Using Technology for Social Good. An Exploration of Best Practice in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Development

Title: Using Technology for Social Good. An Exploration of Best Practice in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Development
Source: United Methodist Communications
Date (accessed): 21/03/2014
Type of information: case study
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract:
This discussion paper captures best practice in the use of mobile phones and other low-cost communications technologies through a series of interviews with experts and practitioners. Interviewees include:
- The head of the mobile solutions team at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) who describes the agency’s efforts to use mobile phones to pay teachers in Afghanistan, reducing money lost to graft;
- The founder of FrontlineSMS, one of the most widely scaled mobile text messaging-based information sharing program, who provides his top 10 tips for effective use of technology for social good;
- The chair of the Health Board of The United Methodist Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who describes how using FrontlineSMS is changing the way information is shared in the context of acute health emergencies, such as cholera outbreaks; and
- The program manager of the Thomas Food Project in Thomas, Haiti, who describes how low cost solar power is being used to power a new computer center and generate income that supports a school feeding program.

What Washington can learn from Colombia’s genius plan to lift millions out of poverty

Title: What Washington can learn from Colombia’s genius plan to lift millions out of poverty
Author: Brian Fung
Source: The Washington Post
Date (published): 12/03/2014
Date (accessed): 19/03/20134
Type of information: online article
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Colombia isn't rich. The South American nation tracks six socioeconomic brackets, and 88 percent of Colombians fall into the lowest three rungs. The bottom of the economic pyramid in Colombia lives on less than $2 a day. Yet the country is racing to build what, even by U.S. standards, would be considered bleeding-edge technology: Its leaders are extending fiber-optic Internet access to 96 percent of the country's cities and towns. If all goes as planned, soon all Colombians will even have their own storage space in the cloud — a little piece of digital real estate provided by the government.

Women in Science

Title: Women in Science
Source: UNESCO
Date (accessed): 19/03/2014
Type of information: data source
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Just 30% of the world’s researchers are women. While a growing number of women are enrolling in university, many opt out at the highest levels required for a research career. But a closer look at the data reveals some surprising exceptions. For example, in Bolivia, women account for 63% researchers, compared to France with a rate of 26% or Ethiopia at 8%.

Question 25/2. Access technology for broadband telecommunications including IMT, for developing countries

Title: Question 25/2. Access technology for broadband telecommunications including IMT, for developing countries
Pages: 64
Date (accessed): 19/03/2014
Type of information: research report
Language: english, arabic, chinese, spanish, french, russian
On-line access: yes
Abstract: ITU-D Study Group 2 Question 25 has been tasked with providing developing countries with an understanding of the different technologies available for broadband access using both wired and wireless technologies for terrestrial and satellite telecommunications, including International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT). This Report covers technical issues involved in deploying broadband access technologies by identifying the factors influencing the effective deployment of such technologies, as well as their applications, with a focus on technologies and standards that are recognized or under study within ITU-R and ITU-T. This Report aims to examine future trends of wired and wireless broadband access technologies, identify methodologies for migration planning and implementation, consider trends including deployments, services offered and regulatory considerations, identify key elements to be studied in order to facilitate the deployment of systems integrating satellite and terrestrial components of IMT, and provide information on implementation impact, and provide information on IMT-Advanced. Information contained in this Report includes information directly from the two other sectors of the ITU, work conducted by ITU-D SG 2 Question 10 on Rural Technologies, as well as recent work undertaken by the UN Broadband Commission.

Indonesia promotes government transparency with social media

Title: Indonesia promotes government transparency with social media
Author: Medha Basu
Source: FutureGov
Date (published): 10/03/2014
Date (accessed): 19/03/2014
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (abbreviated in Bahasa Indonesia, KPK) has highlighted the importance of social media in promoting transparency and openness to fight corruption.

Computational tools for the revitalization of endangered Finno-Ugric minority languages (FinUgRevita)

Aims and goals

The aim of the project is to provide computational language tools for endangered indigenous Finno-Ugric languages in Russia, assisting the speakers of these languages in using the indigenous languages in the digital space, and to assess, with the tools of sociolinguistics, the success of these computational language tools. Our research aims to contribute, in a practical way, to providing the answer to the question of how endangered indigenous Finno-Ugric languages can be actively supported, their speech communities strengthened, and language revitalization aided.

In the computational linguistic component of this project we plan to use existing language resources in endangered minority Finno-Ugric languages to develop computational tools (learning tools and authoring tools) that would enable speakers to use their minority language in modernized popular discourse required in common everyday functions of written language use. The tools, we believe, will increase speakers' proficiency in their minority language, positively change speakers' attitudes to their minority language, and, in the end, aid the revitalization process.

In the sociolinguistic component of the project we want to assess the success of the developed and deployed computational tools. The sociolinguistic assessments will be carried out before and after the development and deployment of the tools in order that the results can be compared.
So far, we are working with two languages, Mansi and Udmurt.

Udmurt

The Udmurt language (or, by an earlier exonym, Votyak) is a member of the Uralic language family, a somewhat endangered indigenous language in Russia. It is spoken in the area between the Vyatka, Cheptsa and Kama rivers, about 1,200 kilometers (about 750 miles) east of Moscow but west of the Ural mountains, in the Udmurt Republic (or, informally, Udmurtia). Additionally, Udmurts also live in greater numbers in Kazakhstan, and dispersed in many cities and towns of Russia. According to the latest, 2010, Russian census, 552,299 people profess to be of Udmurt ethnicity and 324,338 to be speakers of the Udmurt language. (Both figures have been decreasing from census to census in recent decades.)

Most of the Udmurts of Russia (about 410,000 people) live in Udmurtia, but large numbers of them live in administrative units neighboring it: 23,000 in the Republic of Tatarstan, 21,000 in the Republic of Bashkortostan, 21,000 in the Perm Krai, and 13,000 in the Kirov Oblast. About 247,000 speakers of Udmurt live in Udmurtia.

Four dialect groups of the Udmurt language have traditionally been differentiated. The Besermyan variety, belonging to the northern dialect group and spoken by about 3,100 people, has been
considered a separate language since the 2002 Russian census. The northern dialect group has been heavily affected by contact with the Russian language, while the central, southern and peripheral dialects by contact with with the Tatar and Bashkir languages. The Udmurt language has a standard (or literary) variety.

Today, the Udmurt language is used mostly within the family and among friends, and even though it is an official language in Udmurtia, but it has limited power and rights. It is not used in the legislature or political life. However, it is present in the media, education, and the cultural sphere, as well as enjoying a growing presence on the internet.

Mansi

The Mansi language (or, by an earlier exonym, Vogul) is a member of the Uralic language family, a severely endangered indigenous language in Russia. It is spoken primarily in the Khanti-Mansi Autonomous Okrug of Western Siberia. According to the latest, 2010, Russian census, 12,269 people profess to be of Mansi ethnicity and 938 to be speakers of the Mansi language. (The former figure has been increasing from census to census in recent decades, while the latter decreasing.)

Most of the Mansis of Russia (10,977 people) live in the Khanti-Mansi Autonomous Okrug (or, informally, Yugra), while some live in administrative units neighboring it: 637 elsewhere in the Tyumen Oblast, 251 in the Sverdlovsk Oblast, and 8 in the Komi Republic.
Four dialect groups of the Mansi language originally existed, but by far not all of them have survived to this day. The southern Mansi dialect became extinct, most likely, in the 1950s, and the western dialect even more recently. The eastern dialect is often claimed to have become extinct, however, recent fieldwork has demonstrated that there are still living speakers of it who are able to serve as language consultants. The northern dialect (more specifically, its Sosva variety) of Mansi serves as the basis of the standard variety of the language.

Today, the Mansi language is used mostly within the family and among friends. It has no official status or economic value associated with it. It is not used in the legislature or political life. However, it is present in the media, education, and the cultural sphere, as well as enjoying a growing presence on the internet.

Project details

Project name in Hungarian: “Számítógépes eszközök a veszélyeztetett finnugor nyelvek nyelvi revitalizációjáért (FinUgRevita)”
Project name in Russian: "Компьютерные средства для ревитализации финно-угорских языков под угрозой исчезновения (FinUgRevita)"
Funded by Finnish Academy of Sciences and Hungarian National Research Fund (OTKA) Project numbers: OTKA FNN107883; AKA 267097
Funding period: September 1, 2013 to August 31, 2017.
Partner institutions: University of Helsinki, Finland, and University of Szeged, Hungary Principal Investigators: Dr. Roman Yangarber (Helsinki; roman.yangarber@cs.helsinki.fi), Dr. Anna Fenyvesi (Szeged; Fenyvesi@lit.u-szeged.hu)
Project email: finugrevita@gmail.com
Project website: http://www.ieas-szeged.hu/finugrevita

4 Takeaways for Developing Countries from Mobile World Congress 2014

Title: 4 Takeaways for Developing Countries from Mobile World Congress 2014
Author: Nancy Ngo
Source: TechChange
Date (published): 04/03/2014
Date (accessed): 10/03/2014
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: The key takeaways from this year’s MWC that will impact not just emerging markets, but also developing countries.

Microsoft to transform learning in Rwanda

Title: Microsoft to transform learning in Rwanda
Source: IT News Africa
Date (published): 07/03/2014
Date (accessed): 10/03/2014
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Microsoft and the Ministry of Education Republic of Rwanda have signed an agreement to transform learning, further innovation and develop employment skills among students and educators in Rwanda, through Microsoft’s Partners in Learning programme.

Could Estonia survive in the cloud?

Title: Could Estonia survive in the cloud?
Source: e-Estonia
Date (published): 06/03/2014
Date (accessed): 10/03/2014
Type of information: online article
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Estonian World writes about Estonia’s IT leaders have proposed an ambitious plan for the country: Estonia should be moved into the cloud, which would make occupying the country meaningless.

Africa's Digital Revolution: Full Speed Ahead

Title: Africa's Digital Revolution: Full Speed Ahead
Source: World Policy Institute
Date (published): 04/03/2014
Date (accessed): 10/03/2014
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: In the last five years, Africa has undergone a phenomenon that analysts refer to as the continent’s “digital revolution.” A recent wave of investor capital to the continent signals that this trend is unlikely to change course any time soon. The virtual revolution means sudden improvements to education, health and political spheres - prompting more leaders to embrace technological development as they would more “traditional” development projects.

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