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 21 
 on: October 23 2015 
Started by Peter Kuthan / AZFA - Last post by Peter Kuthan / AZFA
“Help create a searchable database of ICT projects in Africa #ictprojectsdatabase. Support the project on Kickstarter! http://thndr.me/e7iW23

sourcehttps://www.thunderclap.it/projects/33417-support-africa-ict-projects

 22 
 on: October 08 2015 
Started by Peter Kuthan / AZFA - Last post by Peter Kuthan / AZFA
Um was geht es bei TTIP?
Seit 2013 verhandeln die Europäische Union (EU) und die USA über eine Transatlantische Handels-
und Investitionspartnerschaft (TTIP). Die Befürworter_innen dieses Abkommens beharren darauf,
dass es das Wirtschaftswachstum der beiden Regionen stimulieren und die Produktionskosten der
Industrie im Norden senken würde. Das Europäische Parlament sprach sich kürzlich generell für das
TTIP aus. Noch immer bestehen jedoch viele Zweifel darüber, wie sich die Öffnung der nationalen
Märkte unter einem neoliberalen Paradigma tatsächlich auswirken wird. Kritiker_innen der
Verhandlungen zwischen EU und USA bezeichnen die Verhandlungen als intransparent und geprägt
vom Lobbying transnationaler Konzerne.

Und was geht es den Süden an?
"Aber was kümmern mich die Gringos?", ließe sich hier im Süden nun fragen. Nun, aus
internationalistischer Perspektive sollten wir generell solidarisch mit allen sozialen Organisationen
und Bewegungen sein, die sich gegen die im TTIP angelegte Demontage von Rechtsnormen
einsetzen, die Arbeitsverträge, Gesundheitsvorsorge und die Umwelt schützen. Denn es ist immer
möglich "worst practices“ in den Süden zu exportieren oder dort zu kopieren, wie beispielsweise
die aktuellen Bestrebungen der brasilianischen Regierung zeigen, das Land auf den Kurs einer
strikten Austeritätspolitik zu bringen.

Wenn von konkreten Auswirkungen des TTIP im globalen Süden die Rede ist, dann wird zumeist
kritisiert, dass der intensivere Handel im Agrarsektor des Nordens die Existenz von Kleinbauern
und -bäuerinnen im Süden bedrohe. Länder könnten durch die EU-US-Agrarindustrie unter Druck
gesetzt werden, Subventionen von regionalen Produkten einzustellen, mit beispielsweise in
Brasilien viele Schulen und Kindereinrichtungen beliefert werden. Die potentiell gefährdete
Produktion gesunder und nachhaltigen Lebensmitteln ist zweifellos ein großer Problem, jedoch bei
weitem nicht das einzige. Das TTIP bringt auch bisher wenig beachtete Risiken für den Erhalt und
Aufbau offener und partizipativer Kommunikationssysteme mit sich, wie wir nun anhand von vier
Problemfeldern verdeutlichen wollen.

1. Frequenznutzung
Mögliche Kontroversen im Norden
Der Europäische Rat empfahl im Jahr 2005 den EU-Staaten (und Ländern die es werden wollen)
eine Dreiteilung aller verfügbaren Radio- und TV-Frequenzen für eine öffentlich-rechtliche,
kommerzielle und nicht-kommerzielle Nutzung. In den USA ist die nicht-kommerzielle Nutzung
des Radiospektrums viel kleiner und es gibt keinen effektiven Schutz dieses Kommunikations-
raums. Nach der Bildung einer Freihandelszone im Norden, könnten Medienunternehmen rechtlich
gegen die Dreiteilung der Frequenzen und damit einhergehende Frequenzreserven vorgehen, diese
als nicht-tarifäre Handelshemmnisse anzeigen.

Auswirkungen für Lateinamerika und Brasilien:
Historisch gesehen gab es in Lateinamerika immer vergleichsweise wenige nicht-staatliche und
nicht-kommerzielle Akteur_innen. Regierungen, die Willens sind, der aktuellen Konzentration von
Radio- und TV-Lizenzen in Händen kommerzieller Anbieter entgegenzutreten, haben oft Mühe sich
politisch durchzusetzen. Einer der wichtigsten Bezugspunkte bei der Reform von Mediengesetzen
in Lateinamerika war stets die europäische Tradition öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunks sowie freier,
assoziativer und Community Radios.

Es ist erfreulich, dass in einigen Ländern Lateinamerikas die
Frequenz-Politik längst die Empfehlungen des Europäischen Rats übertroffen hat, so zum Beispiel
in Argentinien, Ecuador, Venezuela, Uruguay und Bolivien, die gesetzlich drei bis vier
Nutzergruppen definieren, von denen nur eine kommerzielle Angebote zulässt.
Ganz anders sieht es dagegen in Brasilien aus, wo Artikel 223 der Verfassung zwar eine
Komplementarität zwischen privaten, öffentlichen und staatlichen Dienstleistern vorsieht, jedoch
nicht explizit unabhängige nicht-kommerziellen Medien erwähnt. Zudem wird der Großteil der
Frequenzen auch weiterhin von privaten Medienunternehmen mit Monopolcharakter beherrscht und
mehr als 10.000 Bürger und Bürgerinnen, die eigene Radios gründeten, wurden seit den 1990er
Jahren illegalisiert und strafrechtlich verfolgt. Eine mögliche Beschränkung der Strukturen und
Garantien des öffentlich-rechtlichen Sektors und von Community Radios in einem TTIP-Europa
würde den Kampf für eine Demokratisierung des Rundfunks in Brasilien extrem schwächen.

2. Digitalisierung und digitale Netzwerke
Mögliche Kontroversen im Norden
Sowohl die EU und die USA haben bereits einen digitalen Radiostandard etabliert, DAB in Europa,
HD Radio in den USA. Das wahrscheinlichste Szenario zur Konsolidierung der beiden
unterschiedlichen technologischen Plattformen ist eine wechselseitige Anerkennung, ermöglicht
durch die Einführung von Multi-Chips in den Endgeräten. Doch das Problem ist nicht allein die
damit verbundene globale Stärkung dieser Standards (die beide auf unterschiedliche Weise einer
pluralen Radiolandschaft entgegenlaufen), sondern auch die an sie gekoppelte verengte Vision
digitaler Dienste und kabelloser Kommuniaktions-Netzwerke: Beide Standards sind vertikal, von
oben nach unten implementierte Modelle, die die Entstehung partizipativer, offener
Kommunikationsplattformen und neue Vorschläge für eine nicht-lizenzierte Nutzungen (z.B. Mesh-
Netze ohne Erwerbszweck) des Radiospektrums begünstigen würden. Die TTIP-Medienpolitik
orientiert sich scheinbar vielmehr an der Verteidigung bereits etablierter Standards aus dem Norden
und den Forderungen von Lobbyisten transnationaler Telekommunikationsunternehmen.

Auswirkungen für Lateinamerika und Brasilien
Die wechselseitige Anerkennung der hausgemachten Digitalradio-Standards im Norden wäre eine
starke Werbung für ihre Einführung im Süden. Initiativen wie beispielsweise DRM Brasilien (drm-
brasil.org) setzen sich dagegen für den Aufbau einer offenen, globalen Plattform ein. Sie würden
nach dem Abschluss von TTIP einen noch größeren und aktiven Widerstand bei der Schaffung von
Alternativen zu spüren bekommen. In Brasilien ist die Lage bereits heute kritisch: Die vom
Medienunternehmer Sandro Alex geleitete Parlamentskommission für Wissenschaft, Technologie
und Informationen, empfiehlt die Einführung von zwei Radiostandards, das US-Modell HD-Radio
im profit-trächtigen UKW-Band und einen offenen Standard (DRM) auf anderen Frequenzen. Die
Einführung von HD-Radio würde die Herstellung von digitalen Sende- und Empfangsgeräten
unnötig verteueren, den Zugang von Menschen mit niedrigeren Einkommen zum Radiomedium
begrenzen und stünde zudem im Widerspruch zu einem Grundgedanken des Brasilianischen
Digitalradio-Systems (Ministerialerlass 290) der einen Standard fordert, der auf allen Frequenzen
funktioniert.

Abgesehen von der Frage digitalen Rundfunks, würde das Paradigma des Marktes, das derzeitigen
digitalen Netzen (GSM, 3G, 4G, etc.) zu Grunde liegt, gestärkt und Vorschläge für eine „andere
digitale Kommunikation" zunichte machen. Zu nennen sind u.a. die Position von AMARC
Brasilien, die sich für eine „Anerkennung von Community Medien auf allen Frequenzbändern“ (als
inklusive Handy-Netzwerken) einsetzen oder auch der ebenso interessante wie konkrete Vorschlag
einen Teil der Frequenzen als „Freies Spektrum“ für eine nicht-lizenzierte und nicht-kommerzielle Nutzung zu öffnen.

3. Staatliche Förderung von Kultur, Bildung und Medien
Mögliche Kontroversen im Norden
Es gibt konkrete Bedenken, dass private Investoren Verfahren gegen Kultur-, Bildungs- und
Medienorganisationen in der EU anstrengen könnten, die staatliche Unterstützung erhalten oder von
der Regulierung bestimmter Marktsegmente (z.B. Buchpreisbindung) profitieren. Wenn diese
„Subventionen" oder „Regeln" für illegal erklärt werden würden, wären die Weichen gestellt für
eine profit-orientierte institutionelle Umstrukturierung.

Auswirkungen für Lateinamerika und Brasilien:
Projekte wie das staatlich-öffentliche brasilianische Rundfunkunternehmen EBC (sowie weitere
Initiativen im Bildungs- und Kulturbereich) sind Akteur_innen, die sich gerade erst konsolidieren,
die noch auf der Suche sind, ihre politische Freiheit von der Regierung zu vergrößern und ein
wirtschaftlich nachhaltiges Modell zu entwickeln. Einmal mehr kämen solcherlei Initiativen unter
Rechtefertigungsdruck, wenn europäische Institutionen wie die BBC oder ARD in ihrem
Aktionsradios beschnitten würden. Im Rundfunkbereich gibt es beispielsweise in Frankreich einen
Fonds der von den Steuern kommerzieller Anbieter gespeist, wird und dessen Mittel für die
anteilige Finanzierung assoziativer und Community Radios genutzt wird. Diese Modelle sind
wichtige Referenzen für ein dezentrales und selbstverwaltetes Medienmachen. Ihr möglicher
Wegfall in Folge von TTIP würde gängige Wege unterminieren, um die Medienvielfalt in
Lateinamerika weiter zu fördern.

4. Sicherheitsstandards in der Kommunikation
Mögliche Kontroversen im Norden
Verschiedene europäische Organisationen (z.B. Teletrust, BSI) warnen, dass TTIP bestehende
Sicherheitsstandards in der EU schwächen könnte, und das einige nationale Agenturen (die hohe
Standards verteidigen) nicht direkt an den laufenden Verhandlungen beteiligt sind. Die USA fördern
zudem eine weniger restriktive Regulierung beim Austausch personenbezogener Daten zwischen
Unternehmen und Institutionen.

Auswirkungen für Lateinamerika und Brasilien:
Der im Jahr 2014 in Brasilien verabschiedete Internet-Grundrechte-Katalog stellt einen konkreten
Versuch dar, eine breite, inklusive und sichere Nutzung von Online-Angeboten zu gewährleisten.
Das Gesetz verankert bestimmte Regeln und sorgt für eine anhaltende Debatte zu Netzneutralität,
Datenschutz und Vorratsdatenspeicherung. Noch fehlen viele sekundäre Rechtsvorschriften, um
Grundprinzipien auch in der Praxis durchzusetzen. Vor diesem Hintergrund würde der TTIP-
Abschluss, dessen Prämissen zur Internet-Regulierung gegenläufig sind, den Gegner_innen von
Netzneutralität oder Befürworter_innen einer strengeren Überwachung der Medien Abwind
verschaffen und den in Brasilien angelaufenen Prozess einer demokratischen Internet-Politik
gefährden.

Fazit
Auch ohne die Vorvereinbarungen und Prämissen eines möglichen TTIP zur Regulierung von
Medien und Kommunikationsmitteln genauer bewerten zu können (verhandelt wird unter
Ausschluss der Öffentlichkeit), scheint klar, dass ein Abschluss des Abkommens die Grundlagen
einer partizipativen und nicht-kommerziellen Kommunikation bedroht, sowohl im Norden als auch
im Süden. Die Art und Weise, wie wir Radio machen, digitale Netzwerke aufbauen und solcherlei
Initiativen anteilig mit öffentlichen Mitteln finanzieren wollen, ist mit der generellen Ausrichtung
des Handelsabkommens nur schwer vereinbar. Freie Meinungsäußerung darf sich nicht nur auf die
Inhalte marktorientierter Medien beschränken. Meinungsfreiheit muss auf einer kontinuierlichen
und kritischen Reflexion über Medien in all ihrer Vielfalt, ihren Transformationen und
Konvergenzen beruhen, sowie ihrer breiten und pluralen Nutzung.

Vielleicht ist das Bestreben vieler Regierungen und Unternehmen die partizipative Nutzung des
Radiomediums (und andere Verwendungen von Frequenzen) zu kontrollieren und zu beschränken
das beste Beispiel, um noch einmal zu bekräftigen, dass die Voraussetzungen für freie
Kommunikation beständig auf nationaler und internationaler Ebene geschaffen werden müssen.
Freie und Community Radios sind nicht vom Himmel gefallen, sie wurden und werden auf dem
Boden verteidigt, weltweit. Und deshalb ist eine kritische Begleitung der TTIP-Verhandlungen auch
im Süden so wichtig, für all jene, für die Meinungs- und Medienvielfalt mehr bedeutet als nur
Privatfernsehen in HD-Qualität.

Dieser (aus dem Portugiesischen übersetze) Diskussionsbeitrag wurde verfasst von Nils Brock,
Rafael Diniz und Thiago Novaes, die in Brasilien als Journalisten, Forschende und
Medienaktivisten aktiv sind.

source:
http://tinyurl.com/omlmmag

 23 
 on: October 07 2015 
Started by Peter Kuthan / AZFA - Last post by Peter Kuthan / AZFA
Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) conducted a research on Gender Equality in the Knowledge Society; and a critical analysis on participation of women and girls in Science, Technology and Innovation, politics and business. Gender inequalities are widespread in the different sectors, regardless of an existing enabling policy environment, because of limited enforcement. MDG 3 and SDG 5 reveal how essential gender equality and women’s empowerment are across the globe. Achieving gender equality is paramount and a powerful stimuli for action by governments and donors. Uganda’s women have not achieved full equality with men, and this exposes the need for keeping a strong focus on gender equality and women’s rights in the development agenda beyond 2015. Women and girls are always discriminated against in health, education and the labor market; thereby affecting their freedoms. In Uganda, men have monopolized the political process, passing laws which affect society at large, the decision-making process always lacks a balance in catering for the interests of male and female citizens. The exclusion of women from decision-making bodies limits the possibilities for entrenching the principles of democracy in a society, hindering economic development and discouraging the attainment of gender equality.

Regrettably, several factors influence the level of female participation and these include:- Social- cultural tendencies that disregard women and girls’ rights; it affects girl children’s level of participation in public foras and in taking Science and Technology courses and professions. Lack of self confidence among women and girls, among others. Highest levels of violence against women and Feminized poverty

A snapshot of the findings include:

    Uganda loses more than 200 doctors a year to other nations and this has led to increase in doctor: patient ratio of 1:28,000 compared to 1:5000 recommended by WHO. This has resulted into persistent high maternal mortality rates. Only 42.1% mothers deliver at health facilities compared to 57.8% delivering from homes. This exposes more women in the reproductive age to serious health risks at delivery.

    Uganda has only 2 female aerospace engineers accounting for 1%. The second female engineer came up over 35years after the first.

    Increased proportion of pregnant women living with HIV accessing ARVs from 33% in 2007 to 87% in 2014 due to Increased testing for HIV in pregnant women from 30 % in 2008 to 95 % in 2014.

    Cultural tendencies: Women aged 15-49 subjected to Female Genital Mutilation, suffer loss of physical integrity and physical violence, it is endured among the Sabiny, in Kapchorwa.

To improve women’s status, there is need for:-

Ensuring women’s economic empowerment, access to and control over resources requires an integrated approach to growth and development, focusing on gender-responsive employment promotion and creating a gender-sensitive macroeconomic environment, full employment and decent work and full coverage of social protection measures.

Women’s equal participation with men in power and decision making is a fundamental right. But Uganda as a patriarchal society has local power structures that make it hard for women’s interests to be represented. The more powerful the institution, the less likely it is that women’s interests will be represented. Women in governance are faced by numerous obstacles, including: – the assumption that women should be confined in the domestic sphere to care for family reduces their ability to enter the political arena. At household level, there is unequal division of labor which suppresses women and limit their representation in public.

Government needs to strengthen the enforcement of the policies towards gender equality.

It is time to put women and girls front, center and to back up political rhetoric with action. Increased investments in policy areas will have catalytic effects on the lives of women and girls, and accelerate progress towards development.

by Irene Murungi, Gender Policy Officer at Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), discussing the importance of gender equality in economic development.

source: http://wougnet.org/2015/10/how-is-gender-equality-and-womens-empowerment-key-in-ugandas-economic-growth/?utm_source=WOUGNET+Update+Newsletter&utm_campaign=88382e9221-WOUGNET_Update_Newsletter_October_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_03bddd6f37-88382e9221-278945329

 

 24 
 on: September 29 2015 
Started by Peter Kuthan / AZFA - Last post by Peter Kuthan / AZFA
read more and share: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-xU7nBbQz4

 25 
 on: September 28 2015 
Started by Peter Kuthan / AZFA - Last post by Peter Kuthan / AZFA
By Christian Gramsch, Director, DW Akademie

The most crucial item carried by most refugees on their difficult journeys are their smartphones. Why? Because smartphones are sources of vital information – for mapping routes, receiving updates about the political situation, making their journeys safer, and hearing from their loved ones. Smartphones also allow refugees to share their experiences and communicate with others. Here we are talking about fundamental human rights: the right to freedom of movement, the right to physical integrity, the right to family, and the right of freedom of expression and information.

Alongside other basic rights, the United Nations has included the right to access information as part of their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted this past weekend at the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015 in New York.

This is a historic step.

It is historic because it is the first time that a global development agreement is committing to advancing freedom of information. The 17 goals in the UN's Agenda for Sustainable Development go further than the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in 2000. As well as tackling issues like poverty, hunger and disease, the SDGs incorporate goals such as economic growth, social participation and environmental protection.

The new universal goals also demonstrate global solidarity – they apply equally to all of the 193 UN member states regardless of whether they are a developing or an industrial nation.

Freedom to information is set out clearly in goal 16, under target 16.10 to: “ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with the national legislation and international agreements.”

But is a commitment like this actually going to make the world a better place?

The answer is no, and yes.

No, because the target's wording is vague and ambiguous. Because the target doesn't mention 'media' or 'freedom of expression'. Because the target refers to national legislation, but such legislation is often weak and poorly implemented, if at all, and makes it an ill-suited point of reference.

No, because all the new goals and their associated 169 targets are surprisingly conventional given the world is in the middle of a digital revolution. The goals and targets fail to acknowledge how information technology, data and global connectivity can help reach the development goals. While universal and affordable Internet services are included elsewhere as a separate target, this is foreseen as an economic measure, not a fundamental right driving social and political development. The agenda fails to incorporate a pledge not to misuse the Internet for surveillance purposes, and to close the digital divide between those with unfettered access to information technology and those who only have limited or no access whatsoever.

And no, because at this stage, the goals and their targets are abstract formulations and no one really knows whether they can be achieved by 2030.

Considering the extensive and controversial political discussions surrounding the SDGs, we expected more. The UN member states should have included goals for freedom of expression and independent media (both conventional and digital) as well, instead of only committing to freedom of information.

However, there are several good reasons to answer the question with a yes.

Yes, because target 16.10 is a chance to advance the flow of free and independent information and communication. The issue is now on the international agenda, and we can – and must – discuss how we go on from here.

Freedom of expression and information are not just fundamental rights; they are also prerequisites for realizing other human rights. This hold true for refugees with smartphones, patients and doctors facing the Ebola crisis in West Africa, and Ukrainians seeking information in a time of armed conflict.

Only when people have access to relevant information and can freely express their opinions can they actively help solve their own problems. The link between freedom of expression and democracy, good governance, peace and economic development has been demonstrated in numerous studies. There is a positive correlation between independent media and reduced corruption, political stability, a more effective rule of law, a higher per capita income, and increased public spending on health.

An example of this is Mongolia. Over the past few years the country, which shares borders with Russia and China, has laid the legal basis for freedom of the press. Despite various setbacks, press freedom is progressing and the quality of reporting has improved. At the same time, the economy is growing and civil society is using its new found opportunities to contribute to the democratization process.

Conversely, authoritarian political systems, weak markets and restrictive laws weaken freedom of expression, and as such, weaken development as a whole. The East African country of Burundi is a case in point. Political unrest has not only paralyzed the nation's economy, it has also crippled freedom of the press and access to information. Journalists in Burundi live in fear, and numerous media companies have been forced to shut down.

But there is another, more important reason why target 16.10 can make the world a better place. The inclusion of access to information in an international agreement means states have to act upon it.

DW Akademie, as part of Germany's international broadcaster, DW, has been active in this regard for the last 50 years. From its beginning as a journalism training center, DW Akademie has developed into an organization that focuses on wide-ranging, long-term development projects. DW Akademie provides comprehensive consulting services to its partners, and we work collaboratively with our partners to navigate the changing digital world.

Mongolia serves again as an example of this. Consultants from DW Akademie were involved in transforming the country’s state broadcaster into a public-service broadcaster. We are now supporting civil society stakeholders in founding a media council and are strengthening investigative journalism initiatives.

But we are also active in countries with more adverse conditions. In Burundi, for example, DW Akademie media experts are working with local radio stations in remote areas – such stations are often the only source of information for rural populations. We are also involved in media literacy projects for school children and citizen journalists.

Things now need to move ahead at the UN level. Once the goals are signed, the UN still has to agree on indicators to monitor whether the goals are being met. DW Akademie, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), is involved in discussions with UN expert committees in this regard.

There is still much to do to advance freedom of expression and freedom of information, and in this way, advance other human rights as well. Because the UN's new Sustainable Development Goals are only sustainable when the situation improves for all of those suffering from displacement, poverty, ill-health and oppression.

Commentary published on DW Akademie website and on the Huffington Post's German site.
http://www.dw.com/en/uns-historic-freedom-of-information-agreement/a-18741584
http://www.huffingtonpost.de/alexandra-hildebrandt/informationsfreiheit-in-globalen-entwicklungszielen-eine-premiere_b_8188342.html


Beste Grüße

Ute Lange
Leiterin Kommunikation
Hauptabteilung Training und Kommunikation
DW Akademie

Deutsche Welle (DW)
Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 3
53113 Bonn

T +49.228.429-2099
F +49.228.429-2060
M +49.173.7008759
T +49.30.4646-8508 (Berlin)
ute.lange@dw.com
www.dw.com
http://dw-akademie.com
https://www.facebook.com/DWAkademie

 26 
 on: July 16 2015 
Started by Peter Kuthan / AZFA - Last post by Peter Kuthan / AZFA
African libraries are goldmines in indigenous research and knowledge, but there is a gap how that knowledge is managed. How can open data bridge gaps between farmers and research?

by Jacinta Were

Open data may not just be figures or indicators, but metadata describing documents. Jacinta Were describes how African libraries should not be sidelined in the efforts to make more open data available and that open access documents are an important resource in the data revolution for agriculture. 

African libraries are goldmines in terms of indigenous research output. Nevertheless, in an effort to revolutionize methods of managing and disseminating knowledge, libraries, in recent years, have been mistakenly re-defined and viewed in terms of physical structures and books.  This unfortunate development has attempted to distance libraries from knowledge resource centre initiatives in the agricultural sector. Librarians who should take the lead in knowledge management are getting sidelined in the current open data revolution. Professional librarians are greatly to blame for shying away from the challenge. Hopefully, the current revolution by open data systems and large information projects, like the University of Nairobi Digital Repository (UoNDR) are steps towards narrowing the gap. Rebuilding the link between farmers and librarians will be key to revolutionise agricultural information.   

Libraries do not deal with books only, rather they are custodians of Access to knowledge in different formats and librarians are best trained to manage this knowledge. Efforts in data revolution for agriculture should take advantage of what is on the ground and build on it. Globally, libraries play a leading role in advocating for freedom of access to information. Academic libraries do this through advocating for open access. As traditional focal points for provision of information, libraries continue to encourage free dissemination of information to support development agendas worldwide. Farmers can greatly benefit from libraries and from the professional skills of librarians in dissemination of information.   

University of Nairobi Digital Repository: A commendable milestone in the Data Revolution 

Academic libraries are rich in indigenous research output that could be used to improve data revolution initiatives in agriculture. At the moment, this information is not adequately accessible due to poor visibility and traditional retrieval methods still being used in many African academic institutions. However, universities are aggressively advocating for open access to enhance the visibility of this valuable output. The initiative on open access is bearing fruits in African universities. Through open source software, a lot of African universities are now uploading their indigenous research output online to be shared globally. 

The University of Nairobi is the largest and oldest university in Kenya and hence has rich information. The University of Nairobi Digital Repository is a good example of the open access initiatives in Africa. Launched in December 2013, it is one of the most successful library repository projects in Africa, thanks to the commendable and rare support from the top management team. Lack of support from top management is a major contribution to the poor visibility of indigenous research output in most universities in Africa. However, the University of Nairobi Digital Repository collects, preserves, and disseminates scholarly output of the University of Nairobi. The main aim is to share this output at the national and global level free of charge. It currently has over 75,000 entries of theses, dissertations, research projects, journal articles, conference papers, speeches, videos and other media. All the six colleges of the University are participating in the project. The College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (CAVS) of the university is one of the largest agricultural information centres in Kenya and hence one of the highest contributors. Anybody who is looking for information on agriculture can benefit from it. A lot of people are using the information at the national and global level.   

Library collaboration in provision of information in Kenya 

A commendable revolution in libraries is the establishment of consortia to facilitate collaboration in the provision of information. A major challenge to libraries over the years has been the escalating cost of accessing information resources. The current development in establishment of consortia has helped libraries to address the challenge of cost. The Kenya Library and Information Services Consortium (KLISC), established in 2004 is a success story in the collaboration of libraries in Africa. The consortium membership currently stands at 100 institutional members consisting of universities, research institutions, government libraries, national museum, national archives and large government tertiary colleges. The main objective of KLISC is to facilitate cost sharing for accessing electronic information resources. This has made access to information affordable for member institutions. Through their efforts other university libraries are taking the challenge of availing their research output through digital repositories.   

Development of library consortia in Africa have been instrumental in establishment of university digital repositories to enhance visibility of indigenous research output. The author, Jacinta Were, has participated as a facilitator in workshops in several African countries to strengthen library consortia and encourage establishment of digital repositories.   

One major mistake the world continues to make is to view farmers in Africa in terms of low literacy levels. This definition is no longer the case in Africa. A greater percentage of the current farmer in Africa consists of high school leavers who have the capacity to repackage information for themselves. Given the opportunity, they can tap on the information in the academic libraries and retrieve what is useful to them.

The challenge of access 

Nevertheless, access to information is still a tricky area in Africa. Traditional methods of storing information hamper efforts in accessing the information particularly in libraries. Poor ICT infrastructure on the ground is another challenge. There is need to focus on strengthening ICT infrastructure to revolutionise dissemination of information to the farmer. Repackaging of information to suit the needs of the farmer has been discussed in several global forums over the last couple of years yet very little has been done about it. This is an area that requires urgent attention to facilitate access to indigenous research output in universities in Africa. A lot of attempts have been made in the past by different organizations like FAO to increase visibility of research out in universities. The Imarc project of FAO created a platform for universities in Africa to upload their agricultural research output. These efforts should be re-evaluated to identify impact and improve on strategies where needed. 

Bridging the gap 

There is need to bring librarians on board and encourage close collaboration between libraries and agricultural knowledge management resource centres to enhance dissemination of information to the farmer. A lot more can be achieved through this collaboration. Strategies should be identified to assist agricultural knowledge management centres to access the rich quality information held in university libraries and other academic institutions to benefit the farmer. Librarians could be re-trained to strengthen this collaboration. Professional librarians have very special and unique skills in classifying documents for easy and effective retrieval. This knowledge should be tapped to enhance dissemination of relevant information to the farmer.   

The public library network is key in the provision of information at the grassroots. In Kenya for example the National Library Service has penetrated almost every county. People in rural area can go to the nearest library station to get the information they want. These library stations can be used to get relevant information to the farmer. They need to be sensitized on what is relevant to the farmer and can be stocked with this information to assist the farmer. Librarians in public libraries can be re-trained to assist the farmer more effectively. The National Library Service is a member of KLISC and provides access to both print and electronic sources which can be accessed at the grass roots. Attention should be paid to taking advantage of public library stations where they exist.   

References 

http://erepository.uonbi.ac.ke/   

http://www.uonbi.ac.ke/

________________________________________________________________________

By Jacinta Were (co-edition: Anne Perrin) 

Jacinta Were is currently Deputy Director (Technical), Library Department at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. Jacinta has a wealth of over 30 years experience in the management of libraries, specializing in electronic libraries. She pioneered library automation in Africa sensitizing many professionals on the continent on the benefits of electronic libraries. She has played a major role in the training of library professionals on the continent. The University of Nairobi Digital Repository was implemented under her leadership and supervision with commendable support from the university management team. 

@UniOfNbi
13 February 2015

 27 
 on: July 16 2015 
Started by Peter Kuthan / AZFA - Last post by Peter Kuthan / AZFA
What does open data mean for agriculture? And why should people care about open data in agriculture and nutrition?

As mobile phones, tablets and improved connectivity spread across the world, the amount of data we are gathering and storing is increasing exponentially. With every satellite launch we add further data at ever increasing detail.   

Knowledge is a core input to agriculture, while data and information are the foundation of knowledge. Is agriculture making the most of the data revolution? 

In this issue of ICTupdate, we try to show it certainly is, although it seems we are yet to make progress in taking advantage of making data open for agriculture. A report by McKinsey in 2013 [1] suggests that open data could benefit the global economy by US$3 trillion a year.   

To cover this revolution, we have had our own revolution here at CTA and have turned this issue of ICTupdate over to our interns for a new perspective. This issue will also be accompanied by more content online. 

Open data and the data revolution 

There are various definitions of open data, including that from OpenDefinition.org: “Open data and content can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose,” It means data is available, accessible and  can be mixed with other datasets to be made universally accessible to all. By making data truly open, we also have to give context to the data.   

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web and linked data initiator suggests  The Five Star system [2] which provides a more comprehensive, technical definition of open data describing five different levels of openness (on the web*, machine-readable data**, non-proprietary format***, Resource Description Format standards**** and linked RDF*****). However, very few agricultural data services achieve the five-star level of openness. A non-technical definition to the Five Star system was made by the Open Data Institute (ODI).  Dr David Tarrant (ODI) presented the approach at the GODAN workshop (20 January) as the following: available*, reusable**, open format***, use IDs for data - to link to data****, and all of the above and be able to link data to other people’s data to provide context*****.   

The data revolution is a UN post-2015 initiative which refers to the transformative actions needed to respond to the demands of a complex development agenda; improvements in how data are captured and used; building capacity and data literacy in ‘small data’ and big data analytics; modernising systems of data collection; liberating data to promote transparency and accountability; and developing new targets and indicators [3].   

What does open data mean for agriculture?   

In terms of agriculture and open data, we are not talking about strictly agricultural data, such as yields and inputs. Rather, we are including all of the data that could be used to support food security, nutrition and agriculture. This could be satellite and meteorological data or nutritional values of crops.   

Open data can potentially play a role at both macro and micro levels. At the national policy level, for example, we have seen the use of indicators to measure investment in agriculture and resultant growth in yields. Open data can help bring transparency to government spending on agriculture. 

At the farmer level, access to data affects how they are managing their farms: for example, data can help farmers understand more about the threats of drought or to decide what to produce and when to take their produce to market. Farmers can also contribute to data collection and input; What are they planting? When will it be ready for harvest? When will it be ready for the market? The data value chain in agriculture

Having access to better data and better information on yields helps set targets for agricultural production at the policy level, as well as at the farmer level. The challenge is that data needs to be accurate, constantly updated and reliable. The ability to collect this data at different points allows for universal participation.

Why should people care about open data in agriculture and nutrition?   

 
The agricultural sector is facing a huge demand to feed rapidly growing populations, while at the same time facing increasing threats from climate change. Agricultural production has to increase while reducing its impact on the environment – it cannot be just more fertiliser, more land being ploughed under. Equally important, we need to ensure a fairer distribution of the food produced, which calls for investments in family farming, value chains and markets that enhance food security at all levels.   

Open data can facilitate this. There is an enormous amount of knowledge available from a lot of different sources: the practices of indigenous communities, new technologies developed by research institutions, tacit knowledge, knowledge transferred between generations, policy implementation, the use of products by consumers and so on. Access to these data can help us understand all aspects of food production: soil conditions, land use, the dynamics of the value chain and to identify gaps in data.   

More environmental data are available where we have seen openness increase. For example, satellite imagery can give us an idea of soil moisture levels by analysing infrared reflectance. Open data present fundamental building blocks to help us understand more about the land so we can improve production and/or market access.   

With open data we can intensify the use of knowledge rather than intensify agriculture.
In this issue of ICT4Ag we give a voice to various stakeholders who talk about their ideas on how to face the various challenges, and we present some practical ICT tools in the data revolution for agriculture with potential to scale out.   

We hope you enjoy reading our magazine!

References

[1] Manyika, J., Chui, M., Farrell, D., Van Kuiken, S., Groves, P., & Almasi Doshi, E. (2013). Open data: Unlocking innovation and performance with liquid information. Report. McKinsey Global Institute.

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/open_data_unlocking...

[2] Tim Berners-Lee. 5 Star (*) Open Data.

http://5stardata.info/   

[3] United Nations. (2014). What is the ‘data revolution’?

http://www.undatarevolution.org/data-revolution/   

Eva Huet holds a master’s in Forestry, Nature Management and Tropical Agriculture from KU Leuven University, Belgium. She is an intern at CTA in the Learning, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit. She has been working on several projects in Latin America and West Africa. For the Belgian Development Agency (BTC), in cooperation with the Peruvian Ministry of Environment (MINAM), she was involved in developing the process of spatial planning at community level in the Andes. Her interests lay in rural development, spatial ordinance and sustainable agriculture with validation of local knowledge. Regarding this, she has experience with mapping land use, managing GIS databases, and analysing agricultural practices. For Eva, open data means that information and research is shared, assuring that it can be used at different levels to develop better agricultural practices and resource management.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/eva-huet/22/b9/189   

E-mail: huet@cta.int / evahuet@hotmail.com

Laureene Reeves Ndagire is a Knowledge Management intern at CTA with a background in organisational behavior, Human Resource, knowledge management and learning. She holds an Msc in Human Resources and Knowledge Management from Lancaster University Management School, UK. Laureene worked in marketing controllership at General Electric, and was a research associate on Ethics and Biometrics for the EU FP7 projects (RISE/BITE),before relocating to the former soviet republic of Georgia to work with the Ministry of Education and Science among internaly displaced persons in the Samegrelo region. She is currently remotely coordinating the Wakulima Young Uganda platform for young farmers in East Africa to build market connections and facilitate knowledge sharing across the region. Coming from a grassroots/community development background, as well as being a family farmer, open data in agriculture for Laureene signifies access to data/information for farmers and knowledge curation from national to local level. This ultimately translates into improved agricultural practices and better yields for farmers. 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Reene.Ndagire 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lolafootloose 

LinkedIn:  nl.linkedin.com/pub/laureene-reeves-ndagire/19/599/43b/

E-mail: laureener@yahoo.com 

Personal Blog: https://thesmartfoodfield.wordpress.com/   

Ana Brandusescu holds a master’s in Geography from McGill University and has five years of research experience with geographic visualisation tools, Web 2.0 applications and participatory mapping. She has worked among various communities with a range of technical and non-technical audiences. Ana has led community development and crowdmapping projects (Montreal and Vancouver), communicated with trauma surgeons and researchers (Cape Town) to visualise trauma injuries via mashups, and marginalised communities (Mumbai). Currently, Ana is an intern at CTA for the Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PGIS) Programme, promoting participatory spatial information management and communication for empowering grassroots in climate change adaptation, advocacy, and policy processes. Prior to CTA, she has worked for the Web Foundation in collaboration with the World Bank and Omidyar Network on the Open Contracting Data Standard and legislative data specifications for Open North. For Ana, open data should be repurposable for technical and non-technical audiences. Her work with both open and closed (sensitive) data has sparked her interest in the challenges that the data revolution will face and what local and global communities will do to ameliorate them.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anabrandusescu.cta 

Twitter: @anabmap 

LinkedIn: https://nl.linkedin.com/pub/ana-brandusescu/42/618/622 

E-mail: brandusescu@cta.int / anabrandusescu@gmail.com 

Personal Blog: http://www.slideshare.net/anabrandusescu   

Jean Claude Nduwimana holds a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from the Adventist University of Central Africa in Rwanda. For his final year project, he created a desktop application for Dream Team Football Academy, which is currently used to register players and generate reports on collected data. He later joined the innovation hub kLab (Knowledge Lab) in Kigali, where he created a children’s mobile application for entertainment and education purposes. He competed in the ICT4Ag hackathon, where his team placed second overall for a mobile application to improve communication between local farmers and policy makers. Jean Claude worked with the “Girinka” project (one cow per family) in Rwanda, to develop a platform that enables follow-up and evaluation of activities from project recipients. He is currently an intern at CTA integrating the ICT4Ag database to curate existing convergence applications to support policy, markets and value chain development. The database will be open access for various stakeholders from farmers to developers and will be available on different channels. Open data for Jean Claude is a primary key resource for the quick development of agriculture and social activities at large.   

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeanclaude.nduwimana.1 

Twitter: @nduwiman 

LinkedIn: nl.linkedin.com/pub/nduwimana-jean-claude/62/34/1a4 

E-mail: nduwimana@cta.int / jeanclaufexnduw@gmail.com 

Personal Blog: http://jeanclaufexnduw.wix.com/noza2013   

Mikaïla Issa is a journalist and communicator in social innovation and ICT for Agriculture from Benin and is an intern with the communications team at CTA. A social media strategist to engage, collaborate and innovate continuously for development, Mikaïla is curious about topics related to ICT and new media for agricultural and rural development. He has strong skills in writing and reporting for print, web and broadcast media, online dissemination of information in both French and English. Mikaïla believes that with the large amount and diversity of digital information available today, open data has the potential to visualise a complex story with clear graphics. Journalists must take advantage of this to better describe data and its effect on ICTs, agriculture, and education, to help make better decisions. 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mikaila007

Twitter: @mikailaissa

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/journalistmikaila/

E-mail: issa_abramane@cta.int/ mikailaissa@gmail.com

Personal Blog: http://agrimedias4dev.blogspot.nl/   http://mikaila.mondoblog.org/
13 February 2015

source: http://ictupdate.cta.int/layout/set/print/Feature-Articles/Data-Revolution-for-Agriculture



 28 
 on: March 09 2015 
Started by Peter Kuthan / AZFA - Last post by Peter Kuthan / AZFA
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are quickly becoming a necessity. The health, banking, education and even the agricultural sectors have resorted to the use of ICTs for faster and convenient service delivery. As such, governments the world over are taking different measures to ensure that their citizens are up to date with the latest developments in technology.

Latest statistics from Postal Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) reveal that Zimbabwe’s internet subscriptions stand at 5.2 million. Of these, 5.16 million access internet via mobile phones while the remainder do so via fixed broadband. The country’s total broadband subscriptions rose by 6.45 percentage points in 2013, going up from a 33.4% increase in December 2012 to an estimated 39.8%.

Fixed broadband subscribers constitute fewer users because of the nature of the connection; fixed broadband is more expensive as it has fixed monthly payments. However, those on fixed broadband are more likely to have greater access to the internet than other users as investment in such technology necessitates maximisation of expenditure. At the same time, most subscribers access the internet via mobile phones because it is cheaper and convenient; one can always be online via a mobile phone as long as they have data bundles and a good network connection.

Many, however, do not have 24 hr access to the internet due to largely interacting with the online realm through internet cafes and other limited outlets. In fact, less than half the country’s population has access to the internet, creating a vast digital divide.

Policy and the Tech Divide

Zimbabwe has joined the international community in including ICTs in national development strategies with the nation being part of the two UN World Summits on the Information Society (WSIS) held in 2003 and 2005 respectively.

During the first phase of WSIS, foundations were laid by nations in reaching an agreement on a Declaration of Principles and a Plan of Action for ICT usage and uptake. The second phase, held in Tunis in 2005, is where the Tunis Commitment and the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society were adopted. The latter includes chapters on financing mechanisms, internet governance, implementation and follow-up.

The Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF) is another major outcome of the WSIS talks. This funding mechanism is intended to cultivate south-south partnerships and target, among others, community projects run by women. The Fund has, however, faced challenges. For instance, there have not been adequate contributions made to the Fund to finance its intended objectives, from which Zimbabwe could have greatly benefited.

Local policy directives have also not fared so well.

Zimbabwe’s national ICT policy framework from 2012 has, as yet, to be operationalised with parliament and public service departments still mooting digitalisation of systems.

Through the National Gender Policy, the government pledges its commitment to promote equal access to, and control and ownership of, media and ICTs by men and women to enhance development across all sectors. While the policy acknowledges that there is need to bring women up to the same level as men in terms of access to ICTs, it does not give current statistics on use of internet by men or women in Zimbabwe; information which is crucial in addressing the gendered digital divide. Zimbabwe therefore has to rely on external statistics which may not be very accurate in defining our problem; for example, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) http://www.itu.int/ states that in developing countries, 16% fewer women use the internet than men, thus the urgent need to increase women’s uptake of ICTs.

Techwomen and young women’s digital innovation

In an effort to get themselves and other women involved into the use and making of ICTs, Aretha Mare and Rumbidzai Mlambo co-founded Techwomen Zimbabwe.

Techwomen Zimbabwe is an organisation that engages young women through different projects on ICTs. Currently, Techwomen is working with a number of girls and young women who have managed to create mobile phone-based applications of their own.

With various applications that help address the social and economic issues that are pertinent to women and girls’ lives, Techwomen is paving the way for women to participate in the digital era.

An application called ‘Women’s Voices’ would be convenient for most as it provides a borehole mapping service, information that is necessary to know in a country facing such critical water shortages. Using this application one can locate the nearest borehole from where one is and not waste time looking for directions, thus giving more time to other important tasks.

The other important feature is that it also provides contact details for emergency services like the police, ambulance, fire brigade to mention just a few. Women can also use ‘Women’s Voices’ to engage in group discussions about issues of importance to them.

‘Study Buddies’ is an application that gives secondary school students from Form 2 to Advanced level an opportunity to study outside their classrooms. All subjects from the secondary school curriculum are covered, and students are able to interact with tutors on a one-on-one basis.

source: http://herzimbabwe.co.zw/2015/03/how-can-we-make-it-happen-for-women-in-icts/

 29 
 on: February 17 2015 
Started by Peter Kuthan / AZFA - Last post by Peter Kuthan / AZFA
I doubt if the coloured plastic fibres are really enhancing the appeal of Tonga baskets which is so convincing because of its abstract and minimalistic design. Looking forward to seeing the outcome of the German intervention.

 30 
 on: February 17 2015 
Started by Peter Kuthan / AZFA - Last post by Peter Kuthan / AZFA
New Zimbabwe, 06/02/2015, by Staff Reporter
 
 
A GROUP of women weavers from Binga Craft Centre and Bulawayo Home Industries will be showcasing their wares at the Ambiente Basket Case 11 fair which will be held in Frankfurt in Germany.

The fair, which will be held from 13 to 17 February this month, is being facilitated by Sebastian Herkner in partnership with Ambiente Fair.

The British Council, Alliance Francaise and Zimbabwe Germany Society are funding the expo.

Curated by National Gallery of Zimbabwe curator, Raphael Chikukwa and Christine Eyene, Basket Case 11 is currently on show at the Bulawayo Art Gallery.

Chikukwa said the exhibition will be a collaboration between two internationally acclaimed designers and Zimbabwean weaving communities as part of a series of residences and design workshops held in Zimbabwe last year.

“Under the collaboration programme, Matali Crasset, French industrial designer worked together with Bulawayo Home Industries Women to improve the iconic Bulawayo gourd basket. Crasset taught the women how to create both functional and decorative objects and forms that are natural evolutions of the gourd. Pieces from this collaboration include bags, mirror stands, vases and the Matopos sculptural bowls or trays weaved out of Zimbabwe’s natural fibres such as ilala or sisal,” said Chikukwa in an interview with Newzimbabwe.com.

Under the programme, German designer Herkner also corroborated with Binga Craft Centre in combining the weavers’ knowledge and tradition in basket making with his own language by adding new design elements.

These included coloured plastic fibres from rice bags added to the baskets to enhance their appeal.

Chikukwa said Herkner also worked with a local potter to produce a collection of original bowls using two techniques that are an integral part of Tonga craft culture.

The new products will be exhibited at the Fair.

source: http://www.newzimbabwe.com/showbiz-20377-Binga+weavers+to+showcase+in+Germany/showbiz.aspx

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