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 Thursday, June 19, 2014


UNESCO’s Institute of IT in Education (IITE) with the University of London  recently launched its first Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on "ICT in primary education". More than 7000 participants from 166 countries are registered, with over 3000 participants from emerging economies.

The MOOC is designed as a professional development course for teachers, head-teachers, leaders and policymakers in primary education, but is open to all with an interest in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The course team has instructors from 8 different countries.

The course will look at  why and how  teachers integrate ICT into primary education. It analyses examples from schools in different parts of the world, and brings professional teachers, head-teachers and policymakers together to share their best ideas and inspiring stories. The course materials were developed by a group of international experts, led by Professor Diana Laurillard of the University of London, based on studies carried out for UNESCO IITE.

The basis of the course is not a particular theoretical approach, but a collection of good and interesting experiences and examples of ICT in primary education from different countries across the world. It is based on the conviction that ICT, when used well, is a vital tool to help all children achieve their learning potential.

This first course, launched on 27 May 2014, is free and open to all. It runs for 6 weeks, and provides 4-10 hours of study each week, depending on the pathway the participant chooses to take. There is an option of receiving a certificate of completion, and/or a statement of accomplishment. Potential participants can see the course description and register here.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:57:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
"Knowing how to code?" or "literacy of the XXI century? " - UNESCO's YouthMobile initiative and Intel Software  hosted a round table on this issue on Friday, June 13, the day of the5th edition of Futur en Seine (CNAM, Paris), with the support Cap Digital.



Learning how to code is  is no longer only about training engineers, but rather to give all citizens the means to create, work, and  manage a lot of information, and take a critical look at technologywhile having fun. In this context, “coding” must be seen as a new way to learn more than mere “coding techniques”.

With its new "YouthMobile" initiative, UNESCO wants as many girls and boy as possible to have the opportunity, through the code, to use technology to address local and global issues related to sustainable development. UNESCO and its partners strive to provide young people with the high level skills and confidence necessary for the development, promotion and sale of mobile applications.

Many volunteers around the world are already deploying “coding” trainings, but these programmes are often not easy for parents or teachers, rather than technicians, to replicate, translate, or adapt.

Intel Coding for Kids, an open source package of trainings and software incorporating international best practices in this field, meets the criteria of UNESCO's YouthMobile initiative. Educational and/or non-profit partner associations can freely adapt and build their own programmes, within the framework of international deployment.

In this approach, code is used as a means of artistic creation, and to facilitate understanding of social, scientific and environmental problems. The proposed pedagogical model is based on the peer-to-peer concept. The code is introduced very gradually and at each step the learner acquires ready-to-use expertise.

In addition, the round table organized by UNESCO and Intel Software will focus on other innovative approaches recently adopted in France, such as by Simplon.co and Ecole42, and will try to assess the feasibility and sustainability of larger deployments and similar initiatives, particularly in emerging countries.

The Futur en Seine festival will take place from 12 to 22 June 2014, in the heart of Paris and across the Île-de-France. For more information:http://www.futur-en-seine.fr/fens2014

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:50:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Ghana's Open Learning Exchange (OLE) is introducing innovative teaching and learning models which involve the use of affordable technology tools to make learning more pleasurable, and improve universal literacy. Local experts and politicians believe technology is the ultimate solution to alleviate the country's low literacy levels. Last year, former finance minister Dr. Kwesi Botchwey called on students to take advantage of technology to enhance their knowledge.

According to BizTech Africa, these tools include the Raspberry Pi server, which houses the OLE's Basic eLearning Library (BeLL).  A Raspberry Pi is a small computer that uses an ARM 11 processor running at 700MHz with 512MB RAM. It uses much less power than a PC, and takes up much less space. 

OLE said the BeLL system, which is powered by the Raspberry Pi, is designed to work on or off both the electric grid andthe Internet. This ensures that the most marginalised students in resource-limited areas have access to high quality learning resources. OLE said the Ghana National BeLL network will be used to update each of the School BeLLs periodically with new resources.

A feedback functionality worked into the BeLL system will then send usage data (such as pupils‘ and teachers‘ comments and ratings of the effectiveness of the resources) to the Ghana BeLL, which would make such data available to educational authorities, curriculum developers,and resource developers, among others.

This, OLE said, will provide unprecedented, rich data that can help improve the effectiveness of the learning materials and strategies to achieve universal child literacy.

Most of Ghana's Grade 6 schoolchildren still cannot read or write properly even after five years of primary education. The majority of Ghanaian adults' handwriting is almost unreadable and their reading skills in English are also often very poor. It is this alarming situation that prompted OLE Ghana to team up with World Vision Ghana to launch the Ghana Reads project.

OLE Ghana director Kofi Essien told the press that the Ghana Reads project, currently being piloted in 28 schools, provides low-cost tablets and hand-held technologies to school children. This project is backed by effective pedagogical and teacher support strategies to increase access to high quality, interactive learning resources in the classroom.
                                                                                                                                                                   
 (Source: OAfrica )

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:38:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Digital Literacy 2.0 (Dlit2.0) is a European project, funded as part ofthe Lifelong Learning Programme, that aims to help you use Web2.0 applications in your everyday life.

Web 2.0 can ease your daily life and will help you to
- stay in contact with family & friends
- find bargains and snips
- have a voice in public debate
- make use of services that are free of charge ... and much more.

DLit2.0 follows an ICT-based “train the trainer“ and “qualify the users“ approach. It sets out to develop and implement training programmes for staff in informal learning settings such as public libraries, community and care centres to enable them to use Web 2.0 to provide ICT based informal instruction and distance learning to socially disadvantaged people. Once they are trained, these staff members will enable new Internet users to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to make full and safe use of the World Wide Web, improving their motivation to learn and empowering them to participate in social life. Essentially, Web 2.0 provides learning opportunities and reduces educational barriers.

DLit2.0 compiles best practices, strategies and success criteria from different European countries into one comprehensive and innovative strategy, with special emphasis on innovative, non-formal learning approaches and collaboration models. The project reflects transnational, transsectoral and interdisciplinary cooperation and creates value by based on knowledge, empowering people in inclusive societies and ensuring that citizens have access to lifelong learning toolsto master "New Skills for New Jobs".

Further details

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:28:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Over 130 international delegates gathered in Singapore on 16 June 2014 to discuss innovative solutions for an ageing society in the new era of ICT-enabled growth and to create opportunities for people with disabilities to capitalise on the digital wave.

Jointly organised by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), Singapore e-Government Leadership Centre (eGL) and Institute of System Science (ISS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS), the workshop delved into ways to make ICT more accessible to the aged and people with special needs in order to enable them to participate in the digital economy.

Supported by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Waseda University and International Academy of CIOs (IAC), the event included government officials, academia, NGOs, VWOs and industry players from 24 economies.

"Governments today face higher expectations from citizens who use their best online transaction experiences from around the world, including that with the private sector as a yardstick for the quality of government digital services. Hence, it is no longer sufficient for Government to just provide and upkeep services online, but to innovate, and keep on innovating to raise the bar of public service and to enhance the service experience of citizens when they interact with the government", said Mr Amos Tan, Director, Strategy and Innovation Division (SID), IDA.

Consensus drawn at the workshop included the need for international cooperation and broad-based steps to be developed now, in particular the acceleration of innovation, design of secure and resilient environments, building strategic ICT capabilities, aligning policies with user-driven needs, promoting scalable solutions, harnessing data analytics for citizen participation, recognising the need for increased cross-cutting research and raising social awareness about ageing and disabilities.

"Learning from international best practices and the implementation of comprehensive strategies is a good start to address the needs of the elderly and people with disability in Singapore. We will continue to promote research and innovation of services in sectors such as healthcare, finance, training, transportation, community development, housing and e-government so as to provide an environment for the ageing and disabled folks with capabilities, opportunities, responsibilities and resources to maintain active participation and social inclusion. In addition, we advocate the use of design thinking to achieve good design to enable products, services or ICT for the elderly and people with disability", said Mr Lim Swee Cheang, Director of ISS.

The workshop concluded that to meet the challenges of the 21st century and to mitigate the social and economic impacts of people with special needs, economies must embrace the culture of innovation and enhance collaboration among governments, businesses and citizens. This includes social and organisational innovation, as well as the unlocking of information technologies through increased research and innovative new models.

(Source: IDA)

Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:12:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, June 14, 2014


Announced at the World Economic Forum recently, Intel is partnering with the Rockefeller Foundation to further the She Will Connect initiative which aims to promote women in Africa and eventually other emerging markets’ tech scene.

A recent Women and the Web report suggested that, in developing countries, there are 25% fewer women than men online. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the gap rises to 43%. In light of this discovery, Intel launched the She Will Connect programme last year September which will aim to give women greater opportunities in this space.

The initiative strives to halve the digital gender gap in Africa, by empowering five million women through digital literacy programs, with initial pilots in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.

According to general manager of the Intel World Ahead Program, John Davies, “Technology in general and the internet in particular, has transformed the lives of billions of people. It opens up opportunities and possibilities that never could have been realized before. But women and girls are being left behind – which is why we are investing alongside other organizations to close the gap through Intel She Will Connect”.

As reported by CIO, this recent partnership will further help people from the She Will Connect programme with employment opportunities. Rockefeller Foundation Africa’s managing director, Mamadou Biteye, further explains the philanthropic foundation’s role.

The partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation will seek to connect those trained through the program to employment opportunities. Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa Regional Office elaborated on the Foundation’s role:

“We will work together with Intel to connect high potential but disadvantaged young women in our target African countries to online jobs through tools and training that will provide them with best practice guides to assist them in successfully accessing online jobs, earn an income and build their skills and digital work experience”.

Launched in 2013, Digital Jobs Africa is an initiative by Rockefeller Foundation that seeks to connect disadvantaged youth to jobs in the digital economy. “We will seek out more partnerships with pioneering private sector players who have a shared vision around addressing the youth employment challenge”, concludes Biteye.

(Source: Ventureburn)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:45:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The Habaka Madagascar Innovation Hub hosted on Friday May 16 the Antananarivo StartUp Cup, offering cash and free incubation to winning startups.

The event, part of the global StartUp Cup initiative and supported by Orange Madagascar, offers three winners the chance to share US$3,100 as well as free incubation at the hub.
 
The overall winner will also go on to represent Madagascar at the next World StartUp Cup.

Andriankoto Ratozamanana, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) at Habaka, said the seven finalists were picked by a local judge based on lean startup criteria.

“The ideas we received are impressive indeed”, Ratozamanana said. “The tech startup scene in Madagascar is in its early age, that’s why we opted for the StartUp Cup model”.

The event was streamed live online in French and viewers can vote for their chosen startup online.

HumanIPO reported last year Habaka, which was founded in 2011 and registered as a non-profit in April 2013, launched the HARIASA National Technology Innovation Contest, looking to stimulate the creation of a startup ecosystem within the country.

Ratozamanana said innovation had the potential to be economically beneficial to Madagascar.

“Innovation will boost the growth of Madagascar’s economy because it will create local industry”, he said. “Naturally it can solve many local issues and our people will be proud to buy good quality local products or works in good condition in a local company that is very innovative and competitive”.

(Further details)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:38:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Rural communities in Lesotho deserve to be connected just like anywhere else in the world, according to Nthabiseng Pule, executive secretary at the Universal Service Fund (USF) of Lesotho.

Pule was discussing rural infrastructure at the 2014 SatCom and World Rural Telecoms Congress Africa event in Johannesburg, South Africa on 21th May.

“Some of the towers with the highest traffic are in the rural areas”, she said, while highlighting the challenges of making sure the mountainous country was covered by voice and data services.

“They [people in rural areas] make use of communication technology a lot because they want to sell their sheep and cattle and also track their mohair payments”, she said.

Pule said the government is trying to find alternatives to smartphones for internet provision.

“A smartphone’s power doesn’t last long, so we are looking for alternatives”, she said.

HumanIPO reported last month low-cost smartphones are key to internet penetration in Africa.

“Growth is going to come from mobile phones and particularly low-end smartphones that are starting to flood the market”, said Dave Duarte, South African entrepreneur and social media expert.

(Source: HumanIPO)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:31:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


A centre to train the youth in Information Communications Technology (ICT) has been officially opened in Koforidua, the Eastern regional capital.

The innovation centre which is a Government of Ghana-world Bank collaboration provides users with Internet, area for the assembling of hardware, software programmes, audio visual equipments to allow users interact with the world, a seminar room, among others.

The facility, which will be replicated in the remaining nine regional capitals, is also aimed at creating job opportunities for the youth.

Communications Minister, Dr.Edward Omane Boamah, who officially opened the centre said "all these innovation centres across the regional capitals will be linked up through the power of the internet and to the BPO centre at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle''.

The minister noted that the establishment of the innovation centre will enable business process outsourcing activities take place in all the regional capitals.

''The centre will help business outsourcing which hitherto happened only in Accra extended to the other regions'', he said.

In addition to the innovation centres, Dr.Omane Boamah stated that government is establishing twenty-one Community Information Centres (CIC) to add up to the eighteen it established last year.

"The CICs are a bit different from the regional innovation centres. It is a strategy to help diffuse ICT's to every nook and cranny of the country to engage our youth in a much more healthy way than what we have seen in the past and also give them decent Jobs through [provision of] appropriate skills in ICT'', he explained.

(More Information)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:27:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


In 2008, UNDP’s ICT Trust Fund —established with the Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology—joined forces with the World Health Organization, Vodafone Foundation and the Siwa Community Development and Environment Conservation Association to launch an initiative aimed at both eradicating female illiteracy and helping women to find new or better employment.

In addition to teaching 8,800 women how to read and write, the initiative is providing women skills and materials needed to take control of their lives. For example, the programme put a special emphasis on computer skills, so in addition to providing training in business development and problem solving, it equipped the participants with their own personal computers.

As a result, women enrolled in the programme learned to read and write, improved their agricultural and handicraft production abilities and acquired online marketing skills. Siwa women now promote their products through an online store.

Aware of prevailing social norms in the oasis, programme instructors brought the classes into women’s homes. They transformed the traditional tableya—a low, round, dining table around which rural Egyptians sit cross-legged and eat—into a so-called tabluter. A tabluter is a customized, ergonomic computer embedded in the tableya; the computer hosts a single central processing unit that can run up to four independent computers. The newly tailored tableya is foldable, making it easy to carry around from home to home.

In 2012 alone, the initiative trained 120 women on the device, in addition to 10 more who were taught how to be literacy instructors, ensuring the ongoing life of the project. Fatma Ibrahim was among the first group of women to complete their literacy programme on a tabluter.

The project team is currently training non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the Siwa governorate to use the tabluter to teach reading and writing. UNDP is also creating a business model for these NGOs so they can offer free literacy classes. UNDP and its partners are preparing to bring the entire initiative to five more oases in Egypt.

(Source: UNDP)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:23:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Nearly 20 years ago, the world came together in Beijing for the Fourth World Conference on Women. There, 189 governments adopted a visionary roadmap for gender equality: the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Some 17,000 participants and 30,000 activists pictured a world where women and girls had equal rights, freedom and opportunity in every sphere of life.

While much progress has been made in the past two decades, no country can claim to have achieved equality between men and women. It is time for the world to come together again for women and girls and complete this journey.

UN Women is launching a year-long campaign to re-energize the vision laid out at the Beijing Women’s Conference. Our goal is straightforward: renewed commitment, strengthened action and increased resources to realize gender equality, women’s empowerment and human rights. We call it: Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It!

The Beijing Declaration laid out actions to address 12 critical areas of concern for women and girls across the globe. Governments, the private sector and other partners were urged to reduce women and girls’ poverty, ensure their right to access education and training, safeguard their health – including their sexual and reproductive health, protect women and girls from violence and discrimination, to ensure that technological advances benefit all, and to promote their full and equal participation in society, politics, and the economy.

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action remains the most comprehensive global agreement on women’s empowerment and gender equality. If only it had been implemented!
Notwithstanding, today we can celebrate progress. More girls are going to school. More women are working, getting elected, and assuming leadership positions. But in all regions of the world, and in all countries, women continue to face discrimination because they are female.

We see it every day. In pay inequity and unequal opportunities at work… in stubbornly low representation of women leaders in the public and private sectors… in the continuing scourge of child marriage, and in the pandemic of violence experienced by one in three women globally – a number greater than the population of Europe.

Perhaps even more startling is the fact that if the Beijing negotiations occurred today, they would likely result in a weaker agreement. We all have a responsibility to keep pushing ahead for full implementation, because every time a woman or girl is held back by discrimination or violence, humanity loses.

Since the Beijing Conference, irrefutable evidence has accumulated showing that empowering women empowers humanity.

Further details

Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:18:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 06, 2014
The Digital Enterprise programme provides free group training and face-to-face support for small-to-medium enterprises and not-for-profit organisations to help improve the way you do business and deliver services online.

The Australian Government is providing $16.8 million in grant funding to establish and support the Digital Enterprise programme in 69 communities across Australia.

The Digital Enterprise programme is helping small-to-medium enterprises to improve their productivity utilising new technologies, learn how to reach wider markets through an online presence, use videoconferencing more regularly and find ways to increase business efficiencies.

The programme is assisting not-for-profit organisations to build relationships with customers, clients and donors through social media and more efficient delivery of products and services using the internet.

A list of Digital Enterprise service providers is available to help you find your closest Digital Enterprise training programme.

Within the Digital Enterprise programme there is access to online training through the Virtual Advisor programme that is primarily assisting Indigenous Australians, small-to-medium Indigenous owned and operated enterprises, and not-for-profit organisations located in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia. Visit the Virtual Advisor programme page for more information.

(Source: Department of Communication – Australian Government)

Friday, June 06, 2014 9:38:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Nathan Han, 15, of Boston was awarded first place for developing a machine learning software tool to study mutations of a gene linked to breast cancer at this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public.
Using data from publicly available databases, Han examined detailed characteristics of multiple mutations of the BRCA1 tumor suppressor gene in order to "teach" his software to differentiate between mutations that cause disease and those that do not. His tool exhibits an 81 percent accuracy rate and could be used to more accurately identify cancer threats from BRCA1 gene mutations. Han received the Gordon E. Moore Award of US$75,000, named in honor of the Intel co-founder and fellow scientist.

Lennart Kleinwort, 15, of Germany received one of two Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards of US$50,000. Kleinwort developed a new mathematical tool for smartphones and tablets that brings capabilities to hand-held devices that previously required more sophisticated and expensive computing tools. His app allows users to hand draw curves, lines and geometric figures on the touch screen and watch the system render them into shapes and equations that can then be manipulated at will.

Shannon Xinjing Lee, 17, of Singapore received the other Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award of US$50,000 for developing a novel electrocatalyst that may be used for batteries of the future. Researchers have been looking for ways to make rechargeable zinc-air batteries practical, as they would be safer, lighter in weight, and have six times the energy density of lithium ion batteries, making them ideal for hybrid vehicles. Lee found that her activated carbon catalyst, which she made entirely from carbonized Chinese eggplant, greatly out-performed a more sophisticated commercial catalyst in stability and longevity tests and will be environmentally friendly and inexpensive to produce.

"The world needs more scientists, makers and entrepreneurs to create jobs, drive economic growth and solve pressing global challenges," said Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation. "Intel believes that young people are the key to innovation, and we hope that these winners inspire more students to get involved in science, technology, engineering and math, the foundation for creativity".

This year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair featured more than 1,700 young scientists selected from 435 affiliate fairs in more than 70 countries, regions and territories. In addition to the top winners, more than 500 finalists received awards and prizes for their innovative research, including 17 "Best of Category" winners, who each received a US$5,000 prize. The Intel Foundation also awarded a US$1,000 grant to each winner's school and to the affiliated fair they represent. Additionally, the Intel Foundation presented a select number of students with experiential awards, including the new 11-day trip to China to attend the country's largest national science competition, speak with researchers at Intel's lab in Shanghai, and visit the Panda Research Base in Chengdu.

A full listing of finalists is available in the event program. The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2014 is funded jointly by Intel and the Intel Foundation with additional awards and support from dozens of other corporate, academic, governmental and science-focused organizations. This year, more than US$5 million was awarded.

To learn more about Society for Science & the Public, visit www.societyforscience.org, and follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter.

To get the latest Intel education news, visit www.intel.com/newsroom/education, and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Further Information

Friday, June 06, 2014 9:23:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Touchscreens may have kicked-off a mobile computing revolution, but they didn't do much for the visually impaired. OwnFone, which launched a customizable mobile phone for kids and the elderly back in 2012, is now offering its stripped-down handset with braille or raised text contact buttons. The 3D-printed hardware lets you select up to four contacts that can be assigned to the device, making it ideal for emergencies and people who need to stay in touch with family or carers on a regular basis. It's available right now for a base price of £60, plus an additional monthly charge of between £7.50 and £15.00 per month -- depending on how much call time you want or need.

(Source: Engadget)

Friday, June 06, 2014 5:58:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 16, 2014
The first-ever Accreditation@IDA targeting innovative tech product start-ups launched

IDA Labs, located at IDA's headquarters at Mapletree Business City and the National Design Centre (NDC) were officially opened on April 24. The labs will serve as a place to experiment, collaborate and build innovative products and solutions that address real world challenges. A third lab to be housed in one of the National Library Board's libraries is also being planned.

A new Accreditation@IDA programme was also launched at the opening event. It aims to help innovative technology start-ups build their credentials so that they can be positioned as qualified vendors capable of handling projects by government agencies and large enterprises.

Companies that apply for accreditation will need to undergo technical assessments to ascertain their product's core capabilities and claims. IT service providers HP and Cognizant will provide the software testing tools, along with accreditation best-practices and methodologies, at an accreditation lab set up within IDA Labs@HQ.

The accreditation programme will be open for application in July 2014. Companies' financial performance and operational capabilities will also be taken into account in the process. Successful companies would be awarded an accredited status for 18 months.

To enhance market opportunities for accredited technology start-ups, IDA will be engaging potential buyers in the public and private sectors to support these companies. For example, IDA will facilitate Proof-of-Concepts and product demonstrations to potential buyers and stakeholders. In addition, the Government procurement process is being reviewed to facilitate Government's procurement from accredited companies and enable Accreditation@IDA to be considered in place of financial grading for start-ups.

"At IDA, we are constantly looking at different ways to help grow Singapore-based tech companies that have the vision to build tech products that address big challenges. IDA Labs and the Accreditation@IDA programme are two examples of how we want to help in practical ways to support the building of some great tech-product companies", said Steve Leonard, Executive Deputy Chairman, IDA.

As the support of industry partners is instrumental in growing tech talent and building tech companies and products, IDA Labs is partnering Red Hat to provide IDA Labs users with advice from Red Hat experts and the open source community. IDA Labs and Red Hat will also organise an international challenge to discover innovative technology projects that not only meet functional requirements, but also user-friendly and design-centric.

IDA Labs is also working with Intel to provide its latest technologies, R&D resources and technical expertise to IDA Labs users. Intel will also help local ICT companies bring their products to overseas markets via its global platforms.

IDA Labs' partnership efforts also extend to the Singapore Management University (SMU) Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The SMU community can use IDA Labs to test their ideas and eventually translate them into actual products and solutions. IDA Labs and SMU will facilitate the commercialisation of innovations, either through co-development or by adopting solutions to be used in government projects.

With the support of the Ministry of Education, IDA Labs will also be holding the Learn@Labs Day from 27 to 29 May. Students from different schools will have the opportunity to learn about and tinker with various technologies such as Arduino, Robotics and 3D Printing.

More than 150 guests attended the official opening and had the opportunity to view showcases and experiment with technologies brought together by IDA and IDA Labs' partners. Some of the showcases include the accreditation testing tools, Internet of Things (IoT) platforms and innovative tech hardware developed by students.

(Source: IDA)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:35:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL) builds and invests in Singapore and global infocomm technology start-ups. Managing more than S$200 million, we accelerate the development of start-ups in their formative phase, and invest further as they move towards growth and expansion. IIPL plays a central role in building a vibrant and sustainable ecosystem in Singapore for start-ups to flourish through our investments, partnerships across sectors and global reach.

We are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore.

What we do

Accelerator

In order to further stimulate the growth of home-grown, innovation driven tech start-ups, Infocomm Investments is working with corporations, universities and professional accelerators to cultivate promising tech start-ups at the seed and early stages. We bring promising tech start-ups to the accelerator programmes that are tailored to suit start-ups at different stages of maturity and/or industry verticals. We aim to build 500 Singapore-based high growth tech start-ups through such acceleration programmes over the next 5 years.

Potential partners and entrepreneurs who are keen to explore our accelerator programmes are welcome to contact us at info@infocomminvestments.com

Investment
Infocomm Investments invest alongside leading VCs to take companies to their next stage of growth. We target Singapore companies that are building a strong international presence or overseas companies expanding to new markets in Asia (from a base in Singapore.) Our investments cover various segments including Consumer Web, Mobile applications and Infrastructure, SaaS and Cloud Infrastructure, Games and Enterprise IT.
Equity-financing aside, we seek to add value to our portfolio companies through our wide network. We’ve helped companies recruit talent, connect with potential customers or partners, and bring advisors on board through strong relationships we’ve built over the past decade.

JTC LaunchPad @One-North
We are a significant participant in this initiative. Building on the success of Block 71, JTC LaunchPad @One-North is an initiative to further develop the area as Singapore’s start-up cluster. The space will provide start-ups with affordable and quality spaces which will help to seed their growth, catalyst networking and collaboration opportunities as well as build an even stronger start-up community in Singapore.

Community & Outreach
Singapore has become a strategic hub for many tech entrepreneurs to locate their business operations. At Infocomm Investments, we are committed to be an active member of the tech community, contributing in various ways to help build a strong pipeline of tech start-ups that have the potential to scale globally.

Sponsorship Support
At Infocomm Investments, we advocate and support appropriate events and activities that can benefit the innovation-driven, tech start-up ecosystem in Singapore. We would like these activities to have positive impact, in a quantifiable sustained manner, in one or more ways:

  • Building and growing start-ups into disruptive, significant businesses
  • Establishing and leveraging on relationships with the investor, accelerator, customer (or user), and media communities to propel start-ups
  • Identifying and channelling tech talent to the tech start-up ecoystem
  • Benefitting start-ups, entrepreneurs, technologists, incubators, accelerators, start-up mentors, investors, tech companies, user organisations, relevant agencies, entrepreneurship educators and students
This is a constructive way for us to work with partners across private and public sectors, in Singapore and globally, helping us to play a central role in building a vibrant and sustainable ecosystem in Singapore for tech start-ups to flourish.

You can contact our Marketing and Outreach Team at info@infocominvestments.com

  (Source: Infocomm Investment)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:27:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Grey Group Singapore (“Grey”) announced that the agency has developed two innovative mobile applications (“apps”) aimed at improving the quality of life of people with hearing disabilities. Developed with inputs and full support from the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf), the proprietary apps transform smart phones into intelligent devices that help the lives of people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing easier and safer.

Say it With Signs
Although smart phones are fast becoming ubiquitous devices in the hearing world, people with hearing disabilities has limited use of them as a communications tool, relying more on text messages and over the top (OTT) applications that deliver visual content.

This poses a challenge when there is difficulty for a caller to key in a text message, such as when the caller is driving or if the caller is a pre-school child. Say it With Signs helps address this challenge by processing audio messages during a phone call into digital hand signs displayed on the receiver’s mobile phone. The receiver of the call, who is a deaf person, can easily view this sign language on their mobile phones and reply to the caller via a text message.

Hearing Aide
Hearing Aide provides people with hearing disabilities with support during emergencies by processing ambient sounds and transmitting visual and kinetic notifications to the user. Upon recognizing a specific audio signature, the app will process this and notify the users of the impending danger via a 20 second vibration and a visual message displayed on the mobile phone screens.

This app is pre-loaded with 5 standard “alarms” or “alert sounds” such as, ambulance, fire brigade, police sirens, fire alarm and smoke detector. Users have the ability to customise the app according to their needs by adding sounds between 90 – 120dB into the databank of alert sounds and renaming labels of the notifications to warning messages they prefer or are familiar with.

SADeaf President, Dr Christopher Low Wong Kein shares, “These applications are breakthroughs for the Deaf community. At SADeaf, we are always on the lookout for innovations that can better the lives of our clients. Say it With Signs and Hearing Aide are certainly two applications that will fast become integral to our clients in their everyday lives. I have no doubt that our clients will be looking forward to have the apps installed on their phones. It was indeed a pleasure working with the highly creative and attentive team at Grey Singapore. We are glad that they have thought of the needs of people with hearing disabilities”.

(Source: GAATES)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:18:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


ECWT and E-SCN are pleased to announce a strategic partnership based on their mutual focus of equality and opportunities for youth within the ICT sector. This is specifically in line with the promotion of STEM and in particular CS education to girls, as well as increasing female representation in the ICT workplace.

E-SCN’s project and advocacy activities range from Digital Inclusion initiatives all the way up to workforce development projects, with an overall interest in reducing skills gaps, and youth unemployment. The Danish based network organization also has a strong focus on the recognition and use of the e-Competence Framework, which is a reference framework of competences applied within the ICT sector, that can be used by the individual ICT user, private sector, public sector, academia etc.

In recognition of the launch of this strategic partnership, E-SCN and their existing partners Carnegie Mellon University spin-off company, PROXCER, and Telecentre-Europe are making a donation to provide girls across Europe the opportunity to gain credentials and proof of skills within different areas of ICT.

PROXCER, based in Dublin, Ireland, is the only company in the world to deliver Authentic Examinations. Authentic Examinations are the heart of PROXCER’s method for evaluating the capability of an individual to write software accurately, by measuring the test-takers ability to program realistic problems in a professional environment, using a real programmer’s toolkit. The concept was developed and is used at world renowned Carnegie Mellon University, and spinoff company PROXCER is now bringing this opportunity to academia and private sector globally.

Through collaboration with E-SCN, PROXCER will be donating batches of SDE (Software Developer Examination) vouchers and preparation material to all National Point of Contacts of ECWT, so that a set of girls already engaged in ICT in many countries will have the chance to measure their skills.

Telecentre- Europa collaborating with ECWT already in connection with e-skills events, under mutual understanding of the benefits deriving from collaboration between two different but equal level strong EU umbrella networks, represents the European digital inclusion and digital literacy sector in Europe. Their members are focused on helping individuals get online, teach them basic and advanced digital skills and help individuals benefit from opportunities that the ICT sector can offer.

Telecentre-Europe, Microsoft, and E-SCN are currently engaged in a project which gives young people in formal and informal education, as well as unemployed youth, the opportunity to prepare for and take Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) and/or Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certifications. This project is now being extended to ECWT, where 400 girls will now have the opportunity to become certified in either MOS or MTA throughout Europe.


(Source: ECWT)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:06:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The European Commission is looking for Europe's best startups in this year's Tech All Stars competition. The lucky winners will have exclusive access to Europe's most prestigious startup events and will pitch to the likes of Sir Richard Branson and Chad Hurley.

European Commission Vice President @NeelieKroesEU said "Part of businesses success is making the right connections and the European Commission can help open doors. Finalists will get connected to EU funding sources, successful entrepreneurs and other influential people".

The competition is open to EU registered startups younger than 3 years, which have raised less than €1 million in external funding. Applications are open until May 22nd 2014.

Tech All Stars Competition
  • 10th-11th June 2014. Over two days, 12 finalists get to know London's vibrant startup scene, connect, learn and get inspired by successful entrepreneurs. Finalists will be trained and challenged in an eliminatory pitch battle and a distinguished selection panel will chose the top three.
  • June 12th Founders Forum London. Top three finalists pitch their startup to a world-class audience of tech leaders and investors. The best European startup will be elected, and the winner will be announced by Neelie Kroes
  • Summer 2014. The Grand Tech All Stars Winner will be panellist at the European Commission's Digital Agenda Assembly again rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers of the tech world.

Previous Tech All Star Winners include Irish company Trustev which offers real time, online verification using social fingerprinting technology (see MEMO/13/557) and Cognicor a Spanish start-up offering an automated complaint resolution service (see MEMO/12/472).

Background
StatupEurope is the European Commission action plan to strengthen the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs in Europe and contributing to innovation, growth and jobs. It is a Digital Agenda initiative supported by @NeelieKroesEU to help innovative tech companies start in Europe and stay in Europe.

Further Information

Friday, May 16, 2014 8:52:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Telecentre Academy (TCA), the capacity building arm of Telecentre.org Foundation, will soon be launching a new course entitled “Women, Entrepreneurship and ICTs”. Designed specifically for women with an enterprising spirit and an idea of what they want to start, the course seeks to equip participants with the necessary knowledge and skills in entrepreneurship and encourage them to pursue entrepreneurial activities.

Recognizing the gap between training initiatives focused on the use of ICT tools in the enterprise world and those full blown business administration courses that take much longer to complete, TCA developed its latest course offering in an effort to bridge this particular gap.

The course, which will delve into the practical aspects of starting a business, will be made available in English and Spanish and is expected to kick off in June in Europe and Africa. It will run for a period of 8 weeks or a total of 40 work hours. A self-directed and collaborative learning approach will be employed where the participants themselves will set their learning goals and link them to their enterprising activities. A tutor will be on hand to facilitate the learning process and guide them through the training and exercises.

All participants who will successfully complete the course will obtain a corresponding certificate from TCA. Through this course which was developed in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), TCA also hopes to build a community of practice where people who have taken the course can exchange knowledge, experiences, resources and good practices.

TCA will be offering the course for a minimal fee, the rate of which may vary per country. Some scholarships and discounts may be awarded depending on local demand.
Interested in partnering with TCA and introducing this entrepreneurship course to your network? Don’t hesitate to contact the TCA team.

Further information

Friday, May 16, 2014 7:01:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


1,700 High School Students Compete for More than US$5M in Los Angeles.

The world's largest high school science research competition, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public, comes to Los Angeles May 11-16. Approximately 1,700 high school students selected from 435 affiliate fairs in more than 70 countries, regions and territories will share ideas, showcase cutting edge research and inventions, and compete for more than US$5 million in awards. The full list of finalists is available in the event program (starting at page 47).

Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation, and Rick Bates, interim CEO and chief advancement officer of Society for Science & the Public, will be available for comment at the event. "Through the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Intel aims to empower students to develop innovations that positively impact the way we work and live", said Wendy Hawkins, executive director of the Intel Foundation. "We hope the competition will not only shine a spotlight on the finalists' achievements, but also encourage more youth to embrace science, technology, engineering and math".

"By earning the right to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, student finalists have proven they have the capability and desire to become the leading scientists and engineers of tomorrow", said Rick Bates, interim CEO and chief advancement officer of Society for Science & the Public. "Intel ISEF is not only a chance to compete for awards but an opportunity to learn, be inspired, and share their research with fellow top young students from around the world".

To learn more about Society for Science & the Public, visit www.societyforscience.org, and follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter.

Further details

Friday, May 16, 2014 6:54:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Cisco is on a mission to make Kenyan girls embrace ICT careers and be part of the ever growing sector of the economy.

This comes amid reports by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that the number of school girls opting to study technology-related disciplines on the decline in most countries worldwide.

Cisco hopes to join ITU to champion the catalytic role a tech career can play in creating exciting, far-reaching opportunities for women and girls. The company recently hosted a ‘Girls in ICT Day’ for girls aged between 14-18 to hear about the vital role that ICT plays in employability today and how the Internet of Everything will create the jobs of tomorrow.

“Cisco has been involved in ‘Girls in ICT Day’ since it started four years ago. We understand the value of a diverse workforce, and believe that many more girls would pursue careers in ICT if they were better informed about the many different types of jobs available within the sector’, said Hital Muraj, Corporate Affairs Manager, East and Central Southern Africa.

The 26 girls from various institutions were mentored by representatives from from Global Peace Foundation, Safaricom and UNESCO, and encouraged to embrace ICT careers and reap from the male-dominated sector.

The Girls in ICT Day is an annual day of activities organized by the International Telecommunications Union aimed at improving the understanding of careers in ICT among girls.

To help inspire girls to consider a future in technology, ITU established the ‘Girls in ICT Day’ back in 2010 and supports the global organization of activities every year on the fourth Thursday in April. Currently in its 4th year, global momentum around Girls in ICT Day continues to grow with over 100 countries touted to hold events hosted by governments, private sector and NGOs in 2014.

This year Cisco will be hosting 2,500 girls at almost 80 of their offices worldwide and across 37 countries in EMEAR giving them the opportunity to network with each other and other role models to inspire them to consider an IT career.

During their visit to Cisco, students will be able to experience and engage with Cisco’s technologies for themselves, including collaboration platforms such as TelePresence and Jabber.

These platforms will enable interaction on the day and beyond with other Girls participating across the globe and of the leading women working within Cisco and its partners and customers.

“By 2020 there will be approximately 50 billion objects connected to the Internet. At its essence, the Internet of Everything is the networked connection of people, process, data and things…and is set to create an unprecedented level of disruption across industries, globally”, said Muraj.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Friday, May 16, 2014 6:45:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The latest ITU report, Digital Opportunities: Innovative ICT Solutions for Youth Employment, carries an important message for youth, the private sector, academia and government policy makers seeking to address youth unemployment: youth need digital skills if they want to get a job or start a business.

Digital literacy is effectively a prerequisite for employment and starting a business in all countries, and ICTs should be prioritized in all national youth employment and entrepreneurship strategies.

Firstly, how bad is youth unemployment?
According to the ILO Global Trends for Youth Unemployment 2013 report, 73 million young people were unemployed worldwide and three times as many are underemployed. A further 621 million youth are said to be “NEET” — not in education, employment or training. Youth make up 17 per cent of the world’s population and 40 per cent of the world’s unemployed.

High youth unemployment not only hampers economic growth, but for youth it can be a debilitating experience that affects their ability to lead productive and rewarding lives. Urgent attention is needed to address the plight of youth and provide them better opportunities for employment.

One of the causes of youth unemployment is a skills mismatch between what the market is seeking and what institutions of learning – both formal and informal – are providing. Many employers claim they cannot find people with the job skills they need. Youth without digital skills are being cut out of a growing number of job and business opportunities.

Policy makers reading this report could draw only one conclusion: To promote youth employment it is essential that youth in their countries obtain digital skills, including how to become ICT creators.

ICTs should be included in youth employment and entrepreneurship strategies for three key reasons:

1.More jobs and businesses require ICT skills
2.ICTs are transforming the way young digital entrepreneurs do business
3.There is an explosion of online learning opportunities and resources for job seekers and digital entrepreneurs

ICTs are transforming old market sectors including farming, manufacturing and the health sector, and creating new market sectors that didn’t exist even a few years ago, like social media management, gaming and the mobile apps economy. The demand for both basic and more advanced ICT skills cuts across all sectors, from agriculture and construction to education and service industries to ICT jobs themselves, in both developing and developed countries. Basic digital literacy is increasingly required just to find job listings and apply for a job.

What kinds of opportunities exist?
Youth with mid-level digital skills can earn wages through offshore services, such as information technology outsourcing (ITO) and business process outsourcing (BPO), crowdsourcing and microwork (task-oriented work opportunities for data entry, coding, tagging and other text-based tasks).  Mobile financial services like M-PESA are making it easier for young people to receive payment for services rendered. CrowdFlower is one example of crowdsourcing which hires people in more than 70 countries.

Youth trained as ICT creators are working developing apps, games and social network websites.  Since the iPhone was introduced in 2007, the app economy has generated roughly 752,000 app related jobs in the US and 530,000 jobs in the European Union as of 2013, according to Vision Mobile. While currently much of the apps development taking place in developing countries is for export to the US, Europe and Asia, it is expected that in a few years’ time, local demand in developing countries will reach the levels of demand in Europe and North America as smartphone penetration rises.  This will give rise to a need for apps development relevant to local languages and content.

New ways of working and learning
The report also highlights new ways digital entrepreneurs are working, such as tech hubs or app labs. These are business incubation spaces that provide solutions to young digital entrepreneurs: they provide Internet connectivity, support structures (including shared office space), mentorship and collaboration. Tech hubs and app labs are springing up throughout the developed and developing world including Applabs funded by the Grameen Foundation in Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia and Uganda.

Despite the fact that digital skills are not systematically being taught in all schools, the report recognizes that youth can obtain vital digital and business skills online. The report documents the explosion of new learning opportunities that can enable youth to get the right skills, including Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), open courseware and mobile learning as well as hackathons and mobile app competitions.  All of these opportunities point to the need to promote collaborative learning in digital skills development strategies.

The report includes a number of policy recommendations, including ensuring digital skills and collaborative learning is part of school curricula, hosting innovation and co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and funding app contests and competitions.

ITU’s Telecommunication Development Sector (BDT) has created a new Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Resources Database to assist young people to find and use these digital opportunities. This database contains resources for finding employment, becoming an entrepreneur, learning technical and soft skills, finding a mentor, searching for funding, networking, and many other valuable services.

Access the full report here and find out more about ITU’s work for Digital Inclusion and visit ITU’s Youth Employment Database.

(Source: ITU Blog)

Friday, May 16, 2014 5:41:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 08, 2014
CWIT Funds Computing Outreach Programs for Girls Nationwide.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) announced the 2014 program sites for NCWIT Aspire IT –- a national technology education initiative for middle school girls, supported by Intel, Northrop Grumman, and Google.

In 2014, NCWIT AspireIT will serve more than 1,300 middle school girls with over 50,000 instruction hours in computing and technology during workshops, after-school programs, and summer camps. NCWIT AspireIT capitalizes on a "near-peer", hands-on approach. Middle school girls learn programming, game design, robotics, e-textiles and more through programs created and led by young women in high school and college. NCWIT granted $123,500 to 46 local programs across 19 states focused on inspiring middle school girls to consider careers in technology.

"Our Aspirations in Computing community has thousands of tech-savvy young women who want to share their passions for technology with the next generation,” said Jennifer Manning, NCWIT AspireIT Manager. “They make wonderful role models, connecting and inspiring middle school girls in ways that adults can’t”.

NCWIT AspireIT is a component of NCWIT Aspirations in Computing, a talent development initiative designed to increase female participation in technology by providing structured, long-term engagement and support from middle school through high school and from college into the workforce. Find out more at http://www.aspirations.org.

(Source: NCWIT)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 10:10:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Hearing the doorbell, the fire alarm or a tap that has not been properly turned off are everyday situations that can become a problem for a person who is hard of hearing. The Tecnalia Centre for Applied Research has developed a tool to pick up and identify ordinary sounds that are produced in the home environment in order to help people with hearing disabilities.

It is a mobile phone app designed to assist people who have limitations of this type in their daily lives.

All the users have to do is download the app onto their Smartphones, which will inform or alert them in real time about the various sounds that are produced around them. The first version of the app is available free of charge at Google Play under the name MyEardroid. Being portable, its advantages are that it is available anywhere at any time and does not depend on fixed installations. What is more, it can be personalized and each user can select the sounds that are relevant to him/her. The alert is made by means of vibration, text or image.

The app could benefit anyone who is severely or deeply hearing disability by supporting them in the home, in a hotel room, at work or anywhere indoors. What is more, it will also benefit the people around them as these alerts will give them peace of mind.

After launching this APP, Tecnalia is aiming to go on adding new sounds and to identify other milieu in which the app could offer its users advantages.

Tecnalia is committed to one of the big future challenges: to improve people’s life quality, and one of its aims is to achieve this in the sphere of ageing and disability. So by applying new technologies, the research center is developing new support products and services that allow people with special needs and their carers to access information and services as well as to carry out their daily activities as independently as possible in order to improve their quality of life.

See the video presentation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65DnzrJBtuo

(Source: GAATES)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 10:02:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Singapore government will set up a S$8 million (US$6.3 million) Digital Inclusion (DI) Fund to raise the adoption of infocomm for low-income households, and encourage social innovations to help voluntary welfare organisations better manage the well-being of their beneficiaries with relevant technology, announced Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information.

“The Internet today is increasingly becoming a utility for individuals, households and organisations. The Government has been stepping up its efforts at digital inclusion to ensure that no segment of the community is excluded from the benefits that the internet can bring – for example, access to information and e-services”, he said.

The Government’s existing programmes include the NEU PC Plus Programme, Silvercomm Initiative and Infocomm Accessibility Centre reach out to students from low-income families, senior citizens and persons with disabilities respectively.

The DI Fund will help individuals and households level up and enjoy the benefits that come with advancements in digital technology as Singapore prepares to wire up as a Smart Nation.

For example, targeted households will benefit from home internet access to surf for information and perform digital voice calls.

(Source: FutureGov)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 9:38:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO literacy project for girls and women in Senegal (PAJEF) is becoming an attraction. Its innovative teaching methods and approaches have grabbed the attention of other countries, which also struggle with high illiteracy rates. This week (30 April–2 May 2014) 14 policy-makers and education specialists from Nigeria are in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, to learn more about the PAJEF experience.

Last month, a delegation from the Gambia came on a study visit, which generated interest from a number of countries, including Pakistan and Namibia.

The PAJEF literacy project has successfully implemented literacy courses through mobile phones, computers, the internet and television, which, coupled with vocational skills training, have proven effective in reaching out to illiterate women. It is a partnership between the Senegalese government, UNESCO and the multinational private sector company Procter&Gamble.

Launched in January 2012, the project aims to improve access to education for 40,000 neo-literate and illiterate women aged 15-55 years in Senegal before it ends in June 2014. Based on the success of the project in Senegal, a similar literacy project was launched in Nigeria in March 2014.

South-south cooperation
The Nigeria project seeks to accelerate and underpin national efforts to achieve Education for All. The aim is to benefit 60,000 girls and women in the Federal Capital Territory and Rivers State within the next three years.

The Nigerian delegation will visit literacy and tutoring classes, where adolescent girls are strengthening their literacy skills through vocational training. They will also visit a virtual class where girls and women are using learning application accessible through mobile phones and computers. They will experience the digital blackboard, the so-called ‘Sankoré kit’, which has been installed in all classrooms used for the PAJEF project since the end of 2013.

The delegation will have the opportunity to get familiar with the educational radio and television structure within the Senegalese Ministry of Education. They will also learn about the popular TV programme Diek ak-Keureum, which is delivering literacy courses specifically designed for a female audience and broadcasted during daytime on national TV.

Education transforms lives
Educated girls and young women are more likely to know their rights and to have the confidence to claim them. In the words of UNESCO's Director-General, Irina Bokova: “Girls education is a development multiplier and one of the most powerful transformational forces we have to build peace and social inclusion”.

In 2011, UNESCO launched “Better Life, Better Future”, a global partnership for girls’ and women’s education, which addresses two main areas requiring more attention – secondary education and adult literacy. It introduces programmes aimed at stemming the drop-out of adolescent girls in the transition from primary to secondary education and in lower secondary schools, as well as focuses on scaling up women’s literacy programmes through stronger advocacy and partnerships.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 9:14:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO held a four-day workshop on ICT for teacher training from 7 to 10 April 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya. This event is part of UNESCO’s continued efforts of promoting the application of ICTs to enhance the quality of and access to education, including the stimulation of production, sharing and access to Open Educational Resources (OER).

The workshop aimed at populating a knowledge deepening course for primary education teachers in Kenya with national and international OERs and thus builds capacity of participants to enable them to adapt and customise Open Education Resources (OER) and thus support deployment of the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers within the Kenyan context. Furthermore the workshop capacitated participants in instructional design principles, including ideal structure of a blended course delivered as professional development opportunity. Mr Andrew Moore, the facilitator of the workshop stated that “there is need for OER ICT CFT to complement the Kenya Governments One laptop per Child project as this will enhance its integration to the country’s education programme”.

The training attracted participation of Kenyan ICT CFT OER courseware developers from the Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Teachers Service Commission, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa, Kenya Education Management Institute, Kenya Institute of Special Education, Kenya Technical Teachers College, Strathmore University, and Inoorero University. Many, if not all of the participants found the workshop to be of great value and of great need for themselves or their respective institutions. Participants were ready to take on the challenge posed during the workshop and were eager to move on to integrating the concepts they had been taught into practical activities.

This workshop comes as a follow up of the workshop held from 18 to 22 November 2013 that took stock of existing ICT teacher training initiatives in Kenya and proposed the UNESCO project to focus on offering additional professional development opportunities to those teachers and school managers who had completed the initial ICT integration training. The UNESCO project will enable the Teacher Service Commission to offer ‘follow-up’ training at a slightly higher level using a different mode of delivery in order to contain costs for both the project coordinators and participants.

This activity is a direct follow-up to the 2012 World Congress on Open Educational Resources which released the Paris Declaration on OERs calling on Governments to openly license all educational materials produced with public funds. Supported by a generous grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (USA), UNESCO is working with the Governments of Kenya, Oman, Bahrain, and Indonesia to implement dynamic and relevant policies to guide and recognize teachers and learners to find, adapt, use, develop, and share open educational resources.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 8:52:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
International Girls in ICT Day was again sponsored by International Telecommunications Union on the fourth Thursday of April (which this year turned out to be 4/24/14). The initiative, launched by ITU with the purpose of raising awareness of the importance of involving girls in ICT fields, aims to promote the benefits that ICT careers may offer.

In 2012, many African nations celebrated International Girls In ICT Day. Organizations in at least 16 African nations participated the following year. This year, we note roughly the same number of events. Also, it is worth noting that we have observed more female-oriented African tech events during the course of the year – a testament to the lasting success of the official Girls in ICT Day.

By our count, at least 13 African countries held or will hold a gathering this month to get girls excited about ICT. Most events directly aimed to encourage girls to pursue careers in ICT.

Cameroon: Girls in Tech Cameroon celebrated in Yaounde, with an emphasis on professionalism.

Congo-Brazzaville: Femtic Congo, with the support of the telecoms regulator ARPCE, celebrated with a series of panels on ICT and employment.

Cote d’Ivoire: The Ministry of Posts and ICT (along with the Ministry of Solidarity, Family, Women, and Children) hosted an event with the organization Femmes & TIC.

 
 
Ethiopia: International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in collaboration with Africa Union Commission, UNECA, UNDP, UN Women, other UN Agencies and the private sector held an event in Addis Ababa.

The Gambia: Girls in ICT Gambia held a logo design competition and school debate on the importance of ICTs.

Ghana: The Ministry of Communications, with the assistance from other ministries, held an event in Koforidua (Eastern region).

Kenya: AkiraChix, for the second time, hosted a day-long event at iHub Nairobi for high school and university girls interested in ICT. Successful female entrepreneurs were on hand to share their experiences.

Liberia: The Ministry of Gender and Development held an event where iLab Liberia, among others, gave a presentation.

South Africa: Intel Africa and Girls Invent held a coding session for girls.

Uganda: The Commonwealth Peoples’ Association of Uganda, supported by the Government of Uganda, held an ICT-themed debate on April 9th.

Other posts, videos, and anecdotes about how African girls are utilizing technology were also shared under the hashtag #GirlsinICT.

Just because the official Girls in ICT Day is over doesn’t mean that we should forget about strengthening the involvement of girls in ICT! In Africa, girls generally have less access to a formal education, let alone one involving the latest technology. Providing girls with access to ICT (and role models to foster their passions) is vital if African nations are to become information-based societies.

(Source: Oafrica)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 4:07:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 30, 2014


UNESCO has published a report explaining how mobile technology is used to facilitate reading and improve literacy in developing countries. The report was published  on 23 April, on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day.

The report, Reading in the Mobile Era, highlights that hundreds of thousands of people currently use mobile technology as a portal to text. Findings show that in countries where illiteracy rates are high and physical text is scarce, large numbers of people read full-length books and stories on rudimentary small screen devices.

The report, the first-ever study of mobile readers in developing countries, provides valuable information about how mobile reading is practiced today and by whom.
Worldwide 774 million people, including 123 million youth, cannot read or write and illiteracy can often be traced to the lack of books. Most people in Sub-Saharan Africa do not own a single book, and schools in this region rarely provide textbooks to learners.

Yet the report cites data showing that where books are scarce, mobile technology is increasingly common, even in areas of extreme poverty. The International Telecommunication Union estimates that of the 7 billion people on Earth, 6 billion have access to a working mobile phone.

 Video: Interview with Mark West, one of the authors of the report

UNESCO’s study of mobile reading was conducted in seven developing countries, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Drawing on the analysis of over 4,000 surveys and corresponding qualitative interviews, the study found that:

- large numbers of people (one third of study participants) read stories to children from mobile phones;
- females read far more on mobile devices than males (almost six times as much according to the study);
- both men and women read more cumulatively when they start reading on a mobile device;
- many neo- and semi-literate people use their mobile phones to search for text that is appropriate to their reading ability.

The study is intended as a roadmap for governments, organizations and individuals who wish to use mobile technology to help spread reading and literacy. The report recommends improving the diversity of mobile reading content to appeal to specific target groups such as parents and teachers; initiating outreach and trainings to help people transform mobile phones into portals to reading material; and lowering costs and technology barriers to mobile reading.

(Source: UNESCO)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:41:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s minister of communication technology, has inaugurated Digital Girls Clubs in 12 federal government girls Schools across the country, which she said was aimed at empowering Nigerian girls and encouraging them to embrace careers in ICT.

The 12 pilots will impact 1,200 girls, with the clubs later set to be launched across all federal colleges, offering a curriculum teaching girls relevant technology skills.

“The Digital Girls Club is part of the Girls and Women initiative of the federal government geared at empowering Nigerian women and girls”, Johnson said. “The administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in a bid to empower women and girls in Nigeria created a gender empowerment scheme titled Girls and Women in Nigeria (G-WIN) with the sole aim of positively impacting and improving the lot of women and girls in Nigeria”.

She said Nigeria needed to increase the participation of females in ICT. “Getting more girls into ICTs is a task we are committed to at the Ministry of Communication Technology. We want to ensure that Nigerian girls are encouraged and empowered to embrace ICTs. It is critical to get girls to adopt ICTs so that they are not left behind in the digital revolution changing communities and nations across the globe”, she said.

“Our desire is that the Digital Girls ICT Clubs will empower Nigerian girls and lead to the development of an army of ICT compliant girls that will contribute to the economic growth and empowerment of Nigeria in the future”.

An online platform was also launched to serve as a tool for stimulating and empowering girls to embrace and adopt ICTs. “ICTs are powerful transformative tools that foster development and advancement of economies – whether developing or advanced. It is a useful tool for bridging the digital divide in most economies”, Johnson said.

“It also plays a crucial role in the socio-economic empowerment and development of communities and nations across the globe. It is the bedrock of development and the leveraging of this critical tool not only helps us create wealth and jobs, but it also enables development at all levels – health, agriculture, education”. She said the Ministry of Communication Technology was working hard to ensure Nigeria leverages the power of ICT to transition to a knowledge-based economy.

(Source: Humanipo)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:37:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
London Schoolgirls Build Mobile Apps in Tech City on Girls in ICT Day

The GSMA hosted an interactive app building workshop to celebrate Girls in ICT Day, the ITU’s annual global initiative to empower and encourage young women to consider studies and careers in ICT. A class of 13-year-old schoolgirls from east London school Bethnal Green Academy visited creative hub BL-NK in London’s Tech City to gain perspectives and insights from four successful women in technology and to build their own mobile apps.

Speakers at the event included:
- Maria Molina, Principal, Communications, Media & Technology, AT Kearney
- Ranwa Sarkis, Head of Sales Operations, Facebook
- Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA
- Lucy Paine, Junior Project Manager, Telefónica

Each speaker shared their personal experiences and offer words of advice to inspire the young female audience, a number of whom have yet to decide on their GCSE subjects. Members of the GSMA will also work with groups of students to mentor them for the day and share their own personal insights and experiences of working in the mobile industry. The aim of the event was to encourage these students to consider taking STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and to explore the exciting and varied career opportunities in technology.

“There is much more to be done to encourage girls to pursue learning in subjects such as engineering and computer science, which open up possibilities of working in exciting careers in technology,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA. “Mobile is a particularly dynamic and vibrant area right now and it can also open up career opportunities across a range of industry sectors, for example, creating connected cars, advancing mobile commerce or even designing the master plan for a smart city. We are delighted to support the ITU’s Girls in ICT Day to help develop those critical science, technology and math skills that can serve as a foundation for a variety of careers”.

“I warmly welcome the GSMA’s Connected Women initiative to help close the ICT skills gender gap and attract and retain female talent in the mobile industry. The continued growth and development of vital tech skills and expertise in London and our major cities will ensure the future of the UK digital success story,” said Joanna Shields OBE, Chairman of Tech City UK and UK Ambassador for Digital Industries. “Digital innovation is helping us reimagine entire industries, generate economic growth and create new jobs. I hope that today’s app workshop in Tech City will inspire local schoolgirls to study STEM subjects as foundation for future, exciting careers in the technology sector”.

A range of apps will be developed by the schoolgirls:

- Beat the Bullies – resources and videos to help children who are being bullied or who think their friends are in trouble
- Local Lowdown – activities to do in their local area including shops, socialising and maps
- My Digital Hero – pick someone they look up to (anyone from Lady Gaga to Emma Watson) and create an app dedicated to her, featuring videos, quotes and pictures
- Top Tech Tips – create a set of tips and tricks for new users of a specific technology (e.g. Facebook, iPhone)

The Connected Women programme is focused on creating global awareness of the business case for greater involvement of women in the mobile industry and to motivate the sector to take positive action. In addition to that workshop, the Connected Women programme has hosted other successful events in Barcelona, London, New York and Shanghai. To find out more about the GSMA Connected Women initiative, visit www.gsma.com/events/connected-women

(Source: GSMA)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:24:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Every year, the fourth Thursday in April is celebrated as International Girls In ICT Day, when a spotlight is put on encouraging and mentoring girls and young women to pursue careers in ICT. The day is set aside for events, workshops and classes to be held around the world under the International Girls In ICT Day banner.

In South Africa there’s been a few events, most notably at Intel’s Woodmead offices in Joburg where we dropped by to look in on the Girls Invent Tomorrow again as they hosted a coding workshop for a group of 20 senior high school girls in grades 10 to 12 from Westbury Secondary School.

Each one of these girls has chosen school subjects that fall within STEM, with a handful of them wanting to go into tech and programming in the near future.

The room is filled with excitement and eagerness as the girls are introduced to the basics of coding through a step-by-step tutorial using a coding program called Alice. Their “lecturer” for the day is Lebohang Modise, a developer from Microsoft who offeres talks and coding workshops across the country to young people.

“I’m here today to inspire these young girls to consider going into coding or any ICT related career because there aren’t many females in the industry”, Modise says. “I try to prepare them by telling them about my own experiences because I went into varsity only knowing the dictionary meaning of coding, had I known about programs such as Alice and how to use it, I would’ve been better prepared. So I think we may have started something here and if these girls can continue with this, it would be a plus”.

“Today’s event is about getting girls to understand what coding is about, because the world is changing and being a programmer is becoming a big thing,” explains Thuli Sibeko, co-founder of Girls Invent Tomorrow. “This is the first coding workshop we’re hosting for high school girls, we work with a certain company to identify girls from grade 10 to 12 in certain schools who are interested in STEM. The reason we are hosting these workshops is that we want to expose young girls to other careers and make them see that careers are not just about being a doctor, lawyer, nurse aand so on. The world is their oyster in terms of technology and we don’t want them to limit themselves in terms of what they choose when they leave school”.

Source: htxt Africa)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:14:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


DIGICEL Guyana was invited to participate in the events and activities leading up to ‘Girls in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Day’, celebrated in Berbice and Linden on the third Thursday in April.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a global effort being spearheaded by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to raise awareness of the need for more women to become involved in the ICT sector worldwide.

In Guyana, efforts are organized by the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU); and, as a local telecommunications giant, Digicel, along with other companies from the private sector and the NFMU, participated in two tech day camps in Berbice and Linden on April 8th & 9th respectively.
Ms. Adellie Lee, IT application specialist; Ms. Deepa Rohit, Quality Assurance Trainer, CC Tech; and Ms. Phoebe Joseph, Project Officer (Technical) made presentations to the girls. More than five hundred (500) girls from 15 schools within the two regions attended these tech day camps, and were enlightened by several female presenters from the ICT sector in Guyana.

At the camps, the girls were given prizes for asking and answering questions correctly at Digicel’s booth. One of the girls, Ramona Smart, a student from Berbice, in an invited comment, mentioned to Digicel how she felt about the tech day camps: “Today I learnt a lot about ICT; it was a great experience for me. I thought today would be very boring, but I’m really glad I came. I had so much fun, and I think (that) after today I will pursue a career in ICT”.

Girls in ICT Day will be observed on April 24th, 2014 under the theme “Expanding horizons, changing minds”, and it presents opportunity for girls and young women to get inspired about the ICT sector by listening to women role models in ICT.

(Source: Guyana Chronicle)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 2:58:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


A fun, FREE, interactive IT Career Showcase for Secondary School Girls Years 8 to 11.
3 and 4 June 2014
Location: Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood

The Go Girl Go for IT expo aims to encourage girls to take up careers in ICT – it brings together female role-models who work in a vast number of industries – from banking to television, multimedia to medicine, and much more. Speakers at the event will show that ICT careers for women are viable, enjoyable, global, and rewarding.

What will happen at the Go Girl event?
At Go Girl 2014, students will hear from and have the opportunity to talk to talented and inspirational role models with IT careers. There will be access to a wealth of information that will assist students in making informed IT career decisions.
The program includes a series of interactive presentations, and features a tradeshow where girls can talk in person to company representatives. Lunch is provided with entertainment.

Who should attend?
The event is open to all high school girls from years 8 to 11. We encourage all students to attend, regardless of the subjects they are currently studying.
It is also recommended that the following teachers/advisors attend:
 - Year 8, 9,10 and 11 Year Advisors
- Careers Advisors
- IT Teachers
- Business Teachers

Attendance at this event is free.
Visit www.gogirl.org.au for more information and to register

(Source:vicICTforwomen)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 2:52:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações

 

24th April 2014

Girls in ICT Day, an initiative backed by ITU Member States in ITU Resolution 70, will be celebrated this year on April 24th. The main goal is to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Portugal is joining these celebrations again by carrying out two initiatives at Fundação Portuguesa das Comunicações | Museu das Comunicações:

- March and April - a school and university contest about ICT issues will take place at FPC | MC (What is the impact of the digital revolution for the professions in the future? Is it important to increase the number of women working in the ICT sector?)

- 24th April - a roundtable debate with the participation of women connected to the ICTs industry, the announcement of the school competition winners and the delivery of the prizes.

For more information see the following websites: Portuguese version of the site | ITU

(Source: FPC)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:17:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
- The device uses raised points to depict information from a computer
- Blind people can use the Incendilumen to control the computer
- It will allow blind people to open and close different windows

Argentinean students from the country’s National Technological University are developing a tablet-like computing interface for blind people.

They plan to develop a final prototype over the next two months and launch it in just over two years, as a joint venture with a technology firm based in Buenos Aires.

The device acts as an interface between the user and a computer, says Guido Muchiutti, one of the seven team members and the device’s inventor. He tells SciDev.Net that the product depicts information from the computer screen and allows the user to control the computer.

The prototype, named Incendilumen, which means ‘turn on the light’ in Latin, has a surface covered with 2,000 tiny rods that rise and fall to represent information such as graphics, buttons and windows.

“Our interface translates data so blind people can feel it by touching what appears on the screen, whether icons or words in the Braille system”, says Leonardo Hoet, a professor of from the same university and a member of the team.

Incendilumen was a finalist in the Argentinian technology and design contest Innovar 2012, and won funding from the country’s ministry of science to develop the product further. Leandro Sereno, president of the Association for People with Visual Disabilities in Argentina, who tested the prototype, is enthusiastic about the device.

“When it is ready it will be fabulous because, with it, blind people can feel what appears on the screen and interact with it”, he tells SciDev.Net. “For instance, we can use different windows, and icons to open them or close them, something currently impossible for us. It would be very useful for surfing the internet¨.

Ariel Lutenberg, a researcher in Buenos Aires University’s Faculty of Engineering, praises the device, but says that many challenges remain to ensure this Argentinian innovation succeeds.

“The problem is always going beyond the laboratory and getting a product to sell”, he says. “It means lowering costs, mass production and other complicated issues in countries like Argentina. Things are different in Silicon Valley or Israel, for instance”.

The Incendilumen team hopes to make the tablet as cheap as possible and available to both institutions and individuals.

See here a video by the Incendilumen team about the innovation (in Spanish): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRGSullF-i4

(Source: SciDev)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:05:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Its that time of year again, where we bring together girls from different high schools and women in the tech industry together for a day of intense fun and brainstorming around career opportunities for girls in technology!



AkiraChix, for the second time, will be hosting a Girls in ICT Day event on April 26th, 2014 at iHub between 9:00a.m and 5.00p.m. This event is geared towards exposing young ladies in high school and university to career opportunities available to them in the tech industry. They will get to interact with girls who have benefited from the mentorship program in the past, as well as women working in the tech industry locally.

We will continue to provide updates as we get closer to the day of the event.
If you have a sister/friend in high school who you think would benefit, sign them up on their eventbrite page: http://akirachixgirlsinict14.eventbrite.com

(Source: Akirachix)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:57:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


In a crucial step towards making online public services more inclusive, Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) of India has launched a set of tools to develop online content in local languages for the various e-government portals and services.

The localisation portal offers basic tools and services for making e-government applications available in the official language of each state apart from English. Tools are currently available to support 6 Indian languages, and will gradually be made available for the other 16 official languages in India.

Each project under India’s National e-Governance Plan has several online applications and portals, and the localisation portal provides standards, best practices and guidelines to support the agencies undertaking localisation of their applications.

Joint Secretary for e-government at DeitY, Rajendra Kumar, shared that the localisation tools have already been used for seven projects, including content for health, e-district, public distribution system, pension, education and agriculture.

(Source: FutureGov)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:28:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Last week, World Pulse, a partner of Telecentre.org Foundation, launched the second of three phases of its Women Weave the Web Campaign. After Digital Access which was the main focus in Phase 1, Digital Literacy now takes center stage in Phase 2.

What tools would you like to have access to in order to feel more comfortable online? What challenges did you face when learning to use the web? These are but some of the questions that Phase 2 of the campaign hopes to find the answers to. It is all about the tools, resources, and training that women need to espouse the Internet and truly take advantage of its benefits.

How to Participate
To participate, simply write in your journal and share your experience on digital literacy. World Pulse will then analyze your recommendations and deliver them to key decision makers, including government officials and technology companies! For more details on participation, read How to Participate.

Resources, Resources, and more Resources!
Digital literacy starts with tools, trainings, and resources, so World Pulse and its partners, to include TCF, have joined forces to bring you some great ones! Check out the Campaign Resources section where you can learn and share information on digital tools!

In this phase of the campaign, TCF lends its support through the provision of its free training and certification on Google tools. Learn more about this here.

For more information about the campaign, check out the World Pulse website.

(Source: Telecentre.org)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:16:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The European Competition 2.0 asks teachers and educators to share the creative and effective ways they are using online resources or applications in their teaching practice.

How to enter
To enter you need to make a short video showing your teaching practice that involves the internet or mobile app. The video must be a maximum of 2:30 minutes. Then you must register on the Ed2.0Work project website and submit your video. The deadline to enter is 12 September 2014 at 12.00noon. Visit the competition website for more information on how to apply.

Judging and prizes
The winners will be decided by an international panel of judges. The winners will be invited to present their ideas (all expenses paid) at the European Conference in the Applications of Enabling Technologies, 2014 20-21 November 2014, Glasgow, Scotland.

The judging team includes:
Russell Stannard
Shelly Sanchez Terrell
Sylvia Guinan

About Ed2.0Work
Ed2.0Work is a European Union funded education project that has two missions:
- To create a network that spans education and the world of work and is designed to improve the use of Web2.0 tools in both fields.
- To create a set of tools for the empirical evaluation of Web2.0 tools

The project will create a network between stakeholders in the education and work sectors that will examine how both should be using Web2.0 in the education and work environments.

Further details

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:57:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Ooredoo partners with ITU for development of local digital content

ITU has launched the fourth edition of its popular ‘Young Innovators’ competition, seeking out talented young thinkers and social technopreneurs across the globe, and encouraging them to showcase their innovative ideas at the upcoming ITU Telecom World 2014 in Doha in December this year.

The annual competition, which was launched in 2010, offers young people the chance to take part in workshops on entrepreneurial skills, opportunities to meet and network with leading ICT players, and to showcase their projects at the InnovationSpace, a dedicated show floor pavilion at ITU Telecom World.

The first challenge of the 2014 edition focuses on ‘Local Digital Content’. Open to 18-30 year-old start-up founders from across ITU’s 193 member states, the competition is looking for the most promising tech start-ups that are inspiring the creation, aggregation or digitization of dynamic local content, particularly in non-Latin scripts.

Entries can be submitted by start-ups that are involved in script content, resolving the technical challenges of digitizing non-Latin scripts through innovative technologies, or pinpointing fresh uses for older technologies, such as optical character recognition, voice recognition or translation software.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Toure said, “I am delighted to announce the first challenge of the latest edition of the ITU Telecom World 2014 Young Innovators’ Competition. Last year’s competition brought us inspirational concepts and projects from innovative young people around the world, all of which had significant potential social impact and impressive business potential. I look forward to exploring the latest innovations at ITU Telecom World 2014 this December in Doha”.

The first stage of the contest has been launched in partnership with Ooredoo, which is supporting Qatar’s hosting of ITU Telecom World 2014. With strong experience in encouraging relevant local content and inspiring start-ups across the MENA region and Asia, Ooredoo will provide invaluable support for the contest.

Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al Thani, CEO, Ooredoo Qatar, said, “We’re excited to support this first challenge in the Young Innovators’ competition. We know that new digital content can inspire people and open new opportunities in their lives, and we believe strongly that each and every market deserves relevant content in their own languages that is tailored to their interests”.

About the Competition
Two start-ups will be selected as winners of this challenge by a Selection Committee of experts and invited to attend ITU Telecom World 2014.

At the event itself, selected Young Innovators will enjoy mentoring and workshops on entrepreneurial skills, opportunities to meet and network with leading ICT players, and the chance to showcase their projects at the InnovationSpace, a dedicated show floor pavilion.

Prize money of up to USD 10,000 in the form of seed funding will be awarded to implement and bring to scale winning start-ups. The competition will comprise a number of different challenges, the first of which focuses on local digital content.

The deadline for initial submissions is 30 May 2014, 24:00 GMT +2.
Visit https://ideas.itu.int/ for more information on the challenge and to apply or comment on submissions. You can also visit the Young Innovators’ Facebook page or contact us directly at young.innovators@itu.int.

ITU Telecom World 2014 will take place from 7-10 December 2014 in Doha, Qatar. For more information on how you can be a part of this key event, visit http://telecomworld.itu.int/

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:51:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Qatar Friendship Fund ((QFF)) Tunisia, Tunisiana (part of Ooredoo) and Microsoft have announced the launch of Intilaq, a USD18mn incubation programme, to enable young entrepreneurs in Tunisia to launch ICT-related start-ups.

Intilaq is the next stage in the evolution of the Startup Factory, Tunisia’s first end-to-end support programme for start-ups launched by Tunisiana in 2012. Now, with the support of the QFF and Microsoft, the initiative is being expanded to support a comprehensive incubation programme as well as a coaching and nationwide knowledge-sharing approach, with a particular focus on encouraging young people to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions in the ICT sector.

Youth unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) averages around 27%, with Tunisia seeing unemployment rates of 40% for university graduates and 24% for non-graduates. Ooredoo and its companies across the world are taking a multi-faceted approach to this issue, working with respected national and international partners to support entrepreneurship, employment and education programmes.

The launch of Intilaq is the latest in a series of significant initiatives to enable young people to learn more about starting their own business and provide them with knowledge and financial resources to launch and manage a start-up.

Speaking at the launch event, Abdullah Nassir al-Homidi, Qatar’s ambassador in Tunisia and president of the QFF, said: “The Qatar Friendship Fund strives to give a significant boost to the youth, giving them support and accompanying them step by step into their projects. We hope to have a direct impact on those who will build Tunisia’s tomorrow and therefore enhance its economy in the long term”.

Kenneth Campbell, general manager of Tunisiana, said: “This initiative will have a significant impact as it will establish a unique economic platform for start-ups, enabling the development of the sector. Last year, Startup Factory was a resounding success that discovered significant untapped potential, and today we move into higher gear with larger ambitions”.

Mohamed Bridaa, general manager of Microsoft in Tunisia, said: “Intilaq is a first in Tunisia. It is a pioneering project that works to promote, develop and strengthen the capacity of Tunisian youth to propel innovation and creativity. In this sense, Microsoft will share its expertise notably in the field of information technology”.
Intilaq will also work as an incubator for international enterprises, adding a new dimension to incubation programmes for the region.

(source: Gulf Times)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:20:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
An ambitious project by Botswana’s Ministry of Labour through the National Internship, donor agencies and leading NGOs has seen the creation of a youth friendly portal to promote job creation in the country. According to the developers, “this is a platform with a job search function, youth mentoring and social and professional networking”, a source added.

Speaking during the stakeholders’ engagement session, the Botswana Innovation Hub CEO Allan Boshwaen said the youths in the country now have something to smile about. “A portal has been developed to support this program in partnership with Microsoft through the MIC initiative, with this portal we aim to aggregate all empowerment or employability initiatives or opportunities that are available for the youth and recent graduates, and provide them a one stop shop where they can access and explore opportunities that exist in the country”.

He added that a list of avenues to take the portal to the people was being explored. “After this stakeholder sensitisation session we plan to do a road show targeting the beneficiaries of this program being youth, recent graduates, SME or start-ups and other marginalized communities such as women, rural communities.

Stakeholders say the program will provide a full ecosystem to support workforce development across Botswana for job or talent research and professional skill enhancement.

“This is key to creating job opportunities and building businesses. This will help raise the countries competitiveness by developing world class workforce skills,’ noted one commentator.

“The world is becoming more and faster paced and Botswana should do more to keep up with this development”, commented Michael Murphy, Chargé d’Affairs US Embassy in Gaborone during the session.

Djam Bhakshandegi, the Director Public Affairs and Citizenship at Microsoft said her organisation was instrumental in facilitating the growth of ICT awareness on the continent. During an interview with Biztechafrica, she said ICT in Africa was growing exponentially especially among the youth, who she said were becoming more and more tech savvy.

“As Microsoft have invested a lot of time and expertise so that the greatest number of people in Africa have access to ICTs, and in this regard, millions of people have been impacted. In order to do this we are working with other companies so that those that don’t have access to technology will get it”, she assured.

(Source: Biztech Africa)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:16:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


The use of computers, mobile phones and other ICTs in community banking can assist microfinance institutions and credit officers in managing and recording loan payments, savings deposits and improving bookkeeping accuracy. But the potential of ICT solutions to improve the lives of rural women in Peru goes beyond giving them access to loans.

ICT-enabled solutions can assist microfinance institutions and community banks to set up skill training and adult education programmes that best address their need to train and advise their clients, not only to increase their chances of managing profitable businesses but also to improve their quality of life.

In Peru, the Connect4Change consortium led by IICD has developed together with PROMUC and Text to Change, an integral ICT-enabled solution that in 2013 serviced 21,000 women and aims to reach out to 160,000. Since most of the impoverished women benefitted by group-lending live in rural or semi-urban areas, they need training to learn the basics of financial services. The Connect4Change capacity development programme includes sessions about best practices in small business management, business plan development, insurances and over-indebtedness.

The ICT-supported community banking project uses mobile phones to send information about group meetings, financial products, credits, interest rates, late payments and loan payment reminders. Iin additions, they also receive information about best practices in managing funds and working capital to start off their own businesses.

Further details

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:09:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



SK Telecom announced on April 17 that they have developed a smartphone-based digital image management service which will allow videos to be transmitted digitally to counselors, who will help people with visual disabilities through  telecommunication with  live video footage.

The image management service will be comprised of wearable cameras, smartphone applications, a video management system and client program that feeds video  to the consultant’s personal computer or mobile device.

The wearable camera, which can be conveniently hung around an ear to provide broadened range of vision, will act as eyes for people with visual disabilities by recording high-definition video which is transmitted to a smartphone and then to a personal computer or a mobile device of the counselor who receives the live images on the video management software through SK Telecom’s LTE network.

The camera is also designed to be accessible for people with visual disabilities, meaning it will start automatically when powered. With the technology counselors at their desk will be able to help people with visual disabilities to cross the street or alert them to  obstructions, bus arrivals and so on. Also, the high-resolution images will enable counselors to check expiration dates on a milk carton or receipts, or read mails for them.

The service is expected to create job opportunities as well since counselors will be able to work from their homes, including employment for persons with disabilities who are sighted. SK Telecom will test the service for two months  and provide the service during the latter half of this year.

SK Telecom  will also help the disabled by contributing Internet-of-things network lines to an emergency safety service, administered by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, to about 2,000 households with severely-disabled members. It offers various services such as rescuing and emergency medical treatments in critical situations using sensors and Internet-of-things infrastructure.

An official at SK Telecom said, “We expect to help those with various disabilities and create job opportunities using information and communications technology. We truly believe that the technology that we have can contribute in building a better world, and look to expand the services to do so”.

(Source: GAATES)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 8:57:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 01, 2014


The Vive Digital Plan Colombia was awarded at the Office of the United Nations in Vienna, as "one of the 15  Innovative Policy 2014" , in view of their impressive contributions to the disabled population for the Zero Project, an international initiative working for a world without barriers .

Vive Digital, program through which the Ministry of ICT is driving the transformation of the digital ecosystem in the country, was highlighted at an international summit on accessibility.

They stressed about the impact of ConVertic , the software that the Ministry put tfree of charge to more than 1.2 million people with visual and hearing disabilities enabling them to use the computer and surf the Internet . And in 2014 more than 800 centers provide technological tools that promote accessibility.

More than 400 experts in accessibility and disability worldwide extolled the work of MinTIC , for its programs for people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

Vive Digital Plan of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies was shortlisted as one of 68 innovative policies in Project Zero. Globally the company meets and models that improve the quality of daily life and the legal rights of people with disabilities.

The references provided by the Project Zero said: Respecting the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities , approval for disability rights , innovation in approach and legal instruments application implementation that delivered measurable and identifiable improvements and easily transferable to other countries.

Recognition also highlighted the achievements of Vive Digital Plan on access to the Internet, and noted that, in contrast to other countries in South America, Colombia makes major investments in information technology .

Similarly, the annual report of Zero Poject , highlighted the commitment and performance of Colombia at work for the rights of people with disabilities.

Under the slogan "No one can enjoy a human right if there is no access to it", the Project Zero has investigated 69 practices and policy solutions that have proven successful in overcoming barriers to access .

The Zero Project

The Zero Project was initiated by the Essl Foundation in 2010. Project Zero 's vision is to work for a world without barriers, in accordance with the principles and provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) . It does so by investigating Innovative Practices and innovative policies worldwide that help improve the lives of people with disabilities, as well as research in social indicators that measure the implementation of the UN CRPD and the current situation in all countries of the world.

(Source: MinTIC)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 4:26:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Conference provided opinion-leaders and decision-makers worldwide with a sense of outstanding best-practices on accessibility – the Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies as selected by the Zero Project network of hundreds of experts – and their potential to make the world more accessible.

Let’s continue…
To jointly continue the good work, let us take this opportunity to encourage you to make use of the Zero Project Website where you can find a lot of additional information from the Conference on accessibility: All presentations are online and free to download. Also a lot of pictures from the Conference can be found here.

But there is a lot more on the website. All selected 54 Innovative Practices and 15 Innovative Policies 2014 on accessibility have been uploaded barrier-free to the website and can be fully searched by keywords, countries or tags. In addition to that, all shortlisted Practices that did not make it into the final selection have been researched by students team from Fachhochschule St. Pölten and are now online and fully searchable – another interesting set of more than 70 best-practices on accessibility worldwide!
And there is still more…

Find the full Zero Project Report 2014 and the Zero Project Worldmaps ready for download, as well as all 32 social indicators that measure the implementation of the UN CRPD in 130 countries. “Drill down” the data on the online map and find also all comments made by experts, and use Google Translate to translate it into your language. And you can download all the social indicators “raw data” as open source to start your own research. Please feel free to contribute to the research and include your own answers and spread the word to others that may want to fill in the questionnaires!

Watch here the Zero Project Video

(Source: Zero Project Website)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 12:21:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Bharti Airtel, a leading telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, has reaffirmed its commitment to Chad by partnering with the Ministry of Secondary Education to train 6,000 youth in the country. The training will focus nurturing young talent to improve their information and communications technology (ICT) capabilities.

Airtel Chad, the leading telecommunications company in the country, plans to carry out training sessions for the youth, equipping them with better skills to handle new challenges as the build their businesses. The training, organized by the Airtel Centum Training Centre, will comprise several sessions, each consisting of theoretical and practical training on ICT.

Speaking at the ceremony, Airtel Chad Managing Director, Mr. Salia Gbane said: “Our aim as Airtel Africa in this project is to provide sustainable solutions that will develop the skills of the youth in Chad. We intend to promote socio-economic empowerment by enabling entrepreneurship opportunities through training 500 to 800 young entrepreneurs for a period of two years. We also aspire to certify up to 5,760 youth with the mastery in modern management skills which are critical to growth of Chad’s economy”.

The beneficiaries, empowered with fresh entrepreneurial potential, will have additional time to develop their skills in the field enabling them nurture small projects that will be supported by Airtel.

On his part, Minister of Secondary Education Mr. AhmatKhazali Acyl said: “We are extremely delighted by Airtel’s hearty gesture to partner with us. This project is likely to create significant socio-economic opportunities in employment by honing the skills of young entrepreneurs. Itis our responsibility as the government of Chad, joining hands with private sector partners like Airtel, to create concrete solutions that aim at eradicating poverty and improve the lives of the youth. This initiative is the start of new and great business models that will empower the youth and enable them play effective roles within the system”.

“We as Airtel Chad believe that building institutional capacities has a significant impact to the people and is the most effective and sustainable tool to contribute to the growth of the economy. We trust that this collaboration with the government will be the beginning of new abilities that create strategic opportunities”, added Mr. Abdelhamid Mahamat Senoussi, General Secretary, Airtel Chad.

The initiative of the ICT training program by Airtel Chad is part of its contribution to development of education in Chad and assisting in the growth of the economy by nurturing young entrepreneurs across the country.

(Source: Airtel Africa)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 12:13:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Get Online Week‘ has been launched in Egypt and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for the first time to empower and encourage the use of technology, raise awareness on the benefits of ICT and to promote the role of e-skills in the daily lives of every day people.

‘Get Online Week’ is a European digital empowerment campaign launched in Egypt by the United Nations Development Program (Egypt), the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology through its ICT Trust Fund, Microsoft Egypt and Telecentre Europe and Telecentre Foundation.

The theme for the campaign in the region is employment, digital jobs, social innovation and entrepreneurship for youth. UNDP in Egypt, and other GOW partners, engaged young innovators, entrepreneurs, public institutions, civil society and the private sector in a variety of diverse online and offline activities during the entire week.

On the 21st of March to the 22nd of March, computer science students from nationwide universities participated in a mobile application development marathon. For two days, participants worked on developing and prototyping their own mobile applications that tackled one of the following issues: Women Empowerment, Child Protection and Environment.

Throughout the week, a series of webinars on topics related to innovation and entrepreneurship were live streamed online by different Egyptian innovators. The audiences were able to watch and engage with the presenters in real time.

Furthermore, on Wednesday the 26th of March, a round table discussion on youth entrepreneurship and innovation was held at the UNDP Country Office in Cairo. Participants included representatives from Ashoka, Cairo Sitters, Egyptian Streets, Eventtus, Flat6labs Se3eedy Geeks, Supermama, Tawseela and Yomken.

 To learn more about Get Online Week check out http://getonlineweek-mena.com/ and www.facebook.com/getonlineweekMENA

Further details

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 12:02:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |