-being”. The report includes a section on “Healthy Elements of Media”, designed to encourage more healthy body images, active and diverse female characters, equal and healthy relationships, and roles for women and girls.

In addition, the report offers wide-ranging recommendations to a variety of key groups, helping media leaders, creators, and consumers “learn” more about healthy media, “choose” to promote healthy media images, and “educate” peers and colleagues about the healthy media issue and its ramifications for the health of girls and women. “Collectively we must lead efforts to raise awareness of, and facilitate greater education outreach around, healthy media, and work towards re-shaping our media landscape, so that it better promotes balanced and positive images of girls, and values their identities and aspirations”, the report says.

The Report and Recommendations of the Healthy MEdia Commission for Positive Images of Women and Girls is available online at

Tuesday, 13 November 2012 22:41:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 09 November 2012

Our Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce is crucial to America’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness. Yet women are vastly underrepresented in STEM jobs and among STEM degree holders despite making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce and half of the college-educated workforce. That leaves an untapped opportunity to expand STEM employment in the United States, even as there is wide agreement that the nation must do more to improve its competitiveness.

• Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. This has been the case throughout the past decade, even as college-educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce.

• Women with STEM jobs earned 33 percent more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs – considerably higher than the STEM premium for men. As a result, the gender wage gap is smaller in STEM jobs than in non-STEM jobs.

• Women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering.

• Women with a STEM degree are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM occupation; they are more likely to work in education or healthcare.

There are many possible factors contributing to the discrepancy of women and men in STEM jobs, including: a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, and less family-friendly flexibility in the STEM fields. Regardless of the causes, the findings of this report provide evidence of a need to encourage and support women in STEM.

Download full report here

(Source: Economic and Statistics Administration – USA)

Friday, 09 November 2012 12:41:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Since the introduction of mobile competition in October 2007, people in Papua New Guinea are able to own affordable mobile handsets and make cheaper calls for both business and personal use. In a country with rugged mountains and isolated islands, the mobile revolution has been embraced by ordinary Papua New Guineans. Over two million more people in PNG and the Pacific now have mobile phones compared to a decade ago.

“Before, whenever there was a death in the village, people had to travel long distances to the nearest government station or town to notify relatives in other provinces. But now we don’t have to because everyone has mobile phones and we can just call from the village”, said Mary, a housewife in Port Moresby who uses her mobile phone to get in touch with people in her village.

The World Bank has been helping to facilitate improved access to mobile phones and a stronger policy and regulatory framework for ICT all over the Pacific region. Working with other development partners, coupled with increased investment by the private sector, has reduced the cost of services and dramatically increased access.

In 2011, 26 percent of people in PNG had access to mobile phones. Before there was competition among telecom providers, only 4 percent of the population had access to either a fixed line or a mobile phone.

While these figures are still low compared to other countries in the region, it is a big difference with the time when there was only one operator. Back then, the handsets were too expensive and call rates were too high and just owning one was considered a luxury.

Competition among mobile operators has brought another dimension to the mobile revolution, such as mobile banking, sending money and purchasing utilities such as electricity using mobile phones, all of which are making life easier for everyday Papua New Guineans.

(Source: World Bank)

Friday, 09 November 2012 12:36:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Chilean website PSU Educarchile, which helps students to prepare the entrance examination to college, was the only Latin American project awarded (September 27) with one of the six WISE Awards 2012, presented annually by the Qatar Foundation for distinguish innovation in education.

PSU Educarchile is a free and interactive online platform which allows students from last years of secondary education prepare to the University Selection Test (PSU), an examination of language, math, science and social science prerequisite to enter the Chilean universities.

While schools prepare their students for this exam, those who can pay in pre-university parallel courses tend to receive better training and achieve higher scores on admission.

The platform - which works with publicly, private and philanthropic funded -is an alternative to these paid centers, because it allows testing using tools including a website with more than 57 000 test questions, exam podcasts with content and messages text to cell phones. It also offers support through Facebook and Twitter.

The site receives 120,000 visits a month across the country. The 60 percent of all users come from public schools, ie, students with not so much economical resources and who has difficulties to pay Preuniversitario or private tutoring.

"This is an innovative solution that aims directly at reducing inequity gaps due to the distance and social vulnerability, or generated by the inability of many students to attend classes for specific situations such as the 2010 earthquake or shots year colleges past, said the director of EducarChile portal.

(Source: SciDev Net)

Friday, 09 November 2012 12:32:30 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Indonesia’s capital city will be distributing an estimated 3000 “smart cards” to underprivileged students on 5 November 2012, as part of new Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo’s campaign promise to make sure no child is unable to go to school because of school expenses.

According to Jakarta Education Agency Chief Taufik Yudi Mulyanto, the “smart card” works like an ATM card where students would have to enter their PIN so they can withdraw money to cover their personal expenses. As part of the program, 10,766 senior high school and vocational school students will each receive Rp 240,000 (US$24) per month for one year to cover school related expenses such as transportation, food, clothing, textbooks and other school materials.

Taufik added that the city administration is currently conducting a survey in five municipalities to identify the recipients of the “smart cards” and to formulate an effective distribution mechanism in those areas once the program is extended to cover students in both elementary and junior high school by 2013.

On other hand, the authorities of the city are also planning to distribute health cards to poor citizens, so they can get medical attention at local community health care centres and as well as third-class service at public and private hospitals in Jakarta without fees of an expensive medical bill.

(Source: FutureGov)

Friday, 09 November 2012 12:28:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Southern Africa Telecentre Network (SATNET) facilitates exchange of experiences and linkages to improve knowledge exchange and collaboration among telecentres within the region. As part of a recent Forum Management and Development Workshop, SATNET has adopted as top priority the provision of Agricultural Information through an initiative of their Content Management, Services and Knowledge Sharing Component, where telecentres will play an important role.

To date, telecentres are still considered one of the most effective means to increase the access of people to ICT, particularly of people living in remote rural areas. They are particularly useful to help communities gain access to market and pricing information and therefore improve their business performance.

This article reflects on the importance of agriculture development in the Southern African region and the potential for ICTs as effective tools and telecentres as hubs for sharing and disseminating agricultural knowledge.

Further details

(Source: e-agriculture)

Friday, 09 November 2012 12:26:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

(Source: This is Africa Online)

Friday, 09 November 2012 12:21:41 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Learn and assess the global progress in the application of ICTs, as well as identify relevant experiences, based on their innovation and educational impact, were the targets of the seminar "Educational use of Information and Communication Technologies" organized by Fundación Universidades Castilla y León, Santillana and Fundación Telefónica, and hosted by the headquarters of the Department of Education of the Regional Government of Castilla y León, in Valladolid.

Juan José Mateos, Minister of Education of Castilla y León, delivered the opening speech of the seminar, entitled "Situation and Review of the use of ICTs in the Education System of Castilla y León". He was followed by Mariano Jabonero, director of Institutional Relations of Santillana, who offered some data on the use of ICTs worldwide, and Joan Cruz, Director of Fundación Telefónica and “Escuelas Amigas” (Friendly Schools) project, focused on the status of digital implementation in Spain.

Also Mr. Cruz reflected on Fundación Telefónica's commitment to facilitating access to knowledge, improving educational quality, and promoting experimentation in the field of ICTs as the basis for the new education of the 21st century. He also remarked on Fundación Telefónica's “Escuelas Amigas” project, which seeks to strengthen ties and foster cultural exchange between students in Spain and Latin America over the Internet, where students, teachers and Telefónica volunteers - who act as catalysts of the activities - play the leading roles.

The fundamental premise of “Escuelas Amigas” initiative is the use of ICTs in learning processes, as an element that helps to tear down geographical and cultural barriers. As for today (with the 3rd Edition of the project concluded) 13 Latin American countries and Spain and some 280 schools, have taken part in the initiative, benefiting almost 11,000 children with the support of nearly 330 volunteers.

(Source: Fundación Telefónica)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012 23:03:27 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) initiated a Smart Classroom Project to test the efficiency of tablet PCs with different operating systems in teaching and learning at four pilot schools in the capital.

“This program is aimed at testing the effectiveness of tablet-PCs as learning devices in the classroom”, said Bangkok Deputy Governor Taya Teepsuwan.

The program is as part of the BMA’s strategic plan to enhance ICT management for education. The fourth-grade classes in four different schools across Bangkok are involved in this pilot project. The supplied tablets were equipped with four different operating systems and were given to each of the four schools.

They are Android for the Prachaniwet School, Window 7 for the Rittiyawannalai School, iOS for the Wat Pathumwanaram School, and Window 8 for the Na Luang School. Na Luang School is the first school in the world to pilot the Window 8-based tablets, which is scheduled to be officially released by the last week of October.

Department of Education and the BMA is now hiring King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi to evaluate the four schools’ results after using the tablets to expand the project in the future, according to her. She also said that the evaluation result will come out by the end of this year and the BMA will consider whether to continue the trial or expand the Smart Classroom project.

“Technologies for education are an important thing that we cannot avoid. The challenge is how to apply technologies in education with the most efficiency”, said Taya.

The project is in partnership with Microsoft who donated 43 Window-8-loaded Acer Iconia tablets to Na Luang School. The Window 8 tablets comes with Window 8 apps from the Windows Store, the Microsoft Learning Suite including Microsoft Math and Math Worksheet Generator as well as other edutainment tools like Kodu Game Lab, Microsoft AutoCollage, Window Live Movie Maker, Interactive Classroom and etc.

(Source: FutureGov)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012 22:59:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Entrepreneurship is crucial for economic development around the world. In places such as Nigeria, Egypt, and Indonesia, micro-entrepreneurs generate 38 percent of the gross domestic product. Analysis of time-series data demonstrates that small businesses create a disproportionate share of new jobs. They generate new ideas, new business models, and new ways of selling goods and services. Mobile devices represent a way for entrepreneurs to overcome the challenges of doing business.

Mobile phones help people communicate with one another, access market information, sell products across geographic areas, reach new consumers, enter mobile payment systems, and empower women and the disadvantaged. A report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development found that “ICT infrastructure is an increasingly vital determinant of the overall investment climate of a country”. Furthermore, researchers have found that each “one percent increase in mobile penetration is associated with 0.5-0.6 rate of FDI/GDP”.

In this report, Darrell West discusses how mobile entrepreneurship improves the opportunities for social and economic development around the world. As part of Mobile Economy Project, West analyzes the importance of wireless technology for entrepreneurship, how mobile improves access to capital and market information, how it helps entrepreneurs serve broader geographic areas and reach new customers, the manner in which it empowers women and the disadvantaged, and the way mobile payments stimulate economic development. He concludes by outlining the steps we need to take to overcome current barriers to m-entrepreneurship.

West offers policy recommendations that outline the steps needed to overcome current barriers to m-entrepreneurship.

Download the full paper research here

(Source: Brookings)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012 22:57:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Rwanda announces young innovator conference: Transform Africa

The Young Innovators Competition at ITU Telecom World 2012 came to a conclusion in Dubai following five days of workshops, mentoring and pitching sessions which ended with a lively debate between young social entrepreneurs and leaders of industry, government and academia.

"You are all winners and future leaders in an industry where the future is bright and the sky is no longer the limit", Dr Touré said. The debate highlighted education; political will; business incubators; and commitment from the corporate sector to employ young people on merit as most important factors in enabling success. Mr Jazairy said, "You can build a flagless revolution based on innovation and knowledge, and we will follow you".

"As young innovators, we need investment, mentoring and advice to get our projects started", said competition finalist Linkest Diwan, whose Crisis Communicator project offers a total disaster management system. "I'm really happy the ITU Young Innovators Competition exists. It provides innovators with social purpose a leg up, coaching and exposure. If there were more programmes like this on the planet, I believe the economic and environmental crises we have would be over in a day".

The Minister for Youth and Information and Communication Technologies of Rwanda, Mr Jean Philibert Nsengimana, announced the launch of Transform Africa, a conference and exhibition for young entrepreneurs from Africa and around the world, to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, 18-22 March, 2013. He explained that the conference will invite young ICT entrepreneurs from across Africa to training, development and workshops, plus high-level ministerial round table discussions and connections with investors in Rwanda and beyond. "The number of mobile subscriptions in Africa has doubled in the past six years", said Mr Nsengimana. "In Rwanda, the increase has been ten-fold over the same time period. Transform Africa will catalyze the transformation of the economic landscape of enterprises”.

The annual Young Innovators Competition offers young social entrepreneurs the chance to shine an international spotlight on their innovative and creative ICT-based projects or concepts to drive socio-economic development. The twelve finalists were selected to attend ITU Telecom World 2012, the leading global platform for knowledge-sharing, debate and networking in the ICT community, on the basis of the business viability and potential social impact of their projects.

The ITU Video Newsroom is at:

For more information, see

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012 22:54:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The key for the future of any country and any institution is the capability to develop, retain and attract the best talent. Women make up one half of the world’s human capital. Empowering and educating girls and women and leveraging their talent and leadership fully in the global economy, politics and society are thus fundamental elements of succeeding and prospering in an ever more competitive world.

The Global Gender Gap Index introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006, is a framework for capturing the magnitude and scope of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress.

The Index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, education- and health-based criteria, and provides country rankings that allow for effective comparisons across regions and income groups, and over time. The rankings are designed to create greater awareness among a global audience of the challenges posed by gender gaps and the opportunities created by reducing them. The methodology and quantitative analysis behind the rankings are intended to serve as a basis for designing effective measures for reducing gender gaps.

The Index is designed to measure gender-based gaps in access to resources and opportunities in individual countries rather than the actual levels of the available resources and opportunities in those countries. They do this in order to make the Global Gender Gap Index independent from countries’ the levels of development. In other words, the Index is constructed to rank countries on their gender gaps not on their development level.

The Global Gender Gap Index, however, rewards countries for smaller gaps in access to these resources, regardless of the overall level of resources. Thus the Index penalizes or rewards countries based on the size of the gap between male and female enrolment rates, but not for the overall levels of education in the country.

Download full report (PDF)

(Source: World Economic Forum)

Wednesday, 24 October 2012 13:52:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The administrative staff and teachers of AIC Girls Boarding School in Kajiado, Kenya managed to increase the accuracy of the school’s grades and attendance figures and save time in one go, simply by using digital spreadsheets.

“Here, this used to be our school’s administration”, With a wide grin on their faces, four teachers  of AIC Boarding School, show a huge stack of written paper that contain attendance rates and grades of students. “These papers represent about three days of work for us”, says one of the teachers. She then grabs about ten pieces of paper. “And this is the same information, but then created by using Excel. It’s exactly the same, but this only took us half an hour to make”.

Since June 2012, this boarding school for Maasai girls is using four computers for administrative purposes. With the support of IICD and Edukans in the Connect4Change Consortium together with Kenyan partner Dupoto-e-Maa (a Kajiado-based indigenous NGO), all teachers and administrative staff were trained in basic ICT usage and how to use the system, which will help to generate more accurate data about grades and attendance of students.

In the near future, the system will also be used to keep track of payments. Maasai parents are often on the move, but in the beginning of the school year, they come to the school and pay the school fee for their children, which often include boarding fees. Payments records will be kept digitally which makes it easier to see which parents already paid. The system will also help with keeping track of payments in terms, as many parents do not have the full amount at the beginning of the year. If payments are tracked better, this means that the school will increase its income which can then be spent on teaching materials and better facilities for the school.

(Source: IICD)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 16:14:59 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: UN News Centre)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 16:03:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

For more details and to access each webinar go to:

(Source: FAO)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 13:33:47 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Primary school teachers and teachers-to-be throughout Ethiopia record their classes on video. They use these videos to evaluate and improve their teaching. Teachers also make use of computers to plan their lessons. “The motivation of my students has increased”.

Teachers of 75 schools throughout Ethiopia and in teacher training colleges are learning how to use computers to plan their lessons more efficiently. Video cameras are used to record their lessons and to evaluate and discuss them with other teachers.

“I learned how to use video in my own classroom to evaluate myself”, says a teacher from Gafat Primary School in North central Ethiopia. “On the latest videos I can see that because of this, my teaching skills have improved. I also learned to use new teaching techniques. In the classroom, my students now do more group work and talk more. I see that their motivation has increased and I already see some improvement in their results”.

This programme is supported by IICD and Edukans in the Connect4Change consortium and by Ethiopian partner Development Expertise Centre Ethiopia.

In most of the 75 schools, the video and basic computer programme is up and running and some schools already use a digitalized lesson plan that allows teachers to better organize their lessons and activities. In ten schools, there are still some issues with getting reliable electricity. This will be solved by using solar panels to run the computers and charge the cameras that the teachers use for their teaching learning processes.

So far 324 primary school teachers, school assisting staff and 91 supervisors and principles are already trained in a more student centered teaching approach. In addition to this, 2014 members of school management teams will receive trainings about leadership, supervision, digital human resource management and they learn how to organize various reports digitally. 

(Source: IICD)

Wednesday, 17 October 2012 22:19:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The government of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh has awarded a contract to implement next-generation solutions for teaching and learning in 1471 schools across 12 districts in the state.

The INR 1.57 billion (US $29.62 million) project will provide computer-aided learning solutions to schools across Himachal Pradesh. The schools involved in the project will acquire digital classrooms equipped with interactive white boards and multimedia content.

618 government senior secondary schools, 848 government high schools and five ‘smart schools’ in the state will be involved in this project. In addition, 7500 teachers will receive training on how to understand and use these technology solutions, and how to facilitate ICT education of their students.

Digital learning solutions are making significant inroads into India. The government of the state of Punjab recently announced the development of 795 new computer labs in government schools across the state.

This initiative was launched as part of Phase V and VI of a centrally-sponsored ICT scheme in Punjab. During the first four phases, the government focused on enhancing ICT education in schools through new classes and curriculum, and training teachers in effective use of ICT tools in teaching.

ICT-enabled schools in Punjab have been given access to power generators and broadband internet connections to facilitate implementation of state-wide school management of information systems (MIS) and geographic information systems (GIS), which are under development.

(Source: FutureGov)

Wednesday, 17 October 2012 22:17:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

‘Women with the Wave’ forum speaker Geena Davis calls for more female characters, more positive portrayal of girls and women

Leaders attending an Asia-Pacific high-level forum have issued a rallying call for greater participation of women in media, information and communication technology (ICT) and communications across the region.

The call came at the end of the two-day ‘Women With the Wave’ forum in Korea, with delegates urging media industry leaders, governments and international organizations to work harder to promote greater female representation in industry workplaces and on the airwaves.

They stressed the need for a gender inclusive media and information and communication technology (ICT) environment that empowers women and girls to work in the media and ICT fields across all levels and occupational groups, both on- and off-screen. They also called for women to be given greater access to technological and digital platforms, and advocated for a positive, non-stereotypical and balanced portrayal across all forms of media and technological platforms.

The forum was one of a number of events leading up to the 49th General Assembly of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) in Seoul. It featured a keynote speech by Oscar winning actor and advocate Geena Davis, who was recently appointed ITU’s Special Envoy for Women and Girls.

“The time for change is now, and all of you in this room are powerful agents of change”, said Ms Davis. I’d like to applaud Asian broadcasters, filmmakers, Internet stakeholders, academics and others in taking the lead to change the image of women and girls in ICTs. From Korea’s famous K-dramas to Bollywood musicals, we need the characters that will inspire tomorrow’s tech-centered professionals”.

The final statement issued by the forum paid tribute to the ABU, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), host organization the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), and other participating partners for helping to highlight the crucial role media plays in promoting women’s full participation in all aspects of life and society.

“We note that women and girls make up 50 per cent of the world’s population and that equal rights and opportunity underpin healthy economies and societies,” the statement says. “We call on all who can assist to recognize the digital wave now sweeping the world and to join us in supporting the preparation of women and girls for the opportunities and benefits which the knowledge society is now bringing to families worldwide, and which will do so even more in the future”, it concludes.

ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré highlighted his organization’s strong commitment to harnessing ICTs to empower women, both through improved access to new technologies and through training opportunities that will help them pursue a career in the fast-growing ICT sector.

“ITU’s Tech Needs Girls campaign and recently launched annual Tech Needs Girls Prize targets girls aged 9-18 at the time when they are forming opinions and making career choices. Together, the campaign and prize aim to help them see a connection between tech and their daily lives, gain confidence in their skills and find fun in ICT. In addition, our comprehensive multilingual Girls in ICT Portal highlights tech scholarships, training opportunities and mentorship programmes for girls and women around the world”, he said.

Further details

Wednesday, 17 October 2012 22:12:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

International students and professionals from different countries and various areas of expertise gathered in Como Italy for Information and Communication Technology for Development International School (ICT4DEVIS). The international school has evolved into a community dedicated to foster the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to achieve sustainable development.

The first edition of ICT4DEVIS, which took place from 3 – 7 September 2012, was a collaborative effort of Fondazione Rosselli Americas (USA), Università dell’Insubria (Italy), and Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil). ICT4DEVIS aimed to be a bridge between core academic and actual practice in deploying ICT as means for development (ICT4D).

ICT4D implies facilitating developing countries with the necessary ICT system or tool to improve their lives. One of the challenges is different characteristic of developing countries that requires different approach and context in achieving sustainable development. “We want to give the students the ability to understand the context and build a solution well-tailored for that context” said Professor Walter Castelnovo from Università dell’Insubria.

The school addressed the issue through three pillars of technology, socio-cultural, and ICT4D project management. Moreover, students of ICT4DEVIS got the chance to be linked to international organization operating in area of development, such as Global Knowledge Partnership Foundation and Inter-American Development Banks. The on-site lectures of ICT4DEVIS were followed by remote video lectures and assessment completed at the end of September 2012. The second edition of ICT4DEVIS will be held next year in Sao Paolo Brazil.

(Source: Global Knowledge Partnership Foundation)

Further details

Wednesday, 17 October 2012 22:08:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Recently two rural schools linked through communication technology as a way to support the primary school leadership programs that were operating within their schools as well as a strategy to enhance the development of leadership skills across the two primary schools.

The students leadership teams of Korumburra and St Arnaud Primary Schools recently linked for the first time through Polycom to share their experiences as student leaders within their school communities and to also explore how they could better support each other in their leadership roles within their schools.

The link up provided a great opportunity for these young people get to know each other, compare notes on the community in which they live, and the role that they undertake in their school community. Within their discussions they covered a range of topics including selection of student leaders; sharing activities and discussions they were involved in; what is expected of student leaders within primary schools; and how they could better be involved in their schools to improve the learning and experiences for students.

A highlight of the first link up was a presentation on leadership skills by the Mayor of Northern Grampians Shire. The Mayor explored a range of key elements that contribute to a successful leader and shared with the two leadership teams the skills, behavior and positive outcomes that you gain as a result of being a leader within an organization. The student leaders quizzed the Mayor on their role and the types of activities they were involved in.

The link up, while only the first time the two schools had facilitated this, was a huge success and there are already plans to support an ongoing link up across the two school student leadership teams. Already there are plans for a link up to introduce the new student leaders within each school when they are elected towards the end of this year.

(Source: CEP)

Wednesday, 17 October 2012 21:52:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 12 October 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Friday, 12 October 2012 13:59:40 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Your Excellency Minister Kim Kum-law, Mr. Gil Hwan-Young, Dr. Kim Gwang-jo, Dr Eun Ju kim, Mr. Javad Mottaghi, distinguished delegates, Ladies and gentlemen.

It gives me great pleasure to join you today to deliver my keynote address at the Women with the Wave: High Level Forum on Digital Inclusion of Women and Girls in this beautiful city of Seoul.

Today I’m going to share with you stories of a few experiences that led me down new paths – paths that were not part of my original plan and the impact they have had on my life and my work toward improving gender equality for girls and women. I’ve appeared onscreen as everything from a pirate captain to the President of the United States, but the first role I ever played was a man.

As little girls back in the 1960s, my best friend and I played-acted brave characters from TV westerns in her backyard. Because I was taller, I would often play the father, and she’d be my son. And, because we were young, we never noticed that there were no female characters we wanted to pretend to be from movies or TV.

I’ve spent most of my adult life advocating for women and girls, and one a small way has been by seeking roles women may appreciate; roles where the female character is in charge of her own destiny.

About eight years ago, I launched the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and its programming arm, called “See Jane.”  I did so because I wanted the data on one very specific thing: how many female characters were there in children’s media? You see, when I started watching children’s  programs, videos, and kid’s movies with my then-two-year-old daughter, Alizeh.  I was stunned to see that that there seemed to be far more make characters than female characters in these entertainments aimed at the youngest of children. I checked with my associates and industry leaders –no one seemed to be aware of the serious gender imbalance we’re feeding kids through the images they see.

In fact, the most common response was, “No, no, that’s been fixed”. My Institute sponsored the largest research analyses ever done into the content of movies and chidlren’s television programs in the United States at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, performed by Dr Stacey Smith.

The results were stunning – even though I knew in my heart what they would (303) likely be:  at the dawn of a new millennium – when  half of the global population is female – the message sent to children  is that women and girls do NOT take up half of the space in the world.

Currently, in U.S. family films, for every one female speaking character there are three male characters. In crowd and group scenes, only 17% of the characters are female. 17%! No one- least of all children – is seeing images of boys and girls sharing the sandbox equally. We’d like to assume today that the marginalization and invisibility of female characters, especially in entertainment made specifically for children, would be long gone - a relic of the past.

Unfortunately, the reality is that female marginalization remain deeply entrenched in today’s entertainment, and there has been no significant progress over the last twenty years our research covers. Well, I shouldn’t say no progress: the increase in female characters in family films over the last two decades is 0.7%. By my calculations, if we add female characters at that rate, we will achieve parity in 700 years.

The stark gender inequality in media aimed at children is of significant importance to our discussions on Women and Girls in ICTs, as TV and movies can wield enormous influence on  young children as they are developing a sense of their role in society as well as forming ideas about career choices. Our research shows that females are missing from critical occupational sectors including technology.

We recently completed a recent study on the careers of female characters in popular TV and Film and found that in family films males hold 83.8% of all STEM jobs. This calculates into a ratio of 5 male STEM characters to every one female STEM character. No female protagonists or co leads are shown with STEM careers. Looking across the categories of computer science and engineering, the ratio of males to females in these arenas is 14.25 to one! And in Television, there are 78.9% male and 21.1% female with STEM jobs. What message are boys getting about the worth and importance of girls, if media don’t show girls taking up space equal to their numbers?

Seeing women take their full role will enhance awareness of the benefits for the family and community of women’s empowerment, professional training, and non-traditional career choices.  We know when girls see characters engaging in unstereotyped activities, it can heighten their likelihood to pursue careers in the STEM fields. If boys see girl characters engaged in STEM fields, they will come to see it it as the norm and not the exception. So, what can we do to improve the status of girls and increase their participation in ICTs?

Well, we know what the Asia Broadcasting Union is doing: they are creating initiatives such as the Project on Gender Mainstreaming in Broadcasting which I have learned was implemented in a number of countries in the Asia Pacific  region, the latest one being in the Maldives as a joint ABU-ITU action. May I join with so many others in saluting you for this very important work.

I’m very pleased to be one of the champions of ITU’s recently launched ‘Tech Needs Girls’ campaign, a global initiative in the area of education that aims to encourage girls to play a much more substantive role in the technology sector, including by promoting women in ICT careers.

The time for change is now, and all of you in this room are powerful agents of change. I’d like to applaud Asian  broadcasters, filmmakers, Internet stakeholders, academics and others to take the lead to change the image of women and girls in ICTs. From Korea’s famous K-dramas to Bollywood musicals, we need the characters that will inspire tomorrow’s tech-centered professionals. 

There is a whole generation of young girls who will be influenced by the images they watch, whether in the movies, online videos, social network sites, video games and beyond.  If they can see it, they can be it! Korean entertainment launched the Korean Wave that has spread across the Asia Pacific region and beyond.  Which  makes Seoul  the perfect venue for launching this Gender Media Forum, Women with the Wave, and I am honored to be here on this auspicious occasion.

I’m convinced that the waves we create at this Forum, will improve both the status of women working in media and ICTs and foster a more just media portrayal of women and girls.

Thank you very much.

Thursday, 11 October 2012 23:44:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
High Level Forum on Digital Inclusion of Women and Girls
Seoul, Republic of Korea
10th-11th October 2012
We, the participants in the Women With the Wave Gender Media Forum, held in Seoul, Korea on the 10th and 11th October, 2012, make this affirmation of commitment to its goals and outcomes and to the empowering of women through media and ICTs.

In thanking the organizers of the Forum, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) and other partners, we note that women and girls make up 50 per cent of the world’s population and that equal rights and opportunity underpin healthy economies and societies.

Further, we recognize that the media has a crucial role to play in promoting women’s full participation in every aspect of life and society and, to this end, we invite the ITU and the ABU to endorse this statement with a view to seeking to assist in the practical implementation of its recommendations.

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

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

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


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

• implementation of the Broadcasting for All: Focus on Gender guidelines that include strategic and practical applications for use in media and ICT workplaces;
• encouragement for the determining of a framework for the broad provision of training and access to technological and digital media by women and girls;
• applying existing research, surveys and findings of the portrayal, stories, faces and voices of the female population across the region and formulating a broad strategy for the application of fair representations across organizations and platforms;
• championing media leaders who promote content and balanced images of girls and women;
• piloting UNESCO’s Gender Sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM) as a practical tool to assess and encourage gender equality and women’s empowerment in media;
• collaborating with partners, such as the ITU, to promote women and girls in media and ICTs, including developing programming story lines with women in ICT careers and promoting the Women’s Digital Literacy Campaign;
• securing industry-wide commitments to take steps towards positive change to promote success stories on radio and television broadcasts;
• gaining specific attention and assistance, from the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) through its various specialized departments and its member organizations, to the needs of smaller media institutions (such as in island regions and remote areas), thus enabling out-reach to women and girls and their empowerment in marginalized societies;
• development and distribution of educational modules for use in secondary schools, tertiary education institutions and other scholastic agencies (and, where applicable, by distance learning modes and techniques) to introduce students to gender and media/ICT issues, and the role of media in society.

We recall the inspirational discourse of the two day ITU/ABU/KBS sponsored Women With the Wave Gender Forum and, in particular, the successful media and ICT case studies and models shared by speakers from throughout the region. The collegiality of fellow Forum participants, the professionalism of the videos and films they exhibited to the Forum, the commitment of keynote presenters and the atmosphere of optimism expressed by all present have reinforced our belief that affirmative action on the Forum recommendations is vital to ensuring the forward progress of the empowerment of women and girls through media and ICTs.

To this end, we call on all who can assist to recognize the digital wave now sweeping the world and to join us in supporting the preparation of women and girls for the opportunities and benefits which the knowledge society is now bringing to families worldwide and which will do so even more in the future.

Thursday, 11 October 2012 23:18:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 11 October 2012
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) and the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) are jointly organizing the Women With the WAVE: High Level Forum on Digital Inclusion of Women and Girls, which is held in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 10-11 October 2012. This is in line with WTDC Res. 55 (Doha, 2006): “Promoting gender equality towards an all-inclusive information society”, Plenipotentiary Resolution 70 (rev Guadalajara, 2010): “Gender mainstreaming in ITU and promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women through information and communication technologies”, and the 4th World Conference on Women Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

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

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

For further information regarding this event, contact Ms. Aurora A. Rubio (

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

Thursday, 11 October 2012 22:55:51 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 09 October 2012

The Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards is a contest to promote the development of IT applications designed to improve the lives of those with disabilities and people that are older, to help them get more actively involved in society. 

In 2012 we celebrate the II Edition after the great results of last year competition. In 2011 over 60 apps were received and more than 100 people participated in the awards. Find more information about 2011 finalists and winners.

The programme is supported and co-organized by AGE Platform Europe, the European network of around 160 organizations of and for people aged 50+, and the European Disability Forum (EDF), the NGO that represents the interests of 80 million Europeans with disabilities.

Launched in Brussels, the competition will award the best smartphone application in four areas:

  Social participation: refers to applications which help users to become more involved in today's society and help them benefit from using new technologies, whatever their age and/or capacity.   The aim is to help everyone to access the web and social media through smartphones.

  Independent living: refers to applications which help users with everyday tasks such as washing or opening a door easily and safely so that they can live more independently

   Mobility: refers to applications which enable users to travel freely and safely whatever kind of transport system they would like to use. It also refers to the use of GPS and locations apps which can help guide people in unfamiliar places.

   Wellbeing: refers to applications which improve the users' health and overall feeling of wellbeing.

Entrants can compete for a share of the €200k prize fund from 30 May 2012 to 15 October 2012. Finalist will present their application to the jury in a final event that will take place in December in Brussels.

Here are six testimonials which can help to inspire you to create new ways of making technology accessible for all:

Further details

Tuesday, 09 October 2012 22:25:17 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 08 October 2012
The global campaign “TECH needs girls”, implemented in Republic of Macedonia on the initiative of the Deputy Minister for Information Society and Administration, Mrs. Marta Arsovska Tomovska, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Science, MASIT (Macedonian ICT Chamber of Commerce) and FINKI (faculty of Computer Science and Engineering), after only 5 months form its promotion, has already shown results.

The campaign started with a celebration of the “Girls in ICT day” in April this year. Hundreds girls - high school students were included in the activities, while the media helped in spreading the “TECH needs girls” message to thousands of other across the country. The good idea was immediately embraced from the largest ICT companies in Macedonia, such as T-home and T-mobile, Ericsson, Seavus, Semos, Ultra, Nextsense, Netcetera, Asseco SEE, which contributed in the campaign’s realization.

As part of the activities, in September 2012 free trainings for programming, designing, computer animation and network administration were awarded to girls – students of the generation from several elementary schools in Skopje.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Education and Science, obtained from enrollment terms for academic 2012 – 2013, from the total number of students enrolled on first year university studies on state and private ICT faculties in the Republic of Macedonia, 73, 4% are male, while 26, 6% are female. Compared to the 76, 1% male and 23, 9 % female from the last 2011 – 2012 academic year, it is an increase of 2, 7% for female students!

The results themselves clearly show that we succeeded in encouraging girls to enroll on ICT faculties. In a future perspective, that will enable gender representation balance, but what is most important is that the total number of ICT work force in the Republic of Macedonia will increase.

In the future, the “Girls in ICT” concept will surly represent a great stimulus for further creating and opening new possibilities, opportunities and horizons, accesses to fresh knowledge and of course, recognizing young talents and benevolent investing in their capacities.

By the end of October this year, management board of the “Girls in ICT” campaign will be established. Under the presidency of Deputy Minister Mrs. Marta Arsovska Tomovska, the board will be constituted from women CEOs, women professors and representatives from state institutions who will engage their experience, knowledge and personal will for further development of the campaign’s activity. The board will represent a focal point where all ideas, suggestions and recommendations will be analyzed and from there transformed in future productive steps.

(Source: Girls in ICT)

Monday, 08 October 2012 21:27:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

One of the most prominent themes of this week’s General Assembly has been using low-cost mobile technology to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5: drastically lowering child mortality while boosting maternal and reproductive health in developing nations.

Since there could be 50 billion mobile devices with broadband access by 2017, as Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg predicted at the recent Social Good Summit, it’s no wonder that mobile phones are being harnessed in areas that may be remote and resource-limited, but are no longer disconnected from global health solutions. Here’s a look of three nascent initiatives using mobile technology to create a global health impact:

1. Perhaps the most effective means of empowering women in developing nations to make informed health-care decisions is through basic, adaptable messaging. For the past year, USAID, Johnson & Johnson, and the mHealth alliance have developed the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) to connect with over 20 million expectant and new mothers in 35 countries. Using simple mobile technology, MAMA offers vital health information on everything from swaddling to breast-feeding to immunizations.

MAMA has already been effective in South Africa, Indonesia and Bangladesh, where expectant and new mothers now have access (often for the first time) to a global sharing of timely, topical, culturally relevant health information.

2. Medic Mobile transcends the communication and geographic obstacles that all too often limit the efforts of health-care workers in developing nations. As CEO Josh Nesbit told the Social Good Summit audience, Medic Mobile started out by equipping 100 frontline community health workers in Malawi with mobile phones to facilitate essential services for pregnant women and newborn babies.

Nesbit saw the opportunity to offer critical care services in remote areas by harnessing a mobile phone infrastructure that already existed. Considering WHO’s assessment that half of all maternal deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, and that there are more cell phones on the African continent than in the United States, Nesbit’s plan made perfect sense.

3. The next frontier in improving the health of mothers and children is digitizing food assistance. Enter the Better than Cash Alliance, which is helping some of the world’s most indigent populations by transitioning from cash payments to electronic aid, creating a “cash-lite” world.

Through mobile phones and text messages, the Better than Cash Alliance can deliver digital food vouchers, or “e-vouchers”, that enable people to buy food from local markets. According to WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, “By 2015, WFP expects 30 percent of its assistance programs to be delivered in the form of cash and digital food”.

(Source: The Interdependent)

Monday, 08 October 2012 20:36:59 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Farmerline is a mobile and web-based system that furnishes farmers and investors with relevant agro industry content to improve productivity and increase income. Farmerline bridges the information gap between rural farmers and agro-industry sources in two ways:

  • The voice forum: This feature allows farmers to ask questions by calling a toll free helpline (short code). The extension officers are able to answer the questions via a web interface and answers sent to farmers as voice sms.

  • Automated SMS Alerts: The SMS will include advice on tackling pests or diseases, agricultural techniques, optimum times to plant crops, available subsidies, as well as weather forecasts, local fairs and crop prices.

Farmerline won the first and third position in the Mobile Web Ghana Competition and Apps4africa Climate Change Competition organized by the US Department of State respectively.

(Source: e-agriculture)

Monday, 08 October 2012 20:29:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The mHealh Alliance and the Innovation Working Group (IWG) awarded IICD a grant for its mobile community health programme in Mali. In this programme, mothers who act as Community Workers use mobile phones to strengthen their malaria prevention work. For the programme, IICD partners with mobile provider Orange Mali and French NGO RAES.

The awarded programme trains 45 mothers in the use of mobile phones and the use of a special mobile application to collect data during visits to the communities around Bamako. The data that the mothers collect, help health specialists from nearby health centres to improve patient case management by conducting prevention, diagnosis and treatment in a more efficient and cost effective way. The grant enables IICD to further improve child and maternal health monitoring in Yirimadjo, a poor outskirt community of Bamako. The mothers who are health workers also come from this area, where malaria is the most urgent problem. Because of malaria, maternal and child mortality in the area is high.

IICD and its partners will expand the programme to 150 more Community Health Workers in Mali and 100 Community Health Workers in Senegal within two years time. This will be done in close collaboration with French NGO RAES. Telecom provider Orange offers technical support.

The grant that IICD's community health programme in Mali received was selected out of many applications, together with seven others. The grant is an initiative of the mHealth Alliance, a global project founded by the United Nations Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation, and the UN’s Innovation Working Group.

(Source: IICD)

Monday, 08 October 2012 20:20:45 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) is planning a joint collaboration with the country’s top telecommunication providers to launch free WiFi in public areas nationwide.

Free WiFi is now available in public service centres such as bus terminals, train stations, and airports, as well as regional cultural centres, libraries, athletics facilities, national public hospitals, welfare centres, and select tourist spots.

Signboards bearing the Free Public Wifi logo will be strategically located in the said areas so as to inform citizens and tourists alike of the service.

According to an official statement, the Wi-Fi networks were developed to prevent the overlap of wireless networks and allow convenient Internet access regardless of telecommunications service provider.

A full directory of the locations of public Wi-Fi spots can be found at the websites of the KCC and the National Information Society Agency.

(Source: FutureGov)

Monday, 08 October 2012 20:03:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Financial Inclusion Tracker Surveys (FITS) Project is a multiyear research initiative providing critical data, analysis and insights to stakeholders in the mobile money field in particular, and in financial inclusion generally. The FITS Project supports strategic planning, benchmarking, monitoring and impact assessment for mobile money and financial inclusion projects.

InterMedia is currently working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s (Financial Services for the Poor program to implement FITS in Pakistan, Tanzania and Uganda) identified by the Gates FSP team as markets where mobile money is poised to achieve scale and serve as models for other countries. FITS may be expanded to other countries, depending on local market developments.

The project was designed with substantial input from the financial inclusion stakeholder community. It is based on the assumption that people in developing countries require safe, convenient and affordable ways to manage their money, especially those people with little money who need to be able to manage it carefully but who are often excluded from the formal banking system.

Between the annual surveys, InterMedia will conduct SMS mini-surveys to retain contact with the panel households, monitor shorter-term trends and stay abreast of any new developments in mobile money use. The primary goal is to create general purpose datasets to provide windows on mobile money market developments from the user perspective.

(Source: AudienceScapes)
Full Report

Monday, 08 October 2012 19:57:30 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 28 September 2012
The WSYA selects and promotes best practice in e-Content. It demonstrates young people's potential to create outstanding digital contents and serves as a platform for people from all UN member states to work together in the efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Young creators of digital content can register their products themselves. An international young expert jury will then judge the products and select a winner in each of the six WSYA categories.

The reward for winners is to be recognized on a world stage, to be invited to the winners' events (with all related cost covered by organizers), to be able to connect with each other and discuss with renowned experts in the field of ICT for development. The Youth Award is not a cash award. Last years winner's events took place in Graz, Austria. In 2012, the event is going to take place in Montreal, Canada.

The WSYA is organized as a follow up activity of the World Summit on Information Society and its action plan towards the year 2015. The Youth Award is being organized by the World Summit Award Network for the fifth time after 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2011. It is promoted in all UN member states through the networks of the World Summit Award (WSA) the UN Global Alliance for ICT, other participating UN Organizations and Agencies such as UNESCO and UNIDO, governments and NGOs, youth organizations, and all those committed to making a real difference in the achievement of the MDGs.

The WSYA Team is based at the International Centre for New Media (ICNM), an independent non-profit organization in Salzburg, Austria.

(Source: WSYA)

Friday, 28 September 2012 11:07:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The book is an example of the development of the Plan “Vive Digital” as an initiative to promote equity and social development from the most remote and vulnerable public educational institutions in the country with the support of ICT.

This is a document that serves as a guide to teachers in ICT teaching of the schools which were benefited from Computadoras para educar (Computers for Schools), ICT Ministry program.

"We are convinced that technology contributes significantly in education", said ICT Ministry, Diego Molano Vega.

"We are more than technology. Computadoras para educar is sustainable social development for Colombia because the learning process supported from ICT, thanks to the guidelines of the Ministry of Education", said Director Martha Castellanos referring to the launch of this digital document, which includes a study by the University of the Andes and supports the results of the program since its existence and several articles on the use of ICT in education, written by experts and ministers of ICT and Education.

However, the focus of the publication is defined into the seven components of education mediated by ICTs, including the dimensions research, evaluative, communication, educational, technical and technological, attitudinal and disciplinary. The book also addresses the main challenges of the new age teachers, such as turning the student into the protagonist of his own educational process, making it more purpose and more focused on the skills that the accumulation of knowledge.

"This book is a real turning point between what is the use of computers in the classroom and the incorporation of digital tools to strengthen education", said the Deputy Minister of ICT María Carolina Hoyos Turbay.

The publication serves as a guide on the most important steps that the Government of Colombia has taken to meet targets on access to technology in the educational context, raised in Vive Digital Plans and Quality Education.

(Source: MINTIC – Colombia)

Friday, 28 September 2012 11:01:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
A project that provides online legal advice and digital trainings to Bolivian victims of domestic violence was praised in a recent publication of International Capacity Building Organization PSO.

The project, which was formerly supported by IICD in collaboration with local partner Casa de la Mujer (Woman’s House), was presented as an example of an inspiring innovative approach to capacity development that leads to the improvement of people’s lives.

The project consists of an online consulting service for women suffering from domestic violence, which provides them legal advice and the opportunity to interact online anonymously with professional counselors. In addition, these women are trained in the basic use of computers as well as the use of tools such as chat and Skype where they can speak to their peers or learn how to anonymously tell their story.

Given that most women do not have a computer of their own, Casa de La Mujer has created computer centres throughout Santa Cruz, which women can visit and use for free to send messages to lawyers and psychologists who volunteer in the project or to other victims, anonymously, if they prefer.

As a result, the women feel that they are not alone. By interacting with other women facing the same problems and by being introduced to basic ICT skills like blogging or using Skype, they are given a voice to communicate about domestic violence and inspire other women who suffer in other areas of the country. In addition to this, ICT has given them the opportunity to seek help maintaining their anonymity, something that is really important to victims of domestic violence and gender discrimination.

IICD’s officer Community Relations, Innovation & Capacity Development, Saskia Harmsen says that “We are pleased with the results seen from the training of 600 women in the use of ICT, and in the use of the on-line legal services and in legal rights issues”.

(Source: IICD)

Friday, 28 September 2012 10:55:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Two projects, one in Kenya and one in Burkina Faso, show that female farmers have better access to ICTs and are using them to improve their livelihoods. However, there is still a gender digital divide, and some profound problems are preventing women from benefiting from ICTs.

Margaret Wanjiku Mwangi has been a regular user of the Ng’arua Maarifa ICT Centre in the rural county of Laikipia in Kenya since it was inaugurated seven years ago. She has acquired computer skills free of charge and regularly borrows books and magazines to discover new ideas to improve yield productivity. For example, she learnt how to preserve various vegetable seeds for planting to enhance food security. It was also at this rural ICT Centre, an initiative of the Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), that she came up with the idea of making a kitchen garden to grow vegetables in the dry season, and to make fruit juices at home to sell at special occasions and social gatherings.

Mwangi has also attended market access trainings at the ICT Centre, where she has learnt to use her mobile phone and the internet to check market prices. ‘Whenever my crops are ready,’ she says, ‘I use my mobile phone to check market prices in major towns so that I can learn about the current market situation. I share the information with neighbours, and we are no longer exploited by middle men’.

Bett Kipsang’, field officer at the Ng’arua Maarifa Centre says: “We have initiated training sessions targeting all the community members and specifically women. During these sessions, we introduce them to initiatives about online marketing skills, for example, where we train farmers to check market prices from a web-based portal using the internet and mobile phones”.

The portal is called Sokopepe, which loosely translated into Swahili means ‘online market’. It was developed by ALIN, for use by local farmers to access market information via the Short Message Service (SMS). The internet portal has been customized to receive SMS and give feedback on the prices of commodities as inquired by the farmers and buyers. The initiative enables farmers to upload their offers online and receive market information from different market centers in order to make informed decisions on where to sell their produce. This marketing system has helped rural women find prices and also discover the location of prospective buyers‘.

(Source: ICT Update)

Friday, 28 September 2012 10:49:38 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The objective of The GSMA mWomen Design Challenge: Redefining the User Experience is to meet the needs of resource-poor women by improving the smartphone user experience.

Designers, programmers and innovators of all kinds are invited to consider the user experience of resource-poor women to reimagine a smartphone’s core user interface to be more intuitive and accessible. The more a woman can use her phone, the more value she’ll be able to realize from the pre-installed apps, widgets, and other functionality that can enhance her and her family’s lives.

Today, most mobile users in developing markets rely on basic feature phones, which generally offer little beyond basic voice and SMS functionality. But smartphones will drive the next stage of the mobile revolution, offering access to more phone features, as well as being the primary tool for internet access for many in the developing world. As competition grows and the phones become more popular, manufacturers will realize economics of scale and will reduce prices, creating a cycle that will ultimately lead to affordable smartphones throughout the developing world.

More information
(Source: GSMA mWomen)

Friday, 28 September 2012 10:42:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Over the course of the past decade, the face of society has been transformed. In every aspect of daily life, technology has revolutionized the ways by which individuals communicate with the outside world.

In order to effectively contend with this evolving style, it is vital for educators to incorporate these changes into the classroom. One way of doing so is by the integration of mobile learning and, more specifically, remote teaching. This study attempted to measure the effectiveness of mobile learning and remote teaching in delivering classroom content within the university context, as opposed to traditional lecture-based delivery. Results indicated that mobile-based remote teaching is not only as effective as traditional instruction, but more so, in regard to student understanding of course content.

This study will explore the use of mobile technology in remote teaching, giving professors the ability to teach and instruct students via the mobile device while not in the traditional classroom setting. This study will utilize a quasi-experimental design between separate sections of no less than three classes. Three sections will be taught utilizing extensive remote teaching activities (i.e. sending students out of the classroom to experience different activities and blogging/podcasting about them remotely on their device, conducting “scavenger hunts” using mobile devices for instruction, using HeadsUp to facilitate group work while the professor is not physically present), while the other three sections will be taught identical course materials using traditional face-to-face methods. Measurement will consist of a pre-test/post-test design to compare student comprehension, retention of, and interest in course materials.

Full report
(Source: Abilene Christian University)

Friday, 28 September 2012 10:37:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
It is time of the examination of economic geography at school Virolai in Barcelona's Carmel district. Students in 4th grade of Secondary (ESO) catch a pen and a paper, open their laptops, look for information on the Internet and answer the questions ... might even they see some data in their notes. The exam grade will only depend on the information they find in these sources. This is more than just play definitions. With the data that they have and their prior knowledge must be enough to solve problems and answer questions that test their ability to analyze and reflect.

This is what the teachers consider; to adapt the tests to what is taught in classrooms every day, and especially at how it is taught. "In one hand, they tend increasingly to teach skills, teachers want the students to be able to do something with the stuff they learn, think and analyze, but in the opposite way we (teachers) mostly continue evaluating memory", said Coral regi, Director of Virolai School and professor of Biology. Regi raises another issue. The reality is this: people access to various sources of information, books, manuals, journals, internet, experts ... - to respond to the questions they face in their lives, at work ... Do not rely all the data stored in their brain. But the school does not allow it in testing. In this center, and in another thirty Spain, have decided to turn around the situation.

Virolai center of Barcelona is part of a program of DIM research group from Universat Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB), coordinated by Pere Marquis, who proposes something similar. Last academic year this group conducted a research in fifty schools and colleges where they could realize the evaluation during the exams. About 70% of teachers felt that the result for the students was positive. Students who were good they continue good and those who had difficulties improved with effort, but those who were dragging deficits or who were unwilling to work could not perform well. Therefore, this course has launched a second phase of research, which will continue the 2012-2013, in which they propose a new approach to the curriculum - called bimodal.

(Source: La Vanguardia – Spain)

Friday, 28 September 2012 10:32:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |