Background: Agenda 2030
The United Nations have established the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), addressing 17 goals with a total of 169 targets. Given the ongoing development, it is obvious that development need digital inclusion, and the transformation towards digital societies.
Basis for digital societies is information for all, and the digital access. Given that roughly 4 billion people (status 2016) are not connected to the Internet, the first focus is ‘Goal 9 on sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. We see that target 9.C Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020 is directly addressed through the InfoInternet standard on free access to information for all.
My colleagues and I, at the Basic Internet Foundation, invited 9 partners for the DigI activity “Non-discriminating access for digital inclusion”, with the goal of piloting digital health in Tanzania (TZ) and the digital ecosystem in Congo (DRC). The Research Council of Norway and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are supporting this pilot.
As part of the activities, the consortium has established a pilot installation of a village hot-spot for digital health, and is now planning the Connectivity of the 4 pilot villages in TZ and the villages Kano and Palu in DRC. During the pilot, we identified the need for cost-effective infrastructures in the villages. Regarding connectivity, we have standardised on cost-effective equipment from Mikrotik and Witelcom.
However, we have seen the need for a village server and an IoT gateway. We envision student work or hackathons to establish the infrastructure for sustainable development.
We currently discuss a “village platform” as the digital hub for the remote villages. Goal of this hackathon would be to establish a low-power community server for a village of 2.000 – 10.000 people. Given the costs of communication and electricity, we envisage:
- a low-power (<50W) platform for storage of local video information
- PoE or solar-powered operation
- server for local community content
- social network platform for the village society
- cache server for network content
- low-cost server
Hackathon: IoT home platform
Goal of this hackathon or student work is to establish a low-cost IoT gateway, first of all controlling the power from the solar panel, charging of battery, and priority of attached devices. Current low-cost solar regulators have no Internet connectivity, thus remote configuration and assistance is not possible.
The goal of the implementation would include:
- a solar charge regulator for panels up to 1000 W
- communication interface, typically Ethernet or Wifi based
- controlling of produced energy, consumed energy (e.g. USB), batteri status
- interface towards IoT devices, e.g. controlling other IoT devices
Both hackathons are done in collaboration with industry (Eye Networks, Witelcom, IPXextenso), the Partners of Partners of DigI, and the University of Oslo.
Goal of this hackathon is showcasing the talents of women and girls in coding and software development, and encouraging them to become involved in the world of technology through the creation of solutions using technology. This hackathon is expected to attract women in Africa who are already in a technology-related field, and who are helping other women. The goals of this hackathon are:
- coming up with solutions affecting societal problems and women today in Africa. Solutions such as: inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (SDG 4), including girls development, women’s health, and assisting rural women to upskill.
- one day “Digital media literacy” workshops on the following topics: 1) Bridging the gender divide on the internet, 2) How to use social media to address digital inequality, 3) education and leadership for girls and women.
- helping women and girls in science.
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An article I wrote few months ago (and was that prompt not to share it here) is about the current activities and projects at the Basic Internet Foundation I wrote earlier. We’re working on providing free access to Global Health Information in Tanzania, and education information in DR of Congo. It is published on Global Voices Community blog, where you can read it, and is currently available in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.
It’s been exciting, surprising, generous, and unpredictable 2016. I traveled the cities and places I never been before, I had wonderful collaborations worldwide, I learned a lot about myself and others, I started to change my old habits and implement new ones.
At the beginning of the year, I won the best dissertation award for 2015. That is the first PhD related award I got and I’m very grateful and happy, that years I spent on the research, it makes sense to other people as well. Working in academia is nice, however, I rather see myself working on projects and with organizations that make the difference in the world. And so it happened.
Last summer, I started to work for the Basic Internet Foundation as a digital equality advisor and I’m very happy and grateful that I can deploy my skills and expertise for a higher cause of helping people worldwide. This month we won a nice budget from the National Council of Norway for the project of connecting the unconnected 4.000 villages in Tanzania. I wrote about the Foundation and my work there on the Global Voices. Also, I did a research on the societal aspects and implications of the Internet of Things (IoT). I am very grateful to be included in something that is happening around us and that, indeed, present our near future.
I am continuing with the tradition of giving back and donating to those who need; this time beside the usual donations, I included the project in Ethiopia called Give a Child in Africa the Gift of Reading, because of children and literacy matter.
I shared with you ten things I learned in the past ten years of my professional life, and blogging. On a personal note, some good and challenging (at the times) things happened that made me re-examine how I nourish my body. At the moment, I am 6 weeks sugar-free and 8 weeks dairy-free (I plan to stay that way) and I feel great. Anyone interested in further story, I can write about it in some of my future posts.
Also, this photo of the happiness jar – it deserves a separate post. I believe that the happiness is not one time or huge event that will keep you happy throughout the year or that it is something we wait for us to happen. Instead, I believe that the life is made with zillions of little happiness tiny moments, situations and people that contribute in a sustainable way to our well-being on all levels. I proved myself how happy and grateful I was and I am in the past year; I plan to keep this happiness jar tradition in 2017.
I won’t comment the events on a global level, this is my 2016 wrap-up, as you all know – most of them were unexpected and ugly (good luck my friends in America and England). Many great people, artists have left us. I cannot look forward enough to new 2017 year. I wish you all the happiness, health, and joy in it! Cheers to 2017!
For those not familiar yet, this summer I started to work for the Basic Internet Foundation, based in Norway. Foundation is an organisation that aims at optimised content delivery on capacity-limited networks, and offers free access to low capacity Internet as a carrier of digital content to people in areas with low admission and / or no Internet coverage. Also, it assists organisations and companies to adapt and disseminate information for the affected recipients should be able to help themselves. Assistance may include educational systems, healthcare, agriculture information, innovation, research and development, banking or other services that contribute to increased welfare and value creation to benefit the population in the respective areas.
The Foundation was established in December 2014 as a collaboration between The University Graduate Centre (UNIK) and Kjeller Innovasjon AS. The impact of Basic Internet for the Digital Society is seen as a continuation of Internet deployment from Kjeller, starting with the Arpanet deployment in 1973, and with Opera Software in 1994.
One of our latest missions is free Information Internet (InfoInternet) that addresses Digital Inclusion (following the Sustainability Development Goals – SDG 2030), and enables digital access to vulnerable areas worldwide (Africa, India, etc.), and thus contributing to bridging the digital divides. The major InfoInternet principles include:
- Free access to all content being text and pictures, paid access to high-bandwidth services
- All the Internet, without favouring or blocking particular products or websites (respecting net neutrality)
More about InfoInternet, you can read here. Basic Internet Access for all is the vision of the Foundation. If you’re interested and want to contribute to a world of free access to basic information on health care, education or development, join our quest to make this vision a reality!
And follow the Basic Internet Foundation on Twitter!
This month (and year) is ten year anniversary of this site and blog. Can you believe how fast a decade passed by? I’ve been publishing online since 2001 on different platforms (LiveJournal, Wired blogs, Blogger) and finally found the place here at my dedicated website.
I started here with small posts on culture, technology, life, academia, travel, a micro-snippets of daily life. In 10 years, I’m grateful to share all the events, new findings, travels, and life stories with you. In 10 years, I learned a lot! It’s been both challenging and rewarding, mostly rewarding and full of blessings. For 10 years we’ve seen how technologies changed, how the web evolved from 1.0 into 2.0 and further on into web 3.0/social/semantic version of itself; and now we have the big data and Internet of Things (IoT) and the vast of new and exciting technologies to embrace. And new generations, millennials and post-millennials are dictating in a way the dynamics of the ICT and online communication. Now, everything is brief, short, micro-posted online, and the attention is the most wanted and valuable asset.
Here are the top 10 things I learned in the past 10 years. These professional lessons can be also applied to a personal life, and the list would go on and on:
1. to know when to take chances and risk and when to say “no”. Also, it is OK to switch to a different field or profession;
2. to accept collaborations and projects even if they are outside my comfort zone of knowledge and skills;
3. to learn new things at work as I go. You don’t wait to be “ready”, you make yourself ready by daily learning and gaining new skills;
4. to be aware that there may be some people on the way who may try to destabilize or diminish your work, and then you have to change your focus and direction immediately and,
5. to focus on the good and positive new people you will collaborate with, and enjoy the blessings that these collaborations will bring only great fruitions and awards,
6. to maintain and keep connections, people, and collaborations who mean well and work both for your good and common good;
8. to know when to quit the gig/job/work knowing that,
9. when you close one door, the others are opening right beside you (trust me this is so true, been there done that), and
10. to have the courage and always to listen to your own self.
I hope these micro-reflections can inspire you for your own profession and life.
Thank you for reading and following this blog all through the years, stay tuned for new and exciting stories 🙂