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 Friday, December 06, 2013
UK open IPTV platform YouView has released the second in a series of updates designed to deliver better accessibility for blind and partially sighted customers as well as those with motor skill and cognitive impairment, to improve the journey for this audience to find their favourite TV.

YouView
has improved the zoom functionality which now allows visually impaired users to zoom into and navigate the programme guide and select or record programmes. YouView describes this improved zoom functionality as market-leading in the UK, advising that it works with all aspects of the programme guide.

Other updates include the option of navigating the YouView programme guide using any USB connected UK keyboard or ‘Monster 2’ and ‘Clevy’ accessible keyboards, suitable for those people who struggle to hold a remote control or hold down two keys at once. Maps for these controllers are available at youview.com.

YouView has also developed series of ‘Grid Set’ navigation screens for the ‘Grid 2’ software computer programme, which allows severely disabled users to navigate the YouView programme guide with the press of just one button. Specialist software ‘Grid 2’ is designed to enable the use of computers and similar devices for this user group and is compatible with a variety of different input devices including switches and head-pointers. A computer running ‘Grid 2’ software can be connected to a YouView set-top box via an ‘IR blaster’ (infrared transmitter) which emulates the same signals as a remote control.

These updates follow an earlier accessibility release which included the option to change the iconic blue and black YouView programme guide to high contrast black and white, enabling visually impaired users to read the text more easily. Additionally, the mini screen available in the top right hand corner of the programme guide also now has the option to be switched off, offering easier navigation for customers with cognitive disorders and making navigation less distracting.

The free YouView app for iOS and Android mobile devices now also offers text-to-speech navigation of the programme guide so visually impaired users can find more information about TV programmes and remote record single programmes or a complete series. A high contrast version of the YouView app is also available. Further accessibility updates to the YouView app will be added in due course.

Susie Buckridge, Director of Product at YouView, said the platform’s goal had always been to ensure it was the easiest way for all of its customers in the UK to find the TV they love. “We hope these accessibility updates will give a wider range of customers the means to discover great TV and radio, by providing the tools to make our user interface and mobile applications easy to navigate. We are particularly pleased with the new zoom function which is a UK first and will give visually impaired users a much clearer user journey”.

The update will initially only be available on YouView set-top boxes purchased at retail and will be issued via a staggered roll-out over the coming weeks. Customers with YouView from BT or TalkTalk will receive accessibility updates early in 2014.

(Source: advanced-television)

Friday, December 06, 2013 5:37:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

This paper captures a wide range of initiatives in Bangladesh, Kenya, Egypt, Lebanon, Indonesia, Turkey, Mauritania, Tunisia, Nepal, Nairobi, West Africa, India, Nigeria, Malawi, Uganda, Serbia and South Africa, among others, that illustrate how ICTs embedded in broader communication for development strategies can provide the driving power to change and ensure better outcomes for marginalized adolescent girls. The paper highlights many of the benefits of ICT use for adolescent girls, including access to knowledge and information; connection, engagement and agency; involvement in efforts for improved governance and service delivery; increased opportunities for empowerment and voice; greater participation and inclusion; and efforts to overcome violence, exploitation and abuse. In addition, the authors also recognize existing barriers and risks in using ICTs by marginalized adolescent girls.

The paper also features case studies of C4D strategies developed by Plan International and Women in Cities International (WCI), partner organizations that are using ICTs to empower and improve the lives of adolescent girls. The examples illustrate ways in which voices of adolescent girls are captured, amplified and ‘upstreamed’ from individual or community to higher levels of influence and decision-making. At the same time, they demonstrate the essential elements of effective C4D strategy development.

Initiated in 2008, Plan’s Youth Empowerment through Technology, Arts and the Media (YETAM) programme took place in 6 West and East Africa countries: Cameroon, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda and Senegal. Through this programme, youth engaged in the community development process and beyond. They were trained on different forms of communication, which included verbal communication, performance, visual arts, and social media, in order to help them effectively raise their viewpoints and enter into dialogue with families, peers, community members, decision makers, and the general public. Social media and new technology allowed those who formerly did not have a space at the global table to enter into the dialogue directly.

Download the Full Report here

(Source: Youth Economic Opportunities)

Friday, December 06, 2013 3:57:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
UNESCO supported McCam Child Care & Development Centre to organize the first ICT for Special Needs Education Training Workshop from 11 to 12 November 2013 in Kingston, Jamaica. The event aimed at building capacities of educators in the use of available and emerging ICT, and their integrating into learning and teaching environment of students with the special needs.



Based on training-of-trainers format, the workshop was designed to produce master trainers, who would be able to train others and begin the change in pedagogical teaching practices. Twenty-four participants, mostly teachers and NGO workers from various disability groups including the deaf, blind and intellectually disabled, travelled to Kingston from as far as Westmoreland to participate in the workshop. They now have the challenging task of bringing a change in teaching and learning through ICT to their respective institutions and organizations.

Hara Padhy, Information and Communication Advisor from UNESCO’s Office in Kingston, presented new and emerging ICT tools, terminologies, policies and activities that had already influenced special education and would continue to do so. Melody Williams, educational technologist, presented new skills which would allow for the development of ICT resources, greatly needed in special education.

UNESCO is working to build inclusive knowledge societies, where persons with disabilities must be included at all levels, which can be achieved with the help of new technologies. Assistive technologies, especially those with personalized disability-friendly features, can improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities by providing better access to information and knowledge, to education and healthcare, as well as to employment. UNESCO initiated this first activity of its kind in Jamaica and hopes to replicate it in other countries of Caribbean building on the Jamaican experience in the next biennium.

Today, more than one billion people live with some form of disability in the world. Jamaica is reported to have more than 160,000 persons with some forms of disabilities.

Download here the Vision 2030 Jamaica, Persons with Disabilities - sector plan 2009-2030.

(Source: UNESCO)

Friday, December 06, 2013 3:52:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
15 per cent of the world’s population lives with a disability. This represent about 1 billion people globally. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), such as mobile phones, satellites or the Internet, are a unique infrastructure that expand access to key public services, promoting digital inclusion. Throughout the world, persons living with disabilities are already benefitting the advantages of ICT-enabled applications.

But more needs to be done. To extend the benefits of ICTs to all, ICTs have to be made accessible to persons living with disabilities, so these technologies constitute an opportunity and not a barrier. Get involved in ITU activities to make ICT accessible to persons living with disabilities and to achieving equitable communications for everyone.

The commemoration of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities provides an opportunity to further raise awareness of disability and accessibility as a cross cutting development issue and further the global efforts to promote accessibility, remove all types of barriers, and to realize the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society and shape the future of development for all!

Also, a new report released on September 2013 demonstrates how ICTs, have become a positive force of transformation and a crucial element of any personal development, empowerment and institutional framework for inclusive 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 measuring progress towards the achievement of a disability-inclusive development agenda.

Download the report "The ICT Opportunity for a Disability_Inclusive Development Framework"



Find out more about the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

​(Source: ITU)

Friday, December 06, 2013 3:47:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

As a part of its Voices of Youth Citizens initiative (formerly Digital Citizenship and Safety ), the Social and Civic Media Section of UNICEF commissioned InterMedia, along with its research partners, to conduct a study on the impact of digital technologies on young people. Specifically, the study focused on exploring how 152 children, 12 to 17 years old, in Kenya, use social media and other digital technologies, and what impact these technologies have on this group, particularly from the perspective of childrights.

The study involved holding digital youth clinics in four locations in Kenya, with children and young people who have access to mobile phones and the internet. It focused on understanding digital behavior, and perceptions of risk and safety among these active, young users of digital and social media.

Recommendations 

While the use of social and digital media is expanding rapidly among young people, parental support and the integration of digital media in education is lagging behind.  There is relatively easy access to entertainment and pornography, but there are fewer visible examples for parents and their children of how social media and digital technologies can be used for education, information, opportunity and empowerment. This will surely evolve as Kenya adjusts to the expanding information society; however, several recommendations emerge from this study that UNICEF can consider in the interim.

Download the Full Report here

(Source: Intermedia)

Friday, December 06, 2013 3:39:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Microsoft and The Future Project, a development initiative founded by Red Media Africa, have launched ‘Aiki Nigeria’, a new youth employment programme to help young Nigerians get the skills to set up their own businesses or get jobs.

Citizenship Manager, Microsoft Anglophone West Africa, Ugochukwu Nwosu, said: “Microsoft takes its citizenship engagement as primary to its work. In working with organisations, technology enthusiasts and governments at every level, we have emphasised the crucial importance of jobs for a new generation of Nigerians. This programme is a major step in leading a coordinated solution to this urgent problem”.

Aiki Nigeria has been developed closely with employers to ensure it offers employability requirements and later, the youths can take up job openings in these firms or be matched to other firms.

Aiki Nigeria has also launched a free online skills portal and career’s advice service, aiki.ng, to reach those in the rural areas. Aiki has been designed to give secondary and tertiary school students detailed information on how to start businesses, job opportunities, career tips, capacity building and networking. Young Nigerians also access training sessions and courses on personal development, consulting, entrepreneurship and project management, and offers one-on-one tailored advice from personal mentors from different occupational fields and mock interviews.

Executive Director, The Future Project and co-founder of Red Media Africa, Chude Jideonwo, said: "It is our ambition that through the new Aiki Nigeria programme we can help all young Nigerians, no matter where they are, to develop the skills they need to achieve their full potential”.

Launched five years ago, The Future Project invests in enterprise and expanding opportunities for young people. The enterprise support scheme aims to work with Microsoft to better build a community of talented job seekers and help match them to job opportunities and solve unemployment and related evils.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation with over 166 million people and for any nation looking for human resource and a market for its products, this huge population plays the answer.

According to the World Bank, over 22 per cent of this population is unemployed and even worse, the youth unemployment rate stands at 38 per cent.

(Source: This Day Live)

Friday, December 06, 2013 12:29:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
GIZ idea behind this workshop with African hubs was to network with pioneers and practitioners, to share experiences, create new ideas and discover opportunities in Africa which will eventually help promote international cooperations for sustainable development.

The event brought together a dozen of African hubs including, iLab Liberia of Liberia, iHub of Kenya, ActivSpaces of Cameroon, Klab of Rwanda, RLABS of South Africa, iLabAfrica of Kenya, icecairo of Egypt, Wennovation Hub of Nigeria, BongoHive of Zambia, iceaddis of Ethiopia and of course our AfriLabs.

In attendance were representatives from the KAIPTC of Ghana and a hosts of GIZ representatives from head offices in Germany and other African Countries.
During the workshop, we had the opportunity to visit Hubs, (iHub, M:Lab, iLabAfrica, Ushahidi) Incubators like (Nailab & iBizAfrica), and Strathmore University which houses the Safaricom Academy, iBizAfrica and iLabAfrica.

The Impact of hubs:
- Develop skills
- Create jobs
- Serve as implementing partner for both governments and development cooperations
- Serve as a focal point for the community
- Identify skills and bring them together under one roof where their potentials can be utilized effectively not only on the national scene, but globally as well.
- Help with local development since it creates local linkages.
 
The potential of digital innovation is every country’s business, because it has become the driving force for national economies, infrastructure development, renewable energy, green revolution and a new way for education. Since mobile devices/technology in general, had become one of the world’s potent development tool, it’s eminent that development cooperations look in the direction where mobile devices can be harness to produce a new way for development projects implementation in a mush faster, better and cheaper way. It is in this direction that hubs and incubators come into play. GIZ, from their perspective sees the impact of hubs in one word “CUBE”.

Create Innovation
- Use Knowledge
- Building Network
- Enhance Impact

These are relevant points in development and should therefore be incorporated by institutions in their strive to meet their projects deliverables.

(Source: iLab)

Friday, December 06, 2013 12:24:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
As international conference on family planning concludes, UNFPA calls for a focus on youth in the post-2015 agenda.

Young people are a vital force that must be front and centre in global development efforts, said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, announcing UNFPA’s call for a youth centered goal in the Post-2015 development agenda.

“To achieve genuine development, we must transform our approach with and for young people, and in particular young women and girls. Young people are drivers of change. They must have the choices and tools to fully participate in development, realize their potential, and contribute to their societies”, said Dr. Osotimehin, adding that universal access to rights-based sexual and reproductive health, including contraception, is a key step to empowering young people.

Speaking at the International Conference on Family Planning in Addis Ababa, the UNFPA Executive Director highlighted barriers to the full realization of young people’s rights. “Adolescents are subjected to our double standards, and for girls in particular, the consequences are grave: They are not old enough to drive, yet old enough to be a parent? They are not old enough to vote, yet old enough to be married? Old enough to be pregnant, yet not old enough to have full access to sexuality education or contraceptives? Let us be clear: There can be no room for motherhood in childhood and we cannot continue to deprive young people of their rights to sexual and reproductive health”, he said.

Dr. Osotimehin paid tribute to civil society, technical experts and government representatives who are working to achieve significant progress in family planning. Today, countries with the highest unmet need for family planning are at the forefront of global efforts to expand access to contraceptive information, services and supplies, according to a new report released in Addis Ababa this week. Also at the conference, five governments—Benin, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Mauritania and Myanmar—announced major new pledges for family planning.

“The momentum behind this acceleration towards universal access to sexual and reproductive health, including maternal health, is rightly putting family planning at the heart of our combined efforts”, said Dr. Osotimehin. “We congratulate governments and communities that have stepped up to the challenge, here in Africa and elsewhere—especially to the extent that this is protecting and enforcing human rights—and UNFPA is proud of our partnerships that are affirming and accelerating these achievements”.

UNFPA has helped countries develop policies and programmes to ensure availability of sexual and reproductive health information and services, realize gender equality, and expand capabilities that young people require for employment, health, resilience, participation and citizenship.

UNFPA is also assisting countries in harnessing the benefits of the “demographic dividend”— the economic prosperity that can emerge when there is reduction in fertility rates coupled with strategic investments in health, education and job creation for young people.

“Together we are creating the conditions for the realization of the demographic dividend by investing in equitable and high-quality access to rights-based reproductive health and reproductive rights. This will then allow girls to stay in school, to decide if and when they want to marry or have children, and will allow them to develop the skills and capabilities to be active as leaders”, said Dr. Osotimehin.

“By empowering this generation”, he added, “we will be able to bridge the world into a better future”.

(Source: PR Web)

Friday, December 06, 2013 12:10:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 28, 2013
UNESCO organized a Youth Radio Workshop in Paris on 31 October for 27 attendees of the 8th Youth Forum at Paris Headquarters. During the workshop young people from all over the world had a chance to discover how to produce audio pieces for radio using practical exercises taken from the youth radio toolkit “Linking Generations”.
  


The workshop attendees, including youth delegates, observers, participants and organizers, learned how to write news items, prepare interviews and create vox pops. They also produced a number of audio pieces reflecting their views on gender equality and women’s empowerment in radio in their respective countries. Through radio young people shared their insights into the gender situation in Côte d'Ivoire, Rwanda, Mexico, France, Brazil, Germany, Senegal, Kuwait, Nigeria, Argentina, Ivory Coast and others. Some of them also highlighted challenges and successes in women’s political participation, in particular in accessing decision-making positions.

“The majority of journalists in my country lack proper training on media issues, and I believe it would be a good idea to organize a similar workshop in my country”, said Seleman Yusuph Kitenge, representative of Youth of United Nations Association of Tanzania. “There is a concern about media misleading the public, especially on crucial issues”, he added.

Towards the end of the workshop the participants created jingles demonstrating their support for World Radio Day 2014. Several participants from Africa expressed their commitment to celebrate World Radio Day within their youth organizations.

The theme of the 8th UNESCO Youth Forum was “Youth and Social Inclusion: Civic Engagement, Dialogue and Skills Development”. The Forum discussed youth civic engagement issues as well as the skills and competencies that are relevant and appropriate for young people to become employable or self-employed and to put their innovation, creativity and entrepreneurialism into practice.

Linking Generations” is a product of the Swedish funded project “Empowering Local Radio with ICTs” and is available online for use by radio stations, young people, policy makers, youth and radio advocates.

For more information on the toolkit, please read see the article: Linking Generations through Radio.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, November 28, 2013 4:19:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech) helps women and girls enter and succeed in technical careers, with the goal of enhancing women’s talent and skills needed to fuel technological and economic growth. WeTech, a Clinton Global Initiative commitment, is led by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and implemented with a consortium of dedicated partners to support innovative activities, training, build networks and offer professional opportunities for women and girls in tech.

SEED FUND: AFRICA

In December 2013, WeTech is launching a Seed Fund in Africa that will provide small grants to support individuals or civil society organizations to launch or expand initiatives for women and girls that increase their access to computer science-related training, jobs and leadership roles.

We are very interested in learning about your successful activities currently supporting women and girls in Computer Science and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and how we might support expansion and impact. We are also eager to hear your new, innovative ideas for programming in this space.

Please help us by sharing your opinion, experience and ideas in this survey by December 9th. By completing this survey you will receive information in December about the WeTech Seed Fund application as soon as it goes live.

In addition to your feedback we would appreciate your help to grow our network - please spread the word and share with colleagues!

ELIGIBILITY

To apply for a WeTech Seed Fund grant applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Current resident of an African country (including North and Sub-Saharan Africa).
-  Application must be submitted in English.
-  Applying as an individual (at least 18 years of age), or a representative of a non-governmental organization (NGO) or social enterprise based in Africa.
-  Ability to demonstrate previous experience conducting activities supporting women and girls in computer science or STEM fields.
-  Commitment to developing and contributing to a virtual community for WeTech Seed Fund grantees.
-  Demonstrated leadership potential (references will be required).
-  Proposed projects MUST have a tangible impact for women and girls in computer science and/or STEM- related fields.

PROJECTS

Preference will be given to projects that target under-served populations and locations, take a collaborative approach, have a high potential for growth and present an innovative use of technology.

Projects eligible for grant funding include, but are not limited to:
- Computer science workshops and trainings for women and girls
- Early incubation of female tech entrepreneurs
- Programming and app development training programs
- Speakers bureaus, role model and mentoring programs
- Networking events for women in computer science or STEM fields
- Community participation in ITU’s Girls in ICT Day
- Community education to generate support for computer science or STEM-related careers among parents and educators
- Hackathons and coding camps for girls
- Sponsorship of a Technovation Challenge team

TIMELINE

December 9, 2013: WeTech survey closes
December 18, 2013: WeTech Seed Fund Online Application opens
January 15, 2013: WeTech Seed Fund Application Deadline
March 1, 2013: Round One of WeTech grants announced

(Source: WeTech)

Thursday, November 28, 2013 4:10:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


ITU has recently adopted two new policies to mainstream gender equality and improve the accessibility of ITU services for persons with disabilities. Both policies were adopted by the ITU Council at its 2013 session.

The adoption of these policies represents an important step forward for the Union and builds on past ITU initiatives set in place with the leadership and support of the Membership.

As they call for more equitable, gender balanced and accessible ICT environment, ITU believes that they should lead by example in these domains and that they should strengthen the capacity of the ITU Secretariat to support Membership on these important issues.

ITU welcomes and encourages ITU Memberships to engage with them in this endeavor and it seeks support in the following areas:

- Contributing in kind (expert/training materials, etc).

- Sharing best practices and innovative ideas on how to put these policies into action.

- Ensuring that policy and program discussions within ITU governing bodies do include a gender and accessibility perspective.

- Improving gender balance in delegations and related committee work and providing equal opportunity to male and female candidatures for elected official posts and for membership of Radio regulations Boards.

- Supporting specific activities of the Action Plans under development through voluntary contributions of the ITU gender equality and mainstreaming policy trust fund as well as to the ITU Accessibility Fund.

Kindly refer to the following attachment for further information: Adoption of New ITU Policies on GEM and Accessibility.

Further information

Thursday, November 28, 2013 4:01:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
During the Global Forum on Media and Gender which will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 2 to 4 December 2013, the Organization will facilitate discussions and partnership building on the critical need for increased female representation in media content, management, and push for the implementation of policies to reduce the equality gap.



“Too often still, the media reflects and sustains discriminatory attitudes to gender, failing to represent the voices of women or to report on such crucial concerns as gender-based discrimination, including violence against women. The fact remains also that women still have relatively little decision-making power inside media organizations”, noted UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova.

The Director-General believes this Forum will “give new momentum to global efforts to promote gender equality in and through the media, by strengthening international cooperation through a Global Alliance for Media and Gender”.

She added “the organization and the project aspire to “catalyse deep change for women’s empowerment and gender equality in and through media”, which in turn will also “contribute to shaping an ambitious post-2015 development agenda”.

Click here to read full message from the Director-General.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, November 28, 2013 3:43:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Until recently, many young Kenyans saw farming as an unskilled, unrewarding profession, suitable only for the retired or the uneducated. Now, however, a group of determined young farmers are challenging traditional prejudices and trying to explain the attractions of farming as a profession. They are the ‘Mkulima Young Champions’ and have become figureheads for a digital initiative to change the way farmers are viewed by young people. Using a range of technologies, they are proving that farming in Kenya really is a profitable 21st century career path.

The group – Mkulima means “farmer” in Kiswahili – was founded by Joseph Macharia, a farmer and agricultural expert, and is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Its aim is to draw more young people into farming, help them learn from each other, trade, and overcome the challenges of agriculture together.

Daniel Kimani, one of the Mkulima Young Champions, is a typical example of the new breed of Kenyan entrepreneurs who are starting to see the opportunities farming offers. A trained engineer, he set up an aquaponics system to rear fish and grow strawberries. Now he earns KSh300,000 (2,600€) a month from it.

His system is resourceful and ingenious. Ammonia produced by the fish is filtered out of the ponds through stone-filled towers, providing free fertiliser and water for the strawberry plants that grow on them. Daniel is one of those proving to a generation of Kenyans that technologically-enabled farming is clever, lucrative and not necessarily labour intensive.

Since Mkulima Young started featuring champion farmers like Daniel and others, Joseph Macharia has noticed an appreciable change in young people’s attitudes.
“By having Mkulima Young Champions who are educated and young,” he says, “the attitude of the youth [towards agriculture] has changed, from viewing it as an activity for the old, to a profession that they can mint millions from”.

The initiative is about far more than publicity, though. Using radio, SMS and social media, it engages young Kenyans to discuss agricultural topics. Listeners to radio programmes can give feedback online, helping to shape the content and making it more relevant.

Meanwhile, Mkulima Young’s Facebook page, which opened in January 2013 and already has 19,000 followers, has become a vibrant place where young people post links, photos and videos, ask questions, discuss issues and interact with other young people who are passionate about agriculture.

The initiative was presented at the ict4Ag conference in Kigali, Rwanda, 4– 8 November.

(Source: eLearning Africa)

Thursday, November 28, 2013 3:35:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 21, 2013

What exactly is the E-Campus Learning Portal (E-CLP)? In short it is a computerised teacher, examiner, library, course hand book and lesson planner for all school subjects, based on the new Namibian school curriculum. A learner or teacher can thus use the computer to access the same content and resources that any other teacher or learner can access throughout the country. They simply state which grade they are interested in and then select the subject from a list. The E-Campus Learning Portal (E-CLP) will then take the candidate through the course, using a series of slides that are narrated in English.

The E-CLP is an education initiative designed by the Institute of Information Technology (IIT), one of the leading ICT education organisations in Namibia. The content was developed by Namibian teachers and is continuously tested and updated by learners and teachers alike. It is tweaked and customised almost daily to ensure that it successfully addresses necessary areas in a way that is conducive to easy and fun learning, while still being educational. The content is accredited by the Ministry of Education through the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED).

Not only will the E-CLP revolutionise the way in which learners study but it is a powerful tool for teachers, as it provides them with lesson plans, class tests, sample exam papers and a step-by-step guide, which is based on the subject syllabus. Therefore, teachers can be assured that they are covering everything as set out in specific subject syllabus. Teachers can also use the developed lessons to physically teach in class while showing learners the graphics, pictures and animations to explain certain points.

Learners can benefit from using this highly interactive tool to learn in a simple yet productive manner. Animations, pictures and graphics make the learning experience more enjoyable; and audio is also available should the learner wish to listen to an explanation of what they have seen on the screen. The learner is also continuously tested on the subject matter through quizzes, tests and sample exams. These can all be printed out to simulate an actual testing environment. At the end of each module there is a printable summary of the module, allowing the candidate to study before actual exams and tests. Learners can now access the E-CLP at home and use it as a personal teacher at their convenience.

The E-CLP can also be employed as an effective home schooling system based on the Namibian curriculum. Grades 11 and 12 have been completed and new development of Grades 8-10 is underway. The E-CLP is not just an e-school learning programme for students to improve their marks but it also has many other features to prepare learners for life. Among other subjects, it covers computer Skills for ICT literacy and a comprehensive HIV and AIDS education fully covering the sensitive and sometimes uncomfortable topic. Using interactivity as well as practical images, the topic is made easier for teachers and learners who can access the E-CLP to get answers to the questions that they might be reluctant to ask in the classroom or in front of other people.

Another informative section is dedicated to career guidance to assist the learner to choose a suitable career. The learner can access a descriptive database of hundreds of job titles and is exposed to the aspects of studying for and finding a career including: Creating a CV/Resume; Attending Interviews and Job Hunting.

Not only will E-CLP be an important tool in nation building, it has also proven that Namibia is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to local content development.

Further details

Thursday, November 21, 2013 4:11:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

This edition of GISWatch explores women’s rights and gender through the lens of information and communications technologies (ICTs). It includes a series of expert thematic reports on issues such as access to infrastructure, participation, online disobedience, and sexuality online, as well as 46 country reports on topics like the rights of domestic workers, trafficking in women, participation in governance, child brides, and the right to abortion.

GISWatch 2013 shows that gains in women’s rights made online are not always certain or stable. While access to the internet for women has increased their participation in the social, economic and governance spheres, there is another side to these opportunities: online harassment, cyberstalking, and violence against women online all of which are on the increase globally. This GISWatch is a call to action, to the increased participation of women in all forms of technological governance and development, and to a reaffirmation and strengthening of their rights online.

GISWatch is published annually and is a joint initiative by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and the Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation (Hivos).

Download the full report

(Source: GIS Watch)

Thursday, November 21, 2013 4:04:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A collaborative action research (CAR) study funded by Ericsson, and managed independently by a team of multidisciplinary experts from the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Columbia University Teachers College, University of Nairobi in Kenya, and Kampala University in Uganda, finds significant potential for improved teaching and learning with ICT tools. Specifically, the findings are only such when the tools are appropriately designed and adequately supported with infrastructure and ongoing professional development for teachers.

Investigators worked for one year to understand the effects, opportunities and challenges of integrating ICT into schools and teaching routines. To do that, university faculty and teachers worked in close collaboration at four rural schools in Kenya and Uganda.

Interviews, training workshops, surveys and observations conducted indicate significant improvements in teaching and learning when ICT tools and resources are well-designed with the school infrastructure and environment in mind, and when teachers are provided with on-going training and professional development in how to optimize these resources in their classrooms.

Research findings show that over the course of the study, guided use, training and professional development workshops offered essential support for teachers focusing on using ICT in their classrooms. There were significant increases both in teachers' reported skill and comfort with using ICT for educational purposes, as well as in the observed use of ICT in their classrooms. For example, where only 21% of teachers considered themselves to be "advanced" users of ICT at the beginning of the project; by the end, 45% of teachers were reporting themselves to be advanced users. There was also an 18% increase in reported use of ICT in the classroom over the course of the project.

Researchers compiled recommendations in several categories, including:

- Physical infrastructure, calling for policies for open access to hardware, electrical outlets throughout all classrooms and security;
- ICT infrastructure, where Wi-Fi networks, adequate airtime, and computers and projectors are basic needs;
- Teacher pedagogical skills and knowledge development along with basic ICT training, where professional development should be facilitated in partnership with local universities or Non-Governmental Organizations, among other steps;
- Open source teaching and learning resources, including use of Connect To Learn's online resource library and expanding the availability of locally relevant online resources;
- Student ICT participation and knowledge, which encourages teachers to assign online research and computer-based projects; and
- Public-private partnership implementation, urging each site to hire local facilitators to provide ongoing support to administrators and teachers, and forging partnerships with local decision-makers and telecommunications industry leaders to institutionalize the integration of ICT at all levels of education.

Download full report

Video about the ICT in Education Study

(Source: Ericsson)

Thursday, November 21, 2013 3:59:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Europe's outstanding women, girls and organisations making an impact in the digital world were announced last week at ICT 2013 in Vilnius, Lithuania. Winners of Europe’s first-ever Digital Woman Awards, Sasha Bezuhanova, Lune Victoria van Eewijk, Amy Mather and HTW–Berlin, are recognized for their leadership, entrepreneurship and creativity in digital areas of study and work, and for their demonstrated commitment to increasing the number of girls and women in ICT studies and careers in Europe. The awards are under the patronage of Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes and organised by Zen Digital as part of their support of the EU Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs (see IP/138/182).

The 2013 European Digital Woman Award competition was organised by Zen Digital in partnership with the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS), DIGITALEUROPE, the European Centre for Women and Technology (ECWT) and EUSchoolNET. The awards are affectionately known as the “Adas”, in honor of Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer and author of the algorithm for Babagge's mechanical computer. By recognising girls and women who have distinguished themselves in digital studies and careers, and organisations that help to increase the participation of girls and women in the digital sector, the awards aim to increase the number of digitally-skilled girls and women in Europe and help close the ICT skills gap in Europe.

Women are under-represented at all levels in the ICT sector, especially in decision-making positions. The ICT sector is rapidly growing creating around 120 000 new jobs every year. But due to differences in demands and skills – and despite soaring unemployment – there may be a lack of 900 000 skilled ICT workers in 2015.

The Ada Awards were first announced at the Digital Agenda Assembly in June of 2013 as a pledge to the Grand Coalition for Digital Skills and Jobs, and the competition ran through end-September this year. Nominations for the girl, woman and organisation awards came from across the European Union and reflect a broad spectrum of digital fields – academia, research, industry, enterprise and creative and social sectors.

For more information

Thursday, November 21, 2013 3:49:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with Motorola Solutions, has launched an initiative in Rwanda, which aims to link innovators from around the world with ongoing development programmes using mobile technologies.

The initiative, dubbed International Network of Social Innovators for Human Development (INSIHD), will provide a platform where innovators can interact and share their experiences with others on their innovations.

Laminm Manneh, the UNDP representative in Rwanda, said: “ICT has the potential to boost our economies and improve living standards of our people and that is why we want to equip the African youth with these technologies and accelerate our development”.

The launch makes Rwanda the third country in Africa where the network has been introduced after Kenya and Tunisia earlier this year.
Motorola Solutions, through the network, will help come up with initiatives addressing global challenges, as well as coordinate information sharing to enable investors learn and use technology and solutions from other countries across the network.

Travis Heneveld, representing Motorola at the launch, said, “We shall develop incubation labs and come up with financing modules to promote investments in line with the national government programs”.

Jean Nsengimana, Rwanda’s minister of youth and ICT, said: “Information and communication technologies (ICTs) must be an integral part in national development priorities and not be seen in isolation”.

He said ICT enables faster, more efficient and cost effective poverty reduction efforts and the country is ready to share experience of their innovations with other countries.

(Source: Humanipo)

Thursday, November 21, 2013 3:27:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
In the spirit of promoting gender equality in the Media, UNESCO and partners have launched a video calling for action on gender equality and women’s empowerment in and through media in the form of a Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMG).

The video initially addresses the significant inequalities witnessed in the field of media and journalism in terms of gender and includes statements from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO and Christiane Amanpour of CNN, bringing attention to the urgent actions needed in the field.

In relation to the GAMG, the Global Forum on Media and Gender will be held in Bangkok, Thailand from 2-4 December.

The Global Forum on Media and Gender (GFMG) is a pioneering global event that intends to address gender equality and women’s empowerment in and through the media. A key output of the forum will be the establishment of a Global Alliance on Media and Gender which will coordinate systematic follow-up to one of the critical areas of concern of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPA), “Women and the Media Diagnosis”.

The video was co-produced with Gabinete de Comunicación y Educación (Communication and Education Research Group) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
Click to view the video and to share through social networks.

Further information

Thursday, November 21, 2013 3:20:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 14, 2013

Despite strong evidence regarding the importance of fully incorporating women into the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector, a gender ICT gap still remains in Europe. European females do not take ICT studies. Moreover, women are underrepresented in the sector, particularly in technical and decision-making positions.

Women’s active participation in the ICT sector is essential for Europe's long-term growth and economic sustainability. The study Women Active in the ICT Sector is another step in the on-going efforts to tackle the problem. This is achieved by:

1. Updating current data regarding females’ roles in the sector;
2. Identifying role models and career paths to inspire women and girls;
3. Assessing the economic impact of incorporating women into the sector;
4. Reviewing the status of the European Code of Best Practices for Women and ICT; and
5. Analysing successful social media campaigns. The conclusions of this study provide useful insights, which it is hoped will help to attract women to, and encourage them to remain in the ICT sector.

Based on these insights several recommendations are proposed:

1. Build a renewed image of the sector;
2. Empower women in the sector;
3. Increase the number of women entrepreneurs in the ICT sector and
4. Improve working conditions in the sector. 

Download the Full report here

(Source: EU Publications)

Thursday, November 14, 2013 6:09:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Leading multinational to co-host sessions at ITU Telecom World 2013 on implementation of e-education

ITU announced today that Intel Corporation, the global leader in silicon chip innovation, will join ITU Telecom World 2013 as a partner, co-hosting sessions on leveraging the power of information and communication technologies (ICT) to transform education.

The leading networking, knowledge-sharing and innovation showcasing platform for the global ICT community, ITU Telecom World 2013 will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, 19-22 November, bringing together an influential audience of private and public sector leaders from across the world.

Intel Education Solutions, created in recognition of the need for quality education to prepare tomorrow's workforce in an increasingly global economy, will host three interactive panel sessions and a ministerial round table at the event, focused on harnessing investment in ICT to accelerate technology adoption, transform education and advance economies and societies:

- Education Transformation: Content that Matters – how traditional educational material must evolve to make the most of broadband delivery and help students acquire 21st century skills.

- Education Transformation: Financing e-Learning Programmes – exploring the role of governments and public private partnerships in funding technology and multidisciplinary education projects.

- Education Transformation: From Vision to Action – learning lessons from current national and regional education transformation projects.

- Ministerial Roundtable on The Importance of ICT in 21st Century Education – bringing together the experiences, best practices and e-education initiatives of ministers from around the world.

“Education is critical to unlocking the power of grey matter, the human brain, the only natural resource distributed equally across the globe”, said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “Investing in ICT for education can transform outcomes for individuals, economies and societies at an unprecedented pace and scale. I believe that ITU Telecom World 2013 offers the ideal platform for government leaders and private sector innovators to come together, debate and share knowledge to ensure we achieve this common aim”.

“As a proud partner of ITU Telecom World 2013, Intel welcomes the opportunity to meet and learn from other leaders—and to share visions, practical strategies, and best practices from ICT-enabled education transformation initiatives that Intel has supported in more than 100 countries”, said John E. Davies, Vice President and General Manager, World Ahead Group, Intel Corporation.

Intel will also showcase its work on driving broadband adoption and education transformation on the showfloor at ITU Telecom World 2013, including new technologies, integrated solutions and real-life case studies supporting teaching and learning from kindergarten to university and beyond.

Elsewhere on the event programme, Intel executives will contribute to debates on Spectrum for the Future and The Internet of Everything. For full details of the ITU Telecom World 2013 programme, please see http://world2013.itu.int/event/programme/.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Thursday, November 14, 2013 6:02:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT) in partnership with UNDP, ADMA, TIGO, HEHE Ltd, National Youth Council and University Students’ Associations launched on November 12, 2013, series of Google+ Hangout sessions called YouthConnekt Hangout. This platform will serve as a channel for Youth, ICT players or anyone interested in both sectors to contribute to the country developmental agenda through debates.

The platform will have a practical, results-oriented format, including interactive, multi-stakeholder panel discussions, partnership announcements, as well as opportunities for participants to showcase their ICT development projects to potential partners and donors. The hangout will provide an excellent networking platform for leaders from the public, private and financial sectors to meet and forge new partnerships for the future.

This will be a bi-monthly program that will centre on different themes such as Youth Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Youth Access to Finance; Role of Youth in Peace Building; ICT4D, Environment; Investment Promotion; Sports and Culture; Role of Youth in Regional Integration; Sports and Culture, Reproductive health, HIV / AIDS and Drugs abuse among others.

Young people will be engaged in global policy shaping for sustainable development through information sharing; will create new opportunities for young people for skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship in ICT.

The hangout also reflects on the Post-2015 Development Agenda to help in defining the future global development framework that will succeed the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);

The Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said that “This will promote Youth employment through debates, will create a network of information sharing among youth on opportunities around them”.

He added that “This platform will help young people engaged in conversation with their leaders and get first hand information on the available policies and strategies on youth empowerment. Will promote ownership of Governments’ Programs among young people through providing ideas and solutions to some of the challenges they face”.

YouthConnekt Hangout started on Tuesday, 12 November, 2013 launched by MYICT in presence of its partners in this programme. YouthConnekt Hangout will be a bi-monthly event taking place on Tuesdays from 4:00PM to 5:00PM.

During this time millions of people in Rwanda and across the world will be gathering in different places to follow live this hangout.

(Source: MYICT)

Thursday, November 14, 2013 5:54:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Telecentre.org Foundation, under its Telecentre Women Program, is pleased to announce the opening of a new online course on Digital Literacy for Women and Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship. It will run from November 14-30.

The course is aimed at providing women and youth the necessary skills to enable them to engage in employment, entrepreneurship, and lifelong learning so they can stay competitive amidst rapid changes. It will be a Training of Trainers (ToT) type of course where participants will also learn how to teach the content to the learners for whom this course was designed and developed, the women and youth, both in the online and face-to-face modes.

The course is open to anyone who meets the following requirements:
- Has good access to the Internet; and
- Is able to devote at least 3 hours a day (or 10 hours a week) for a total learning time of 48 hours.

A Certificate of Trainer Course Completion will be issued to those who will be able to complete all the requirements of the course.

Developed with the support of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and to be implemented in partnership with the Philippine Community eCenter Network (PhilCeCNet), the online course will be delivered in the blended online mode, a combination of synchronous online sessions and online interactions through social media.

Interested parties may contact our Telecentre Women Program Manager, Ms. Maria Teresa Camba, at tcamba@telecentre.org for slot confirmation before November 14. For more info about the course, check out the course description.

(Source: Telecentre. Org)

Thursday, November 14, 2013 5:49:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Partnership supports ITU-WHO goal to combat non-communicable diseases using mobile services

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has signed a ground-breaking partnership agreement with international healthcare company Bupa, to collaborate on a global ‘m-Health’ initiative called ‘Be Healthy, Be Mobile’. Bupa and ITU will join forces to provide multidisciplinary expertise, health information and mobile technology to fight chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, in low- and middle-income countries. The programme is led by ITU and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Welcoming the partnership, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré said: “Non-communicable diseases are the single greatest factor contributing to mortality and the overall disease burden in developed countries and emerging economies alike. Where m-Health is concerned, ITU works with WHO to share our long-standing experience and our competence in mobile technologies and healthcare as well as our network of partners. We are truly excited about the potential of this new partnership with Bupa to help us accelerate the adoption of mobile health interventions worldwide”.

Bupa CEO Stuart Fletcher said: “Of the 36 million people who died from chronic disease in 2008, nine million were under the age of 60; and 90 per cent of these premature deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries. m-Health is a cost-effective and accessible way to get health information and tools to people so that they can keep well and we can reduce the impact of chronic diseases worldwide. Through this partnership we will be at the heart of a systemic intervention in healthcare and will help millions of people to live longer, healthier, happier lives, fulfilling our purpose”.

Launched in October 2012, the “Be Healthy, Be Mobile” initiative looks at developing best practices and bringing them to scale and is planned to run for four years initially.
In its first phase, the initiative is focusing on deploying mobile health interventions in areas such as diabetes, smoking cessation, hypertension, wellness and training of health workers. More than 25 countries have already expressed interest in participating. A smoking cessation programme via mobile phones is currently underway in Costa Rica.

Bupa will contribute with expert knowledge, health information and innovative technology to support the adoption of m-Health interventions by governments to address prevention and treatment of NCDs and their common risk factors, including tobacco use, diet, stress and physical inactivity.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Thursday, November 14, 2013 5:37:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


As part of the Technology Salon, a list of resources around the topic was created to serve as a reference about ICT4E in Rwanda. Many ICT4E initiatives are being implemented in Rwanda. Let's look at how the Rwanda Education Commons, an online platform, TeacherMate, handheld computers focused on literacy and XO laptops from OLPC are being used for learning in Rwanda.

ICT is supported at national levels in Rwanda from Vision 2020 which seeks to transform Rwanda into a middle-income country and a knowledge-based society by 2020 to the National Information and Communication Infrastructure (NICI) strategy which has ICT as the guiding policy to develop the Rwanda information and knowledge economy to the Ministry of Education's ICT in Education policy to integrate ICT at all educational institutions, at all levels.

Rwanda Education Commons
The Rwanda Education Commons (REC) was a USAID funded initiative with the Rwanda Ministry of Education (MOE), implemented by FHI 360 to promote the effective use of ICTs in education. In partnership with the MOE, REC expanded access to quality education by building communities of educators around the sharing of educational materials and resources. MOE was involved from the inception of the project, local staff were all Rwandan, and the project was housed and embedded within MOE's offices.
The REC program worked in four areas: policy, education content, hardware and software, and teacher professional development.

Teacher Professional Development
At teacher training colleges, many teachers were not computer literate when the project began. The project provided training to use technology and the REC platform at the teacher training colleges. As confidence grew, the use of REC for discussions, sharing information and accessing resources increased. Using technology moved from zero understanding to a basic competency. All teachers at the teacher training colleges used the portal. Coaches at the colleges now provide further training.

OLE: TeacherMates and OLPCs
TeacherMate is an application and tool that has pre-set lessons on literacy. OLE is working with Innovations for Learning, an organization that uses digital learning applications to improving student literacy, who created the TeacherMate. The OLPCs are being used to develop and remix open content for project learning activities.
A question asked was "which is better: the TeacherMate to OLPC?" Comparing the two would be like "comparing a cow to a goat". In other words, you can't, and you shouldn't. The objective and use of each one in the classroom is different. With the Teachermate the students engage with the content on one topic. The OLPC is creative, experimental and self-directed.

The Teachermate is game-based engagement. Teachers introduced the technology into the pedagogy and are using it as part of lessons with their students. The students learn the lesson and pass the test. It takes planning to decide how to use the OLPC in what classroom and context. With the OLPC the teacher become more like a facilitator in the classroom, and the potential for learning shifts and expands.

TeacherMate has specific skills built-in for literacy. It has a strong phonics component, introduces students basic phonograms and has dictation spelling activities to help students develop the skills needed to decode and spell new words. Teachers are learning how to identify, remix and adapt content on the OLPC. Open content is key. Some modules in English and math have been produced (The newly introduced OLPC tablets provide more content).

(Source: Technology Salon)

Thursday, November 14, 2013 3:01:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     |