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 Wednesday, March 05, 2014



This study aims to provide a greater awareness and contribute to a greater awareness of society about the possibilities offered by ICTs for persons with visual, hearing and mobility disabilities, to improve their welfare and employment opportunities.

It delves into the facilities and difficulties to access and use three types of specific technologies: the mobile phone, Internet (including social networking and e-government) and the computer.

The core of the study is based on the exploitation of EPDFVE Survey 2013, for persons with visual, hearing and mobility disabilities between 18 and 64 years old living in Spain, designed specifically to know, from experience and perception of disabled people themselves, how they can access and use the various technologies listed. Also, we want to know what aspects of ICT are more useful to enhance their daily life, what are the limitations that these groups have to take advantage of its benefits and what demands and proposals make us to improve their access and use thereof.

The analysis of data from the 2013 Survey EPDFVE allows to answer various questions raised with regard to people with disabilities and the role of ICT in their daily lives.

Here is available for download, in PDF, a summary of the report with main conclusions. The full report (188 pages) must be requested by sending an email to infofve@corp.vodafone.es

Further details




Wednesday, March 05, 2014 7:04:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

General Objectives

Analyze the social and labor situation and the profile of people with disabilities in nine Latin American countries in order to find out whether ITC training and teleworking are an alternative for their labor inclusion.

Specific Objectives

  1. Generate quantitative information on ITC training and working conditions of disabled people. Provide an estimation of the number of potential teleworkers with disabilities.

  2. Generate qualitative information through observation and refer to actual teleworking cases involving people with disabilities in order to identify the use of ITC applicable to this kind of activity and detect how legislation and norms are applied in each country focusing the labor inclusion of people with disabilities.

  3. Divulge concepts, advances and results related to this research, and propose recommendations in accordance with the analysis of the specific aims one and two in relation to the different players: people with disabilities, trainers, contracting parties, OSC and governments.

Methodology

Information and compilation

In order to find out whether in the Latin American countries included in this research exisist cultural, social, political and technological conditions to implement telework activities for the disabled, the research will look for responses to the questions detailed below.

The countries involved are in the following list:

  1. Argentina

  2. Brazil

  3. Chile

  4. Colombia

  5. El Salvador

  6. Mexico

  7. Peru

  8. Dominican Republic

  9. Uruguay

Two different approaches will be used in the research: a macro social or quantitative one and a micro social or qualitative.

The macro-social approach will allow us to provide support to the theoretical premises of a somewhat general nature to portray the quantitative aspects of the research related to the specific aim number one.

The micro-social approach, on the other hand, will highlight the relative nature of its conclusions, because the interpretation of experiences, opinions and their meanings is essential, as they only are meaningful within certain and limited situations, referring to specific cases which will allow us to evidence the qualitative aspects.

This division will facilitate information analysis and will also allow us to synchronize both perspectives. If we just consider only one of these approaches, this might lead us to a fragmented view, because both approaches constitute an indivisible reality.

Qualitative data compilation will be carried out through computer software to be determined by the team, having the Atlas TI features.

Further details

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 7:01:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



Mobile phone applications unveiled this week aim to reduce the high number of young people who are not in schools in the Philippines by offering them new ways to engage in education.

The apps, which were presented this week at the Mobile World Congress (24-27 February) in Barcelona, Spain, include a portal to help those outside education find courses near them, an app to teach English to out-of-school teenagers through phone calls and another app to help teachers track the progress of students taking such courses.

In 2011, more than six million young people were outside the education system in the Philippines, according to the country’s National Statistics Office. The nation’s Department of Education aims to provide education to at least one million of them in 2014.

The government is confident it will meet this target partly through the use of mobile technology, Stephanie Velasco-Orlino, education programme manager at Filipino mobile operator Smart Communications, tells
SciDev.Net.

Mobile phones are widely used in the Philippines, with the population reported to send around two billion text messages a day, according to the
Philippines — Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts report published in June 2013 by telecommunications consultancy BuddeComm.

Overall, Asia’s mEducation market is projected to reach a value of US$6.8 billion by 2017, according to the GSMA, an association that represents mobile operators worldwide.

The three mobile applications unveiled this week are the result of a GSMA-facilitated partnership between the Philippines’ Department of Education and three telecommunications firms: Globe Telecom, Digital Mobile Philippines and Smart Communications.

“The mobile network operators in the country … are working to provide mobile education services to help the government to reach their goal faster”, says Velasco-Orlino.

Her company has just launched an online portal that allows young people who are not in school to find tailored training programmes.

Smart Communications also aims to build a database of its users so it can find out where these young people are located and tell them about courses that nearby education centres offer. This could help potential students find information on where to go to school, given a general lack of infrastructure and the destruction caused by typhoons.

The system is due to be available in the second quarter of 2014 both for smartphones with an internet connection and for older phones, through an interactive voice response (IVR) system.

(Source: SciDev.Net)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:58:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



Creating stronger connections between scientific research and teachers’ communities was the main objective of the EU project PATHWAY.

In collaboration with the UNESCO ASPnet schools of Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro and Serbia and the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), schools and teachers played a leading role in expanding students' experiences and their understanding of science.

With the purpose of promoting scientific culture and a better understanding the role of science and technology in schools and among young people in the South-East European (SEE) region and Europe, an online survey of ASPnet Schools was undertaken by the UNESCO Venice Office. Fifty three schools from 4 countries (Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro and Serbia) participated in the survey.

The response rate of all the schools (mainly from secondary and primary/elementary schools) was very high. The country that showed a major interest was Croatia with the highest number of filled forms. Half the schools chose one of the UNESCO ASPnet study topics for their school activities. The most popular topic among the schools was ‘Cultural Diversity, Peace and Human Rights’, although ‘Education for Sustainable Development and Cultural Heritage’ came immediately after.

The schools that responded to the survey also expressed interest in being part of the EU-Project PATHWAY and opening their schools to science and technology education. Bringing the students into close contact with science centers raise their interest and motivation to learn about science and be involved in scientific investigations. Hence, one of the ideas of PATHWAY was to connect schools with science centers and with scientific research in general, but also to focus on teachers' professional development in this field.

An objective of the project PATHWAY was to reinforce and strengthen networks and partnerships so they may play a significant role in promoting scientific culture in particular among young people. Students and teachers should be active in the process of creating and maintaining networks and partnerships.

The willingness of the UNESCO ASPnet Schools to collaborate offered a great potential for the further development and consolidation of the PATHWAY project.

(Source: UNESCO)


Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:55:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 




Facebook introduced SocialEDU, a pilot initiative that will provide students in Rwanda with free access to a collaborative online education experience. With SocialEDU, students in Rwanda will receive free data plans for accessing free edX MOOCs from some of the world’s leading universities.

Internet.org is about working together to remove barriers to access and give billions of people the power to connect to the knowledge economy,” said Javier Olivan, Vice President of Growth and Analytics at Facebook. “SocialEDU represents this kind of collaboration at its best”.

He noted that “We worked with the Rwandan government, a telecom company, a device manufacturer and an educational content provider to develop a plan to provide students with free, high-quality, localized educational content and create a social learning experience that is accessible via handheld devices. The initiative builds on the success of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) by making it possible to access high-quality educational content affordably”.

Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said, “The Government of Rwanda is excited to partner with Facebook to open up a world full of content and interaction to Rwandan students. The social education experience will accelerate innovation and propel Rwanda into a knowledge-based economy”.

He added that “We are committed to doing our part to make sure SocialEDU has the greatest possible impact in Rwanda. This is fully aligned with the Government’s Broadband for All policy and the Smart Kigali Initiative, a public-private partnership that provides free wi-fi in Kigali’s most popular squares, buses, hotels, and public buildings”.

At its core, SocialEDU addresses five critical barriers to access by bringing together: Free content, Free data, Affordable smartphones, Localized, social educational experience and a government that supports innovation.

In this program, edX (edx.org) will work with Facebook to create a social educational experience by building a mobile app that is integrated with Facebook. Airtel will provide free education data for everyone in Rwanda who participates in the program for one year, while Nokia will pitch in with affordable smartphones that will improve the quality and ease of Internet access.

The Government will also expand its Smart Kigali program to provide free wi-fi in campuses throughout the country, enabling students to access high-quality multimedia educational content. Furthermore, the Government will work with edX to adapt course materials for local students. Airtel will lead operations for the phone trade-in program.

Normally these types of apps consume a great deal of bandwidth to work properly. To ensure the success of the app in Rwanda, Facebook is providing engineering support to guarantee that the app creates a social experience that is optimized for a low-bandwidth environment.

Facebook will work closely with Ericsson to test the app’s functionality at Ericsson’s facility, which simulates a 2G environment to provide developers with immediate feedback on the app’s performance in alternative environments. Later this year, Facebook, in partnership with Ericsson, will launch a unique testing facility that simulates alternative environments for developers to use when creating apps for similar markets.

Airtel Africa’s CEO Christian de Faria said, “We are honored to participate in this noble initiative. Education is one of the key engines for economic and social growth across the continent, with Rwanda amongst Africa’s most respected countries for its outstanding development record. We will do everything possible to support this ongoing reform using Airtel’s technological capability in the data and mobile commerce environment, to facilitate Rwanda’s rapid progress”.

Nokia’s Executive Vice President for Mobile Phones, Timo Toikkanen said, “Our affordable smartphones help people make the transition from simple mobility to more sophisticated experiences. Playing a role in helping students get access to these experiences, such as social education, through the SocialEDU initiative is truly an honor”.

Improving global access to high-quality education has been a key edX goal from day one,” said Anant Agarwal, president of edX. “Nearly half of our 2 million students come from developing countries, with 10 percent from Africa. In partnering with Facebook on this innovative pilot, we hope to learn how we can take this concept to the world”.

With SocialEDU, students in Rwanda will receive free data plans for accessing free edX MOOCs from some of the world’s leading universities, including Harvard, MIT, U.C. Berkeley, TU Delft, Australian National University and ETH Zurich.

This platform will allow students to ask questions, engage with other students, interact with teachers, and participate in group discussions.

Further details


Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:50:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC), a New York-based charity supporting children and adults with autism, has selected Sprint as the 2014 recipient of the Change Maker Award for its commitment to accessibility for people with disabilities. Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO, will accept the honor on behalf of the company at QSAC’s annual gala taking place on Tuesday, June 17, at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers (West 26 Street and West Side Highway) in New York.

Each year, QSAC’s Change Maker Award recognizes a company that has made a meaningful commitment to supporting the needs of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Sprint is being honored for delivering innovative accessible solutions that empower individuals with disabilities.

Sprint offers a variety of products and services, including unique, accessibility-themed ID packs for select Android devices that are designed to accommodate various accessibility needs. Sprint’s Accessible Education ID pack, among other services, assists individuals with autism who are working to improve their socialization and communication skills.

Sprint’s efforts to expand access to technology embodies our hope for more tools and resources to assist individuals with disabilities in achieving greater independence, empowering them to contribute more meaningfully to their communities,” said Gary Maffei, executive director of QSAC. “By recognizing Sprint, QSAC hopes to encourage others to actively support Sprint and similar efforts to expand access to technology for children and adults with autism”.

At Sprint, we recognize how making wireless technology more accessible can reduce, and perhaps eventually eliminate, the communication barriers faced by individuals with disabilities,” Hesse said. “We embrace this challenge and we are proud to receive the 2014 Change Maker Award”.

Past recipients of honors from QSAC have included Pfizer and PIMCO. Each year, QSAC’s gala brings together more than 500 people to increase autism awareness while raising funds to support QSAC’s programs and services for the autism community of New York and Long Island.

Additional details regarding the gala are available online at www.qsac.com/gala.

Sprint’s corporate responsibility program, Sprint Good WorksSM, is guided by the principle that doing the right thing is good business. More than a statement, it’s also a belief: Good does indeed workSM. That’s why Sprint is committed to anticipating the needs of customers and making award-winning services accessible to all. By empowering seniors and people with disabilities through accessible technology, Sprint is demonstrating how good technology works as a positive force in society.

For more information, watch the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh813O1yYT0&feature=player_embedded

Further details


Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:43:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



Under the motto “No one can enjoy a human right to which one does not have access”, the international initiative Zero Project (www.zeroproject.org) mobilized its worldwide network of more than 1,000 disability experts in spring 2013 to map the state of the implementation of the CRPD and to find innovative practice and policy solutions on accessibility.

Download the full report

(Source: G3ICT)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:39:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 26, 2014
UNPAN online training courses are available to anyone with Internet access and are provided free of charge. The courses are available in English, Russian and Spanish. Please login or register to view and access the courses available listed below:

Courses Available for Registered Users

Electronic and Mobile Government
- Principles of E-Government
- Infrastructure for E-Government Development
- Strategies and Methodologies for E-Government
- E-Government Interoperability (English and Russian)
- Open Government Data for Citizen Engagement (NEW!)

Institution and Human Resources Management
- Decentralized Governance
- Human Resources Managers Capacity Development
- Gestión Presupuestaria Basada en Resultados (Spanish)
- La Calidad en las Organizaciones Públicas (Spanish)
- Strategies for Strengthening Public Sector Human Resources Management for Africa's Development (Coming Soon...)

Knowledge Management in Government
- Knowledge Management in Government Organization
- Strategic Intelligence

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs
)
- Citizen Engagement and the Millennium Development Goals
- Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation for MDG Implementation
- Play and Learn: MDG Progress Game

(Source: UNPAN)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 12:22:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The European Commission has selected DIGITALEUROPE and European Schoolnet to deliver the e-Skills for Jobs 2014 campaign. It aims to raise awareness of the need for citizens to improve their command of information and communication technology (ICT) skills for work. The campaign is a response to the growing demand for ICT-skilled professionals which is currently not met, despite high level of unemployment in Europe.

The campaign comes under the umbrella of the European Commission’s Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, an EU-wide multi-stakeholder partnership helping to address a shortfall in the number of European citizens with ICT professional skills, and to exploit the employment creation potential of ICT.

The main focus of the campaign will be to raise awareness of the education, training, jobs, and other opportunities that are available to people with e-Skills – those who know how to effectively use digital technologies.

Together, industry, education bodies and public authorities will deliver a large and diverse programme of events and activities throughout the year for people at all levels of education and skills. The campaign is coordinated by DIGITALEUROPE and European Schoolnet in conjunction with hundreds of national and pan-European partners including European Centre for Women and Technology, JA-YE, Telecentre Europe and many major IT industry partners.

e-Skills are essential for professionals working in small to medium size enterprises, for young people and the unemployed looking to enter the workforce. They are also vital for corporations who need a highly-skilled workforce. While Europe struggles with a prolonged economic downturn, e-Skills are more essential than ever to help get Europe’s economy back on its feet. People with strong e-Skills will play a central role in making Europe an innovative and competitive environment.

During the course of 2014, the e-Skills for jobs campaign will run in 30 EU countries*. It will inform students, unemployed people, ICT professionals and SMEs about the vast range of opportunities that ICT-related jobs present. One of the first key activities is Get Online Week, a pan-European event organised by Telecentre Europe on 24-30 March, to get new users online and improve their digital skills for working life. Two major events are also foreseen during the campaign linked to the Greek and Italian EU Presidencies.

(*Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK).

For up to date information please contact:
Jonathan Murray, Project Director, DIGITALEUROPE, jonathan.murray@digitaleurope.org
Tel: + 32 2 609 5328
Alexa Joyce, Project Director, European Schoolnet, alexa.joyce@eun.org
Tel: +32 2 790 7554

DIGITALEUROPE, is the voice of the European digital technology industry. Our membership includes large and small companies in the Information and Communications Technology and Consumer Electronics Industry sectors. DIGITALEUROPE membership is composed of 61 major multinational companies and 41 national associations from 29 European countries. In all, DIGITALEUROPE represents more than 10,000 companies all over Europe with more than 2 million employees.

European Schoolnet is the network of 30 European Ministries of Education, based in Brussels. As a not-for-profit organisation, we aim to bring innovation in teaching and learning to our key stakeholders: Ministries of Education, schools, teachers, researchers, and industry partners.

The Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs is a multi-stakeholder partnership, led by the European Commission to tackle the lack of ICT skills and the several hundred of thousands of unfilled ICT-related vacancies.  For more information see https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/grand-coalition-digital-jobs-0 and follow the Twitter hashtag #gc_eu

Get Online Week was started by Telecentre Europes an annual Europe wide campaign to get new computer user online by helping them to get through the doors of their local ICT learning centres, enabling the staff to build people’s confidence to move on into more structured learning.

Further information

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 12:11:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Young people in Rwanda are urged to take part in different debates by following live on Youtube a bi-monthly YouthConnekt Hangout programme and share their views through social networks.

The youth discuss different topics that are aimed to find solutions to different problems they face in life. The last week’s debate was the expression of young people about the role of mobile application and how they can create the mobile application technologies to solve socio-economic problems.

YouthConnekt was initiated by the Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT) in 2012 as a platform to connect young Rwandans and increase their participation in the country’s socio-economic transformation. The initiative has since spun off a number of well-established programs such the YouthConnekt Dialogue and YouthConnekt Awards.

YouthConnekt Hangout brings together various partners including UNDP, ADMA, Tigo Rwanda, Zilencio Creativo, BSC Ltd and HeHe Ltd to create a platform for youth, government, development partners, private sector and civil society to connect youth to opportunities for their personal and socio-economic development.

The last Hangout gathered the youth from different sites mainly the students of University of Rwanda/Huye (UR Huye), those of INATEK in Ngoma District, and the kLab members, a group of young ICT innovators in Kigali and the Ministry of Youth and ICT headquarters. It was an occasion where the youth were interacting with the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana.

Minister Nsengimana said that the YouthConnekt Hangout serves as an opportunity for young people to find solutions to the communities’ problems. “The Hangout brings opportunities to young people of Rwanda and beyond, the role of mobile technologies especially mobile application today,” said Minister Nsengimana.

Minister Nsengimana stressed that the role of mobile applications can be crucial in different sectors as Rwanda stays in a process of transformation, moving from agriculture based economy to ICT activities; adding that young people who started to create the applications will be rewarded in the competition to happen in the next YouthConnekt Hangout.

Miriam Muganga, a third year student at UR Huye in Computer sciences and systems, said that she tried to create an mobile application that can locate different hotels and restaurants in Huye District where tourists and visitors may find accommodation easily.

Muganga noted that any application needs a lot time doing research, and it is difficult when the students mix it with their studies.

“It is hard to find people who are more interested in the innovation, developing an application are very good when you are in a team“, said Muganga as a challenge to her.
The Hangout is an online debate happening live after two weeks, through the initiative young people across the country and abroad share their views, and are able to ask questions to the officials in order to find solutions against challenges that the country face in line with development goals.

YouthConnekt Hangout won the first prize at the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa's innovation fair in the beginning of December last year in South Africa. The platform use Google hangout technology in combination with other social media channels and SMS to connect young people to role models, resources, skills, and entrepreneurship and employment opportunities.

Click here to watch the last hangout: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdbEZYMRkjQ

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 11:58:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The fifty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 10 to 21 March 2014.
Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC - accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world attend the session.

Themes

Priority theme:
Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls.
The draft agreed conclusions are now available.

Review theme:
Access and participation of women and girls to education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work (agreed conclusions from the fifty-fifth session).

Emerging issue
:
Women’s access to productive resources

Organization of the session

In accordance with its multi-year programme of work (ECOSOC resolution 2009/15), the Commission's two-week session includes the following activities:
Organization of work

Further details

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 11:54:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU commits to empowering women over the air waves

World Radio Day 2014 brings attention to women's empowerment and encourages radio broadcasters to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality over the airwaves.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré said, “Radio is an effective means of reaching out to people everywhere. By providing information in a timely manner, it empowers people in every corner of the world, in particular women, to meet their goals of sustainable development. Innovations in radio technology, which are under constant development at ITU, will make this medium increasingly relevant”.

13 February marks the day UN Radio was founded in 1946. Today, UN Radio continues to reach millions of people around the world, with daily broadcasts in the six official languages of the United Nations plus Portuguese and Kiswahili. Through partner stations around the globe, via the Internet and through new media, UN Radio highlights the efforts, achievements and challenges of the United Nations in dealing with pressing global issues, such as, sustainable development, peace and security, human rights, humanitarian affairs, and women’s equality and empowerment.

In January 2013, the United Nations General Assembly formally endorsed UNESCO’s proclamation of World Radio Day following a request from the Academia Española de la Radio of Spain.

Radio is an effective medium to reach a wide audience and a very effective communication tool. Radio broadcasts by networks and community radio stations play a very important role in reaching out to people living in remote rural settlements around the world and is particularly indispensable in emergency communication and disaster relief.
“World Radio Day celebrates audio broadcasting and seeks to improve international cooperation among radio broadcasters while encouraging decision-makers to create and provide access to information through radio,” said Mr François Rancy, Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau. “The occasion draws attention to the unique value of radio, which is currently taking up new technological forms and devices such as digital and online broadcasting”.

The ITU body dealing with the broadcasting service, ITU-R Study Group 6, focuses on worldwide broadcasting roaming and accessibility to these services – which include vision, sound, multimedia and data services intended for delivery to the general public – and plays a leading role in the advances being made in these technologies.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 11:33:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Download PDF here

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been proven to promote economic growth, but do we know that ICTs reduce poverty? This book provides new empirical evidence on access to and use of ICTs and their effect on poor households in four East African countries: Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. It addresses the questions: Do women benefit economically from using ICTs? Are the livelihoods of rural users boosted? Which ICTs are being used by low-income entrepreneurs?

ICT Pathways to Poverty Reduction presents a conceptual framework to analyze how the dynamics of poverty change over time and to shed light on whether ICT access benefits the poor as well as the not-so-poor. The chapters contain case studies on how various forms of ICTs affect different aspects of poverty based on research in East and Southern African countries at the household level or in small and medium enterprises.

Six of the chapters in this book are based on data from the PICTURE Africa study between 2007 and 2010. Two additional chapters detail country-specific studies based on findings from other research projects. Overall, the study concluded that ICTs make a difference to the livelihoods of the poor and contribute to reducing both financial and non-financial dimensions of poverty.

ICT Pathways to Poverty Reduction is essential reading for policymakers and researchers in international development, as well as staff of development agencies working on livelihoods for the poor.

(Source: IDRC)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 11:08:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 19, 2014


How do we make educational materials accessible to a girl from a poor family in Africa where over 50% of her female peers will never go to school? How can we get books into the hands of the poorest people on Earth?

The answer, at least in the immediate term, is mobile devices – and more precisely, mobile phones. Mobile devices are the most successful and ubiquitous information and communication technology in human history. They are plentiful in places where books and schools are scarce.

In less than a decade, mobile technology has spread to the furthest corners of the planet. Of the estimated 7 billion people on Earth, 6 billion now have access to a working mobile phone. Africa, which had a mobile penetration rate of just 5% in the 1990s, is now the second largest and fastest growing mobile phone market in the world, with a penetration rate of over 60% and climbing.

Mobile devices are transforming the way we communicate, live and learn. We must ensure that this digital revolution becomes a revolution in education, promoting inclusive and better learning everywhere.

From 17 to 21 February 2014, the UNESCO Mobile Learning Week will explore how mobile technologies can meet the needs of educators and help them improve their effectiveness. Under the theme of “Empowering teachers with technology”, MLW 2014 will consider the benefits as well as challenges associated with mobile learning—such as ensuring equity of devices, online safety, limited mobile-friendly content and the need for teacher training. “Technology can be a powerful education multiplier, but we must know how to use it… On its own, technology is not enough. Empowerment comes from skills and opportunities to use them. It comes from quality content that is inclusive, that draws on local languages and knowledge systems,” said UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova.

As mobile technology jumps from the margins of education to the mainstream, teachers will be key to the success of ICTs in teaching and learning. While not a panacea, mobile technology has a clear track record of improving educational efficiency. MLW 2014 will investigate how educators can best utilize mobile devices to achieve national and international learning objectives, including Education for All.

Despite impressive progress, the world is not on track to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadline. To ensure universal primary education UNESCO estimates that 6.8 million teachers need to be hired worldwide by 2015: 1.7 million are needed to fill new posts and 5.1 million are needed to replace outgoing teachers. These shortages—both current and anticipated— impede a wide range of development efforts by preventing young people from gaining access to the high quality instruction needed to excel in knowledge-based societies. The shortage of trained and motivated teachers is most acute in parts of the world where more and better quality instruction is desperately needed. In light of the urgency of the global teacher crisis, UNESCO wants to better understand how mobile technology can help prepare new teachers and provide professional development to working teachers.

Compounding the challenges of teacher supply, are concerns about teacher quality. Many children who are in school fail to develop basic competencies. As the latest UNESCO Global Monitoring Report reveals, 250 million students worldwide cannot read, write or count, even after four years of school. Close to 775 million adults – 64% of whom are women – still lack reading and writing skills, with the lowest rates in Sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia.

Improving educational access and quality requires political leadership, planning and action. To this effect, MLW 2014 will host a policy forum, symposium, research track, 11 half-day workshops, and 80 breakout presentations on the most cutting-edge topics, such as Open Educational Resources; classroom apps for smartphones and basic phones alike, content for tablets and netbooks; mobile learning pedagogics; building mobile learning apps; social media and more.

Mobile technologies hold the key to turning today’s digital divide into digital dividends, bringing equitable and quality education for all.

Further details

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 10:48:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
UNESCO, in partnership with Athabasca University and in cooperation with the UNESCO-UNAOC University Network on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue, launches online course on media and information literacy (MIL).

This entry-level online course will provide youth with basic media and information competencies to become critical citizens and agents of change. The course is designed to enable youth to:

 - Understand why media and other information providers are important to development and democratic societies;
 - Recognise a need for information and to locate, access, organise and carefully evaluate information and the content of media and other information providers;
 - Use and share information based on moral principles or accepted standards of social behaviour;
 - Interact with media and other information providers to freely express themselves, share their culture and learn about other cultures, promote gender equality, and participate in democratic and development activities.

The course is based on the MIL Curriculum and the Freedom of Expression (FOE) Toolkit published by UNESCO. A central theme throughout this 12-week course is how media and information literacy can enable youth to be actively involved in intercultural dialogue, advocating for equality between women/girls and men/boys, and freedom of expression.

The course will be offered through Athabasca University’s online e-Lab, using the learning management system, Moodle. Most sessions will be self-directed, with ongoing interaction with the course presenters in the online space. Athabasca is a Canadian university that holds a UNESCO Chair on open education resources. Athabasca University is an associate member of the UNESCO-UNAOC University Network on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue.

Applicants should be youth (females and males between the ages 15-25). Participants who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate from Athabasca University.

In order to successfully complete this course participants will need regular access to a computer and Internet access to download documents, listen to podcasts and view online videos.

To apply, please click here. Application must be completed by 19 February 2014. There are no associated fees to participants who wish to do this course.

This MIL course is being launched in conjunction with UNESCO’s Women Make the News initiative organized around International Women’s Day, March 8. It is the second course to be offered by UNESCO-UNAOC University Network on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue. The first targets teachers, policy makers and others professionals.

Further Information

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 10:40:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Malawian mothers and guardians of young children who live in villages far from health facilities are heaving a sigh of relief, after the introduction of a hotline through which they can access medical advice. VillageReach, a non-profit NGO, is running a program called “Chipatala Cha Pa Foni“, which means Health Center by Phone.

Malawi has some of the highest mother and child mortality rates in the world. The maternal mortality ratio is at 675 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, while the under-five mortality rate is 112 deaths per 1,000 births.

The figures are largely attributed to limited availability of timely and reliable health information for women of childbearing age, and a lack of access to health care for villagers due to long distances.

VillageReach officials say the phone program, which is currently run in the districts of Balaka, Mulanje, Nkhota-kota and Ntcheu, aims to bridge this information gap. “This is a toll-free case management hotline, which means people can call free from any Airtel [mobile phone service provider] phone and can ask their questions concerning any health issues", explained Zachariah Jezman, the program manager. "And apart from that component, we have also a reminder and tips service. In addition to that we have protocol approved messages, which are either posted to clients who have personal phone or which can be retrieved by a client without a phone by using any Airtel phone”.

According to Jezman, two complementary services extend the health centers' reach by providing Malawians with access to accurate health information.

He said the clients are handled by hotline workers who are trained personnel in maternal, newborn, and children's health. The workers use a simple touch-screen device that records data electronically for monitoring and evaluation purposes. They are supervised by trained nurses for quality assurance.

Balaka Center hotline nurse supervisor Novice Gauti tells VOA the center receives between 25 and 30 calls each day from mothers and guardians who seek medical advice. Gauti said along with providing crucial help for people in remote villages, Chipatala Cha pa Foni has helped reduce queues in the health facilities.

“Now the queues at the hospitals are very small compared to the time when there was no Chipatala cha pa Foni, because the mothers were just rushing to the hospital with minor problems", she noted. " But now when they have minor problems or discomfort they can easily and comfortably call us from their home and seek medical advice or medical care”.

(Source: Voice of America)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 10:32:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
A social media site that links Puerto Rican scientists abroad with those at home could be helping to strengthen the science community in a territory that has experienced substantial brain drain, according to its developers.

The founders of CienciaPR (‘Science Puerto Rico’) say the island group has few high-quality scientific institutions and, like other Latin American countries, spends little on research — so brain drain is a problem.

Some 64 per cent of Puerto Rican students studying for PhDs live outside the archipelago, as do 44 per cent of the doctorate workforce, according to a paper reviewing the website’s progress, published last month (31 December) in PLOS Biology.

With so few scientists in Puerto Rico, it is hard to foster local science, say the authors. But CiencaPR may be compensating with a digital community that can help fill the gaps.

Launched in 2006, the network has almost 7,000 members in 48 countries, and includes people in more than 185 universities in the United States.

The authors of the paper say CienciaPR has brought benefits at a local level, enabling students and scientists who leave Puerto Rico to continue to contribute to the local scientific community through science communication, outreach initiatives, research and education.

For example, the platform “has been a resource for teachers [in Puerto Rico] who look to bring scientists to their classrooms or to contextualise their science lessons. It is helping to stimulate students’ interest in science careers”, says Giovanna Guerrero-Medina, CienciaPR’s executive director.

(Source: SciDevNet)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 12:28:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Wikigender, the UN Foundation, Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC), the EU-LAC Foundation, European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), ECLAC and PARIS21 would like to hear your views on where are the data gaps and engage in a discussion on pioneering initiatives that generate new data and new methodological approaches to address complex areas (e.g. unpaid care, time use, social norms).

The outcomes of the discussion and main findings will be synthesised in a final report and presented/distributed at a side event organised by the OECD Development Centre, Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in March 2014, during the 58th session on UN the Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

Participate from 9am (GMT+1) on 27/01 until 5pm on 14/02!

Background

The objective of this online discussion is to focus on data gaps on gender equality, which can contribute to the 58th Commission for the Status of Women’s (CSW) review of the MDGs. Given the growing advocacy momentum for a stand-alone gender equality goal and targets in the post-2015 agenda, it is important to stocktake progress made since 2000 on improving the quality, coverage and approaches to data, which can assist in the elaboration of priorities for the statistical infrastructure for gender equality moving forward. Initiatives spearheaded at the international level (e.g. the UN Women/UNSD 52 minimum set of indicators, EDGE initiative, Data 2X), regional organisations (e.g. ECLAC, EU-LAC, EIGE), and national statistical offices point to the importance of coordinated action and knowledge-sharing for advancing the gender agenda at all levels: sub-national, national and international.

The Wikigender online discussion will look at where are the data gaps, map pioneering initiatives that generate new data (including use of big data), share knowledge on new methodological approaches to address complex areas (e.g. unpaid care, time use, social norms), progress on gender statistics since 2000, as well as national capacities to collect data. It aims to bring together leading institutes working on gender statistics to share and discuss their initiatives, results and proposals for improving gender statistics amongst a technical community of practice.

More information

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 11:59:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Helping children with learning disabilities such as dyslexia to acquire reading and spelling skills will not only open doors for them to engage with the community but also participate fully in it.

Dyslexia Association of Sarawak (DAS) vice-president Richard Sia said this when speaking during the certificate presentation ceremony for participants of the Empower Program organized by the US Department of State, which was held at the Sarawak State Library yesterday.

“With the ability to read and acquire information from resources out there, we hope that these children will gain access and be included in mainstream schools and communities, thus providing them with accessibility and inclusiveness through empowering them in reading.

“With this new knowledge and techniques, we hope to create and improve the support for dyslexic children and adults, and for children with other learning disabilities to acquire learning skills in reading, spelling and learning English”.

Last month, DAS and SK Laksamana Kuching in collaboration with state Education Department and Yayasan Sarawak conducted a reading camp for Primary 3 students, where children were immersed in English teaching and language.

The camp was a pilot project to empower children with learning disabilities through an intensive reading program over a seven-day period at Yayasan Sarawak in Kuching.
“All our children have shown a significant improvement in their pre-camp and post camp assessments for the English language”, shared Sia, adding that the children’s progress would continue to be monitored over the next six months.

During his speech, Yun praised the state library for its beauty and expressed the US Embassy’s willingness to continue to work together with the library to help it expand as well as provide other means of support such as exchanges and lectures.

“To me, having this mix is very, very important and I do believe, such a mix is a very important ingredient in how a nation succeeds. Again, this is very much full of hope as I come and see what you have done in Sarawak”, he said.

During his speech, His Excellency said the Embassy was very happy to have played a small part in enabling the Empower Program as well as the camp to take flight.

“We’re here to recognize what we one can do with a serious disability like dyslexia. Dyslexia is something that is not readily visible, not like many disabilities. When we recognize that, and when we have exchanges, mentors, tutors, who can really make sure that people with dyslexia can live full lives – more than that, lives with learning, I think that makes an enormous contribution. I am very happy to honour the Dyslexia association, what Richard Sia and his group have done. We are very happy to be a very small part of how we can highlight and assist in this effort”.

According to an event information handout, the Empower Program is a new series of two-way exchanges aimed at bolstering international disability rights by providing opportunities to disability advocates for professional development, internships, training, networking, and collaboration with their US peers.

The program is run by the Professional Exchanges Division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in partnership with Mobility International USA (Miusa). The exchanges coincide with efforts to promote and ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the administration.

(Source: Borneo Post)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 11:42:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Government on Friday introduced the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill in Rajya Sabha (RS), seeking to increase reservation for persons with disabilities in public sector jobs from existing 3% to 5% and reserve seat for them in higher educational institutions.

Persons with disabilities under the proposed legislation – which also seeks to broaden the ambit of disability from seven to 19 sub-categories — will, however, not get such relief soon as the members in Upper House insisted to send it to a standing committee of Parliament for detailed examination before putting it up for discussion and passing.
If the chairman Hamid Ansari agrees to send the Bill to the parliamentary panel, then it won’t be passed during the current session – the last one during the present government.

At present, the reservation for the disabled is only 3% in the ratio of 1% each for people with mobility, vision and hearing disabilities. The new Bill, if passed by the Parliament, will extend the quota by 2%, covering two new additional categories – mental disability and people with multiple disabilities.

The proposed legislation divides the broad categories into various sub-categories, seeking to include as many types of disabilities as possible. It includes, thalassemia and muscular dystrophy besides autism, blindness, cerebral palsy, chronic neurological conditions, mental disability and multiple disabilities.

The Bill, introduced by the Union minister for social justice and empowerment Mallikarjun Kharge, also provides for setting up National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, which will have statutory powers besides establishing a dedicated National Fund for Persons with Disabilities.

The proposed legislation is expected to bring more clarity in defining disability. Anyone suffering 40% disability or more will continue to be defined as a ‘person with disability’.

Besides making provisions to prevent persons with disabilities from harassment while getting disability certificates, the proposal legislation also provides for stringent punitive measures under which anyone violating the provisions could face from six months to five years of imprisonment and a fine from Rs 10,000 to five lakhs.

Demand to send the Bill to standing committee came from CPM members in the House. As soon as Kharge introduced the Bill, the party member Sitaram Yechury rose to his feet demanding that the bill should be referred to a Standing Committee. Deputy chairman P J Kurien, however, said that the chairman Hamid Ansari would take a call on this.

The government had in December last year decided to replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995 with the new Bill. It maintained that the proposed legislation is in consonance with the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which India had signed in 2007.

Various Disabled Rights Groups had, however, protested against the Bill in its current form, saying the provisions were not in tune with the norms of UN convention. The groups had identified 20 shortcomings and suggested amendments in the Bill.

Besides introduction of this much awaited Bill, the Upper House could not transact any other business for the third consecutive day on Friday. Member raised various issues including Telangana, corruption and plight of Tamil Nadu fishermen simultaneously as soon as the Rajya Sabha assembles. As the din continued, the House was adjourned for the day after two adjournments during the first half.

(Source: The Times of India)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 3:33:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 13, 2014


Safety is a basic human right. But for the millions of women and girls living in low-income urban communities across the world, personal safety can be difficult to achieve – giving way to gender-based violence, social isolation or a lack of basic social services. With this challenge, we are asking the OpenIDEO community to help design solutions that enable women to feel safe and empowered, by contributing research, sharing ideas and collaborating with others during the challenge.

According to the latest UN Habitat Report, women make up the majority of the world’s poor—up to 70 percent in some countries. It is also widely acknowledged that women and girls living in low-income urban contexts are disproportionately affected by safety hazards such as gender-based violence, unstable housing and inadequate sanitation facilities or lighting. As more and more people in developing countries migrate into cities from more rural areas, finding effective safety solutions for women and girls becomes increasingly urgent.

In order to frame the context for this challenge, Amplify convened an interdisciplinary group of subject-matter experts and community stakeholders to explore the issues underlying women’s safety. Learn more about these issues and what the experts discussed. The Amplify team will also be sharing research contributions as they learn from women, girls and multidisciplinary experts throughout the Research Phase.

Thought Starters for This Challenge
While there are countless exciting design directions for improving women’s safety in low-income urban areas, here are a few of the opportunity areas that came up during our expert convening that we are particularly excited about:

- How might we leverage the population density of low-income urban areas as a catalyst for safety?
- How might we use existing points of connection – from schools, to bus stops, to marketplaces – to build community, support and agency among women and girls?
- How might we engage men and boys in making urban environments safer for women and girls?
- How might we use infrastructure – transportation, architecture, sanitation and lighting, for example – to enhance safety and security?

Check out more information and short videos about these opportunity areas.

We trust that everyone will approach our challenge conversation with empathy and respect. With that in mind, we’ve outlined some Guiding Principles for contributing to this challenge – a great place to start if you’re just jumping in.

(Source: Open Ideo)

Thursday, February 13, 2014 3:59:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 22, 2014

We are excited to announce the launch of our WWW: Women Weave the Web Campaign! Join World Pulse in supporting women who are using the Internet to transform the world. From the streets of Nairobi to the plazas of Buenos Aires, women are logging on and sparking change. Now is the time to break down the digital divide. Participate in our campaign to make sure that every woman can access the tools that will empower her!

Our newly launched campaign is poised to crowdsource the wisdom of grassroots women leaders like you on issues related to digital inclusion and empowerment. With the launch of the campaign, we're kicking off the Digital Access phase to find out about challenges you have accessing the Internet and the solutions you and your community are developing. In a few months, we'll turn our focus to Digital Literacy and then to Digital Empowerment, to gather your ideas on the tools you need to fully espouse the web, as well as how the Internet empowers you to create real and powerful change on the ground. World Pulse will analyze the submitted testimonies, and, in conjunction with our partners, present your ideas and recommendations to important international forums, policy leaders, media outlets, and technology companies. Together, we can make sure our voices are heard in the halls of power, calling for the digital inclusion and empowerment of all women around the world!

Want to write a story? Take a picture? Connect with other women? There many ways to get involved with the campaign, from writing a journal entry on digital access to uploading a photo of your local library, or mapping internet cafes that are safe for women. Take a look at our How to Participate page to learn about all the ways that you can get your voice heard on this important issue!

This year, we have joined forces with several partners to bring some incredible opportunities and prizes to campaign participants! These opportunities include the $20,000 Lynn Syms prize, to be awarded to an outstanding grassroots woman and visionary voice using digital tools to effect change and advance her community work.

Campaign participants will also be able to apply to become a part of the Beyond Access Community, an initiative aimed at supporting local libraries in implementing community development programs. To be eligible for all the prizes, you first need to submit a journal entry to the campaign, so submit your story now!

(Source: World Pulse)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:53:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
TALENTEDGE, India's premier technology training company, has unveiled plans to boost information technology education in Nigeria through a partnership with local internet company, Linkserve.

A statement by Talentedge, said the company would, through its multiple product lines, offer a bouquet of learning courses like individual learning programmes, campus learning schemes, corporate education programmes and government training projects.

It said the pact will bring to the Nigerian market, a bouquet of technology training applications that had already helped to change IT learning in India and other developing nations.

The statement also added that the agreement would also allow Linkserve to open training centres.

Talentedge said it would also work with other sub-franchisees to increase the educational knowledge base in Nigeria for a better trained workforce.“We are extremely delighted to sign an agreement with Linkserve Group as part of our endeavour to change the landscape of education in Nigeria by introducing affordable and quality education for millions of students.

"Even though we have been operational in Nigeria as KarROX, we are now re-entering the country with a renewed vigour by partnering with a strong player in the IT Industry like Linkserve.

"We hope to replicate the high standards of education set by us in India in Nigeria”, the firm stated.

The chairman of Linkserve, Chima Onyekwere, was quoted as saying the partnership with Talentedge was in line with the company's vision to bring to the Nigerian market quality educational training matched with the innovative spirit of Linkserve.

He hailed Linkserve as a true IT pioneer in Nigeria. Onyekwere, said Talentedge and Linkserve would help the Federal Government improve the quality of ICT education and to ensure that Nigeria benefitted from the increased advancement in the field.

(Source: All Africa)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:47:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in partnership with UNICEF Ghana will this week launch the MEST-UNICEF Hackathon, a three-day product development competition to find new technologies to serve the hard-to-reach in Ghana. Participants will tackle issues ranging from water supply tracking, to access to information, and sanitation.

Over 3 days (from 15th -17th January 2014), participants will work in teams to develop practical web or mobile applications that address a set of problem statements presented by UNICEF Ghana. On 17th January, the teams will pitch their solutions to a panel of judges from UNICEF Ghana and MTN Ghana, and the top three teams will receive GHC5,000, GHC2,500 and GHC1,000 respectively.

“MEST is dedicated to supporting young and bright Africans to start their own software companies to create wealth and jobs in Africa. Our goal is that by setting this pace we can inspire generations that follow to achieve greatness in the continent”. Ekua Odoom, Managing Director - MEST said.

“We know talent is equally distributed but wealth is not and by creating opportunities like this we are showing the world how inspirational, talented and promising the youth in Africa are. And for this reason we are excited to partner with key development players such as UNICEF Ghana, to pursue this common vision of touching the continent in a phenomenal way- by helping find innovative technologies to serve the hard-to-reach in Ghana through this hackathon”, Ms. Odoom said.

Over 100 of Ghana’s brightest tech minds will join the competition at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) at East Legon. Participants will be joined by guests from the technology and business communities, as well as members of the general public.

“New ideas and technologies are needed to serve the hardest to reach communities in Ghana. UNICEF aims to co-develop innovations that are driven by and suited to the needs of the most vulnerable”, UNICEF Ghana Country Representative, Susan Namondo Ngongi, said.

“Partnering with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology gives UNICEF the opportunity to encourage innovations by Ghanaians, for Ghanaians. This partnership will bring different sets of skills, viewpoints and influence to the table.

“Most of the problem statements presented by UNICEF are around how we, working with our partners, improve our ability to target resources and monitor and manage results. “We believe that this hackathon will come up with innovative concepts that can be further refined to improve the lives of children in Ghana”, Ms Ngongi said. Follow @UNICEFGhana and @MESTGhana on twitter for live updates.

(Source: Ghanaweb)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:43:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Laptops, tablets and mobile phones are quickly changing the way we live and they are changing the way we learn.

Devices that were banned in schools just a few years ago are becoming commonplace in classrooms and increasingly integrated into day-to-day pedagogical practices. Yet concrete and evidence-based knowledge about how mobile technology is best leveraged to improve education is only beginning to emerge.

UNESCO Mobile Learning Week 2014 will bring together experts and government officials from around the world to discuss how new technologies can improve education outcomes and make learning more accessible and more equitable. The theme of the event, now in its third year, is teachers. How can mobile technology make teachers more effective and help them impart meaningful skills and understanding to students? Questions about how technology, teachers and learners intersect have never been more relevant and Mobile Learning Week will engage these questions directly from 17 to 21 February 2014.

(Source: UNESCO)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:39:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Many don’t believe that women can be as successful as men in fields related to math and science. Coding and computer programming have particularly been male-dominated fields, in the West as well as in the Arab world.

This perception has inspired the formation of several all-women coding and electronics groups, such as Girls Who Code, Women Who Tech, Women 2.0, and Girls in Tech which have opened two regional branches this year, in Cairo and Dubai (Another regional branch, in Kuwait, closed three years ago).

Girls in Tech was launched last November to bring the "know-how" of Lean Startup Machine to Egypt - its three-day model of trainings, tutorial sessions, and workshops targeted at school students in underdeveloped markets - to Egypt's students. But since then, the political and economic climate has forced the local chapter of Girls in Tech to shift its strategy and build instead a local community that challenges girls to develop tech skills on their own. Looking for local technical partners to fill in for the leery American organization wasn’t easy, according to Karam, because Egyptian telecom companies are rarely interested in anything beyond their own bottom lines.

This community was launched during a big event in Cairo, during which members were able to share opportunities and advice to facilitate their work. Smaller, more informal networking meetings as well as customizable mentorship events are also in the making.

Mona Karam, founder of Girls in Tech’s Egypt branch, is 27 years old, and works in Research and Development at Vodafone. While the general impression, she says, is that it’s harder for girls to succeed in technology fields, she and her organization have worked on bringing several young women to the forefront. One of these is Dr. Maha Nassar, founder and CEO of Jupiter2000, who has been working in the IT field since 1996, specifically in electronic financial transactions. Another woman is Rasha Ali, CEO of Smacrs, which specializes in e-advertising and marketing and other e-services. Both participated in the opening ceremony for Girls in Tech’s local branch in Cairo back in April.

"Women's capabilities usually begin to be questioned after they graduate from college with majors related to technology, math, engineering, science, and business management", she says. Women, she adds, sometimes struggle to find support from even the people closest to them, as was the case with Dr. Maha Nassar who revealed, during a speech in the opening ceremony, how her husband discouraged her in the beginning of her professional career. Later, he became her biggest supporter as her company's customer database began expanding to the GCC countries.

The Girls in Tech team, made up of five women who work part-time, including Karam, as well as many volunteers, are developing a database of pioneering women in the fields of mobile apps development, online marketing, and online media. Few pure technical fields are included in this list, perhaps because of the continuing stereotypes that Karam seeks to challenge.

Karam also spoke of the group’s intention to partner with public schools that lack technical capabilities to organize small programs in traditionally male-dominated fields.

(Source: Wamda)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:35:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN 2013 played host to a large delegation from the Ugandan government, including the State Minister of ICT, Hon Nyombi Thembo, and the State Minister of Education, Hon Dr Kamanda Bataringaya.

The delegation attended to represent and publicise eLearning Africa 2014, which will be hosted by the Ministry of ICT in Kampala, May 28 – 30. This will be the ninth edition of the conference, which travels to a new African nation each year.

eLearning Africa is the largest and most comprehensive knowledge sharing event for technology-enhanced education and training on the African continent. The annual conference is a forum for everyone with an interest in education and training in Africa. The Call for Proposals is open until January 15, 2014, and the organisers are searching for inspirational, innovative speakers to submit presentation ideas under the theme of ‘Opening Frontiers to the Future’.

Hon Nyombi Thembo, Bob Lyazi, of the Uganda Communications Commission, and Edward Ssebukyu, from the Ministry of Education and Sports, contributed presentations to an interesting session in the OEB programme. The session detailed the efforts within Uganda to create a “knowledge society where ICT is central in all spheres of life” and the speakers shared their enthusiastic anticipation for the coming conference in Kampala.

On Friday morning, Hon Nyombi Thembo made a keynote address, explaining the Ugandan government’s prioritisation of ICT as one of the “priority areas for socio-economic transformation”:
“We are all aware of the increasing importance of ICT in the socio-economic transformation and development of society. The world is steadily moving towards a knowledge-based economy … and as such, we have put in place the enabling policy and regulatory environment to facilitate the integration of ICTs into all social and economic activities”.

Going on to speak about the opportunities that hosting eLearning Africa offered Uganda, Hon Nyombi Thembo explained that the conference “brings together major industrial players who share their expertise through discussions and live projects that have impacted and changed the lives of people in different countries”.
The minister finished by warmly inviting the entire OEB audience to eLearning Africa next May and to enjoy all that Uganda, “a beautiful country … endowed with a diversity of culture, nature and wildlife”, has to offer.

ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN brought together 2,195 experts and practitioners from working in and around technology-supported learning for three days to analyse, collect and create new perspectives on e-learning. The 19th edition of the annual conference was attended by participants from the education, corporate, government and public service sectors.

Further details

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:29:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The annual African EduWeek conference will this year host key sessions on the incorporation of ICT and technologies into the classroom and learning process in a bid to improve educational practices.

Following from the release of the South African matriculation (matric) examination results yesterday, the organisers of the event said the current quality of education is questionable, and both teaching and learning methods need to be reassessed.

As such, this year’s African EduWeek conference – to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 10 and 11 – will focus on key takeaways such as the use of ICT skills to enhance teaching and learning, the role of technology in the classroom, empowering teachers, strengthening school leadership, and improving FET colleges. “There could not have been a clearer illustration of the need for EduWeek than the matric results we have seen, and responses we are hearing from the education community”, said Tanya Jackman, event director of African EduWeek.

“Learners are leaving school without the necessary tools to succeed, as we see with the high dropout rates from universities and youth unemployment, and this simply has to change”.

This year’s conference has the title of “Empowering teachers to deliver quality education everywhere”, and will include free workshops for teachers to improve their classroom and technical skills.

“Our educators are the most central element in improving the education system, and they must have access to relevant training to develop and equip their learners with the tools required to succeed in professional and further education environments”, said Jackman. South Africa’s matric results published yesterday saw 78.2 per cent of students pass their exams, despite the minimum pass requirement being just 30 per cent. As such the education system is coming under considerable criticism.

“In the wake of the recently published matric results, the quality of education and indeed of teachers is coming under increased scrutiny as critics cite low pass requirements (30 per cent) and simplified exams, not educational progression, as the key determinant in the results. As 78.2 per cent of matric students passed, questions remain as to whether the quality of education learners receive is high enough”, Jackman said.

(Source: Humanipo)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:23:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 20, 2014
Companies that address accessibility needs in their IT product development are better positioned to leverage those same assistive technologies to mass market solutions, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner said that people with disabilities (PWD) are an underserved market segment with one billion people worldwide. They and their immediate friends and family have an annual disposable income of more than $8 trillion.

"People with disabilities make up 15 percent of the world 's population and some of the assistive technology marketed to people with disabilities can also be sold to the other 85 percent of the population that is "situationally disabled" by their environmental conditions, at work and at play", said Andrew Johnson, managing vice president at Gartner. "Every day situational disabilities include listening to a conference call in a noisy airport, or using a mobile phone while driving or while wearing gloves. In many cases, assistive technology features will not only help mitigate common environmental factors, but can be used as the foundation to improve security and enhance privacy for everyone.

"Additionally, businesses that create a workplace environment that is accessible for PWD can realize increased productivity from nondisabled employees. Assistive tools by definition are designed to improve the work environment. Some employers fear that accommodating PWD will result in high accommodation costs, but evidence does not support these fears", Mr. Johnson said.

"Assistive technology" is a term used to describe products and services used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. It includes hardware, software and peripherals that assist PWD in accessing computers or other information technologies, at home and in the workplace. Examples include keyboards with large keys, screen-reader software that reads text on a phone or a computer screen, software that enlarges screen content, and products such as a text telephone.

"The assistive technology market itself is vast, but the potential market size is considerably larger when devices designed as assistive technology can have applications for the mass market", said Mr. Johnson. "Consider the impact that regulations for accessibility in Web technology have had on device features. Text-to-speech recognition not only allows sight-impaired people to listen to the printed word, but also helps solve part of the distracted driving epidemic by delivering audio versions of text messages. Similarly, optical character recognition that began with creating devices for the blind, but has expanded into applications such as license plate recognition used by law enforcement".

Mr. Johnson said that the size of the PWD market segment will increase in the coming years, partially as a result of global aging. By 2050, 30 percent of the population of 64 countries will be more than 60 years old, an age where a greater percentage of people have disabilities. As the numbers of PWD increase, so does the market opportunity.

Gartner has identified three basic approaches to the PWD market:

1. Customized solutions narrowly targeted to specific PWD types
Companies using this approach are usually smaller, have dedicated product development efforts and use resellers that focus on the PWD market. Assistive technology is their core business that might limit opportunities to the larger market but allows them to achieve their organizational goal of innovating for the PWD market.
2. Mass-market solutions positioned with side benefits to PWD
Companies using this approach are usually larger, leverage existing features, tweak messaging and use mass-market channels to appeal to disabled individuals and their family and support network. They do not create products for PWD; rather, they embed accessibility features into their products.
3. Line extensions with redesigned products for PWD
The line extension strategy is a hybrid approach where a mass-market product is modified to PWD.
While the approaches to accessibility may be varied, the trend toward IT consumption patterns that place users at the center will continue to drive consumer and enterprise IT requirements for the foreseeable future. With the trend toward more human-centric design, accessibility and overall usability for the largest percentage will become more important.

"Regardless of the go-to-market approach, the marketing organization needs a keen understanding of the PWD market and related government regulations", said Mr. Johnson. "Suppliers should designate a leadership position, such as a chief accessibility officer, to take the lead in educating the organization and customers on assistive technology. First step should be to evaluate your company's intellectual property and product portfolios to assess how they can be leveraged to the PWD market. Consider various business approaches ranging from licensing, manufacturing, partnerships and branded offerings".

More detailed analysis is available in the report "Market Trends: New Technologies Benefit Employees and People With Disabilities”. The report is available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/document/2593617?ref=QuickSearch&sthkw=disabilities%20AND%20technologies.

(Source: Gartner Newsroom)

Monday, January 20, 2014 9:14:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, December 22, 2013

The deadline to submit your application and all required submission materials is January 22, 2014.

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

WeTech is launching a Seed Fund in Africa that will provide small grants to support individuals or civil society organizations to play a role in increasing the access for women and girls to computer science-related training, jobs and leadership roles. While new and existing initiatives will be considered, preference will be given to the expansion of current projects.

Seed Fund grant amounts will range from $2,000 - $20,000. Grant applications will be reviewed by a panel of experts knowledgeable of Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) content areas or applicant's countries. Based on the application review, the Seed Fund team may propose modifications to the budget, requested amount and/or scope of the project that the grantee may accept if they so choose. Winners of the WeTech Seed Grants will be required to report quarterly on their progress as well as participate in, and contribute to, a virtual community of fellow grantees.

If you have specific questions throughout the application process, please contact us at wetech@iie.org

Further details

Sunday, December 22, 2013 8:20:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 19, 2013


Imagine a world where disabled and non-disabled people have equal life opportunities; access to mainstream education, employment and career development opportunities, a world where disabled people are able to freely access buildings, transport and other services.  This is what we aim for.

India has a rich cultural and religious heritage. It is the world’s fourth largest economy, and with a population of over one billion, is the largest democracy in the world (World Bank, 2010). India is growing in many aspects, fast becoming a global player with great potential to develop and influence other countries.

There are many changes taking place in relation to Disability Equality in India and around the world; anti-discriminative legislations, ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled people (UNCRPD), CSR initiatives, Disability Equality Practices and many more.

However, whilst India is making rapid progress in addressing disability equality, over 50% of disabled people remain illiterate compared to 35% of the general population (Government of India, 2001). The deep inequalities experienced by disabled people are further exacerbated when combined with existing axes of social difference, such as gender and social status. This shows the greater need for change in attitudes towards, and awareness of disability equality and accessibility. We believe it is you who can initiate this change which will last a lifetime and beyond, that will see our children, grandchildren and generations to come grow up in a country that respects equality and provides opportunities for all.

Choice Internationl (UK) and NGI are bringing together national and international resources to provide an environment for innovation and creativity, through which we aim to initiate change in Disability Equality and Accessibility in India. This jointly organised conference aims to recognise the achievements in Disability Equality in India, whilst analysing the challenges we now face.

So join us at ‘Freedom of choice’- an International Conference on Disability Equality and Accessibility in India, and make a lasting difference!

NGI creates a platform for forward-thinking Indians and friends, connecting them for the betterment of their lives. The aim of this publication and its events are to explore, express, learn, share, and network across the globe, promoting India, Indians and friends globally via debate, discussion and knowledge sharing.

Choice International is a UK based, non-profit, international development organisation promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the UK and overseas focussing specifically on promoting leadership development of disabled people. The current focus on India is via the LEAD-India programme.

This conference aims to:
- Explore Disability Equality within Indian businesses and services to gain an understanding of disability equality relating to accessibility, perception of disability and disability legislation in India.
- Explore the importance of barrier-free design and infrastructure.
- Equip participants to become ambassadors and promoters of Disability Equality
- Create an opportunity for participants to meet and network, share skills, knowledge and experience in Disability Equality and promote the concept of a barrier-free environment in their respective fields.

Help to incorporate effective Disability Equality practices and barrier free design in all infrastructures developed within corporate, public and voluntary sectors.

(Source: Choice International)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 6:03:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The YouthConnekt Hangout, a web-based platform that uses social media channels to connect young people to role models, resources, entrepreneurship skills and employment opportunities, has been named the best innovative project by the United Nations.

The project was rewarded with a $75,000 prize during the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Africa Innovation Fair earlier this month.

YouthConnekt was initiated by the Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT) in 2012 as a platform to connect innovative young Rwandans to participate actively in the country’s economic transformation.

“Building the skills of young people, harnessing their energy, and realizing their aspirations will help Rwanda improve its living standards and foster inclusive economic growth. Empowering them with opportunities to reach and apply their full potential are our most important challenges and our most vital opportunities”, said Lamin Manneh, the UN resident coordinator.

He indicated that although Africa had made significant strides in economic growth, it needs to be translated into opportunities for the youth to address poverty.
“Youth unemployment is a big challenge. If we want to develop, we have to harness development resources; no country can develop without involvement of youth”, he said. “An innovative approach to development is imperative”.

Manneh also called on people to transform Africa by linking job seekers to opportunities, but reminded that skills were the primary starting point in creating employment.
“People seeking jobs need skills and qualifications”, he noted.

While YouthConnekt Hangout so far requires internet access and literacy to participate in it, ICT Minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana indicated that thanks to Hehe Ltd, a Rwandan company, the online services will be linked to phone short messages (SMS) to increase access to the platform, especially in rural areas.

He added that the UNDP prize will be used to strengthen and expand the project and urged the youth to explore and seize available opportunities. “We want to build an active and innovative community that is confident in its ability to solve its own challenges by making a smart use of the abundant opportunities around us” he said.

“We are focusing on developing the youth because they are the future and are more innovative while taking on community challenges and turning them into opportunities”.
The hangouts sessions will be focusing on sharing information on opportunities for youth economic empowerment through employment, entrepreneurship, access to finance, Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D).

In addition, youth personal development as well as social and political empowerment will be promoted. Young people will also use the platform to contribute to ongoing policy discussions at national and international levels, with a focus on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

(Source: The Sunday Times)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:55:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO has launched its Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Assessment Framework for the evaluation of countries’ readiness to create an enabling environment for MIL. The publication also aims to assess citizens’ competencies on MIL, particularly targeting teachers in service and training.

Since the rapid advancements in information and communication technologies took place, traditional notions of literacy have struggled to keep up with modern demands. The challenges are also linked to a growing influence of media and the need for better management of information and knowledge at professional and societal levels.

UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy programme represents a composite set of knowledge, attitudes and skills, necessary to access, analyse, evaluate, use, produce and communicate information, media content and knowledge in creative, responsible and ethical ways in order to participate and engage in personal, professional and societal activities. UNESCO believes that every citizen needs to learn and understand principles necessary for media and information providers to fulfil their functions in society, learn more about opportunities and threats coming from virtual world and manage resources. As such, MIL acts as a key factor for the participation in knowledge societies in the 21th century, ensuring capacities for lifelong learning and developing employability and inclusion for all citizens.

A central component of UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy strategy, the Global MIL Assessment Framework would enable Member States to carry out comprehensive assessments of the information and media environment, and to monitor at the regional and national level the extent to which citizens have acquired MIL competencies, particularly targeting teachers in service and training. This evidence-based information will subsequently help Member States monitor the effectiveness of the implementation of education and ICT policies in developing 21st century capacities, and help to design new strategies and action-oriented plans that fit best within country-specific contexts and conditions.

The publication presents an overall assessment framework composed of two tiers: country readiness, and assessment of competencies. It also includes a plan for national adaptation as well as concrete suggestions for data collection, analysis and application. It is intended as a living document to be further tested, adjusted and adapted to national needs and circumstances by its users – policy decision makers, teachers and local professional communities in information, media and education.

The Global MIL Assessment Framework is part of UNESCO’s commitment to the implementation of the Intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP) Strategic Plan, and particularly its priority on information literacy, and of the Plan of Action of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). It also contributes to the on-going debate on Internet Governance.

The UNESCO Global Media and Information Literacy Assessment Framework was prepared by UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector in close collaboration with UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics and with support of the Japanese Government.

The UNESCO Global Media and Information Literacy Assessment Framework can be accessed here.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:30:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Google India aims to help 50 million more women get online by 2014-end by undertaking a variety of initiatives across the country.

Though India is on its way to become the second largest Internet market, with 200 million users, overtaking the U.S., only one-third of the online users are women.

The Internet can play an important role in empowering women in India and help them transform their lives. It can help women achieve self esteem and express their views freely, open up new opportunities and help them gain education. At the macro level, these benefits can translate into lowering maternal and infant mortality rates, a higher GDP of the country and improving standards of living.

But lack of easy access to the Internet and lack of knowledge of how to use the global network and its relevance in their daily lives are the biggest barriers for women to get online. ‘Helping women get online’ is just that initiative which aims to overcome these hurdles. Google India aims to help 50 million more women get online by 2014-end by undertaking a variety of initiatives across the country. “We have already seen many cases of women benefiting greatly by using the Internet and we are really delighted to partner with leading brands in the country in this ambitious project”, said Rajan Anandan, MD and VP Sales & Operations for Google India.

The initiative will focus on creating awareness of the benefits of Internet and educating women to use it to improve their lives, and work with partners to enable easy Internet access points for women. In the first stage, Google will launch a mass media campaign and promote the specially designed website www.hwgo.com which will host content covering the very basics of the Internet and special content that is relevant to women, available in both Hindi and English. Women can call toll-free helpline number 1800 41 999 77 for answers to any query about the Internet.

The initiative follows the success of a pilot programme that was carried out by Google India at a village in Bhilwara, Rajasthan, where over 100,000 women were trained in the basic applications of the Internet.

Now the programme will be supported by Intel, HUL and Axis Bank through joint outreach efforts including Internet training in digital literacy. Intel is also launching a mobile app, “Easy Step,” for women and it would be available on Android playstore.

Google has partnered with a host of different companies which will create and share content relevant to Indian women on www.hwgo.com. These partners include Johnson & Johnson, Indiatimes.com, Healthkart.com and Babyoye.com.

The Bhilwara project covered girl students in the age group 13-18, housewives and working women. Basic training content was created in Hindi to help the women understand how they could use the Internet in their day-to-day lives.

(Source: The Hindu)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:23:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
As is happening in other areas of society, women already occupies a better posision among the people who are making online computer training. 67% of students are women, compared to 33 % of men, according to data from Internet Academi, the largest Spanish online training platform on Internet.

Currently, they are opting to form a majority (83% ) for short programs, one month, to meet specific needs and improve their qualifications. The other 17% select a deeper or masters programs, which takes six to 10 months. They prefer mainly four areas: Social Media, Browsers, Web Analytics and Community Management.

The "sketch" of women who are doing digital training, according to data from Internet Academi would be: Spanish, around thirty years old, with higher education and who holds a responsible position in the field of Consulting or Internet.

· Age. 48% of the students are between 30 and 39 years old. Behind them, the age group between 20 and 29 accounts for 31 % of the total, and only 19 % are older than 40 years.
· Studying. With higher education level, which, in many cases, represent a Postgraduate. These studies are primarily focused on advertising, marketing, computers or technology.
· Vocational sector of origin. The students interested in the digital ecosystem work primarily in Consulting, Internet, Technology and Distribution. There is a small representation of the world of banking, insurance, textile, hospitality, advertising and marketing.
· Working place. 85% of the students have a position of responsibility as Director or Area Coordinator Department according to Internet Academi. The number of administrative and employees represents 8 %.
· Motivation. The three main reasons why women choose to be formed are: take the push that  Internet has in recent years to get a better job, increase their general knowledge to progress in their current job and complete their resume.
· Preferred courses. The students are mainly inclined to courses related to social networks and the Community Management, search engine optimization , the user experience , analytics and metrics in Internet and mobility. Among women who are enrolled in a Master Program, the chosen discipline is the E -Commerce.

"The data show that women are joining en masse to the knowledge society and their role will grow soon to address the changes that will continue", explains Rodrigo Miranda, director of Internet Academi. "Being off the Internet is similar to being illiterate in the twentieth century, and the woman has understood perfectly. They want to take this area to improve their opportunities in a business world, which is still dominated mostly by men, and they are aware that the Internet is a much more egalitarian environment where the shortage of well-trained professionals opens opportunities where they will not find wage differences like in other sectors".

Rodrigo Miranda recalls that the Network has also broken the geographical barriers. "In the case of Internet Academi, although the vast majority of our students are Spanish, in the last two calls has significantly grown the number of people from America, especially from Mexico and Colombia, and even from Asia, reaching 25% of total".

(Source: Cibersur)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:12:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
SWAZI youth recently attended a regional Web 2.0 training in Malawi.

This was courtesy of the Strengthening Youth Employment Opportunities in ICTs and Agriculture in Southern Africa (SOFIA) project. Patrick Masarirambi from SOFIA said this was part of the stakeholders’ meeting held in Malawi from November 25 to 29, 2013. He said this was a trainer of trainers on Web 2.0 and social media aimed at equipping youths in the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in agriculture.

“Participants came from the three countries, namely Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia. About five youths were selected from Swaziland to go for the training in Malawi“. Graduates from this training will be required to replicate the acquired knowledge in their centres and young farmer groups. “Running concurrently with the training was the regional advisory committee meeting which comprised members from the three implementing partners”, he said.

Masarirambi said Swaziland was represented in the committee by Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Director of Youth Affairs Bheki Thwala and Lulote Executive Director Patrick Masarirambi as the implementing partner. He said also present was sponsor representative from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) Ken Lohento.

Masarirambi said the meeting looked into various issues that should be addressed so as to ensure the success of SOFIA. He said the training was facilitated by Chandrabose Sembho from Mauritius and it went well. “Participants from Swaziland held their own as they competed well in the training. “At least two of them, Vusi Shongwe and Wandile Nxumalo were among the best five participants as they scooped two of the five prizes.

“These trained youths are going to facilitate the national training on Web 2.0 sometime next year, where about 25 will be selected from all the regions in the country”, he said.

Masarirambi said communication and availability of internet through ICT would enhance the flow of information shared locally and internationally to update farmers on supplies, markets and the outbreak of diseases as well as availability of a new variety of seeds.

He said it had been shown that the use of ICT could significantly reduce marketing and production costs. Adding, he said this project would bring economic growth, thus cutting down unemployment among the youth and the levels of crime.

(Source: Swazi Observer)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 3:57:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 13, 2013


We are pleased to publish ‘Mobile Phone Network Data for Development’, a primer on how analysis of Call Detail Records (CDRs) can provide valuable information for humanitarian and development purposes.

Earlier this year we produced the Global Pulse “Big Data for Development Primer”, an introductory guide for the global development community, summarizing key terms, concepts, case studies and challenges around big data.

Our new primer, Mobile Phone Network Data for Development, is an accessible synthesis of a growing body of research on mobile phone data analysis in development or humanitarian contexts. For example, de-identified CDRs have allowed researchers to see aggregate geographic trends such as the flow of mass populations during after natural disasters, how malaria can spread via human movement, or the passage of commuters through a city at peak times.

The document explains three types of indicators that can be extracted through analysis of CDRs (mobility, social interaction and economic activity), includes a synthesis of several research examples and a summary of privacy protection considerations.

(Source: United Nations Global Pulse)

Friday, December 13, 2013 5:11:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Most people are optimistic about technology innovations advancing healthcare, are willing to participate in virtual healthcare visits with their doctor, and would use health sensors in their bodies and even their toilets, according to a new study commissioned by Intel Corporation.

The "Intel Healthcare Innovation Barometer", conducted across eight countries by Penn Schoen Berland, found the majority of people also believe that technology innovation holds the best promise for curing fatal diseases – more than increasing the number of physicians or additional funding for research.

"This survey indicates very high willingness of people to become part of the solution to the world's healthcare problems with the aid of all sorts of technologies", said Eric Dishman, Intel fellow and general manager of the company's Health and Life Sciences Group. "Most people appear to embrace a future of healthcare that allows them to get care outside hospital walls, lets them anonymously share their information for better outcomes, and personalizes care all the way down to an individual's specific genetic makeup".

Intel's research revealed that what people want most at the intersection of healthcare and technology is more personalized care based on their own behaviors and biology that provides the freedom to get healthcare wherever and whenever it's convenient for them.

Intel Healthcare Innovation Barometer: Key Findings

Improving Personal Care and Self-Monitoring with Technology

- More than 70 percent of people globally are receptive to toilet sensors, prescription bottle sensors or swallowed monitors.
- Sixty-six percent of people say they would prefer a personalized healthcare regimen designed specifically for them based on their genetic profile or biology.
- Fifty-three percent of people say they would trust a test they personally administered as much or more than if performed by a doctor.
- About 30 percent of people would trust themselves to perform their own ultrasound.

Sharing Anonymous Digital Health Records for the Common Good

- People are more willing to anonymously share their health records or genetic information than their banking information or phone records.
- More than three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents over the age of 55 would be willing to anonymously share results of lab tests or health monitoring to contribute to research databases compared with 64 percent of millennials.
- India is the country most willing to share healthcare information to aid innovation.

Emerging Technology Tools for Increased In-Home Health Management

- Half of those surveyed would trust a diagnosis delivered via video conference from their doctor.
- Seventy-two percent are receptive to communication technologies that allow them to remotely connect to their doctor.
- The innovation least likely to be incorporated by the global population is a robot performing surgery.
- Almost half of respondents (43 percent) globally would trust themselves to monitor their own blood pressure and other basic vitals.
- Only 42 percent of Japanese respondents say the traditional hospital will become obsolete in the future compared with 57 percent of global respondents.

Further details

Friday, December 13, 2013 5:05:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ICT can transform the way that education is delivered and open the way to a new pedagogy. It can make it easier for teachers to plan and find high quality materials, and it can help pupils to find out more about the subjects that they are studying. Critically, new technology can enable teachers to tailor their teaching more closely to the abilities of individual pupils.

This article is going to explore some initiatives taken by Tanzanian government in providing conducive environment for utilisation of ICT in the education sector. There are several projects at the national level, projects that have now been included as part of the national ICT policy for education.

(a) ICT Implementation in Teachers’ Colleges: This was a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Education and SIDA aimed at introducing ICT in all teacher-training colleges in the country. The project was initiated in 2005 when a proposal was developed by Schools Online, an NGO based in the US and with offices in Tanzania at the time, and sold to the ministry as an initiative to improve access and quality of education in the country. The programme’s main goal is to improve the quality of teacher education by using ICTs in pre-service and in-service sessions. Tutors were expected to become ICT literate and able to use ICT as a tool for teaching and learning as well as for management and administration. The benefits of preparing ICT-literate teachers are expected to spill over to schools when implementing initiatives like e-school or e-learning.

(b) ICT Development in Secondary Education: The eSchool Forum which was formed after the education stakeholders workshop organized by the ministry of education in 2005, has submitted a programme proposal to the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training. The proposal recommended the introduction of ICT in secondary education, in phases starting with 200 schools in phase 1 (2006 to 2008), a large scale rollout covering 2,000 schools in phase 2 (within five years), and nationwide coverage by 2015. The proposal covered a wide range of activities that need to be undertaken within the programme, including ICT infrastructure development in the schools, technical resources, student management at school levels (integrated EMIS), content and curriculum development, e-learning, sensitisation, human resources, and programme co-ordination and funding.

(c) Education Management Information System (EMIS): The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training is implementing a nationwide education management information system (EMIS) to produce and manage educational data and information. The EMIS is expected to collect, process, utilise, and disseminate education data to educational stakeholders on a timely basis. This project is currently being implemented at the ministry headquarters, however some regional and districts offices have been provided with computers and printers. Computer training has taken place for 19 regional education officers, 19 regional academic officers, 35 district education officers, and 34 statistical and logistics officers.

(d) Computer Procurement and Refurbishment for Schools: This project was managed by the Tanzania Computer Literacy for Secondary Schools Trust Fund, a local NGO based in Dar es Salaam. The project procured used computers and received donations from donors and other organisations, refurbishes these computers and uses them to equip computer labs in secondary schools. The project also train students in basic computer maintenance so that they can become the first-level support for the labs. This project was supported by IICD.

(e) Tanzania Education Services Web site: This Web site publishes information on the education sector in Tanzania, including information about schools, examination results, and school administration. There is a wealth of information including contact information for 1,060 schools and 47 teacher colleges. This project was supported by IICD.

(f) Barclays/Digital Links/TEA Computer for Schools Project: Barclays Bank and Digital Links International have formed a partnership to spur the growth of ICT in schools across East Africa. A three-year programme has set targets to place 10,000 computers in approximately 500 schools.

Implementation of the programme is through collaborative partnerships with organisations in each country. For Tanzania, the Barclays ICT project for schools is implemented by Tanzania Education Authority (TEA), Tanzania Commission of Science and Technology (COSTECH), and Mkombozi Centre for Street Children.

We are now living in an information age whereby transformation has been happening around the world with the ubiquity of ICT. It is natural that this transformation must be reflected in the way we teach and the way we learn. Todate, such a transformation has not much been taken up by the government in an effort to offer a wide range of ICT services to the citizens especially primary schools.

In Tanzania most of schools have not gone through this technological process and very few have been equipped with an ICT infrastructure. In primary schools in Tanzania, ICT has been included in curriculum while in the secondary sector it has been started to be regarded as a different subject and geared towards a skills-based exam but for few private secondary schools.

ICT can be a powerful resource for supporting school-directed change. Funding for ICT in Schools will influence the direction and the speed of innovation over the next four years. It is our recommendation that resources are targeted to areas that will drive the priorities and strategies to make transforming the way we learn into a reality.

(Source: IPP Media)

Friday, December 13, 2013 4:47:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Cabinet has rubber-stamped “South Africa Connect”, the Department of Communication’s National Broadband Policy, Strategy and Plan.



Cabinet has approved the National Broadband Policy, Strategy and Plan, and the gazetting of the National Integrated Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy Green Paper for public consultation.

The Government Communications and Information System department issued a press statement today (Thursday, 5 December 2013) in which it outlined the discussions and decisions made by cabinet yesterday.

In the statement, Cabinet said the National Broadband Policy, Strategy and Plan, collectively referred to as “South Africa Connect”, will contribute significantly to economic growth, development and job-creation.

“The overall goal is to achieve a universal average download speed of 100Mbps by 2030”, Cabinet said. “To reach this target in a progressive manner, there are reviewable targets starting with an average user experience speed of 5Mbps to be reached by 2016 and available to 50% of the population, and to 90% by 2020”, Cabinet said.
Cabinet said that targets are also set for schools and clinics and general public sector connectivity.

“The rapid evolution of broadband technology means that these targets will be reviewed annually”, Cabinet said.

Cabinet also said that it has approved the gazetting of the National Integrated Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy Green Paper for public consultation.

The Green Paper deals with the need to amend policies and regulations to take account of the rapid changes in ICT in recent years. Among the issues it focuses on, Cabinet said, are telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services. Public hearings will be held in all the provinces early next year, Cabinet said.

(Source: My Broadband)

Friday, December 13, 2013 4:31:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ICT education to reach 8500 students in 33 provincial schools

ITU has selected Sri Lanka as one of five countries for the ‘Connect a School, Connect a Community’ project. Following the completion of a ‘Connect a school, Connect a Community’ project in Akuressa, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) initiated this project with ITU to extend the scope to cover 33 schools on the entire island.

This project was inaugurated today with the opening of the Computer Laboratory of the Watareka Kanishta Vidyalaya (Primary School), in Homagama, Padukka, Colombo District, by the Sri Lanka Minister of Education Mr Bandula Gunawardena. The ceremony was attended by Mr Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka and Chairman of the TRCSL, and Ms Eun-Ju Kim, Director of the ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, along with participating school principals and officials of the Provincial Education Offices.

The project will benefit over 8500 students in 33 schools located in areas of low ICT development, while also educating children with special needs.

The main objective of the project is to narrow the digital divide between rural and urban areas and provide digital opportunities to their communities. Transforming these schools into community ICT centres is expected to help marginalized and vulnerable groups, such as women, indigenous people, persons with disabilities and those living in rural, remote and underserved areas, and to empower them to contribute to their socio-economic development.

ITU and TRCSL have provided funds for the hardware and software required to equip the computer laboratories in schools. The schools will be responsible for the maintenance and operation of the facilities, while telecommunication operators will provide broadband Internet connectivity to at concessionary rates. “This school and rural community-oriented ICT project will be beneficial to the rural sector”, said Mr Weeratunga. “In the future, these schools will play a key role in the penetration of ICT knowledge into the rural and remote areas of the country”.

“The Ministry of Education is committed to equipping teachers and students in Sri Lanka with digital literacy skills in order to empower them to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the global economy”, said Mr Anura Dissanayake, Secretary in the Ministry of Education. “The project will bring technology into the classroom and allow teachers to teach their students critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration skills”.

“This is a smart initiative which sets a milestone in driving ICT access to rural and remote areas and benefits not only teachers and students but also the communities where they live”, said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “Such an innovative public-private-peoples’ partnership, which promotes school-based community ICT centres, represents an attractive, affordable, inclusive, scalable and sustainable step forward in providing digital opportunities for the people of Sri Lanka. This is certainly an excellent way forward to realize the Asia-Pacific Vision 2020: Smartly DIGITAL, which was endorsed last month by leaders at the Connect Asia-Pacific Summit held in Bangkok, Thailand”. Dr Touré was represented at the event by Ms Eun-Ju Kim, Director of ITU’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

The ‘Connect a School, Connect a Community’ project in Sri Lanka is a public-private-peoples’ partnership (4P) involving ITU, TRCSL, the Sri Lanka Ministry of Education, UNHCR, ICTA, SLT, Mobitel, Dialog Axiata, Metropolitan Computers, Daisy Lanka Foundation, Jinasena Training and Rehabilitation for ICT Education promotion of the Island.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Friday, December 13, 2013 4:21:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 09, 2013

New subtitling service makes FMQs more accessible.
 
A new service aimed at making First Minister’s Questions (FMQs) more accessible is now available on the Scottish Parliament’s You Tube channel. From today, subtitles will be available on the video archive of FMQs footage to improve accessibility and allow a wider audience to watch questions being put to the First Minister the same afternoon it is broadcast.

Running for an initial trial period, the new service will use the text from the Official Report and will be available on Thursday afternoon after First Ministers Question Time takes places and usually by 4.30 pm.

Speaking about the new service, Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body member David Stewart MSP said: “Openness and accessibility have always been at the heart of the work of the Scottish Parliament. I am delighted to announce that we will be trialling this new service as a way of bringing First Minister’s Question Time to as wide an audience as possible. Being able to see subtitled archived coverage so quickly is a significant step forward”.

The new service is the latest addition to the range of services available to those wishing to engage in Parliamentary business. These include providing information about the Scottish Parliament and its work in a range of different formats including Braille, audio, large print and British Sign Language.

In addition, where visitors are attending parliamentary business or going on a guided tour, BSL / English interpreters are available if booked in advance through Visitor Services.

People wishing to use the new service can go the Scottish Parliament’s You Tube channel. The archived video of FMQs will now include the option to add captions.
The initial trial will run until the end of December 2014.

(Source: The Edinburgh Reporter)

Monday, December 09, 2013 2:39:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     |