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 Thursday, October 10, 2013
Young social entrepreneurs seek to change the world with technology

ITU Telecom has announced the winners of its third annual Young Innovators’ Competition. Open to young social entrepreneurs between ages 18 and 26 from around the world, the competition seeks innovative digital solutions in the form of start-ups or initial concepts meeting global developmental challenges. The winners will be heading to ITU Telecom World 2013, the leading networking, solutions showcasing and knowledge-sharing event for the global ICT community in Bangkok, Thailand, 19 - 22 November.
From over 600 entries from 88 countries worldwide, 10 submissions were selected as having the greatest possible social impact and potential for business success:

- Al Dalilah Advanced Operational GPS represented by Ahmed Fawzi from Egypt – an advanced tracking and first response system using meteorological data.
- Broad Street Maps represented by Hannah Judge from the USA – producing individualized healthcare maps to support health organizations.
- KUMBA Connect represented by Keston Perry from Trinidad and Tobago – an interface connecting unemployed Caribbean migrants with technical skills based in the UK with Caribbean-based companies.
- Land-Sea Digital Bridge represented by Nguyen Tran Hoang from Viet Nam – an HF digital radio communication system connecting fishing boats and shore stations.
- M-Tambula represented by Brenda Katwesigye from Uganda – providing the elderly with easy access to public services using Interactive Voice Response over mobile phones.
- NduruApp represented by Thomas Kioko from Kenya – a one-stop mobile app to manage all aspects of road safety.
- Open Curriculum represented by Varun Arora from India – an online platform for local K12 educational material for standard, primary and secondary schooling.
- SalvageHub represented by Oscar Ekponimo from Nigeria – a web and mobile platform to reduce food wastage at individual and retail levels.
- SiSwApp represented by Timothy McDermott from Australia/ Swaziland – an English-SiSwati  translation app aimed at migrant workers.
- Tudlo Disaster and Emergency App represented by Yvone Loremia from the Philippines – a multi-purpose information platform for emergency and disaster situations.

At ITU Telecom World 2013 in Bangkok, the Young Innovators’ Competition winners will take part in an accelerator programme to take their projects to the next level via one-on-one mentorship sessions with start-up mentors and business experts, hands-on workshop training, peer mentoring from the winners of the 2012 competition, and the opportunity to showcase their projects to the event's influential audience at the InnovationSpace on the showfloor. The winners will also be competing for up to USD 5,000 prize money for great concepts, and up to USD 10,000 for innovative start-ups.

“These are bright young minds with creative technological solutions to developmental challenges both in their communities and in the wider world”, said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Toure. “Bringing the competition winners to the forefront of the global ICT stage at ITU Telecom World connects them with the event's influential audience, with the entrepreneurial experiences and with the success stories of their expert mentors and their peers from 2012. These are the connections and conversations that matter, with the power to make a real difference in the world”.

For further information on the Young Innovators Programme and Competition, please see world2013.itu.int/event/young-innovators-competition-2013/

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 1:44:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Huawei, in partnership with the Angola Ministry of Education and Unitel, has launched phase two of E-Net, a project to connect schools in Angola. 



“The objective of this project is to promote bridging of digital divide among Angola youth, at the same time enhancing research and development in ICT leading to localized innovations’, said Mr. Leon Liu, Director at Huawei Technologies Angola Representative office. He added that Huawei was committed to collaborate with local partners such as the government and Unitel to advance Angola as knowledge based economy.

The digital inclusion project will benefit over 18000 youth, covering the 18 provinces of the country. The first phase has already connected Bie, Cabinda, Luanda, Benguela, Kwanza Norte, Malanje, Huambo, Uige, and Huila. The second phase is expected to cover the provinces of Zaire, Moxico, Kubango, Kwanza Sul, Bengo, Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, Namibe and Cunene.

Investment in infrastructure, competitive internet pricing, and enabling regulatory environment are key in enhancing Africa’s connectivity. According to Internet World Stats, by end of June 2012 Angola internet users were 2,976,657 forming a 14.8% penetration of the country’s population, translating to Africa’s 1.8% internet users. Initiatives such as the E-net project are key in increasing the country’s connectivity and internet usage.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 11:27:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The four-year UNESCO-China Funds-in-Trust (CFIT) project, launched in 2012, is starting its second year, enhancing the capacity of local Teacher Training/Education Institutions through information and communication technology (ICT) in 8 African countries.

Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, and Namibia were the first to join the project. They finished their needs assessment and project planning phase, and are now starting to implement. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Liberia, Tanzania, and Uganda are joining the project in October 2013, and will start their needs assessment and project planning very soon.

For the first time since the commencement of the CFIT, representatives from the 8 countries will gather in Paris and meet with international experts, UNESCO staff, permanent delegates of the 8 countries and China. This meeting, taking place between 9 and 11 October 2013, marks the 1st anniversary of the project. During the meeting, participants will take stock of achievements, review the lessons learnt, and more importantly, pave the way ahead for the 8 target countries.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 11:14:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


"ICT for inclusion and sustainable development" was the central theme of the quote: From 02 – 04 October , the city of Lima was the home of the Second Meeting of Ministers of Education of South America and Arab Countries (ASPA), which brings together those responsible educational policies of their respective countries.

The central theme was "ICT for inclusion and sustainable development" and the goal is to create a space for dialogue between the Ministers of Education of both continents, to promote bilateral cooperation in educational issues.

For example, it will be on the development of higher education and studies languages (Arabic, Spanish and Portuguese), through the establishment of study centers as a mechanism for the reconciliation of the two regions.

For the Ministry of Education is vital to promote education based on the principles of equity , equality, inclusion, participation , cooperation and respect , to ensure comprehensive development of citizens.

Peru presented at Second Meeting of Ministers of Education of ASPA a set of successful experiences teaching methods , as well as the methodology and pedagogy through the use of information and communication technologies.

It should be noted that the meeting takes place in the framework of the international commitments undertaken by Peru in the "Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of South American and Arab Countries" held last year.

(Source: Educación en Red)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 11:09:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Union Cabinet today approved the National Policy on Universal Electronic Accessibility that recognizes the need to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disabilities as well as to facilitate equal access to electronics and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

This policy has been prepared after incorporating comments and suggestions from various stakeholders, an official press release said.

The policy will facilitate equal and unhindered access to electronics and ICT products and services by differently abled persons (both physically and mentally challenged) and to facilitate local language support for the same.

This shall be achieved through universal access to electronics and ICT products and services to synchronize with barrier free environment and preferably usable without adaptation. Differently abled persons all over the country will benefit from this policy, the release said.

According to it, the following strategies are envisaged for the implementation of the policy:

• Creating awareness on universal electronics accessibility and universal design.
• Capacity building and infrastructure development.
• Setting up of model electronics and ICTs centres for providing training and demonstration to special educators and physically as well as mentally challenged persons.
• Conducting research and development, use of innovation, ideas, technology etc. whether indigenous or outsourced from abroad.
• Developing programme and schemes with greater emphasis for differently abled women/children.
• Developing procurement guidelines for electronics and ICTs for accessibility and assistive needs.

India ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2007 which, among other things, says that "State Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities, access on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including ICTs and systems and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public".

Many countries who are signatories to UNCRPD have legislation policy or a framework to ensure equality for those with disability.

Electronics and ICTs are key enablers in mitigating barriers faced by differently abled persons and in helping them to provide better opportunities for livelihood, the release added.

(Source: NetIndian)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 11:01:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s communication technology minister, has described the country’s young people as the early adopters of technology, responsible for the high internet penetration rate amongst the youth.

Speaking yesterday at the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO) Forum in Abuja, Johnson said: “Internet penetration is fastest amongst the youth. This is not surprising as young people, when they can afford them, are predominantly early adopters of technology”.

She said it was apt that the forum was focusing on the use of ICT by young people, especially how they use such technologies to engage on governance and developmental issues.

“Nigeria recently became the location of the largest user base of Facebook users in Sub-Saharan Africa”, she said. “About half of the 11 million Nigeria users are under the age of 25, which perhaps underscores the importance of understanding how young people make use of ICTs”.

On the importance of the forum, she said it would allow developing nations like Nigeria which have developed national broadband plans to learn from developed countries like the United Kingdom, which is already implementing similar policies.

She said: “While an increasing number of countries, including Nigeria, have recently developed or are developing National Broadband Plans; countries that had done so earlier provide important opportunities to learn about the implementation of such plans. These countries provide valuable insights on what works and why; as well as what can be improved upon and what to avoid during implementation”.

(Source: Humanipo)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 10:42:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana urges young people to embrace the use of ICT. He called upon girls to welcome ICT to maximize opportunities it offers.

This has been revealed during an ICT Literacy and Awareness campaign in Nyamagabe District in Southern Province during the two days campaign on Thursday and Friday where hundreds of girls trained in ICT.

Girls’ models in ICT explained their sisters of different secondary schools in Nyamagabe the importance of embracing ICT, sharing their expertise and incite them to love technology.

Minister Nsengimana at that occasion stated that the number of girls in ICT sectors is still low, which pushed the ministry to focus more on empowering girls to embrace technology. He called upon girls to welcome ICT to maximize opportunities it offers.

“Knowledge is power and wealth”. he reiterated that opportunities of ICT must reach all sectors of Rwandans regardless economy, level of education, location, and that none could lose its opportunities. He added that “Our economy will no longer bas on raw power but will be knowledge based”.

He called upon all residents to embrace it for their benefits and their own development. He commended private sectors for being good partners with the government to foster Rwandans technological level. “As we foster ICT, we develop our economy and self-reliance”, he noted.

Minister pointed out that ICT offers many chances that were not there in past. “ICT gives opportunities that were not in past and gives new jobs that were not created. We want to make awareness of these opportunities”, Minister Nsengimana stressed.

Lillian Uwineza, 17, a student at TTC Mbuga stressed that using ICT helps them to learn more; “Now I’m able to surf on the internet and I can gain more knowledge and excel in the class”.

The purpose of this campaign is to drive the awareness and usage of ICT services, content and applications, to increase the ICT Literacy, educate and train Rwandans and business people on the potential of ICT to drive competitiveness, efficiency, transparency as well as civic participation.

The government has invested heavily in information and communications technology (ICT). Since the inception of the first national ICT strategy and plan in 2000, Rwanda has significantly transformed the way business and society uses technology.

The Ministry of Youth and ICT in collaboration with other Ministries as well as its various stakeholders in ICT promotion adopted the five-year ICT literacy awareness campaign. This campaign has been officially launched in January in Rulindo District, Northern Province. So far one District per province across Rwanda hosted this campaign.

(Source: Ministry of Youth and ICT - Rwanda)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 10:34:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 07, 2013
Intel follows 'Women and the Web' Report with action, furthers Commitment to educating Women and Girls in Developing Countries.

Last week Intel Corporation announced "She Will Connect", a new program that commits to expanding digital literacy skills to young women in developing countries. Intel will begin the initiative in Africa, where the gender gap is the greatest, by aiming to reach 5 million women and reduce the gender gap by 50 percent. To achieve this, Intel will work with a diverse set of partners including global and local NGOs and governments.

Findings from the groundbreaking "Women and the Web" report released by Intel in January revealed concrete data on the enormous Internet gender gap in the developing world and the social and economic benefits of securing Internet access for women. The report issued a call to action for stakeholders to double the number of women and girls online in developing countries in three years. She Will Connect demonstrates Intel's commitment to this action by not only providing digital literacy skills to girls and women, but also by pushing the concept of digital literacy forward through new, innovative and scalable models.

"The Internet has transformed the lives of billions of people", said Shelly Esque, vice president of Intel's Corporate Affairs Group and president of the Intel Foundation. "It functions as a gateway to ideas, resources and opportunities that never could have been realized before, but our research shows that girls and women are being left behind. We believe that closing the Internet gender gap has tremendous potential to empower women and enrich their lives as well as all the lives they touch".

In conjunction with She Will Connect, Intel pledged a 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action and is celebrating the United Nations' second International Day of the Girl on October 11. The theme for this year's International Day of the Girl emphasizes the importance of girls' education worldwide.

"When we think about what the world is going to look like in the coming 20 years, we have to do more to make sure that women as well as men, girls as well as boys are empowered to use new technology to further their own aspirations", said Secretary Hillary Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative 2013 annual meeting last week.

"She Will Connect" will test a new model that integrates digital literacy with gender and development programming targeting women and girls:

- Online Gaming Platform – Intel is developing an online gaming platform to innovate the delivery of digital literacy content through an interactive, engaging approach for smartphones and tablets in a game-infused environment. With the gaming platform, learning can take place in a mediated environment, individually, across devices and in the context of a peer network.

-Peer Network – Intel and World Pulse are working together to integrate World Pulse's digital empowerment training into existing digital literacy programs and connect women to a safe and supportive peer network. Through the World Pulse platform, women can exchange ideas, find support and mentorship, and obtain relevant content tailored for women. This innovative approach will push the field of digital literacy so learning can take place not only as an individual in a shared computing environment but also through peers.

Beyond Africa, Intel is expanding on its ongoing commitment to empower girls and women globally, with continued work in India with a goal to reach 1 million women with Intel's Easy Steps digital literacy training program in the next year. In Latin America, Intel is partnering with several governments and organizations providing digital literacy training with a special focus on fostering entrepreneurial skills in Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

In addition to launching "She Will Connect", Intel is celebrating International Day of the Girl by building on its strong culture of employee volunteerism for Global Giveback Day. Championed by leaders from the Intel Network of Executive Women and the Women at Intel Network, employees will collaborate with organizations in support of education and empowerment of girls and women. Intel is also hosting screenings of the transformational film Girl Rising around the world on October 11 to raise global visibility about the importance of educating girls.

(Source: Intel Newsroom)

Monday, October 07, 2013 2:40:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Application Deadline: Monday, December 2, 2013

The Generation Google Scholarship was established to help aspiring computer scientists excel in technology and become leaders in the field. Selected students will receive 10,000 USD (for those studying in the US) or 5,000 CAD (for those studying in Canada) for the 2014-2015 school year. As part of the scholarship, current high school seniors who are entering their first year of university in 2014-2015 will be required to attend Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) in the summer of 2014. Current undergraduate or graduate students will be invited to attend the Google Scholars’ Retreat in the summer of 2014.

Who can apply?
Generation Google Scholarship for current high school seniors

To be eligible to apply, applicants must:

- Be a current high school senior
- Intend to be enrolled in or accepted as a full-time student at a university in the US or Canada for the 2014-2015 school year
- Intend to pursue a Computer Science or Computer Engineering degree, or a degree in a closely related technical field
- Exemplify leadership and demonstrate a passion for computer science and technology
- Exhibit a strong record of academic achievement
- Be a student from an underrepresented group in computer science (African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Female, or a Person with a Disability)
- Be available to attend Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) in the summer of 2014.

Further details

Monday, October 07, 2013 2:31:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


After success in Workshop on ASEAN Community e-Classroom that hold during 10-12 July 2013. Ministry of Information and Communication Technology of Thailand has a strong intention to push this project forward by held “Training of ASEAN Community e-Classroom” in 4-8 November 2013.

This training has main objective to teach all group leaders to use ASEAN Community e-Classroom (www.asean-eclass.org) to develop their knowledge and use this e-Class to expend knowledge to all kind of people especially people with disability, women and elderly.

(Source: Asean- eclass)

Monday, October 07, 2013 2:26:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Indian Government is developing a National Mission on ICT aiming to create a national IT platform connecting all schools, providing students and teachers with opportunities to collaborate and share knowledge.

Through this mission, the Government is looking to take on a learner-centric approach in delivering education by facilitating the provision of infrastructure that will connect the schools to internet at minimum 10 mbps.

Radha Chauhan, Joint Secretary of Secondary Education, Government of India, shared, “Latest technological innovations will be used to share multimedia and web content through the platform. Apart from creating a better governance system for the schools, we are aiming to deliver quality education to all students in the country through the National Mission by equipping both students and teachers with technology”.

The government is also weighing the provision of mobile devices such as tablets to all students at the high school level. Other than ICT, the framework is also looking to bring transparency to governance in the schools.

More details

Monday, October 07, 2013 2:21:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The GSMA has announced last week a ground-breaking cooperation between government partners including the Philippines Department of Education (DepEd) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), along with Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc. (DMPI), Globe Telecom, and Smart Communications.

In a joint collaboration for mEducation, the GSMA will be working with the Philippines government agencies and all mobile network operators across the K-12 spectrum to provide up to one million Filipino out-of-school youths (OSYs) with additional opportunities to access education, including technical vocational (tech-voc) education, via mobile media. The operators are co-operating to complement the efforts of multiple government agencies by extending knowledge to OSYs, especially those in underserved areas and geographically isolated communities, with the support and reach of mobile technology. The National Statistics Office of the Philippines reports that in 2011, there were at least 6.24 million out-of-school youths in the country.

“We are excited to be acting as advisor for this mEducation initiative, providing support to include best practice and business model expertise to the project,” said Irene Ng, Head of Asia, GSMA“. Never before has such an ambitious mEducation collaboration taken place in the Philippines, involving all three mobile network operators and two key government agencies. The Asian mEducation market is projected to reach $6.8 billion by 2017. Initiatives such as this, especially involving multi-stakeholder partnership, will drive even greater growth and help to accelerate achievement of the desired objectives for such programmes”.

Mobile technology is uniquely positioned to help bring education solutions to learners, including OSYs, in the Philippines. The country has a very high adoption of mobile technology and is known as the ‘SMS capital of the world’, with Filipinos sending over two billion messages every day. The mobile penetration rate in the country was 105 per cent by the end of 2012 and the smartphone penetration rate nearly tripled between 2010 and 2011, growing from nine per cent to 24 per cent.
The GSMA’s global mEducation project aims to accelerate the adoption of mobile education solutions, particularly mobile-enabled portable devices, such as e-Readers and tablets. It forms part of the GSMA vision of a ‘Connected Life’, a world where everything intelligently connects via mobile networks, delivering rich services to businesses and consumers in every aspect of their lives.

(Source: GSMA)

Monday, October 07, 2013 2:02:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative is planning to train developers from various innovation hubs and universities in East Africa under its immersion training programme.

The initiative involves training more than 40 developers at hubs, including m:lab East Africa, Uganda’s HiveColab and Outbox, the Microsoft Innovation Centre and DTBI Incubation Centre in Tanzania.

Microsoft also includes a number of universities and institutions of higher education learning including Kigali Institute of Technology, in Rwanda, University of Nairobi, Strathmore, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Baraton University and Egerton University, in Kenya, and Makerere University and Islamic University, in Uganda.

Microsoft 4Afrika said the training will involve a week of “deep dive technical training” on the Windows Azure platform, Windows 8 and the Windows Phone.
“These trainings will be delivered by experienced technical specialists as we value the importance of the Appstars and the role they will play in our ecosystem”, a statement from the software giant reads.

The training will also involve sessions by Nokia and Qualcomm, which will teach on the development process.

Overall Microsoft said the goal of the programme was to equip “a special group of developers” with the skills needed for the creation of relevant, immersive applications and cloud based solutions.

“This group of developers will be able to deliver awareness events, develop applications and can potentially be hired/interned at startups and with our partners and customers”, it said.

Microsoft believes the immersion training programme will empower Africans with great ideas for business or applications that can turn ideas into reality helping the society, country and continent at large.

(Source: Humanipo)

Monday, October 07, 2013 1:47:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 27, 2013
Twenty one new rural telecentres have been opened in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka earlier this week as part of the Information Infrastructure programme of the Sri Lanka’s ICT development strategy, e-Sri Lanka.

These ICT service delivery centres, known as Nenasalas (‘nena’ means ‘knowledge’ and ‘salas’ means ‘shops’), are based on the vision of developing e-societies connecting community members to information and e-services.

Nenasalas serve as ICT hubs, linking the students, farmers and business owners to the internet and providing access to IT knowledge and skills with computer literacy classes. They serve as bases for radio broadcasts of market prices and agricultural information to farmers and telehealth facilities.

Moreoever, they have facilities for visually and hearing impaired individuals with audiobooks and hearing aids.

Chairman of ICT Agency (ICTA), Professor P. W. Epasinghe has said that the aim of the Nenasalas is to accelerate the process of equipping people with IT knowledge and facilities. The e-Sri Lanka strategy states the establishment of a network of 1000 Nenasalas to providing the communities with “affordable access to information and communications technologies”.

Epasinghe said that the opening of the new telecentres “coincides aptly with the economic development taking place in the North with the dawn peace in the country”, as the Northern Province recovers from the end of 25 years of civil strife.

There are currently a total of 699 Nenasalas across the country, with 19 more to be opened in the North.

Further information

Friday, September 27, 2013 4:24:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

International Day of the Girl Child 2013 – Innovating for Girls' Education
“Innovating for Girls’ Education” E-discussion on the World We Want platform
You are invited to participate in this new e-discussion!
Join the conversation by registering at http://worldwewant2015.org/education2015
Go to Week One discussion and participate: http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/391846

The fulfillment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves. While there has been significant progress in improving girls’ access to education over the last two decades, many girls, particularly the most marginalized, continue to be deprived of this basic right. Girls in many countries are still unable to attend school and complete their education due to safety-related, financial, institutional and cultural barriers. When girls are in school, perceived low returns from poor quality of education, low aspirations, or household chores and other responsibilities keep them from attending school or from achieving adequate learning outcomes.

Innovation will be an important strategy in addressing the nature and scale of barriers girls continue to face and in ensuring they receive an education commensurate with the challenges of the 21st century. Smart and creative use of technology is one route to overcoming gender barriers to girls’ learning and achievement, but innovation in partnerships, policies, resource utilization, community mobilization, and most of all, the engagement of young people themselves, can be important catalyzing forces.

International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations in 2011 and celebrated annually on 11 October. In recognition of the importance of fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward, the theme of International Day of the Girl Child for 2013 will be: Innovating for Girls’ Education. UNICEF as a leading agency for the coordination of the theme and related events is starting a new e-discussion with a similar theme, on the World We Want online platform. The discussion will be coordinated by the Youth Advocacy Group of the United Nations Global Education First Initiative (GEFI).

The e-discussion aims to gather and learn about innovative approaches, ideas and solutions from different regions, countries and communities that help improve girls' education and their learning outcomes, particularly of those most disadvantaged. The e-discussion will be facilitated by expert moderators and will run for three weeks from 16 September to 6 October, each week covering a new theme. The theme of Week One is Innovation in Education Infrastructure.

How can I participate? After you register online, simply click on the E-Discussion: Innovating for Girls' Education – WEEK ONE (and consecutive weeks). Contribute by leaving your views, ideas and stories of innovative solutions in a new Comment window.
Join the conversation by registering here: http://www.worldwewant2015.org/education2015

(Source: Women Watch)

Friday, September 27, 2013 4:16:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
As part of its ongoing commitment of developing Egypt through technology, Intel took a leap forward to reduce the digital illiteracy in Egypt at the difficult times that the country is going through politically. Intel will deliver educating initiative "Evolve your Life, live it with strength" on the importance of technology, latest technologies in the market and entrepreneurship trainings to Egyptian youth through a 2 months roadshow to Egyptian governorates to bridge the gap between the knowledge that students acquire during their academic study and the practical experience required by the labor market in both the public and private sectors.

As societies mature and people express themselves through their spending, technology is a status symbol that plays to their needs and helps them show how they are ahead of others. Proportion of individuals in urban areas using computer reached 41.1%, while the proportion of individuals in rural areas using computer reached 29%. Intel believes that technology opens up a world of opportunities for people from education, career, to entertainment and social life, as there is good growth for technology penetration potential in Egypt. During "Evolve your Life, live it with strength" technology awareness initiative will reach out across six governorates (Alex, Cairo, Mansoura, Minya, Tanta, Zagazig) through series of educational activities to provide opportunities for young learners to obtain key skills needed for tomorrow's success, with a focus on the importance of technology use, problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration which will increase technology knowledge and innovation capacity in the market to meet the immediate employment needs in the market and to develop the Egypt's labor market efficiency which currently marks 119 from 148 globally.

"We live in a world of opportunities. It starts with the potential we all have inside to succeed, connect, and be inspired. Intel's mission is to deliver technology advancements that become essential to the way we work and live. We truly believe that technology can play a huge role in ending the digital divide in Egypt and driving personal growth, be it in developing job skills or providing easy access to quality education, healthcare and critical government services. Our quest is to bring nation awareness for digital literacy by pursuing their passions to promote social progress and to successfully compete in the global marketplace." Stated Ahmed El Zoghby, Market Development Manager, Intel Egypt.

According to a research conducted by Intel Egypt, Egyptian youth are lacking the main importance of technology use in education and career building as it is consider a luxurious device; around 68% purchase devices to stay only up to date, 48% use devices for gaming only and 24% are not prioritizing devices purchase in their lives. Throughout everyday life, technology is universal and Intel understands this. When buying a computer for the first time, choice of device will come down to what the needs and requirements are. Intel's mission is to create awareness about the different technology usage and to delight its customers by delivering technology advancements that become essential to the way they work and live which will improve Egypt's Technological readiness which currently ranks 100 from 148 countries globally.
 
"The world is changing rapidly, PCs open your eyes to what is happening globally and help you expand your knowledge of the world. We believe consumers should enjoy a wealth of choice across the devices they use to keep in touch socially, stay in the know, get entertained, work and play". Added Ahmed El Zoghby, Market Development Manager, Intel Egypt.

Egypt is one of the highest-growth potential IT markets in the Middle East as it has a 7.89% yearly growth of internet users in Q1 2013 estimated internet users of 33.34 million compared to 30.90 million at the end of Q1 2012 and Internet penetration reached 40.09%. People in developing economies are keen to connect to the internet and seek out the opportunities for learning, entrepreneurship, creativity and socializing. Intel will channel the potential we all have inside to succeed, connect, and be inspired, by giving access to entertainment, education, and being connected with others. It empowers people who are purchasing technology for the first time through its innovation and choice in devices.

(Source: Zawya)

Friday, September 27, 2013 4:03:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Eighteen digital hubs for Kenyan primary schools, allowing pupils access to computers and the internet, have been officially launched. Funded by the British council and Microsoft, they are intended to serve more than 100 schools.

The BBC's Frenny Jowi says a hub she visited in Nairobi had 21 computers. Give the numbers, they seem like a drop in the ocean, but the scheme is a significant step for Kenya's state education sector, she says.

Kenya's 639 state primary schools are often overcrowded, with up to 1,000 pupils at each institution,  the reporter says.
The hub at the Kilimani School in the capital, Nairobi, will be serving five schools altogether - and sessions will be timetabled. But the reporter says it was evident that the pupils at Kilimani were enjoying the computer lab.

"The computers are easier to use and give a lot of information about what you are studying", one 10-year-old boy told the BBC. Each desktop computer is loaded with Microsoft's Encarta reference encyclopaedia.

The digital hubs now also have full and free internet access following a three-year deal with telecoms giant Bharti Airtel, the British Council said. They have been built over the last year and during that time, some 2,000 teachers have been trained in IT skills, it said.

Kilimani's headmaster Gideon Wasike said there has already been a positive effect on students since the pilot hub had opened in August 2012. "It has motivated them and has raised their esteem and their interest in learning", he told the BBC. "They're able to do a lot of research on their own".

The BBC correspondent says the hub project - dubbed Badiliko, meaning "change" in kiSwahili - was officially launched at a ceremony at Kilimani school on Wednesday morning.

The scheme has also been launched in eight other sub-Saharan countries, establishing 127 digital hubs in total.

In recent years, Kenya has become a centre for information technology - and the government has launched a project to build a new city by 2033 intended to be an IT business hub called Konza Technology City and nicknamed "Africa's Silicon Savannah".

(Source: BBC News Africa)

Friday, September 27, 2013 3:39:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
A new report released today demonstrates how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), have become a positive force of transformation and a crucial element of any personal development, empowerment and institutional framework for inclusive development.

While the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) represent a concerted effort to address global poverty, there is a striking gap in the current MDGs and their inclusion of persons with disabilities. The estimated 1 billion persons with disabilities are still excluded from equitable access to resources (education, healthcare, etc.) and as a result persons with disabilities experience disproportionately high rates of poverty. In spite of the conclusion of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006, disability remains largely invisible in most mainstream development processes.

The High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development (HLMDD) of the sixty eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly, taking place in New York, provides a historic opportunity to rectify this omission and will discuss the issues that should be reflected in the post-2015 framework for development.

“The ICT Opportunity for a Disability-Inclusive Development Framework” contributes to a better understanding of the extent to which ICTs can enable and accelerate the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities. It lists challenges that are still to be addressed while outlining concrete actions to be undertaken by each group of stakeholders and a set of indicators to help measure progress towards the achievement of a disability-inclusive development agenda.

This report is the result of collaborative input from the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development, the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ICT), the International Disability Alliance (IDA), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Microsoft, the Telecentre.org Foundation and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Launching the report, Secretary General of the ITU, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, said “The use of information and communication technologies should be at the heart of any strategy to promote the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities. We have the tools at our hands; the remaining challenge is to expand access to these technologies to all and to make ICTs accessible and affordable for persons with disabilities”.

The content is based on feedback from a global consultation on ICT, Disability and Development, carried out from 20 May to 17 June 2013 in support of the preparatory process of the HLMDD. The consultation gathered over 150 expert inputs from relevant organizations and key individuals from over 55 countries and representing multiple stakeholders, including governments, academic institutions, organizations of persons with disabilities, civil society organizations, private sector and regional and international organizations.

The report highlights that when ICT are available, affordable and accessible, they can significantly improve the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society.

- Web services constitute the access technology with the greatest impact in promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all areas of development (e.g. social networking, teleworking, online educational classes, telemedicine).

- Mobile devices and services constituted the second-most valued ICT. In particular, the use of mobile phones is instrumental to enable independent living of persons with disabilities (e.g. SMS, captioned telephone, mobile banking services, and access to emergency services).

-Television is the third-ranked ICT in the assessment, specifically for its use as a tool to access government services and information (e.g. news broadcasts, information and education programmes).

Regarding the challenges to overcome, some barriers are universal while others affect specific areas of development.

- The cost of assistive technologies, which is comprised of the cost of the technology as well as the cost of assistive technology assessment, training and support services, is still one of the main barriers that prevents many persons with disabilities to fully access healthcare services, benefit all educational levels, be competitive in the labour market and to live independently.

- A lack of access to ICT accessibility technologies is a pervasive barrier that is further reinforced by the lack of policies which foster widespread availability of accessible ICTs and the lack of effective policy implementation.

- Limited availability and use of ICT in general greatly constrains the use of ICT as a solution to tackling development challenges.

Addressing these barriers requires the collaboration of the main stakeholders involved in each sector, as well as concrete actions to be undertaken by each group of stakeholders and relevant indicators to monitor progress.

- Governments can play a key role in stimulating the introduction of ICT-enabled solutions adapted to the needs of persons with disabilities, increasing the availability of accessible ICTs and promoting the affordability of assistive technologies in social, educational, economic and other domains. One priority action is the inclusion of accessibility requirements in procurement policies. In addition, governments can foster a greater awareness of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a comprehensive and integral instrument which highlights the importance of ICTs and accessibility for the enjoyment of one’s human rights and fundamental freedoms. This entails updating disability legislation to include ICTs in the legal definition of accessibility. Through regular consultation with organizations of persons with disabilities, they can improve the provision and quality of accessible ICT.

- Private sector entities can contribute by increasing research and development efforts, incorporating universal design principles at the earliest stage possible and recruit persons with disabilities in product development departments to develop accessible ICTs. Another priority action is to address the shortage of IT professionals with ICT accessibility skills (in-house training, industry gatherings and publications). The private sector can further remove attitudinal barriers towards hiring persons with disabilities and promote accessible and inclusive workplaces. Through these contributions, employers can greatly contribute to a society where persons with disabilities can participate in work life, and have increased independence.

- Civil society organizations have a key role in raising policymakers’ awareness of the remaining accessibility barriers, becoming more active in the work conducted by international standards organizations. Furthermore, they also have the ability to bring about social progress and economic growth by raising the awareness and building the capacity of persons with disabilities and their relatives in using ICT to facilitate their own economic and social inclusion. Finally, advocating for the mainstreaming of the use of the universal design principle in all development efforts is crucial for ensuring that the international development framework is disability-inclusive.

- The UN system and other international organizations must implement operational activities to meet disability-inclusive development goals, complemented by the monitoring and evaluation of development efforts at the global, regional and national levels. Also necessary are performance reviews to assess whether development policies, programmes and projects are effective and results-driven. It is imperative to ensure that this analysis is quantitative and supported by consistent data, and that such analysis is designed with the participation of persons with disabilities, in order to make sure that the correct factors are measured. Lastly, the UN must ensure that it keeps implementing awareness-raising activities and mobilization campaigns in order to create a demand for national governmental action.

- International standards organizations can also play a special role in enabling a disability-inclusive development agenda by providing a neutral platform from which to develop and/or harmonize international standards and provide recommendations related to accessible ICTs. To achieve this, standards development bodies must facilitate the participation of relevant experts and delegates with disabilities. Furthermore, these organizations can contribute to the promotion of R&D focused on developing specific ICT-enabled solutions for persons with disabilities. International standards organizations must also raise policy makers’ awareness of accessibility barriers to be addressed.

The report is released during the High-Level side-event to the HLMDD “The UN delivering as one in enabling a disability-inclusive development agenda towards 2015 and beyond”, taking place today, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Download the full version of the new report here.

For more information on ITU, visit: http://www.itu.int/accessibility

Follow ITU on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ITU/103018419782973

Follow ITU on Twitter: https://twitter.com/itu

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Thursday, September 26, 2013 11:01:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 26, 2013
Most promising ‘emerging market’ could turn out to be women
A new report released today by the Broadband Commission Working Group on Broadband and Gender reveals a ‘significant and pervasive’ ‘tech gap’ in access to information and communication technologies (ICTs). Globally, the report estimates that there are currently 200 million fewer women online than men, and warns that the gap could grow to 350 million within the next three years if action is not taken.

Entitled Doubling Digital Opportunities: Enhancing the Inclusion of Women & Girls in the Information Society, the report brings together extensive research from UN agencies, Commission members and partners from industry, government and civil society, to create the first comprehensive global snapshot of broadband access by gender. It was officially launched by Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), who has led the Working Group since its establishment at the 6th meeting of the Broadband Commission in New York last September.

The report reveals that around the world, women are coming online later and more slowly than men. Of the world’s 2.8 billion Internet users, 1.3 billion are women, compared with 1.5 billion men. While the gap between male and female users is relatively small in OECD nations, it widens rapidly in the developing world, where expensive, ‘high status’ ICTs like computers are often reserved for use by men. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the report’s authors estimate that there are only half the number of women connected as men.

Worldwide, women are also on average 21% less likely to own a mobile phone – representing a mobile gender gap of 300 million, equating to US$13 billion in potential missed revenues for the mobile sector.

“This new report provides an overview of opportunities for advancing women’s empowerment, gender equality and inclusion in an era of rapid technological transformation”, said Helen Clark. “It calls for social and technological inclusion and citizens’ participation, explaining the societal and economic benefits of providing access to broadband and ICTs to women, small entrepreneurs and the most vulnerable populations. Most importantly, this report shows ways in which we can further advance the sustainable development agenda by promoting the use of new technologies in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment”.

The report speculates that today’s untapped pool of female users could also represent a market opportunity for device makers, network operators, and software and app developers that might equal or even outstrip the impact of large emerging markets like China or India.

“Promoting women’s access to ICTs – and particularly broadband – should be central to the post-2015 global development agenda”, said Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General and co-Vice Chair of the Broadband Commission. “The mobile miracle has demonstrated the power of ICTs in driving social and economic growth, but this important new report reveals a worrying ‘gender gap’ in access. We need to make sure that all people – and most crucially today’s younger generation – have equitable access to ICTs. I believe it is in the interest of every government to urgently strive to redress this imbalance”.

Research highlighted in the report indicates that, in developing countries, every 10% increase in access to broadband translates to a 1.38% growth in GDP. That means that bringing an additional 600 million women and girls online could boost global GDP by as much as US$18 billion.

The report also emphasizes the importance of encouraging more girls to pursue ICT careers. By 2015, it is estimated that 90% of formal employment across all sectors will require ICT skills. Professionals with computer science degrees can expect to earn salaries similar to doctors or lawyers – yet even in developed economies, women now account for fewer than 20% of ICT specialists.

ITU’s ‘Girls in ICT Day’, established in 2010, aims to raise awareness among school-age girls of the exciting prospects a career in ICT can offer. This year, over 130 countries held Girls in ICT Day events, supported by partners including Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, ICT Qatar, Microsoft, the European Commission and many more. To help older women get online and take advantage of new technologies, ITU also has a partnership with Telecentre.org which is on track to train one million women in ICT skills by the end of this year.
 
The Broadband Commission Working Group on Gender was initially proposed in 2012 by Geena Davis, actor, advocate and ITU’s Special Envoy on Women and Girls. The group’s first face-to-face meeting in Mexico City in March 2013 attracted 69 Commissioners, special representatives and guest experts, making it the best-attended Working Group of the Commission to date. The Group held its second face-to-face meeting in New York on 20 September, just ahead of the full meeting of the Commission. It was attended by Commissioners, representatives and special high-level guests, included Nigerian Minister for Communication Technology Omobola Johnson and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

In addition to releasing the new report on Broadband and Gender, the Broadband Commission also released the second edition of its global snapshot of broadband deployment, entitled The State of Broadband 2013. The report features country-by-country rankings tracking countries’ performance against the four broadband targets set by the Commission in 2011, as well as a new gender-related target set by the Working Group in March, 2013.

Photos of the full meeting of the Commission and the Working Group on Gender can be viewed and downloaded from Flickr at: http://bit.ly/K5rJsS
Broadcast-quality footage can be previewed and downloaded from ITU’s Virtual Video Newsroom at: www.itu.int/en/newsroom/Pages/videos.aspx

Video can be viewed on ITU's YouTube Channel at: http://bit.ly/Z37E8A

Photos of the full meeting of the Commission can be viewed and downloaded from Flickr at: http://bit.ly/18WPPij

Photos from the meeting of the Working Group on Gender can be viewed and downloaded at: http://bit.ly/1gyFUCo

Broadcast-quality footage can be previewed and downloaded from ITU’s Virtual Video Newsroom at: www.itu.int/en/newsroom/Pages/videos.aspx

Video can be viewed on ITU's YouTube Channel at: http://bit.ly/Z37E8A

The full report of the Working Group on Gender can be viewed at: http://www.broadbandcommission.org/Documents/working-groups/bb-doubling-digital-2013.pdf

For more information on the Broadband Commission, visit: www.broadbandcommission.org
 
Follow the Broadband Commission on Facebook: www.facebook.com/broadbandcommission

Follow the Broadband Commission on Twitter: www.itu.int/twitter

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Thursday, September 26, 2013 10:43:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


We want more… Women in Tech!
More women for technology industries. Why do women rarely choose a career path in technology? Why are girls not interested in sciences and mathematics in school? Maybe we are lacking inspirational female role models from the top of the technology world. Technology companies are in great need of the skills and knowledge of women.
Women In Tech 2013 Forum is organised for the first time to get together all men and women with a keen interest in the future of business and technology. The forum aims to discuss how women could have a larger role in creating success stories in these fields.

The event presents speeches by inspirational women from the top of international technology organisations (e.g. Microsoft and Lexus International). The theme is discussed further in workshops hosted by company and university representatives. In addition, outcomes of recent studies will be presented at the event.

Program of the event (.pdf)

Date: 15.10.2013, 09:00 – 18:00

Location: Dipoli, Otakaari 24, Espoo, Finland

Organizer: MyTech.fi

Registration
FULLY BOOK FOR NOW. The event is free of charge.
For more information: Piia Simpanen, The Federation of Finnish Technology Industries, piia.simpanen@techind.fi

(Source: MyTech)

Thursday, September 26, 2013 10:15:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 17, 2013
The Department of Communications has partnered with Neotel and Huawei to promote ICT skills among girls. Neotel, in partnership with the Department of Communications (DOC), Gauteng Department of Education and Huawei, announced last week the winners of the IgniteIT ICT Schools Competition.



This saw three Gauteng schools - Kingsway Secondary School, Phomolong Secondary School and Willowmoore High School – walk away with R200 000 worth of prizes, including an ICT laboratory and e-class solutions with interactive boards, projectors, LCD screens, routers and related equipment, sponsored by Huawei.

According to Huawei regional corporate communications manager Annette Mutuku, the IgniteIT ICT competition aims to develop and encourage ICT skills among girls, and break down barriers that prevent women from entering a predominantly male industry.

According to recent statistics provided by the Institute of Information Technology Professionals VP and director Moira de Roche, women comprise 55% of the total South African workforce, but only 20% of the ICT workforce.

Mutuku explains the competition required learners to use ICT to find a solution for challenges faced in their communities. "It was interesting how many learners chose road-safety as their focus", she says. The winning entry by Kingsway Secondary School was titled "A trans media story-telling report on distracted driving". Mutuku says the ideas showcased by the students needed to be practical and possible to implement.

Christina Naidoo, COO of Huawei SA, says the IgniteIT competition is just one of the ways Huawei commits to boost women in ICT. "Huawei also gives preference to female candidates in selecting managers when candidates' qualifications are on an equal footing", says Naidoo. "In SA currently, our female staff have taken up key management positions such as COO and regional directors, among others, as a testament of our promoting women in ICT".

Neotel MD and CEO, Sunil Joshi, echoes Naidoo's statement, saying Neotel recognises the shortage of skills in the ICT sector and has initiated a number of projects to encourage youth and young women from disadvantaged backgrounds to consider career choices in the sector.

(Source: ITWeb)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 10:18:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
South Korean Ministry of Education announced last week that 67.1 billion won (US$61 million) will be spent on students for IT purposes.

The total education funding this year, amounting to 3.185 trillion won (US$2.8 billion), will benefit 4.37 million primary and secondary school students across the nation.
The education funding project of city and provincial offices of education is designed to support high school tuition, after-school classes, IT devices and school meals for students from low income families.

The 67.1 billion won (US$61 million) IT fund will be spent on 240,000 students for PCs, internet, and communication expense.
Fewer students - a drop of 13,000 - will benefit from this IT fund due to the rise in internet fees, according to the ministry, even though the budget increased by 2.4 billion won (US$2.2 million).

The overall education fund has gone up by 504.5 billion won (US$465.6 million), benefiting 397,000 more students compared to last year. 428.4 billion won (US$395.4 million) will be provided to 386,000 students (or 20 per cent of the entire high school students) for high school tuition, which includes admission fees, tuition and school operating expenses. 790,000 students will receive 251.8 billion won (US$232.4 million) for after school classes. Another 2.4374 trillion won (US$2.2 billion) will be provided for school meals, including free meals, benefiting 4.37 million students, or 67 per cent of students.

(Source: FutureGov)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 10:11:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The government through the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has established fully equipped modern computer laboratories in over 1,000 government-owned secondary schools across the country. Speaking at the Uganda Institute of ICT in Kampala on Friday, Bob Lyazi, the Director of the Rural Communication Development Fund at UCC said about $10m had been invested in the initiative.

Each of these laboratories carries at least 40 custom made computers built to suit conditions in Uganda’s secondary schools.

There are about 1,050 government-owned secondary schools in Uganda. According to Lyazi, the remaining schools will get computer labs in the next one year.
Lyazi further disclosed that of the 1000 computer labs, 600 have already been connected to the internet while the rest will acquire internet within the next one year. Other than being used as a fountain of knowledge by the schools, Lyazi said the computer labs are also been used to impart Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills in residents.

“We have so far imparted over 50,000 people across the country with ICT related skills such as computer maintenance, internet connectivity, computer repairs, CD burning, website designing, computer science among others”, said Lyazi.

The residents who live close to the secondary schools make use of the computer labs during evening hours and on holidays when not in use by the students. However, the terms of enrolling in the training are subject to negotiation between the schools and the residents.

“We are proud of this project. Uganda is the only country in Africa where there are computer labs in nearly all government schools. Because we have computer labs in these schools, starting next year, computer studies will be compulsory at A level and Uganda will be the first country in Africa to take such a move”, said Lyazi. “The idea behind this project is that, ICT should become an integral part of the lives of Ugandans. ICT also needs to be integrated into our education system because ICT’s are awash with infinite information. At the end of it all, our country will get easily transformed once these ICT skills become widespread across all villages in Uganda”, added Lyazi.

The project to establish computer labs in secondary schools is a five year program launched in late 2007. Asked why the project was not rolled out to primary schools, Lyazi said it would be unaffordable for government now since there are over 13,000 government owned primary schools in the country.

Lyazi was speaking as guest of honor at the graduation of 250 primary school teachers from Kampala’s Nakawa division who underwent a month long training in an ICT introduction course conducted by the Nakawa based e-Learner Uganda.

(Source: New Vision)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 10:07:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan, says global collaboration is imperative in addressing the threatening effects on the moral and physical safety of children by the internet. This is contained in a statement signed by Ayotunde Adesugba, a Director of Information in the Presidency on Tuesday in Abuja.

The statement quotes Jonathan as saying this at the opening ceremony of the "BYND 2015 Global Youth Summit” held in San Jose, Costa Rica.
The First Lady said that as many more people continue to join the growing list of internet users, it has become apparent that it commands global audience with vast benefits.

She described the internet as one of the “greatest inventions of mankind which has changed the way we communicate, conduct business and socialise''. Opinion leaders and policy makers could help to ensure a more safe and secure cyber space.

''Widespread advocacy, youth enlightenment, good mentorship, appropriate parental control, training of youths as online protection ambassadors, as well as regular consultations with young people, should be engaged in guiding the young ones as they surf the net''. The President of Costa Rica, Madam Laura Chinchilla, also speaking at the Summit, called for the ethical use of the Internet to guarantee a better future for all.
''Digital technology must not be seen as a threat, but as a hope'', Chinchilla said.

In his remarks, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary General, Dr. Hamadoun Toure, observed that the Summit would send a strong message to world leaders about the power of technology. Toure explained the importance of ''digital inclusion'', noting that there are some communities where young children have no access to the internet. ''Globally, youths are requesting for affordable ICT and ICT innovations that will create more job opportunities for them'', he said.

The UN Secretary General who was represented by his Special Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhindawi, in a goodwill message said that ICT must be used to ''enrich lives''.

(Source: Daily Times, Nigeria)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 10:03:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Nigeria is doing every thing possible to ensure that the divide between women and men in technology is adequately bridged. This has resulted in many organisations, including Women in Technology in Nigeria, WITIN, Women's Technology Empowerment Centre, Girls in ICT, Girls in Technology, among others, which crusade for women and the girl child to get actively involved in ICT.

However, the women's technology empowerment centre recently decided to put action to the crusade by setting up a technology camp for girls in ICT. The camp is meant to provide a two-week technology education and mentoring programme to help girls develop an early interest in computers and other information technology services. Almost immediately after the introduction of the initiative, leading global chip makers, Intel Corporation quickly adopted it.

Intel said it was not hard for it to see prospect in the initiative considering that it has over the years supported several girl-child education initiatives investing in technology-based programmes in education and digital literacy, and has championed the empowerment of women and girls, around the world. Working together with its wide range of partners across Africa and the world, Intel has created and supported innovative solutions to remove gender-based barriers to education and technology, as well as building a flourishing future filled with opportunities for girls and women.

Speaking on the initiative, the Executive Director of the Women's Technology Empowerment Centre Ms Oreoluwa Somolu, explained that the technology camp examines a variety of strategies that enable female students maximize their learning experiences and make them better equipped to pursue careers in technology.
According to her, "In the long term, we hope to achieve a significant increase in the number of technology literate Nigerian women that will ultimately deploy the knowledge they have for productive learning, professional and leadership activities. We also hope to increase the number of women creating and developing new technology and content", She stated.

The camp throws its doors open to secondary school students all over Nigeria and involving them in activities such as graphic design, movie-making, web design and introduction to programming. During the camp, the girls also participate in technology workshops and leadership activities for an all-round experience.
Also, Country Manager, Intel, Olubunmi Ekundare said: "Here at Intel, we believe that girls, when afforded the opportunity, can make more significant impact around the globe through positive leadership and impact in and around their communities and indeed the world".

According to him, Intel believes that access to education and technology must become a global, fundamental right for girls and women. Corroborating him, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, Intel West Africa, Adim Isiakpona stated that "here at Intel, we also believe that access to technology education and its opportunities are the keys that will open the doors to profitable careers and an avenue for these girls to give back to their respective fields in Science and Technology”.

(Source: All Africa)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:59:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Algeria will host its first TechCamp at the end of this September. The dates are September 28 and 29. This two-days meeting is a first step towards the consolidation of the Internet ecosystem in the country.

According to the organizers: "The TechCamp, is a series of interactive lectures that focus on capacity building of young Algerians through the use of information and communication technologies".

A TechCamp, to reiterate, is a lecture series that takes place in more than 90 countries worldwide. These meetings bring related ICT specialists with civil society and young technology enthusiasts.

These lectures are considered a highly interactive event, inviting participants to work in small groups on local issues and opportunities in technology. TechCamp Algeria is an event organized by World Learning, a non-profit organization which operates in several countries.

For more information, see the event website: http://techcampalgeria.org/

(Source: Afrique IT News)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:44:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 

We, the participants of the BYND2015 Global Youth Summit, represented here and online, on behalf of  other  young  people  around  the  world,  in  recognition  of  our  unique  place  and  role  in  a  deeply transformed  and  interconnected world,  which will be shaped by the  post-2015  global development agenda declare the following:Youth  are  transforming  our  world.  We  are  a  force  for  progress.  Ensuring  our  full  participation  in decision-making processes is vital to improving democracy.  We urgently require measurable targets to monitor the empowerment of young people at regional, national and international levels.

We call on  member states  to provide more flexible, dynamic, transparent  and open structures  for governance that engages more directly with citizens. We call  for the creation  of open data, information  and technical knowledge, in all  areas  critical to our  lives.  Health,  civic  engagement,  online  protection,  environmental  protection  and  economic success all  depend  on having  unfettered access  to knowledge which  ICTs can  extend  to everyone. The spread of information amongst  young people  can directly  foster empowerment and innovation on a global scale.

The  key  to  a  new  global  development  agenda  is  innovation.  Old  methods  and  systems are  poorly suited  to  the  transformed  and  interconnected  communities  we  live  in  today.  We  call  on  member states, civil society and the private sector to foster innovation to build the future we want. A key  barrier  is  a lack of  universal,  global access to  ICT  technologies, platforms  and devices and the underlying infrastructure to  support them. Youth can act as  both beneficiaries and  ambassadors for wider and improved access.

We  require  equitable  and  universal  access  to  ICTs,  particularly  for  women  and  girls,  and  other groups marginalized by the digital divide, for the following reasons (in order of priority):

To get ahead:
- We call on governments, civil society and the private sector to work together to provide the training and resources young people need to innovate and create the businesses and industries of the future;
-  We seek access to education and knowledge sharing, regardless of where we are or whether we can pay;
-  We need new and innovative methods that lower barriers to youth employment and ensure decent, rewarding and fulfilling work;
-  We want to  ensure  all students  have access to  ICT  skills  and technologies  for  their intellectual, economic and political empowerment ;
-  We  require  education  systems  that equip  students  with  the  theoretical  knowledge and  a  practical  mix  of  marketable,  innovative  and  relevant  skills  to  compete  in  a global digital economy.

To change our world:
- We  demand  a  voice.  We  ask  that  member  states  pursue  methods  to  make  voting, openness  and  accountability  more  feasible  online.  We  believe  this  will  make governments  more  accessible,  open  and  understandable.  We  further  call  for sustained,  youth-driven  mechanisms  by  which  to  make  our  voices  heard  at  local, national and international levels;
- We  are  deeply  concerned  by  the  barriers  between  leaders  and  young  citizens.  We call for innovative use of communication technologies  as  a  means of  engaging  with those who represent us;
-  We seek online spaces where we can share and express the richness and diversity of our cultural heritages and religious practices, and break down barriers of intolerance and  fear,  and  building  communities  based  on  cultural  preservation  and  mutual respect;
-  We seek means to move from social commentary  to social change and become more responsible  and  proactive  global  citizens,  including  through  strong  support  for community-based volunteerism.

To respect our environment:
-  We seek better access to and dissemination of  honest and accurate information  on environmental  issues  and  guidance  on  steps  we  can  take  to  protect  the environment;
-  We  call  on  member  states  to  leverage  innovative  ICT-based  tools  for  warning, information, preparedness and recovery in the face of natural disasters;
-  We  urgently  require  broader  and  more  efficient  use  of  renewable  and  sustainable energy and food sources, as well as means and methods to further expand their use, most noticeably in the agricultural sector;
- We seek a world where we don't have to choose between quality of life and quality of  the  environment,  through  ethically  sourced  products  and  commodities, sustainable resource use, green businesses and proper disposal of e-waste;
-  We  call  for  commitments  from  member  states,  civil  society  and  businesses  to support  those  who  choose  to  be  environmentally  responsible,  through  incentives and rewards.

To be smart and safe:
- We  recognize  the  positive  and  negative  aspects  of  new  technologies  and  call  for information,  education  and  support  to  make  our  online  communities  safe  and secure. We urge educational institutions and  digital content creators to aid us in this process;
-  We  advocate  that  the  same  rights  of  freedom  of  speech,  association  and  privacy granted in the  real world be explicitly extended online;
-  We urge  fellow young people to  act  and present themselves  responsibly online  and for educational and social structures to guide us in this process;
-  We call for policies and appropriate and effective  frameworks that protect the use of private data and intellectual property, and deter online criminal activity.

To be healthy:
-  We seek innovative systems which connect people to information on health services, including mental health services,  to improve issues of accessibility, affordability and acceptability;
-  Geography should not be a barrier to health care. We seek technologies that connect us with health care remotely;
-  We  seek  tools  to  better  inform  us  about  healthy  lifestyles  and  health  concerns, which help us act on that information, especially in areas of sexual and reproductive health,  and  in  dealing  with  issues  of  disability,  including  knowledge  to  reduce problems of stigma and fear associated with many diseases;
-  We  call  for  the  widespread  availability  to  report  and  receive  information,  through ICTs,  of  outbreaks,  disasters,  epidemics  and/or  other  events  which  endanger  our health;
-  We  call  on  member  states  to  empower  young  people  to  develop  ICT  tools  that improve  the  experience  of  health care  while taking into account best practices and bioethics that are currently part of offline healthcare processes.

In Conclusion:
We call on the United Nations, the international community and all member states to consider our words  and  put  them  into  action. We  call  upon  all  young  people  around  the  world,  in  partnership with world leaders,  to treat this document  not as an outcome but  as a starting place  for continued dialogue. Young people  should be included as  full partners  in  the post-2015 process and preserve the world we want for the youth of tomorrow.

Access to the declaration text here:
http://www.itu.int/en/bynd2015/Documents/bynd2015-global-youth-declaration-en.pdf

(Source: BYND 2015 Web)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:36:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
- Activity on digital technologies and youth took place from September 9 to 11 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Corobicí .
- More than 500 participants from the member countries of the ITU participated in presence and virtually in this first edition of the Summit.

What will be the new Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations , after 2015? To help to define this to global leaders, young people around the world flocked to Costa Rica under the I World Youth Summit BYND 2015 , organized by the Government of Costa Rica and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU ).

As we approach the deadline for compliance with these objectives, this summit was the ideal, both in person and virtually, for youth aged 18 to 25 years around the world to make their voices heard in this important process and propose possible solutions to meet the present and future challenges.

"This is one one truly exciting and challenging time to be young by the great opportunities offered by information and communication technology (ICT) to meet your goals, but this technological world also brings risks and challenges. The ITU has welcomed our initiative to organize a global forum for young people around the world to come to our country to discuss the opportunities of the Internet and also on how they can promote health, entrepreneurship, safety and freedom . We are eager to welcome hundreds of young people who help advance consensus on global ICT; we want them to be the stars of this digital world , not just using it, but also helping to build a suitable architecture for its governance", said Mrs. Laura Chinchilla, President of Costa Rica.

BYND means Broadband and Youth Networking Dialogues, but BYND 2015 also refers to the English word “Beyond”. This is how the United Nations system is identifying the sustainable development agenda after the Millennium Development Goals, which was remade in 2015. All ideas that will be taken from this activity will facilitate to include ICTs as one of the pillars of the United Nations agenda. In fact, the activity allows youth to ensure their inclusion in the major decisions of this century, and which is likely to manifest their political priorities and decision-making: these will be included in a collective statement to be presented at meetings General Assembly of the United Nations later this month by Mrs. Laura Chinchilla, President of the Republic.

"What is the potential of digital technologies for development? Young people are the new players in this world, and they are the pioneers in the use of new technologies. This is the reason why their voices are essential to define the development priorities for their generations, especially through the use of digital tools at their disposal, and productive ways that empower them", said Alejandro Cruz, Minister of Science, Technology and Telecommunications.
Through a series of workshops, lectures and interactive discussions that revolved around the use of ICT for the common good, these young people discussed on topics defined, which are entrepreneurship, innovation and employment, lifestyles and health; cybersecurity and online protection for children, sustainable development and environment, and processes of governance and civil society.

"This summit will mark a difference between before and after of what is in the minds of the young. It is a matter of pride that the ITU has chosen our country to host the first edition of this event, and this is a evidence that the work we have been doing since years ago in favor of young people is paying off", said Mr. Manuel Obregon , Deputy Minister of Culture and Youth.

In addition to the main topics discussed, at the forum was held the BYND 2015 Hackathon. This was an event where creative young people with skills in programming, graphic design and project management  had 24 hours to develop prototypes of innovative technologies to support the scope of the Millennium Development Goals. Youth participants were accompanied by lectures, short training and relevant mentoring testimony of the industry.

Keynote speakers and guests of this activity were Mrs. Laura Chinchilla, President of the Republic , Mr. Hamadoun Touré , ITU Secretary- General , Mrs. Patience Jonathan, First Lady of Nigeria , Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani , Prince Catarí , Ms. Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the United Nations on Violence against Children, and Mrs. Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, vice president of the Dominican Republic, among others.

BYND 2015 was inclusive, because there is not only around 500 participants in the country, as well as there was enabled crouwdsourcing platform, or open collaboration online, available to those unable to participate in person. As of 1 September, this virtual community added 2,500 users and more than 900 individual ideas that have received 13,717 votes with nearly 11,068 comments . Even the tag # BYND2015en microblogging network Twitter has generated comments of 4.5 million people. Also, around 3,000 people from about 60 different countries have participated with hubs or centers of discussion from their cities and sent their comments online.

Links of interest:
· 2015 BYND homepage. See here the brochure of the event.
· 2015 BYND Program is available here, information on sessions and speakers here.
· Videos on BYND 2015 available here.
· Platform for crowdsourcing: http://ideas.itu.int/
· Community Google+
· YouTube Channel
· Conversations on Twitter # BYND2015

(Source: Presidencia de Costa Rica)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:16:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 11, 2013


- Young people from 60 countries share their ideas with world leaders
- There was 80 participants in Marathon for developing mobile and web tools.

Although their appearance and origin are diverse, around 500 young people between 18 and 25 years old gather in the country to converse in the same language: the technology.

The young people, including 120 Costa Ricans, are attending the World Youth Summit: BYND 2015, an encounter that challenges them to sculpt their future with weapons offered by today's technology.

The event is held from Monday September 09 until September 11 at the Crowne Plaza Corobicí.

During the first day, the attenders were integrated at various conferences, workshops and talks with a common goal: to draw conclusions and generate ideas that become the raw material to meet the  new called Millennium Development Goals, among which are reduction of poverty, child mortality and hunger and achieving universal primary education, promote gender equality and protect the environment.

With this desire, during the afternoon of Monday also began a marathon or “hackathon” that promotes the development of tools (such as apps) for mobile devices (phones and tablets) and web platforms.

Luis Diego Oreamuno, one of the coordinators, considers that the young people will work for 24 hours to create technology solutions in three areas: education, sustainability and health.

"We conducted a previous session with experts, we formed teams and now they can identify problems and propose a solution from technology", he said. Representatives from technology companies like Microsoft and Cisco talked with young people and gave them some advice. One of them, Howard Charney, Cisco vice president, said that "there is not a single person as intelligent as a group of people".

Those words went into the ears of young people as Cesar Lopez, from Technical School Don Bosco, who entered with five other partners to participate in the “hackathon”. " This event aims to generate different solutions to the problems facing the world today. It's a great opportunity to express different ideas of a new generation that has grown up surrounded by technology", Lopez held.

Also Akhtar Badshah, director of Microsoft 's Corporate Citizenship, made his contribution of inspiration: "A ¨hackathon¨ is a way to unleash creativity , integrating different people and perspectives. To give answers to the problems", Badshah encouraged.

(Source: La Nacion Newspaper)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 1:43:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, September 08, 2013

Each issue of ICT Update focuses on a specific theme relevant to ICTs for agricultural and rural development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, and features a selection of commissioned articles. The printed bulletin also contains a Guest editor contribution, Tech Talk, Resources, Dispatches and a ‘Question and Answer’ section.

This issue of ICT Update is about e-Agriculture strategies.

Issue 73- August 2013

Contents:

- Harnessing ICT strategies for ACP agriculture, Harsha Liyanage and Ken Lohento

- e-agriculture strategies: the case of Ivory Coast, Ken Lohento and Mark Speer, with contributions from Noël Kouable

- A telecom operator in West Africa, Fatoumata Doucoure and Catherine Flouvat

- CARICOM’s e-agriculture strategies, CARICOM

- ICT-triggered knowledge revolution in India, Madaswamy Moni Bookmark

- Bookmark:User-centred mobile app development

-Q&A:Catapulted into the information society, Jackson Miake

- ICT tools for the uneducated, Edward Addo-Dankwa

Further details


Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:46:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Four institutions of the capital began three training workshops for facilitators and supervisors of digital rooms of the Dominican Telecommunications Institute (Indotel), in order to engage staff of these centers in the fight for the eradication of violence against women in cyberspace (Internet network).

The two workshops was conducted by the Dominican National Commission for UNESCO (CNDU) and the Centre of Research for Female Action (CIPAF), with the support of the Dominican Telecommunications Institute (Indotel) and the National Commission for the Society Information and Knowledge (CNSIC).

The workshops, called "Computer Training Centers (ITC) in the fight against gender violence", are part of the Project "Stop Violence: The contribution of ICTs to end violence against women in the Dominican Republic" , sponsored by UNESCO in the country.

The training sessions focused in the issues of violence against women as an issue of power and inequality, and the role of CCI computer centers in the development of the community while working with a gender perspective, among others.

The workshops, which are held in the multipurpose room of Indotel, will take three days and involved more than 20 supervisors and facilitators of digital screens in the National District and Santo Domingo province.

(Source: CNSIC)

Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:33:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Rural Zimbabwe is characterised by a lack of proper infrastructure, a limited electricity supply and poor road networks. Traditionally, communication to these areas has always been limited.

However, over the past five years mobile phones have begun providing a means of communication, connecting Zimbabwe's rural population with urban dwellers.

According to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), a body mandated to issue licences in the postal and telecommunications sector, Zimbabwe now has a mobile penetration of 97 percent.

"The increase in mobile penetration has been triggered by increased investment in communication infrastructure in both urban and rural areas, meaning that marginalised people can now afford to use mobile phones", POTRAZ acting director Alfred Marisa told IPS.

Mobile phones have slowly become the simplest and cheapest mode of communication in this southern African nation.

According to the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency's 2011-2012 Poverty Income Consumption and Expenditure Survey, which was released in June, 7.7 percent of Zimbabwe's economically active population is unemployed. This is a marked contrast to previously reported unemployment figures of 85 to 90 percent.

The report also noted that 8.2 million Zimbabweans in rural areas are poor, while 10.7 percent of the rural population is unemployed. It is estimated that 72 percent of Zimbabwe's 12.75 million people live in rural areas.

But despite these high poverty figures for rural Zimbabwe, mobile phone usage is growing rapidly there.

According to Frost and Sullivan Growth Partnership Services, an international company that conducts business research to accelerate growth, "despite the high levels of unemployment, the number of mobile phone subscribers in Zimbabwe has increased from less than two million at the end of 2008 to more than 10.9 million in 2013".

According to Josham Gurira, an economist at the University of Zimbabwe, access to mobile phones will continue to change rural Zimbabwe.

"Access to information and communication technologies is now considered a basic human right and mobile phones have offered the best opportunity to enhance the digital divide which could have prevented it. The use of mobile technology has empowered many people and is regarded as a key tool in helping alleviate global poverty", Gurira told IPS.

"The adaption of mobile technology has redefined the way people communicate and the growth in mobile phone use has shaped a new way of engagement and connection. Mobile phones are providing Zimbabwe with an opportunity to develop", he said.


(Source: All Africa)

Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:26:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Thailand’s ICT Ministry is cooperating with Chulalongkorn University Demonstration School (elementary level) to pilot IT applications that could improve teaching effectiveness and education quality, under the national Smart Education plan. 




TOT, a State-owned telecom company, and a team of programmers have developed applications have developed educational software for the tablets. The Ministry is to pilot the educational tablets at the Chulalongkorn University Demonstration School.

It seeks to promote information technology as a medium of instruction in the school, improving effectiveness of education delivery, and enabling teachers to track the students’ progress and manage records efficiently.

Minister for ICT, Anudith Nakornthap, said, “With the ‘One Tablet PC per Child’ programme, the Ministry of ICT has accelerated the development of information technology for the education sector to meet international standards”.

The educational software is compatible with popular platforms, such as Windows, iOS and Android, in order to increase educational opportunities and encourage students to make extensive use of the tablets, the Minister added.

“Patterns of educational instruction are changing, as modern IT applications are developed for the education sector. This, combined with better connected government agencies and cloud services, has changed the potential of innovation in the education sector”, remarked the Minister.

In addition to IT infrastructure, he highlighted the need for developing curriculum standards, developing teachers’ IT skills and promoting research and evaluation in order to create sustainable transformation in the education sector.

The Minister shared, “The Thailand Smart Education programme is currently in pilot stage, and based on the results, the tablets will be extended to other schools in the future. The programme looks to transform the learning paradigm with a learner-centred development model and one-to-one digital classrooms. The programme aims to instil lifelong learning and allow students to learn from anywhere, at any time”.

Further details

Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:19:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

UNESCO’s Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development moves into a second phase in its open consultation with all stakeholders on the new concept of “Internet Universality”, with the release this week of a second version of a concept paper.

This follows a series of internal and external consultations by the Communication and Information Sector, most recently with the sister programmatic sectors at UNESCO. Since the process began at the WSIS+10 review meeting in February 2013, the concept has also been canvassed at eight international fora.

The concept of “Internet Universality” provides an overarching understanding of key elements of the Internet. These are the underlying norms that contribute to shaping the use and development of Internet: (i) free and human rights based; (ii) openness; (iii) accessible to all; and (iv) multi-stakeholder driven participation. The four can be summarized by the mnemonic R – O – A – M (Rights-based, Open, Accessible, Multi-stakeholder driven).

By bringing together UNESCO’s existing positions on the Internet, the concept of “Internet Universality” could help to frame much of UNESCO’s Internet-related work in education, culture, science, social science and communication-information for the strategic period of 2014-2021. It could provide a common point of reference and lead to enhanced synergies between sectors.

In addition, the concept could support UNESCO’s work in facilitating international multi-stakeholder cooperation in regard to the Internet, and it could also highlight what the Organization can bring to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development thanks all those who have commented on earlier drafts for their valuable suggestions. As part of an evolving discussion, the second version of “Internet Universality: A Means Towards Building Knowledge Societies and the Post-2015 Development Agenda” is offered for further feedback from all stakeholders.

(Source: UNESCO)

Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:10:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ICT4Ag conference will take place in Kigali, Rwanda, in November, discussing the ICT future of agriculture. 




Intending to spark conversation on the ICT influence on value chains, advocacy and policy development, the conference will promote the establishment of a dynamic and enabling environment in agricultural areas.

From November 4 to 8 farming, fisheries and livestock fields are invited to participate in the discovery of new innovations, learning about useful technology and sharing experiences with global stakeholders.

In this preparation meeting the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said that Farmers in Rwanda want to know how they can use new and existing ICT tools to boost their production.

Minister Nsengimana urges agriculture & ICT experts to see how new technologies can support the entire chain in agriculture process

On the other hand the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Agnes Kalibata said that new solutions will be introduced to boost agriculture sector in Rwanda; added that Youth will be able to bring new ideas which will be very useful to the whole African continent.

Over 400 participants are expected. Representing the public and private sector in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific and further afield, delegates will discuss how increased investment and adoption of ICTs in the agricultural sector will contribute to improved value chains and more effective advocacy and policy processes in agricultural and rural development (ARD).

Issues related to ICT trends and their impact on ARD, capacity building, enabling environments, scaling up and sustainability will also be discussed.

Participants include a variety of industry members such as academics, entrepreneurs, developers and operators.

Aimed at the media, a competition about the promotion of industry-based success stories was launched to discuss the enabling environment, gender main streaming through ICT and the promotion of agribusiness through ICT.

(Source: Ministry of Youth and ICT of Rwanda)

Saturday, September 07, 2013 11:00:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 29, 2013

Google is giving $25,000 dollars to each of the five most inspiring stories of how the web has played a pivotal role in transforming lives in Africa. As a nod to encouraging sustainable ventures, the money will be put toward improving winning entries. The competition, dubbed Africa Connected, runs from August 27 through October 31.

The idea of Africa Connected is more than just Google promoting its own products for corporate gain (though Google is undeniably pitching its products to new web users). Instead, the projects highlighted by the initiative will inspire others to change their community. The collection of success stories will also show how the internet can have a social and economic impact on Africa. As Google puts it, one of the most important ways to get people online is to “help increase the visibility of what African people are actually achieving on the web”.

The entry requirements are:
- Be 18 years of older and a resident of an African country (other than Sudan due to economic sanctions)
- Be willing to showcase how the internet, in conjunction with a Google product, has improved African lives
- Have a Google+ account

Individuals, teams, businesses, and NGOs are able to submit. Entrants may submit multiple stories and can vote for their own submissions. The deadline for entries is October 31st.

Judging looks to be a thorough process
Winners, slated to be announced in March 2014, will be selected across five categories and then matched against five criteria:
- originality of concept
- level of social/economic impact
- relevance to country/region
- use of Google products
- potential to scale

After submissions are collected, a shortlist will be narrowed down to 20 semi-finalists of which senior judges will limit to 10 finalists. The online community (those with a Google account) will then pick the five most engaging stories.

Further details

Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:30:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

After spending about six months in the process every year, Lobeni has managed with outstanding efforts to get her licence renewal so far, but this clearly costs her a lot of money and time that she often cannot afford. Just like Lobeni, nurses and midwives in Malawi have to follow these courses and ICTs are playing a role to make this possible in rural areas without the burden of travelling to main towns.

Thanks to an ICT-based Continuing Professional Development (CPD), implemented by IICD in collaboration with the National Organization of Nurses and Midwives (NONM) in Malawi, Lobeni has not only gained more credits to renew her licence, but she has also enhanced her computer skills, access to current health information and self assessment.

Besides more complex comprehensive solutions on e-learning systems (CMS, LMS, etc.) the project started right after the ‘stone age’, by having staff from NONM scan the official nurse manual, which was later saved as PDF and made accessible to all nurses at the health facility. NONM also bought laptops, modems and Internet bundles, and trained about 20 nurses in basic ICT skills. A CDP coordinator, who is in charge of grading the exams within this system, was also trained.

Common challenges usually found in rural and often impoverished communities, such as shortage of equipment and frequent power blackouts, can be overcome by expressly setting up solutions with minimum bandwidth and energy requirements. Yet in this kind of ICT-based projects, the main challenges are often people-related. In order to facilitate multi-stakeholder involvement and create local ownership, the project and technical solution are designed together with the implementing partner, including the capacity development activities, training, installation and customisation.

Aiming to explore and analyse the possibilities of taking the NONM’s CDP platform to the next level, IICD’s Technical Adviser Maurizio Bricola travelled to Malawi earlier this year, “we had a very productive first meeting that ended up with four main action points. After the meeting I had a session on Drupal and Quiz module with the ICT officer to discuss local installation and customisation”.

NONM made a prompt start in three hospitals, the Mchinji District Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre and St. Andrew Hospital in Kasungu, with a potential to reach out to about 1000 nurses.

Further details

Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:23:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Ejisu -Juaben Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Afrifa Yamoah Ponko, in collaboration with the management of Subah Infosolutions Ghana, has launched an Information Communication Technology (ICT) training centre at Ejisu for the youth to build their capacity in the assembling and repairs of computers and mobile phones.
The ICT centre, dubbed SITENPREC Project, is expected to provide opportunity for the youth to acquire entrepreneurial and employable skills to make them more competitive in the job market.

Sobah Infosolutions Ghana assembled 40 computers for the project, which is expected to motivate students from the basic to the tertiary levels to delve into the basics of e-learning and research to broaden their horizon.

In an address during the launching of the project, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Yaw Adusei, who was the guest of honour, commended the Ejisu-Juaben Municipal Assembly for collaborating with the management of Sobah Infosolutions to initiate the project.

He said the slogan of the project- bringing technology closer to the people- was in line with the government's plans to empower the people through the imparting of knowledge to them.

While urging the youth to take advantage of the project and register in their numbers to enable them access the facility, Mr Adusei advised them to "desist from abusing the facility to pursue cybercrimes and anti-social activities".

For his part, the Ejisu-Juaben Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Afrifa Yamoah Ponko, assured the people of the assembly's desire to always engage in productive partnership intended to promote the interest of the citizenry.

He pledged to further collaborate with Sobah Infosolutions to expand the facility for it to accommodate 100 students at a time. In his address, the Managing Director of Subah Infosolutions, Mr Birendra Sasmal, said besides offering opportunity for the youth to use the facility for e-learning, students who registered with them also stood the chance of acquiring entrepreneurial skills in ICT.

According to Mr Sasmal, the company had so far expended GH¢300,000 on the project and assured that with the launching of the e-learning at Ejisu, six more centres would be launched in other parts of the country to motive the youth to nurture their potentials in ICT programmes.

More details

Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:17:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Google has announced a grant offering female journalists and women in computer science, computer engineering or technical fields from Africa, Europe and the Middle East support to attend tech conferences.

The search giant will cater for travel as well as entry to various tech conferences in what the company says is an ongoing programme to encourage women to excel in computing and technology.

“As part of Google’s ongoing commitment to encourage women to excel in computing and technology, we are pleased to offer Women in Tech Conference and Travel Grants for female computer scientists”, read the announcement.

The grants will be paid after the conference and will be up to EUR 1,000 (US$1,300) with eligible conferences including the JSConf to be held in Berlin in September, Grace Hopper conference, set for October in Minneapolis, the Flossie conference to be held in Malta, in September, and Velocity conference, to be held in London, in November.
Google has placed deadlines from when the female journalists must apply, with the deadline for JSConf being August 18, Grace Hopper August 22, Flossie October 4, and Velocity conference October 6.

Google added that all applicants must have a strong academic background with demonstrated leadership ability.

(Source: Humanipo)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:11:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The report has been realized for the Millennia2015 International Conference, UNESCO, Paris, 3-6 Decem ber 2012. This work is a collaborative and participative contribution to the Foresight Research on the variable V08 “Women and eHealth: connected medical knowledge benefiting all”, conducted at the Destree Institute, Namur, Belgium and provides the results of the investigation on Women, Health and ICTs.

Based on the data collected, the study has considered four dimensions of the roles of women in eHealth:

1. Women as Beneficiaries (WB): Women are at the core of family healthcare in communities and have the greatest need to have access to and use ICTs for their personal health and that of their family members.
2. Women as Healthcare Professionals (WHP): Women are at the frontline, of family care in their role as healthcare workers in communities. They require ICTs to facilitate effective communication with other healthcare workers, with doctors, and patients.
3. Women as ICT professionals (WICT): Women are the engineers and technicians who develop innovative and adapted devices and applications that help reach the most isolated settings and communities.
4. Women as Leaders (WL): Women advocate at all levels, from raising new opportunities to partnering with the private sector, collaborating and networking, improving funding mechanisms, and leading eHealth initiatives in communities.

Proposed ICT Solutions
1. Radios and Televisions: WB, WHP
Radios and TVs continue to play a major role in the dissemination of health information and should be incorporated with mobile phones and Internet services to reach more women.
2. Mobiles, tablets, and other electronic devices: WB, WHP
mHealth or mobile health shows interesting results but remains limited to pilot projects that hardly expand at national and regional levels. Most women who received health related SMSs on their mobile phones prefer messages delivered by voice, using voice commands. An example of this speech-to-text application is the iPhone’s “Siri”, in which the user only has to be able to speak, not to read or write. Incoming messages could have a text-to-speech option, so that messages are “read” out loud to those unable to read.
3. Telemedicine: WHP
Telemedicine remains a “male” sector at all levels: medical, technical, and engineering. Women are beneficiaries as patients where such services are made available, yet just a few female doctors, nurses or midwives are active in Telemedicine services.
4. Free Call Lines: WB
Many WeHealth members emphasized the need to promote the adoption of free call lines that enable women to reach health centers and health service workers. These lines can be used in particular to support women living in difficult situations, such as domestic violence, natural disasters, war/conflicts, and as refugees.
5. Alternative energy solutions: WB
Where energy is scarce or unreliable, local solutions using solar or wind power show promise. Young girls in India have found a urine-based solution to provide enough energy for mobile phones.
Health Information.
6. One of the most cited areas of interest to women (WB) is receiving regular information on maternal and child health, family health, disease control, HIV/AIDS, malaria,
cancer and vaccination.
Full report

(Source: ECWT)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 9:58:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The nation’s capital has joined Cape Town and Stellenbosch in the race to roll out fast internet to the public, to the especial benefit of the poor, in a move that signals a newfound understanding of ‘digital rights’.

The idea that access to the internet is something other than a cutting-edge luxury has been slow to filter into South African discourse. Yet the evidence shows that access to the Internet is far from a luxury for the poor. It is better understood as an enabler of existing rights on a large scale, as well as the most powerful means of job creation and business creation currently known. The poor are least likely to receive government services timeously and fully, but also least able to complain about it and hold those responsible accountable. In a South African context in which one’s likelihood of receiving the services one is entitled to, rises exponentially with one’s ability to punish the officials concerned when they fail to provide the services, giving the poor access to advanced information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure can change lives.

Even where this rationale is not understood or accepted, the business case for free public wifi more than stands on its own, and some of the nation’s leading municipalities have duly set about making digital rights real.

The City of Tshwane aims to roll out free wifi to poor neighbourhoods, built-up areas and major centres of learning as early as November this year. The first phase will encompass the venerable Church Square, the University of Pretoria in Hatfield, the Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve campus, a community centre in Mamelodi, one of the nation’s largest townships, and another college.

Next year, Phase Two will focus on schools, with the total connectivity of all government schools and higher learning centres by 2016. This builds on the success of the city’s push to connect 100 municipal offices, libraries, and contact centres, now complete. Most hearteningly, the city’s approach is enlightened about the intersection between public investments and grassroots entrepreneurship: spare capacity on the city network will be sold to private service providers, who will be providing a fast internet service to parts of the city in which there is very little choice in internet provider – or no internet service at all.

(Source: The South African)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 9:49:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Ministry of Education announced on Monday 26 August its plan to upgrade schools in rural or remote areas by enhancing access to information communication technology services.

The ministry said it believed an effective use of ICT could overcome the limitations of education in the most remote areas of the country.
The ministry will first inject 5.9 billion won (US$ 5.3 million) to provide tablet computers and smart devices as well as wireless network connections for 300 schools with fewer than 60 students by next year.

It also plans to provide ICT workshops for students and teachers at the schools, and will gradually expand its support to other schools in the areas, the ministry said.

(Source: The Korea Herald)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 9:39:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 22, 2013


Multilateral Project Co- funded by the European Comission, under LLP Programme / Comenius: http://ictgogirls.eu/
The main goal of the Project is to empowering girls with the knowledge, skills and values to help them be able to create future opportunities for innovation and quality ICT related employment.

Period: 01/11/2012 - 31/10/2014 (24 months).

The experts behind this project belong to 7 institutions from 5 European Contries:
University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), Die Berater (Austria), Spoleczna Akademia Nauk (Poland), Institute Fraunhoffer IAO-Stuttgart Uni (Germany), CVO Antwerpen-Zuid (Belgium) and Donau-Universitat Krems (Austria).

Objectives:
- Produce a methodology and learning toolkit for secondary schools to promote ICT and entrepreneurship among their female students.
- Improve teachers methodologies to promote entrepreneurship and ICT skills among schools girls and deliver them support tools.
- Increase ICT skills for educational issues among schools girls.
- Show the empowerment potential of ICTs to girls in order to face their future choices in studies and work.
- Improve the following cross- curricular skills: Initiative, group work, language learning.
- Encourage cooperation between the worlds of education, training and work.
- Establish a sustainability plan involving business, ICT related institutions.

Look for more information here: http://www.slideshare.net/elearningcesga/ict-gogirls-project
or visit https://www.facebook.com/ICTGoGirls
Any question:
Maria R. Malmierca, coordinator: mjrm@cesga.es

(Source: CESGA)

Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:50:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Gauteng MEC for Education, Barbara Creecy urged girl learners to take up careers in Science and Technology when she addressed the Girl Learner Seminar Programme at Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, on  August 13, 2013.

As part of Women's Month celebrations, Sci-Bono has brought 1 600 girl learners from schools around Gauteng for a two-day Girl Learner Seminar. The invited learners will interact with women role models from industry and academia. There will be presentations and small group discussions aimed at encouraging and educating the girls on how to set personal goals and tackle some of the obstacles they might face in developing future careers.

Creecy urged girls to plan their post-school careers and to work hard to achieve success in the world of work. Highlighting the importance of science and technology to the economy, she encouraged girls to consider careers in this area.

She also called on girl learners to take advantage of the many opportunities in the science and technical fields in South Africa, because of the serious lack of skills in these sectors of the economy. Creecy promised that the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) would support girl learners who strived to perform well despite their backgrounds.

"There are many examples of women and young girls that have succeeded despite obstacles, because they are focused and determined to beat the challenges. What you achieve depends less on your background than on how hard you are prepared to work to be successful, despite the obstacles you may have to face", Creecy said.
She added: "There are plenty opportunities available for those learners who are prepared to strive for success. The GDE offers bursaries to the top learners in all our priority schools. The Gauteng City Region Academy (GCRA) has many additional bursaries available for learners. So, if you make the effort, we will be ready to support you and assist you to go all the way".

Creecy said that it was worth noting that in 2011, there were 14 316 girls who wrote the physical science exam. Over 57% passed and 653 girls achieved distinctions. In 2012, the number of girls writing physical science increased to 15 297 and the pass rate improved to just under 69% with 600 distinctions.

Creecy said that there should be no doubt about girls' abilities to excel in the sciences. The successful women scientists that were participating in the event were proof of important contribution that South African women are making to science. The next generation of women in science will have the opportunity to do even more.

Further details

Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:41:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Tablet-based learning has started taking shape in Malawi with the launch of Tablet-Based Learning project by a United Kingdom based educational software publisher EuroTalk.

The project currently being piloted in some schools in the country is a culmination of partnership between the governments of Scotland and Malawi. Government of Malawi through the ministry of education, science and technology launched the scheme in 2010 piloting the use of tablet technology in 30 schools with the EuroTalk app ‘Masamu’ (a local word for mathematics) which is intended to teach basic numeracy.

EuroTalk said in a statement that one of the leading Universities in the UK, The University of Nottingham will be evaluating the project next month in order to establish if children using EuroTalk’s ‘Masamu’ maths application learn faster than their classmates.

The statement which says the study will take place at Biwi Primary School, Lilongwe, which was selected for the project by the ministry of education, also says up to 300 children aged 5-6 will be involved in the study which will be led by Dr Nicola Pitchford, from the School of Psychology at The University of Nottingham. Children will be tested at the start of the evaluation, in pattern processing, motor co-ordination and simple maths skills before spending 30 minutes each day in the Learning Centre, currently under construction using the Masamu apps on iPad mini tablets.

“They will then be tested again after six weeks later, to examine what learning has taken place among these children compared to other students”, the statement says adding that if the results show significant educational gains, EuroTalk will scale up the project in Malawi. Andrew Ashe, EuroTalk’s managing director observes that in a country like Malawi, where class sizes often exceed 100 pupils, many children don’t get the learning opportunities they so desperately need.

“We believe that high quality, local language, educational applications on tablet technology can be life-changing, and we look forward to seeing what the study reveals”, he said.

The goal, EuroTalk says, is to bring the best possible education to one billion children, and the team sees the forthcoming evaluation as a vital step.
The company is using Malawi as a model and depending on how successful it will be, the project will expand to other countries across the world, producing the applications in each child’s local language.

EuroTalk, which was established in 1991, is a company best known for its range of language learning software in over 130 languages, which has been used by more than 20 million people worldwide.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:35:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Gauteng's 2 200 public schools will have access to uncapped wi-fi and 3G connectivity and 88 000 Huawei tablets will be distributed to students from next year as part of the province's e-Learning Solution.

The R396.2-million project will facilitate learning by addressing the digital divide and will provide all pupils an e-mail address and free internet access. It will replace the Gauteng Online Schools Programme, provincial Finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe said on Wednesday.

"The rebranded e-learning solution will be rolled out at the beginning of next year and will be up and running in January 2014 when schools reopen", Nkomfe said. "The Gauteng Online programme succeeded in improving computer literacy in public schools and demystified phobias associated with the world wide web".

The replacement of the initiative is expected to build on this foundation.

"Exposing our learners to e-learning techniques ought to occur at a tender age", he said. "We therefore elected an e-learning solution that could mediate meaningfully, but in a sustainable manner, while being financially viable".

Connectivity and cloud solution firm Cloudseed won a two-year contract to provide network connectivity for the project, following which the Gauteng Broadband Network will provide this service.

Short-term insurance will be provided for losses and damages, along with ongoing maintenance and support.

(Source: All Africa)

Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:24:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Nafham Project, a new online education platform, is working to improve the Egyptian education system by capitalizing on the power of the internet and modern technology. Created in 2012, Nafham, (meaning “we understand” in Arabic), offers interactive online classes for primary and secondary level students. Students have access to videos, social media websites, and other educational resources that teach Egyptian students curricula approved by the Egyptian Ministry of Education.
Students access the material by logging into nafham.com. The coursework is divided by semesters and the semesters are further divided into two additional parts. Instructors are allowed to post creative educational media that supplements the lessons. Parents can track students’ progress through regular reports. The site fosters student participation and accountability by utilizing social media websites like Facebook.

Nafham is unique because its content - which includes 6,845 videos for 3,000 primary and secondary level lessons – free for students. Its educational videos are between 15 and 20 minutes long. Lessons include a series of corresponding exercises and activities that further engage the students with the coursework. Various groups have had a hand in Nafham’s video production. Some videos are aired on other educational channels while others are created by volunteers and/or even fellow classmates that want to help their peers.

Currently, Egypt’s schools are over capacity. This overflow has taken a toll on the nation and the economy. The Egyptian Information and Decision Support Center reports that classroom size often exceeds 60 students. It “has a negative impact on student achievement and skill development, and at the same time opens the door to dropping out of school”, states Mohammad Habib, a founding member of Nafham. With over 1.1 million students, Egypt’s education system has trouble providing specialized education tailored to individual students’ needs. Additionally, many Egyptian families struggle to afford the US$100 tuition fees and private tutoring costs.

Nafham’s founders, Mohamad Habib, Mustafa Farhat, Hashem Ali, and Ahmad El Alfi, recognized this dilemma and other problems in Egypt’s education system. They decided to take action. Using the internet as the medium for improvement, they created the “learning management platform” in 2012. Some say it is like the Khan Academy of the Middle East.

The site wants to encourage a love of education and help students grasp the learning process in a digital age, while “erasing crippling cultural obstacles to education success that exist in some environments, such as the phenomenon of ostracizing successful students”. Nafham hopes this is only the beginning of success for Egypt’s education system and the rest of the country.

(Source: Open Equal Free web)

Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:05:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Most welcome as the virtual gateway of rural and enclaved areas to the world, the communities of Ako, Misaje, Jakiri, Oku and Ewoh in the North West Region now sound off with multi- purpose community telecentres.

The respective centres officially went functional from August 5-7, 2013 with the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Jean Pierre Biyiti-bi Essam, cris-crossing the communities with prescriptions for the populations to embrace and preserve the facility for posterity.

On -the-spot in the beneficiary Divisions of Bui, Donga Mantung and Momo, Minister Jean Pierre Biyiti-bi Essam said the telecentres are a precious gift of President Paul Biya whose commitment to develop the nation never dims. He said the centres meet standards and were conceived to serve the people without discrimination. He stressed that they are indispensible tools for human existence and development with revelations that more centres will be constructed to cover a majority of localities and lift their level of computer literacy. Conceived to take communication facilities to virtually every community, the telecentres enhance communication without tears. It is a poverty-alleviation project that checks rural exodus, creates indirect jobs, opens chances for competition in business ventures and enhances the government's resolve to decentralise. Each centre carries infrastructure, computers, information equipment and furniture worth about FCFA 70 million. They are open to the general public and cover compartments with opportunities for postal services, ICTs, telecommunications, training, financial services, telephone, internet, e-mail, typing, digitalised printing and video editing. They also have a lot to offer in telephone services, fax, photocopy, scanning, internet, online services, community radio services, research and secretariat works etc.

The commissioning exercise was a rare moment for beneficiary communities to show gratitude with gifts and messages that demonstrated their commitment to stand by the government for peace, progress and development. In Ewoh, the Mayor of Batibo council, Tenoh Lawrence saluted government's efforts to decentralize communications as a prerequisite for development. He prayed for the effective operation of the centres after the fanfare of inaugurals while an elite, Rt. Col Weriwoh Godfred hailed government for efforts to take Ewoh and neighbourhoods out of darkness with the planting of modern day communication facilities.

Further details

Thursday, August 22, 2013 9:44:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 15, 2013
In recognition of International Youth Day, Microsoft introduced on 12 August, the 4Afrika Scholarship program, as part of its 4Afrika Initiative, through which it will provide mentorship, leadership and technical training, certification, university-level education, and employment opportunities for promising African students.

Mentorship will be provided by Microsoft employees from around the world, and employment opportunities will include internships and both part-time and full-time jobs within Microsoft, as well as with the company’s more than 10,000 partners across Africa.

Through the company’s 4Afrika Initiative and YouthSpark program, Microsoft has committed to helping millions of Africans get critical skills for entrepreneurship and employability. The 4Afrika Scholarship program is one way the company intends to meet that goal, by helping ensure that promising youth have access to the education, resources and skills they need to succeed, regardless of their financial situations. To help redress gender disparity in higher education in Africa, the company is actively encouraging young women to apply.

Microsoft also announced that in the coming year it will provide 4Afrika Scholarships to 1,000 youth to pursue associate degrees in computer science and business administration with the first participating higher-education institution, University of the People. The institution is an online university dedicated to the democratization of higher education, which is affiliated with the United Nations, the Clinton Global Initiative, New York University and the Yale Law School Information Society Project.

“Together with participating education institutions, Microsoft’s goal with the 4Afrika Scholarship program is to level the playing field for talented young African minds who might not otherwise have the resources, enabling them to get the education and skills they need to thrive in technology-related fields”, said Patrick Onwumere, director of youth enablement, Microsoft 4Afrika. “The 4Afrika Initiative was designed to help ensure that Africa can become globally competitive, and investing in our highly motivated youth is a critical step toward making that a reality”.

Students wanting to apply for these first 4Afrika Scholarships to attend University of the People must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma and be proficient in English, since all coursework is taught in English. They must also have access to the Internet to participate in the online classes. To help address the connectivity issue, the company is making working space available in its Microsoft Innovation Centers in Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda and Botswana for successful applicants near those locations. In addition, Microsoft is working with various partner hubs across Africa to make similar arrangements for students in other locations.

“University of the People works hard to ensure that university-level education is a possibility for the masses, and through the 4Afrika Scholarship program, Microsoft is helping us extend that possibility even further in Africa”, said Shai Reshef, president, University of the People. “We are proud to be working with Microsoft to help create amazing opportunities and open new doors for Africa’s youth”.

Applications for 4Afrika Scholarships to University of the People can be submitted online at http://www.uopeople.org/4afrika. The first 4Afrika Scholarship students will begin classes in November 2013. Further information about the 4Afrika Scholarship program is available at http://www.youth4afrika.com.

(Source: IT News Africa)

Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:57:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Over 48 girls from different secondary schools across the country received training on the use of ICT's at Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology in a programme dubbed Camp TechKobwa.



The five day training program organized by Peace Corps in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and ICT was closed on Friday last week.
Lyla Fujiwara, head of Camp TechKobwa said that the programme focuses on inspiring young women to become the next generation of Rwandan technology entrepreneurs by developing their skills and creativity in using technology.

"We wanted to inspire girls to have courage to approach technology and also provide access to computers, remove any fear from them of using technology such that they know that they can also participate and become leaders in the ICT sector" Fujiwara explains.

Patrick Rwabidadi, a Senior Technologist at the Ministry of Youth & ICT said that the ministry had embarked on this initiative to bridge the gap between males and females in the ICT sector.

Rwabidadi further said that camp TechKobwa was an ideal way to encourage young women to become active in the ICT sector by building their confidence and self-esteem in the use of technologies.

He called on the girls that had received this training to start media and computer clubs in their schools such that they can share the knowledge acquired with other students.

Acknowledging the gap of women in the ICT field was Akaliza Keza Gara of Shaking Sun Ltd that deals in designing websites and graphics, who said that the ICT sector was clearly male-dominated.

"Having girls in ICT is still a challenge that we are trying to address because most of the professionals in this field are men. So we have been encouraging young women to join the field and study ICT. Even those who are pursuing other careers ought to study it on the side because those skills are transferable in any carrier" Akaliza explains.
Bellis Kizza a student of Gashora Girls' Academy said that she had learnt a lot about computers like how to make video, programming using scratch and how to type faster. She said as a computer student the training had helped improve her knowledge in ICT and was also inspired to become an entrepreneur and technician in the future. The girls participated in several fun and educational activities and were also given an opportunity to interact with women pursuing careers in both media and technology.

Further information

Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:51:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |