Community Multimedia Centres in Mozambique: a Map

Title: Community Multimedia Centres in Mozambique: a Map
Editors: Isabella Rega, Lorenzo Cantoni
Pages: 13 pp.
Publisher: NewMinE Lab: New Media in Education Laboratory of the Università della Svizzera Italiana, University of Lugano
Date (published): 09/12/2011
Date (accessed): 12/12/2011
Type of information: white paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf, needs registration)
Abstract:
"Community Multimedia Centres (CMCs) in Mozambique have been setup for a decade and represent the most common model of public access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) venues in the country.

This report briefly presents the history and typologies of CMCs in Mozambique, as well as an updated map of their current number and location. Finally, it casts a closer look to a sample of 10 CMCs, one per each province of the country, describing their context, cluster of services, technical instruments, group of people who manages CMCs and people who access them.
The information provided on the paper has been collected mostly in March – April 2011 within the field work of the project RE-ACT: social REpresentations of community multimedia centres and ACTions for improvement, a research and development project run by the NewMinE Lab: New Media in Education Laboratory of the Università della Svizzera italiana, University of Lugano, Switzerland, in collaboration with the Centre for African Studies and the Department of Mathemathics and Informatics of the University Eduardo
Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique.

This report is addressed to researchers and practitioners in the ICT for Development (ICT4D) field, as well as to policy makers working in the area."

Global Information Society Watch 2011 : Internet rights and democratisation : Focus on freedom of expression and association online

Title: Global Information Society Watch 2011 : Internet rights and democratisation : Focus on freedom of expression and association online
Editor: Alan Finlay
Pages: 267 pp.
ISBN: 978-92-95096-14-1
ISSN: 2225-4625
Source: Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch)
Publisher: Association for Progressive Communications (APC) / Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation (Hivos)
Date (published): 06/12/2011
Date (accessed): 11/12/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"…Unlike any other medium, the internet enables individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds instantaneously and inexpensively across national borders. Unlike any other technological development, it has created an interactive form of communication, which not only allows you to send information in one direction, but also to send information in many directions and receive an immediate response. The internet vastly increases the capacity of individuals to enjoy their right to freedom of opinion and expression, including access to information, which facilitates the exercise of other human rights, such as the right to education and research, the right to freedom of association and assembly, and the right to development and to protect the environment. The internet boosts economic, social and political development, and contributes to the progress of humankind as a whole; but it is especially an instrument that strengthens democracy by facilitating citizen participation and transparency. The internet is a “plaza pública” – a public place where we can all participate.

The past year has been a difficult time globally: whether the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan, unsteady global markets, post-election riots in Nigeria, civil war in Libya and a military clampdown in Syria. But there have been positive, and equally challenging, developments in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt. Throughout the year people around the world have increasingly used the internet to build support for human rights and social movements. This edition of Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch) offers timely commentary on the future of the internet as an open and shared platform that everyone has the right to access – to access content and to have access to connectivity and infrastructure.

Through the lens of freedom of expression, freedom of association and democracy, the thematic reports included here go to the heart of the debates that will shape the future of the internet and its impact on human rights. They offer, amongst other things, an analysis of how human rights is framed in the context of the internet, the progressive use of criminal law to intimidate or censor the use of the internet, the difficult role of intermediaries facing increasing pressure to control content, and the importance of the internet to workers in the support of global rights in the workplace. Some call for a change of perspective, as in the report on cyber security, where the necessity of civil society developing a security advocacy strategy for the internet is argued. Without it, the levels of systems and controls, whether emanating from government or military superpowers, threaten to overwhelm what has over the years become the vanguard of freedom of expression and offered new forms of free association between people across the globe.

Many of these issues are pulled sharply into focus at the country level in the country reports that follow the thematic considerations. Each of these country reports takes a particular “story” or event that illustrates the role of the internet in social rights and civil resistance – whether positive or negative, or both. Amongst other things, they document torture in Indonesia, candlelight vigils in South Korea, internet activism against forgetting human rights atrocities in Peru, and the rights of prisoners accessing the internet in Argentina. While the function and role of the internet in society remains debated, and necessarily so, in many contexts these stories show that to limit it unfairly will have a harmful impact on the rights of people. These stories show that the internet has become pivotal in actions aimed at the protection of human rights..."

Unlock local research potential with open access

Title: Unlock local research potential with open access
Author: Leslie Chan
Source: SciDev.Net
Date (published): 08/12/2011
Date (accessed): 11/12/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The developing world is not well served by traditional research publishing, but can break new ground with open access, argues Leslie Chan.

Free and unrestricted access to research results and publications, known as open access (OA), is key to speeding up scientific discovery. There is also growing evidence that OA maximises the impact of research through better dissemination and uptake of research findings.

But how can we make this a truly global and sustainable endeavour? This was much discussed at the recent Berlin 9 Open Access conference in Washington DC.

There was a recurrent theme: that in today's highly networked, open-knowledge environment, the traditional scholarly communication system — with the journal article as the key currency — can no longer serve the diverse needs of scholarship and discovery.

Conventional methods of evaluating research impact based on journal citations, particularly the reliance on Thomson Reuters' journal impact factor, need to be reconsidered and redesigned to reflect new scholarly practices and the diverse means of engagement enabled by OA and the new wave of web tools ('Web 2.0').

OA offers an opportunity to rethink what constitutes research impact, how to reward scholarship and how to encourage research sharing — issues of particular importance for the developing world."

A Discussion on Local Content within the African Context

Title: A Discussion on Local Content within the African Context
Author: Will Mutua
Source: Afrinnovator
Date (published): 06/12/2011
Date (accessed): 10/12/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"When listening to discussions on local content, it is sometimes a bit vague what the intended meaning is. Is it content that is created locally for local consumption exclusively? Is it content that is just created locally but could be consumed by anyone, anywhere? Is it content that is not necessarily created locally but is consumed locally? If anything really, just the term ‘local content’ is quite ambiguous in itself as really what we are concerned with here is ‘Local Digital Content’. What really is local content? And why is it that there’s such a push for more local content?

In today’s globalised world, it has become harder and harder to any one or any nation to exist in it’s own little cocoon, disconnected and totally cut off from the rest of the world. Over time the developments in telecommunications, faster and more efficient means of transport, the Internet, the World Wide Web, and other factors have led to an ever more increasingly connected world where people, goods, services and perhaps most importantly (in a world that relies heavily on the knowledge economy); information. At the heart of the local (digital) content is really about information represented as bits and bytes stored on computers and travelling rapidly across networks.

Perhaps a more refined term that would help us understand local content is ‘locally relevant (digital) content‘. The real value of local content is in it’s relevance within a particular culture. That relevance is what makes it desirable for consumption by people within that locality. Again, however, globalisation has led to a situation where sometimes there are gray areas between differing cultures from different parts of the world. The fact is that cultures have been opened up to influence from other cultures that are both near and far from the physical location of a people. So as far as local content is concerned, there could be, as we will see, a lot of content that is interesting for people within a specific culture that is not necessarily restricted to that locality.

But why the push towards promoting local content? Even Internet Father, Vint Cerf, noted the significance of local content and was among the 3 key memes we identified during his talk at the Nairobi innovation hub during his visit there. Governments are also seeing opportunities local content significantly, in Kenya for example, the Kenya ICT Board has set out a very focused agenda for local content in it’s ‘Tandaa‘ initiative."

The State of Research and Education Networking in Africa

Title: The State of Research and Education Networking in Africa
Author: Boubakar Barry
Source: Educational Technology Debate
Date (published): 30/06/2011
Date (accessed): 10/12/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Research and education networks (RENs) are dedicated networks for the research and education community. Unlike the “general” Internet, often referred to as commodity Internet, they carry only data related to education and research.

RENs were first established more than 20 years ago in developed countries in Europe and the Americas to support bandwidth-intensive applications in research, when it became evident that using the commodity Internet on demand for these applications, and for moving large quantities of data between institutions within a country, between countries, and between continents was not feasible. An example is the transport of data from CERN’s Large Hadron Collider to various research centers worldwide.

RENs have also been places of innovation in networking technologies and have substantially fostered scientific collaboration at national, regional and international levels.

Why are research and education networks crucial for Africa?
RENs have a huge potential for improving the quality of education and research. The gain in productivity through access to high-speed networks for teaching, learning and research activities is obvious. For Africa, access to such networks through RENs is even more important for various reasons:

African researchers are isolated. There are very few institutions that have the critical mass of researchers in any particular field to allow them to collaborate and carry out research activities with world standard outputs. Having an adequate NREN infrastructure can enable remote collaboration and the building of the needed critical masses;
Resources are scarce in Africa, and some equipment and applications are too costly for single institutions: NREN infrastructure provides a means of sharing such resources. In fact, RENs can even provide a more efficient mean of sharing human resources by using video-conferencing tools for remote lecturing while at the same tile avoiding expensive and sometimes risky travel;
Cutting-edge research is increasingly carried out by multiple, inter-disciplinary research teams located in various countries of the world: coordination, data exchange and even experiments are mostly done using the global REN infrastructure. Not being part of this global community means that African researchers cannot participate in such global research projects;
In most African countries, higher education faces a big challenge called massification: due to lack of investment in infrastructure and equipment during the last two decades, universities and other higher education institutions cannot efficiently meet the high demand for access to higher education. Here again, REN infrastructure can support e-learning applications and blended learning models that can help reduce the pressure on the universities’ physical infrastructure and address the increasing legitimate demand for higher education..."

Overselling Broadband: A Critique of the Recommendations of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development

Title: Overselling Broadband: A Critique of the Recommendations of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development
Author: Charles Kenny
Pages: 19 pp.
Publisher: Center for Global Development
Date (published): 08/12/2011
Date (accessed): 10/12/2011
Type of information: essay
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"The Broadband Commission for Digital Development is an ITU (UN International Telecommunications Union) and UNESCO–backed body set up to advocate for greater broadband access worldwide. The commission’s Declaration of Broadband Inclusion for All and other reports call for governments to support ubiquitous fixed broadband access as a vital tool for economic growth and to reach the Millennium Development Goals. Examining the evidence, however, shows that the benefits of broadband are being oversold. Several points stand out: (i) the evidence for a large positive economic impact of broadband is limited;
(ii) the impact of broadband rollout on achieving the MDGs would be marginal;
(iii) there is little evidence ubiquitous broadband is needed for ‘national competitiveness’ or to benefit from opportunities like business process outsourcing;
(iv) the costs of fixed universal broadband rollout dwarf available resources in developing countries; (and so)
(v) the case for government subsidy of fixed broadband rollout is very weak.

There are, however, some worthwhile policy reforms that could speed broadband rollout without demanding significant government expenditure."

Undersea cables set to launch African bandwidth explosion

Title: Undersea cables set to launch African bandwidth explosion
Author: Rowan Puttergill
Source: memeburn
Date (published): 28/11/2011
Date (accessed): 09/12/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Many years ago, I worked for UUNET Internet Africa in South Africa. I remember sitting in the Operations room and looking at an international undersea cabling map, which showed each and every cable connecting the different continents of the world. It used to amaze me that South Africa’s connection to the rest of the world was so fragile. If I remember correctly, we really relied on one or two undersea cables at the time. I believe one of them was SAT-2, which had a total bandwidth of 560Mbps to carry all of our international telecommunications and internet traffic. Meanwhile, up in the northern hemisphere the sea-bed was positively littered with cables connecting Europe and North America in a multitude of ways.
Things have changed though, and it seems that Africa is finally catching up. This week, Wasace Cable Company announced that it intends to lay fibre-optic cable that will connect four continents, including Africa, with a total bandwidth of 100Gbps.
This year has seen a massive surge in efforts to improve the undersea cabling that connects Africa to the rest of the world. Earlier in the year, work started on the WACS cable, a 14 000 km cable that will link South Africa to London. Its 15 terminal stations running up the West Coast of Africa will provide additional bandwidth to a number of countries, and will become the first direct connection to the undersea cable network for Namibia, the Congos and Togo. WACS should go live early in 2012, and will increase South Africa’s bandwidth by an estimated 23%.
But WACS isn’t alone..."

Ten Facts about Mobile Broadband

Title: Ten Facts about Mobile Broadband
Author: Darrell M. West
Pages: 13 pp.
Source: The Brookings Institution
Date (published): 08/12/2011
Date (accessed): 09/12/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"Mobile broadband is reshaping society, communications, and the global economy. With smart phone usage surpassing that of personal computers, there has been a sea change in the way consumers access and share information. Powerful mobile devices and sophisticated digital applications enable users to build businesses, access financial and health care records, conduct research, and complete transactions anywhere.

This revolution in how consumers and businesses access information represents a fundamental turning point in human history. For the first time, people are able to reach the Internet in a relatively inexpensive and convenient manner. Regardless of geographic location, they can use mobile broadband for communications, education, health care, public safety, disaster preparedness, and economic development.

In this report, I review ten facts about mobile broadband. I show how the mobile economy is reshaping the global landscape. Both in developed and emerging markets, there are major opportunities to create jobs, and create social and economic connections. With the mobile industry generating $1.3 trillion in revenues, it is important to understand how telephony is affecting the way people relate to one another."

Big data, small wars, local insights: Designing for development with conflict-affected communities

Title: Big data, small wars, local insights: Designing for development with conflict-affected communities
Authors: David Kilcullen and Alexa Courtney
Source: What Matters
Publisher: McKinsey & Company
Date (published): 02/12/2011
Date (accessed): 09/12/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Of all the ills that impede development around the world, persistent conflict may be the most pernicious and the most widespread. As the World Bank noted in its April 2011 report, insecurity “has become a primary development challenge of our time. One-and-a-half billion people live in areas affected by fragility, conflict, or large-scale, organized criminal violence, and no low-income fragile or conflict-affected country has yet achieved a single United Nations Millennium Development Goal.”

We believe that work in these difficult regions requires a new approach, which we call Designing for Development. The approach combines several elements. First, to create a deep understanding of the issue to be addressed, it calls for quantitative, remote observation and analysis, using new tools, such as big data, crowd-sourced reporting, and interactive visualization. To build a deep contextual understanding, it also requires on-the-ground observation and research, preferably carried out and directed by well-trained members of the local community. Finally, the big data and local insight must be integrated and used to shape a solution with the help of design thinking..."

Applying "Big Data" to Development: Revealing Initial Research Result

Title: Applying "Big Data" to Development: Revealing Initial Research Result
Source: Global Pulse
Date (published): 07/12/2011
Date (accessed): 08/12/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"As Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon noted in a briefing about Global Pulse to the UN General Assembly last month: “The private sector is analyzing this new data to understand its customers in real-time. Much of this data contains signals that are relevant to development. We must use it to tell us what is happening, while it is happening.”

That is why, over the past 6 months, Global Pulse has teamed up with leading data-research companies and institutions Crimson Hexagon, Jana, PriceStats, SAS, and a consortium of French centers led by the Complex Systems Institute of Paris Ile-de-France & IFRIS on a series of collaborative research projects testing the feasibility of adapting new tools and methods in real-time data collection and analytics for global development.

And today we are very pleased to publicly present the findings and methods from this initial series of experimental research. The five main projects included:
* Real-Time E-Pricing of Bread….
* Unemployment through the Lens of Social Media...
* Twitter and Perceptions of Crisis-Related Stress...
* Tracking the Food Crisis via Online News...
* A Global Snapshot of Well-being through Mobile Phones...

We embarked on these “proof of concept” projects with the hope that they may eventually help establish new methodological approaches for analyzing real-time data, identify tools which can provide a faster and clearer understanding of population behavior during periods of stress, and hopefully contribute to the development of new proxy indicators for real-time tracking of development..."

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