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The Digital Doorway: A solution to Rural Communities.

The Digital Doorway is a very robust computer kiosk. It was developed so that it could be put in rural areas among communities and school areas so that the communities can just use it to equip themselves with ICT skills and retrieve local content relevant to their needs. It is also good for school children to teach themselves how to use the computer.
The Digital Doorway is a hardy, weatherproof internet kiosk with three computer terminals, vandal-proof keyboards, reinforced screens, speakers, and webcams within a rugged steel enclosure. Deployable in cities and remote areas through satellite internet, the Digital Doorway provides internet access to children and communities that are otherwise unreachable by computer labs or internet cafes. In the absence of internet connectivity, the Digital Doorway offers interactive educational software, reference materials, game and tutorials.
Digital door way, a company in South Africa is working with UNICEF to reach out to a number of schools and communities in Uganda by deploying the digital door way in rural area. According to Jeff Benson a consultant with UNICEF in Uganda, Over 100 of these Digital Doorways are to be deployed in rural areas in Uganda said. The Digital doorways operate on purely Open source (BUNTU operating system).
For more information and Details oon the Digitaldoor way please visit: http://www.digitaldoorway.org.za

GOOGLE STARTS MASS DIGITIZATION OF BOOKS.

The mass digitization of large volumes of books has begun. The initiative which is being spearheaded by Google will be carried out in five major US libraries. The goal of mass digitization is not to create collections but to digitize everything, or in this case, every book ever printed. To do this economically and with some speed, mass digitization is based on the efficient photographing of books, page-by-page, and subjecting those images to optical character recognition (OCR) software to produce searchable text. http://www.kcoyle.net/jal-32-6.html.
So why digitize books? We must accept that majority of knowledge and information in the world over is found in books, scrolls and or manuscripts. Since time immemorial, our history has been recorded by mankind in written formats in hope of learning from those who had a foresight to record and teaching the future generations of their history.
The recent technologies that were developed in mid 20th Centaury have provided mankind with not only unique opportunities to digitize information but to also disseminate it via a number of channels using a variety of dissemination tools.
Mass digitization of books is a very great initiative by Google because, given the fact that people are slowly but steadily moving from manual systems to computerized systems, it will be a great Idea to access a book of one’s choice online. It will also make it possible for more books to be utilized other than having them shelved for years. In other words, the readership of some books will increase.
However, there are negative implications of this mass digitization of books by Google. How much will Google charge the people accessing these books online given the fact that they have practically “copied” them and duplicated them from University libraries at no cost?

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Sustainable Agriculture: What is the role of ICTs?

The annual CTA seminar 2009 is taking place in Brussels with the theme of “Sustainable Agriculture,what is the role of the Media’ This is so interesting because media plays a big role in influencing decisions and government level.
We must know that information is a very importatnt if sustainable agricultre is to be achieved in African, Pacific and Caribean countries.
Agriculture is the only basis on which humanity can be sustained meaning that if Agriculture is unsustainable then the human species is unsustainable too.

We need to incooperate ICTs,New media such as web2.0 in all our agricultural activities if the benefits are to tricke down to the farmers.

Maureen Agena

Fast Internet connection will improve journalism

By Maureen Agena

THE installation of fast Internet marks a new era for communication between Africa and the rest of the world. Operated by an African firm SEACOM, the optic fibre will connect South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique to Europe and Asia.

The project comes at an opportune time to increase on the application of citizen journalism, a practice still limited and understood by only a few. Citizen journalism, also known as “participatory journalism” is a kind of journalism where ordinary people can publish news globally on news websites or media houses. An act that has so far been the province of established journalists and media companies.

The idea behind citizen journalism is that people without professional journalism training can use the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create, augment or fact-check media. This means that anyone with access to the Internet or even a cell phone can report, start a blog or chat.

As a result, it is becoming cheaper and easier for individuals and organisations with the right skills to publish their own newsletters, produce both audio and video materials in addition to hosting public chats. However, it is vital to not that while the media scene is changing in Uganda, mainstream media still carries weight and has influence in setting the public agenda.

One of the initiatives aimed at promoting citizen journalism is the Citizen Journalism in Africa (CJA) project.

The project aims at building the capacity of civil society organisations to use online and offline instruments as a means of publication, lobby, networking and knowledge sharing with their constituencies.
Fifteen organisations in Uganda are benefiting from this initiative led by Women of Uganda Network, an organisation that empowers women through use of ICTs and Busoga Rural Open Source and Development Initiative.
Ugandans should, therefore, effectively utilise the faster and cheaper connectivity for informative reporting on the situations and issues that affect them. Ugandans have more room to report about their environment as well as participate in information sharing.
The writer is an information officer with Women of Uganda Network.Read more Newvision

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Open Chat on Blogging and HIV/Aids

In commemoration of World AIDS Day, Rising Voices hosted a live chat on Wednesday, December 3rd at the 3 p.m. Nairobi time. The chat was facilitated by Serina Kalande and Daudi Were and the discussion was building on a similar chat that Serina and Daudi organized back in April of this year which asked the following question: “how can citizen media be used to supplement and improve the mainstream media’s coverage of the AIDS epidemic? This chat focused on one of Rising Voices grantee project, “REPACTED” in Nakuru. We learnt how the organization has implemented blogging and video outreach programs to spread awareness about their initiatives in AIDS prevention and advocating for the rights of HIV-positive individuals. Other discussion topics included; * Factors to weigh when HIV-positive bloggers go public about their status,
* How blogging and Network forums support networks form online,
* What are other new media tools, such as mapping mashups that can be used effectively? As a primer to the conversation, members were encouraged to take a look at a recent post written by Juliana Rincón on Global Voices about “AIDS awareness through video”. Especially fascinating is a video pod cast produced by QAF Beijing, which interviews South African grand justice Edwin Cameron, the country’s only government official who has gone public about his HIV status. http://globalvoicesonline.org/2008/11/27/aids-awareness-through-video/ It was a very interactive and important open chat. The next chat was scheduled for 9th/02/2009. Feel free to join next time http://www.worknets.org/chat.