German article – Learning for a Responsible Life with a Global Horizon: Education Projects in Africa

Last month, at the international conference “Interactive and Competence-Orientated Education” in Brussels our member Margarete Grimus presented her article about education in Africa with a focus on ICT. The article is in German, the title “Lernen für ein verantwortliches Leben im globalen Horizont: Bildungsprojekte in Afrika” approximately translates to “Learning for a Responsible Life with a Global Horizon: Education Projects in Africa”.

I took the liberty to translate the abstract to English:

The development of the internet has opened perspectives in Africa in the last century which have been hampered by under-developed infrastructure before. The World Wide Web (WWW) can constitute a meaningful contribution to an increase in education standards – if lectureres know the potentials, have the necessary carefulness in dealing with ICTs and implements this in class. Education processes aim at the acquisition of knowledge, skills and approaches, digital literacy is a substantial part of education.

The different weight which is put on sectors such as gender or AIDS in the “first world” and in developing countries is extending experiences in both worlds. Insights in the education scene in Sub Sahara Africa are given with examples of the teacher education in Kano (Nigeria), health education in Cape Town (South Africa) and teacher education in Ghana.

So here you can download the article of Margarete Grimus. Here’s also the presentation slides she used:

Here’s the link for citation:

Grimus, Margarete. Lernen für ein verantwortliches Leben im globalen Horizont: Bildungsprojekte in Afrika. In: Holz, Oliver; Seebauer, Renate (Hrsg.): Interaktiver und kompetenzorientierter Unterricht. Interactive and Competence-Orientated Education. Verlag Dr. Kovac. Hamburg. S. 124-148 (ISBN: 978-3-8300-6422-0)

Thanks a lot to Margarete for providing this, it’s a very interesting read – especially having in mind our own projects.

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German article – Learning for a Responsible Life with a Global Horizon: Education Projects in Africa
was published on 19.06.2012 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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Guest post: Sendinel

We are from time to time getting requests from groups or individuals who want to contribute to this blog or want to share their own projects with us. So we decided to give some of them the possibility to publish here and reach out to our community. More on this in a coming blog post.

One of the projects – Sendinel, a piece of open-source software which helps to improve
communication between clinics and patients
in areas such as rural South Africa is introduced here in the following. The author of this intro text to Sendinel is Johan Uhle, bachelor student of computer studies at the Hasso-Plattner-Institute at the University of Potsdam, Germany.


Regularly going to a clinic or hospital is the basis of good health-care. But traveling to a clinic is, especially in rural areas, connected with a lot of effort, time and cost for the patient. Therefore patients only want to go to the clinic when they feel that it is really necessary.

This is one reason why patients sometimes do not attend follow-up consultations or vaccination appointments. On the other hand some people come to the clinic more often than necessary, because they have to check if something they are waiting for, like a medicine or a lab result has already arrived.

Thus it would be good if clinics could remind and notify their patients when they have to come to the clinic again.

Sendinel is a software that does this by sending SMS and automated phone calls to patients. When a
patient is at a clinic, the doctor, a nurse or admin clerk can subscribe the patient’s cellphone number to one of the following reminder or notification services:

• Patients can be reminded of follow-up consultations and vaccination appointments
• Patients can be reminded when their lab results have arrived
• Patients can be notified when a medicine is in stock again
• Patients can be informed about specific topics by the clinic. An example is to inform all pregnant women about the next gymnastics training.

To send the messages no internet connection is required because the messages are sent via an USB 3G Stick with a regular local SIM card. The Sendinel team has successfully deployed the server application to a clinic in rural South Africa on a Plug Computer which costs less than 100 $.

If you want to know more about Sendinel please visit the Homepage at The software is published under an Open Source License.

Sendinel has been developed by a team of seven Bachelor students of IT Systems Engineering at the Hasso-Plattner-Institut in Potsdam/Germany. The project is part of the graduation process and lasts for about nine months until July 2010. The team is currently looking for people who want to use and further develop Sendinel.

Partners of the project are SAP Research Pretoria, the University of Cape Town and SES Astra. These partners also made it possible for the team to go on a research trip to South Africa in March 2010. During that trip, Sendinel was deployed in a clinic. You can read more about the trip and the resulting findings in this blog post on the Sendinel Blog.

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Guest post: Sendinel
was published on 17.05.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under sub saharan africa
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MobileActive08: Gary Marsden

We had the opportunity to interview Gary Marsden at MobileActive08 in Johannesburg (organized by MobileActive and sangonet). Gary is associate professor at the Department of Computer Science, University of Cape Town.

In the interview he talks about internationalization of user interfaces. While working in Africa he made the experience that translating text into local language and changing icons is not sufficient. There are other issues that people from non-western cultures have with computing interfaces. For example many of them have difficulties understanding hierarchies. Gary describes his approach to address these issues, which he calls Empowered Design. The idea of this approach is to create technology that allows people in Africa to create their own applications, rather than having researchers dictating which applications people in Africa should have.

Gary also introduces briefly some projects to illustrate his approach to mobile interaction design in Africa. One of the applications he mentions is Big Board – a public display that allows people to download media for free – which he also presented at the MobileActive08 conference.

Anyone who’s interested in this topic, should also check out his book on Mobile Interaction Design (that he wrote together with Matt Jones) and his article on Empowered Design.

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MobileActive08: Gary Marsden
was published on 14.11.2008 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under sub saharan africa
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So there we are. We had three great days at MobileActive08 in Johannesburg so far. MobileActive brings together researchers, professionals and donors in the field of ICT4D.

MobileActive08: Unlocking the potential of Mobile Technology for Social Impact. A global Summit about Mobile Technology for Social Impact.

It has been a wonderful experience, so many people, so many ideas and already mature projects. We were quite impressed. The conference included different sessions like the SIMlabs (test driving mobile applications), SIMplace (show casing projects and products), Mini Talks (short presentations and QA) and the self organized sessions (where people came up spontaniously with their thoughts, BarCamp style; we also hosted one). All of them allowed people to share their ideas and experiences. It proved to be a really good format for a conference on a new field like this.

We connected with a lot of attendees and speakers and did about 25 short interviews (5 minutes each) with our film equipment: Gary Marsden, Erik Hersman (aka white african), Alex Comminos, Ugo Vallauri, Yeal Schwartzman, Kutoma Wahunuma, Chris Williamson, David Barnard, Jacob Korenblum, Andi Friedman and many more …

We will publish all interviews as Creative Commons video podcast in about 3 weeks.

Tomorrow we are heading to Lusaka, Zambia. Stay tuned!

[Image by whiteafrican]

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was published on 15.10.2008 by Martin Konzett. It files under sub saharan africa
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Project: EpiHandy

Florian mentioned it before: We left to South Africa on Saturday late afternoon and took the plane to Johannesburg via Munich. Everything was fine, we arrived without problems. We were picked up from the airport and on the way to our hotel we got a first glimpse of Johannesburg. We visited the Rosenberg Mall and had delicious lunch.

Then we went to Melville, a very hip area in town, where we attendet the infomal meetup of MobileActive08 participants. It was great and we met a lot of people like Peter, Marc and Joern working on some mobile framework at the University of Kampala, Uganda. The project is called EpiHandy, and it is

a new cutting edge solution that  revolutionizes the way in which surveys and data collection is done in health and development research. It eliminates bulky paper questionnaires and subsequent data entry as well as costly errors related to manual data entry and lack of validation of data at time of collection. [Snip taken from here]

It is basicly a mix up of different technologies like .NET and Java ME and they support basic form handling and data transmission of the forms. The next step is to incorporate a workflow engine to support complex flows and forms depending on each other. They got massive funding and they team up with the University of Bergen, Norway. They are planning to invest 40 manyears of labour in the next 4 years. Good luck!

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Project: EpiHandy
was published on 13.10.2008 by Martin Konzett. It files under sub saharan africa
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Interesting projects: Skyrove

Through this blog post of Steve Song – who works for the Shuttleworth Foundation (you know – the guy from Ubuntu) in South Africa – I found the page of the South African company Skyrove.

I immediately liked the page, it has an easy and user friendly interface and the business principle is easy explained. It’s about motivating people to buy WIFI-hotspots and provide internet access publicly for payment. Skyrove takes over the user and credit management for a share of the revenue.

It’s easy to become a provider as well as to buy credits.

The system does not only work for South Africa but world wide.

I think that’s a great system for fostering the availability of WIFI. It enabes local businessmen – like shop- or cafe- owners – to earn money and at the same time provide internet for people with no prior access.

Way to go – check it out

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Interesting projects: Skyrove
was published on 03.09.2008 by Florian Sturm. It files under sub saharan africa
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