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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3 Reasons Why We Need Business Analysts in ICT4D

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In a recent M&E Tech event, I was involved in a great discussion about how technology can be leveraged to augment, support, and prove program outcomes, with the understood challenge of how to prove its value as an investment to management teams and funders. We also discussed the desire for data driven organizational cultures, and the value of people playing the critical role of connecting management and program staff with systems staff. Read more

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South Africa’s bold new regional aircraft project

At the Africa Aerospace and Defence 2014 exhibition in September, State-owned defence industrial group Denel made an announcement that has the potential to dramatically transform the South African aerospace industry. Two of the group’s companies, Denel Aerostructures (DAe) and Denel Aviation (DAv), combined to publicly launch the South African Regional Aircraft (Sara) project.
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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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