Tag Archive | "ict"

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Charting the Rise and Fall of PlayPump

Posted on 30 July 2010 by

PlayPump is a merry go-round for children to play. Behind the scenes, it is also a water pump. While the children are playing and having fun, they are also pumping water into a storage tank for their community’s use. It seemed like an elegantly simple concept and very cool technology. After years of favorable press and lots of money, the initiative seems to be on the rocks.

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Ignore the Skeptics: Today’s Technology Is Key to Political Mobilization

Posted on 28 July 2010 by

In a recent New York Times op-ed “When Arabs Tweet” (July 22), Rami Khouri, editor-at-large of Lebanon’s The Daily Star, discussed the upsurge in the use of digital technologies and social networking for political ends by young Arabs and the support for this trend by the U.S. government. In the piece, Mr. Khouri rightly noted that the U.S. would be wise to align its approach to anti-democratic regimes in the Middle East with its support for democracy promotion at the grassroots level. However, his argument that digital technologies and social networking give only the illusion of activism ignores both their recent track record and their future potential. Now, this is not to be naïve. Sending text messages and posting videos to Youtube will not bring down authoritarian regimes. But, these technologies are key tools of modern mobilization.

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Urgent Evoke: Online Learning as an Adventure Game

Posted on 02 July 2010 by

Some country in the Middle East. A woman senator, the proponent of a bill to give women equal rights to vote, has a problem. Sareh, an outspoken activist of the women’s rights movement, has been kidnapped and is being forced to issue statements that the parliament should NOT approve the women’s voting rights bill. The senator calls on Alchemy, who resides in Senegal and is the organizer of a secret network of stealth innovators. Alchemy issues an Urgent Evoke.

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Radio: The Vehicle of Hate Turns a New Leaf in Rwanda

Posted on 14 June 2010 by

As we extol the possibilities of information and communication technologies (ICT) as the agents of positive social change, we also have to accept the painful corollary that its influence can also be negative.

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Women and the Path Towards Equality

Posted on 26 February 2010 by

Finalist in WLP’s Youth Essay Contest Group 2: 18-25 Years
A E, Egypt/UAE

A vision of an Arab woman with an International heart

It is a gift of life which grants us treasured mentors and inspirational role models that we hold dear unto our hearts. For these people are like a strand of pearls together forming powerful examples that add a worthwhile meaning to our existence in the world. One of these models in my life is my
grandmother. Widowed at thirty-eight (when my grandfather suddenly died of a heart attack shortly after being released from a political prison), my unemployed grandmother succeeded the deep emotional, financial and social challenges of raising her seven children all by herself in a small house in downtown Cairo. One of her daughters; a perseverant and hardworking woman who never takes ‘no’ for an answer; grew up to be my very own mother.

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Bridging the Gender Digital Divide

Posted on 23 February 2010 by

During a recent Technology Salon on Girls and information and communication technologies (ICTs), Linda Raftree (of Plan International and wait…what? blog) raised a question often asked in the international development world: How do we bridge the gender digital divide?

After a decade of ICT capacity building programs from Afghanistan to Lebanon to Palestine to Zimbabwe, WLP has learnt a lesson or two in the science of bridging the gender digital divide. I will use our most recent technology trainings in Jordan to illustrate a few best practices that we have gathered over the years.

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Is Google Buzz’s Privacy Setting Any Different Than Twitter?

Posted on 11 February 2010 by

As any self-respecting internet-social media geek would, I have been waiting with bated breath for Google’s Buzz to land in my inbox. Once it did, I realized that the excitement was not at all warranted. It seemed a bit too late and too unfinished, so I left it at that last night.

However, there seems to be a slew of posts and tweets this morning about the potential danger Google Buzz’s privacy settings pose, especially to human rights and democracy activists in repressive environments. Since our work at WLP brings us into contact with many activists around the world and many do use Gmail as their primary email system, any vulnerability in Google Buzz would have larger repercussions, especially if it inadvertently exposes someone’s Gmail contact list.

With that in mind, I went digging further.

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Imagining the Future from Website Statistics

Posted on 04 February 2010 by

Thanks to the WLP website redesign project, we have been thinking about technical capabilities of our site visitors a lot lately. Thanks to Google Analytics, we can pinpoint such things as what browser, operating system, screen resolution, and so on that our website visitors have, which is very helpful as we make design decisions.

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Google and China: Clash of Two Rising Superpowers?

Posted on 14 January 2010 by

Yesterday Google created an internet sensation by announcing that in response to sophisticated attacks from China targeting human rights activists in China as well as Google’s own intellectual property, it will cease censoring search results and would even consider closing shop. While the impact of this decision remains to be seen, it is being applauded by many, including James Fallows and Rebecca Mackinnon and doubted by a few, most notably Evgeny Morozov.

Things are already moving at internet speed. Unlike the censored Google search results of yesterday, the ‘Tank Man’ photos, which previously would not have appeared in search results in China, have started showing up for the search term “Tiananmen”.

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New Social Change Game: Emergence MMOG

Posted on 20 October 2009 by

There seems to be a new social change game in the works. Development is afoot for Emergence, a massively multi-player online game (MMOG) to be released in 2011.

The Backstory: A technical glitch in android programming causes the androids, the global mechanical labour force, to rebel against their human makers. A 12 hour war follows. Nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons employed by both sides leave the earth a shattered shell.

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Adapting the ICT Manual in Arabic

Posted on 30 September 2009 by

Arabic version of Making IT Our Own: Information & Communication Technology Training of Trainers Manual is almost ready for prime-time. Most of the translation work is complete. We are now in the process of reviewing and adapting it until WLP can put its seal of approval on the final work.

Translating a manual, a challenging information and communication technology (ICT) manual at that, would be a difficult job in itself. However, if you take into account a language like Arabic (spoken by 530 million people and the official language of 25 countries according to Wikipedia’s entry on Arabic Language) with many dialects and variants, the task of adaptation becomes an even bigger challenge. Translation begins to look like a cakewalk in comparison.

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Wikipedia’s Growth Stalling?

Posted on 29 September 2009 by

Yesterday’s Time magazine has an intriguing question: Is Wikipedia a Victim of Its Own Success?

Up until about two years ago, Wikipedians were adding, on average, some 2,200 new articles to the project every day. The English version hit the 2 million — article mark in September 2007 and then the 3 million mark in August 2009 — surpassing the 600-year-old Chinese Yongle Encyclopedia as the largest collection of general knowledge ever compiled (well, at least according to Wikipedia’s entry on itself).

But Wikipedia peaked in March 2007 at about 820,000 contributors; the site hasn’t seen as many editors since.

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