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 Friday, June 07, 2013
The GSMA unveiled research that demonstrates the socio - economic transformation that mHealth adoption will have in Latin America, with findings indicating that more than 40 million additional patients could be treated in Brazil and Mexico alone in 2017 through the use of mHealth services. A new GSMA report, developed in collaboration with PwC and released today at HOSPITALAR 2013 in São Paulo, identified significant benefits of mHealth implementation in Brazil and Mexico in 2017 that will:

Empower poor and chronic patients
- Extend healthcare to 28.4 million additional patients in Brazil and 15.5 million patients in Mexico in 2017
- Equip around 16 million citizens to improve their lifestyle and reduce the impact of chronic diseases, prolonging lives

Sustain universal healthcare systems
- Enhance quality of care and efficiency of care delivery, saving $17.9 billion in costs ($14.1 billion in Brazil and $3.8 billion in Mexico)
- Create 200,000 jobs to support mHealth deployments across Brazil and Mexico

Improve quality of life
- Save almost 16,000 lives and add 23,000 life years, as well as save doctors 14.6 million working days through improved prevention, diagnosis and treatment
- Ensure that citizens constitute a healthier workforce, adding $ 12.9 billion to the GDP of Mexico and Brazil

“mHealth can help countries like Brazil and Mexico tackle the significant challenge of providing universal healthcare to a large, dispersed population”, said Jeanine Vos,Executive Director, mHealth at the GSMA. “The pressures on healthcare resources and the increasing burden of chronic diseases make it key to deploy innovative and cost-effective solutions. mHealth willenhance the reach, efficiency of spend and effectiveness of care to provide better quality health services to more people. Therefore it is critical that governments and regulators work with healthcare providers and mobile operators to drive mHealth adoption”.

For more information on the GSMA’s mHealth programme and to view the report visit: www.gsma.com/connectedliving/mhealth.

(Source: GSMA)

Friday, June 07, 2013 9:13:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


What used to be a system where patient files had to be looked up in papers in a dusty attic, is now in the process of becoming a digital system in several Ugandan hospitals. With continuous computer training, medical training via computers with a teleconferencing tool, a soon-to-be digital pharmacy and electronic patient records, Lubaga hospital in Kampala and other Ugandan hospitals are taking giant steps to improve their quality.

In a wooden attic, cabinets filled with old papers are collecting dust. “These are our old patient records”, says records assistant Rhodah Kiconco. Unlike the rest of Lubaga hospital, a city hospital in Kampala which has quite a nice temperature, the attic is directly under the roof and very hot. After one year, patient files are moved from the hospitals main department to the attic. In practice this could mean that if a patient moves to another city or village and comes back a couple of years later, that it is hard to find his or her records again quickly. For these and many other reasons, the hospital is now in the process of digitalizing with the support of IICD and Cordaid via the Connect4Change Consortium together with Ugandan partner UCMB. Patient records will be stored digitally and easily accessible from most places in the hospital and hospital staff receives continuous computer training and health training via computers.

Two floors down, a group of 12 nurses and doctors receive computer training by IT instructor Andrew Ssemwezi who is talking about how to use some of the features of Google online such as a shared calendar. In the afternoon, 12 other nurses, doctors and administrative workers will receive the same course. The 24 people will receive basic computer training for several weeks and then other groups take their place. Once all staff is trained in basic computer training, the staff can start using the available computers for continuous medical training, says UCMB’s project coordinator Jenard Ntacyo. “The idea is that in the future, all nurses and other staff have to start using computers for e-learning. And if they don’t participate and do continuous training, they could lose their license”.

(Source: IICD)

Friday, June 07, 2013 8:58:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Senior United Nations officials, policymakers, civil society representatives and other stakeholders gathered last  May 13, at UN Headquarters in New York for a special Economic and Social Council forum on mobilizing science, technology and innovation for sustainable development.

“Science, technology and innovation hold great potential as tools and enable to integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development,” said the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Wu Hongbo.

“They can be used to promote health, increase productivity, improve the efficiency of resource use, and reduce negative human impacts on the environment. They will be critical to tackling some of the major sustainable development challenges of this century. These include providing food security to a growing population, eradicating poverty and tackling climate change”.

Attended by policymakers, key stakeholders and UN system representatives, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Integration Meeting seeks to follow-up on the commitments made by world leaders at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June last year.
That historic summit recognized ECOSOC’s role in achieving a balanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development, and adopted an outcome document, The Future We Want. Following the Conference, ECOSOC held a Ministerial meeting in September, where participants discussed how to strengthen the multilateral system for sustainable development.

Mr. Wu underlined that ensuring food security and universal access to sustainable energy are “complex challenges” that “must be addressed in an integrated way”.
“Some of the technological solutions are simple, as with clean cook stoves. However, social and economic barriers to their broader diffusion can be complex”, he said. “Innovation extends beyond developing hardware, to finding solutions, to the broad social acceptance and economic affordability of improved technologies.

In his opening remarks, Deputy-Secretary General Jan Eliasson stressed the importance of Council in promoting balanced integration of different dimensions to sustainable development in the UN system, and called for cooperation to achieve not just sustainable development objectives but also the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

(Source: UN News Centre)

Friday, June 07, 2013 8:44:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
30 June deadline approaching for submission of technological solutions to development challenges.

Only four weeks remain for young social technopreneurs from around the world to submit applications to the ITU Telecom World 2013 Young Innovators’ Competition and win up to USD 10,000 in seed funding. The deadline is 30 June 2013.

The third edition of the annual Young Innovators’ Competition seeks innovative ICT-based solutions to six Global Challenges. It is open to any young person between the ages of 18 and 26 with an original concept or start-up with the potential to impact the world and improve people's lives through the use of connected technologies (ICTs).

Submissions must address one of the following Global Challenges:

- Improve employment opportunities for young people and migrant workers
- Reduce food and water wastage at individual and retail levels
- Facilitate access to public services for the elderly
- Improve natural disaster prediction and response
- Improve road safety for both drivers and pedestrians
- Protect sensitive personal data and inspire the creation of local digital content

Ten winning finalists will be selected to attend  in Bangkok, 19-22 November 2013. ITU Telecom World 2013 is the leading platform for debate, networking, innovation showcasing and knowledge-exchange for the global ICT community. Young Innovators’ Competition finalists will take part in workshops, pitching sessions, mentoring and networking, in addition to receiving up to USD 10,000 prize money to further develop their project. Competition details are here.

For more information visit world2013.itu.int/#itu_2013 or contact:
Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
+41 22 730 5046
+41 79 249 4861
sanjay.acharya@itu.int

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Friday, June 07, 2013 8:39:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Telecentre.org Foundation (TCF) launched its book, Outstanding Telecentre Women Managers: 100 Stories. The English Edition of the e-book, which was officially debuted at Spark13, the 4th Global Forum on Telecentres on May 28, 2013 in Granada, Spain, is a compilation of stories of the winners of the Global Search for 100 Outstanding Telecentre Women Managers conducted by TCF in 2011. The competition, which was organized in collaboration with TCF’s six regional telecentre network partners is a component of the Telecentre Women: Digital Literacy Campaign, a joint initiative by the International Telecommunication Union and Telecentre.org Foundation.



The 100 stories featured in the e-book chronicles the lives of women from over 30 countries around the world and presents a vivid snapshot of how these telecentre women came to rise to their current ranks, the struggles they encountered along the way, and the projects they are working on that are currently changing the world.

Tess Camba, Director of Operations for Telecentre.org Foundation said, “We’re extremely excited to be able to share this with you. We are grateful for all the partners who have contributed to the development of this book and most especially for the 100 women who have graciously allowed us to share their stories with the rest of the world”.
A second edition with translations of the English articles in multiple languages is set to be launched in the third quarter of 2013. The English Edition is currently available for download at the TCF website.

(Source: Telecentre.org)

Friday, June 07, 2013 8:31:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 30, 2013


As a part of Scratch Day celebrations around the world, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) in partnership with the One Laptop Per Child Association, has hosted a Scratch Day event in Rwanda.

Scratch is basic programming language that makes easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art and share your creations.
The event was held in Kacyiru Sector at the OLPC Corner of the National Library, where students showed off the projects they had created using Scratch around different academic themes, including Environmental protection, Fight against drug abuse, Children’s rights, and Rwandan vision 2020.

The event aimed to show the true potential that Rwandan children have to lead and develop their skills and confidence using their XO laptops.

(Source: BiztechAfrica)

Thursday, May 30, 2013 6:17:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
In Sub-Saharan Africa, innovative approaches are constantly being developed to address the region’s acute education challenges. Low literacy levels, inadequate school facilities, and high dropout rates are felt acutely, particularly in rural areas. Despite government initiatives to tackle these issues, accessing education remains difficult for some, especially those who have abandoned their studies and find it difficult to re-join school or gain employment in a competitive job market that favours the best qualified. But through a pioneering eLearning for Youth project, which utilizes social media and mobile learning, positive changes are taking place.

The project is currently being tested in Namibia, and addresses the large number of learners who abandon their studies at a young age. The reasons for dropping out of school vary from person to person and throughout Africa – while poverty, pregnancy, family or social commitments and the hidden costs of education constantly present obstacles, short-term events can also critically interrupt the progress of a child’s education – such as the recent drought in the Kunene region of Namibia, which forced many families to move to more fertile pastures, away from schools. What is certain is that returning to formal education after dropping out is doubly difficult. Schools in Namibia are frequently understaffed and overstretched, with class sizes often between 70 and 80 pupils, and the personal touch erratically educated children need simply cannot be provided.

Maurice Nkusi of the Centre for Teaching and Learning Polytechnic of Namibia, explains the dire situation facing school dropouts in Namibia, and the essential lifeline m- and eLearning offer them.

“The unemployed – and perhaps almost unemployable – millions of African youth, on the street without the required skills, seemingly condemned to [a life of] poverty and violence, can find mobile learning and social networking very valuable as tools to go through academic programmes for skills development… [and] experience sharing and collaboration”.

Maurice Nkusi’s eLearning for out-of-school youth project aids school dropouts by using ICTs to assist them in continuing to develop their skills and obtain an education, despite their having left the formal classroom setting. It uses cheap mobile phones with Internet access and a built-in slot for a memory card containing multimedia resources, which allow the students to get access to quality learning materials hosted on an mLearning platform, complete their assignments, and successfully pass mLearning courses. The idea is to re-create a productive learning environment in a mobile setting, where access to content, learning participation, and effective assessment implementation are all components of the teaching theories used. In this way, young people out of school are given the necessary skills to generate their own employment, and are also given access to a platform allowing them to network, share information and collaborate.

The initial trials of the project have so far demonstrated that the young students it reaches can do tests and assignments, participate in online educational discussion threads, and learn from home, using small portable devices – that is, with none of the “hidden” costs (travel, equipment) that in many cases obstruct their classroom education. This enables them to gain the same skills taught in formal educational institutions at low expense, and to a flexible timetable that can fit round their other commitments.

Courses offered in this type of mLearning are often more practical than theoretical, and generally use multimedia resources to assist in skill development. One, for example, taught students how to grow mushrooms, with participants learning to duplicate the techniques shown in videos. At the end of the course, the students were able to grow their own mushrooms and sell them at the local market.

In Africa, there are many innovative ICT education projects that fail owing to poor ICT infrastructure, and also because the technical capabilities to maintain the equipment are unavailable. Further, ICT deployment in African schools requires the training of staff in basic computer skills and the effective integration of technology in teaching. Mobile learning has no such restrictions and can be easily integrated into the classroom environment: and the reaction, in this case, has been extremely positive. It has helped many out-of-school youths to gain confidence in their skills and provide a service to their communities, proving that a considerable number of young people can be trained from their homes in various skills-development programmes, giving hope to many for whom the rigidity of traditional education has become a stumbling-block.

Maurice Nkusi is involved in several other socially conscious initiatives which use the latest in ICT innovation: such as the “Join Us” multimedia campaign on Gender and Power Relations, seeking to address gender imbalances in Namibia through printed, online, mobile and social media campaigns, and the Education for Social Development Online Portal, a social network and electronic portfolio hybrid which supports the development of online eLearning communities. He is also a speaker at the upcoming eLearning Africa Conference 2013 in Namibia, where he will share some of his considerable wealth of findings from these and other projects.
For more information on the programme, or to register for the conference, see here.

Further details

Thursday, May 30, 2013 6:10:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Robotics are a key factor in enhancing industry, fostering scientific innovation, and ultimately, boosting GDP and increasing the quality of African life.

A new robotics platform is poised to attract young engineering enthusiasts in Africa to pursue robotics.



A new robotics platform is poised to attract young engineering enthusiasts in Africa to pursue robotics.

Junior Robotics, an EXPO21XX online exhibition, spotlights all things robotics for kids. The exhibit showcases a variety of robotics projects happening in the K-12 scene, but also touts robotics teams, university programs, businesses, and events.

Certain barriers in delivering technology and education must be removed before robotics can become widespread in African studies. Accordingly, no African project is yet on the platform, but that will soon change once African students become more exposed to the hands-on nature of robotics. What’s more, the availability of platforms like Junior Robotics to schoolkids is certain to advance the innate creativity that kids already have. After all, what kid hasn’t experimented building a contraption with random bits of junk?

Collaborating with EXPO21XX are youth groups such as Best, S.P.A.R.K., US National Robotics Week, Robotix, Roboteka, T’N'T, and others. For the latest news about the Junior Robotics platform, go here. For even more information about how robotics is becoming more popular in Africa, check out the 2012 post on the Universities Robotics platform.

Further details

Thursday, May 30, 2013 6:05:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women (WAAW) Foundation is launching a high quality,  exciting and technically challenging one week residential Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) camp for African Girls in Senior Secondary School (9th to 12th Grades). The theme of the camp is Robotics and Renewable Energy. The camp will be help from July 28th to August 3rd in Lagos, Nigeria.

Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women (WAAW), in partnership with the Womens Technology Empowerment Center (W.TEC) Nigeria will launch its one - week residential Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) camp at the Laureates College in Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria from July 28th to August 2nd, 2013. The theme of the 2013 camp is ROBOTICS AND RENEWABLE ENERGY.

The Director of WAAW STEM Camp initiative, Ms. Ifeyinwa Okoye said "The camp will use an integrated learning approach centered on the theme to show how robotics, computer science and programming are useful for solving significant problems in Africa, including electricity generation. The girls will learn to use locally available items and tools so that when camp is over, they will be able to continue to innovate with what they can find in their communities".

The Robotics STEM camp, the first of its kind in Africa, will include hands on activities, lectures, tutorials, experiments and field trips, all led and presented by female role models as an avenue to interest and excite the girls about STEM careers.

Camp applications open in March online at http://www.waawfoundation.org. Campers will be selected through a screening process and individual interviews. Successful candidates will be notified the first week of June 2013.

When asked about the criteria for qualification, the Executive Director of WAAW, Mrs. Ebele Agustates that "This camp is for African girls between the ages of 13 and 17 years who are currently enrolled in Senior Secondary School (SS1) through SS3 within the African continent. We feel that this is the age where girls are making crucial decisions about their careers. This is when we can make a lasting impression on the girls and help them form peer networks that they can draw on throughout their careers".

The STEM Camp Program will include:
- Students building a robot to solve green energy challenges such as trash sorting.
- Students building renewable energy systems such as solar and Wind Mill systems.
- Students exploring science, engineering and Math topics to support camp theme.
- Students participating in intense team building exercises.

There will also be time for fun! The camp schedules a number of activities that include swimming, pizza parties, baking classes, dance classes, career fair, wii playing and karaoke. Participants will experience dorm life, cafeteria food and learn what it is like to be on a college campus.
"The learning objective is to ensure girls think of Science and Technology as tools to help them innovate to enable real problem solving in their communities", says Dr. Unoma Okorafor, the founder of WAAW Foundation organization.

Participants are African girls (ages 13 – 17) who show high aptitude and interest in STEM disciplines.  drawn both from government or public schools fed by low income families, who otherwise would not have the opportunity to learn about or be exposed to possible STEM careers, and from private schools. The aim of the camp is to challenge traditional African societal beliefs that female education is wasted resources and demonstrate that STEM innovation helps solve real problems in the communities in which our participants live.

See here the STEM Camp Application.

(Source: Pressroom WAAW)

Thursday, May 30, 2013 5:59:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Computers are essential tools in all academic studies. They can enhance the independence, productivity, and capabilities of people with disabilities.

Furthermore, computers can benefit people with low vision, blindness, speech and hearing impairments, learning disabilities, mobility, and health impairments.
Each of these impairments poses challenges to accessing and using a standard computer and electronic resources. For example, a student who is visually disabled is unable to read a computer screen display or standard printouts.

A student with a spinal cord injury may not have the motor control and finger dexterity required to use a standard mouse and keyboard.
Accordingly, African governments should prioritize adaptive technology devices since they are necessary for people living with disabilities. Adaptive hardware and software can facilitate computer access for people with disabilities.

Access to computers for students with disabilities involves two major issues: access to the computers themselves and access to electronic resources such as word processors, spreadsheets, and the World Wide Web.

Adaptive technology solutions may involve simple, readily available adjustments such as using built-in access devices on standard computers, or they may require unique combinations of software and hardware such as those needed for voice or Braille output.

Most individuals who are visually impaired can use a standard keyboard. Since viewing standard screen displays and printed documents is problematic, specialized voice and Braille output devices can translate text into synthesized voice and Braille output, respectively.

Dr Tamru E Belay, an adaptive technology specialist, says there are essentially five methods of output that can render computers and printed materials accessible for individuals who are blind or visually impaired: screen reader, Braille printer, reading device, electronic Braille displays, and text magnification.

He explains: “The Screen Reader converts computer outputs and text entering cues into major spoken languages. The person with visual impairment can access computers with the help of speech output to use any word processor application to write letters, school assignments or any other writing. The exploration of the Internet and sending electronic-mail (e-mail) are possible for a blind individual by the use of a speech synthesiser”.

“A Braille Embosser is a hardware device for ‘printing’ a hard copy of a text document in Braille. A Braille translation software program is required to translate the text from the computer into Braille. Most Braille translation software programs can translate material into several grades or versions of Braille. Computerized Braille Embossers definitely have great advantage over the manual Brailing method”.

“The reading devices for the blind allow access to hard copy of ink printed materials into the computer where it becomes accessible. Once the text has scanned within a second, the user can start listening to the text in a clear voice. The user can also save the scanned material for later use”.

(Source: The Southern Times)

Thursday, May 30, 2013 5:49:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


There are more than 1 billion people living with disabilities. But this figure doesn’t provide the full picture of how disabilities impact the lives of a much broader community because in reality, if we also take into consideration family and friends who provide persons with disabilities with daily support, almost 2 billion people are affected by disabilities.

It is just impossible to exclude such a significant proportion of the world’s population from development efforts and the opportunities provided by ICTs.

To address this important segment of the population, and to correct the fact that disabilities were not included as part of the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations General Assembly will hold on 23 September 2013 the High Level Meeting on Disability and Development. This meeting will gather Heads of State, International Organizations, NGO’s, civil society groups and accessibility experts among others, and will define the future roadmap to achieve a disability-inclusive agenda.

In this context, and in my role of chairperson of the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ICT), it is my pleasure to announce the launch of a global consultation to capture the best practices, experiences and recommendations on how the use of information and communication technologies can support the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society. The consultation is a joint initiative from the Broadband Commission, G3ICT, the International Disability Alliance, ITU, Microsoft, the Telecentre.org Foundation and UNESCO.

This consultation is a unique opportunity for all relevant stakeholders working on inclusive ICTs to speak up and be heard by global policy makers at a time when the future development framework is being shaped. I invite you all to visit www.itu.int/accessibility and take part in the survey, which will be open until 10 June 2013.
Let’s work together to build an inclusive society for all through the use of information and communication technologies.

(Source: ITU4U)

Thursday, May 30, 2013 5:32:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 27, 2013
Four innovative Youth Solutions were selected winners at the Regional Grant Competition, jointly organized by The World Bank, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Sarvodaya-Fusion. The competition titled ‘Youth Solutions! Technology for Skills and Employment’ was held at the Cinnamon Grand, Colombo on 21st May, with youth led NGOs from four nations- Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka participating.

Shilpa Sayura Foundation from Sri Lanka, YPSA from Bangladesh, YUWA from Nepal, Live & Learn Environmental Education from the Maldives were the winners of the competition that sought ideas from youth on how to use innovative and creative methods to promote Information Technology (IT) skills amongst youth, helping them to secure gainful employment.

Eight NGOs, two from each country, presented their shortlisted projects with the aim of being selected for the grant program. A total of 80 project proposals were submitted, all based on using ICT to address present day challenges faced by youth, such as lack of skills development and unemployment.
Each winning project received a grant between $15,000 and $20,000 to carry out a youth-led project for one year in duration, with the possibility of being scaled up via other public or private sector initiatives.

The high profile panel of judges comprised of Gabriela Aguilar, Senior Communications Officer for World Bank, South Asia, Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager of Microsoft Sri Lanka, Anurag Kak, Managing Director, Lafarge Mahaweli Cement (Pvt) Ltd., Ms Moji Akingbade, General Manager of Avery Dennison Lanka (Pvt) Ltd and Gaurav Mishra, Asia Vice President of Insights, Innovation & Social at MSLGROUP. Innovation and creativity of methods to promote Information Technology (IT) skills amongst youth helping them secure gainful employment, capacity to demonstrate solutions to challenges faced by youth and encouraging innovation, learning and sharing were taken into consideration when assessing project proposals.

The project proposal submitted by Sri Lanka’s Shilpa Sayura Foundation, an organization aimed at empowering youth through ICT skills was to empower youth to produce 10 high impact films on current social issues. The project titled “Digital Rainbow” will train at least 100 youth to become film makers, a still developing industry in the country, which will offer great potential for interested youth.

Young Power In Social Action (YPSA), an organization dedicated to support and empower socially marginalized groups in Bangladesh, presented a proposal titled “Empowering Youth with Disabilities through market driven ICT skills. It aimed at supporting the smooth transition to work of people with disabilities through the use of ICT training, internships on ICT, relevant job search support and producing Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) products.

The winner from Maldives was Live & Learn Environmental Education, an organization aimed at reducing poverty and working towards sustainable development with strong partnerships. Their project aims to improve production and marketing of craft through an online portal. Youth will be engaged in training that would equip them with the ICT skills to make profitable employment through linking the segregated handicraft industry with the market.

YUWA, a Youth led organization with a mission mandate of empowering Nepali Youth for gainful employment presented a winning project which would use comprehensive e-learning methodology to equip youth with relevant ICT skills to improve employability. It will use blended technology organized in a comprehensive Learning Management System including new media, such as YouTube and podcasts to educate youth.

Replication of useful ideas throughout the region, improving public awareness on innovation and investment in ICT education for gainful employment, developing sustainable youth partnership for development impact and effectiveness, employment for youth and using ICT as a vehicle for promoting development objectives were important factors in the selection criteria.

(Source: World Bank)

Monday, May 27, 2013 4:03:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The State Government of Andhra Pradesh has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Google India to train engineering students in the state in latest technologies such as mobile development and cloud computing.

Google will work with students of Jawahar Knowledge Centres (JKC), a government initiative that set up training and infrastructure centres at more than 30 colleges in the state, aiming to bridge the gap between industry and academia.

Google training in emerging technologies including cloud computing and mobile will help students meet industry requirements, and position them for better employment opportunities upon graduation.

Trainers and mentors in the Andhra Pradesh Society for Knowledge Networks, the government organization running JKCs in the state, will also receive training and technological support from Google, including software, services, and training material.

Google has set up a research and development centre in the state capital of Hyderabad, on 20 acres of land given by the state government. The company is planning to recruit more than 3000 professionals for this centre.

(Source: FutureGov)

Monday, May 27, 2013 3:54:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana commends Africa Digital Media Academy for teaching Rwandan Youth on using ICT to produce better videos and create more jobs.

This has been revealed while the Workforce Development (WDA) was receiving a WSIS Project Prizes 2013 given by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) where the Africa Digital Media Academy was voted as the best project in media category. This award has been given to Rwanda last week in Geneva during the WSIS Forum focusing on post-2015 development agenda.

Minister Nsengimana said that Africa Media Academy is helping Young People in Rwanda to get skills to produce better contents using mainly ICT.
He said that “You can create a job by establishing a company to produce contents then people outside can buy what you produced”. Minister Nsengimana added that when someone want to sell a digital good is easier because it can be sold online.

Africa Digital media Academy (ADMA) is a vocational training program located in the city of Kigali was initiated in March 2012 by Workforce Development Authority (WDA) together with Pixel Corps Ltd, provides students with skills necessary to work in all areas of the digital media industry.
The State Minister in charge of TVET, Albert Nsengiyumva urges students at Africa Digital Media Academy to higher by working hard to be able to create more jobs after completing their studies.

Jean Pierre Birutakwinginga, a student at ADMA noted he learnt the film production techniques; “This is a great opportunity for us to explore our talents in this new innovative discipline of film making”, stressed Birutukwinginga.

The WSIS Project Prizes is an annual contest which recognizes excellence in the implementation of projects and initiatives which further the WSIS goals of improving connectivity to information and communication technologies (ICTs).

This center prepares its students for production work needed in digital media. Through live, hands-on learning in the computer lab and production studio, with distance learning from television experts in the U.S, students are given instructions to proceed at their own pace with support from the instructors. The emphasis is on student collaboration with the community as the foundation for effective learning.

More information

Monday, May 27, 2013 3:50:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
YouthConnekt Month has been launched in Rushashi Sector in Gakenke District. A computer lab has been officially opened to facilitate Youth get skills in ICT.

Youth are happy to get this room because they’ll be able to learn more things especially in ICT. And this will help them be connected with other fellows around the globe.
The Deputy Mayor in charge of Social Affairs, Zephyrin Ntakirutimana commends Gakenke Youth for contributing in building our country through YouthConnekt Month.
“I urge you to help vulnerable people and to embrace the culture of working together as Youth, this will be a foundation of your future life and a career”, says Ntakirutimana.
Youth pledge to construct a house for Marie Nyirabavakure in Gisiza Cell, Muramba Village in Janja Sector.

Youth from all districts across Rwanda will participate in different activities ranging from those in line with economic empowerment, social contribution and the use of ICT as tool for development as well as activities related to sport and entertainment.

Under the theme, “The Promise of a generation”, other activities will include visiting different youth initiatives to witness their contribution in national development and the role of ICT.

Further details

Monday, May 27, 2013 3:44:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


It’s a blockbuster week of workshops and open debates here in Geneva as WTPF and WSIS convene alongside each other to discuss the future of technology and development.

These major events attract nearly 3000 people and many partners took the opportunity to confirm their support for the BYND 2015: Global Youth Summit (#BYND15) to be held in San Jose, Costa Rica, from 9 to 11 September 2013. Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General, announced the first partners for the Summit which will gather some 500 youth in addition to engaging millions more online through leveraging our collective community networks.

The Secretary-General gathered everyone at ITU headquarters to thank them for their contributions and review preparations for the Summit, including: UNICEF, Kofi Annan Foundation and One Young  World, Microsoft, America Movil/Claro, Cisco Systems, Telecentre.org, Ooredoo, The Walt Disney Company, Azerbaijan, PricewaterhouseCoopers, ICTQatar and Intel.

The Global Youth Summit will not be a typical UN event of speeches and protocol. Youth and mentors will come together on-site in Costa Rica for interactive sessions and workshops, highlighting the work of inspiring youth that are changing their world for the better using ICTs. Key themes include Get Ahead, Be Smart-Be Safe, Be Healthy, Protect Your Environment and Change Your World. The Summit will also feature a “HacktheMDGs”, 48 hour hackathon where young developers will be given the challenge of developing solutions to social and economic problems they face in their communities. But this is just the beginning.

ITU will also be launching a shared online platform with partners to consult and give a voice to millions of youth so they can share their vision for the #post2015 UN development goals. This will be the biggest, most ambitious undertaking of its kind. We will give them a direct channel to world leaders: youth will develop a crowd-sourced message that the President of Costa Rica will deliver to the UN General Assembly in September, directly after the Youth Summit. To help generate momentum and interest, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was  in ITU’s studio last 15 of May to launch a series of online dialogues with youth, in partnership with One Young World, on hot topics around skills, jobs, leadership, political engagement and the environment.

And there is more, much more, to come….
Things are moving fast. If you are interested to get on board or to know more please contact bynd2015@itu.int or visit our website at www.itu.int/bynd2015.

(Source: ITU4u)

Monday, May 27, 2013 3:29:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 22, 2013
An 18-year-old science student has made an astonishing breakthrough that will enable mobile phones and other batteries to be charged within seconds rather than the hours it takes today’s devices to power back up.

Saratoga, Calif. resident Eesha Khare made the breakthrough by creating a small super capacitor that can fit inside a cell phone battery and enable ultra-fast electricity transfer and storage, delivering a full charge in 20-30 seconds instead of several hours.

The nano-tech device Khare created can supposedly withstand up to 100,000 charges, a 100-fold increase over current technology, and it’s flexible enough to be used in clothing or displays on any non-flat surface.

It could also one day be used in car batteries and charging stations not unlike those used by the Tesla Model S, which includes “supercharger” technology that promises to charge vehicles in 30 minutes or less.

“I’m in a daze,” Khare told CBS San Francisco after being honored among the three finalists at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix over the weekend. “I can’t believe this happened”.

Over 1,600 finalists from around the world competed in the science fair for a $75,000 scholarship grand prize awarded by Intel. Runners-up received $50,000 scholarships.
Khare was the runner-up to 19-year-old Romanian student Gorden E. Moore, who created a low-cost artificial intelligence that can drive vehicles. She tied with Louisiana 17-year-old Henry Wanjune, who figured out new ways to measure dark matter and energy in space.

Further details

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 1:49:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 21, 2013
New venture Librii is seeking to set up self-sustaining libraries with internet access in poor and isolated communities.



A decade ago, Brewster Kahle, philanthropist and founder of the Internet Archive, created the first digital bookmobile: a complete printing press in the back of a car. With a power source, satellite internet connection, printer and binder, the vehicle and its descendants subsequently printed thousands of public-domain books where they were needed most, such as in rural areas without internet connection, including schools and refugee camps across Africa.

In 2003, it was estimated that less than 1% of Africa's population had access to the internet. Since then, that figure has grown to just 15%. Private companies have been laying high-speed cables along the coasts, but it's slow to make progress inland: even where access is available, it is often low speed and unconnected to the facilities on the ground needed to make the most of it, particularly for education (The vast majority of people in Africa who do access the internet do so via mobile phone).

Now, with an initial funding of $50,000 from Kickstarter, library startup Librii is building its first "eHub" prototype: a shipping container filled with computers, printers and training materials, connected to a simple, low-cost study centre, which will let visitors access information, print books and other materials and, crucially, contribute back to the project and the web at large.

Once the prototype is complete and tested, a partnership with the University of Ghana and Librarians Without Borders is intended to start shipping the embryonic libraries to Africa, following the frontiers of fibreoptic cable as they push into the continent. While Librii is an NGO, the libraries will be fully self-supporting after the first year, seeking local sponsorship and generating their own income. Recognizing that local knowledge, architecture, infrastructure and education are all vital components in the project is what makes Librii's approach an exciting one.

Further details

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 2:45:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
As part of its efforts to improve the quality of lives through extensive use of digital technology, global technology company, Intel Corporation Nigeria, has entered into a partnership with the African Women Entrepreneurship programme AWEP for the delivery of digital literacy training women entrepreneurs. Intel will conduct the training on a train-the-trainer basis.

Corporate Affairs Manager of Intel West Africa, Osagie Ogunbor said that the initiative would enhance the ability of the women to run more efficient businesses.
The training known, as Intel EASY STEPS is part of the corporation’s educational content for which the chip-making company has become reputable across the world.
Ogunbor noted that the training, which would be provided free of charge was also part of Intel’s “women friendly” corporate social responsibility initiatives.

He explained that digital literacy was pivotal to the improvement of the quality of lives of any individual in today’s contemporary world and that Intel was committed to partnering with like-minded organizations to improve digital literacy the world over.

According to Ogunbor, “you cannot be effective and efficient in the running of any enterprise without digital literacy. This has become a necessity in this digital age, and we are proud to lead in global efforts at digital literacy”.

On her part, the President of AWEP Nigeria Yemisi Iranloye stated that the organization was delighted that Intel was providing the free training for its members and promised that those who receive the training would in turn ensure that they train others.

Iranloye said, “despite the large number of women running very small informal businesses, a number of them are unable to expand the scope and profile of their businesses, because they are unable to take advantage of the opportunities that abound in the digital world”, she said and urged women to embrace online marketing which was a cost effective way of reaching the entire world via the Internet.

The AWEP boss in Nigeria also called on other organizations to emulate Intel’s consistent efforts to address issues of women and girls’ empowerment as well as its trademark education programmes across the world. AWEP representatives from Ghana, Zambia and Cameroun attended the training.

AWEP is an initiative launched by the U.S. Department of State in July 2010. It identifies and builds networks of women entrepreneurs across sub-Saharan Africa who are poised to transform their societies by owning, running, and operating small and medium scale businesses, and by becoming voices for social advocacy in their communities.

(Source: The Guardian Newspaper)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 2:40:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Ericsson and mobile operator Airtel have partnered to expand the Connect to Learn Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solution, now enables 600 students to use ICT through cloud-based technology.

The two institutions, St. Anthony and Maera secondary schools in the Malawi Millennium Village of Mwandama, in Zomba district,  will now be connected to the initiative with students being joined by teachers in benefiting.

Fifty-five laptops, broadband internet access, online educational resources and training are included in the programme.
Matthews Mtumbuka, IT director of Airtel Malawi, said: “An investment in the education of our young people is an investment in our future. We recognize the transformational impact our industry can have on education, and are proud to collaborate with Ericsson on this initiative”.

Connect to Learn is a collaboration between the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Ericsson, and Millennium Promise in a bid to use ICT to deliver high-quality education to students.

Kara Nichols, Executive Director of Connect To Learn, said, “Because of investments and work by our partners, Ericsson and Airtel, the students and teachers are able to benefit from access to global news, information and the latest educational content”.
“They can also collaborate with fellow students and teachers around the world through our School-To-School Connections program, even from their remote locations”.

Further information

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 12:12:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
E-health initiative, an electronic health delivery system, was launched on last Friday to enable doctors reach their patients online and bring health care to the door steps of the citizenry.

The E-health initiative, a remote doctor/patient interface allows a patient to see a doctor without leaving his home or office.
It does not seek to prevent patients from visiting hospital but to augment existing health care delivery services.

The launch was on the theme: “Convenience in Health Care Delivery” and has a safe harbour statement: “We do not handle emergency cases”.

To assess the product one has to go online to book an appointment with a doctor on ehealthghana.com after which an appointment coordinator will assign doctors to patient depending on the ailment.

Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, a former Director General of Ghana Health Service, who launched the product, said the country’s health care is patterned on the colonial model, and health care could only be assessed at the capital, regional and district levels thereby creating a missing link in the peripherals.

He said if the initiative is rolled out properly many people would benefit from health care services irrespective of the distance, especially in a technologically advanced era.
Prof Akosa, however, noted that the challenge is with internet penetration in the country but expressed the hope that with fibre optic gaining grounds is positive light at the end of the tunnel.

He welcomed the initiative and said it would beneficial to the rural areas where E-kiosk fitted with e-health internet would be placed and operated by a volunteer and an interpreter.

Prof Edmund Delle, Founder of Rabito Clinic, lauded the initiative but cautioned that sustainability is very crucial to the success of the scheme.
“What is the use of a specialist whose activities are confined to his office while the rural areas are underserved”, he said.

Prof Delle noted that “an initiative which enables a doctor or specialist to reach out to more people without traveling too much for outreach programmes is very much welcomed”.

Mr Patrick Dasoberi, originator of the E-health Initiative, said it would serve as a platform for doctors, to share ideas and experiences relating to patients, as well as a network for pharmacists, laboratory technicians, volunteers, service couriers, who are the core of the scheme.

Further details

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 11:39:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU WSIS Forum 2013
High Level Dialogue 1
Women's Empowerment in the Information Society: Systemic, Scalable Strategies
14 May 2013, Geneva, Switzerland
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a tremendous pleasure to be with you this afternoon for this very important High Level Dialogue on Women’s Empowerment in the Information Society.
In the second decade of the 21st century, we are all very much aware of the power and importance of ICTs in every aspect of our lives – and ICTs increasingly play a vital role in all societies, in all countries.

ICTs are also a huge enabler for women in all communities – and especially in the developing world.

Even a simple mobile phone enables women to stay in touch with family and friends; can provide women with access to all kinds of valuable information, such as healthcare and reproductive information; and can be a valuable tool for marketing skills and selling products and services.

With ICTs we can deliver basic education in areas such as literacy, entrepreneurship and e-agriculture in ways never before imagined – and given that women do most of the world’s work, this offers enormous potential for improving the lives not just of women but of all the world’s people.

I am proud to be able to report that ITU – the UN specialized agency for ICTs – has partnered with the Telecentre.org Foundation on a Women’s Digital Literacy Campaign.
This campaign, launched in 2011, is on track to train one million women in basic ICT skills – and indeed by March this year we were already past the two-thirds mark, with 680,000 women from 147 organizations trained in 85 countries.

For its part, the UN Broadband Commission – which was created three years ago by ITU and UNESCO – set up a Working Group on Broadband and Gender in September last year, in answer to a direct appeal from Geena Davis, to harness the power of broadband to empower women and girls.

The working group had its first formal meeting in Mexico just over a month ago, chaired by Helen Clark, the UNDP Administrator, and I was very pleased to have been able to take part myself, along with the co-Chair of the Broadband Commission, Carlos Slim.

The Commission has also endorsed a new advocacy target, to achieve gender equality in access to broadband by 2020.

Ladies and gentlemen,
In a world where there is a large and growing skills shortage in the ICT sector, we need to get more girls involved in science, technology, engineering and maths – the STEM subjects – and we need to get more girls taking an interest in ICT careers.

ITU has adopted a three-pronged approach to increasing the number of women in ICT careers:

Firstly, to create demand among girls and women for careers in ICT, especially through our annual Girls in ICT Day initiative, which takes place on the fourth Thursday in April;
Secondly, to ensure a better supply of STEM education to girls and women; and
Thirdly, to achieve long-term sustainability by encouraging ICT businesses to attract, recruit, retain and – last, but very much not least – promote women. This involves issues such as pay gaps, recruitment strategies, making the work environment more attractive to women, and of course the work-life balance.

How can we move this strategy forward?

As you may know, UN Women and the UN Global Compact developed a core set of principles for all kinds of businesses offering guidance on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

These principles are known as the Women’s Empowerment Principles. The WEPs were developed following an international multi-stakeholder consultation process, which began in March 2009 and culminated in their launch on International Women’s Day in March 2010.

Nearly 600 companies around the world have now signed on to these principles.

One of the recommendations made by ITU during the discussions on Women’s ICT Careers, at the Women, ICT and Development meeting in Washington DC in January, was to develop a Roadmap for the Tech Sector.

This roadmap would address the challenges and barriers to engaging more girls in STEM studies, as well as those that prevent women from fully-engaging in ICT careers and advancing to the highest levels.

I am therefore delighted to be able to announce that ITU, UN Women and the UN Global Compact have agreed to launch an international multi-stakeholder consultation process to develop a Tech Sector Roadmap designed to tackle just these challenges.

We will look forward to working with a wide range of stakeholders – including WICTAD and the Broadband Commission Working Group on Gender – as we develop this roadmap.

ITU looks forward to bringing its experience in promoting girls into the ICT pipeline and women into ICT careers.
In addition, ITU can promote the Tech Sector Roadmap among its 700+ Sector Members, which include many of the world’s leading ICT companies and top academic institutions.

I am sure that my colleague here from UN Women will also wish to share her thoughts on the Tech Sector Roadmap.
Distinguished guests,

This high level panel has been convened to identify systemic, scalable strategies for empowering women in the Information Society – and I believe that the Tech Sector Roadmap is a perfect example of this, and will make real progress in enabling girls and women to step up to technology and seize the amazing career opportunities ahead.
We have much to look forward to – and I wish you a very constructive dialogue!

Thank you.

(Source: ITU)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 11:31:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 16, 2013
National Broadcasting and Telecommunications (NBTC), Thailand has last week launched a campaign to boost computer literacy and bridge digital divide in rural areas.

In partnership with Intel Corporation, “Be Amazing” roadshow campaign will travel to 27 provinces to educate the public in the remote areas, particularly first-time users and college students, on the use and benefits of computers especially for education purpose. The roadshow will start from May 14 to the end of December 2013.

Computer makers participating in the campaign are Asus, Acer, Samsung, Lenovo and Toshiba along with the broadband providers TOT and Advanced Info Service.
Affordable prices device to be featured during the roadshow include THB 7,900 (US$ 263) tablets.

“Only 6 million of the 20 million Thai households own computers”, said Accharas Ouysinprasert, Intel Thailand Manager. Computer penetration is 90% of households in some developed countries.

Ouysinprasert said the campaign is expected to reach 550,000 households this year. Thailand’s telecom operators just kicked start official 3G services last week, following last month’s official approval from the government after ending the long complication.

Gen Sukit Khamasundara, NBTC Member said the launch of 3G and 4G service is expected to boost computer use to 80 per cent of total households.
He added that the NBTC is considering trimming down the universal service obligation (USO) fee from 3.75 per cent to 2 – 3 per cent in order to reduce the burden on licensees.

The USO fee is collected from telecom operators with an aim to provide services in rural areas where telecom investment is not commercially justifiable.
Under the USO master plan from 2012-16, the NBTC will spend 20 billion baht to install fibre-optic networks in rural areas to allow as many as 80% of the citizens to access broadband, up from 32% now.

The spending will cover implementation of the networks and community computer centres for 7,000 sub districts, up from 1,000 at present.

(Source: FutureGov)

Thursday, May 16, 2013 8:13:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


University of Computer Studies, Yangon (UCSY), and University of Computer Studies, Mandalay (UCSM) joined forces with Cisco for a channel partner network under the collaborative support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The establishment of the country’s first two Cisco Networking Academies at the UCSY and the UCSM was announced last week, and the programme is being support through Cisco’s long-term partnership with the USAID.

The project is also a part of the Myanmar government’s initiative to work with private and public organizations in the country to build a “Smart and Connected Myanmar”.
Thought the programme, Cisco will be providing training and development to foster the business partnership in Myanmar. Cisco’s authorized channel partners will be trained to help ensure that network equipment is regularly upgraded and software is up-to-date, and protecting the integrity of the network.

The two training centres will provide students with critical information technology and networking skills to design, build, and maintain the infrastructure highway, while increasing the number of job-ready graduates for the country’s ICT sector.

Under the agreement, Cisco will be donating networking equipment for labs and providing 21st century career skills training for up to 15 faculty staff from the two universities to support the programme.

Chris Milligan, USAID/Myanmar Mission Director, said technology is a powerful tool to advance Myanmar’s development while contributing to sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

“This collaboration with Cisco brings innovative technology and education to build on the strengths and capacity of the country. The initiative will provide ICT skills training and increase the number of job-ready graduates for the country’s emerging ICT sector”, he said.

Not only Cisco showed interest in moving into one of the least-connected places like Myanmar, USAID-sponsored delegation also included Google, HP, Intel, and Microsoft.
The USAID technology delegation aimed toward improving technology education as the first step towards commercial engagement.

Further details

Thursday, May 16, 2013 8:08:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
In cooperation with the Jordan National Commission for UNESCO and Arab Women Media Center, UNESCO has been working to incorporate media and information literacy (MIL) into the Jordanian school curriculum by providing high school teachers and students the training to gather, analyze and utilize information through new and traditional media, and to develop debating skills so that they are able to express themselves in a professional manner.

A closing event was held under the patronage of His Excellency the Minister of Education, Dr. Mohammed Al-Wahsh, at Al Hussein Cultural Center to mark the achievements of this pilot project. The students practiced their newly developed debating skills and took part in a debating competition on the topic of “Freedom of Expression via Modern Tools”. Electronic newsletters produced as a part of the project that highlighted vital issues in their communities – with a special focus on youth and gender – were displayed at the event, while students gave testimonies of their experience and learning from the MIL training.

“MIL is one of the essential capacities that enable people to interpret and make informed decisions as users of information and media, as well as to become skillful creators and producers of information and media messages in their own right”, said Dr. Anna Paolini, Head of UNESCO Amman Office and Representative of UNESCO in Jordan.
Implemented throughout the second scholastic semester of 2012-2013, the project targeted 40 male and female students aged 16 and 17 from four UNESCO Associated Schools in Amman, Ajloun and Aqaba. The schools – Princess Taghreed School and Modern Systems Schools in Amman; Prince Faisal the First School in Aqaba; and Kufranja Secondary School in Ajloun – represented the southern, northern, and central areas of Jordan.

Officially titled “Integrating Media and Information Literacy into Jordanian Schools”, the project consisted of two phases. The first was training the teachers that would be involved in the project, followed by the second phase where specialists and teachers provided hands-on training to the students on journalistic writing skills, debating techniques, web search, website development, and management and dissemination of information through modern media tools. By introducing MIL and demonstrating its importance in education, the project aims for MIL to be adopted into the Jordanian curriculum so that it can be taught on a sustainable and impactful basis.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, May 16, 2013 8:03:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

What are the implications of the ICT revolution for TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training)?

New technologies allow for better and easier access to education, nationally and across borders. The availability of broadband internet is increasing in all parts of the world. While access to learning resources used to be very restricted, more and more high-quality resources become available for free, anytime, almost anywhere. At the learner’s end mobile digital devices become cheaper and more easily available and are being introduced increasingly in educational contexts. Around the world, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) enable the implementation of education and training, the provision of learning content, and communication between teachers and learners. For that purpose, ICT should be harnessed with the purpose of providing more widespread access to TVET.

In 2008, UNESCO defined its vision for ICT in education: “A world without boundaries where technologies support education to build inclusive knowledge societies”. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are fostered by UNESCO-UNEVOC by using its online services as a tool to communicate with the UNEVOC Network and facilitate knowledge exchange in the global TVET community.

To explore the role ICT plays in access to and quality of TVET, UNESCO-UNEVOC is organizing a virtual conference on ICT and TVET from 14 to 28 May 2013 on the UNEVOC e-Forum. The discussion will be moderated by Nik Kafka, CEO & founder of Teach A Man To Fish, an international NGO supporting schools across the developing world to use enterprise initiatives as means of improving their financial sustainability and broadening access for the poorest children to a quality education. From a career in banking an interest in social change led him to Paraguay where he worked on a pioneering model for self-sufficient vocational schools; laying the basis to create Teach A Man To Fish on his return. He is an active member of several boards as well the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader community and has been an active member of the UNEVOC e-Forum since 2006.

The 2-week discussion will aim to explore ICT as a tool for increasing the reach and effectiveness of TVET worldwide, and will look to identify how mobile, online and multimedia learning can best be used to complement or even replace traditional TVET Centre based education. What are the implications of the digital learning revolution for TVET around the world? UNESCO-UNEVOC is calling for e-Forum members and the global TVET community to share their experiences and promising practices in utilizing ICT in TVET.

The input to the discussion will be synthesized and summarized into a report, which will provide directions for future research and programme work in this field. To sign up for the discussion, click here.

Further information

Thursday, May 16, 2013 7:59:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The annual meeting to review and measure progress towards targets set in Tunis in 2005 at the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) opened on 13th May. This meeting of the WSIS Forum also marks ten years since the first phase of the Summit was held in Geneva in 2003.

In the coming week, the WSIS Forum will focus on the future of information and communication technologies (ICT), particularly as an engine of growth in a post-2015 development environment. Participants will engage in discussions on a number of diverse topics, such as ICT infrastructure, cybersecurity, enabling environment, e-learning, e-health, e-agriculture, media, accessibility, and ethics. High level dialogues with government ministers and representatives from business and civil society will examine:

- Women's empowerment in the information Society: systematic, scalable strategies
- Smart climate change monitoring: Expanding access to information on weather, climate and water
- ICT innovations and standards: Creating technology for the next three billion
- Securing cyberspace in a borderless world: Vision 2015 and beyond
- ICTs and post 2015 goals
- Youth and ICTs

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré said, “This year’s WSIS Forum is a unique opportunity to develop multi-stakeholder consensus on what is needed for the WSIS process in the future, to ensure that the bottom-up approach of the WSIS process is preserved and that the decisions concerning modalities also respect the real requirements of the use of ICTs for socio-economic development, while ensuring growth in the ICT ecosystem itself”.

More than 1500 participants from government, private sector, civil society and international organizations are expected to attend the WSIS Forum during the week.
Former UN Secretary General Mr Kofi Annan will address the WSIS Process beyond 2015 as well as his engagement with young people in a webinar to inspire them to contribute to the post-2015 development frameworks currently under negotiation.

Approaching ten years since the Summit in 2005, the WSIS+10 Visioning Track will bring all emerging challenges related to the information society into perspective, ensuring that the new vision for WSIS beyond 2015 builds upon real needs of people at the bottom of the pyramid.

The United Nations Group on the Information Society (UNGIS), consisting of 30 members, will issue a joint statement on the Post-2015 Development Agenda to harness inter-agency expertise and experience in addressing development challenges of the 21st century.

Following the opening ceremony, a high-level session kicked off on Emerging Trends and Innovation in the Ecosystem, attended by over fifty government ministers from around the world as well as industry executives.

An exhibition will showcase global initiatives for a more efficient Information Society.
WSIS Forum 2013 Partners

This year’s WSIS Forum programme has been greatly enhanced through the strategic partnership and contribution of the Sultanate of Oman (government) and Intel Corporation (private sector). Contributions for specific activities have also come in from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Mexico, Poland, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and Tanzania as well as from Hewlett-Packard. The United Arab Emirates is the WSIS+10 Visioning Partner.
For more information, please see www.itu.int/wsis/implementation/2013/forum/

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Thursday, May 16, 2013 6:28:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU, the Kofi Annan Foundation and One Young World are working together on a new series of youth-oriented online discussions designed to stimulate debate among young people around the world on challenges central to their lives and prospects, such as unemployment and democratic governance.

Former UN Secretary-General Annan will launch the Kofi Annan Dialogues: LIVE series on Wednesday, 15 May, with the first online discussion to take place over the Google Hangout platform from 11:00 - 12:30 CET.

With the topic of ‘Young People and Leadership’, this first session gives six aspiring young leaders the opportunity to share their views with Mr Annan, watched by a global audience who will be able join the conversation and pose their questions via social media.

The outreach to young audiences will form a key element of a direct youth engagement process building up to ITU’s BEYOND 2015 Youth Summit in Costa Rica and the One Young World Summit in South Africa, to be held in September and October respectively.

ITU will host the first Dialogue from its Geneva studios on the occasion of the WSIS Forum 13 event taking place this week (13-17 May) at the Geneva International Conference Centre. The world’s largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community, WSIS Forum is focused on defining strategies to help countries and organizations more effectively harness the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, now less than two years away.

“I congratulate Kofi Annan on an excellent and much-needed initiative to reach out to youth. These online Dialogues are an excellent example of using the power of ICTs to connect people to influence change”, said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré. “Our young new generation of ‘digital natives’ feel completely at home communicating online – and harnessing today’s social media channels allows us to create a truly global platform that cuts across geographical boundaries and brings in voices from right around the world”.

Participate in the first live Dialogue:

When: 15 May, 11h00 - 12h30 CET
Where: http://dialogueslive.kofiannanfoundation.org/
How: Send your questions via Twitter
#kofiannanlive #BYND15 #OYW #WSIS
Follow the Kofi Annan Dialogues: LIVE on Twitter and Facebook at: https://twitter.com/KofiAnnan #kofiannanlive
https://en-gb.facebook.com/pages/Kofi-Annan/228449696042

Learn more about ITU’s forthcoming BEYOND 2015 Youth Summit here.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Thursday, May 16, 2013 6:19:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Rwanda received an award from WSIS Project Prizes 2013 organized by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) where the Africa Digital Media Academy was voted as the best project in media category. This has been revealed on the 13th May 2013, in Geneva during the WSIS Forum focusing on post-2015 development agenda.

The WSIS Project Prizes is an annual contest which recognizes excellence in the implementation of projects and initiatives which further the WSIS goals of improving connectivity to information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Africa Digital media Academy (ADMA), located in the city of Kigali, a vocational training program initiated in March 2012 by Workforce Development Authority (WDA) together with Pixel Corps Ltd, provides students with skills necessary to work in all areas of the digital media industry.

This center prepares its students for production work needed in digital media. Through live, hands-on learning in the computer lab and production studio, with distance learning from television experts in the U.S, students are given instructions to proceed at their own pace with support from the instructors. The emphasis is on student collaboration with the community as the foundation for effective learning.

The Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said that ADMA is the first of its kind in Africa to provide students with the skills necessary to work in all areas of the digital media industry.

He added that this will add on another step for Rwanda to be on the forefront in using ICT, especially for edutainment and infotainment to create jobs, especially for Rwanda youth.

More than 280 projects from 64 countries have participated in the contest. During the voting phase, more than 3500 registered users appreciated/voted for the projects according to the rules and instruction of the contest. 18 winners announced and awarded a prize at the WSIS Prize Ceremony 2013.

Further details

Thursday, May 16, 2013 6:09:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 10, 2013
On April 25, 2013 we celebrate the "International Day of Girls in ICT", globally. The initiative, promoted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), seeks to promote the participation of girls and young women in careers related to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). This celebration is an effort of great importance in a global context that fosters a growing expansion of employment in an industry predominantly male.

In accession to the celebration of "International Day of Girls in ICT", DINATEL has released the current status of the participation of girls and young women in the educational system and the labor market in Uruguay.

The study by DINATEL evidence the present challenges in the national reality regarding the participation of girls and young women in ICT careers.

Download the full report here.

(Source: DINATEL – Uruguay)

Friday, May 10, 2013 6:28:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The latest in Startup Weekend's new women-focused events, Startup Weekend Algeria was the first event of its kind to feature a 54-hour weekend intensive composed only of women.

The event Thursday, April 18th “was the first ever Startup Weekend Women edition with no men involved in the organization at all,” pointed out Marion Desmazières, a Startup Weekend organizer originally from Paris, who flew in from Seattle to help organize the event. “True, we had Startup Weekend Women editions in San Francisco, Seattle, London and Singapore in the past, but their organizers accepted male coaches and male attendees who signed up with women”.

True to the style of all Startup Weekends, the three-day event began at Cyberparc of Sidi Abdallah in Rahmania with an icebreaker and then a “pitchfire”, in which 24 ideas were pitched and 10 projects were formed. Topics ranged from e-commerce for antiques to e-learning platforms, babysitting websites to car repair business, says Desmazières.

Throughout the weekend, “working with other women judges and coaches boosted their confidence”, says Berrayah. “Many of the women arrived not being sure of their ability to build a technology product, but by the end, we helped them understand how far they could go”.

“They felt really confident and able to go out of their comfort zones”, says Desmazières. “Many girls removed their hijab because they were only with women, and the first night, they spent a sleepness night together, building their projects. She thinks everyone left the event with 54 other friends”, she illustrates.

The top three teams, awarded on Saturday, April 20th, spanned typical topics presented at Startup Weekends:

First place: Dalil Med: an online repository for professionals in the health industry.
Second place: Teach me: a virtual platform for connecting students and teachers.
Third place: Covoiturage DZ: a car-sharing service

While Startup Weekend’s motto is that it’s about creating entrepreneurs, not startups necessarily, this Startup Weekend was about creating startups, insists Berrayah. All of the winning teams have contacted her since the event to sign up for the incubation they won from Cyberparc and take their business to the next level, she says. Companies incubated at Cyberpark can stay for six to 30 months.

Further details

Friday, May 10, 2013 6:25:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Girls in Tech Egypt is a new branch of global organization Girls in Tech (GIT), which focuses on women’s    innovative and entrepreneurial achievements in the world of technology through global mentorship programmes.



The mission of GIT’s new branch in Egypt is to empower Egyptian women “to embrace risk and build on their entrepreneurial aspirations”.
The organization hosts mini tech conferences and professional meet-ups where the majority of speakers are women who aspire to share their entrepreneurial and technological aspirations with the public.

Explaining the concept behind the project, GIT’s main website says that Girls in Tech “was born out of a need to provide a place for women to cultivate ideas around their careers and business concepts involving technology”.

The organization was originally founded in San Francisco in 2007 by Adriana Gascoigne.

Since 2007, the network has grown to include over 8,500 members from different parts of the world including China, Greece, France, the United States, and Chile.
The new branch in Egypt seeks to “empower women in technology by simply providing them with more visibility”, the website says.
On its Facebook page, GIT Egypt states that its activities mainly focus on “the engagement, education and empowerment of like-minded, professional, intelligent and influential women in technology”.

The new branch in Egypt aims to focus on the promotion, growth and success of women in the field of technology through using the GIT network.
The network offers a variety of resources and tools for women to supplement and enhance their professional careers, skills and aspirations in the creative field.
Some of these resources include educational workshops and lectures, networking functions, round table discussions, conferences, social engagements, and recruitment events.

Further details

Friday, May 10, 2013 6:14:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
IBM has long held a presence in Africa (for 90+ years). Offices now exist in over 20 African nations. Within the East Africa region, a full subsidiary office opened in Nairobi, Kenya in 2009. Since then, the company has partnered with East African universities in software development, made plans to turn Nairobi into a Smart City, and attempted to reverse the African brain drain. Most recently, in May 2013, IBM opened a research lab in the city amid much fanfare. In particular, IBM was drawn to Kenya for its great long term vision (Vision 2030) and the ability of Kenya to take innovation and use it. The company’s goal in Nairobi is “to help feed the momentum”.

Specifically, the center will house up to 50 researchers within five years. Candidates will come from public and private sectors across Africa. All sorts of ICT projects will be tackled – from water management to traffic management. IBM categorizes the areas as: Next Generation Public Sector, Smarter Cities, and Human Capacity Development. The center will also open opportunities for developers through a tight partnership with iHub Nairobi. Another key component will be the center’s ability to link venture capitalists with local innovators.

IBM also released a video discussing how public-private partnerships (PPPs) are driving East African economic growth. Victor Kyalo, CEO of the Kenya ICT Board, gave insight that can be summarized as:

- Kenya needs need technology to solve problems.
- Kenya needs PPPs to move to the next level.
- In 5 years Kenya will be using IT to enable daily tasks.

See the video presentation

Further details

Friday, May 10, 2013 6:09:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
World Pulse and Telecentre.org Foundation (TCF) have recently entered into a partnership agreement that intends to support the digital empowerment of grassroots women worldwide. The agreement, which was finalized last April 22, 2013, aims to equip women with digital literacy skills and enable their participation and leadership at local and global levels.



Specifically, the agreement will focus on introducing World Pulse as a resource to women participating in telecentres via activity cards in Eastern Africa and Central Asia. World Pulse will work with TCF representatives and network coordinators to identify the needs of telecentre women, and hopes to strategize with TCF to scale the pilot and bring digital empowerment to all women participating in telecentres around the world.

Jensine Larsen, CEO of World Pulse says, “TCF is on the cutting edge of empowering women through ICTs, and World Pulse is honored to partner with them to magnify the power of women’s voices worldwide”.

Tess Camba, Director of Operations for TCF also expressed support for the partnership saying, “WorldPulse is one of the foremost action media networks for women globally and TCF is very excited to have them join us as a partner for our Telecentre Women program”.

The agreement between the two organizations will be formally announced at TCF’s Spark13 conference, which takes place this coming May 28-29 in Granada, Spain.

Further information

Friday, May 10, 2013 5:58:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


On the International Day of Girls in ICT held by the International Telecommunication Union, the ICT Ministry joined with the completion of a forum called "Women with Digital talent", which was virtually carried out through a hangout.

The forum was held on Thursday, April 25 at 11 am and was attended by distinguished Colombian women in the ICT sector, as the Deputy Minister of Technologies and Information Systems, Maria Isabel Mejia, who spoke about the opportunities of Colombian girls to study ICT-related careers.

Also participated Maria Fernanda Ardila, Digital Culture Deputy of MinTIC (@ mafeardilalopez), who presented the offer of the State for the use and appropriation of ICT in women. It also included the presence of a representative of the ITU, who shared with the public via online, international action that advances the organization for girls and women trained in ICT professions. During the space participated recognized women entrepreneurs, activists and users of community access points of Vive Digital Internet.

The topics discussed were:
• Study opportunities for women in ICT careers
• Offer of ICT Ministry in the use and appropriation of ICT
• Labor Opportunities in the ICT sector for women
• Access to ICT for rural women
• Active in social media software development by women

All activities could be follow hangout. Likewise, people who want to follow this celebration can do so via Twitter with the hashtag # GirlsinICT

(Source: MINTIC)

Friday, May 10, 2013 5:51:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Mobile phones can soon be used to help teachers improve English language literacy skills among primary school students in Nigeria. The project is being launched by UNESCO and Nokia, with support from the British Council and the National Teachers’ Institute of Nigeria.

Participating teachers will sign up for a mobile service called “English Teacher”, which sends teachers educational content and messages with pedagogical advice once a day. The messages are organized into thematic modules and include images and exercises. The service runs on the popular Nokia Life+ platform and is one of the first attempts to employ mobile technology to improve tools for primary school teachers.

On May 2 and 3, UNESCO and Nokia hosted a training seminar with teachers from almost 50 different schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Nigeria, where the project is being piloted.

”English Teacher” leverages a technology that is already owned and used by a majority of Nigerian educators. Over 90 percent of Nigerians have access to a mobile network, and mobile phones are fast becoming a major gateway to the internet. This means that the service is available to most people, including teachers in difficult areas such as the northern states, where educational needs are most urgent.

“Our aim from the beginning was to develop a service that teachers working in difficult conditions and without a great deal of support could access quickly”, said Steven Vosloo, the project coordinator for UNESCO. “Mobile technology is a promising avenue and, in some instances, the only option in terms of technology”.
“English Teacher” is available to anyone in Nigeria without a subscription fee. It is hosted on the popular Nokia Life+ platform, which offers an extensive menu of content and covers topics as diverse as education, health, agriculture, and entrepreneurship. When teachers sign up for the service they receive daily messages designed to improve and support their instruction.

The content was developed by the British Council and draws on the organization’s 75 years of experience building resources for English language teachers. Thematically-organized and sequential modules, generally broken across one or two week periods, promote strategies to encourage learner independence, cultivate different learning preferences, and prompt educators to reflect on their teaching practice, while providing links to relevant outside resources.  The programme runs for 72 weeks and begins whenever a user signs up for the service.

“We are delighted to partner with UNESCO in launching the ‘English Teacher’ service and provide high-quality professional development services to primary grade English teachers across Nigeria”, said Jawahar Kanjilal, VP and Global Head of Nokia Life. “English teachers using the service will benefit from the rich learning experiences presented in an engaging manner through the Nokia Life+ web app”.

The mobile technology project in Nigeria reflects UNESCO and Nokia’s commitment to enlist technology in the global effort to promote literacy and equitable access to education.

The educational challenges facing Nigeria are daunting.  Some 42 percent, or roughly 10.5 million primary age children, are out-of-school, and those girls and boys who do attend are struggling to learn basic literacy and numeracy. This has resulted in one of the highest adult illiteracy rates in the world.

(Source: UNESCO)

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 3:46:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Last month, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Ford Foundation, Show of Force, and Games for Change launched the Half the Sky Movement Media and Technology Engagement Initiative. Over the next two years, this initiative will work to create behavior change toward gender issues in India and Kenya through an integrated media campaign. It will use a combination of traditional and social media, which has been demonstrated to be a powerful approach for shifting gender-related norms and behavior.

This new alliance builds on an initiative developed in collaboration with authors of the best-selling book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

The initiative is focused on advancing gender equality, which is increasingly being recognized as a key factor in improving development outcomes. Each additional year of education for women reduces child mortality by 18 per thousand births. When women cannot fully engage in the labor force, either by law or custom, GDP growth can suffer by as much as two percent.

Gender equality makes sense not just for the woman herself, but for her family, community and the economy of her country. Yet in many low- and moderate-income countries, women and girls struggle for equal access to healthcare, education, and professional opportunities.

"Educate girls and you change the future for a nation”, said Maura O'Neill, USAID's Chief Innovation Officer. “Give women all the economic opportunities that men have and within a generation a strong middle class will emerge. It is just that simple".

(Source: USAID)

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 3:40:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Vice President of Dominican Republic, Dr. Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, said that technology is a tool of empowerment training and essential for development of girls, because it facilitates active and equal participation in the labor market, in making decision, culture and society.

Dr. Cedeño de Fernández spoke in those terms, during the opening of the forum "Technology needs  girls: A promising future for a new generation of women", organized by the Vice President, the Dominican Telecommunications Institute (lNDOTEL) and National Commission on Information Society and Knowledge (CNSIC), as part of activities in the International Day of the Girls in ICT.

"So today we stress the importance of bringing and empower women, girls, young women to the world of technology, in order to promote gender equality and promote social inclusion", said the Vice President.

In that regard, she said that the era of knowledge demands high skilled, creative and innovative persons, so that technology is a powerful tool to promote and enhance human development, transform the lives of people, develop their capacity and enable insertion into the labor market.

She said that since the Vice President, through the 93 Community Technology Centers operating nationwide and the implementation of initiatives – such as Women in Network and TecnoChicas-, they have managed to make the Information and Communication Technology a development tool, of equity and social inclusion for adolescents and Dominican women living in vulnerable conditions and extreme poverty.

"For that reason, from the vice presidency, we continue our work to promote access to ICTs in every corner of the country and we fully intend to build strategic alliances and develop initiatives to further reduce the digital divide and social that separates rural and urban areas and those who have access to ICTs from those who do not have", said Dr. Cedeño de Fernández.



Further details

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 3:35:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
In Nigeria, it was about empowering young women. Talk about girl power, talk about Girls in ICT Day. With women in the IT field coming out in impressive numbers to impart on tomorrow’s leaders discussing topics like Blogging as a means of Livelihood by Tolu Agunbiade, Why Leave ICT to Boys by Dr. Bolanle Oladejo, Careers in ICT by Dr. Florence Oladeji and Surfing the Net To My Advantage by Dr. Olukemi Adebimpe Fadehan (Librarian, University of Lagos).

Girls in ICT Day is an event run all over the world simultaneously to honour women who are into ICT and to extend a warm embrace to the younger generation so that they can see that there is beauty in the field of ICT and equal opportunities as well as benefits, compared to their male counterparts. This year’s edition is the maiden edition, hosted by Eko-Konnect Research and Education Initiative in conjunction with the University of Lagos and Women in Technology Education (YabaTech) tagged Empowering Young Women Through ICT.

It was an exciting and educative symposium as attendees learned the basics of blogging as well as its prerequisites, dug into the track records of exceptional women in the field of ICT and were also sensitized towards discovering the boundless prosperity awaiting ICT. According to Dr. Bolanle Oladejo:

“We are in an age where the internet is the tool to do virtually everything – learn, buy, socialize, read the news, get public services, apply for jobs and do so much more”.
This means that the internet has become an integral part of human living as it rears its pretty head in every human endeavor. It will also do girls a whole lot of good to put behind the negative sensations they have had about ICT in times past and look upon the hopeful part of it all. To drive home this opinion, Dr. Florence Oladeji broke down the exigencies of a career woman, career opportunities in ICT and requirements to become an ICT practitioner which include a bit of programming solving skills, problem solving skills, inter-personal communication skills, flexibility and adaptability, characters and ethics and being legally minded; in a nutshell, anybody can be an ICT practitioner.

Students of the Methodist Girls’ High School, Fazi – L – Omar Senior High School, International School Lagos (ISL), Reagan Secondary School, and Yabatech Secondary School – all in Yaba environs were also present. Being young minds budding to the outside world just yet, the benefits of the event would have been greatly marred if caution was not thrown in the air for the attendees to grab. The internet is here to stay with its advantages and disadvantages which can not be over-emphasized. The Librarian of the University of Lagos, Dr. Olukemi Adebimpe Fadehan, explained explicitly the definition of internet terms, who surfs the net, general advantage of surfing, disadvantages of surfing the internet, how to carry out a purposeful search on the internet, how to evaluate internet resources as well as a list of organizations who offer scholarship to girls who are interested in the field of ICT.

Further details

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 3:23:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Girls In ICT Rwanda was born out of the ITU’s Girls in ICT Day which was celebrated for the first time in Rwanda in 2011. During the planning period for that event, the women entrepreneurs involved formed a group – Girls in ICT Rwanda – which the Ministry of Youth & ICT pledged to support.

The group’s goal is to improve the current statistics regarding the numbers of women in the ICT sector as well as to alter the stereotype held by many young girls that ICT is a man’s field.

Girls in ICT Rwanda consists of women of all ages working in the field ICT including entrepreneurs, professionals and university students. The group has visited a number of schools in Rwanda including Lycee de Kigali and Gashora Girls School. During these visits, the group’s members speak to teenage girls to encourage them to consider ICT as a career option as well help them to understand and appreciate the importance of developing ICT skills in any career.

Recently they organized a Networking Night for female ICT entrepreneurs, professionals and students to network with ICT government institutions, private sector and civil society as well as a host of invited guests from the national and international community. The Guest of Honour was Ann Mei Chang, the Senior Advisor for Women and Technology in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the US Department of State.

Session with Ann Mei

Ann Mei began by telling the group about her background in technology including a story of how, at the age of 24, she became the youngest manager at a tech company. She later worked at a number of companies including Google for 8 years where she managed engineers from all over the world.

Ann Mei highlighted several studies addressing the gender gap when it comes to women’s access to technology, particularly access to internet. She pointed out that ICT is one of the fastest growing sectors and that US Department of Labor projections indicate half of the jobs being created in the next 5 years will go unfilled given current talent growth. She said that women could help fill that gap.

A young lady asked Ann Mei if women have to have an interest in computer programming – specifically coding – and if they have to be a tomboy to work in the tech industry. Ann Mei said that women should study and work at what they are passionate about – not simply what they expect will bring in the most money. She also pointed out that women in tech fields sometimes feel pressured to fit in – to be one of the boys. She advised women to be true to themselves: if you’re a tomboy, great and if you’re a fashionista, that’s great, too – just be who you are.

Another participant asked for recommendations for people who have an interest in ICT but who don’t have time to take long term courses. Ann Mei suggested taking short courses in mobile app development.

One woman asked what needs to be done to improve the education system in order to attract more teenage girls to ICT. Ann Mei said that many universities have outdated course requirements – e.g. an A level in Physics – and that this needs to change. She also discussed the cultural barriers: because the field remains male dominated, the culture in ICT academic and professional environments has naturally evolved to be more attractive to men and boys.


 

More details

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 3:11:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Internet access and computing are quickly spreading across Africa. However, certain skills are needed before a user can enjoy all the benefits a computer has to offer. Truly using a computer isn’t as simple as sitting down and pressing a bunch of keys. Accessing the Internet isn’t just a matter of having a computer and an Internet connection.

Tutorys, a new social learning platform, fills the ICT skills void that we often take for granted. Using short video tutorials, Tutorys teaches people how to use popular software and web tools like Microsoft Office, Blogger, and Facebook. The company will soon provide guides on how to effectively use Twitter, Pinterest, and Adwords.



Tutorys has many bases covered with a simple, yet robust suite of services. Not only do they have over 500 tutorials on most major online software, but the tutorials are available in English and French. What’s more, the videos can be found both on the Tutorys site and on YouTube. The tutorials, although generally lacking audio, are extremely visual and easy to follow. One can learn the basics of Facebook in under 15 minutes, but Word 2007 understandably takes over 2 hours to fully comprehend. Fortunately, no single video is longer than five minutes as to bore a user.

Tutorys is new to African markets but has already attracted interest from multiple areas. For one, a cyber café in Conakry, Guinea is interested to use Tutorys videos for training sessions. This is great news for Conakry as a shortage of ICT skills is limiting the nation’s online presence from growing as fast as neighboring countries. Separately, LinkedAfrica, an African business network similar to LinkedIn has also expressed interest in integrating Tutorys videos with its services.

Further details

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 3:01:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 01, 2013
On the 25 April the European Commission, ITU and key European stakeholders held a joint celebration of International Girls Day 2013 culminating in the European Parliamentary Hearing on Women in ICT hosted by ITRE – The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the FEMM Committee (Women’ Rights and Gender Equality).

The Hearing attracted full house of key players of the public and private sector, academia and NGOs and many students from secondary and tertiary education also attended the event.

The hearing focused around the topics of professional women in ICT careers and developing ICT skills for ICT jobs.

Dr.Hamadoun Toure, Secretary-General of the ITU opened the session by giving an overview of ITU's different initiatives to support the Girls in ICT agenda all around the world.

The key message of Vice President Neelie Kroes, Commissioner of the Digital Agenda was that ‘Today not diamonds but ICT skills are girls’ best friends (reminding of Marilyn Monroes ‘Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend’ song introduced in the original Broadway production of ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ sixty years ago) and Digital Women are worth more than diamonds for the industry!

Getting more women in ICT will enhance equality and competitiveness in an increasingly digital world’.
Please check out the summary of the day and the inspirational speaches of Vice President Neelie Kroes, Commissioner of the Digital Agenda and Dr.Hamadoun Toure, Secretary General of ITU.

ECWT has played a key role in the preparations of the Heaing through presenting a Postition Paper and organizing an on-line consultation on the Hearing in year 2011-2012.
In the Hearing MEP Edit Herczog pointed out that industries need intermediators for their collaboration with girls and stressed that the European Centre for Women and Technology has since 2009 become the key intermediator for the women in ICT agenda.

Ruthe Farmer, Director of Strategic Initiatives, National Centre for Women in Technology (NCWIT) raised also the importance of a regional platform and welcomed cooperation between NCWIT and ECWT in the future.

In connection with the Parliamentary Hearing the European Centre for Women and Technology published a special edition of the Parliamentary Magazine the 22nd of April.



Download the full document, here.

Further details

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 12:44:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
April 25 2013 is a super day for girls and women in technology and Cisco was very present!  The day commenced with a breakfast session Women2020 platform hosted by DIGITALEUROPE with the topic of Women In Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics for Smart Growth of the pillars of the European 2020 Strategy.

The morning session included a panel chaired by Ms. Cheryl Miller, Founder of Women2020, and Dr.Hamadoun Toure’, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union; Ms. Eva Fabry, Director European Centre for Women and Technology; Ms. Marietje Schaake, member of the  European Parliament for the Dutch Democratic Party; Dr. John Higgins, Director-General Digital Europe; Ms. Patricia Reilly Member of the Cabinet-Research, Innovation and Science; Ms. Linda Corugedo Steneberg, Director for Cooperation-DG Connect; Ms. Sabiine Everaet, CIO Europe Group at Coca Cola and a packed room of participants including myself.

Dr.Toure’ appealed to private-public sectors for a 50-50 aspirational target to include women in ICT. There was so much to say in such a short period of time from sustainable STEM education; to pipelining and retaining technical talent most notably women to values from the family that encourage young girls to pursue a technology career track. The group then moved to a location featuring a Brussels youth tech agora with robotics; using technology to create music and so on. European Union Vice President Neeli Kroes along with ITU’s Dr. Hamadoun Toure’ greeted the youth technologists.

Lunch featured the Tech for Girls winners where Cisco and Intel were sponsors. Cisco Belgium and Luxembourg Manager Pol Vanbiervliet presented the awards along with ITU’s Secretary General Hamadoun Toure’.

It should be stated that Cisco is a staunch supporter of Girls in ICT, an initiative of ITU (International Telecommunication Union). In 2010, ITU members agreed to organize Girls in ICT Days on the 4th Thursday of every April. Cisco wants to encourage girls to consider ICT as a valuable career option.

Almost 80 Cisco offices in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas joined initiative this year to run local programs under the global ITU umbrella.
Additionally, Cisco’s Network Academy is doing a fantastic job with its flagship program in training young men and women globally. Cisco Networking Academy is the world’s largest classroom: with more than 1 million students participating in the program at present.

The afternoon session at the EU Parliament included members from the parliament along with EU Vice President Neelie Kroes, ITU’s Dr. Hamadoun Toure’ and participants from private industry.

The first panel was entitled “Women in ICT Careers: How to Explore Female Talent?”  
Other panel members included Ms. Gianna Martinengo, President of DidaelKTS and President of Women and Technology and Ms. Sakia Van Uffelen, CEO at Bull and CSB Consulting, and Digital Champion for Belgium. The emphasis indeed is that we do have a way to go in order to not only attract BUT to retain women in technology.

Why is this topic so important?
The top jobs of the future: What will be the hottest jobs of the 21st century; which jobs will be most in demand in 10, or 15 years time?
Hybrid jobs: combine ICT with business in every imaginable field. Examples for hybrid jobs: bioengineering, power grid informatics, digital media, social and mobile application development, telemedicine, remote learning systems, developing smart applications for buildings, transport, energy or production.
New job profiles: business analyst, data scientist and so on…

The second panel entitled, “Nourishing the Pipeline: ICT Skills for ICT Jobs” included Ms Kicki Stridh, Board Member, the European Association for Women In Science, Engineering and Technology Sweden; Ms Ruthe Farmer, Director of Strategic Initiatives, National Centre for Women and IT; Ms. Donna Metzlar, Community Advocate, The Genderchangers, and Ms, Nidhi Tandon, Principal Consultant and Trainer, Networked intelligence. The message was clear: Girls when given the confidence to do so can and do pursue technical careers.

The afternoon ended with a live video exchange with Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook and a few members from the Parliament.

(Source: CISCO Blogs)

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 12:16:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


On Thursday, April 25, 2013; Rwanda celebrates Girls in ICT day where hundreds of girls participated in this event held at Lycée Notre Dame de Citeaux; where young girls learn more from their elders.

This event has been dubbed ’Girls in ICT Career Fair’ to celebrate the International Girls in ICT day and to encourage girls and young women to consider careers in ICT. The occasion aims to inspire girls to consider a future in technology. This year’s theme is “expanding horizons and changing attitudes”.

Girls in ICT Rwanda was born out of the ITUs Girls in ICT day, today, the group consists of girls in ICT including entrepreneurs, professionals and university students whose mission is to inspire girls to consider ICT as a career option as well help them to understand and appreciate the importance of developing ICT skills in any career. Clarisse Ilibagiza from HeHe mobile speaking to the press said that Rwandan girls are able to use ICT tools effectively.

In his remarks The Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana advises young girls to embrace the culture of hard working and aim higher; “When you are confident, determined, you’re passionate about what you want, if you have a purpose, if you have a goal, if you have integrity and courage you can be very successful”.

Oda Gasinzigwa, the Minister of Family and Gender Promotion noted that “As you are aware, the government is highly committed to promoting ICT as a key driver for rapid socio-economic development. We have put in place an enabling environment for girls to participate and benefit in ICT along with their brothers”.

International Girls in ICT Day in fact, has the aim to make everyone realize that girls are also able to use the new technologies, and that, due to the fact that girls are good at Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Informatics, they have new technologies which change the world on a daily basis.

Moreover, ICT is the fastest growing industry today and more jobs are created in this industry than any other. The same prospects are for the future. ICT has been identified as the industry that will lead forward world economies, improve lives of families across the globe and make the planet a smaller, more accessible place. Therefore, Women and Girls should take a more prominent role in this process.

Further details

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 11:49:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU Telecom World 2013, organized by ITU, the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology, is looking for the next generation of social entrepreneurs for its Young Innovators Competition.

Are you brave enough to transform your idea into a successful enterprise?
Can your concept or start up address one of our Global Challenges?

If you are aged between 18 and 26 and feel technology is your second nature, enter the Young Innovators Competition.

You could win a chance to take part in ITU Telecom World 2013 event in Bangkok plus benefits including:

• Up to USD 10,000 in prize money for start-ups and up to USD 5,000 for concepts; both need to address one of the Global Challenges
• High level industry mentorship for a year
• A chance to exhibit on the show floor and network with high level delegates
• Hands-on workshop training focusing on entrepreneurial skills

For details on how to enter the competition, visit: world2013.itu.int/event/innovation/ or contact us at young.innovators@itu.int

(Source: ITU)

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 11:45:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Nigeria’s communication technology minister, Omobola Johnson, has encouraged Nigerian women to pursue careers in ICT and bridge the gap between males and females in ICT.

Speaking in Abuja on Girls in ICT Day, Johnson blamed the perception that ICT is only for geeks and men as the reason why, in spite of the advances recorded in ICT across the world, there are not enough women in the sector.

She expressed the commitment of her ministry towards the encouragement of more girls to develop interest in ICT and to erase the perception. ‘’When I was studying engineering, I was one of five girls in a class of about 80. My daughter has just graduated in an engineering degree and she was also one of about five or six girls, so nothing has really changed in 30 years’’, Johnson said.

“We need to ask ourselves why and help remove all the barriers militating against girls and women embracing technology. Some of the barriers limiting women has to do with lack of support and encouragement and the ministry will provide the necessary support by encouraging women to embrace careers in ICTs”.

The highest achieving girls in the sciences from various schools have been invited to a one-week event organised by the ministry to encourage and expose them to sciences with the goal of increasing the number of women and girls in ICT.

Johnson said the ICT sector in Nigeria has tremendous opportunities for women in areas such as software development, telecommunications, IT, space development and electronic engineering.

Addressing girls in Abuja, Johnson said: “You just need to work hard and don’t be retiring. Women tend to think that our work will speak for us – sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. Speak out, work hard and don’t be afraid! Women can do it if they try”.

At the event, 35 girls who had excelled in sciences received Vantium Computer Tablets to empower and encourage them to strive for excellence in ICTs.

Further details

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 11:39:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Samsung Electronics, the global electronics giant, has delivered one container, the first of what could be a number of Solar Powered Internet Schools based in containers in the country.

The project is being made possible in association with the Angolan government and other partners.

The Solar Powered Internet School, which is geared to provide access to the Internet and electronic textbooks, will operate on a shift basis and will meet the needs of 200 children a day, according to Thierry Boulanger, IT director for solutions and business to business in Africa at Samsung Electronics.

“This school represents a breakthrough in the delivery of education by helping to break down the technological barriers facing education in Angola”, Boulanger said.
The facility, housed in a ‘40-foot’ shipping container, was delivered by truck to its site, he said.

Samsung said the school, which will be used on a rotational basis by children during the day, operates between 08h00 and 17h00 every day. Boulanger said: “It may be a small beginning, but for the 200 children who will benefit, the school opens the door to huge opportunities. Finding the funding to create hundreds of similar facilities across Africa could, within a comparatively short period, transform education, quality of life and service delivery across Africa”.

Samsung also said the school has the capacity to operate effectively for up to 36 hours without any sunlight at all. “The power generated by the panels each day also means that the school can be used beyond the traditional learning day. After-hours it can operate as an adult education centre or a community centre over weekends”.
Built to withstand harsh African conditions the solar panels powering the school are made from rubber instead of glass, to ensure that they are hardy and durable enough to survive long journeys across the continent, Boulanger concluded.

Further information

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 11:32:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
As the ITU Special Envoy for Women and Girls in ICT, I am thrilled to be greeting all the girls around the world, as we celebrate International Girls in ICT Day on 25 April 2013.

Technology is offering large-scale opportunities to empower women and girls, creating a systemic cultural shift by improving how they’re portrayed and represented. These are the tools that will ultimately allow women and girls to reach their full potential.

My awareness of gender imbalance in the media came when I started watching children’s television, videos and movies with my then two-year old daughter, Alizeh. I was stunned to see that there seemed to be far more male characters than female characters in these entertainments that were aimed at the youngest of children.
As a result, I launched the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and its programming arm called See Jane. We sponsored the largest body of research ever done on gender images in media. The results are stunning: in American family films there is only one female for every three male characters. In group scenes, only 17 per cent of the characters are female. There was no improvement in those numbers over the last 20 years we studied.

Our research also shows that females are missing from critical occupational sectors in entertainment media.

We recently completed a study on the careers of female characters in popular United States television and film, and found that with regard to STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers, in family films, males hold 84 per cent of all STEM jobs. This calculates into a ratio of 5 male STEM characters to every one female STEM character.

No female leads 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, characters with STEM jobs are 79 per cent male and 21 per cent female.

I am happy to say that positive role models exist off-screen. Some tech companies, including Hewlett Packard, IBM, Xerox and Yahoo, are headed by women. But there are just 21 female CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies. It is time to change this imbalance.

New and future technologies, especially broadband will be key to providing women with the means to educate themselves and their children, improve their own health and the health of their families and communities, start their own businesses, keep themselves safe, and innovate to build and shape the future they want.
ITU is focusing on increasing the number of girls and women who want an ICT career; increasing the number of girls and women who receive an education in science, technology, engineering or mathematics; and encouraging ICT businesses to attract, recruit, retain and promote women to achieve long-term sustainability.
Last September, I participated in the Broadband Commission for Digital Development and was very pleased that these leaders are committed to empowering women and girls as part of the digital revolution and agreed to set up a working group on gender.

A major outcome from a meeting on 17 March 2013 in Mexico City is that the Broadband Commission agreed on an ambitious new target designed to spur female access to the power of ICT. The target mandates no less than “gender equality in broadband access by the year 2020”.

Last October, as Special Envoy, I attended the Women with the Wave: High-Level Forum on Digital Inclusion of Women and Girls, in Seoul in the Republic of Korea. The Asian broadcasters, filmmakers, Internet stakeholders, academics and others demonstrated their commitment to lead the change in the images of women and girls in ICT. From Korea’s famous K-dramas to Bollywood musicals, they are looking for the characters that will inspire tomorrow’s technology-centred professionals.
We have the opportunity to ensure that women and girls are fully included in the expansion of the digital world, and that their voice and presence are shaping the United Nations development agenda and strategies beyond the 2015 Millennium Development Goals.

Let us all join hands to achieve the new gender target from the Broadband Commission. I urge all Member States and global CEOs to fully implement the principles in Resolution 70 (Rev. Guadalajara 2010) on “gender mainstreaming in ITU and promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women through information and communication technologies”.

Everyone participating today is a change agent, and the media and technology sectors will come together and take a leadership role to promote more positive portrayal of women and girls in the media — starting, if I may, with some inspiring tech-savvy role models in film and television. Because changing perceptions will be the real game changer in achieving greater empowerment and participation of girls and women in the technology sector.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 11:29:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Mexican telecommunications company Telmex's recent Aldea Digital event has won the company an entry into the Guinness World Records book as the largest digital inclusion event in the world. Hosted with the goal of gathering as many users of digital technologies as possible in one place, this free-of-charge and open-to-everyone event brought together 154,000 people between March 16 and 26. Visitors were able to use smartphones, tablets and computers, as well as attend 30 courses and workshops ranging from computer basics to application development in the Zocalo of Mexico City, the city's central plaza.

Throughout the event, more than 5,000 computers operating at high-speed connections of 20 Gigabytes per second were loaned out to attendees. A speakers' line-up of high-level telecommunications experts from all over the world drew impressive and diverse crowds spanning all ages and generations - from young kids to their parents and grandparents - from tech-savvy developers to those for whom access to computers and the Internet was a novelty.

The Carlos Slim Foundation, which engages in philanthropic efforts in the fields of education, health and justice, expressed its pleasure with the success of the Telcel 4GLTE-Infinitum Digital Village, and stressed the importance of digital literacy to advance Mexico's social and economic development:

"The Aldea Digital event, now recognized as the largest digital inclusion event in the world, reinforces our commitment to continue to bring digital access to Mexico", said Carlos Slim Domit, Co-Chairman of America Movil.

The Aldea Digital event, which was co-hosted by Telmex, Telcel and the Mexico City government, ties into the overall context of promoting access to broadband technology as a tool to meet the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Carlos Slim Domit added, "With education and access to opportunities being the foundation of society, digital inclusion is increasingly becoming one of the main tools that binds and strengthens the ability to make it possible. As such, increasing access to information and communications technology is the key to advancing the Millennium Development goals".

Among the international leaders and industry experts that participated, the most notable were:
Hamandoun Toure, Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU); Ben Kauffman, Founder of Quirky; Noam Bardin, creator of Waze; Chris Anderson, founder of 3D Robotics; Nigel Jacob of New Urban Mechanics; Elaine Weidman of Ericsson; Ken Wang Shengqing of Huawei; and Gabrielle Gauthey of Alcatel all addressed the latest technological and digital advances and trends.

(Source: CNBC)

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 11:26:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The United Nations E-Government Survey presents a systematic assessment of the use of ICT to transform and reform the public sector by enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, access to public services and citizen participation in 193 Countries.
  
We are pleased to inform that the Government of Costa Rica (Digital Government Secretariat), in partnership with the National University of Costa Rica, has kindly provided the translation of the United Nations E-Government Survey to all Spanish- speaking countries.    

The E-Government Survey has been adopted by United Nations Member States and economists as a useful tool to benchmark e-government development.  The Survey is also a tool to guide policies and strategies on how Member States can improve overall public service delivery and bridge the digital divide. 

Main Findings:

Progress in online service delivery continues in most countries around the world. Among the e-government leaders, innovative technology solutions have gained special recognition as the means to revitalize lagging economic and social sectors.  One of the key findings that emerges from the 2012 Survey is that while it is important to continue with service delivery, governments must increasingly rethink their e-government approach by placing greater emphasis on institutional linkages among government structures in a bid to create synergy for inclusive sustainable development.
 
The Spanish edition may be accessed and downloaded directly from the United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) at: http://workspace.unpan.org/sites/Internet/Documents/EGovSurvey2012_Spanish.pdf.

(Source: UNPAN)

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 11:19:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |