Author Archives: giselala

UN Global Alliance for ICTD

The United Nations’ ICT Task Force was quoted in Chapter 5 of this week’s reading. I’ve provided a link below to their former home page. It is no longer maintained but it is full of information on what their motives, objectives, and tasks were during the time of the World Summit on the Information Society from 2003 to 2005 in Geneva and Tunis.

The current upgraded version of the ICTTF which was launched by the UN in 2006 is GAID, or the Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development. Its goals are to achieve more widespread access and increased connectivity to the web, as well as improving the content available and educating all people to use ICT. The website provides links to the GAID’s partners around the world, as well as past and future ICT events.


Gisela Collazo

eLearning in Tanzania

Bridgeit is an eLearning project funded by USAID which was implemented in 2007 in Tanzania. It underwent a 2-year piloting period with a 15-month extension and ended in late December of 2010. The purpose of the program was to implement ICT by means of mobile phone usage to improve the classroom teaching and learning experience. Bridgeit allowed Tanzanian teachers to download videos on various relevant subjects, such as math, science and HIV/AIDS, to cell phones. The mobile phones were connected to a television set which projected the videos for the class to see. The project was highly successful and well-supported by the community. It enabled the students taught in that manner to gain a better understanding of the material by being able to visualize it instead of simply listening to a theoretical explanation. The project’s benefits were that it was designed to be student-centered learning; it supported the teachers to enhance the learning experience; it employed a good teaching strategy for large class sizes (as those in Tanzania); and the visual aspect inspired greater interest and motivation on behalf of the students. As of April of this year, the project has helped 80,000 children and 3,000 teachers. In my opinion, Bridgeit‘s greatest strength is the infrastructure it created for itself. The project partnered with Tanzania’s Ministry of Education, the Nokia Corporation, the Nokia Institute for Technology, the Pearson Foundation, and Vodacom Tanzania. That’s an incredible setup. With so many partners, each playing a crucial role in the success or failure of the project and all working towards a common goal, Bridgeit was fully supported simply because it was able to draw on all the resources it needed from its partners.

Click here to learn more about Bridgeit in Tanzania.

Solar Home Systems in Bangladesh

Originally posted on Blackboard by Gisella Collazo

This article posted on October 4, 2011 announced that the World Bank approved $172 million to install 630,000 solar home systems. It is an additional funding to the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Project, in which more than 300,000 such systems have already been installed since 2009 with the original financing of $130 million. Though certainly an expensive venture, this is a project which could have a huge impact in a country as poor and underserved as Bangladesh. About two-thirds of rural households don’t have access to electricity which greatly limits their access into many modern markets. Electricity is the most basic ICT needed in order to advance technologically. However, traditional landlines need to be wired through an area’s landscape and need supervision and maintenance. It is a system which has resulted to be very complicated to install in rural areas as there is no prior infrastructure in place. The solar home system, on the other hand, is completely sustainable as it does not rely on any other energy source than the ever-shining sun and it is independent from a greater connective network. I think this is a fabulous idea which could truly help Bangladesh’s overall development.

Virtual Consultation

Here is a link to an eHealth blog listed on the Journal of Medical Internet Research’s website. The blog was posted today regarding a website called, which will launch on Thursday, September 29. It is a “virtual realm” which provides 3-dimensional communication among doctors and patients, and is intended to create a sense of community. The blog also includes demo videos which teach first-time users how to navigate through Visuland. This type of virtual communication could truly help educate and comfort patients, making them feel more informed and at ease in a hospital environment. I feel it is tied in with telemedicine; only it’s a more informal and less sophisticated means of telecommunication between a doctor and his/her patient. From the looks of the demo, it seems that Visuland is aesthetically similar to the popular computer game, Sims, meaning it could appeal to teenagers and young adults.

Original Post by Gisella Collazo

Nutritional Surveillance in Malawi

Originally Posted: September 20, 2011 4:17:08 PM CDT
By: Gisela Collazo

I proposed the application of the RapidSMS System as a possible frontline strategy to combat child hunger and undernourishment in a previous paper I’d written, and since many here mentioned using SMS technology in this week’s blogs, I thought I’d quote it. “The RapidSMS System… was first implemented on a trial basis in Lilongwe, Malawi in January of 2009 in order to get a sense of household food security levels as well as their coping strategies. It was developed by UNICEF’s Innovations and Development team in hopes of applying short-messaging service technology to gathering and storing health data in a more efficient manner while in the field. In this case, the technology is being used to store the Kenya’s national nutritional and food-security statistics, more specifically the height and weight of children, in the nation’s Integrated Nutritional and Food Security Surveillance system. A health official will go out into the rural areas of Kenya, type in the children’s information, and text it to the system. The system, in turn, will take the data and immediately input it into the database and organize it into spreadsheets and graphs. The two greatest benefits to the RapidSMS System are the speed with which the data moves from the field to the database and the significant reduction in error that the new system provides. Previously, it would take about two months to retrieve the data and enter it into the system, and human mistakes would result in statistics errors. If the system shows itself to be effective, its creators intend to use it in times of crises and to monitor school attendance rates. The primary drawback is the cost of implementing such a system. It is too expensive to use so frequently with phone wireless charging ten cents per text. Therefore, the system’s users hope to be able to use the technology toll-free.” The application of SMS technology has greatly expanded since then and can be used for virtually anything.