School twinning

23 04 2009

The school twinning initiative is a project funded by the British Council to compare and improve on education standards in the UK with schools in Uganda, South Africa and Ghana.

The British Council provides guidelines to schools on how to find partner schools and then provides funds for the schools to visit each thier partners.

Personally I believe in this initiative and I think it is a good way to compare, contrast education standards, also to make improvements where necessary.

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Citizen Journalism in Uganda!

20 04 2009

The title “Journalist” here in Uganda has always been for those few people who go to a higher institution of learning and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree and perhaps a Master’s and for that reason it has always been a profession.

Today looks like it is not a profession no more. But rather a talent! Many people in civil societies in Uganda have learnt not to trust the professional journalist because most of them are money minded. And those who are not cannot reflect the public opinions in the media because the media is regulated by the policy makers and stake holders in their own opinions.

With the growth of information societies, communities are seeking to have their voices heard and their opinions attended to. This has lead to the creation of Citizen Journalists. With support from local organizations like Women of Uganda Network and international organization like European Union, Hivos, SangoNet

Citizen Journalism in Uganda by Javie Ssozi.

Citizen Journalism in Uganda by Javie Ssozi.

, e.t.c, many Ugandans and people from other African countries have been introduced to citizen journalism, taught how to use the different tool and web applications to gather, write and publish articles both on the web and in other media.

Their voices have not yet been heard by the wider communities in Uganda or even in Africa because of the issues of connectivity and the digital divide. However, as ICTs continue to find their way in to country, people picking more interest in the independent citizen journalism media.

Other people are participating on discussion groups for example the D-Groups, mailing lists and forum and all these are aimed at raising people’s voices to the wider community. Many policy makers and stakeholders have subscribed themselves to some of these discussion forums/ groups. However most of the participants on these platforms are focusing on issues to do with internet governance and ICTs in particular.

I have also noticed that some of the writers in the local papers are adding links to their blogs at the bottom of their articles.

For details about Citizen Journalism in Africa and articles by citizen journalism from Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia see the following portal.





Married Couples BREED Corruption in the workplace.

17 04 2009

Corruption is one of the major problems hindering development in Africa. Many African countries are laying strategies to abolish corruption in both the private sector and public parastatals. Not much success has been achieved as yet.

The Kenyan government has come up with a tough policy to eliminate married couples working in big parastatals.

The Kenyan Permanent Secretary has vowed that all the married couples will have to choose who quits and who keeps their job within a period of six month. He argues that married couples working in the same office in Kenya have contributed to the increasing rates of corruption in Kenya.

A radio show on BBC World “Africa Have your say” had listeners exchanging ideas about the proposed government policy.

·         "If it is an organization where they are both employees, then it is not proper", said one of the callers.
·         It can work where the couple can draw a line between their home and workplace.
·         An employer from Malawi does not tolerate couples in his organization.
·         “Married couples can demoralize other employees and reduce their productivity,” added the Malawian.
·         Dan, a married man and his wife from Kenya agrees to the Malawian employer’s argument, but argue that it also depends on the size of the 
    organization. “I do not think it would be a problem for married couples working in different regional offices of the same organization.”
·         Another caller says it’s a question of maturity.
·         “I would not work with my husband in the same office, it wouldn’t work!” says a Ghanaian woman. 

Some people are saying that many wrong doing go unpunished in big offices because of married partners covering for one another’s crime.

Others argue that this should be done for the sake of transparency and to eliminate conflicts of interest in public service.

In Uganda today, ‘some’ workplace policies prohibit relationships between workmates though others don’t. However no such policy has been put in place by the government.
Some marriage testimonies also point at the couples meeting at their workplaces!

Many Kenyans agree that there will be trouble implementing the policy and that they will seek legal advice against the policy.

The whole aspect remains a conflicting loyalty. Who quits and who remains?

Will the government implement the policy or revise it?





Mobile Learning

14 04 2009
Mobile Learning

Mobile Learning

Learning has come a long way. R ight from Desk/ Classroom Learning, Long Distance learning to E-Learning.

And now Mobile Learning! Its one of the most impressive innovations in Mobile Technology.

Apple offers everything you need to implement mobile learning, so it’s easy to dive right in. You’ll have the tools to create digital content, the tools to get that content to students, and the tools to let them play it back anytime, anywhere. You can even introduce students to educational mobile applications for iPod touch and iPhone, so they can access reference information, write blog posts, develop physics models, or simulate flying over the earth. And they can do those things wherever they go.

In one of my articles “Mobile technology for community development” I noted that mobile technology has always been known to be “boring” but little by little its emerging to be very interesting with the latest innovations.

From my perspective I think one day it will take over the web for good!

Mobile learning however requires a more sophisticated mobile phone an “iphone” for example so that turns out to be a limitation for those who cant afford it. And it still requires internet.

However I must acknowledge all the efforts by Apple to have Mobile learning in place.

See details here: Apple Mobile Learning





Twitter infected by Rival site!

14 04 2009

Over the Easter weekend a computer worm infected people’s profiles on the Twitter social Network.

Apparently it has been said that the worm was aimed at promoting “STALKDAILY” a Twitter rival site.

“No passwords, phone numbers, or other sensitive information was compromised as part of these attacks”, stated the Twitter Blog.

Twitter administrators are

Twitter

Twitter

currently working in the back-end to improve on the site security and still battling off attacks. Despite the attack, Twitter is now up and running.

See full story on the Twitter Blog.





Gender and ICT Girl Child Camps.

13 04 2009

Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) in collaboration with Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) have written a new chapter in ICT for Women through the Gender and ICT Girl Child camps.

The camps are aimed at improving on the computer literacy of secondary school girls in the three regions of Northern, Eastern and Western Uganda. The Camps are to be held during the school term.

In the recent Eastern Region Gender and ICT Girl Child Camp in Mbale, over 6 schools (all from the Eastern Uganda) participated in the 2 day camp.

The 150 or so girls who participated in the camp had hands on training on Introduction to Computers, and presentations from the Uganda Communications Commission and Women of Uganda Network about communication policies and Gender and ICT respectively.

The girls were also sensitized about the Gender Issues in the country and world at large.

More camp to take place during the next school term.





Mobile Technology for Community Development!

13 04 2009
Mobile Phones

Mobile Phones

In the recent 16 Days of Activism campaign Against Gender Based Violence (GBV) Raising Voices and EASSI in partnership with WOUGNET ran a campaign to create awareness of GBV through the use of Bulk SMS.
Throughout the 16 days, we (WOUGNET technical support) used the Bulk SMS tool to send messages to over 500 People around the world. Most of the people who participated in this campaign were from within Uganda however others were from countries outside Uganda.
This SMS tool is a Mobile Technology. Apparently many people in Uganda and around the world own cell (mobile) phones. In Uganda the distribution of telephone services is a phone for every 4 people. That implies that approximately 8 Million Ugandans owns mobile phones today.
This has been as a result of mobile phone prices becoming very cheap and also more service providers being licensed in the country. The tariffs (call rates) are also becoming affordable with offers to make cheap calls across the different networks.
In Uganda today people are using their phones for different purposes. And some of these purposes are not limited to special phones with a number of functionalities. For example last year I visited a local organization Kubere Information Center in Apac district (Northern Uganda) and here rural women farmers use their mobile phones to get updates on Market prices! Today I can get news headlines, forex rates and soccer updates on my cell from my service provider. Many people use their mobile phones to communicate and keep in touch with their friends and family most of these are youth. More advance users of mobile phones are demanding for more sophisticated mobile phones. To get one with all the functionality you need you will have to pay a good price for it as the prices vary from one distributer to another. Uganda Telecom one of the Telecom Service Providers has introduced 3G technology. This service provides a fast internet connection for mobile phones that are compatible with the technology. Other service providers are still using GPRS and EDGE technologies to provide mobile internet services. MTN (another Telecom Service Provider) had introduced mobile money. To use the service one has to subscribe on the MTN network and then register with mobile money dealers and then they can use their mobile phones to send and receive money.

Text To Change a Dutch organisation working here in Uganda is using mobile technology (SMS) to improve health and education facilities/ services through quizzes and SMS campaigns.
However all mobile phones support SMS. This is a basic function. And one of the most widely used technologies around the world.

Mobile technologies have been known to be “boring”, but with the new innovations they happen to be more cost effective and easy to use as compared to the web. Most of the web applications have been made available for mobile! Websites, social networking site like facebook, myspace etc.

Recently I was discussing with a friend about the innovative use of SMS and mobile technology and she told me that in Serbia people use their mobile phones to pay for parking space on the streets!