ICT for Health (Education)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

National Georagraphic Issue on Africa

National Geographic's newest issue arrived in the mail today, with an entire issue dedicated to the African continent. There's not much coverage of ICT, but there is a one-page blurb ("Making the Connection, the jump from wired to wireless is changing Africa", Peter Gwin). The value of the article is in the anecdotes that it provides. One photo caption reads: "In Bwhonda, Uganda, a cell phone user climbs a tree to get a signal, a necessary tactic in some remote areas".

Applications discussed in the article:
But Africans are turning to technology for more than just talk. Shepherds in the drought-ridden Sahel region are using handheld GPS units and cell phones to alert each other to areas with good grazing. In Nairboi, some bank customer avoid long lines by monitoring their accounts via text messaging. Sebene Selassie works with a group training Ethiopian teachers to use solar-powered satellite radios to receive lessons broadcast to their classes.

This last one reminds me of a project I heard about at TEDC (Technology for Education in Developing Countries) 2005: a Bhutanese teacher training program assisted by the University of British Columbia and funded by the IDRC using the mail (post) service and the Internet (accessed via existing shared-access computing kiosks).

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