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 Thursday, November 07, 2013


“Women In African History: An E-Learning Tool” corresponds to the two global priorities of UNESCO – Priority Africa and Gender Equality – and represents a crucial step to expand and disseminate knowledge of the role of women in African history to counter prejudices and stereotypes in the framework of “The Pedagogical use of The General History of Africa”. In line with UNESCO’s Gender Equality Action Plan, the Project seeks to empower women through ICTs and access to information and knowledge to promote an accurate understanding of their role in the economic, social, cultural, and political development of the region.

“Women in African History: An E-Learning Tool,” implemented by the Knowledge Societies Division in the Communication and Information Sector of UNESCO, is an internet platform that consists of multimedia content including comic strips, interactive pedagogical units, audio modules, and quizzes in order to highlight the role of women in African History.

The first phase of the project (2012/2013) is dedicated to the development of the architecture of the platform and the production of the first eight modules; a particular emphasis is given to historical women figures from Africa and the African Diaspora. In this way, the project develops ICT tools for knowledge acquisition and sharing that encourages the general education and ICT capacity of young women, promotes the use of ICTs, and capitalizes on intangible heritage to promote the link between culture, education, technological innovation and sustainable development.

Further details

Thursday, November 07, 2013 4:44:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

This publication is informed by the findings from recent research focused on three projects under the Connect4Change (C4C) Economic Development programme located in western Kenya, which focus on enhancing agricultural productivity and access to markets. The research investigated the linkages between the introduction and the use of ICT in farming and the interest of youth in farming and value chain development.

Attracting the youth into Agriculture: changing the perspective of farming from a back breaking, hardly remunerative, labour consuming task to a much more profitable and honest source of income.

Download the Full Report here.

(Source: IICD)

Thursday, November 07, 2013 4:39:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


“Fear” was the word used often by women from Ngöbe-Buglé indigenous community in Costa Rica when they talked about their first experience in front of a microphone, computer or video-camera. Even more crippling than fear to speak in public or ask someone a question is a profound belief that a woman’s role should be limited to taking care of children and homes.

The exercise which solicited ideas for radio stories about Ngöbe-Buglé home-makers revealed that, although women practice traditional cooking, handicrafts and medicine on a daily basis, they do not consider themselves as guardians of traditions. Usually this role is reserved to sukia, a healer in indigenous societies across Central America. On their way to the knowledge society, Ngöbe-Buglé, Sutiaba, Nahoas-Nicarao, Chorotegas-Nahuas-Mangues y Cacaopera-Matagalpa and Guna communities have to count with illiteracy, unemployment and poverty. High rate of teenage pregnancies affects the number of girls continuing their studies.

To organize a series of workshops on ICTs, radio and video for women from indigenous communities in Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, UNESCO partnered with the Sustainable Development Network (RDS) NGO and the Indigenous Movement of Nicaragua, as well as Centre for Social Development Studies (CEDES) NGO in Panama. From July to October 2013, the workshops were taking place in San Felix, Chiriqui province in Panama; La Casona, Punta Arenas province in Costa Rica; and in Managua for participants from Pacific, Centre and North regions of Nicaragua.

After theoretical and practical courses, women recorded and edited stories about traditions, legends, cosmology as well as everyday community life. In the Rural College of La Casona, trainees scripted, played, filmed and edited socially-important messages. In Nicaragua, training yielded 12 audiovisual products and 20 radio and audiovisual pieces in Panama and Costa Rica. More than 75 women, mostly mistresses of families, acquired a combined set of competencies (knowledge, skills and attitude), graduating from users of mobile phones to potential producers of information and media content, who can make their voice heard. More workshops and exchange meetings are planned until December 2013.

UNESCO will continue strengthening communication capacities of indigenous communities, in particular women, with objective of introducing audiovisual content generated by the communities into media at provincial and national levels.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, November 07, 2013 4:18:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Donato Tramuto, the Founder ofHealth eVillages, announced last week that the organization has made a grant to the Lwala Community Alliance (LCA) for comprehensive Internet service that will improve connectivity between LCA clinicians in rural Kenya. The grant was announced during a visit to Lwala by Tramuto and other members of the Health eVillages team.

With this grant, LCA clinicians working in rural communities in Migori County, Kenya, will be able to communicate and consult directly with doctors at the LCA Hospital in Lwala to help them make critical decisions in the field for their patients. LCA programs focus both on treatment at the Lwala Community Hospital and prevention through health education and outreach in the surrounding communities.

Health eVillages is a program founded by Tramuto and Physicians Interactive in partnership with the not-for-profit Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights (RFK Center). Health eVillages provides iPod(R), iPad(R) and other handheld devices equipped with specialized references and clinical decision support tools to improve primary and preventive healthcare in underserved areas around the world.

"Health eVillages is excited to expand our support of the Lwala Community Alliance to promote better healthcare through wellness, preventative and medical care initiatives", said Tramuto, who is also the CEO and Chairman of Physicians Interactive. "The LCA is dedicated to providing comprehensive care to its patients throughout the region, many of whom cannot make the journey to the main clinic in Lwala. With this comprehensive Internet service, clinicians in remote rural areas are now able to communicate directly on site with doctors back at the Lwala Community Hospital to immediately discuss diagnoses and treatment options, instead of having to travel back to the hospital".

The Lwala Community Alliance was founded in 2006 by brothers Milton Ochieng, M.D., and Fred Ochieng, M.D., to create sustainable solutions for the Lwala community. The Vanderbilt University Medical School graduates created the LCA to fulfill the vision of their late parents to build a hospital and provide healthcare for residents throughout Migori County.

"We are honored to receive this grant from Health eVillages to improve the communications with our clinicians in the field", said James Nardella, LCA's Executive Director. "Due to the threats of HIV, malaria, other infectious diseases and poor sanitation, life expectancy in the region hovers just above 40 years. With this grant, our clinicians will be able to better serve our patients in a more immediate manner in remote rural areas. This will enable the residents of Migori County to take a more proactive role in their own comprehensive well-being".

(Source: HealthCare IT News)

Thursday, November 07, 2013 4:10:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Nigeria’s ministry of communication technology has unveiled a new set of initiatives aimed at empowering women and girls in the ICT sector.

Initiatives planned to boost the representation of women in the sector include ‘Smart Women Nigeria’, ‘1,000 Girls in ICT’ and the ‘ICT Girls Clubs’.

According to ICT minister, Omobola Johnson, the various initiatives are geared towards educating, empowering, developing and making women and girls “ICT savvy”.
According to the minister, two of the initiatives, the Smart Women Nigeria and the 1,000 Girls ICT training programme are planned to be launched on Monday, while the ICT Girls Clubs is expected to be launched in January 2014.

“The aim of these clubs is to help to bridge the existing digital divide between boys and girls and remove the barriers that discourage girls from embracing ICTs. The goal is to ensure that more girls embrace and adopt careers in ICTs. The clubs will teach animation, website development, blogging, software development, graphics design, games, computer programming among other", Johnson said.

Smart Women Nigeria, developed by the United States-based social enterprise, ChangeCorp, is to be launched in collaboration with women’s empowerment group, WIMBIZ.

The initiative, according to Johnson, seeks to promote the development of women in Nigeria by harnessing the power of mobile communication tools provided by ICTs. She said the Smart Women initiative would target women in a range of income brackets. The programme will offer them learning in communication skills, banking, financial, health, and family work/life balance issues.

Set to be launched in collaboration with Huawei, the 1,000 Girls in ICT initiative aims to equip 1,000 girls with crucial ICT skills necessary for empowerment and development of the girls.

Over three days, the girls will be trained in telecommunication networks, transmission network and GSM, LTE, WCDMA and other ICT skills. According to the minister, upon completion of the first phase, the top 200 students based on performance will be given further training to become Huawei-Certified Network Associates.

(Source: ITwebAfrica)

Thursday, November 07, 2013 3:52:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF announced a collaboration with UNICEF Uganda on U-report, a free SMS-based reporting tool that allows Ugandan youth to communicate with their government and community leaders using their cell phones.

Launched in 2011, U-report began as a grassroots text-messaging system that conducts weekly polls for youth to share observations/opinions and speak out on issues affecting their lives. To date, more than 240,000 young adults in Uganda have joined the program. In addition to responding to surveys, U-reporters send in 'unsolicited' text messages, hoping to be heard on topics ranging from health, education and gender-based violence. Today, UNICEF receives an average of 170,000 text messages per month. Approximately 20,000 of these are unsolicited messages and initial analysis suggested that seven percent of these require immediate action from community leaders or the government. As a result of U-report's growth, the volume of diverse data was becoming a challenge for the existing system, making it difficult to identify what emerging issues were trending and which were the most urgent messages. Since February 2013, U-report has been using text analytics and machine learning technologies from IBM Research to help deal with the flood of information by automating the classification of messages. UNICEF Uganda and IBM Research deployed A-Class, a text classification system trained to understand the content of the text messages and analyzes the data much faster, and with much more accuracy.

IBM analytics, working in combination with UNICEF Uganda's existing classification process are being used by UNICEF, partners and community leaders to make more informed decisions about where to place, and how to prioritize, development and relief work efforts.

"This project has the potential to change the lives of young people in Uganda simply by giving them a platform to communicate and be heard", said Dr. Sharad Sapra, Representative, UNICEF Uganda.

"Today we've created a richer U-report that makes sense of streams of data in real-time", he said. "This technology helps us understand the real impact of policies and development programs, the pulse of the nation at any given time and it even provides an early warning system on disease outbreaks or where we need to focus relief work".

(Source: All Africa)

Thursday, November 07, 2013 3:46:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 01, 2013
PREAMBLE

We, the participants in the second Women With the Wave High Level Forum Series on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Media Inclusion of Women and Girls and Persons with Disabilities, held in Hanoi, Vietnam on the 23rd and 24th October, 2013, make this affirmation of commitment to its goals and outcomes and to the empowering of women and girls and persons with disabilities through media and ICTs.

The first Women With the Wave Forum was held in Seoul, Korea in October 2012.  From that two-day forum the Statement on Empowering Women through Media and ICTs was developed and supported by participants and sponsors.  The statement included a commitment to overarching goals in relation to the empowerment of women and girls to fully participate in, and have access to, the media and information and communication technologies (ICT). It also provided a number of potential initiatives for practical application across the region and a call for participants and sponsors to engage and promote these initiatives. In the second forum 2013 we recognise that another diversity group, persons with disabilities, should be targeted for digital inclusion and employment opportunities in the media and ICT and identified necessary measures to promote their digital inclusion and employment opportunities in media and ICTs.

Therefore, we support a reinforcement of the 2012 Women with the Wave Statement and a call to move forward to implement the updated actions arising from presentations and discussions from the 2013 forum. We also support the additional commitment and relevant activities and outcomes for persons with disabilities.

In thanking the organizers of the 2013 Forum, the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Vietnam Television (VTV) and other partners, we note that women and girls make up 50 per cent of the world’s population and there are one billion people living with some form of disability and that equal rights and opportunity underpin healthy economies and societies.
Further, we recognize that the media has a crucial role to play in promoting women and persons with disabilities’ full participation in every aspect of life and society and, to this end, we invite ITU and ABU to endorse this statement with a view to seeking to assist in the practical implementation of its recommendations.

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

COMMITMENT

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

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

We are committed to promoting widespread and affordable accessible media and information and communication technology and a more inclusive media and ICT environment for persons with disabilities by being able to:

- work in the media and ICT fields across a range of levels and occupational groups on and off the screen;
- have improved access to technological and digital platforms and use accessible media and  ICT including multilingual and localised content;
- contribute to a positive and balanced portrayal across media and technological platforms.

IMPLEMENTATION

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

-development of a diversity action plan for ABU in 2014;

-implementation of the Broadcasting for All: Focus on Gender guidelines that include strategic and practical applications for use in media and ICT workplaces to promote and implement a gender mainstreaming corporate culture throughout organizations particularly focusing on policies and training that include workplace behaviour, work and family balance conditions of service, positive gender initiatives and career development;

-encouragement for the determining of a framework for the broad provision of training and access to technological and digital media by women and girls and persons with disabilities;

-applying existing research, surveys and findings of the portrayal, stories, faces and voices of the female population as well as persons with disabilities across the region and formulating a broad strategy for the application of fair representations across organizations and platforms and to change stereotypes in media content, language and presentation;

-championing media leaders who promote content and balanced images of girls and women and persons with disabilities;

-piloting UNESCO’s Gender Sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM) as a practical tool to assess and encourage gender equality and women’s empowerment in media;

-collaborating with partners, such as the ITU, to promote women and girls in media and ICTs, including developing programming story lines with women and ICT careers, organising events on International Girls in ICT Day, promoting the Women’s Digital Literacy Campaign and supporting the recommendations of the 2013 Broadband Commission Working Group on Broadband and Gender;

-securing industry-wide commitments to take steps towards positive change to promote success stories on radio and television broadcasts;
-sharing existing resources amongst stakeholders, particularly in regard to gender and disability;

-gaining specific attention and assistance, from the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) through its various specialized departments and its member organizations, to the needs of smaller media institutions (such as in island regions and remote areas), thus enabling out-reach to women and girls and persons with disabilities and their empowerment in marginalized societies;

-development and distribution of educational modules for use in secondary schools, tertiary education institutions and other scholastic agencies (and, where applicable, by distance learning modes and techniques) to introduce students to gender and media/ICT issues, and the role of media in society;

-making use of accessible broadcasting tools such as the ITU report, Making Television Accessible and the ITU Standardization Bureau Focus Group on Audio Visual Accessibility toolkit to work toward accessible media and ICTs for persons with disabilities, including by setting targets for introducing accessible broadcasting, accessible emergency communications and supporting a campaign for the accessible broadcasting of the 2016 Paralympic Games.

-adopt measures to ensure the early warning system and disaster risk reduction programs are accessible for persons with disabilities and meet universal design principles and UNCRPD, including provisions for access to alternative communication systems.

CONCLUSION

We recall the inspirational discourse of the two-day ABU/FES/ITU/UNESCO/VTV sponsored Women With the Wave High Level Forum and, in particular, the successful media and ICT case studies and models shared by speakers from throughout the region. The collegiality of fellow Forum participants, the professionalism of the videos and films they exhibited to the Forum, the commitment of keynote presenters and the atmosphere of optimism expressed by all present have reinforced our belief that affirmative action on the Forum recommendations is vital to ensuring the forward progress of the empowerment of women and girls and people with disabilities through media and ICTs.
To this end, we call on all who can assist to recognize the digital wave now sweeping the world and to join us in supporting the preparation of women and girls and people with disabilities for the opportunities and benefits which the knowledge society is now bringing to families worldwide and which will do so even more in the future.

******

Friday, November 01, 2013 4:59:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The FCC's Accessibility and Innovation Initiative is pleased to commemorate October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

In recent years and on a global scale, the spread of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices has been dramatic. A driving force behind this has been the revolution in mobile apps. Hundreds of thousands of apps have been developed for various mobile platforms, including Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Nokia, and Windows Phone. From a disability perspective, apps may be subdivided into the categories of accessible apps and assistive apps.

For the disability community, there are two vital kinds of apps: accessible and assistive. An accessible app is designed according to accessibility guidelines for user interfaces so that people with a range of physical or mental capabilities can operate the software successfully, such as people with visual, hearing, dexterity, or cognitive disabilities. An accessible app generally has a mainstream rather than disability-specific purpose. It benefits a broad user base in the accomplishment of human tasks that are commonly pursued.

An assistive app, on the other hand, helps people with particular impairments surmount what might otherwise be experienced as limiting consequences of a disability, (e.g., identifying paper currency to a blind person, facilitating direct sign language communication for a deaf person, inputting text from dictation by someone with a dexterity impairment, or giving reminders to someone with a cognitive disability). Naturally, an assistive app also has to be an accessible app to those who particularly benefit from it.
Mobile apps — both accessible and assistive — are showing great potential for improving the lives of people with disabilities. This is partly because of two other technological trends that enable mobile functionality: cloud computing and broadband connectivity. The convergence of these technologies means that an app can solve complex problems almost instantaneously by quickly delegating the analysis to a specialized computer at a distant location and then returning the result to the user, who is often unaware of what is being done locally or in the cloud. The portability of the mobile device means that a person with a disability can carry a powerful, supportive problem-solving device wherever he or she goes -- at home, at play, or at work.

Raising the level of mobile accessibility tends to raise the level of disability employment. Apps are continually being developed to improve productivity in almost every profession. Many are completely free while most others cost only a nominal amount. Each mobile platform usually makes it easy to search for and install apps from an online store. Commercial apps typically offer a trial version so that evaluating accessibility is possible in advance.

As we close out National Disability Month, here are some related resources:
- The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy promotes National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).
- The FCC's Accessibility Clearinghouse contains extensive data on accessibility features of mobile phones and on free, assistive apps.
- Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act mandates accessibility of information and communication technologies that are produced or purchased by the federal government, including mobile technologies.
- The federal government offers a gallery of free mobile apps produced by various agencies.
- Federal agencies also contribute to a catalog of mobile code snippets and developer tools so that useful apps may be produced more easily.
- The World Wide Web Consortium has published best practices for the design of websites intended to be browsed on mobile devices.
- CTIA has collected links to accessibility guidelines for app developers targeting various mobile platforms.

(Source: Official FCC Blog)

Friday, November 01, 2013 4:04:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The link between disability and poverty is, in the words of the World Bank, “strong, and goes in both directions”. Many people with disabilities struggle to survive every day in the wake of conflicts and wars, which swell their numbers. This exacerbates the delivery of basic services hitting the disabled, especially women, even harder. Stigma and exclusion from education often prevail. Thus simply accessing the fundamental right to education becomes precarious.

Yet educating a child with learning disabilities is a sound, long-term investment. Not only does education reduce welfare costs and reliance on household members, it also minimises discrimination and alleviates poverty in the process.

According to estimates by the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report 2007, most disabled children in Africa do not go to school at all. Currently 72 million children of primary school age worldwide are not in school. And of those, one third suffers from disabilities.

In view of the data, achieving the EFA Targets and MDGs by 2015 may yet prove impossible unless access and the quality of education improve: and eLearning may well hold the answer. Online learning for the disabled has to become user-friendly and take their individual needs into account, whether that means giving the blind more time to use assistive technology or ensuring that audio files for the hearing-impaired are accompanied by transcripts and captions.

Crucial assistive technology in education ranges from low-tech options such as reading stands to high-cost computer technology such as Braille display. Although text-to-speech software has vastly improved opportunities for those with disabilities to engage with ICTs, the real deal comes in the shape of hardware complete with loudspeakers, a Braille keyboard and screen-reader software which converts all text on a screen to audio output. Similar programmes transcribe content onto Refreshable Braille displays.

However, all these assistive technologies come at a cost. Usually, the combined average cost comes to around 9,000 euros. Even with a state allowance, footing such a bill is no mean feat for anyone – disabled or otherwise – living on an average salary. Fortunately, several projects are underway to find affordable solutions.

Thus the question arises: how are educational institutions in Africa faring?

A three-year research scheme piloted by Kenyatta University in 2007 saw the Dolphin Pen project target 200 students in secondary and tertiary education. Conceptualized by the international charity Sightsavers, this Dolphin pen is a lightweight USB drive containing screen reading and magnification software, now available at cost price for organisations working with the blind in Africa and India.

Governments are also doing their part. Last year Malawi, a country in which less than half of 15 – 29-year-olds with disabilities ever go to school, and only 28% find work, passed the Disability Act, thereby guaranteeing the right to non-discrimination in education and employment. The impact remains to be seen.

In June of this year, the World Intellectual Property Organization said that it will negotiate an international copyright treaty to improve access to books for the blind. IPA Secretary General Jens Bammel said: “Together with libraries for the visually impaired, online booksellers and the vendors of smart phones and e-book readers, publishers are producing more and more books in the formats that visually impaired people (VIP) need”.

(Source: eLearning Africa)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:49:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Telecentre.org Foundation is partnering with Ashoka Changemakers and General Electric in a brand new initiative called, "Women Powering Work: Innovations for Economic Equality in MENA". We believe that there is a multiplier effect of investing in women. Empowering women economically not only contributes to economic growth, but also enhances the wellbeing and resilience of societies as a whole.

The Women Powering Work: Innovations for Economic Equality in MENA online competition is looking for innovations that enable the full economic participation of women. The competition opens for entries on August 21st, 2013, offering three prizes of $25,000 each to the most innovative solutions. Visit the contest online until November 6th to enter your own idea or to nominate a leading social innovator.

On October 22, join us in a special Twitter Chat, which will announce 2 of the early entry prize winners. Details of the chat are as follows:



Follow #womenWork hashtag on Twitter to receive updates about the competition.

(Source: Telecentre.org)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:39:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Do you have a winning product or service for women?

Submit an entry by 29 November to win the GSMA mWomen Global Mobile Award

The GSMA mWomen Programme aims to increase resource-poor women’s access to and use of mobile phones and life-enhancing mobile services in low- and middle-income countries. Launched in October 2010, the initiative is a key industry response to the findings of the GSMA and The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s Women and Mobile: A Global Opportunity study, which estimated that 300 million fewer women subscribed to mobile than men, suggesting a US$ 13 billion missed market opportunity.
Today, the GSMA mWomen programme objectives are to:

- Encourage industry to serve resource-poor women
- Increase availability of life-enhancing value-added services
- Promote solutions to women’s barriers to usage.

The programme pursues these objectives by offering seed funding and consulting support to help mobile operators and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) design and launch products and services to increase women’s access and use of mobile. The programme also generates and shares insights on the commercial and social value of serving women, as well as emerging lessons about economically sustainable ways to serve women with mobile at scale.

The GSMA mWomen Award celebrates products, services, distribution models, devices, applications or other innovations that increase mobile access and use by resource-poor women in low- and middle-income countries. For example, in addition to winning this prestigious award last year, Ooredoo’s Asiacell increased the proportion of women in its subscriber base from 20% to 40%, reaching nearly two million women, through its suite of products and services for the women of Iraq.

Shortlisted candidates will be published by the GSMA in January 2014, and one winner in each category will be announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday 25th February 2014.

Further details

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:31:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
                                                     
Invitation for a consultation
by ITU and UNICEF on
Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection

The draft Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection have been prepared in the context of the International Telecommunication Union’s Child Online Protection (ITU COP) initiative and apply to the safety of children when using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). They aim to provide advice on how industry can work to help ensure children’s safety when using the internet or any of the many associated technologies or devices which can connect to it or use it, including mobile phones and games consoles. The draft guidelines have been developed through an initial consultation of the ITU COP members and are now open to a broader consultation until 29 November 2013.

The purpose of these Guidelines is to:
- Establish a common reference point and guidance to the ICT and online industries
- Provide guidance to companies on identifying, preventing and mitigating any adverse impacts of their products and services on children’s rights
- Provide guidance to companies on how to promote children’s rights and responsible digital citizenship among children and young people.
- Suggest common principles that, though requiring different models of implementation for different industry players, could potentially form the basis of national or regional pan-industry commitments.

A copy of the draft version of the Guidelines for Industry on Child Online Protection is available here [PDF] along with a set of questions at the end to facilitate your input and feedback on the draft.

Responses can be sent to the following mailboxes: cop@itu.int and csr@unicef.org. This feedback will provide input for the development of the final Guidelines will be released in January 2014. All feedback will be treated as confidential. An anonymous summary will be provided following the consultation. We appreciate your valuable time and support for the initiative.

For further information, please contact the UNICEF CSR unit on csr@unicef.org (Eija Hietavuo and Amaya Gorostiaga) or the ITU COP on cop@itu.int (Carla Licciardello).

Further information

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:16:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A new study commissioned by Intel Corporation and conducted by Penn Schoen Berland examining global attitudes toward technology innovation challenges existing perceptions on technology champions and hotspots. The research reveals millennials (ages 18 to 24) are the least enthusiastic about technology today yet are optimistic for future technology that delivers a more personalized experience, while women in emerging markets are the most optimistic about innovations in technology.

The "Intel Innovation Barometer" reveals millennials globally show a stark contrast to their reputation as digital natives who can't get enough technology in their lives. A majority of millennials agree that technology makes people less human and that society relies on technology too much.

However, millennials also believe technology enhances their personal relationships (69 percent) and have great hope that innovations will positively impact education (57 percent), transportation (52 percent) and healthcare (49 percent). This generation is also slightly more willing than their oldest cohorts to anonymously share birth dates, GPS records and online shopping history if it helps to improve experiences.

"At first glance it seems millennials are rejecting technology, but I suspect the reality is more complicated and interesting", said Dr. Genevieve Bell, anthropologist and director of Interaction and Experience Research at Intel Labs. "A different way to read this might be that millennials want technology to do more for them, and we have work to do to make it much more personal and less burdensome".

Millennials want future technology to make life better, more simple and fun. Eighty-six percent believe technology innovation makes life simpler, and more than one-third think technology should know them by learning about their behavior and preferences. They want experiences that help them stay in the moment and be their best selves.

Women Carry the Tech Torch
The survey revealed that older women and those living in emerging markets are enthusiastic about the role of technology in their lives. Globally, women over 45 years of age are slightly more likely than younger women to say that people don't use enough technology. They also are more likely to say that technology makes people more human, helping to deepen their relationships.

These female tech fans are even more pronounced in emerging markets such as China, where more than 7 out of 10 women over the age of 45 believe people don't use technology enough. Women in emerging markets across ages believe innovations will drive better education (66 percent), transportation (58 percent), work (57 percent) and healthcare (56 percent). Women in emerging markets would be willing to embrace technologies others may consider to be too personal to improve their experiences: software that watches their work habits (86 percent), students' study habits (88 percent) and even smart toilets that monitor their health (77 percent).

"Women historically have become avid users of technology when that technology solves a problem, helps us organize our lives and that of our families as well as aids us in saving time and time shifting", added Bell. "I have to wonder whether this data is showing that women are optimistic because they see technology innovation that is starting to deliver on the promise of better fitting into the rhythms of our days, helping with our specific concerns and needs, and creating new compelling experiences that women and men alike will find valuable".

(Source: Intel Newsroom).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:33:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Getting more girls interested in a digital career and getting more women into digital jobs would benefit the digital industry, women themselves and Europe's economy. This is the key finding of the European Commission survey on women active in the ICT sector, published last week.

According to the study, there are now too few women working in the ICT sector:

1.Of 1,000 women with a Bachelors or other first degree, only 29 hold a degree in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) (as compared to 95 men), and only 4 in 1000 women will eventually work in the ICT sector.
2.Women leave the sector mid-career to a greater extent than men and they are under-represented in managerial and decision-making positions (even more than in other sectors).
3.Only 19.2% of ICT-sector workers have female bosses, compared to 45.2% of non-ICT workers.

But if the trend were reversed and women held digital jobs as frequently as men, the European GDP could be boosted annually by around € 9 billion (1.3 times Malta's GDP), according to the study. The ICT sector would benefit since organisations which are more inclusive of women in management achieve a 35% higher Return on Equity and 34% better total return to shareholders than other comparable organisations.

The study also suggests that women who work in the ICT sector earn almost 9% more than women in other parts of the economy, and also have greater higher flexibility in arranging their working schedules and are less susceptible to unemployment (by 2015, there will be 900,000 unfilled ICT positions in the EU).

European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes said: "We now know, beyond doubt, that more women in a business mean a healthier business. It is high time the IT sector realised this and allowed women a chance to help the sector and Europe's economy benefit from their enormous potential".
The study also suggests four priority areas where action should be taken:

1.Building a renewed image of the sector among women and society, with actions such as disseminating most appealing ICT topics for young women (exciting, diverse, profitable etc.);
2.Empowering women in the sector, e.g. promoting, together with industry, harmonised European educational curricula to foster clear and straightforward ICT careers paths;
3.Increasing the number of women entrepreneurs in ICTs, e.g. improving access to seed and venture capital programs for women entrepreneurs;
4.Improving working conditions in the sector, e.g. by highlighting the improved performance of businesses employing women.

Further details

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:28:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


In several countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, women have equal access to Internet than men, but  women have disadvantage respect the use. This situation limits both personal and professional development of the female population than growth with equity in the countries of the region under the new technological paradigm, a new study released last week by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The rate of Internet use among women is on average 8.5 % lower than of men in 10 countries with available information included in the document “Women in the Digital Economy: Overcoming the threshold of inequality”, whose findings have feeded the work of the XII Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, which was held last week in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The digital economy includes the telecommunications infrastructure - particularly broadband networks - industries of information and communications  technology (ICT) - hardware , software and applications- and the degree of users' digital literacy.

In all countries has increased, in recent years, the proportion of men and women who report using the Internet from any access point , but only in Brazil , Mexico and Uruguay the gender gap narrowed. In the rest of countries widened. The difference between women and men is nearly 5 % in Chile (39.3 % vs. 44 %) , a country that has one of the highest rates of use of this technology. In Peru, meanwhile, 26 % of women and 34.1 % of men say they are users.

This gender digital divide is more common in urban than rural areas and mainly affects older women of all educational levels. In El Salvador the difference between women and men with tertiary education is five points ( 70.3 % versus 75.5 %), while in Honduras is almost three percent (71.2 % and 74 %). In Brazil , on  other hand, 4.3 % of women and 7.4 % of men 65 years older report using internet, the same happen in countries like Costa Rica (3.1 % and 7.1 %) and Ecuador (2.1% and 4.1 % ).
The prevalence of Internet use increases, as well as the income level of households rises, but the gender gap is smaller in those groups where the technology is less accessible. In Uruguay, the least unequal country in this area, 34.5 % of women in the first quintile report using Internet against 63 % in the fifth quintile.

The only situation where inequality is reversed is in the case of women employees, showing Internet use rates higher than those of men. The latter data indicates that having skills for use of ICT can be a powerful tool for the employment of many women.

But, almost half of the women in the region (representing 50.9 % of the population, over 300 million people) have no any link with the labor market: the female economic activity rate reaches 49.8 % ( for male the rate reaches 78.7 % ) and one per every 10 women are employed in domestic service, one of the lowest paid work and less social protection.

Ensuring women's economic autonomy, increasing their labor market participation and recognizing the unpaid work that they perform mostly, are some of the main challenges that the countries of the region are facing, raises the ECLAC. And as  in the digital economy the gender inequalities, present in the rest of society, are reproduced, policies that prevent occupational segregation, wage gaps prevention and promote a fair gender division of labor are necessary.

Full Report (In Spanish):

(Source: CEPAL)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:20:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Seventh Annual IGF Meeting was held in Baku, Azerbaijan from 6-9 November 2012. The main theme for the meeting was: ‘Internet Governance for Sustainable Human, Economic and Social Development’.

Development and growth in the modern age is directly associated with the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). At present, the level of application of ICT is among the main indicators of intellectual and scientific potential, transparency in the public administration and the solution of social and economic problems. ICTs are playing an increasingly important role in the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as a powerful tool to fight poverty, empower women, increase the education level, and improve environmental management.

Considering this pivotal fact, the Government of Azerbaijan pays special attention to the development of information technologies. Azerbaijan’s National ICT Strategy (2003 - 2012) has promoted the widening use of ICT tools to raise efficiency and transparency in the public sector, and recognizes innovation as one of the underlying principles for ICT application. Azerbaijan is also well - known regionally and internationally for its promotion of the information society as a national development priority. Azerbaijan hosted the 7th Internet Governance Forum in 2012 and declared 2013 the Year of Information and Communications Technologies.

Concerted national efforts invested by the Government of Azerbaijan have enabled the country to become one of the best performers among the CIS countries according to the 2012 Global Technology Report by the World Economic Forum. The ICT sector grew twice in size, on average, in the span of every 3 years covering the period of 2004 - 2013.

The Republic of Azerbaijan is a leader among CIS countries when measuring the density of Internet users during the last three years. In 2012, this figure increased from 65 % to 70%. Likewise, the quality of internet services as well as external internet connectivity increased by 2.2 times in 2012. Prices also reduced by approximately 35% compared to 2011 according to the World Economic Forum.

Consequently, given Azerbaijan’s success in creating an enabling ICT policy environment and its demonstrated effectiveness in e-government over the past decade after the establishment of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan (MCIT), the Internet has slowly become an integral part of individual, private and public/state activities. Azerbaijan ranks very high in the region in terms of Internet access. On behalf of the Government, MCIT was fruitfully involved in all IGF events that took place. An up-to- date e-governance portal has been created by the Government of Azerbaijan, which connects 40 line ministries that provide online services to citizens as well as the public and private sector. This enables the government institutions to facilitate fast and quality delivery of e-government services and is considered as a huge step towards the formation of an e-society in the country.

Click here to download the Full Report

(Source: UNPAN)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:11:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Mobile Monitoring Station, a team of student entrepreneurs from Chile, won the 9th annual Intel Global Challenge at UC Berkeley, a global business plan competition that encourages student entrepreneurs to tackle some of the world's most pressing issues through computing technology. The competition provides a unique entrepreneurship experience by giving teams access to top venture capitalists and investors in Silicon Valley.

Mobile Monitoring Station, comprised of team members from engineering research and development company SoluNova, Chilean mining company Coldeco and the University of Chile, created a set of portable sensors that collects industrial workers' biomedical data, such as heart rate, in real time. The sensors, which are applied directly to the workers' clothes, transmit valuable biomedical information to devices such as smartphones, which then push the data to the cloud. The solution will be offered as a service, supplying industrial sites with the hardware and software for a monthly fee per worker. The winning team, driven by the lack of existing data on industrial workers' exposure to health risks, expects the sensors to result in a considerable drop in health dangers in this industry.

"At Intel, we know that innovation is critical to growth for individuals, businesses and economies", said Staci Palmer, Intel's director of Global Strategic Initiatives and Marketing in the Corporate Affairs Group. "Through the Intel Global Challenge at UC Berkeley, students around the world gain lifelong entrepreneurship and innovation skills they can apply throughout their careers, in fields ranging from healthcare to transportation".

The Intel Foundation awarded $100,000 total in cash prizes, including a $50,000 grand prize and three $10,000 awards for teams taking first place in the following categories: Internet, mobile and software computing; computing for social innovation; and hardware and computing. In addition, four $5,000 special awards were presented.

Innovations from the three first-prize winners included industries ranging from technology to healthcare. Gameleon of Bulgaria developed a cloud-based platform that allows anyone to create, publish, play and monetize Web games with only a browser, regardless of programming skills or experience. Karmashop of Mexico created a crowd-funding platform that allows users to customize how they receive donations and, in return, gives donors "Karma Points". For example, through a Karmashop campaign raising money for community members affected by the recent floods in Mexico, donors have the option to contribute items including drinking water, first aid and shelter. Tensive of Italy developed implantable biomaterials for the reconstruction of large bone and tissue defects, caused by osteoporosis, trauma or tumor removal. The patented technology replicates the patient's blood vessels and accelerates the natural regeneration of bone and tissue.

(Source: Intel Newsroom)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:05:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


From 2-4 December 2013, hundreds of leaders and decision-makers in media organisations, civil society actors, governments, UN agencies, business and human rights advocates will gather at Imperial Queens Park hotel in Bangkok, Thailand to evaluate the trends in gender inequalities in the media and formulate collective and creative solutions to reduce gender disparities. The Global Forum on Media and Gender will be hosted by the Kingdom of Thailand National Commission for UNESCO and the Thammasat University.

Objectives of the Forum:
One of the key outputs of this forum will be to set up a Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMG). The purpose of the GAMG is for the media and all other stakeholder groups to stand together for real and sustainable change.

UNESCO and partners will put the spotlight on the need to reduce gender inequalities in media during the Global Forum on Gender and Media being held in Bangkok, Thailand from 2 to 3 December, 2013. The Forum will be an important follow-up to one of the critical areas of concern of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, Women and the Media Diagnosis, and its strategic objectives.

Gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEwe) issues will perhaps be the development priority of the next decade or two. This topic will take marked prominence in the Post 2015 MDGs formulation. According to the report of the thematic consultation, Addressing Inequalities - Post 2015 Development Agenda, “Gender-based discrimination and the denial of the rights of women and girls, remains the single most widespread driver of inequalities in today’s world”.

In the area of media and gender, statistics indicate worrying trends in women's representation in media content, staffing and management.

In taking note of these statistics, UNESCO and partners organized this global forum as part of broader and continuing efforts to empower women and reducing gender inequalities, given the potential of both elements to advance economic and social development. The urgency of this event is reflected not just in the timing but also in the issues to be discussed and the calibre of international stakeholders being brought together to build a coalition to push for action to reduce gender inequities in the media.

On-site and remote participation
During this global event, thousands of stakeholders, participating on-site and from remote locations, will lend their voices, intellectual capacity, collective creativity and ingenuity to the development of comprehensive linking-up of efforts to address the following issues:

- Gender-sensitive policies and strategies in media (particularly PSBs, government-controlled media, private, and community radios – including those online).
- Gender mainstreaming in journalism education.
- Safety of women journalists online and offline.
- Media and information literacy and gender.
- Reporting on issues affecting women including gender-based violence, women in conflict and post-conflict situations.
- Media, legal and regulatory frameworks and national gender polices/strategies.
- Facilitate citizens’ media dialogue on gender equality.
- FOE and regional and global trends: the gender dimensions.

Further Information

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:59:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Intel Kenya celebrated the second International Day of the Girl on October 11 by launching a joint initiative targeting Kenyan girls with Akirachix. As a direct result of findings in the groundbreaking “Women and the Web” report released in January, Intel announced She Will Connect, an initiative to reduce the gender and technology gap around the world.

Intel is testing an innovative new model that integrates Internet access with gender and development programming, including a new online gaming platform and digital literacy training with a built-in peer network.

In order to achieve this locally, Intel has announced that it will be collaborating with Akirachix to launch a countrywide initiative that will see more Kenyan girls start to develop technology applications. There will be 2-day free training sessions organized annually for girls interested in coding. The sessions will be limited to 25 girls per class and will be open to all Kenyan girls. The first session will be held on 1-2 November, 2013 at the Akirachix office – ground floor, Bishop Magua Centre.

If you’re a young woman between the ages of 18 and 25, and interested in coding, sign up here to attend the first training on November 1st and 2nd. Spaces are limited, so sign up now!



During a press briefing, Agatha Gikunda, Intel East Africa’s Software and services Lead said, “Diversity is crucial to succeed in new technologies. We are convinced that technology and education have real power to fuel transformative change and hence the reason Intel is collaborating with other industry players such as Akirachix to see as many girls as possible make a mark in the technology world”.

This launch comes after last week’s global announcement by Intel Corporation on a new program dubbed “She Will Connect” 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 this year 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.

(Source: Akirachix)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:55:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Innovation for Girls’ Education is a perfect theme for the 2013 International Day of the Girl Child. It recognizes the importance of preparing girls for a changing world; a world in which technology will play an increasingly significant role. It suggests the need for new ways of working, to provide quality education where ‘business as usual’ has failed. It speaks of the shift in the ‘girls’ education dialogue’ from one of access and learning, to one of empowerment.

This can be seen in the growing number of new initiatives that seek to build girls’ confidence and sense of agency. Many of them have been implemented by UNGEI’s partners and showcased on this dedicated space. In an uncertain and increasingly interconnected world, education has the power to transform people and promote positive, shared values. For girls, education can also transform society, by building the self-confidence of girls and women, improving their position in society and challenging inequalities.

Around the world, governments, civil society and the private sector are introducing innovative approaches to girls’ education. The World We Want platform recently hosted a three week interactive dialogue on Innovating for Girls’ Education, where practitioners shared stories about promising programs that expand access, promote learning, address social and financial barriers or collaborate through new partnerships. This has become a space rich in resources and ideas that can be adapted and implemented to address girls’ education challenges.

…in India
In the slums of Gomtinagar in Luchnow, India, girls from very poor families attend Prerna, an all-girls formal school run by a private NGO (Study Hall Educational Foundation). The school meets in the afternoon to accommodate the needs of girls whose economic circumstances require that they work. Community and parents play an important role in making the school a success. For example, girls’ parents must sign an agreement to protect their girls from child marriage. What is innovative about this school is the main goal. It is not so much about learning outcomes as life outcomes. Their goal is to support girls to become women who see themselves as equal persons having the right to equal participation in an unequal society, and to be equipped with the appropriate skills for such equal participation. Classes from preschool through grade 12 are interactive and activity-based. The girls study gender and empowerment along with science and math, and they are supported by a strong peer and teacher network. So far the results have been impressive with girls staying, achieving and graduating to take up either work or further study.

….in Kenya and Uganda
In Kenya and Uganda, the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), seeks to prevent the dropout of girls from school due to early pregnancy and marriage. The project - Adolescent Sexual & Reproductive Health: Fulfilling African Girls’ Rights - focuses on strengthening awareness, knowledge and skills among teachers, peer educators, community leaders and parents. It applies methods proven to work in FAWE’s approach to girls’ education and their Tuseme youth empowerment clubs. It provides mobile interactive platforms, and support to adolescents in assisting implementation of school re-entry policies for teenage mothers.

…and in Africa
In rural areas of Africa, Camfed works with young people to develop an innovative curriculum, ‘My Better World’, to empower young people to take charge of their well-being. This curriculum is founded on the recognition that a narrow academic focus does not adequately prepare young people for life beyond school. By developing a broad range of qualities such as self-reliance, resilience and problem-solving, young people will be empowered to take ownership of their own well-being; learning to ‘be well’ (have their needs met) and ‘do well’ (act to improve their life or the lives of others). The delivery of My Better World is led by networks of young women who are volunteering to work as Learner Guides. Through a mobile-phone based platform developed by Camfed, the Learner Guides freely connect young people across regions and provide them with learning modules and peer mentoring beyond the classroom.

The International Day of the Girl Child celebrates the importance of girls and how education can be the force that propels them to reach their full potential. It also provides a platform to showcase innovation which breaks boundaries for new partnerships, engages girls and women in the design as well as the delivery of programs, enables girls to achieve new levels of ambition, or extends existing programs to reach marginalized girls.

To help governments, civil society and others to present their innovative work in education, UNGEI launched a Fund for the Documentation of Good Practice in Girls’ Education and Gender Equality which provides an opportunity for good practices to be systematically documented and shared within and between countries and regions. These stories will be collected and showcased on our website.

Furthermore, UNGEI’s new mini-podcast series entitled Changing the World for Girls will highlight the experience of a range of girls’ education advocates, researchers and practitioners. The first in the series will be released in the coming weeks. To learn more about what it takes to educate a girl, we also invite you to view this film where we explore such questions and how best …To Educate a Girl.

UNGEI stands committed to and will continue fight for the right of girls to get an education. We will also continue to support the Global Partnership for Education’s mandate to ensure that all girls complete primary school and go to secondary school in a safe, supportive learning environment.

(Source: UNGEI)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:39:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The National Public Education Administration (ANEP), Plan Ceibal and Antel in Uruguay launched last Tuesday a series of exclusive plans for students and teachers of public education , seeking to continue narrowing the digital divide and professionalize the teaching profession.

The first of these plans gives to users of the platform Ceibal math credits that can be redeemed for "bits" and through them access to minutes in cell communication, voice messages, gigs of Internet to use from home, tablets and phones.

"It is important that students have Internet at home and extend the classroom schedule to their home , this is what we are doing", said the president of Plan Ceibal, Miguel Brechner.

The president of Antel, Carolina Cosse, said today that there are 800 schools connected to the internet and by the end of the year they expect to reach 1,200.
On other hand, it was presented a plan to purchase tablets for 47,000 public school teachers, by which professionals can access to the devises through a grant from the ANEP of U $S50 per unit. In addition, they will not pay IVA taxes. Teachers can choose from 47 different models of tablets of various brands.

In turn, teachers may benefit from different Antel plans to use the internet. Among them is a plan with no credit limit of $ 198 per month which includes 3 GB of traffic , more than double of the traffic of a common plan.

The flat-rate plan for teachers has a cost of $ 490 per month and allows internet connected from anywhere.

The authorities also announced that the traffic exchanged with educational and government websites (edu.uy and gub.uy) will be free for Antel´s  customers in Uruguay.

(Source: Tecno America Economia)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:29:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 declaring 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.

This year, the theme for the day is “Innovating for Girls’ Education”.

Despite remarkable gains in the last decade, millions of girls are still being denied their right to education:

31 million girls of primary school age are out of school. Of these 17 million are expected never to enter school. There are 4 million fewer boys than girls out of school.
Three countries have over a million girls not in school: In Nigeria there are almost five and a half million, Pakistan, over three million, and in Ethiopia, over one million girls out of school.

There are also 34 million female adolescents out of school, missing out on the chance to learn vital skills for work and life.

Unless we make quality education for all a priority, these girls will not acquire the skills they need to transition to young adulthood, secure stable employment, understand and exercise their rights as citizens, and continue learning throughout life.

Finally, girls who do not complete an education are more likely to join the ranks of the illiterate women that represent two-thirds of the 774 million illiterate people in the world.

..we must focus where needs are greatest, we must help countries accelerate towards 2015, and we must shape a new agenda to follow. This agenda should build on achievements and tackle new challenges. This must start with education. There have been great advances in enrolment since 2000, but 57 million children remain out of school. We need a new goal for education – focusing on equity and quality, throughout life, especially for girls and women”. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of the General Assembly Special Event on MDGs, New York, 25 September 2013.
 
With girls constituting the majority of out of school children, gender equality and girls’ education remain a central concern in initiatives undertaken under GEFI’s umbrella which aim to reach countries and groups left behind.

Further Information

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:23:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Global prizes will recognize outstanding projects designed to further accessibility and affordability of ICTs.

For the third consecutive year, ITU has launched a competition that recognizes excellence in the implementation of projects and initiatives which further the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) goals of improving connectivity to information and communication technologies (ICTs), particularly within underserved communities.
Organized into four phases which will run until mid-April 2014, the contest comprises 18 categories directly linked to the WSIS Action Lines outlined in the Geneva Plan of Action. Winners for each category will be announced at an award ceremony on 13 April 2014, during the WSIS+10 High-Level Event.

The WSIS Project Prizes provide a high-profile, international platform for recognizing and showcasing success stories and models that could be easily replicated. They are designed to empower communities at the local level, giving all stakeholders working on WSIS projects the opportunity to participate. In particular, they recognize the commitment and efforts of stakeholders – no matter how big or small – to use ICT as a powerful tool improve social inclusiveness and economic development.

Next year’s awarding of the 2014 WSIS Project Prizes takes on a special significance in the light of WSIS+10 Review Process.

“I am pleased to see so many stakeholders making such great achievements in the implementation of the WSIS outcomes, and inspiring others to do the same”, said Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General of ITU. “I hope to see even more countries and stakeholders engaging in the process and sharing their valuable knowledge with others through this platform”.

Submissions can be made online at www.wsis.org/prizes until 1st November 2013.

Testimonials from past winners
“Receiving the 2013 WSIS Project Prize was a tremendous honour and an important recognition that public libraries are powerful partners in development. Winning such an esteemed prize gave us extra validation that our innovative approach connecting libraries with technology is working”. Rima Kupryte, Director of EIFL.
“The victory of the electronic licensing of Kazakhstan in the international WSIS Project Prizes 2013 competition served as a great incentive and became the pride of the entire project team, including both public authorities and the business community…After receiving the award, experts from several countries visited Kazakhstan to learn more about our experience in introducing the project and our plans for further development. We would be very glad if other Kazakhstan projects would take part in this important competition in future”. Ruslan Ensebayev, Chairman of the Board, NITEC, Kazakhstan.

“Winning the prize means that even small nations can give examples to the world of how to successfully design and execute ICT projects to increase the accessibility of new technologies to poor people, in line with the Millennium Development Goals.Our team has received many congratulations, and other countries have asked us for advice. We are very glad to share our expertise and collaborate with countries to help them to replicate the model”. Patricio Carvajal, Digital Literacy Director, Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society, Ecuador.

“It is important to win this contest because it gives official recognition to your work and confirms that you are doing the right thing”. Thomas Mueller, Deputy Head of Programmes, Child Helpline International.

“It is an incentive for the team to further transform our e-government programmes into a more reachable, available, secure, and seamless service for citizens". Khaled H. Al Ajmi, Ministry of Higher Education, Saudi Arabia.

More information on last year’s winners can be found at WSIS Stocktaking: Success Stories 2013.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:17:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
What is the report on women in leadership positions?

The Report on women and men in leadership positions in the European Union 2013 looks at the current situation and recent progress for gender balance across a range of decision-making positions in the public and private sectors, including business, financial institutions, politics, civil service and the judiciary.

The report is, as far as possible, based on quantitative analysis of the situation with the majority of data being drawn from the European Commission database on women and men in decision-making, which can be consulted online. The database includes comparable data for EU Member States from 2003 onwards. Where relevant, 2003 is therefore used as the starting point for analysis of developments through time.

What are the main conclusions on women on boards?

The most recent figures show that women account for 16.6%, or one in six, of board members of the largest publicly listed companies in the EU-27. The highest levels of female representation on boards occurs in Finland (29.1%) and Latvia (29%), closely followed by France (26.8%) and Sweden (26.5%).

Figure 1: Representation of women and men on the boards of large listed companies, April 2013

Source: European Commission, Database on women and men in decision-making

In the six months covered by today's report on women and men in leadership positions (October 2012-April 2013), an increase in the share of women on company boards has been recorded in 20 Member States. The largest increases occurred in Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria. The share of women on boards declined in Romania, Lithuania, Poland, Malta, Greece, Portugal and the UK.

Figure 2: Change in the share of women on boards by country, October 2012 - April 2013


Source: European Commission, Database on women and men in decision-making.

The latest EU-wide figure of 16.6% represents a 0.9 percentage point (pp) increase in the six months from October 2012 or an annual equivalent rate of 1.7 pp, down from the rate of 2.2 pp between 2011 and 2012.

In fact, since 2010, when the European Commission published its Strategy for Equality between Women and Men (2010-2015) and first raised the prospect of targeted initiatives to address the under-representation of women in decision-making positions, the share of women on boards has risen by 4.8 pp at an average rate of 1.9 pp/year, almost four times the rate of progress from 2003 to 2010 (0.5 pp/year). This acceleration has been further fuelled by the women on boards proposal adopted by the European Commission on 14 November 2012 (IP/12/1205 and MEMO/12/860), which set a 40% objective for women on boards based on qualification. Recent developments also reflect the impact of EU-wide discussions about the need for a targeted intervention to raise the number of women on boards.

Figure 3: Share of women on the boards of large listed companies, EU-27, 2010-2013: Continuing Progress


It is important to note that the most significant developments since 2010 have largely occurred in countries where binding legislation has already been adopted, such as France (+ 14.4 pp to reach 26.8%), the Netherlands (+8.7 pp to reach 23.6%) and Italy (+8.4 pp to reach 12.9%). This further emphasises the importance of regulatory pressure for achieving tangible results.

Figure 4: Overview of some of the key drivers of progress since 2010:


Despite the progress made at board level, there are still very few large companies with a woman Chairperson or Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The latest figures show that of the 587 EU companies covered by the Commission database just 26 are chaired by a woman (4.4%) and even fewer - 16 or 2.7% - have a female CEO. In just over half of EU Member States (14) no companies in the sample have a woman Chairperson and a similar number (but not the same countries) have no companies with a woman CEO

Figure 5: Share of women amongst board chairs and CEOs of large companies, April 2013


Further details

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:01:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The European Parliament’s Committees on Legal Affairs (JURI) and Women’s Rights & Gender Equality (FEMM) have today voted (40 for, 9 against and 2 abstentions) to support a proposal by the European Commission to address the gender imbalance on company boards in Europe. With this vote, the European Parliament (which decides with the Council of Ministers on an equal footing on this proposal), paves the way for further progress of the draft law in the EU legislative process.

The vote coincides with a new report on women in decision-making, released by the European Commission today, including figures on women on boards at major publicly listed companies in the EU. The latest figures (from April 2013) show that the share of women on boards has increased to 16.6% (from 15.8% in October 2012). The figures also show the different levels of representation amongst non-executive directors (17.6% women up from 16.7% in October 2012) and senior executives (11% up from 10.2%).

"Regulatory pressure works. The cracks are starting to show on the glass ceiling. More and more companies are competing to attract the best female talent. They know that if they want to remain competitive in a globalised economy they cannot afford to ignore the skills and talent of women", said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. "The example has been set by countries such as France and Italy, who have adopted legislation and are starting to record significant progress. I would also like to thank the rapporteurs Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou and Evelyn Regner for their tireless efforts and support on the Commission's proposal. We have got the ball rolling. I will continue working with the Parliament and the Council to make swift progress on the draft law which places qualification and merit centre stage".

These are main points from the report voted today by the JURI and FEMM Committees:
   - It confirms the Commission's approach to focus on a transparent and fair selection procedure (so-called "procedural quota") rather than introducing a fixed quantitative quota.
  - Small and medium-sized enterprises remain excluded from the scope of the directive but Member States are invited to support and incentivise them to significantly improve the gender balance at all levels of management and on boards.
  - There will be no possibility for Member States to exempt companies from the Directive where members of the underrepresented sex make up less than 10% of the workforce.
  - It strengthens the provision on sanctions by adding a number of sanctions that should be obligatory, rather than indicative, as the Commission has proposed. Sanctions for failure to respect the provisions concerning selection procedures for board members should include the exclusion from public procurement and the partial exclusion from the award of funding from the European structural funds, the two Committees say.

Next Steps: In order to become law, the Commission's proposal needs to be adopted jointly by the European Parliament and by the EU Member States in the Council (which votes by qualified majority). Todays' decisive vote follows positive opinions on the initiative from three other Parliament committees: the Employment (EMPL), Internal Market (IMCO) and Economic Affairs (ECON) Committees (MEMO/13/672). The JURI and FEMM committees, which are jointly responsible for piloting the proposal through the Parliament, have now adopted their report. This will pass to the European Parliament’s plenary session for a vote expected in November.

The Council, which on this proposal decides on an equal footing with the European Parliament, took stock of progress achieved under the Irish Presidency at the meeting of Employment and Social Affairs ministers (EPSCO Council) on 20 June 2013 (MEMO/13/584). The Lithuanian Presidency is now pursuing the discussions further.

Further Information

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:09:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     |