Much more than an app developers camp…

Ohrid is located on the shore of a big lake with crystal clear water in the south west of Macedonia. It bears a diverse ecological system and is millions of years old. The UNESCO accepted Lake Ohrid as Natural World Heritage Site. Tiny fish tickle your body when you keep still for a while. It is a holiday paradise and i wonder why i’ve never heard of it before.

There we met last weekend to choose the 3 winning projects of an international app development project called mYouth 2.0 which provides space for youth that is already in the field of new technologies in order to develop further their potentials and ideas.

4 participants from Asia, 4 from Africa and 4 from Europe pitched in front of a 12 member expert jury.
The jury chose one winner of each continent.
The 3 winners are invited to the European Youth Award festival in Graz in November 2018.

 

photo (c) Mladiinfo

It took me several days to write this recap. Why? Cause it was such a valuable experience that i didn’t want to cut it down to a few words. Nor would some pictures show what really fascinated me about this event. I’ll give it a shot…

We spent 5 days together. More than 30 people from 3 different continents: East African Region (Kenya and Tanzania), West African Region (Senegal and Ghana), North Asian Region (Vietnam and Hong Kong) and South Asian Region (Singapore and Philippines) as well as the European Region that involves Poland, Germany, Austria, Macedonia and Romania  – I thought of justing naming a few exemplary countries but it is so impressive if you make yourself aware of this diversity. Just being in the middle of this vibrant community was already worth travelling to Ohrid. I felt an excitement that i experience seldomly these days. A feeling that there is a vibrant and positive world beneath frightening news and fascist governments. That there are people who are actually making a change by helping their local communities and therefore bringing valuable ideas to the global society.

And the contestants do exactly that. Some of them experienced hard times in their young lifes and decided to protect people in the future from those experiences. Some of them observe problems in their communites and decide to do something about it. Some have a smart idea and want to develop it further. They get creative and use mobile technologies to help for example pupils who want to learn more about the world but simply don’t have learning material. Or to make dental service affordable for people who can’t rely on a health care system. Or to give an effective tool to people who want to make music but have no idea where to start – Spoiler: Those are the winners 😉

Jurying and choosing those 3 winning projects was tough. Many of the presentations where very convincing, several of the pitches where brillant, all of the projects are worth to be supported. It took us hours to discuss and decide. Sometimes i ask myself if competitions like this one are just wrong when all of them deserve to win. But then again it is a big boost for your motivation if you strive towards a goal.

The competion itself tough was just one aspect of the whole event. We coached the contestants and their projects and we learned a lot from them as well. So it was in fact a win-win situation. And we had time to spare. Some of the most interesting and deepest conversations emerge while you have lunch together or enjoy the sunset on a hill in Ohrid.

There would be so much more to say about the event, about technological aspects, about how important a proper design process is for an app project and so on but i think i already implied what was most important for me:
People from different cultures, of various ages, with different backgrounds came together in a peaceful, respectful and joyful way. We worked together, supported each other and simply had fun. It was organised by a careful and dedicated team (thanks so much Mladiinfo!). Jumping into this intercultural experience was one of the best things i did recently.

To be fair: It was an almost perfect setting and it is not easy to organise such intercultural events. But i think you can scale it down to your daily life as well. Even short contacts between persons with different cultural backgrounds can be interesting and authentic if you kick yourself in the butt and step our of your comfort zone. Give it a try! You won’t be disappointed. And it doen’t matter if you speak the same language or not.


Much more than an app developers camp…
was published on 30.09.2018 by Georg Steinfelder. It files under east africa, east asia, eastern and central europe, Europe, global, middle east and north africa, south asia
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

ICT4D.at 10th Year Birthday Party

— Deutsche Version weiter unten/German Version below —

10 Year Party Banner

Dear friends, companions and like-minded people,

the “Austrian Network for Information and Communication Technologies for Development” – our NGO ICT4D.at celebrates this year their unbelievable 10th anniversary.

In the last 10 years we carried out projects in Tanzania, Mozambique, Ghana and Austria, produced a movie, released a book, published quite some research papers, organised and participated in many events, presented our work in many guest lectures, continuously reflected about ICTs and development work and had a lot of fun while doing all these things.

We would like to invite you to our 10 year anniversary party to celebrate our achievements with us!
Venue: Schikaneder in Vienna
Time: 31. October starting at starting at 06:00 PM

We are happy to welcome you to a nice and relaxed evening with pictures, posters and video-clips of our projects, two live bands and maybe one or two short speeches.
Hopefully you will find the time to party with us and we would like to kindly ask you to confirm via mail at party@ict4d.at or Facebook Event.

With best wishes,
your ICT4D.at Team

 

— Deutsche Version/German Version —

Liebe FreundInnen, WegbegleiterInnen und Interessierte,

das “Austrian Network for Information and Communication Technologies for Development” – unser Verein ICT4D.at feiert heuer unglaublicherweise sein 10-jähriges Bestehen.

Wir haben in diesen 10 Jahren Projekte in Tansania, Mosambik, Ghana und Österreich verwirklicht, einen Film produziert, ein Buch publiziert, ein paar wissenschaftliche Beiträge verfasst, viele Veranstaltungen organisiert und besucht, ein paar Gastvorträge gehalten, viel über das Thema ICTs und Entwicklungszusammenarbeit reflektiert und hatten viel Spaß dabei!

Um das zu feiern laden wir Dich/Sie/euch herzlich zu unserer 10-Jahres-Party ein:
Ort: Schikaneder in Wien
Zeitpunkt:
31. Oktober ab 18:00

Es erwartet euch ein lustiger Abend mit Fotos, Postern und Video-Clips von unseren Projekten, zwei Bandauftritten und vielleicht ein, zwei kurzen Reden.

Wir freuen uns wenn Sie/Du/ihr dabei sind/bist/seid und bitten, uns in dem Fall per Mail an party@ict4d.at oder Facebook Event kurz Bescheid zu geben.

Beste Grüße,
dein ICT4D.at-Team

 

Tags: , , ,
ICT4D.at 10th Year Birthday Party
was published on 16.09.2018 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under Europe
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

Lend a support to enable smallholder farmers in rural Ghana access IT & financial services

Farmerline recently launched a 30-day Kiva campaign to raise a $100,000 loan to connect 6,000 smallholder farmers in Ghana to financial services, market information, weather forecasts and quality inputs. We need your help to reach our goal today July 18 in a few hours!

In 2016, we launched our first campaign with Kiva and were able to raise $50,000 to connect 1,000 smallholder farmers to high quality and affordable farm inputs at 20 – 30% below market price. We want to extend our reach!

As a supporter and friend of Farmerline, your contribution would go a long way! As little as $25 would ensure a supply of farmer inputs for a month at a 1 – 2 acre farm, while a $75 loan would ensure a rice or vegetable farmer has input supply for four months and is able to focus on ensuring consistent quality yield.

To learn more about our Kiva campaign and become a lender, visit Farmerline Kiva campaign.

Click the video below to hear from a few of the farmers we serve!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Lend a support to enable smallholder farmers in rural Ghana access IT & financial services
was published on 18.07.2018 by Worlali Senyo. It files under global, sub saharan africa
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

2018 IFIP WG 9.4 and an Interactive Workshop about Sexual Harassment via Mobile Phones

In the heart of the beautiful Tirana, the capital of the surprising modern and dynamic Albania, the IFIP WG 9.4 conference took place. I was invited to present my work and also co-chair with Tim Unwin a paper and demo session regarding Equality and Safety issues with Digital Innovations. Tim and I wanted to mix up the session a bit to try out something unusual.

Before the conference, we started to discuss the issue of sexual harassment via mobile phones, after I read his blog post concerning the findings of their research. I proposed a, as we call it now, flawed solution to the problem. I designed a simple mobile application to register sexual harassers and warn victims. I wanted to start a discussion. Quite quickly all the drawbacks of potential abuse, legal implications, data management/ownership, etc arose. So, we got stuck in finding a good solution to empower victims of sexual harassment (via mobile phones) in developing countries.

We then decided to bring the topic to the table of the conference and use the participants to brainstorm for other and foremost better solutions. The goal was to break my programmed engineering thinking and use the diverse minds of our demo and paper session track to come up with something much better. The goal was not a technology, but anything which could empower the victims. The topic was intentionally set very broad to not limit the flow of ideas. This was also challenging, since there were no boundaries and many questions arose during the brainstorming. Furthermore, solving this complex in just workshop is unrealistic, but we were willing to try our best.
We formed groups, I introduced the concept of the Brainwriting-Pool (see our IFIP workshop slides for an explanation) and we tried to generate as many ideas as possible. We only had 45 minutes to discuss and brainstorm together. While some groups kept stuck in great discussions, others were quite productive and proposed many ideas of what we could do. One of the participants opened her heart and shared her story of harassment via mobile phones, which gave us a much better understanding of the topic. This once more showed the importance of including the targeted user group in the design process. Of course, we did not solve the issue in the 45 minutes, but many key points and ideas were stated. Ideas were put out to

  • create an anonyms social network for victims to connect with others and find help.
  • To visualize the harassment to show that this is a big issue and to illustrate that victims are not alone.
  • Make it easier for victims to defend themselves by offering information material on how to legally fight back. Illustrate the rights of every person.
  • When harassed by mobile phones, then the harassment is actually documented by call logs and text messages. This offers a new way of using this as a prove of harassment against the harasser and visualize the attack.
  • Translate sexual rights and women rights into pictograms and make them accessible to everyone.
  • Better illustrate that sexual harassment is not the fault of the victim and that they have a right to dignity.
  • Create mobile awareness campaigns.
  • Provide a quick help by offering options to victims to protect themselves.
  • A place where victims can share their story anonymously. To make it first possible to talk about the incident in a safe environment and also help others to understand that they are not the only ones going through such a difficult time.
  • Provide call centres with no charges and ensure anonymity.
  • A self-defence Drone you can launch to film your harasser and document the incident.
  • Better offer statistics about incidents to trigger a discussion and create awareness.
  • A “one button click” to connect one victim to another to reach out for help and understanding.
  • Create a SMS based one/two-way communication with empowering and motivating messages. Also offer a smart phone application.
  • Implement a general filter to block harassment content entirely form your platform. Have a “Right to delete” content on the Internet.

Many more issues, problems and ideas were discussed and mentioned. The possibilities and challenges are there, the sensitive topic of sexual harassment is too often ignored and our workshop underlined that we need to put a spotlight on this issue. ICT can do good, but also too often bad. It is our responsibility to also discuss the dark side of the technologies we promote and to be aware that ICTs are not always shiny and golden.

All of this was possible due to Kutoma Wakunuma and Sirkku Männikkö Barbutiu who also presented their profound work in our track. They agreed beforehand to shorten their presentations to give us the stage to carry out our workshop. I would like to again express my gratitude and recommend reading their valuable contributions:

Kutoma Wakunuma: Hey women can play dirty too! Social media Building and Construction – A tale of empowerment in the developing world

Sirkku Männikkö Barbutiu: A Facebook Account of Ones Own

I would also like to thank Endrit, the conference chair, who gave us the opportunity and a big thank you to Tim, for supporting me in my work.

Tags: , , , , , ,
2018 IFIP WG 9.4 and an Interactive Workshop about Sexual Harassment via Mobile Phones
was published on 09.07.2018 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under eastern and central europe, global
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

Junior Camp Zion College – Anloga

The Junior Camp Ghana Program is a career mentoring series in high schools in Ghana. It is run by the GhanaThink Foundation.

The program allows industries and persons to share their stories, experiences and knowledge with students in second cycle institutions i.e. Senior High Schools (SHS).

It also connects students with mentors who provide their wisdom about their areas of expertise, management, leadership skills, career success factors, industry insights, communication skills. Through the program students are inspired to match similar career goals, concentration, career fields etc.

Junior Camp Zion College was held on the 30th of June 2018 and started with an opening prayer lead by one of the students.

Harry Akligoh, the Volta lead for Junior Camp Ghana took over to talk about the program and the purpose of our gathering.
The mentors then introduced themselves and what they do.

I was opportuned to lead a session on:

1. Why learn programming
2. Opportunities available
3. How to become a successful developer
4. Why acquiring a digital skill is essential in today’s era.
5. My experience / story

Noah introducing himself at #JCZionCollege

Other sessions lead by mentors includes:

1. Techpreneur – Dakey James Sewornu

2. Education and Entrepreneurship – Courage Christson Tetteh

3. Legal Education – Elorm Ashiagbor

4. Finance and Accounting – Cryspin Kavaarpuo

5. Sexual and reproductive health and volunteerism – Ekissi Victor

6. Creativity and Innovative thinking – Harry Akligoh

7. Healthcare and Sciences – Precious Adade

Mentors at Junior Camp Zion College

The assistant headmaster was pleased to have us around impact the students.

At the end of it all, we proposed to the school that we want to set-up an ICT club/society to equip the students with digital skills.

During our mentoring session we realized a lot of students are having interest in programming, IOT, animations, graphic designing etc but don’t have the exposé hence the need to have a community to spark that interest.

The mind blowing ideas from the students needs support to make them a reality.

In the years to come great developers will start coming up from Zion College in Angloga and also partaking in competitions.

Upcoming female developers

The assistant headmaster was so excited to hear this laudable idea and can’t wait to have this club on campus.

Our hope is to commence the club when school resumes next academic year.

It’s my dream to also see other High schools in Ghana exposing their students to technology.

The program ended with both participants sharing what they’ve learnt and also the mentors sharing their experiences with the students.

Indeed, Living Tomorrow’s Career Today.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Junior Camp Zion College – Anloga
was published on 01.07.2018 by Noah Alorwu. It files under sub saharan africa
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

ICT4D Lecture at Vienna University of Technology

I got invited to give a talk about ICT4D in a lecture called Beyond the Desktop due to my affiliation to the Vienna University of Technology. The lecture covers a broad spectrum of technology applications and aims at design thinking. It targets Master students who combine in their studies software engineering, user interface design and user experience design. The goal of the lecture is to also look beyond the usual software applications and illustrate other exiting fields such as wearable technologies, ambiguous computing and also this semester for the first time ICT4D. Beyond the Desktop aims at:

  • Employing and acquiring skills in user interfaces beyond the traditional Desktop.
  • Getting to know various technologies to solve problems in this field.
  • To be able to understand and apply principles in design and evaluation according to HCI fundamentals for future mobile applications.
  • Prototyping new kinds of actions between humans and computers

In my guest lecture I will give a broad overview of what ICT4D is and where it originates. I will illustrate some ICT4D projects in the field and also focus on past failed projects to show the misperception of ICT4D. Followed then by a presentation of our ICT4DMZ project and my experience form India, since both projects were implemented in cooperation with INSO and DECO, the hosting research groups.

If you are interested in a dialogue about ICT4D, then feel free to join me:

Venue
GM4 Knoller
Hoftrakt, Stiege IV, 2. Obergeschoß
Getreidemarkt 9, 1060 Wien
Directions in German

Time: 14.06.2018, 16:00 – 17:30

Language: English

See you there!

Lecture at TU Vienna

Tags: , , , , , ,
ICT4D Lecture at Vienna University of Technology
was published on 07.06.2018 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under Europe
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

Learning to code: Programming with Pocket Code

Margarete is in close contact with our friends at the TU Graz who work on several tools for students. They developed Pocket Code, a mobile Android application to teach programming on the phone itself. You can create Android apps on an Android Device by simply putting blocks of code together. The principle is similar to Scratch, which in contrary only works on desktop devices. Wonderful concept and definitely worth to check out! They also develop iMoox a MOOC software and recently started to offer their content in English language. They offer now a new course where you can learn more about Pocket Code, check it out here.

The target group are children aged from 12-14 years, but also for teachers who would like to introduce programming in their classrooms.

Course content

With the help of Pocket Code, particularly children will gain initial experience with programming. A simple and visual user interface enables a playful implementation of your own ideas.
The course is designed for children and young people (age group 10-14 years) as well as teachers of all subjects.
The main content includes creating your own games, interactive animations and apps with Pocket Code.
It is up to the children whether they take the course on their own or together with their parents.

Learning goals

Participants of the course are able to implement their own ideas with the help of Pocket Code. At the end of the course the following objectives should be achieved:• I can handle objects
• I can work with the different commands of Pocket Code
• I can solve problems using Pocket Code
• I can create my own program and save it as an app
• I can download and modify another program

Prerequisites

As it is a course for beginners, no special previous knowledge is required.
• Start date 04.06.2018
• 5 week(s)3 hour(s)/week

Register Now!

Tags: , , , , ,
Learning to code: Programming with Pocket Code
was published on 26.05.2018 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under Europe, global
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

Mobile Learning Week 2018

Mobile Learning Week is UNESCO’s flagship ICT in education event. Digital skills are critical for jobs and social inclusion in a universality connected world – an estimated 95% of the global population living in an area covered by at least a basic 2 G mobile cellular network [MLW Concept Note].

MLWs provide a platform to share and expand knowledge, innovations and good practices in mobile learning on an international base. It is an excellent event for exchanging knowledge about achievements in skills targeted to Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4). The conference is co-organized by UNESCO and International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for ICT.
Topic of the 8th MLW, scheduled from 26-30 March 2018 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris was “Skills for a connected world”, focussing on digital skills and competencies for a connected economy and society.

Presenters for the 17 workshops were selected from a wide range of international organizations, NGOs, governmental agencies, research, projects and digital skills development programmes. While Margarete participated in former MLWs, this year she was accompanied by Paul Spiesberger. Furthermore, Margarete was invited to participate in workshop-presentation together with Prof. Mohamed Ally from Athabasca University, topic: “Developing Females and Teachers’ Digital Skills in Ghana”. She reported our project implemented from 2012 -2014, pointing out the very successful follow up developments organised by students participated in our workshops. It is important to note that girls represented quite often the majority of participants in our workshops. This can also be observed when looking at their blogs, videos and photos. The outcome of our engagement in Ghana shows that inequalities and gender divides can decreased with similar activities in digital skills programs.

Download Margarete’s presentation here.

Included in Margarete’s presentation was also a follow up project of former participants. In cooperation with Django Girls ICT4D.at’s former workshop participants organize workshops on programming in Python, especially tailored for women. Attendees don’t need any previous knowledge about programming and there is no age limitation. Coaches, speakers or organizers are volunteers; one female and one male tutor are former participants in the project presented. Additional activities were organized as Barcamps, workshops for students of nearby schools etc. Read more here.

Margarete and Paul took their chance to discuss possibilities with experts from UNESCO (Steve Vosloo) and representatives from all over the world for future projects in partnership with ICT4d.at. They gained insights in outstanding projects and programs in various countries. Discussions about successful and independent activities of students brought up new visions and ideas, how the group in Ghana could be encouraged for further developments on a larger scale.

Next to Margarete also other outstanding project were presented eKitabu which “Delivers accessible digital content for quality education” and Room7 – a network for coding schools, are two great examples. We also discovered a very successful project from Brazil, Laboratoria, which trains “Female tech talent from Latin America to the world”.

Adapting MOOCs for local demands seems to be a promising option. ICT4D.at will continue with cooperation and work on this issue to increase the chance for youth in Ghana to develop digital skills independently. Visions are continuously discussed via Skype with of the Mobile learning Society. Together we continue to inform our readers about further activities in Ghana.

Tags: , , , ,
Mobile Learning Week 2018
was published on 08.05.2018 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under Europe, global
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

IFIP WG 9.4 Euro 2018 Conference

We would like to emphasize the next 2018 IFIP WG 9.4 European Regional Conference on the Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries in Tirana, Albania from the 22nd to 24th June 2018. The conference is organized by Organised by IFIP WG 9.4, the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D at Royal Holloway University of London and the European University of Tirana. They recently opened their call for papers and the first deadline is approaching:

Abstract Submission Deadline: 20 March 2018

This year’s theme is Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development and they are particularly interested in submissions related to innovation agility, indigenous innovation in developing countries and digital innovation for sustainable development. However, they are soliciting submissions across the full range of topics of interest to IFIP Working Group 9.4 in the broad areas of technology and sustainable international development, focusing but not limited to the following areas:

  1. Digital innovations for poverty and inequality reduction
  2. Technology-enhanced education
  3. Equality and human rights
  4. Digital technologies and forced international migration
  5. Technology, automation and decent work
  6. International business and economic growth
  7. Sustainable and innovative cities and communities
  8. Responsible consumption and production
  9. Digital governance, peace and justice
  10. ICT4D in South-East Europe

The organizers are eager to encourage as many people as possible from Europe and elsewhere to contribute and offer papers. So don’t miss out this chance to hand in your work or simply participate to take an active role in the ICT4D movement.

ifip conference logos

Tags: , ,
IFIP WG 9.4 Euro 2018 Conference
was published on 05.03.2018 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under Europe
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
No Comments AddThis Feed Button

Holistic development and multi-stakeholder engagement with a pinch of systems theory; a recipe for acknowledging complexity

 

A day like today 10 years ago I decided to quit my job in IBM. I no longer wanted to wake up every morning and work 10 hours to make someone in the US richer and richer. I had volunteered in Peru and Mozambique during the summer holidays and I knew I wanted to work in development. I had however witnessed how private companies can influence policies, move governments and transform the lives of people in developed and developing countries, and it was that sweet spot between development and the private sector that was most appealing to me.

Luckily for me, the development industry has undergone a profound change over the last decade and has moved closer to that sweet spot. Old funding models and narrow focused interventions are no longer the norm. Donors are increasingly requesting Public Private Partnerships where private companies need to provide co-funding for the implementation of a program. Nowadays development objectives (including a theory of change) and business model design (including pricing) are two sections of the same project proposal. An agricultural program now needs to put women equity at its heart, focus on nutrition and food security while achieving economic, social, technological and environmental sustainability. This holistic approach can promote transformational and long lasting change, but it is also much more complex to develop, manage and evaluate than “old school” donor funded programs.

Having managed a small component of a multi-country (14) multi-million (24) multi-partner (40) program that aimed to integrate agriculture and nutrition goals using mobile phones, while attempting to demonstrate ‘impacts at scale’ and value for money, I can tell you: getting to the end goal is not a walk in the park. While I was still involved in the program I was approached by a researcher from Ottawa University, interested in analyzing this complex program using a systems approach to understand the relationship between its numerous sub-components and its different development goals. The result was an academic paper that has recently been published in Food Security (Springer), which will hopefully influence donors and academia to revisit their approach to complex development programs and to ensure that the sweet spot between development and businesses becomes sweeter in the years to come.

 

Here I leave you the abstract and a link to the paper.

International development programming is increasingly integrating agriculture and nutrition goals, while attempting to demonstrate ‘impacts at scale’ and value for money. These multiple goals create complexities, both from a conceptual viewpoint and a more operational perspective. This article uses systems theory to examine the mobile Nutrition program (mNutrition), which aims to improve nutrition, food security and livelihoods for rural women and children, through mobile phone-based information services.  The paper specifically uses mNutrition’s work in Malawi as a case study. The systems approach reveals that, as a complex system with numerous sub-components and tensions among different goals, the mNutrition program tended to minimize connections between its sub-systems (such as content development and mobile service development processes) in order to speed up movement towards the global planned outcomes. We argue that this is likely to have multiple impacts on outcomes, including on overall effectiveness and the relevance and sustainability of the mobile message content.

Tags: , , , , ,
Holistic development and multi-stakeholder engagement with a pinch of systems theory; a recipe for acknowledging complexity
was published on 27.02.2018 by Alvaro Valverde. It files under global, sub saharan africa
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
2 Comments AddThis Feed Button

« older posts |