Tech helps refugees make journey – and survive when they arrive

Title: Tech helps refugees make journey – and survive when they arrive
Author: Aviva Rutkin
Source: New Scientist
Date (published): 07/09/2015
Date (accessed): 23/09/2015
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: For the Syrian refugees marooned at Budapest station in Hungary, charging a phone can be tricky. There’s one outlet in the train station, another in the nearby migration aid offices, and a few power lines offered up by satellite news trucks on the scene. Local businesses are a gamble – some have started charging high prices for the privilege of plugging a phone in.

Log on and learn: The tech geeks working to transform Africa's education

Title: Log on and learn: The tech geeks working to transform Africa's education
Authors: Marc Hoeferlin, Lauren Said-Moorhouse
Source: CNN
Date (published): 15/09/2015
Date (accessed): 23/09/2015
Type of information: online article
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: an online training platform that's been partnering with universities in South Africa to provide short e-courses for users. Helped by a single private investor, the tech education portal is looking to harness a growing demand for online learning by allowing students to log into classes remotely.

Software Helps Create Sign Language Dictionaries, Voice-activated Games for Hearing Impaired

Title: Software Helps Create Sign Language Dictionaries, Voice-activated Games for Hearing Impaired
Author: Byron Spice
Source: Carnegie Mellon University - CMU
Date (published): 15/09/2015
Date (accessed): 23/09/2015
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Carnegie Mellon University’s TechBridgeWorld research group announced the release of open source software that can help educators of children with hearing disabilities create video dictionaries of sign languages and use games that encourage vocalization by children learning to speak.

Verizon roaming in Cuba -- much ado about not much

Title: Verizon roaming in Cuba -- much ado about not much
Source: The Internet in Cuba
Date (published): 19/09/2015
Date (accessed): 23/09/2015
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: President Obama is continuing to use executive powers to nibble away at the embargo. Some US companies will be allowed to establish Cuban offices and Verizon has announced that they will offer roaming in Cuba.

New books: ICT4D in practice and the impact of public access

We would like to draw attention to two recently published books, relating to the International Development Research Center (IDRC) in Canada: „Connecting ICTs to development” highlights IDRC almost two decades of research through its ICT4D program, while „Public Access ICT across Cultures” is a systematic assessment of the impact of shared public access in the developing world (and was funded by IDRC’s Amy Mahan Research Fellowship Program).

IDRC was established by an act of Canada’s parliament in 1970 to help developing countries find solutions to their challenges. The aim of the Centre is “to initiate, encourage, support, and conduct research into the problems of the developing regions of the world and into the means for applying and adapting scientific, technical, and other knowledge to the economic and social advancement of those regions.”

The book „Connecting ICTs to Development: The IDRC Experience” is a summary of over 15 years of IDRC-supported research through its Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) program, which ended in 2010 (IDRC is now supporting ICT4D research through its Information and Networks program).
 
The book contains a comprehensive analysis of the key findings and lessons learned from the ICT4D program. There is also an online companion which provides links to additional resources, websites and multimedia, organized to follow the book’s structure covering four thematic areas: introduction to ICT4D at IDRC, catalyzing access to ICTs, sectoral applications of ICTs, engaging in ICT4D research.  

Public Access ICT across Cultures - Diversifying Participation in the Network Society

Shared public access to computers and the Internet in developing countries is often hailed as an effective, low-cost way to share the benefits of digital technology. Yet research on the economic and social effects of public access to computers is far from beeing exhaustive. This volume offers a systematic assessment of the impact of shared public access in the developing world, with findings from ten countries in South America, Asia, and Africa. It provides evidence that the benefits of diversified participation in digital society go beyond providing access to technology. Public access venues—most often Internet cafés in cities and state-run telecenters in rural areas—are places for learning, sharing, working, empowerment and finding opportunities.

The book documents the impact of public access on individuals, on society and networks, and on women. Chapters report findings and examine policy implications of research on such topics as users’ perceptions of the benefits of Internet café use in Jordan; ICT job training in Rwanda; understanding user motivations and risk factors for overuse and Internet addiction in China; the effect of technology use on social inclusion among low-income urban youth in Argentina; productive uses of technologies by grassroots organizations in Peru; use of technology by migrant ethnic minority Burmese women in Thailand to maintain ties with their culture and their family and friends; and women’s limited access to the most ubiquitous type of venue, cybercafés, in practically all countries studied—and quite severely in some places, e.g. Uttar Pradesh, India.

In the context of development impact studies, variety in settings and in data and conceptual approaches is an ideal situation that is seldom achieved in practice because of the high investment and coordination costs involved. The research reported in the book was made possible by the Amy Mahan Research Fellowship Program (a research grant initiative funded by Canada’ s International Development Research Centre) and implemented by Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, in collaboration with scholars from Universidad de San Andr é s, Buenos Aires; the University of the Philippines, Manila; South Africa ’ s LINK Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; and partner institutions from participating countries.

The book presents the results of field research in three parts. Part I covers public access impacts on users as individuals, part II on society and networks, and part III on women. Part IV contains a single final overview chapter.

Digital version of the book

Millions of Facebook users have no idea they’re using the internet

Title: Millions of Facebook users have no idea they’re using the internet
Author: Leo Mirani
Source: Quartz
Date (published): 09/02/2015
Date (accessed): 14/09/2015
Type of information: online article
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: The expectations and behaviors of the next billion people to come online will have profound effects on how the internet evolves. If the majority of the world’s online population spends time on Facebook, then policymakers, businesses, startups, developers, nonprofits, publishers, and anyone else interested in communicating with them will also, if they are to be effective, go to Facebook. That means they, too, must then play by the rules of one company. And that has implications for us all.

Epic Fail: Tech Tricks Are No Fix for Developing-World Problems

Title: Epic Fail: Tech Tricks Are No Fix for Developing-World Problems
Author: Eric Bellman
Source: India Real Time - Wall Street Journal Blogs
Date (published): 04/09/2015
Date (accessed): 14/09/2015
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: The problem: “game changing” technologies cannot do their magic if the players and the playing fields remain the same. There is usually no shortcut to building the government, educational, cultural and economic structures needed to improve people’s lives.

Open Data for Sustainable Development

Title: Open Data for Sustainable Development
Source: The World Bank Group
Date (accessed): 06/09/2015
Type of information: research report
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Governments around the world are opening up the data they collect in many areas as a new kind of public resource. They are finding that this Open Data can be used to identify social and economic trends, improve public services, build trust in government, and promote economic growth. Governments, businesses, foundations, NGOs, and academic institutions have developed programs to put Open Data to use, and many have focused on its potential to support international development. The World Bank has developed a methodology to help governments around the world assess and build their Open Data programs. This paper discusses what Open Data is and how it relates to broadly defined international development goals, presents diverse use cases in different sectors of development, and proposes a plan of action that governments and their data users can apply to improve Open Data worldwide.

Access to ICT in remote communities: The eBilim Mobile Digital Library Project, Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic

Title: Access to ICT in remote communities: The eBilim Mobile Digital Library Project, Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic
Author: Aline Rosset
Source: UNESCO Bangkok
Date (published): 28/08/2015
Date (accessed): 06/09/2015
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: In Kyrgyzstan, socio-economic disparities between urban and rural areas are considerable, particularly with regard to access to knowledge, information and communication technology (ICT). These disparities are exacerbated in remote mountain areas because of their isolated location. Residents of remote mountain areas have limited access to media, books and other information resources.

London company's 'Solar Classroom in a Box' project aims to change the face of education in Africa

Title: London company's 'Solar Classroom in a Box' project aims to change the face of education in Africa
Author: Aftab Ali
Source: The Independent
Date (published): 28/08/2015
Date (accessed): 06/09/2015
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Along with the University of Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Aleutia, in London, will begin rolling out an education initiative across Kenya called Solar Classroom in a Box. Doing exactly what it says on the tin, flat-pack classrooms will be sent over to each of the country’s 47 counties, with one able to fit into a pick-up truck. The best thing of all is that they don’t require any specialist construction and local handymen have already been setting them up within a day.

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