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Facebook’s Free Basics Incubator

Facebook and its Internet.org initiative (now called ‘Free Basics’), have faced their fair share of criticism, but I’m guessing that neither is going away anytime soon. So, here’s something that may be of interest to folks working with and/or designing mobile tools for lower income populations or those with lower end phones. Praekelt Foundation is partnering with Facebook on an open source toolkit of technologies and strategies that will open the Free Basics platform to more organizations and/or tech developers to adapt existing services or create new ones for distribution through the web and the Free Basics platform. Praekelt Foundation will be running this incubator for Free Basics. It will provide 100 social change organizations with tools, service and support worth a total of $200,000

Photo from Daniel Agee

Community Survey: Use of Digital Clinical Resources

Digital clinical resources are on- and off-line tools that are used in the context of medical education and/or care delivery with the overarching goal of Read More

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Prevention of sexually transmitted infections using mobile devices and ubiquitous computing

Background: Advances in the development of information and communication technologies have facilitated social interrelationships, but also sexual contacts without appropriate preventive measures.

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Yes, Farmers Do Use Mobile Phones for Market Prices

Farmers in Malawi had free access to market prices via mobile phones for about three months using HNI’s 3‑2‑1 Service. Usage data was rolling in. And along come two posts on ICT Works that are highly critical of the whole idea that farmers and fishermen can actually benefit from market prices provided by mobile phones. A superficial skim of these posts might lead you to conclude that “Mobile phones are not used for market prices,” or that, “Mobile phones are social tools not information delivery platforms.” But a closer read reveals something more nuanced than that. Each of these articles summarizes the findings of two of recent research reports on ICT4D


Breakfast with explorers

I’m sitting on the top deck of a 747 after British Airways kindly decided to upgrade me to First Class. After a week in Washington DC it feels like a fitting – if not fortunate – end to a crazy and hugely productive, thought-provoking few days. The main purpose of my trip was to attend the National Geographic Explorers Symposium, but that ended up being sandwiched between various meetings for the Global eHealth Foundation, a CARE International workshop, and coffee with a number of old friends and colleagues. There’s nothing like a bit of diversity in your working week.


ICT4Peace at Lions Club Zurich Metropole on Cybersecurity as an international challenge for…

ICT4Peace’s Daniel Stauffacher was invited by the Lions Club Zurich Metropole to give a presentation on 7 June 2016 on the mission of the ICT4Peace Foundation as a policy and action-oriented think tank, to promote cybersecurity and a peaceful cyberspace through international negotiations with governments, companies and non-state actors, and to champion the use of ICTs and media for Crisis management, humanitarian aid and peace building. In particular he mentioned its work since 2004 on improving crisis information management systems of the United Nations at Headquarters and in the field by using modern ICTs and new media. The Cyber-war-threat as an international challenge for states and companies was the main point of his presentation


Public Health or Politics: The Recent History of America’s Gun Epidemic and What Public…

James Michiel is an American public health technologist and writer. He holds an MPH in Epidemiology from the Boston University School of Public Health, is currently a Senior mHealth Analyst at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and also serves as a Senior Technical Consultant for NCDFREE. In this brief essay, he responds to the Orlando tragedy with an examination of the impact of America’s epidemic of gun violence and how we might use Public Health and Policy to change it. On November 14, 2013, the eminently qualified Harvard physician, Dr. Vivek Murthy, was nominated by President Barack Obama to become the 19th United States Surgeon General.


Data management architecture, University Hospital Haiti

(no abstract available)(Published: 7 June 2016)Citation: Glob Health Action 2016, 9: 32195 – http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/gha.v9.32195


ICT4Peace on G7 Principles and Actions on Cyber: “Give Peace a Chance”

The G7 summit meeting hosted by Japan May 26-27 2016 issued a document entitled “G7 Principles and Actions on Cyber”. The text contains strong commitments in the field of human rights, but it also highlights the challenge of achieving international cooperation on cyber security against a backdrop of deteriorating geopolitical relations between leading cyber and military powers. In this crucial realm of international cyber security, which acts as an enabler for much of the socio-economic benefits to be derived from the Internet, the pronouncements from the G7 summit are not all that reassuring


A Six-Point Plan for Change

Late last year I was in South Africa attending Buntwani 2015. As always, it was great meeting new people and catching up with old friends. Sadly, some of those old ‘friends’ included many of the issues we seem to continually face in the development sector, issues which don’t seem to ever want to go away. I wrote about this in “Retweet, recycle, repeat” and “What to do when the yelling stops?” recently. One of the sessions I proposed was aimed at kickstarting discussion around some of these historical issues


Study on countering violent extremism and terrorism online, freedom of expression and the right…

The ICT4Peace Foundation was invited to participate in a validation meeting around a study, led by UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Geneva Academy on countering violent extremism and terrorism online, freedom of expression and the right to privacy. The full day meeting was held on 25th May 2016 at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, Villa Moynier, Geneva. Sanjana Hattotuwa represented the Foundation at the meeting.


How do we prevent suicide? Listen up.

Jacob and Chloe from NCDFREE’s Copenhagen team share highlights from the recent NCDFREE Copenhagen Long Lunch on Suicide Prevention. NCDFREE’s Long Lunch series bring emerging and established leaders from a variety of disciplines together to address a particular health issues relevant to non-communicable disease action and advocacy.  Every 40 seconds someone dies by suicide. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) this is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally. Suicide takes an enormous toll on individuals, families, communities and our health system. It is a serious global health problem – but in spite of these horrifying numbers, suicide is still a taboo with many myths and misunderstandings surrounding it.


Using short-message-service notification as a method to improve acute flaccid paralysis…

High quality acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance is required to maintain polio-free status of a country.


What to do when the yelling stops?

I’m reading two books in parallel right now – Ben Ramalingam‘s ‘Aid on the Edge of Chaos‘ and Kentaro Toyama‘s ‘Geek Heresy‘. With both books I’m finding myself regularly pausing for a nod of approval or a wry smile. Both books are spot on in their identification of the issues – Ben in global development more broadly, and Kentaro in ICT4D, a sector/field/discipline/specialism of global development. A while back when Bill Easterly published his ‘Tyranny of Experts‘ I started to wonder what impact his previous book – ‘The White Man’s Burden‘ – has had on the practice and policy of global development.


Should ICT4D Be Sidestreamed or Mainstreamed?

Around the time of the MDGs, ICT4D became the focus for a critical mass of activity; a “sidestreaming” approach that saw specialist ICT4D units arise in a number of international and national organisations. Following the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), this was largely mainstreamed, with specialist units being disbanded or shrinking, and ICT4D expertise seen as diffused into the main development sectors. There is a logic to mainstreaming – if done right – in ensuring integration of ICTs into a broad range of development goals. But there are also many dangers of just mainstreaming, as I have previously summarised: You lose the focus for learning about ICT4D; You hide or downplay technological innovation which can be a source of motivation and hope, and a lever for change; You lose sight of the ICT sector and digital economy roles in development; You silo ICT into individual development sectors and thus miss the technology’s cross-cutting, integrative capabilities; And there is no “Development 2.0” or other vision for ICTs as a force for transformative change. So alongside mainstreaming, there needs to be some sidestreaming: retaining and supporting specialist ICT4D units within the UN system overall; individual UN organisations; international development agencies; national development agencies; national governments; international NGOs; etc.


We’re (part-time) hiring!

Late last year we secured angel investment for an exciting new kind of mobile giving app. Called altruly, we’re looking to reimagine how people give, manage and monitor their personal giving portfolios. App development started last month and we’re looking at early summer onwards for an official launch. There’s a holding page up on the altruly website, but we’re holding back on releasing more information until nearer the time. As part of our preparations for the earlier Beta release, we’re looking for some help building a database of projects and causes people will be able to support through the app.


Please Register Now: ICTforAg 2016 – New Technologies for Smallholder Farmers

June 10th – Washington, DC – Register Now ICTforAg 2016 will bring together +275 thought leaders and decision makers in agriculture and technology from the international development community and the private sector to examine how new innovations can empower smallholder farmers, and the entire value chains that support them, through the use of information and communication technologies (ICT). Please register now to explore new ICT solutions that can boost the productivity of both smallholder farmers and agriculture value chains, and discuss other possible ICTs, including traditional media platforms, agribusiness IT systems, and extension agent support technologies. Our draft agenda includes the following lightning talks and breakout sessions. Be sure to register now to experience these first-hand on June 10th. We expect to sell out this week and those that are tardy will be on a wait list.


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