In a video that talks specifically about Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for improved entrepreneurship, weaver Agatha and carpenter Michael from Northern Ghana talk about how they were trained in the use of computers and how they increased their business skills and their income. Agatha now uses computers to more easily create her designs and to keep track of what material she still has in stock and what she needs to reorder. Carpenter Michael was also trained by IICD and its Ghanaian partner PEPS-C in business skills through computers. He can now save time and money because he uses computers to communicate with his customers who often live far away. “It’s easier, time saving and actually improving my work.”
The stories of Agatha and Michael are examples of IICD’s work in entrepreneurship which benefits small business owners (including farmers) and students in Africa and Latin America. Since the start of its ICT for entrepreneurship programme, IICD has trained more than 250,000 farmers and entrepreneurs in the use of ICT to improve their businesses.
Dan Kisauzi, managing consultant at the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), explains how local rural development organisations can make use of crowd-funding.
Hudson Wereh Shiraku is a project assistant at Biovision Farmer Communication Programme. He runs a blog about youth and agriculture and uses ICTs as advocacy tool to promote organic agriculture.
IICD, Vodafone Foundation and dance4life picked the young professionals as winners out of a group of almost 500 applicants who registered for the World of Difference campaign. The winners were announced by Dutch television host Nikkie Plessen at Vodafone’s Dutch headquarters in Amsterdam.
Winners Lotte Bierhuizen, Gerhard Brink, Nieke Kempen and Kim Nooij will work as a project team at an IICD-supported project in Ghana, and are supported by IICD and dance4life. The project team consists of four specialists: a social media specialist, an IT specialist, a marketing communication specialist and a community specialist. Together, the winners will be developing a mobile application together with IICD’s local partner to educate 5000 adolescents in remote areas of Northern Ghana about HIV/aids, STD’s and pregnancies. In that region, teenage pregnancies, STD’s and HIV are a huge problem. Over 20 percent of all teenage girls in Northern Ghana is pregnant or has a baby. In particular, there is a lack of accurate information about and knowledge of sex and health. For these young people, their mobile phone can serve as a tool to receive the appropriate information.
Each year, the Vodafone Netherlands Foundation financially supports jobs at charities by paying for salaries, travel costs and expenses. Candidates were invited to apply on WorldofDifference.nl and by collecting online votes, were able to multiply their chances to deserve a place in the finals.
The Community Relations Director ad interim (a.i.) pro-actively implements an IICD-wide professional community relations strategy in order to assist MT and Staff in achieving the IICD's vision, mission and strategy. For the Community Relations Director this involves the following specific goals: keeping IICD aware of its communities’ needs and expectations, keeping the community informed about IICD’s accomplishments and acquiring funding for IICD and partners.
For a full description see our website's vacancy section. We are also still looking for a Technical Adviser and a Partnerships Officer. For all of these positions, a Dutch/European working permit is required.
Jean Pierre Boussim, Station Director of Radio Pag la Yiri, is visiting The Netherlands and will be IICD's guest and speaker. Women’s organisation Pag la Yiri, located in Zabré, Burkina Faso, set up their community radio station in 2009 and has since been developing and airing programmes that benefit surrounding communities. Since 2011, Radio Pag la Yiri has been exploring how the radio and moderated listening clubs can best contribute to equity in gender relations and opening up space for debates in the communities.
The lunch at IICD will be an informal opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look into Radio Pag la Yiri’s experiences with engaging community members in dialogue and debate, developing relevant radio programme content, and using low-tech digital recording tools to get community voices and perspectives on air. Join IICD for free food and to deliberate what the potential is of such community radio initiatives, and what role (Dutch) NGOs could play to support community-informed gender programming?
The programme is devided in three bite-sized sessions
Entree: A short introductory film about Radio Pag la Yiri’s work on gender
Second Dish: Q&A with Jean-Pierre Boussim
Third Dish: Bits n Bites, Chit Chat with Jean Pierre at the various tables!
The lunch is at IICD's office in the Hague, Raamweg 5, 2596 HL and starts at 11.30 CET, November 8. There are only a couple of more spots left for this free lunch. To register, please contact IICD's Woutine van Beek: wbeek(at)iicd.org
Henk Sol is the chaired professor of business and ICT at the University of Groningen and has experience with guiding African PHD students in setting up ICT-driven projects in Africa. His motto for supporting projects and making sure that they are successful is ‘forget about global, you have to earn it locally’What do you mean exactly with this local and global earning?
“The gobal village is all around us. Internet and mobile phone connections are everywhere. But if we’re talking about global thinking, people often think in very abstract terms, such as ‘innovating a region’. This means that for instance when a lot of new agricultural information systems are developed in Africa, they are one-way systems. Weather information is broadcasted and people look it up. But in a project in Gulu, Uganda we saw that if these services are more closely linked to the community, they become truly successful. Women in a farmer cooperation are not just looking up weather info, but also use a chat feature that is linked to their community and are using this informally to discuss things such as ‘I am going to a farmers market to sell my produce, do you have a truck or know of anyone who goes there?’”And this all happens through mobile phones?
“Of course! I believe that all these e-something words such as e-health or m-something are disappearing. In a few years time, everything will be mobile. But it shouldn’t be about the mobile or m-something or whatever. We had e-nough of e-things. We will be hopefully move to c-health or c-agriculture, where the c stands for community.”What sparked your enthusiasm for mobile phones?
“About fifteen years ago, I was in South Africa and they just started to roll out mobile phone coverage and I was one of the first with a mobile phone there. I then received a phone call from my children while I was close to the Kruger National Park. They said ‘Happy birthday dad,’ and I told them to be quiet, because there was a lion next to me. That’s when I first saw the possibility for a mobile phone as a safety device and even a survival device. And now you see that this really turned out to be this way. During the drought on the border of Uganda and Sudan, for instance, people received vouchers for food and water on their mobile phones.”You are one of IICD’s new members of its advisory board. What do you like about IICD and where do you see challenges?
“IICD and its work in ICT for development is relevant in many countries and situations. This wide range of possibilities is great and I think this can be exploited more to further increase IICD’s fame. What I also like about IICD is that just like I am, they also are convinced that ICTs are a means to an end, rather than a goal. And that when applying ICT for development, it's about people first and then the technology.”
G compris is not really one game, but a collection of games that allows children to learn some basic science (they can do experimental activities such as creating and simulating an electric schema), but also how to read and write, basic maths and even braille. Teachers can easily alter this game, even without having any programming skills and it’s possible to keep track of student’s scores.
This is a Linux-based program that also runs on mac’s operating systems and windows. For Windows and Mac, there’s a catch though: you can’t play all games unless you pay. But no worries, there are still plenty of free educational games that you can play and that are a great addition to regular classes.2. Tux Typing
This is a game that teaches children how to type on a computer with easy minigames starring Tux, a penguin (and the Linux mascot). With Tux Typing, you have the option to type words or just practice the positioning of your hands with random letters. Fish come down with letters and if you type in the right letters, Tux will eat the fish.
Tux Type is a game developed by the open source software organisation Tux4Kids that develops high quality educational games for kids. The programming code is available which means that anyone is allowed to alter and create new games and it runs on most systems. Released in 2007, but still very playable, educational and addictive.3. Tux of Math Command
In Tux of Math Command, which is also developed by Tux4Kids, children learn the basics of mathematics/arithmatics. Comets fall from the sky, but if you type in the correct answers to the calculations that are shown on the comets, Tux the penguin breaks the comets with a laser. Games can either be played in groups on one computer, linked on several computers or by just one student.
Here's a hands on demo by IICD's technical adviser Maurizio Bricola:
So there you have it: three games that may not have the best graphics or may not be the newest, but that can definitely be a nice addition to regular classes. They are also suitable for computers equipment that is not brand new, since there is no need for a powerful graphic card, fast CPU and big amount of RAM. This means that the games can also easily be played with thin-clients.
In Kenya, some of IICD’s partners are already experimenting with some of these games in the greater context of improved teaching and learning in rural schools. We hope to show how these games can play an important -and fun- role in the classroom. As always, we’ll keep you posted.
IICD is looking for a Technical Adviser and a Partnerships Officer.
The Technical Adviser The Technical Adviser is an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) expert who contributes to the integration of ICT in our country programmes.
The Partnerships Officer is responsible for acquisition in the North, account management in the North, and production of PR materials and activities for our partners.
Applicants need to be in the possession of a valid EU/Dutch working permit. More information about the jobs can be found in our vacancy section.
“Here, this used to be our school’s administration.” With a wide grin on their faces, four teachers of AIC Boarding School, show a huge stack of written paper that contain attendance rates and grades of students. “These papers represent about three days of work for us,” says one of the teachers. She then grabs about ten pieces of paper. “And this is the same information, but then created by using Excel. It’s exactly the same, but this only took us half an hour to make.”
Since June 2012 , this boarding school for Maasai girls is using four computers for administrative purposes. With the support of IICD and Edukans in the Connect4Change Consortium together with Kenyan partner Dupoto-e-Maa (a Kajiado-based indigenous NGO), all teachers and administrative staff were trained in basic ICT usage and how to use the system, which will help to generate more accurate data about grades and attendance of students.Keeping track of payments
In the near future, the system will also be used to keep track of payments. Maasai parents are often on the move, but in the beginning of the school year, they come to the school and pay the school fee for their children, which often includes boarding fees. Payments records will be kept digitally which makes it easier to see which parents already paid. The system will also help with keeping track of payments in terms, as many parents do not have the full amount at the beginning of the year. If payments are tracked better, this means that the school will increase its income which can then be spent on teaching materials and better facilities for the school.
For this reason members of the School Management Committee (SMC), a representative body of parents and other people from the community, received the same training as teachers and administrators. Not only does the use of ICT equipment increase accuracy, it also increases transparency of school data. This way, members of the SMCs can now keep their eye on school resources.Downloading teaching material
With the project now running and with all computers now linked up to the internet, teachers have indicated they will also use the computers at the administrative office to download information. This information will help the teachers answer new questions from students and add up-to-date information to the curriculum and teachers’ notes. Dupoto-e-Maa, IICD and Edukans will guide this process, to ensure that the information contributes to improved teaching and learning and is locally relevant.
Your company Afroes created several successful mobile games for youth in Africa about serious topics such as rape and environment justice. What’s the secret for their success?
"You need to make a combination of on the one hand creating locally relevant content that delivers a message, but also make it fun and attractive. If you make a game that’s boring, you’re dead in the water. We also co-designed the games with the youth users themselves through community based Design Labs to ensure that the games are relevant for the local market."
And how exactly do you make these games locally relevant?
"The game we created about gender-based violence amongst youth in South Africa is a good example. We knew that the rape statistics were high but first we needed to research to truly understand what the core problem was amongst youth. It turned out that there was a lot of misunderstanding about Gender-based Violence concepts. Boys believed that rape was only when it involved violence and not when it was with a date. So once we established what the goals of the game are and talked to people, we designed MORABA, a mobile game that was based on a Zulu chess game called Morabaraba. After every score, you get a question that you have to answer with right or wrong. The system then tells you if your answer is correctly and then also explain why you have the answer right or wrong before you can go back to the chess game. We work with a high score system, because the kids really like to win. This proved very successful with over 200.000 people using the game."
And other than the number of users, how do you know the project works?
"We use a high score system that logs every single response to a question. We are therefore able to assess exactly how they answer each question and therefore their knowledge and understanding of gender based violence. We also conducted regular surveys with groups of students assessing their knowledge before and after game play."
What are the biggest challenges?
"Spreading our games through official networks is quite hard for our target market in the lower income bracket. In Africa, we have a social network called Mxit that a lot of people are using, that is suitable for distribution. We don’t live in an Apple world in Africa where we can just put up an app and expect people to just download it. Another challenge is the wide variety of devices that there are in Africa each one requires that you tailor the game for the phones. We create games for feature phoneswhich are basically basic mobile phones that could have an internet connection, but are not smartphones. These phones are easy to use, but the risk is that if you develop a game for one type that other types can’t play it. Based on user feedback, we often find out on which phone it does or does not work and then we adjust it."
What’s next for mobile educational games in Africa?
"The mobile market will continue to grow in Africa. We are already the second largest market after Asia. The use of mobiles games could help people to move from a place of apathy to a place of hope. My belief is that there is a huge potential that these games can and are already help young people to learn critical skills and knowledge. In terms of payment, I don’t think the young user should have to pay for educational games but there’s definitely possibilities to create sponsored content and make the developing of games financially sustainable."
“So, do you currently offer any jobs?” was one of the most heard questions from people in their twenties and early thirties at het Fair Career Event . This event informed about working in the non-profit sector and was part of the Career Event in Utrecht, the Netherlands, one of the biggest Career Fairs in the Netherlands. Although the job question is a very legitimate one, not very many (paid) jobs were actually up for grabs at the fair career event. One of the stands that was frequently visited and that did offer jobs was the stand of the Vodafone Foundation, where IICD and dance4life were also present.A paid job in Ghana
Vodafone Foundation presented its world of difference programme, where four young professionals get a paid job in Ghana for a year. In a project team, the selected candidates help to create a mobile application for sexual education for an IICD-supported project in Northern Ghana. The team consists of a social media specialist, a marketing specialist, an IT specialist and a youth worker.
In a workshop, Vodafone Foundation’s Danielle Puma, IICD’s Konrad Plechowski and dance4life’s Viyon Hammond presented the programme and answered questions from the audience. A question that was asked was if you needed to be an expert to get the job. Both IICD and Vodafone stressed that this is a job for young professionals, so it is not expected that people will be experts, but that some level of experience is of course needed in order to really support the project. IICD, Vodafone and dance4life also stressed that in order to guarantee sustainability, the project is not just focused on building a solution but also focused on training and coaching local health workers so that they will feel increased ownership and are able to carry on the project afterwards.A resume car wash
Other activities that could be done at the Fair Career Event included a resume ‘car wash’ where candidates got tips about their resume, clothing tips and fair career tips of several experts within five minutes. Several talk shows also took place where organisations and companies shared their vision about sustainable business and how young professionals can be part of it.
To know more about the programme that IICD, Vodafone and dance4life cooperate in, see the news item on IICD’s website about the launch of the World of Difference 2012 programme and how to apply. Also see the (Dutch) video on youtube for more detailed information.
Teachers of 75 schools throughout Ethiopia and in teacher training colleges are learning how to use computers to plan their lessons more efficiently. Video cameras are used to record their lessons and to evaluate and discuss them with other teachers.
“I learned how to use video in my own classroom to evaluate myself,” says a teacher from Gafat Primary School in North central Ethiopia. “On the latest videos I can see that because of this, my teaching skills have improved. I also learned to use new teaching techniques. In the classroom, my students now do more group work and talk more. I see that their motivation has increased and I already see some improvement in their results.”
In most of the 75 schools, the video and basic computer programme is up and running and some schools already use a digitalised lesson plan that allows teachers to better organise their lessons and activities. In ten schools, there are still some issues with getting reliable electricity. This will be solved by using solar panels to run the computers and charge the cameras that the teachers use for their teaching learning processes.
So far 324 primary school teachers, school assisting staff and 91 supervisors and principles are already trained in a more student centered teaching approach. In addition to this, 2014 members of school management teams will receive trainings about leadership, supervision, digital human resource management and they learn how to organise various reports digitally.
The awarded programme trains 45 mothers in the use of mobile phones and the use of a special mobile application to collect data during visits to the communities around Bamako. The data that the mothers collect, help health specialists from nearby health centres to improve patient case management by conducting prevention, diagnosis and treatment in a more efficient and cost effective way. The grant enables IICD to further improve child and maternal health monitoring in Yirimadjo, a poor outskirt community of Bamako. The mothers who are health workers also come from this area, where malaria is the most urgent problem. Because of malaria, maternal and child mortality in the area is high.
IICD and its partners will expand the programme to 150 more Community Health Workers in Mali and 100 Community Health Workers in Senegal within two years time. This will be done in close collaboration with French NGO RAES. Telecom provider Sonatel/Orange offers technical support.
The grant that IICD's community health programme in Mali received, was selected out of many applications, together with seven others. The grant is an initiative of the mHealth Alliance, a global project founded by the United Nations Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation, and the UN’s Innovation Working Group.
Anne Webb explains that ICTs can contribute to women’s empowerment when contextual economic and social power relations are recognised.
As a global social entrepreneur Sheida Mutuku does a great deal of research. She keeps up with global trends in social entrepreneurship and ICTs help to collect, share and store the information.
Text to Change´s cell phone-based programmes can be helpful in improving women’s awareness on healthcare, well-being and issues related to sexual behaviour and family planning.
In Zimbabwe, the cost of cell phone usage remains quite high, but women entrepreneurs have benefited from improved access to mobile communication technology.
A text message-based helpline helps women in Guatemala to prevent and report physical and sexual abuse. Text messages are not only cheap but also much less intimidating for victims of violence in their delicate search for help.
In a rural village in the Dominican Republic, women are using video cameras to fight against the community's ICT gender imbalance.