Using technology to decrease the knowledge gap between Ugandan men and women

URBANA, Ill. – If an in-the-flesh Extension specialist isn’t available to provide training, is a video of the specialist’s presentation or a video of a new agricultural practice a good substitute? The answer, according to a University of Illinois study with farmers in rural Uganda, isn’t simple, particularly when gender is factored into the equation.

“The literature in the field says communication materials like videos work best to support face-to-face communication,” said U of I agricultural communications professor Lulu Rodriguez. “But if you don’t have an Extension specialist available in a certain locale, a video is the next best thing. The two modes of presenting information work well, particularly for African women learners. It follows the African penchant for having a live presenter, someone to talk to, and their affinity for visuals. Those are important components to how they learn. If situations get dire, a video is a viable option, particularly if there is a live facilitator.” Read more

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Patents for humanity: Special edition of Technology and Innovation

How universities and government are reaching the next billion people

The current special issue of Technology and Innovation, is devoted to patents that benefit people around the world who live with limited resources, in challenging environments, and are in need of better access to basic needs and improved standards of living, health and infrastructure.

The issue includes original articles from winners of the 2013 USPTO Patents for Humanity Awards, aimed at rewarding innovators for deploying patented technologies to address humanitarian needs. Winners featured in the issue include SIGN Fracture Care International, the University of California, Berkeley and Nokero International Ltd.

Other institutions represented include the University of South Florida (USF); University of Toronto; Institute for Regulatory Science; University of Tennessee Chattanooga, and Technopolis Group Austria on behalf of the European Patent Office. Read more

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UP evaluating indigenous plants for cosmetic, medicinal use

Scientists at the University of Pretoria (UP) Plant Science department are researching the medical and cosmetic applications of indigenous plant species traditionally used for ailments among the more than 100 indigenous South African medicinal plants already documented. UP medicinal plant science professor Namrita Lall and PhD student Richa Sharma are exploring the use of the Leucosidea sericea shrub (also known as oldwood) and have found that chemical compounds in its silky grey leaves reduce the inflammation caused by a particular acne-causing bacterium.
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7 Key Insights in Using ICT to Improve Ebola Response

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Yesterday, we had the 85th Technology Salon in Washington, DC, this one focused on How Can ICTs Improve Our Ebola Response? Be sure to sign up to get invited to our next event.

In the lively morning-long discussion with 35 key thought leaders and decision makers from across the technology and development sectors, we came to several interesting conclusions.

1. With Ebola, Everyone is a Healthcare Worker

Even with existing and potential health systems, only 30-40% of Ebola cases will be treated in “official” centers. This means that everyone is a healthcare worker in the fight against Ebola.

And in that fight, we need to know our adversary and how to overcome it. However, in our rush to respond, we are reinventing flat tires, and relearning mistakes of the past that we should be beyond by now. Read more

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Effective Management over Government Led Research: A Study of Research Institutions in Gambia

Using primary data generated from samples of research units within the Gambia public research sector, this two-phased inquiry seeks to identify and explain factors in research governance that influence scientific knowledge production. In contributing to empirical discussions on the impact levels of different governance models and structures to scientific output, which appear limited and mixed in literature, this study suggests, first, that scientific committee structures with significant research steering autonomy could not only directly contribute to scientific output, but also indirectly through moderating effects on research practices. Read more

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How Tech Can Turn a Community Into a Global Village

Folks, I received a really good letter from the Organic Health Response‘s IT Coordinator, Brian Mattah. He wrote about his experience with technology on Mfangano Island:

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I am Brian Mattah, a native of Mfangano Island, Kenya. I began working for the Organic Health Response (OHR) in January 2010, immediately after college. This was my first time deploying hands-on skills attained from school and all seemed new and interesting.

Aside from all career domains revolving around technological advances, it’s become absolutely inevitable for people, even in villages, to survive without internet. That’s why OHR thought it wise to incept the Ekialo Kiona Centre, to make Mfangano Island, Kenya a Global Village through our Cyber-VCT program. Once receiving voluntary counseling and testing with one of our HIV Counselors, anyone from the island has free and unlimited access to broadband internet, the first of it’s kind in these rural communities.

In addition to running our Cyber lab, I had the opportunity to join Inveneo in 2012 to deploy a 90-km broadband link over Lake Victoria. Through this install I have been able to gain a greater level of expertise in networking, especially since the OHR Network is purely of Last Mile Design. It was amazing when EK Centre received internet services from Kisumu – a stretch of about 90 kilometers – to provide high speed wireless access in this remote location. The wireless network has eventually provided the solution and met everyone’s needs by simply avoiding laying wire and fiber optic cables which are really expensive undertaking that can be environmentally demanding and requiring high maintenance.

In the course of deploying this network, I gained really important tips and had a hands-on trial on the Installations and configurations of network devices ranging from ubiquity’s Rocket M5, NanoBridges, NanoStations, mikrotik routers, and Ethernet switches. Since then I have set up three more NanoBridges, a NanoStation and a mikrotik router. I have also gained vast knowledge in network administration and been able to monitor and troubleshoot connection hitches that have come up. Each day I continue to grow and learn new skills. It is what makes my job rewarding.

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The craigslist Charitable Fund has continued to support our Cyber-VCT program, as well as the broadband internet that has opened up Mfangano as a global village. Ero kamano (thank you!)!

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Folks, Brian’s doing real good work, and I’m happy to personally support the programs and the broadband Internet on Mfangano Island, in addition to the support from craigconnects and the craigslist charitable fund to make all of this possible. More updates to come…

This article was originally published on craigconnects.org.


Go to Source. Reprinted from ICTWorks

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​Smart Africa returns – with a focus on Rwanda


Rwandan President Paul Kagame (center) and Minister Jean Philbert
Nsengimana (left) work with children during the recent
“Smart Rwanda Days” conference in Kigali.

“Smart” is in. So is digital. According to President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, “digital innovation has leveled the playing field, making it easy for anyone from anywhere can compete in the global economy. Today, ideas do not have borders and therefore countries cannot be landlocked.”

Earlier this month, the Government of Rwanda convened a “Smart Rwanda Days” conference, bringing together participants from seven countries. During the two-day event, attendees were asked to “take the pulse” of digital development across Africa – as well as within their own countries – and then set concrete roles and responsibilities for current members of the Smart Africa alliance (Burkina Faso, Mali, South Sudan, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, and Gabon). The event was co-sponsored by the International Telecommunications Union, the African Union and several private-sector companies.

The Smart Rwanda Master Plan (SRMP), developed by the government in consultation with representatives of civil society and private sector, in February 2014, calls for better services to citizens through e-government and ICT education at all levels. The Plan includes a specific focuses on broadband networks and tertiary education, as well as fostering investments, innovation and creative local content to strengthen ICT. “Africa is on unstoppable move forward that tremendous progress is being made, but also the room for increasing speed and impact is limitless,” said Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Rwanda’s Minister for Youth and ICT.

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