Friday, March 23, 2007

A life in the Peace Corps: Public health volunteer in Kenya

Not directly relevant and located in the Rift Valley, but contains some interesting insights, particularly on arid lands and Kenya from an outsider's perspective. Full story here.

Govt initiates 8 irrigation projects in Eastern

The government has initiated eight irrigation projects in Eastern province for enhanced food and cash crop production, an Assistant Minister for Agriculture Patrick Muiruri has said.

[Story from the government and not too many details, but full story from KBC here]

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mobile Phones in Kenya

I'm really trying to find out about handset costs in Kenya and phone & GPRS data plan packages - in the process I found the following:

MIT Mobile Phone Programming course at UON

Safaricom Price Plans
Celtel Price Plans
Safaricom SMS2Email
Safaricom Pocket office - mobile email solution
Safaricom Mobile Office
Celtel - Mobile Business - affordable connection to the Internet
Safaricom current phone deals

Mobile Africa - News about mobile phones in Africa

ESRC/DFID funding scheme

The Department for International Development (DFID) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have formed a strategic partnership to provide a joint funding scheme. This scheme aims to enhance the quality and impact of social science research addressing the key international development goal of reducing poverty amongst the poorest countries and peoples of the world. The scheme will fund world class scientific research on issues relating to economic development and quality of life in less developed countries with the potential for impact on policy and practice for poverty reduction.

Deadline 5 June 2007


RAFT - Renewable Energies, Agriculture/Aquaculture Assemblies, Fresh water production and Trade/technology)

RAFT - Project Africa aims to 'get our projects and plans to the general public as well as government officials, other N.G.Os and people who have access, influence and financial capital'

Plans include:
- Growing and processing Jatropha (RAFT - Biodiesel programme)
- Renewable Energy and Fresh Water Development

RAFT has several members in Kenya

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Google Apps at UoN

Google has made available free applications to 50,000 students, through Kenya Education Network (KENET). See story here.

Friday, March 16, 2007

ICT4D Book and Education Resource

Draft chapters from ICT4D book and educational resources.

CHI 07 UCD and ID Workshop

User Centered Design and International Development - CHI 2007 Workshop
Saturday April 28th, 2007 - San Jose, California, USA
Accepted Papers

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Biofuel - Jatropha - Kambu?

Given local interest in Jatropha for biomass in Kambu the European Biofuel Summit might be of interest (Madrid, 17th & 18th April).

Partners at this conference include:
- The Jatropha Website which has numerous resources on how to grow, process, market Jatropha oil etc... It also links to conferences for experts and others, e.g. Expert Seminar on Jatropha curcas, agronomy and genetics 26-28 March, National Jatropha Conference, Arusha, Tanzania 3/4 april 2006 .
- ASK - Access to Sustainable Knowledge which provides access to 'knowledge' and 'experts' in a variety of areas including water. This is part of Sustainable Alternatives Network which 'offers easy access to experts, case studies, planning tools, and finance sources all around the world' and connects 'you to free information and expertise, and helps you profit from earth-friendly solutions that are right for your industry'.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

UNESCO publishes survey on ethical implications of emerging technologies

"What are the ethical implications of the semantic web, biometrics, radio-frequency identification, location-based services, mesh and ubiquitous networking, grid computing and other new computing technologies? A study just released by UNESCO analyses likely consequences of different technological choices." From UNESCO news

UNESCO survey.pdf

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Arid Lands and Sustainable Communities Trust

"Arid Lands a UK charity enabling disadvantaged and low-income ‘common interest groups’ to tackle their urban and rural environmental, health and educational challenges through their own practical action. In particular we support the growing of nutritional vegetables and fruit and the conservation and renewal of local soil, water, fodder, fuelwood and rangeland resources, both in the UK and overseas."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Global E-schools and Communities Initiative

GESCI was started by the United Nations ICT task force. It aims at an integrated, end-to-end system which includes content and support. The initiative is well on its way to meet its goal of three to four 'impactful partnerships' with national/regional initiatives, launching in Bolivia, Namibia, Ghana and India. In each case, GESCI consults with government ministry on an ICT and education strategy, projecting long-term costs and providing computer, internet access and 'quality content'. They do not fund these large-scale initiatives, and in each case have yet to raise any funds.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Growing energy solutions

D1 Oils plc is a UK-based global producer of biodiesel. We are building a global supply chain and network that is sustainable and delivers value from “earth-to-engine”. Our operations cover agronomy, refining and trading. We are pioneering the science, planting and production of inedible vegetable oils; we design, build, own, operate and market biodiesel refineries; and we source, transport and trade seeds and seedlings, seedcake, crude vegetable oils and biodiesel. Our vision is to be the world’s leading biodiesel business.

Safaricom Launches World's First Mobile Money Service

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
March 6, 2007
Posted to the web March 6, 2007

By Tom Mogusu
Millions of mobile subscribers without bank accounts can now make simple financial transactions from their phones.

This follows Tuesday's launch of M-Pesa, a low-cost money transfer system from Safaricom.

The revolutionary service promises to turn your mobile phone into a bank account, cash machine, debit card and money transfer vehicle.

All you need is a new generation SIM card, available for free from the mobile operator. Users will be able to send money to all mobile phones - including those connected to rival operators - and receive money from other Safaricom subscribers.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

DFID-ESRC Joint Scheme - Third Call

The Department for International Development (DFID) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) are pleased to announce the third call of the joint ESRC-DFID scheme. Launched in August 2005, this £13 million joint research grants scheme aims to fund world class scientific research on issues relating to economic development and quality of life in less developed countries with the potential for impact on policy and practice for poverty reduction. To this end, both sponsors wish to invite applications from researchers based in recognised higher education institutions, research organisations or organisations with a credible research capacity in both the UK, and also worldwide.

Further information here

The deadline for applications is 4pm UK time on 5th June 2007. Important Reminder: Any UK and non-UK applicant(s) and their institutions intending to apply to the third call must register with the Joint Electronic Submission System (Je-S).

If you and your research organisation are already registered for Je-S, electronic applications can be accessed via the central Je-S web site here.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Mobile AR in education

Details here about a US project involving augmented reality on handheld devices.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The VillagePDA

Perhaps interesting that this project appears to be dead....

The first sub-$25 PDA is about to be "road-tested" by the fishing community of Kenya’s Lake Victoria. A partnership between Environmental Liaison Centre International (ELCI) and the PDA’s creators, MediaSolv, the trial is seeking to address issues such as over-fishing in the lake. Vasee Nesiah of MediaSolv describes what they are setting out to achieve."

Full news item

Grid Computing & Brain Drain - UNESCO

Note this initiative does not appear to include Kenya.

"UNESCO and Hewlett-Packard have launched a joint project to help reduce brain drain in Africa by providing grid computing* technology to universities in Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Zimbabwe. I.S.G. Mudenge, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, took part in the launch of the “Piloting Solutions for Reversing Brain Drain into Brain Gain for Africa” project, at UNESCO Headquarters on 20 November. " - from UNESCO portal

EduVision E-Learning System

"The EduVision E-Learning System (EELS) is an end-to end content management system that can efficiently distribute educational material in real-time to anywhere on the African continent....

...Pupils will access the material via a simplified tablet computer, or eSlate, which will be wirelessly connected to their school’s BaseStation, a unit that downloads content from satellite radio."

Quick guide to low-cost computing devices and initiatives for the developing world

A short inventory of known projects related to 'low cost ICT devices for the developing world'.