ICT4Peace is a humanitarian organization that began in Switzerland. The ICT for Peace Foundation aims to “enhance the performance of the international community in crisis management through the application of Information Communications Technology – technologies that can facilitate effective and sustained communication between peoples, communities and stakeholders involved in crisis management, humanitarian aid and peace-building”. The use of ICT for humanitarian aid is not a new approach, but should be examined more carefully. There are countless benefits that can come from the use of ICT in disaster response, humanitarian aid and peace-building. ICT4Peace has worked with the Ushahidi foundation in the past (http://www.ushahidi.com). One of the more recent projects that the ICT4Peace foundation took part in was in the recent elections in Tunisia. The Arab Spring destroyed the political structure of Tunisia and other Arab nations. Tunisia, like many of these nations, are currently trying to rebuild their government based on a democracy. For a nation that had been under control of a dictatorship for decades, democratic elections are an extremely new concept and can sometimes be scary. The people do not know what to expect; however, in order for a new political body to be formed, the elections must be carried out successfully. The first ever democratic elections for Tunisia took place on October 23, 2011. Wtih the invitation of the Tunisian “Higher Independent Election Committee” and aid from Ushahidi, ICT4Peace created an online monitoring platform for the election called “Carte de Controle du Processus Electorale”. The program used 850 trained reporters throughout Tunisia that reported back to the headquarters giving updates, reports and observations of the progress of the election. The information was verified and placed on a map that all people could access and track the election progress in their area and in the nation as a whole. This program is only one of the many humanitarian projects ICT4Peace has contributed to. The use of ICTs can make the people of a nation feel more comfortable and at ease about change after disaster. The ICT4Peace Foundation is one good example of the proper use of ICTs for humanitarian aid and the impact they can have on the peace-making and rebuilding of a nation.
Election Day Map: http://ict4peace.org/updates/monitoring-tunisias-first-election-ict4peace-foundation-instance-superieure-independante-pour-les-elections
ICT implementation in schools has the possibility of greatly increasing the educational development of the students. However, the impact of ICT implementation is largely based on the use and participation of the teachers. A program, which builds on the InterActive Education project and works in conjunction with DFID-funded project, aims to develop and evaluate strategies for effective implementation and introduction of ICT support in education. The main focus is on mathematics and science based learning. The program focuses on the building the teachers capacity on the possible uses of ICTs in the classroom. In May 2006, various schools in both rural and urban areas of Rwanda were studied in order to examine the teachers knowledge of ICTs. The study found that in some schools the computers were being used by the students and the teachers were staying after to learn more themselves; however, in many schools the computers were very old and barely ever used. The program created an “interactive and iterative model of teacher development [that] involves a partnership of teachers, teacher educators and researchers working together to evaluate and develop ICT-based scenarios for learning science and mathematics” (Sutherland, 229). By instructing the teachers on how to use spreadsheets, simulations and other teaching tools, they became more equipped at being able to teach the students more in the future. The program seems to provide a successful way of using teachers as a method of ICT introduction into the classroom. It is important to remember that the teachers will not always use the skills they learned in the seminars and that constant communication with the teachers is vital in order for the success of the program. Integrating ICTs in the classroom by educating teachers is one of the best and most efficient ways of guaranteeing the success of ICTs in education. A lot of focus must be placed on the educational development of the teachers so they in turn can teach their students.
For more on the ways the InterActive Education project is helping nations worldwide, click here.
Originally posted on Blackboard by Isabella Iupe
I found this project extremely interesting because the findings can now be used to change technology development projects in many underdeveloped nations. The project focused on bringing computers to schools and measuring the progress of the children who used computers compared to those who did not use computers. The findings showed that all children can actually learn how to use computers by themselves, independent of their educational background, literacy levels, gender or socio-economic level. They also found that since the learning is not necessarily forced, the children are much more likely to accept it and work collaboratively with one another to learn as much as they can. The study showed that the addition of a computer, without any lessons on how to use them, can improve the educational development of children. Since the study in India in 1999, the findings have been put in use in various developing countries, especially in South Africa.
The website for the says the Hole-in-the-Wall project is lighting the spark of learning. The mission also states “Today’s children need not only basic education, but also the ability to deal with an increasingly complex and connected world. We need to create inclusive educational solutions that address all sections of society and help transform them.”
I found the WHO program Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI) an extremely interesting approach at dealing with developing ICTs for health. The program was started in 2002 and it provides free or very low-cost online access to numerous major journals in biomedical and related social sciences to institutions in developing countries. The program provides one of the world’s largest collections of biomedical and health initiatives. The fact that this large collection of medical information is available to developing nations is vital for their development in the health sector. Spread of knowledge about health issues and treatments is an important step toward improving the health of an entire country. With access to medical journals sick people are able to attempt to diagnosis themselves and look up possible treatments. This is very important especially in countries that do not have accessible or a large number of doctors or health professionals. With appropriate use, access to medical journals could help cause rapid advances in the health sector of developing nations.
Original Post by Isabella Iupe
Originally Posted: September 20, 2011 2:53:27 PM CDT
By: Isabella Iupe
The World Bank has started an Indigenous Knowledge Program. The goal of the program is to raise awareness about the role community based practices can play in enriching the development process. I think that this is a very important concept for the success of ICT development. In order for the people to use new forms of technology, it is important that they see it as part of their daily lives. It is also vital that the organizations and volunteers attempting to implement ICT4D practices understand the community and its traditions. Without truly understanding the community on all levels, ICT4D will not develop to its full potential. If this program can integrate ICT4D practices into the traditions and daily lives of the community, then I believe it will be extremely successful. It is important to understand the people you are trying to help; otherwise, they might not accept the assistance you are providing. Check out the embedded link to lean more about the Indigenous Knowledge Program.
One of the main ways to spread knowledge and information is the use of ICTs as an education tool. Isolated, small islands off of the Pacific not only have a hard time gaining access to ICT, but they also have difficulties during the implementation process. The idea that even when these small islands receive various ICTs, which could greatly help with the development of education, many of the teachers do not know how to use the technology. It is imperative that the educators of these nations, and all other nations, are taught how to properly use the technology; otherwise, there will still be no progress in education by the use of ICTs. It is also important for other fields, such as business and health purposes. I looked further in to the People First Network(PFnet) of the Solomon Islands program.
This program set-up an email system that provides access to the internet and email to remote islands. PFnet had two main components to the program: One was to set up an “electric post office” where there were multiple computers that the people could use freely to communicate with one another. The second was to create email stations that would help transmit the information through short-wave radio and solar power. The people working at the stations have been taught how to use the computer and email system so that they can help others around them. The Internet provides improvements to all sectors of life. I found that the PFnet program is linked to the development of indigenous business by helping businesses access online business information and attract joint venture partners. By giving the people on isolated islands the chance to communicate with one another, they are opening the doors to development and improvement. Knowledge and information can now be spread at a much faster rate, which would improve the overall education of the entire community, not just for the youth. Initiatives like the PFnet are important in connecting the people living on these isolated islands to the rest of the world. It will propel the use of ICTs in Pacific island nations, which in turn will lead to numerous beneficial outcomes in the societies.