Elementary school students use the adapted interactive whiteboard to bring new light to learning. CyberSmart Africa’s vision is to provide an effective and highly scalable solution for digital learning in sub-Saharan Africa – including schools without electricity. Admittedly, this is a big vision. How is it possible?
Author Archives: ICTworks
I am Kristen Roggemann, and at the recently-concluded GSMA Mobile for Development Summit, GSMA mWomen was thrilled to host a spirited discussion on the opportunities and challenges facing partnerships in the M4D sector. In what was a frank exchange between representatives of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), NGOs and ecosystem partners, some key lessons – and lingering questions – surfaced: Key lessons: State the obvious and keep stating it: There was some hesitation in the room over articulating things people felt were ‘obvious’, such as working with the right partner team and ensuring you have a strong business case before approaching an operator. These lessons and others are crucial for the entire stakeholder community to state and restate throughout the partnership process. While it might seem obvious, NGOs and MNOs continue to struggle with these foundational tenets of partnership formation – and thus we are not done stating them: Lessons for NGOs approaching MNOs: First impressions matter: do your homework on the MNO to ensure you know their strategy, targets and timelines Having a benchmark matters: prove you’ve done it in another country Get clear on your approach: if you go to CSR folks with a commercial pitch, they will send you to the commercial side, and vice-versa Donor-dominated markets are crowded with NGOs wanting to work with MNOs – ensure you have a clear articulation of the business value you bring to the MNO with your partnership offering Lessons for MNOs working with NGOs: Timelines at NGOs are often slower than at MNOs, so plan accordingly When you’re building a VAS, NGOs can add value in terms of content and market knowledge NGOs face an issue of have the social mandate to work across MNOs in a country, so network exclusivity could be challenging Lingering questions: From the NGO perspective: what is that threshold level when you should approach an MNO? At what point in your service does an MNO pitch make sense
Go ahead, name them. Yes, count them off with your fingers. I bet you can name six in less than 60 seconds. You probably got to 16 or 26 in that time period. Bonus points if you add your list in the comments section.
The UN Global Pulse has published ‘Mobile Phone Network Data for Development’, a primer on how analysis of Call Detail Records (CDRs) can provide valuable information for humanitarian and development purposes. ‘Mobile Phone Network Data for Development’, is an accessible synthesis of a growing body of research on mobile phone data analysis in development or humanitarian contexts. The prime explains three types of indicators that can be extracted through analysis of CDRs: Mobility: As mobile phone users send and receive calls and messages through different cell towers, it is possible to “connect the dots” and reconstruct the movement patterns of a community. This information may be used to visualize daily rhythms of commuting to and from home, work, school, markets or clinics, but also has applications in modeling everything from the spread of disease to the movements of a disaster-affected population.
I am Karl Brown, and at the recent Mobiles! convening, I gave a brief talk where I highlighted 10 theses on international development, software development, and the role of donors therein. In the tradition of Martin Luther, these 10 thesis were pinned to Wayan Vota’s chest, with an undercurrent of challenge to spark thoughtful debate on our too common pilotitis practices. While the theses below may seem categorical, there are of course exceptions, and I regard them more as general philosophical approaches as opposed to hard and fast rules.
On Thursday night, Washington DC celebrated failure in international development as a mark of leadership, innovation, and risk-taking in pushing the boundaries of what is possible in scaling ideas from pilots to global programs. And we celebrated in style! (see the photographic proof here) TechChange went all out with a sing-along-song on how there are no shortcut keys in online learning (watch the video) and Anahi Ayala Iacucci made the key point that sometimes we have to give the finger to our coworkers and funders to keep projects focused. But the subtle star of the night was Wade Channell’s satire of Paternalist Anonymous, which ended with this great Contractor Prayer: “Grant me serenity to accept things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the COR who knows the difference.” All throughout the night, I was impressed by all the presenters’ candor and comedy. Congrats to Dr
The Technology Salon on How is ICT Impacting Education in Rwanda? in Washington, DC featured lead discussants David Rurangirwa, ICT/Education Specialist for USAID/Rwanda, who described the Rwanda Education Commons and Jacques Murinda, Executive Director, OLE Rwanda, who explained initiatives that OLE is implementing using TeacherMates and OLPC XO-1 laptops. Sign up to get invited to future Technology Salons! The objective for any technology in education is to support, motivate and enhance student learning. Technology has the capability, if used appropriately, to transform what is happening in the classroom
In an effort to help promote, highlight and grow Africa coders Matt Berg created a Mapbox map which shows the location and density existing GitHub users (primarily programmers) in Africa. Looking at the map, I am shocked that only 4,527 African software developers are on GitHub – just 0.12% of all GitHub users. That makes me want to have answers to questions like: Are there only 4,527 Open Source software developers on the continent? How many non-Open Source developers are there? Where do African Diaspora locate themselves on GitHub?
Youth today have unprecedented access to information with near ubiquitous Internet access powered by radical increases in mobile technology and new low-cost services with amazing data analytics. There is palatable excitement that youth will create their own solutions, using technology to enhance their economic opportunities. Yet our understanding of technology’s role in supporting youth economic opportunities is limited and lacks concerted progress. Without a common vision and collaborative effort, the 21st Century promise of youth inclusion will go unfulfilled and technology may widen digital inequalities. That’s why I invite you to join me in the Technology Spotlight at the 2013 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Conference in Washington DC, on September 10-12, 2013
Previously, I wrote about the need for management information systems to understand educational progress in developing countries. While that is sexy, as it shows programmatic impact, there are more mundane uses of management information systems that can have amazing results. Just read this factoid from Nigeria’s Minister of Communications Technology, Omobola Johnson in her address to 11th International Conference of the Nigerian Computer Society (NCS) in Iloko Ijesha in Osun State: The Minister said eGovernment initiatives had transformed government operations, improving document management and archiving, citizen interaction and efficiencies, and had also assisted in better budget management and significantly improved fraud management. The Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) alone had discovered about 46,000 “ghost workers” and saved the government approximately N119 billion so far.
Over the last decade, as mobile technologies have become more ubiquitous, they have moved from the fringes of international development activities into core platforms for service delivery across sectors. We’ve had opportunities to pilot ideas, apply public and private sector approaches, and scale innovations. It’s time to critically examine our progress, and plan for a future where mobile technology will permeate every aspect of our work. Please join DAI, Development Gateway, FHI 360, IREX, and USAID for a one-day conference on the impact of mobiles in development: Mobiles!
Recently, 600 exceptional youth activists from 80 countries arrived to New York City for a UN Takeover, where they called for urgent action by member states to meet Millennium Development Goal 2 on education by 2015. The youth’s inputs will feed into setting the agenda for global education priorities post-2015. One of the highlights of the week was this inspiring talk by Malala Yousafzai, who made her first public address to the UN on June 12th, her 16th birthday. Seven of the youth participating in the UN Takeover with the support of Plan joined us as lead discussants for our July 10th Technology Salon. Sign up to get invited to future Salons Agung, Dina, and Nurul from Indonesia; Kamanda and Fatmata from Sierra Leone; Tova from Sweden; and Frank from Uganda told us about ICT access and use in their communities and countries.
Neelley Hicks recently interviewed Danny Alexander and Sean Hewens of IDEO.org around the use of Human Centered Design in ICT4D. This is an outtake of the discussion from Best Practice in ICT4D. [Sean]: In general the development community is very risk averse. If things go badly, you’re not talking about losing quarterly profits but losing lives.