Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tilting at windmills: the boy who harnessed the wind

Malawian teenager William Kamkwamba built a generator out of a bicycle and tractor fan. Now he's lauded by environmentalists. more

Friday, November 20, 2009

Google takes internet to remote Kenyan villages

In recent years the mobile phone has emerged as the main modern communications link for rural areas of Africa. From 2002 to 2007, the number of Kenyans using cellphones grew almost tenfold to reach about a third of the population, many of whom did not have land lines, according to the International Telecommunication Union. more

Sunday, September 20, 2009

So Much Food. So Much Hunger.

How can so many people be hungry when farmers produce enough food, at least in theory, to feed every person on the planet?

The answers are complex and involve everything from American farm politics and African corruption to war, poverty, climate change and drought, which is now the single most common cause of food shortages on the planet. more

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dial 'M' for 'Mackerel': Can New Mobile Services Promote Economic Empowerment?

Mobile phones now easily outnumber fixed lines in many developing countries, spurring telecom providers to roll out mobile services tailored to these customers. One of the most striking examples is mobile banking in Africa, particularly after the success of mobile payment services like M-Pesa in Kenya, a country counting some 15 million handsets today compared with only 15,000 ten years ago. more

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cheap computers from TVs and old videogame consoles

UC San Diego-based Playpower Project Receives $180K MacArthur
Digital Media and Learning Grant. Details here

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Power of Study Abroad: An Interview with Wangari Maathai

If anyone's into Dr. Wangari Maathai, the Nobel Peace prize winner "tree lady" from Africa, i just did a little side gig for WorldLearning editing and putting up a good interview their president got last time she was here in Brattleboro. She's a great talker, I didn't even need any edits (at least not on their budget) except the beginning and end!
Interview on channel:
Video source, with YouTube's new "call to action" lower third popup 10 seconds in:

- Caleb Clark
~ Wk:
~ Hm:

W3C Workshop on the Role of Mobile Technologies in Fostering Social and Economic Development

held in Maputo, Mozambique on 1-2 April 2009. This workshop was organized by the W3C Mobile Web for Social Development Interest Group, part of the EU FP7 project Digital World Forum. During the two day event, the 70+ participants held discussions regarding the potential of mobile technologies in the development sector. The key outcomes that are expanded in this document can be summarized here

Kenyans invent bike phone charger

Two Kenyan university students invent a device that allows bicycle riders to charge their mobile phones.

How I built my family a windmill

See William Kamkwamba in an acclaimed TED talk here. Visit the project web site.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Africa: New Technologies Strengthening Continent's Economy

Across Africa, new technologies are being joined with local customs to strengthen the continent's infrastructure and economy


Farmer Info Station with mobile Internet and solar power

To make information on improving agriculture accessible for small scale farmers Avallain E4D is refining the "Info Station". It consists of the XO hardware, better known as the "$100 laptop", enhanced with bandwidth-controlled mobile Internet access, solar energy power and a custom software set based on the Ubuntu OS.


Boots on the Ground' - The Only Way to Ensure Impact in ICT4D Projects?

The following text formed the base of Avallain's presentation at eLearnig Africa 2009)

In the context of our so-far successful Organic Farming information system "Infonet-Biovision", we have reached the critical phase of ensuring effective dissemination to the target audience, small scale farmers in rural Kenya.


Monday, June 22, 2009

East Africa gets broadband

Kenya has abolished sales tax on computers and in last week’s budget ended the sales tax on new mobile phones. more

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Microfinancing with mobile phones in Nairobi

I just launched a project called Mobile Movement, a microfinancing website that connects young entrepreneurs in the slums of Nairobi with the rest of the world using mobile technology.

We just launched and would love to get loads of people to log on. The youth in Nairobi are standing by their phones, and answer any and all questions! We also have a Facebook application if anyone is interested.

Mobile Movement is a partnership with a UN agency (UN-HABITAT) and is a winner of the Digital Media and Learning Competition at the MacArthur Foundation.

Leba Haber (ITP)

randomised evaluation of dumping computers (+training) on schools in Columbia: no effect

Barrera-Osorio, F. & Linden, L. (2009), 'The use and misuse of computers in education : evidence from a randomized experiment in Colombia', World Bank Policy Research Working Paper (WPS4836)

This paper presents the evaluation of the program Computers for Education. The program aims to integrate computers, donated by the private sector, into the teaching of language in public schools. The authors conduct a two-year randomized evaluation of the program using a sample of 97 schools and 5,201 children. Overall, the program seems to have had little effect on students' test scores and other outcomes. These results are consistent across grade levels, subjects, and gender. The main reason for these results seems to be the failure to incorporate the computers into the educational process. Although the program increased the number of computers in the treatment schools and provided training to the teachers on how to use the computers in their classrooms, surveys of both teachers and students suggest that teachers did not incorporate the computers into their curriculum.

- thanks Yishay for this info

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Maker Faire Africa

a celebration of African ingenuity, innovation and invention, will take place August 14-16 at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT in Ghana's capital, Accra. - This event is free to the general public - more

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Africa Soil Information Service

Knowledge about the condition and trend of African soils is highly fragmented and dated. There is an urgent need for accurate, up-to-date and spatially referenced soil information to support agriculture in Africa. This coincides with developments in technologies that allow for accurate collection and prediction of soil properties. The Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS) will develop a practical, timely, cost-effective, soil health surveillance service to map soil conditions, set a baseline for monitoring changes, and provide options for improved soil and land management. more

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A Msg of Hope to Farmers

NAIROBI, Apr 10 (IPS) - Mobile phones are being used to diagnose and treat crop diseases that cause massive losses to farmers, presenting an opportunity to increase yields as location-specific information about disease threats is made available. more

Computer-Based Learning a Reality in Rural Senegal

Manassas, VA (USA), April 2009 – EarthWalk Communications in partnership with the Academy for Educational Development, is extending opportunities for learning with computers in rural Senegal through the use of innovative solar-panel technologies. EcoSolar2 power solution is enabling schools to seamlessly integrate technology into their classrooms and communities regardless of the availability of electricity. more

Monday, April 13, 2009

Send a Cow

Send a Cow runs sustainable agricultural programmes in nine countries in Africa to help small-scale farmers overcome poverty and malnutrition. We were founded in 1988 by a group of UK farmers who sent cows to families in post-conflict Uganda.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Datadyne EpiSurveyor

EpiSurveyor is a free, open source tool enabling anyone to very easily create a handheld data entry form, collect data on a mobile device, and then transfer the data back to a desktop or laptop for analysis -- without expensive consultants.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Global Library Services Network

an Application Infrastructure Provider (AIP) supporting remote communities with access to digital libraries for offline use.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Google Maps launches in Kenya

As of today, detailed maps of many Kenyan towns including Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, and Nakuru are accessible through any web browser through or through Google Maps for mobile on data enabled handsets. more

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Numbers Game

In Kenya, about 70 per cent of the handsets come from Chungking Mansions. Mathews leans across the table to check the figure with a rangy Kenyan in his mid-20s sitting down to a curry. "It's more," says the trader. "In Kenya, it's more like 80 per cent of phones come through Chungking Mansions." more

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Africa Gathering, London, UK

Africa Gathering will be on Saturday 25th April 2009 at the

Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London. WC1 7HX United Kingdom.

"Africa Gathering is a day for thinkers, supporters, sponsors, doers, geeks, dreamers - and everybody else to come and share, promote, highlight, progress and evolve issues related to ICT, social networking and technology in Africa..."

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Assistance to Africa – aiding or abetting?

'Africa has new trading partners. It doesn’t have to grovel to the west' more

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Bringing the Internet to Remote African Villages

In recent years the mobile phone has emerged as the main modern communications link for rural areas of Africa. From 2002 to 2007, the number of Kenyans using cellphones grew almost tenfold to reach about a third of the population... more

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Mobiles give Africa's farmers the chance to set out their stall

The latest technology is enabling villagers to bypass middlemen and find out the prices their crops will command. more