ICT for development
THE WINNER OF THE APC AFRICA HAFKIN COMMUNICATIONS PRIZE 2004-5: Global Education Partnership - Wundanyi, Kenya
For young people living in poverty in coastal Kenya, surfing the internet and learning how to use computers make most sense when these skills mean better economic opportunities and work-readiness. In recognition of this, APC announced on May 26 that the winner of the APC Africa Hafkin Communications Prize for 2004-5 is the Global Education Partnership – Wundanyi in Kenya.
"If it were not for GEP, I would not have learned to use a computer," Jostinah Wawasi, a former GEP student told APC. "After GEP I joined a local university and majored in Economics. As a young woman living in Wundanyi, Kenya, this was not a usual career. My GEP experience helped me understand my talents and abilities. After graduation, I became a consultant in Wundanyi for a major agriculture project where I have helped my community members to set up savings and credit societies."
First released two years ago, a toolkit created by a partnership initiative led by UNESCO and coordinated by APC, has been found useful in "meeting a previously unmet need" by 87.4% of users questioned. It focusses on the needs of those working in grass-roots communication and information activities.
APC in a statement welcomed the new Digital Solidarity Fund founded by the President of Senegal which was launched on March 14, calling it "a valuable financial mechanism for ICT for development".
"Connectivity is a term referring to the means by which people are connected to or are able to access communications channels such as the internet, email, computer and people networks." The theme for this year’s Hafkin Prize recognises community initiatives that use the internet and other digital communication networks to access markets, skills and opportunities to derive real economic benefits. APC accepted applications until February 14 2005. The winner will be announced in mid 2005. Visit the Hafkin Prize site.
Partnership will provide 1000s of low-cost computers for development work in dry lands of East Africa
APC members ALIN-EA and Computer Aid have come together in order to extend low cost PCs to not-for-profit community development groups working in the rural dry lands across East Africa.
The partnership has already shipped 450 fully refurbished Pentium II and Pentium III computers to Nairobi for distribution by ALIN-EA to its member organisations and to wider civil society structures. The intention of the partnership is to be able to provide literally thousands of quality refurbished PCs at the lowest cost possible backed up by a first class technical support service and one year guarantee.
The Fantsuam Foundation provides refurbished computers to civil society organisations and partners, runs computer training centres and offers the only internet connection for hundreds of miles around in rural Nigeria. All this in Kafanchan State where electricity is often unavailable and innovators power their computers using car batteries. The Foundation’s work is supported by a home-grown corps of ICT youth volunteers, the Zitt Geeks. The Geeks are already free software devotees and they are the first participants in Fantsuam’s business incubator which provides training, mentoring and funding to enable enterprising youths to become self-employed.
Every year in the UK approximately 3 million PCs are decommissioned and are no longer in use. A great many of these un-used PCs are in fine working order. Yet, in the developing world 99% of schoolchildren graduate from high school not having seen or touched a computer in the classroom. APC member in the UK, Computer Aid has supplied over 35,000 refurbished PCs to Africa over the past six years and intends to send an additional 25,000 in the next year alone. In June, they signed a partnership agreement with AITEC Africa, Africa’s leading organiser of ICT exhibitions and conferences to provide a framework for co-operation between the two organisations to improve the supply of low-cost computers to African institutions.
APC member in rural Nigeria, Fantsuam Foundation, has recorded yet another first in rural ICT programmes. Earlier this year, Fantsuam launched a VSAT facility which provides the first rural-based internet access in Kaduna State, if not in Nigeria. APCNews talked to Fantsuam’s director, John Dada, about the impact the new internet satellite connection is having on the community and the Foundation.
SANGONeT is currently implementing a Central Case Management System (CCMS) for paralegals in South Africa. This project aims to develop a centrally accessible database system for paralegal organisations to capture and manage case records and related information, while enabling an online networking and discussion space for them to be informed of one another’s work, share experiences and support the advocacy work which they perform on behalf of the communities they serve.
"Letsati" is a Setswana word meaning sun. This new discussion forum series, offered by APC member SANGONeT, aims to demonstrate the practical benefits of technology to the South African non-profit sector.