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 Friday, July 26, 2013
International experts to coach applicants, select finalists amongst 600 entries from 88 countries

A panel of “Challenge Partners” from industry, international organizations, NGOs and academia, including major names such as Carrefour Enterprise Foundation, Ooredoo, Dupont Sustainable Solutions, the International Labour Organization, World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization will select and coach the best applicants from some 600 entries for the ITU Telecom World 2013 Young Innovators’ competition.

The competition, which recently closed its deadline for submissions, reached out to social technopreneurs across the globe aged between 18 and 26 with the aim of identifying projects with demonstrable potential for meaningful impact in addressing one of six crucial Global Challenges.

The Challenge Partners will use their expertise, prominence and experience on the ground to work with the best applicants in each challenge to refine their applications and ensure their innovative solutions are well adapted to meeting specific real-world issues.

At the end of a two-month mentoring period, the Challenge Partners will join the competition Selection Committee in announcing the ten winning finalists on 1 October. Challenge Partners will provide the finalists, who will travel to Bangkok to attend ITU Telecom World 2013, with qualified and informed mentoring before, during and after the event. Winning entries will be showcased during ITU Telecom World 2013 and finalists will also participate in networking, mentoring and pitching sessions, and win up to USD 10,000 in seed funding for their projects.

The Challenge Partners supporting each Global Challenge are:

- International Labour Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Ooredoo working to improve employment opportunities for young people and migrant workers

- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Young Professionals' Platform for Agricultural Research Development (YPARD) and Carrefour Enterprise Foundation working to reduce food and water wastage at individual and retail levels

- G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies and Aging 2.0 working to facilitate access to public services for the elderly

- DuPont Sustainable Solutions, Microsoft Lync, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) working to improve natural disaster prediction and response

- World Health Organization (WHO), heading the UN Decade for Road Safety, working to improve road safety for both drivers and pedestrians

- ITU IMPACT working to protect sensitive personal data and inspire the creation of local digital content

More on the Competition Entries:
The 600-plus competition entries came from 88 countries as diverse as Chile, Egypt, France, Lesotho, Nepal, Nigeria, the Philippines, Russia, St Kitts and Nevis, USA, Vanuatu and Yemen.

For the first time, applications were received from Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uzbekistan and Zambia, marking the truly global scope and appeal of the competition. The number of young women applying from around the world reached 20 per cent, including submissions from Afghanistan, China, Great Britain, Qatar, Venezuela and Zambia.

A detailed overview of the selection process and members of the Selection Committee can be found at http://world2013.itu.int/event/selection-process/

For information on ITU Telecom World 2013, please visit http://world2013.itu.int/ or contact:

Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
+41 22 730 5046
+41 79 249 4861
sanjay.acharya@itu.int

For more information on the Young Innovators’ Competition, please visit http://world2013.itu.int/participate/innovate/or contact young.innovators@itu.int

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Friday, July 26, 2013 10:48:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Young ICT Developers Community, an ICT network aimed at training young Nigerian professionals in web/mobile application, IT Security and network technologies has been launched by PortalS Network and Software Solution Limited in Lagos.

Emeka Onwenu, PortalS’ managing director (MD), said the community is in line with the Nigerian government’s YouWin initiative.

He told This Day the community is meant to promote technology acquisition, individual productivity and economic development.

Onwenu said: "PortalS is courtesy of the ongoing federal government entrepreneurship initiative to build creative businesses and individuals towards national development.
“The vision of the federal government in respect to the national development by 2020 truly demonstrates a sound objective proposition for a better future of growth and advancement, mostly as it affects the young entrepreneurs of which without a truly defined action-based strategy will only remain a forecast dream, hence the initiative to instill the knowledge in various field on ICT in the young ones".

The community is also pushing to create ICT social innovation hubs at secondary schools across the country.

(Source: Humanipo)

Friday, July 26, 2013 10:38:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Start Date: Jul 24, 2013
End Date: Jul 26, 2013
Venue: Geneva, Switzerland

Description:

The Division for Public Administration and Development Management of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DPADM/UNDESA in partnership with the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD)) is organizing a joint high-level capacity-development workshop and an expert group meeting on E-Participation: Empowering People through ICTs, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 24 to 26 July 2013.

The objective of the meeting is to bring together policy-makers, experts, and practitioners on e-participation from around the world, with the purpose of enhancing their knowledge on e-participation and contributing through discussions and sharing of experiences to the development of an online e-participation self-assessment tool METEP (Measurement and Evaluation Tool for E-Participation Readiness).

The Aide Memoire provides additional information.

For more information, contact:

- Mr. Vyatcheslav Cherkasov
Senior Governance and Public Administration Officer
Development Management Branch / Division for Public Administration and Development Management
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Email: cherkasov@un.org

-Mr. Deniz Susar
Governance and Public Administration Officer
Development Management Branch / Division for Public Administration and Development Management
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Email: susar@un.org

- Ms. Victoria Ceban
DMB/ DPADM/DESA
Development Management Branch / Division for Public Administration and Development Management
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Email: ceban@un.org

(Source: UNPAN)

Friday, July 26, 2013 10:33:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


An Indian technology firm, BarrierBreak, is adapting Western-designed technology that magnifies and reads aloud documents to assist visually impaired people, it was reported.
A Microsoft India spokeswoman said in the article that anti-discrimination laws are a key reason why disability-accessible products are available in developed countries. But this fact increasingly applies to developing countries too.

The key factor driving this change is Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 2006. It states that all governments that have ratified the convention will "take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others ... [to] information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems".

Furthermore, governments should "promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet … and promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost".

So far, 132 countries have ratified the convention — approximately two-thirds of which are developing nations. Thus anti-discrimination issues are now applicable to numerous developing countries.

Many of these are working to embed the convention's articles into national legislation and policies. In 2011, Sierra Leone became an African pioneer when its government passed the Persons with Disability Act. This outlines specific rights for full access by disabled people to the same services and information, including education, health and employment, as non-disabled people. The Cambodian government passed the Disability Bill in 2009, in anticipation of it ratifying the convention, which it did last year.
However, the next challenge is to implement this raft of ratifications and anti-discrimination laws effectively. The main reason often cited for a lack of implementation is inadequate resource allocation. But this is generally linked to insufficient political will.

Huge energy and effort have been exerted by civil society in particular to get convention ratifications and follow-on national laws onto the statute books. Disability movements around the world have often been behind the push towards ratification — and umbrella bodies such as the International Disability Alliance have helped coordinate and document their progress.

Disability movements are continuing to mobilize in many countries to lobby their governments on this — the process of complying with the convention offers opportunities to continue to press governments to move beyond legal commitments to action.

But the lack of locally adapted technology also hinders implementation, as shown by the BarrierBreak example: although the screen-reader technology includes 30 languages, none of them are native to India.

As new technologies come to market, they will increasingly need to ensure their full compliance with local disability accessibility laws.

(Source: SciDev Net)

Friday, July 26, 2013 10:20:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Gender equality is a basic human right enshrined in the United Nations Charter. In the year 2000, at the United Nations Millennium Summit, the Millennium Development Goals were established and signed by 189 heads of state around the world: a list of eight overarching goals for developing countries to achieve by 2015 was outlined. Within this list, Goal 3a sought to 'eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015'. Indicator 9 of this goal was to measure the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, in the ratio of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education. However, the targets set by MDGs and other global forums have largely been missed on the African continent, partly because in Sub-Saharan Africa the number of out-of-school girls has decreased more slowly, from 25 million in 1999 to 17 million in 2008, according to the World Bank (2011).

For many years, the education of the girl child has not been a priority in many parts of the developing world because of a number of reasons, ranging from cultural, biological and social. This disparity has been reflected in areas of politics, leadership and business which have for many years, with some recent changes, been dominated by men.

The birth and rise of new media is, however, changing the story for many girls in Africa who have been given an opportunity to compete with their male counterparts. A new generation of girls using technology to change their story is being born. An example from Uganda is the GirlGeekKampala, a group of young enthusiastic girls who have come together to encourage the culture of programming among female university students all over Uganda. Their goal is to facilitate favorable competition in developing applications for sale, to match their male counterparts.

Similarly, in South Africa, ShetheGeek is on a mission to empower women globally through training with technology and innovation. In Kenya, a fast growing technology base within East Africa, the school of Open Kenya initiative is creating positive impact and changing mind-sets (Creative Commons Blog, 2013). The initiative provides girls with peer mentorship, learning through the use of open educational resources, and using the Internet to objectively achieve their goals and actualize their ideas, while actively solving issues in their communities. Beyond individual efforts of girls trying to help fellow girls, institutions such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) strive to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide. Access to ICTs, the United Nations says, empowers women and girls to take their rightful place as equals in the world.

It is evident that investing in a girl child's education is empowering a girl to make informed decisions about her life, to aspire for greater goals in life beyond marriage and to compete favorably with her male counterparts in politics, business, leadership and other fields, with one main goal of creating positive social change and contributing to the development of her society or nation. It is therefore important for leaders to encourage the culture of tolerance and acceptance in men, of women who break even in politics and other male dominated professions and cease to look at them as competitors or threats but rather as companions and team players in achieving a better good for society.

"How Technologies Can Help with Investing in Girls Education" is one of the twelve opinion pieces featured in the eLearning Africa 2013 Report. To read more about the annual publication, please visit: http://elearning-africa.com/media_library_publications_ela_report_2013.php.

(Source: All Africa)

Friday, July 26, 2013 10:12:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


On 12th/7/2013, MTN Uganda, in partnership with the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) have re – established the Kampala Public Library (KPL) creating a one-stop centre for members of the general public and specific groups such as tourists and investors to utilize the facility to request for and receive information about Kampala city.
With the growing trends in technology, MTN Uganda has bridged the library’s digital divide and increased the utilization of information technology in the acquisition of modern knowledge for lifelong self-learning. The MTN Foundation has provided equipment and internet connectivity solutions to KCCA.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, the CEO MTN Uganda Mazen Mroué reaffirmed MTN’s commitment in providing ICT support to improve service delivery of the library and stated that the connectivity will create online linkages to the centre to increase its usage and visibility. This is also in line with the MTN Foundation’s corporate social responsibility areas for 2013 which include Education, Health and National priority areas.

KCCA’s Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi commended MTN Uganda for their contribution towards the expansion of the facility and stated that the company’s technological support will go a long way in creating a facility that will offer comprehensive and timely information about Kampala City.

KCCA seeks to expand the use of the current facility by introducing new uses for the existing areas and incorporating technological aspects, themes and other elements that will enhance the image of a modern area of information usage and consumption.

The Kampala Public Library fully revamped now boosts full free WiFi connectivity as well as brand new desktop computers to aid users of the facility get access to more online resources during their research or casual reads.

A member of the technical team from KCCA equally pointed to the construction of an Online Library Catalog to boost the full digitization of the library facilities.
MTN’s contribution equally went towards the remodeling of the children’s library, with donation of more reading facilities for children.

(Source: PC Tech)

Friday, July 26, 2013 9:49:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 18, 2013


The Western Cape government is planning to tap into children's hunger for technology by giving them tablet computers. Premier Helen Zille revealed her government's plans at the launch of a teacher training programme in Mitchells Plain yesterday.

This week more than 9000 grade 7, 9 and 12 teachers will undergo training in the third phase of the programme, which is to be implemented next year. They are being trained on pace of teaching, curriculum coverage and pupil assessment.

"Technology has become a very important component of education", said Zille.

"We have succeeded in getting a computer lab into every school in Western Cape - now we are looking at introducing telematics". Pupils will be able to download subject content and work out where they should be in the curriculum.

Zille said the provision of the tablet computers "will be costly but worth every cent". Western Cape's education budget for 2013-2014 is R15.6 billion.

(Source: Times Lives)

Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:41:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
UNESCO supported the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture to hold a workshop on Harnessing the Use of Open Educational Resources (OER) for the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT CFT) in Jakarta, Indonesia on 27 June 2013. The workshop focused on the potential of OER for supporting the rollout of the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers and its potential to contribute to Indonesia’s educational goals for building knowledge societies.

The Executive Chairman of the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO, Prof. Dr. H. Arief Rachman, highlighted in his opening remarks the importance of the development of OER - based teacher training tools for ICT integration, which makes the project activities relevant to real world problems. Prof. Dr. Rachman also underscored the need to ensure that Indonesia’s 2.7 million teachers are properly trained to integrate ICT effectively in their teaching. This UNESCO-supported workshop contributed to the Indonesian Government’s objectives to promote the use of ICT for the construction of knowledge societies, ensuring that teachers have the necessary ICT skills for quality teaching and learning.

The important work that Indonesia has undertaken in developing a policy on OER and teacher training standards for ICT CFT (in cooperation with Intel) was underscored by participants as an important basis for the development of project activities.

The discussions focused on the priority area of technical vocational education at secondary level. In this regard, it was agreed to focus the project activities on teacher education materials in this area.

The workshop gathered participants from the Ministry of Education, non-governmental organizations and the World Bank. Private sector partners involved in the development of ICT CFT, namely CISCO, INTEL and Microsoft, were also invited to participate in the event.

This activity is part of UNESCO’s continued efforts to promote the application of ICT to enhance the quality of and access to education, including the stimulation of production, sharing and access to open educational resources (OER). After the adoption by UNESCO of the Paris OER Declaration in 2012, the implementation of this activity in Indonesia, Kenya and Oman is supported by the Hewlett Foundation.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:36:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


At the first UNESCO International Conference on Memory of the World in the Digital Age (Vancouver, 2012), the President of the International Council of Archives (ICA), Martin Berendse, argued for an international coalition to realize a Roadmap for the Digital Preservation of the Memory of the World. This idea found its way into the Vancouver Declaration. There is a pressing need to establish a roadmap proposing solutions, agreements and policies that ensure long term access and trustworthy preservation. This roadmap should address issues like open government, open data, open access and electronic government. It should dovetail with national and international priorities and be in full agreement with human rights.

UNESCO, IFLA, ICA, Koninklijke Bibliotheek and DEN Foundation initiated a follow up meeting to prepare an action plan that is planned to take place in The Hague, the Netherlands, on 5 and 6 December 2013. UNESCO National Commissions from Canada, Korea and the Netherlands are cooperating with the UNESCO Secretariat to organize this meeting, at which international experts like Roly Keating (British Library) and Margaret Hedstrom (University of Michigan School of Information) will explain the urgency for closer cooperation between industry, government and heritage institutions, including users. The goal of this meeting is to prepare a platform where key stake holders can meet and discuss issues of long term preservation, and decide on practical measures.

As a preparation for the Hague meeting, the organizers have proposed a two hour preparatory workshop at Digitalheritage2013, in order to collect feedback from the global heritage community on this initiative and to gain up to date information on issues that the platform should tackle.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:30:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


An online tool that can help developing countries plan and implement information and communications technology (ICT) projects could cut failure rates and costs, the latter by up to 80 per cent, a conference has heard.

The Strategic Planning, Architecture, Control and Education (SPACE) platform — currently in 'beta' test' — generates country-specific business and management plans, together with administrative, technological and legal recommendations, according to Amjad Umar, chief executive of NGE Solutions, the company behind the tool. It also cuts the planning process from months to a few hours.

Governments and individuals in developing nations often lack the capacity to plan ICT projects, Umar told SciDev.Net during the High-level Segment of the UN Economic and Social Council meeting in Geneva last week (1-4 July).

"In developing countries, failure rates are very high — around 85 per cent — partly because they don't know what is involved in planning and managing ICT projects", he says.

The high fees of ICT consultants also lock out large parts of the population, including local governments, from the knowledge needed to fill this gap, he adds.
SPACE is an open access platform with a knowledge base that combines information on sectors including education, healthcare, agriculture and economic development with ways to build ICT systems such as broadband access, mobile computing and social networks for these sectors. It allows factors on a country to be included. The platform also takes into account specific considerations for the different requirements of 150 countries.

It also offers project management advice, business simulations and, through an experiences repository, aims to build up best practice examples. By specifying the requirements and goals of their project with step-by-step instructions, users can quickly generate a plan for implementation, says Umar.
A few similar tools exist, he adds, but they focus only on the planning stages and do not contain sector knowledge.

SPACE is suitable for large- or small-scale projects in both the private and public sectors. Examples include an ICT training centre in Nigeria, an ICT village in Nepal and an entrepreneur in South Sudan who has set up his own consultancy, says Umar.

With the action plan as a starting point, SPACE also aims to link users to local, national and international partners to help complete their projects.

(Source: SciDev Net)

Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:21:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


THEME: Promoting Female Participation in ICT

DATE: 25th August – 31stAugust 2013
VENUE: Tamale Girls Senior High School, Tamale, Ghana

Overall objective:
To reduce gender inequalities by increasing women and girl’s ability to effectively use information and communications technologies.

Specific objectives:
To improve enrollment and the performance of girls in the study of science and technology-related subjects in secondary schools and at higher levels of education.
To increase the capacity of female teachers to provide effective ICT education to girls.

Target group:
100 Junior High School girls, aged 12-17

Estimated results:
Female junior high school students’ ICT skills have been strengthened.
Female junior high school students’ interest in ICT has been boosted.
Female junior high school students’ view of women working in ICT-related professions has improved.
The awareness of female ICT teachers of the specific needs of female students in ICT education has increased.

Further details

Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:15:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
A device for people with visual impairments that scans documents such as newspapers and magazines and reads them aloud has been launched in India.
ClearView+ Speech, which was developed by Netherlands-based firm Optelec, will be marketed across the country by BarrierBreak Technologies, an Indian accessibility and assistive technology firm.

The device is a desktop video magnifier that scans printed material, displays it enlarged on its screen and uses optical character recognition to read it out. The user can select the portion of text they wish to have read aloud using the touch screen.

According to Shilpi Kapoor, BarrierBreak's founder director, the device can read aloud in 30 languages although, currently, none of these are native. However, it has an option for reading an English text in an Indian accent.

The device was launched in Mumbai in April. Kapoor says her company collaborates with international assistive technology providers to make their products accessible to Indian users. "We specialize in assistive technology", she tells SciDev.Net. "But instead of designing our own devices and reinventing the wheel, we thought it was better to become a channel for what is available across the world".  She says that computer and mobile phone technologies have become "enormous enablers".
"For a blind and deaf person, communication is the biggest challenge. If you give them a mobile phone with a Braille displayer, their whole life changes. They find that they can send and receive messages", says Kapoor.

BarrierBreak also works with Dolphin Computer Access. Two of this UK firm's most popular products are SaySo, a computer toolbar for dyslexic people, people with learning difficulties and the visually impaired that can read out portions of a document or read out text as a user types it, and SuperNova, which consists of a screen magnifier, full screen reader and Braille keyboard to help visually impaired people use computers and access the Internet.

One challenge with improving access to technology for people with disabilities is ensuring that the tools developed can be configured with the mobile phones and computers that people use. This is where companies such as Microsoft and Apple come in, says Kapoor.

Further details

Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:07:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Namibian government aims to embark on a programme to take ICTs to isolated rural schools, and is seeking investment partners to support the plan.
This emerged at the Namibian Investment Seminar staged for potential investors at Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg, South Africa,  on July 02.

Education is an important focus area in the Namibian Government’s development plan, said Tuaundamuje Keeja, Deputy Director, Corporate Planning at the Ministry of Education. He highlighted an initiative aiming to deliver ICTs to rural schools not supported by the national power or communications grid.

Keeja cited projects such as the solar-powered container ICT lab concept, which is making ICTs available to underserved schools. “It is difficult for us as a Ministry to provide ICT services to all schools, but we want to connect all schools for the benefit of Namibia’s children”.

The investment seminar also noted that Namibian industry is set to boom on a number of fronts, particularly in light of its major port expansions, new mining potential and ambitious agro-processing goals.

Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Tweya Tjekero, and High Commissioner Marten N. Kapewesha headed a panel of sector authorities to outline the multiple investment opportunities available to South African and international investors.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:01:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
WeWi unveils an all-terrain Ubuntu Linux laptop that runs entirely by the power of the sun and never needs to be plugged in. The device called SOL was developed to accelerate education in developing countries.

The company held a launch event at the London Convention Centre where it demonstrated the fully functioning pre-production prototype.

The laptop, called SOL, is an all-terrain ‘sport utility’ device, which the company developed to help accelerate education in developing countries around the world.

SOL is equipped with a battery and can run for about eight to 10 hours without charge. The device isn’t meant just for the developing countries. “We are currently working on additional models for explorers and adventurers. SOL is self-sustainable and runs on green energy. It is a great device for everyone around the world”, David Snir, the company’s C.E.O explains. “We have been in talks with several universities looking for computers to do field work such as Geology, we are even looking into preparing and certifying SOL to Mil-Spec [U.S Military Standard] which would open another market”.

SOL will first launch in Ghana. WeWi’s focus on Ghana stems from the company’s recent international expansion into the country where the Canadian corporation collaborated with its African subsidiary on the project.

“We saw a great need for affordable computing in areas where power infrastructure can not sustain the large growth in population or where there is simply no access to electricity at all”, says Roland Carson, C.T.O of WeWi. “A future where people are able to study and work with computers without any access to electricity is very important for advancing education and will help shaping a better future for many individuals in those countries”, Roland continued.

SOL is expected to cost $300-450 and will come preinstalled with Ubuntu Linux and a suite of office/productivity software.

Further details

Thursday, July 18, 2013 1:56:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
UN Women is partnering with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media on a global study to analyze the depiction and representation of female characters in family films. The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, has commissioned the study from Associate Professor Stacy Smith of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.

It will examine the top-grossing international movies in Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom. It is the first such study ever undertaken.

“There is no doubt that gender stereotypes in the media are influential socio-psychological factors in how women and girls are perceived. They also influence their self-esteem and relationships between the sexes”, said Lakshmi Puri, Acting Head of UN Women. “We cannot let the negative depiction of women and girls erode the hard gains that have been made on gender equality and women’s empowerment. We hope that the study will address factors that positively impact the perception of women in society, positive role models of women and girls and men and boys, and the value of respectful relationships that can foster and benefit from women’s empowerment”, she added.

While research into the consequences of media exposure is complex, there is a general consensus among health professionals, researchers and educators that high levels of media exposure to negative imagery are related to negative outcomes for children and adults. These outcomes include effects in the areas of academic performance, body image, early sexual behaviour, and social and cultural behaviours and beliefs. These effects may also affect future life and occupational choices for women.

Previous research by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media revealed that gender parity still does not exist on-screen. In family films, only 28.3 per cent of all speaking characters were female. This translates into 2.53 males to every one female. Not only are girls and women under-represented on-screen, but many are depicted in a stereotypical and sexualized light. Occupationally, few women held positions of power on screen. Only 3.4 per cent of business leader characters and 4.5 per cent of high-level politicians were female.

“By virtue of the dearth of female characters of substance in the media kids see, we are in effect teaching our children that women and girls don’t take up half of the space in the world. We’re teaching them to see that boys are doing the important and interesting things in society”, said Academy-Award -winner Geena Davis, the leading advocate for positive change in gender portrayals in the entertainment industry. “Media images have an enormous impact on children’s self-esteem and aspirations. This is why we decided to launch a global gender in media study: if girls see it, they can be it”.

“The Rockefeller Foundation is pleased to support this important study that is sure to bring a discerning eye to the ways girls and women are portrayed and perceived”, said Rockefeller Foundation Associate Director, International Development, Sundaa Bridgett-Jones. “We hope the findings will be a clear call to resist the culture of casual stereotypes that so negatively impact global achievements in gender equality”.

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media will present the findings of the study during the 2nd Global Symposium on Gender in Media in fall 2014.

(Source: UN Women)

Thursday, July 18, 2013 1:50:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Teachers Media is an innovative, 21st-century system for raising standards of teaching and learning by sharing good practice through broadcast quality video. They believe that by partnering with education ministries they can be the next step in the evolution of the original initiative that was funded by the UK government.

As a modern converged service, Teachers Media uses a combination of broadcast TV, broadband and emerging mobile platforms to reach and influence many more teachers than traditional training methods could. This model has proven to be a cost-effective solution to improving educational outcomes on a national and international scale, leading the way in reflecting the latest thinking on how to transform the performance and aspirations of the teaching workforce.

The Teachers Media model promotes a peer-to-peer approach to professional learning, rather than the more traditional top down methods. It promotes reflective learning, rather than knowledge based learning. By harnessing the narrative power of video, it reaches hearts as well as minds.

To achieve this, their model relies on the highest possible broadcast quality or innovative content, and makes best use of the latest digital technology to deliver content to teachers and educators. Research shows that teachers are far more likely to transform their practice if they have the opportunity to personally witness alternatives, rather than just be told about them.

Angela Ney, Teachers Media founder, said:  “We believe in solutions and we look for governments that believe in accountability. I strongly believe that in order for my children to have a future, we need to look to Africa, support the change, work to achievable measures and commit ourselves to this cause”.

(Source: eLearning Africa)

Thursday, July 18, 2013 1:43:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 25, 2013
On Friday 07 June 2013, MTNers officially launched the fund-raising campaign for the education of the girl child and undereducated children of Kousséri and the 10 municipalities of the Logone and Chari. This ceremony that held at the company’s head office in Douala witnessed the massive participation of employees whose kind donations enabled to raise a significant sum of money, given that, each staff is supposed to contribute 1000 F CFA per day, being 21 000 F CFA in 21 days in order to change lives in Kousséri and promote access to education for all. There was also the donation of didactic materials and other school stationery.



On Saturday 08 June 2013, MTNers nationwide carried out various actions. In view of reacting in alignment with the new vision and mission of the enterprise which is that of providing customers a new digital world for a brighter future, MTNers met with people of all works of life and various communities in order to familiarize them with this new world. In the Littoral region, the Government High Schools of Makepe and Japoma respectively played host to this caravan which brought together students, teachers, associations, the elite and residents. More than 350 people were trained on social networks, internet, ICT and computer basics. MTN employees, equipped with computers, tablets, smartphones etc, organized several sessions where several workshops enabled to connect the communities to this new digital world which is that of today and tomorrow.

This MTN multimedia caravan dubbed “Welcome to the New World” equally visited in the North region the towns of Garoua, notably the Roumde Adja and Bibemire neighbourhoods, Maroua, especially Pitoare and Arde quarters, Ngaoundere in Sabongari and Burkinabe in the as well as Bertoua where the training was particularly meant for inmates of the Marie France Orphanage of Nkolbikone.

In the Centre region, MTNers went to Nkolmesseng where a discussion on new information and communication technologies enabled to sensitize the population on the importance of Education for all, in a world where analogy has definitively given way to digitization. Demonstration and experimentation sessions on ICTs enabled to reassure the population who, with regard to their uncertainty, did not already believe that they as well could have access to these tools for their education and development.
Earlier on, in the week, MTNers of the North West region accompanied by the Inspector for Basic Education in Santa, Bamenda visited the village of Baligham in North West region, where an elated population appreciated the training on basic computer skills. The villagers, about 1000 in number, comprised of students, teachers, and traditional authorities.

Focus shall be placed on other localities next week in order to provide a greater majority with access to the new world.

(Source: Africa News)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 5:50:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
According to the World Bank and African Development Bank report, there are over 650 million mobile users in Africa.

Isolated from myriad information communication technologies, rural youth in Namibia have turned to mobile phones to engage in social debates and access information.
Selma Alweendo is from Okaukamasheshe Village. On a late Sunday morning, Alweendo is already consumed up in her phone. At that moment, she projected all sorts of reactions-smiling, shaking her head in disbelief and humming while she scrolls through her phone.

A closer observation, she is compiling a text as she listens to a radio show on a youth commercial radio station. “There is an interesting show on radio. I am submitting my contribution via Facebook”, she said on Sunday.

“What else is there to do here in this village? This place is isolated from any other facilities. We have no computers, no television and no newspapers. But thanks to my mobile phone, in addition to phone calls and messaging, I am able to engage and create accounts on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter”, Alweendo added.
Alweendo is one of the many young people in rural areas socially excluded from many developments, including mainstream information means, who have turned to mobile phone to engage in social and national debates.

Alweendo justifies that there are a limited activities to engage in and rarely any modern facilities reach their village. “If I want a newspaper, I will have to travel about 20 kilometers to Oshakati, the nearest town. In fact I have to spend about 40 Namibia dollars (about 4 U.S. dollars) to get to town. I would rather save that and spend it on airtime for data to browse”, she told Xinhua News.

With the airtime, Alweendo said that, she is able to do more on her cellphone as compared to having travelled to town. “I can even read the newspapers online. But internet is expensive in Namibia and slow here. One minute you are facebooking, and in a few seconds next thing you know you have ran out of credit”, she added.
“But if I run out of credit, I ask people I know to transfer me a minimal 2 Namibia dollars. Imagine if five people transfers me 2 Namibian dollars, it takes me far”, she giggles.
The rapid and increased use of mobile phones widely attributed to increasing connectivity and spread of network coverage across the country. Namibia has 99% mobile network coverage across the country, according the mobile service provider MTC’s website.

Tutaleni Asino, a scholar and educationalist at Penn State University during the e-learning conference held in Windhoek late May, said that mobile devices such as phones excite young people and encourage engagement. “Many people in Namibia do not have computers and even more do not have internet. On the other hand, just about every mobile phone these days can connect to the internet”, argued Asino.

Certainly, according to Asino, mobile devices have and are changing society whether we want to admit it or not.

Further details

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 5:43:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
E-textbooks, open source textbooks and mobile education have been suggested by a new report as an alternative to get South African education up to standards.


Published by the Southern Africa Bishops Conference Parliamentary Liaison Office, the report by Kenny Pasensie discussed solutions to the textbook issues in South Africa, following delivery problems in 2012.

“South Africa’s education system is beset by a multitude of problems, and prominent amongst them is the government’s inability to provide the necessary learning materials on time”, the report stated.

The use of e-textbooks is motivated by its adaptability across multiple platforms with advised employment as from a computer or tablet. “The real challenge is to put a cheap, reliable reading device in the hands of those who need it”, the report said.

Affordability is the greatest hampering issue, while cost-effective updates are a good aspect. Open source textbooks includes streaming videos, multimedia applications and podcasts with the advantage of open copyright, according to the non-governmental educational organization Open Educational Resources (OER) Africa.

Although acknowledging affordability and durability as complications, the use of e-readers in combination with open source resources is recommended due to its unlimited material usage on a variety of devices. This will also bridge the obstacles of a lack of local content developers and broadband internet connectivity. Mobile education is regarded as a viable solution due to the high usage of mobile devices in South Africa.

Referencing World Wide Worx’s 2012 Internet access report, it points to 7.9 million South Africans using mobiles for internet access.
“Digital textbooks, mobile education and other publishing models already exist, and perhaps it’s time the government invested wisely in these alternatives”, Pasensie concludes.

Further details

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 5:36:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Ericsson and Entel announce the launch of Connect To Learn, an initiative that offers quality education for rural students, in three schools in Chile that previously did not have access to technology in education. Connect To Learn in partnership with Millennium Promise and the Earth Institute at Columbia University is using the latest technology to improve educational opportunities for rural students, especially girls.

Through Connect To Learn, mobile broadband connectivity has been implemented in the Arturo Prat Chacón secondary school as well as two primary schools, all located in rural Ninhue, in the Bío Bío Region of southern Chile. The program in the Arture Prat Chacón school also includes online educational resources, a cloud-computing solution in a low-maintenance and easy-to-use model and relevant training for teachers. The technology deployed gives students and teachers access to 21st-century educational tools and resources, and the ability to connect to other schools around the world to foster collaborative learning, cross-cultural understanding and global awareness.
Manuel Araya, Corporate Affairs Manager, Entel, says: "With Connect To Learn, students and teachers benefit from access to global news, information and the latest educational content, and can collaborate with fellow students and teachers around the world, despite their remote location".

Entel is providing optimized 3G connectivity to the selected schools to ensure good connectivity, as well as free Internet connections.
Carla Belitardo, Head of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson Latin America, says, "This initiative demonstrates our commitment to enabling our vision for a Networked Society in Chile and in Latin America. Mobile broadband is a key enabler for access to a quality education in all communities, even the most rural. Delivering cloud-based computing services and connecting them is a major step toward bringing quality education".

Since 2010, Connect To Learn has been deployed to help students in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Brazil Senegal and Djibouti helping students access quality learning resources for a 21st-century education.

School-To-School Connections
Through Connect To Learn, Entel and Ericsson are also introducing School-To-School Connections, a flagship program, pioneered by co-founders Millennium Promise and the Earth Institute. High school students at the Juan de Mairena Institute in San Sebastian de los Reyes, Spain, created their very own global classroom, connecting through a video call session with students from Arturo Prat Chacón High School, located in Ninhue, southern Chile, as part of the School-To-School Connections partnership program facilitated by the Connect To Learn initiative.

The program connects classrooms in rural and urban communities around the world to foster cross-cultural learning and cultivate global awareness, understanding, and collaboration.

The goal is that the School-To-School Connections program will help create a sense of commonality among young people and a sense of shared responsibility for tackling the global challenges we all face. In 2011, with School-To-School Connections in mind, Connect To Learn commissioned a team from Columbia University Teachers College to create a set of curricular resources based on the Millennium Development Goals in order to support shared lesson planning between teachers at partnered schools and collaborative learning among their students. Video calls and emails help facilitate their work together and build relationships among participants.

(Source: Ericsson)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 5:28:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Education specialists at iLearn, a provider of ONSITE instructor-led and ONLINE elearning training methodologies, say custom eLearning has emerged as a successful and increasingly popular methodology to education and training requirements.



Custom eLearning course development is the term applied to the process of creating and converting of existing instructor-led course content into an electronic learning format.

There is significance to this, particularly for companies that deliver repetitive training interventions such as inductions, and, policies & procedures, for example, says Richard Rayne, Managing Director, iLearn.

The service provider has a comprehensive portfolio of online learning solutions that address elearning requirements of the corporate market, across all sectors of business. This includes Learner Management System, Generic course content such as IT & Business Skills and custom course development.

Custom eLearning forms part of its services offering, one that addresses many of the issues experienced by businesses in training delivery strategies and successful rollout.
“These businesses require more scale and flexibility and shifting the course delivery of an existing Instructor-Led-Training format into a far more exciting elearning experience. Online learning provides students with far more flexibility to accessing learning at their own time and pace, and organizations can more accurately assess the impact of learning using built in pre- and post assessments. Clients also then own the course content and have the flexibility to distribute it as much as they like”, says Rayne.

According to Rayne the option to customise eLearning course content has been available within the training and education market for some time - however, it is only recently that the technology has advanced to make the option truly accessible and practical.

“The result is that development has become far more agile and quicker to market”, he says.

Rayne says the benefits associated with custom eLearning include a significant cost reduction in not having to employ teams of trainers and administrators to deliver ‘production-line’ type training and evolving the training experience into something that is more progressive and modern.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 5:20:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT) in collaboration with Work Bank hosts the Smart Rwanda Days on 17-18th June 2013. The event is part of a co-creation exercise involving global experts and Rwandans running on social media and which aimed to identify possible “Smart” solutions (in this context, meaning “innovative, information-driven, ICT – enabled”). It is a high level meeting which is designed to help stakeholders develop a shared vision for Smart Rwanda.

Smart Rwanda will be a citizen-centric and business-friendly, accessible and sustainable Information and Service Delivery ecosystem, realized through public and private investments, to transform the economy and enhance the well-being of individuals and the community.

In his key note address the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said that “Smart Rwanda aims at looking at all innovative ways ICT can drive to achieve socio-economic transformation agenda of our country… Key to the success of Smart Rwanda is sustainability of all our interventions. Our strategy will be to rely on the much needed private sector resources and capabilities”.

Smart Rwanda will harness the transformative powers of ICTs and their cross-cutting nature to help increase the productivity of other sectors, help achieve the targeted 11.5% average GDP and economic transformation hence the ten Smart Rwanda verticals i.e. Smart Education, Smart Healthcare, Smart Governance, Smart Business, Smart Agriculture, Smart Environment, Smart Job Creation, Smart Infrastructure, Smart Girls and Smart Cities.

Smart Rwanda will also contribute to rural development and reduction of poverty to less than 30% through deployment of Smart Villages throughout the country.
Through Smart Rwanda, the ICT sector reaffirms its role as a leader in innovations. The sector aims to do things Smarter, which is to do more with less. To ensure sustainability of development initiatives for example, the sector will deploy Public-Private Partnership (PPP) models, and Green technologies.
Minister Nsengimana said that “Key to the success of Smart Rwanda is sustainability of all our interventions. Our strategy will be to rely on the much needed private sector resources and capabilities”.

“The Government of Rwanda approach will be to intervene in only those indispensable public good projects where it does not make business sense for private sector actors to invest or to invest in early-stage ventures so as to showcase opportunity and stimulate future private sector investment”, stressed Minister Nsengimana.
The global Open Data movement is growing rapidly. Governments at all levels view open data not only as a tool for transparency and accountability, but also a powerful catalyst for innovation, entrepreneurship, and improved public services.

The World Bank's experience partnering with countries across the world has reinforced its conviction that Open Data can be a powerful tool for smarter development and improving the lives of millions of people.

(Source: MYICT)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 5:14:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 20, 2013
Desafio Intel provides entrepreneurship education and Silicon Valley immersion for the best computing startups by university students and recent graduates from across Latin America. This program contributes to developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Latin America by providing a bridge between these high potential young entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley, converting them into the most competitive tech start-ups in Latin America. Through Desafio Intel, the participants will receive training, mentorship and access to the best practices of entrepreneurship from Silicon Valley and around the world.

The eight finalist have been announced – meet the teams who will be representing their countries at the Finals at YouNoodle Camp this year. Congratulations to all the entrepreneurs!

Appetite+, Venezuela
Have you ever wondered what apps your friends have? Or what apps they actually like? How about a better way to discover cool new apps? Appetite+ is a social network for app-discovery that allows you to see into your friends Iphone to find great apps they use.



FractalUp, Peru
There is no clear order when learning in the noisy world of education. eLearners need a guide map and good quality content. FractalUp assists your learning search with graphical paths. It’s more precise than googling and less tedious than wikis, because it shows your position, using a Dynamic EdTech Engine.

LUX Sensor, Brazil
Our startup is developing an OptoElectroMechanical system to analysis fluids and gas by measuring refraction index using a high sensibility method patented by UNICAMP. Our system is the solution for fuel-optimized engine control for fuel quality, required by the automaker to get efficiency and performance demand by the government.

Mobile Monitoring Station, Chile
Measurement of worker-related variables, such as heart rate or air pollutants is usually done with fixed sensors. This limits the spatial coverage and does not give a true picture of the workers status. We propose gathering this information with wearable sensors and upload readings to a centralized cloud service. A service business model, with a cloud-based interface and leased hardware, allows customers to have a worry free experience, focusing solely on the important information gathered directly by workers in the field.

Modular Thoracic Strap for the Automated Monitoring of Vital Signs, Costa Rica
Detect potential health problems in a person, giving notice of the state of vital signs in the exact moments of crisis by creating a modular thoracic band based on medical parameters; with the purpose of facilitate the work of those responsible for the care of patients with certain physical limitations.

SchoolControl, Mexico
SchoolControl is a communication platform through which teachers, students and parents can find school information, such as: grades, announcements, calendars, events, reports, tasks, homework and details about the academic performance of the student. Access to all this information, using any desktop, mobile devices such as, iPhones, iPads, WP7s, & Blackberries.

WeHaus, Argentina
Home Automation Made Simple – Value added service for telcos.

Whelmo, Colombia
Whelmo is a light weight bracelet to wirelessly monitor harms to a baby’s health. Whelmo can measure the baby’s heart rate, blood oxygen level and location, and send the information to a mobile device. Whelmo will help you protect your baby when you can’t be at his side.

(Source: Desafío Intel)

Thursday, June 20, 2013 4:22:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Opening the African Libraries in the Digital Age session, Darren Hoerner, Programme Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and session chairperson, suggested that “Libraries are reaching outside their walls”. “Reaching out”, changing shape and developing new forms were certainly the recurring themes of the session, as speakers from across Africa shared their experiences and case studies of how libraries in Africa are adapting to the needs of their users in 2013.



The first speaker was Deborah Jacobs, Director of the Global Libraries initiative, who began by making the case for libraries as indispensable “pre-existing community platforms for development” that already possess the buildings, staff and services needed to reach out to their local communities. She highlighted inspiring instances of libraries extending their services far beyond just lending books: in Uganda, the Busongora Community Library provides an SMS service, a radio show and training events to over 500 farmers in the region, whilst in South Africa, young people living in an impoverished area of Cape Town receive ICT training as well as access to further training and employment opportunities via their library’s high-speed Internet connection.

Reporting on the status of libraries in Namibia, Veno Kauaria, Director of the Namibia Library and Archives Service (NLAS), shared the success of the Ministry of Education in its efforts to secure the essential development role of libraries in the national agenda. Through negotiations with the Prime Minister, the Ministry won the ability to use part of the its library budget, which was previously reserved for books alone, to buy ICTs, and now all libraries in Namibia employ at least one professionally-trained librarian. “We told ourselves that we need to be relevant”, explained Kauaria, pointing to the NLAS’s dedication to aligning itself with the national development goals of poverty, unemployment, health and education.

Kuauria’s point was echoed by Agnes Akuvi Adjabeng of the Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana, who advocated the use of social media and the Internet by library services: “Libraries need to come up and be seen”, she said, “Today, our readers do not come to us … it is necessary that we take double steps to make use of the resources available to us”.
Charles Kamdem Poeghela, Director of the Centre de Lecture et d’Animation Culturelle (CLAC),  in Yaoundé, Cameroon, then spoke of the potential for libraries themselves to influence the actions of government. Although libraries are not a priority of the Cameroonian government, he said, the Ministry of Culture was so impressed by CLAC’s work with ICT-supported learning that Ministry representatives visited the centre to find out how they could increase access to and the use of ICTs countrywide.

New technologies and changing roles also enable libraries to address issues of inequality in education and information access. As the Executive Director of UNISA Library, Dr Buhle Mbembo-Thata has overseen many initiatives aimed at ‘bridging the digital and learning divide’ amongst users of the library. During the session, Dr Mbembo-Thata explained how text-to-audio Easy Reader devices and mobile library units, equipped with hundreds of thousands of eBooks, eJournals and eDocuments, have increased access to resources for disabled students and those in remote regions. The library also makes use of freely available social media services such as Twitter and blogs to ensure students are able to receive the most up-to-date information on library services.

(Source: eLearning Africa)

Thursday, June 20, 2013 4:17:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Funding for a project to deliver voice-based technologies that enable illiterate people in rural Africa to access the web — even those without an Internet connection or a computer — is ending this month, and a drive is on to ensure that the technologies will be freely available after it finishes.

The project's 13 partners aim to support remote communities by creating spoken web content accessed through mobile phones or radio. Pilot services were built in collaboration with farmers, radio journalists and local ICT entrepreneurs, and the partners want to ensure that enough business is generated to maintain uptake of the services beyond the project's life.

The partners will also publish open-source software to enable other developers to put together similar services and technologies, says Mary Allen Ballo, executive secretary of Sahel Eco, a development NGO involved in the project.

A number of pilot systems were developed as part of the US$4 million project called VOICES (VOIce-based Community-cEntric mobile Services) that was launched in 2011. It is managed by the World Wide Web Foundation, which works to ensure universal web access, in partnership with NGOs, universities and telecommunications companies.
The VOICES project has done several pilots in two key sectors: ones to do with health in Senegal and agriculture-based schemes in Mali. The ones in Mali were implemented — and will continue — in Burkina Faso and Ghana.

Several voice-based services, including a virtual farmers' market, a voice-based messaging system and a citizen journalism platform have been launched, allowing illiterate people in Africa to access information and to run businesses.

The free, open-source voice-based technologies could be deployed to bridge the digital gap anywhere, the team says.

They are based on VoiceXML, a web standard for building voice applications, says Stéphane Boyera, lead programmer manager at the World Wide Web Foundation.
Unlike the standard setup in which text is used to input information that is then displayed on a computer screen, the new system uses speech or a mobile phone keypad as the input, and audio played on mobile phones or radio as the output, according to Boyera.

This means that it opens opportunities for people who are illiterate or lack an Internet connection.
One example, Radio Marché — Market Radio — is a trading system that helps farmers in Mali find buyers for products such as shea nuts, honey and tamarind by turning market information sent via phone into a computer-generated voice message that is broadcast on the local community radio.

(Source: SciDevNet)

Thursday, June 20, 2013 4:10:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
More than 50 experts and policy specialists from 24 different countries (Argentine, Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Grenada, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Suriname, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Uruguay and Venezuela) participated in the Consultation.

Valuable inputs were provided by Julian Robinson, Minister of state for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Jamaica; Lisa Hanna, Minister of Youth and Culture, Jamaica; Sandrea Falconer, Minister for Information, Jamaica; and Koji Tomita, Charge d’Affaires ad interim, Embassy of Japan for Jamaica, Bahamas and Belize. Interventions were also made by Arun Kashyap, UNCT coordinator, Jamaica, and Evert Hannam, Secretary General of the Jamaican National Commission for UNESCO. The Consultation was made possible with the generous grant from the Government of Japan (JFIT).

The main objective of the Regional Consultation was to share how free and unrestricted access to research and scholarly communication can increase the impact of research and benefit research institutions, authors, journal publishers and the society as a whole.

The Consultation examined how the context of Open Access in the region can add to the productivity, visibility and accessibility of research and research outcomes. The Consultation deliberated on modalities for developing mechanisms, mandates, and policy frameworks that surround Open Access.

It provided an opportunity for reflecting upon case studies and examples of how Open Access has influenced teaching, research and development in the region.
Participants also reviewed the UNESCO Open Access policy templates and developed a work plan for implementing Open Access activities in the region. They also had an opportunity to contribute towards identifying priority areas for intervention to achieve “Openness” in the region and in individual countries.

Among others, the Regional Consultation on Open Access achieved the following results:
- National stakeholders were enabled to specify trends and emerging challenges, related to the impact of open access on scientific information acquisition and sharing.
- Barriers or support mechanisms for Open Access policy adoption were identified.
- Context and the utility of Open Access policy and regional specificities were analyzed.
- Specific technology generated trends and their consequences for development of scientific information and research sharing were better understood.
- Collaborative efforts behind the Open Access movement were discussed, and their policy implications were evaluated and appreciated.
- Best practices of Open Access initiatives from the region and beyond were shared.

Specific recommendations of the Consultation have been sent to the respective National Commissions for UNESCO, Permanent Delegations to UNESCO and key organizations for follow-up actions.

The complete report on the Consultation is available in English and Spanish.
Further details

Thursday, June 20, 2013 4:03:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
In the developed countries, it is taken for granted that there is universal access for the disabled and physically challenged person, but not so in developing countries, so it was hailed as historic when the Medical Council of India (MCI) recently asked all medical institutions in India to be disabled-friendly and submit a compliance report as soon as possible.

Accessibility of health care facilities to persons with disabilities is abysmally low in India because of architectural barriers, lack of ICT facilities and attitudinal barriers. Even medical students, paramedics, non-teaching employees and faculty with disabilities face numerous barriers in medical institutions. This should change if there is early and proper implementation of the MCI-issued directive to the deans and principals of all the medical colleges and institutions in India to promptly submit a compliance report on accessible institutions to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Welcoming the directive, disability activist Satendra Singh, a medical specialist at University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS) in Delhi who is himself disabled, said, “This is a significant move, as medical institutions are made more accountable, which is in line with Sec 46 of PWD Act 1995 and article 9 of the International law UNCRPD, which makes it obligatory for India to implement reasonable accommodation. This is not something only for disabled because a universally designed ramp or toilet will help all, be it disabled, elderly person, or pregnant female".

Singh had relentlessly advocated to the chief commissioner for persons with disabilities (CCPD) to pass directions to MCI to make access audits mandatory in all medical inspections; to include persons with disabilities in all disability matters; and to de-recognize all such colleges which fail accessibility standards. The CCPD, under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, is the highest apex body in India, with the power of a civil court and pan-India jurisdiction.
"To me this should have been done long ago and without anybody fighting for it. What Dr. Satendra Singh is doing is not only praiseworthy and commendable but also a path-breaking move in the establishment of universal design", said Abha Khetrapal, counselor for the students with disabilities at the University College of Medical Sciences, (UCMS) and GTB Hospital in Delhi.

Singh is the coordinator of the Enabling Unit, which he created under the UGC (University Grants Commission) guidelines for ensuring affirmative actions concerning persons with disabilities. This is the only such body in any medical school in India. Singh also formed an Equality and Diversity Committee, which has student, non-teaching staff and faculty members and all are persons with disabilities, in line with the mantra "Nothing for us, without us".

(Source: India America Today)

Thursday, June 20, 2013 3:59:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The City of Joburg Broadband Project will go live on 1 July 2013 after a 3 year build phase, which BWired will operate for 12 years. The completion of the fibre optic network covers all 7 regions of the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) municipality, and will deliver a live network that will immediately be able to offer key services to all municipal buildings connected to the network. This fibre optic network was designed by Ericsson South Africa and uses world-class technologies utilized in Smart Cities around the world, and marks one of the biggest rollouts of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere in terms of its 1.2Tb core capacity and 940km coverage, giving the City of Johannesburg true Smart City Status.

The Johannesburg Broadband and Network Project (JBNP) is the realisation of the city’s long term vision of developing the city’s economy which will see the positive stimulation of opportunities for the business sector in terms of small to medium enterprises, effective access to public services, the development of the youth in Johannesburg and increased employment opportunities for all.

All civil work was completed at the end of April 2013, with the fibre installation work being at 90% completion at this time.

The network build will be completed at the end of May 2013. When the Network goes live on the 1stJuly 2013, it will offer full WAN accessibility, VPN services, and will bring internet to all of the CoJ buildings in the region. The JBNP will be service ready to transition all of the agreed upon services as of 1 July 2013.

“We support the vision of the CoJ, and the completion of this successful build phase on time and within budget, is testament to our commitment to the project and its objectives”, said Musa Nkosi, BWired CEO. The network was developed by the CoJ in partnership with Ericsson, with the aim of creating a platform for bridging the digital divide within the CoJ. The delivery of the network will allow the CoJ to assume Smart City status, which is supported by a strong broadband backbone. The benefits of broadband to any city are far-reaching – including economic growth, the enhancement of the public service offering through e-government, added capacity and efficiencies for private enterprises, social benefits through e-learning, job creation through community portals, and right though to city wide platforms for emergency services.

“The principle behind this network was to provide ICT communications at a vastly lower cost, not only reducing the CoJ’s communications costs, but enabling the rest of the residents of the city to benefit from the network roll out”, said Nkosi. Although connecting all of its buildings, the CoJ will only use a small percentage of the projected network capacity, meaning other telecoms service providers, and industry at large can plug into the remaining capacity on a wholesale and open access basis. “We are already working with one of country’s largest mobile service providers with over 200 sites connected and operational to date. We are also running a number of POC’s with Tier 1 ISP’s, as well as other network Operators. This shows how BWired is extending its network’s functionality beyond the CoJ Municipality requirements and realizing true inclusion for all within the City of Johannesburg”, added Nkosi.

The CoJ Broadband Project will enable digital inclusion through the provision of affordable broadband to the public.

(Source: IT News Africa)

Thursday, June 20, 2013 3:56:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 14, 2013
Information and communications technology (ICT) is now an indispensable tool in empowering women, an international conference heard.



Participants from 21 countries attending the three-day conference, held this month (1-3 June) in Solan in Himachal Pradesh state (India), were satisfied by the rapid progress of ICT initiatives, but equally concerned at the many divides.

"We are doing a lot to train urban women into experts in information technology, but relatively little is being done to increase use of ICT among rural women", said Vinita Sharma who heads science for equity, empowerment & development at India’s department of science and technology.

Deliberations at the conference, organized by the centre for science & technology of non-aligned and other developing countries (NAM S&T Centre) and Jaypee University of Information Technology, Solan, focused on ways to make ICT more accessible to women.

Marialy Tovar, international analyst, Venezuelan ministry of science, technology and innovation, reported that 'info-centro' machines installed in most villages in her country have increased ICT access for women in her country.

Pushpa Devi Kuppusamy, IT officer in the Malaysian ministry of science, technology and innovation said the '1nita' project in her country encourages women entrepreneurs to use ICT to advantage.

Participants noted the problems of access that women face include lack of training and infrastructure, socio-economic constraints to owning ICT equipment, inconvenient location of community ICT centres and lack of confidence.

While there has been a steady increase in the number of female ICT professionals, a large number of women still fear using ICT tools.
"We need to instill confidence among women so that they can be as good as men in both using and improving the technology", Arun Kulshreshsta, director of the NAM S&T Centre, told SciDev.Net.

Nirupama Prakash, head of the centre for women studies at Jaypee University, said women from the villages in Uttarakhand state had benefited from training in using community radio imparted by her centre.

Among recommendations made by the conference was one concerning the use of ICT to increase women's security and making them better aware of their legal rights.

(Source: SCIDEV)

Friday, June 14, 2013 2:08:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
All classrooms of the literacy project for girls and women in Senegal (PAJEF) will soon be equipped with a digital kit consisting of a laptop, an interactive beamer, an infrared stylus touch pen to write directly on the digital board, as well as adapted software.

UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar will shortly received 200 digital classroom kits from the “Sankoré” programme, a joint partnership for education between the GIP ENA (a public interest group for digital education in Africa), the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNESCO Dakar.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed on the May, 16th between Professor Albert-Claude Benhamou for the GIP ENA, Jean-Marc Châtaigner for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ann Thérèse Ndong-Jatta, director of the Regional Office for Education in Africa (BREDA) of UNESCO, in order to define the conditions of the “Sankoré” programme’s support to the literacy project PAJEF. The digital kits will be used in the teaching and training of illiterate girls and women, as well as the 3000 newly literate beneficiaries of PAJEF who will now start to learn computer skills.

Improve the impact
“This is a way to improve the impact of PAJEF, as ICT skills are vital in today’s society, and it greatly motivates girls and women to learn”, says Saip Sy, who is working on the PAJEF project in UNESCO Dakar. “We are convinced that these kits will make the literacy classrooms much more efficient as they enhance the teachers’ teaching abilities. This is already happening in formal education” he adds.

PAJEF started in January 2012 and aims to reach out to 40,000 neo - literate and illiterate women aged 15 - 55 years in Senegal. The principal target is the seven regions most affected by illiteracy (Diourbel, Fatick, Kédougou, Matam, Saint-Louis, Tambacounda and Dakar). It runs until the end of 2013.
While the digital kits are a way to make ICTs become a reality in these often remote villages, we also have to deal with several challenges, says Sy.

They include:
- Integrate ICTs in current teaching and training processes
- Train teachers in the specific software and improve their teaching abilities
- Use local languages in the ICTs,
The digital kits will be introduced in the formal schools as well and will hence be used both in formal schooling and in the literacy classes.

Improved efficiency
The software “Open Sankoré” and the different components of the digital kits are great tools for teachers. The kits are simple to use and manage and teachers can instantly adjust their teaching. For example they can directly make some comments and underline their lesson on the digital board, add pictures, videos, etc, and adapt teaching according to the progression of the learners.

Moreover, through the introduction of these digital kits, learners should gain knowledge easier through greater participation. Everyone can intervene during the class and interactions hence become one of the principal components of the lesson.

TV programmes in the classrooms
An additional advantage is that thanks to a partnership with Senegal’s national TV station RTS, several news and education programmes will be made available in the classrooms.

“This is a really important input to the PAJEF literacy programmes, as girls and women will learn not only literacy but also about such issues as nutrition, health, the environment etc.”, comments Saip Sy.

GIP ENA will deliver the digital kits to UNESCO Dakar in June 2013. A series of training session for teachers and technical teams are scheduled the following month, where the digital equipment will also be set up.

An evaluation will be carried out at the end of 2013 to analyse the efficiency of these digital kits.
The fund for PAJEF, amounting to $750,000, is funding by the international company Procter & Gamble (Always) and UNESCO to the Government of Senegal.

(Source: UNESCO)

Friday, June 14, 2013 1:57:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Huawei South Africa has partnered with Khulisani to launch a mobile Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Training Centre Project to provide computer skills training to schools for underprivileged, disabled children, in the South of Johannesburg.

“Huawei South Africa is committed to contributing towards the reduction of unemployment and the alleviation of poverty, through supporting skills development and training initiatives. Whilst our focus is on improving the resources of schools and education in the rural and semi-rural areas, we also invest in special needs schools which are often marginalized due to limited resources”, says Liu Wenjun (Wilson), CEO of Huawei South Africa.

Areas where the mobile ICT Centre will be active in are Meyerton, Vereeniging, Vanderbijlpark, Sasolburg and the surrounding low income residential areas and informal settlements in the South of Johannesburg. The five special needs schools that will benefit from the project will be J.N.S school for children with Cerebral palsy, EUREKA school for mentally disabled, Handhawer School, Sebokeng Technical High school and Thabavuyo School.

Wilson adds, “Statistics show that five percent of the South African population lives with disabilities and that various factors such as poverty, unemployment, insufficient training and education are the most common stumbling blocks for them. In order to overcome this barrier Huawei made the decision to launch a pilot project in partnership with Khulisani, an enterprise development company that focuses on the ongoing upliftment of individuals with disabilities. Together with Khulisani, Huawei has invested in constructing a Mobile ICT Training Centre which supports computer skills training and in the process supports employment of individuals with disabilities. We conducted research into their needs and customized the training accordingly, in order to accommodate the different disabilities which the pupils experience, ensuring a positive outcome for the project”.

The objectives of the ICT Centre are to provide a firm foundation in terms of computer literacy, focusing specifically on basic desktop training, MS Office Suite and internet access. E-learning initiatives have been introduced and two individuals have been trained and are being developed with the knowledge, skills and experience to provide computer literacy training and e-learning.

“Huawei South Africa fully supports the South African Government’s aim to integrate people with disabilities into mainstream society. Huawei aims to make a positive difference by implementing various projects like the Mobile ICT Centre which builds towards a better future and economy for all South Africans”, concludes Wilson.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Friday, June 14, 2013 1:52:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Mauritania’s efforts in improving its telecommunications connectivity through expansion of fiber-optic broadband networks has received a boost after the board of executive directors of the World Bank approved $30 million in International Development Association credits to support the government’s efforts.

The World Bank’s Director for Regional Integration, Colin Bruce, said that they “want to harness Africa’s ongoing ICT revolution to address the development challenges confronting West African states”. He stated that the availability of reliable regional broadband networks will ensure that communications, commerce and trade in services across borders to be done with less hassle. He said that a high capacity network is “the cornerstone of developing a modern regional economic zone in West Africa”.

The expansion of its fiber-optic broadband networks is part of the second phase of a $300 million West Africa Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (WARCIP) aimed at connecting the 16 countries of the region with the world. The program counts on the potentials of the private sector in order to allow a fast roll out of infrastructure and expansion of telecoms services through public-private partnerships.

In a statement released by the bank, there are expectations that the investments being made towards the project will lead to an expansion in accessibility, quality improvement and reliability of voice and internet service communications. The above mentioned are considered as major factors in attracting private sector investment in ICT services and the provision of cheaper services.

Only a little above 100,000 of the 3,5 million of Mauritania’s population are Internet users. This figure is equivalent to 3,3% making it to be among the lowest Internet rates on the continent. Research indicates that a 10% increase in internet broadband penetration leads to about 1% of economic growth.

(Source: The North Africa Post)

Friday, June 14, 2013 1:45:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The minister of Science and Technology, Maria Candida Teixeira, said Tuesday in Luanda that the implementation of Solar Mobile School will contribute to the promotion of science, technology and innovation nation-wide by presenting new solutions aimed at solving some problems of the country.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Solar Mobile School, the government official said it was a computerized mobile laboratory that will contribute to the education and learning and improving the quality of life, poverty eradication and sustainable development, as well as boost strategic sectors such as education, health and others.

"This lab will be fed in isolated communities of Angola by photovoltaic (solar), and will take the information and communication technologies (ICT) to the most remote areas of the country, especially at public schools, with the installation of computer labs and internet access", he said.

The project, he added, is a public-private partnership between the MINCT, the company Samsung and mobile operator Unitel, joining the efforts of the Executive with their technological experiences, putting them at the service of the Angolan population.

According to the minister, the programme of schools with internet by Samsung offers a full learning technology and a good learning environment for secondary classes in five African countries, as a pilot programme in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan.

With these centers throughout the African continent, he said it wants to reach 2.5 million students by 2015, a program that focuses on the implementation of ICT infrastructure consisting of interactive electronic whiteboards banks (E-board) from Samsung Multifunction Printers and laptops.

(Source: All Africa)

Friday, June 14, 2013 1:42:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ericsson Kenya finally joined the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) efforts in celebrating Girls in ICT Day on Friday May 31, by inviting and hosting 20 high school students at their headquarters.

The day is usually celebrated on the fourth Thursday of April, but Ericsson chose to wait a month in order to fit with the Kenyan school calendar.
The students, drawn from Alliance Girls, Pumwani Secondary, Starehe Girls, Embakasi and Huruma Girls, were invited to the company’s premises for an open day where they got encouragement from Ericsson staff to join the field of ICT.

Margaret Mutisya, Ericsson human resources manager, said: “As part of the initiative, nearly 90 countries organized events empowering more than 30,000 girls worldwide in 2012. The Ericsson’s Kenya “Girls in ICT day” marked on May 31, 2013 is therefore part of a global initiative but with local execution”.
During the session invited students, who are top performers in their respective schools, were treated to motivational talks and paired up with staff members who would demonstrate the operations of the telecommunications company.

Mutisya added: “This is our first Girls in ICT Day event and we’re committed to track the academic progress of the girls to monitor how those who’re pursuing careers in ICT are performing, with a view to incorporating them in Ericsson’s management trainee programmes”.

The “Girls in ICT Day” – which has been marked since 2010 - is an annual event meant to celebrate women’s achievements in the field of technology and promote tech opportunities to young girls worldwide.

Futher information

Friday, June 14, 2013 1:38:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
On Monday 23 September 2013, the UN General Assembly will hold a meeting in New York (USA) at the level of Heads of States to define the future global roadmap to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all development efforts. The meeting will have the overarching theme “The way forward: a disability inclusive development agenda”.

To contribute to a successful outcome the Broadband Commission, G3ICT, the International Disability Alliance, ITU, Microsoft, Telecentre.org Foundation and UNESCO have launched a global consultation to capture the recommendations from all stakeholders on the contribution of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), - such as websites, mobile, radio and TV - to achieve the autonomous participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society. Be part of this initiative and contribute to reaching an inclusive development agenda with ICTs!



Further information

Friday, June 14, 2013 1:35:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Costa Rica, 9-11 September 2013
A platform for young people to ensure their inclusion in the most important decisions of the 21st Century. The Global Youth Summit: BYND 2015 will assemble young people from all corners of the globe with a view to highlighting their priorities and capturing their combined voice in crucial national and international policy and decision making processes.

As an ICT focused conference, the talks, sessions and workshops will be webcast and translated into the six official languages of the UN, wherever possible. Workshops will be webcast in their original languages with online conversations happening via social media, curated and facilitated by young participants.
The outcomes of the Summit include a crowdsourced, multimedia statement to be presented to Heads of State at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2013.
Become Summit partner and have an active role in the event’s success in developing a meaningful and engaging content and outcomes for the young participants.

Partnership categories:
Founding Partner: Lead a delegation of young people
Thematic Partner: Shape the outcomes with content and speakers
National Partner: Services to delegations on the ground in San José

Further information

Friday, June 14, 2013 1:25:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     |