How Broadband will get to Somalia

Title: How Broadband will get to Somalia
Author: Jeffrey Swindle
Source: IT News Africa
Date (published): 16/07/2011
Date (accessed): 18/07/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Last week, I interviewed Mohamed Ahmed Jama, CEO of Dalkom Somalia and board member of Frontier Optical Networks Ltd (FON) in Kenya. Jama described four potential Broadband cables that could be a part of a terrestrial backbone throughout East Africa, including in Somalia. A fifth was announced yesterday in Somaliland.
Though all three of these proposed links are just that—proposals—they are indicative of the rapid growth of Broadband connectivity in the region. Most East African governments are actively engaged in rolling out backbone terrestrial networks, while four years ago the World Bank called East African connectivity the world’s only “missing link.”
South Sudan is working with the CTO to develop an ICT strategic plan; Burundi recently received funding from the World Bank; and Uganda has also invested as well. And private companies are facilitating the expansion of Broadband cables as well as they are working with the national governments to lay the cables and to fund the projects.
The East African Backhaul System was recently announced as a combined $400 million partnership between Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo governments and a variety of private telecoms. The unique partnerships between the public and private sector make the ICT space in East Africa distinct from other regions."

The push for Arabic content online

Title: The push for Arabic content online
Author Editor: Suzanne Locke
Source: MEED.com
Date (published): 9-15/07/2011
Date (accessed): 15/07/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Major web players are looking to boost Arabic-language content online in a bid to meet demand from a rapidly growing Arab audience

The Arab world has been facing a digital conundrum for the past few years – not enough users online creating content in Arabic; not enough content in Arabic to push internet penetration.

Although there are more than 344 million Arabic speakers worldwide and Arabic is the seventh-most popular language on the web, less than one per cent of all online content is in Arabic and there is just a 17.5 per cent internet penetration across the region’s population.

Yet Arabic is the fastest-growing language on the internet, with Arabic-speaking internet users increasing 2,298 per cent from 2000-2009, according to the Internet World Statistics Report.

According to the Arab Knowledge Report, a joint initiative of the UAE’s Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum Foundation and the UN Development Programme for Arab States, a lack of content in Arabic has meant users have not felt the need for a high-speed broadband connection in their daily lives. There has been too much emphasis, it says, on hardware and not enough on creativity.
...
Google has been working on several initiatives to help increase Arabic-language content. It tied up with Wikipedia after observing the Arabic portal of the online encyclopaedia carried 120,000 pages compared with the 2 million pages of its Catalan equivalent. This is despite the disproportionate number of potential Arabic-speaking users, 344 million, compared with 6 million Catalan speakers.

About 10 million words have now been translated into Arabic from English on the site and 6 million from Arabic to English.

The search giant has also been educating small businesses to build their own websites using Google Sites – or to at least put their business directory information on Google Maps. It has built Ejabat, a user-generated question and answer system, which now has 600,000 questions and 2 million answers from 300,000 registered users.

With 20-25 per cent of Mena users in the past year being completely new to the web and a third of them under the age of 18, Google launched educational video site Ahlan to introduce users to the world of online learning. Within three months there were 1.2 million views of the Ahlan training videos.
...
“There is a regional need for real local content and generally users in the region prefer Arabic today,” Nassef says. “As has happened in the East and Latin America, as the internet goes to the masses, people want it in their native language. If you get beyond the metropoles – Cairo, Casablanca – people want Arabic content.”"

The Web (Barely) Speaks Arabic

Title: The Web (Barely) Speaks Arabic
Author: Mike Madison
Source: Forum One blog
Date (published): 14/07/2011
Date (accessed): 15/07/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"There are a number of reasons why English has become the world’s convener language. I’m less interested in exploring that at the moment and more interested in discussing a number of current efforts to localize the web and make it more multilingual. One such effort I came across recently is in Doha, at the Qatar Science & Technology Park, where a number of publications are being converted into a digital format from either the original Arabic, or after being translated from other languages. These digitization projects are a way of adding Arabic content to the web, and creating more high-value content that can be explored by users in their own language. Its part of the movement to make sure that the web’s content more closely mirrors the experience of speakers in the physical world, where the local language rightly has precedence."

via https://twitter.com/#!/ictdev

Mobile Money for the Unbanked Annual Report 2011

Title: Mobile Money for the Unbanked Annual Report 2011
Pages: 96 pp.
Publisher: GSMA
Date (published): 10/07/2011
Date (accessed): 15/07/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"Over the last 12 months, the mobile money industry has doubled in size; and as the industry has grown, so has our understanding of what it takes to create a successful deployment. This 2011 report contains a selection of important best practices and insights that the MMU team have identified. MMU strives to provide the industry with practical, actionable recommendations for how to create successful Mobile Money services.

This report catalogues our key pieces of work from the last year, including the guide to driving customer adoption of Mobile Money, and the research that we conducted into how banks and operators can succesfully develop effective relationships to offer Mobile Money services.

In addition to these previously published resources, the annual report features a new article by Ignacio Mas from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation titled ‘Enabling different paths to development of Mobile Money ecosystems’, in addition to a new case study focused on Tigo’s first mobile money deployment in Latin America.

Contents
Introduction
1—4 Introduction
Chapter 1
7—18 Is there really any money in Mobile Money?
Chapter 2
19 —38 Mapping and effectively structuring operator-bank relationships to offer Mobile Money for the unbanked
Chapter 3
39—72 Driving customer usage of Mobile Money for the unbanked
Chapter 4
73—78 Enabling different paths to development of Mobile Money ecosystems
Chapter 5
79—88 Case study: Mobile Money in Paraguay"
Glossary
89—90"

via https://twitter.com/#!/ictdev and http://zunia.org/

Learning with Mobile Devices Somewhere Near the Bottom of the Pyramid

Title: Learning with Mobile Devices Somewhere Near the Bottom of the Pyramid
Author: John Traxler
Source: Educational Technology Debate
Publisher: UNESCO
Date (published): 06/07/2011
Date (accessed): 17/07/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Mobile phones hold out enormous promise as the single ICT most likely to deliver education in Africa, and to do so on a sustainable, equitable and scalable basis. I think however that so far, we have not often seen much progress beyond fixed-term, small-scale and subsidised pilots and it is worth exploring whether mobile phones can really deliver their promise.

Delivering education in Africa using mobile phones probably strikes governments, institutions and practitioners as easy and obvious because mobile phones and mobile networks are almost universally accessible and reliable in places where environment, economics, infrastructure and security might variously militate against any other ICTs and where the demographics of mobile phone ownership, access and competence, unlike most other ICTs, takes us near to the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ – the actual ‘bottom of the pyramid’ is of course populated by people who can’t even afford mobile phones! Furthermore, mobile phones are an individual ICT not an institutional or corporate ICT and are not predicated on access to colleges, business centres, cyber-cafes or maybe even cities. Therefore, learning on mobile phones should work.

The current World Bank Group and the African Development Bank study is intended “to raise awareness and stimulate action, especially among African governments and development practitioners”. These are indeed vital prerequisites but perhaps ‘critical awareness’ and ‘rigorously evidence-based action’ are even more vital. This is important debate is often characterised by simplifications, misplaced optimism and untested assertions. Hopefully this piece will strike a better balance.

My contention is that whilst many good projects using mobile devices to support learning, by definition, do good work and thus deserve to be praised and celebrated, our problems start when we try to understand these projects, when we try to reason and infer about these projects, when we try to explain and disseminate them in the hope that we can reproduce and replicate them. This is all the more worrying as we overlook the far larger number of less successful projects or when we group, organise and cluster projects in order to find common generalisable themes, forces, causes and mechanisms. Therein lies our problem with scale, sustainability and equity.

Something is wrong and we need to dig beneath the surface. What are my reasons for advocating such caution?"

A network for a new economy : Rwanda develops a network of telecentres to serve rural communities

Title: A network for a new economy : Rwanda develops a network of telecentres to serve rural communities
Author: Paul Barera
Source: ICT Update, a current awareness bulletin for ACP agriculture
Publisher: CTA. Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (ACP-EU)
Date (published): 23/05/2011
Date (accessed): 17/07/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Rwanda’s investment in technology is not restricted to the country’s urban areas. Rural communities benefit too through the development of a telecentre network.

The Government of Rwanda’s document, ‘Vision 2020’, sets out plans that will transform the country’s economy from being largely dependent on agriculture to concentrating on providing knowledge and information services. The processes involved in this transformation are outlined in four national information and communication infrastructure (NICI) plans. Each plan covers a specific five-year period between 2000 and 2020, during which time the government hopes that Rwanda will have reached middle-income status.

The first NICI strategy from 2001–2005 set out to create conditions within the country that would favour a technology-based economy. The second plan enabled the development of the necessary infrastructure. This plan, NICI II, concluded at the end of 2010, and the country is currently in the process of implementing NICI III. This will shift the focus to the provision of technology-related service industries. A central goal for the 2011–2015 plan is to engage Rwanda’s population in the process, prepare them for the shift in the economic environment, and involve them in the creation of new jobs and businesses.

A significant component of the national strategy is its focus on developing skills and building opportunities in rural areas through the establishment of local ICT centres, also known as telecentres. Here, people can use computers, access the internet and other digital technologies to gather information, create, learn, and communicate. So far, twelve centres and two mobile ICT buses are in operation and another eighteen centres will soon be open. But because the goal is to have a telecentre in every Rwandan village, the current speed of deployment is too slow.

In an effort to increase the rate of telecentre development, the Rwandan Telecentre Network (RTN) is supporting government efforts and has set out to create a countrywide network of 1000 ICT centres by the end of 2015."

Teenagers Revive Dead Languages Through Texting

Title: Teenagers Revive Dead Languages Through Texting
Author: Margaret Rock
Source: Mobiledia
Date (published): 29/06/2011
Date (accessed): 17/07/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"A funny thing happened to several languages on their way to extinction -- they were saved, pulled back from the brink by teenagers and the Internet, of all things.
Samuel Herrera, who runs the linguistics laboratory at the Institute of Anthropological Research in Mexico City, found young people in southern Chile producing hip-hop videos and posting them on YouTube using Huilliche, a language on the brink of extinction.

Herrera also discovered teens in the Phillippines and Mexico who think it's "cool" to send text messages in regional endangered languages like Kapampangan and Huave.

Almost as soon as text messaging exploded on the world stage as a means to reach anyone, anywhere, and anytime, young people began to find a way to scale it back, make it more exclusive and develop their own code or doublespeak to use on the widely-used devices.
...
In fact, according to Dr. Gregory Anderson, young people need to be the ones reviving a dying language. The director of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages in Salem, Oregon, says that somewhere between the ages of six and 25, people make a definitive decision whether or not to say to stay or break with a language.

"If the language isn't being used by their peer group, then they reject it categorically," Anderson concluded.
...
Something as simple as text messaging can draw young people's attention back to the languages of their elders, and projects like the YouTube channel's "Enduring Voices" can inspire others to learn ancestral tongues to produce hip-hop music. "

Visions of Community: Community Informatics and the Contested Nature of a Polysemic Term for a Progressive Discipline

Title: Visions of Community: Community Informatics and the Contested Nature of a Polysemic Term for a Progressive Discipline
Authors: Udo R. Averweg, Marcus A. Leaning
Pages: 14 pp.
ISSN: 1544-7529
Source: Information Technologies & International Development; Volume 7, Number 2, Summer 2011, 17–30
Publisher: USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
Date (published): 09/06/2011
Date (accessed): 14/07/2011
Type of information: peer-reviewed article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"Community Informatics (CI) is an academic field of study that seeks to examine how information and communication technologies (ICT) such as Web 2.0 social media and mobile technologies can be deployed for the benefit of communities. Community is, however, a problematic and polysemic term, meaning different things to different people, and it has inherently political overtones. This article aims to bring to the attention of practitioners in the field of CI the contested nature of the term community, and to examine the historical origin of the term and the multiple ways in which it has been and can be used. In exploring this term, we make use of more literary, historical, and sociological approaches. Such approaches can offer new insights on the topic for audiences from more technical academic disciplines. With such discussion to assist practitioners of CI of the problematic ways in which community has been and can be used, we offer the following recommendations: (1) Use of the term community remains largely unproblematized, and we ought to be more mindful of its history; (2) community should be recognized as a locally contingent position; (3) as a term of reference, its use should be carefully considered within specific contexts; (4) a fuller exploration of the term in the CI discipline is needed; and (5) practitioners in the field of CI will require greater reflection on the term community when addressing ICT practice issues. We hope that these recommendations may lead to more reflexive practice in the progressive discipline of CI"

Free UNDP-APDIP Books

Title: Free UNDP-APDIP Books
Source: Wikibooks
Date (accessed): 14/07/2011
Type of information: books
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"These books were donated to Wikibooks by the Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
These books have been released under the GFDL, and it is hoped that the Wikibooks community will help to make them better. The books in this section are broken down into two sub-categories: FOSS books and ICT4D books.
FOSS books serve as an introduction to various aspects and dimensions of free/open source software (FOSS) issues, including FOSS in education, FOSS and government policy, localization, open standards and licensing.
ICT4D books detail the concepts, issues and trends surrounding different aspects of information and communications technology for development (ICT4D), including, e-government, e-commerce, ICT for education, ICT for poverty alleviation, Internet governance, biotechnology, etc.
For more information about UNDP-APDIP, please visit http://www.apdip.net

FOSS Books

FOSS A General Introduction
FOSS Education
FOSS Government Policy
FOSS Licensing
FOSS Localization
FOSS Open Standards
FOSS Network Infrastructure and Security
FOSS Open Content

ICT4D Books

E-Commerce and E-Business
E-government
Gender and ICT
Genes, Technology and Policy
ICT in Education
Information and Communication Technologies for Poverty Alleviation
Internet Governance
Legal and Regulatory Issues in the Information Economy
Nets, Webs and the Information Infrastructure
The Information Age
Small and Medium Enterprises and ICT
ICT for Disaster Management"

Navigating the Dataverse: Privacy, Technology, Human Rights

Title: Navigating the Dataverse: Privacy, Technology, Human Rights
Pages: 100 pp.
ISBN: 2-940259-52-6
Publisher: International Council on Human Rights Policy
Date (published): 05/07/2011
Date (accessed): 14/07/2011
Type of information: discussion paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"This ICHRP Discussion Paper examines the human rights implications of the immense diffusion of data-gathering technologies across the world in recent years. It starts from the premise that the relevant issues, while much discussed, are not yet well understood and are evolving rapidly, both of which contribute to widespread anxiety. The Discussion Paper explores the roots of this anxiety and attempts to determine its sources and effects. It queries the degree to which data-gathering technologies pose problems that represent (or are analogous to) human rights threats and asks whether and how human rights law may help to assess or address those problems.

The purpose of the Discussion Paper is to open up a set of issues for consideration by human rights groups and scholars and also to encourage those in the privacy field to think about human rights. It is intended as a platform for further investigation and research and, as such, is deliberately dilatory rather than comprehensive and conclusive. The paper indicates a number of areas where further research will be indispensable to understanding the full implications of current trends in information technology for human rights and to determine how those concerned by these impacts might orient themselves in the future."
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