The Chawama Youth Project

Chawama Township in Zambia is like so many other urban centres in Africa and the Caribbean - it is facing major problems with the young people, especially males. It has a population of 37,500 of which 65% is 25 years old or younger. Most of the youths (between 15 and 25 years old) are unemployed and lack skills to generate their own sustainable livelihoods. One of the main factors is the low level of education. Many youths do not finish their school, and most of these school drop outs are unskilled and unproductive, which in turn negatively affects their self-esteem and leads to increased levels of loitering, alcohol abuse and criminal activity. The story is a familiar one.

But Chawama Township has tackled the problem in a way that deserves attention.
“We realized that there is a rampant employment among youth of Chawama Township. So we decided to come up with a skills training centre to give them life skills. This would help them to get employment or be self employed” said Rodgers Mulenga (Secretary General of the Chawama Youth Project).

Here is a video about the award-winning Project.

The Chawama Youth Project (CYP) is a community-based non-governmental organisation established in 2001 and registered with the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA). It offers ‘life skills’ courses in subjects such as Auto Mechanics, Tailoring, Carpentry, and ICT, to improve the young people’s chances of finding work. Teachers are using the internet to enhance content (e.g. by accessing diagrams of engines using Google Images instead of drawing on the blackboard); hand-outs are being produced quickly; existing lesson plans are now being stored and re-used.

You can download an IICD briefing on the project here.


Open Access Week, Day 5'n'bit: Access across the Atlantic - Part 2

This is Day 5 and a bit of Open Access Week.

Okay - so I know that strictly speaking Open Access Week runs 5 days - from October 19 to October 23 - so today's blog is an extra free one :-)

But I really did want to squeeze in this second part of the special two-part issue of IJEDICT dedicated to Open Access Week and designed to deepen the flow of academic knowledge between the Caribbean and Africa.

As I wrote in the first part of "Access across the Atlantic", IJEDICT is managed and published in the Caribbean, but it has always had a special relationship with Africa and in particular with Cape Town in South Africa. One of the Chief Editors was working at Cape Town University of Technology when the journal was first started and is now the Director of TISI, an NGO headquartered in Cape Town. And of course, the Guest Editors of this Special Issue (and the two previous Special Issues on eLearning in Africa) work at the University of Cape Town. Interesting how networking works eh?

Vol. 5, No. 5 (2009) of International Journal of Education and Development using ICT is published online at:

As usual, the articles are available for anyone to read and download free of charge. This issue has nine articles and a couple of editorials:


Editorial: Special Issue - e/merge in Africa
Stewart Marshall, The University of the West Indies, Barbados, West Indies
Wal Taylor, TISI, Cape Town, South Africa

e/merge in Africa
Tony Carr and Laura Czerniewicz, University of Cape Town

Refereed Articles

Scarce resources: Conflict and sharing in discourse around primary school email use
Nicola Pallitt, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Educators and the Cape Town Open Learning Declaration: Rhetorically reducing distance
Andrew Deacon and Catherine Wynsculley, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Degrees of Openness: The emergence of Open Educational Resources at the University of Cape Town
Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams and Eve Gray, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Creating an online learning ecology in support of mathematical literacy teachers
Maggie Verster, ICT4Champions, Johannesburg, South Africa

Assessing Cell Phone Usage in a South African Township School
Tino Kreutzer, United Nations Development Programme

Investigating popular Internet applications as supporting e-learning technologies for teaching and learning with Generation Y
Mici Halse and Brenda Mallinson, Rhodes University, South Africa

Using ICTs in Teaching and Learning: Reflections on Professional Development of Academic Staff
Markus Mostert and Lynn Quinn, Rhodes University, South Africa

Increasing education access through open and distance learning in Tanzania: A critical review of approaches and practices
Willy Lazaro Komba, Mkwawa University College of Education

“Him and Her” - gender differentials in ICT uptake: A critical literature review and research agenda
Ruth Nsibirano, Makarere University, Uganda


Open Access Week Day 5: dg-Communities - Open Educational Resources

This is Day 5 of Open Access Week. This blog is about a really valuable source of open educational material and associted resources - DG Communties. It isn't new. I've been a member for a couple of years. But it has had a name change to "Zunia" and the website has had a face-lift.

dgCommunities is a place to find knowledge resources focused on development issues and also an interactive space where you can share your own work, participate in discussions, find people with similar interests and more. They have more than 40,000 members worldwide - and over half are in developing countries.

The revamped site comprises, amongst other things, a knowledge exchange, country guides and also several overlapping interest groups, e.g., open educational resources, eLearning.

dgCommunities is a collaborative space for professionals working in more than 200 countries to share knowledge resources, tools, contact information, and more. Each online community is centered on specific themes and guided by experts in the field. Their role is to coordinate topic highlights, prepare community newsletters and monitor content submissions for relevance and value to the topic at hand. All guides, volunteer advisors and community coordinators are committed to ensuring an open forum where all ideas are welcome.

International collaboration is at the heart of dgCommunities. More than 500 individuals and organizations working as volunteer guides and advisors, or cooperating with the Development Gateway Foundation team in other ways. If you or your organization want to get involved, please read our Get Involved page and then contact us. We want to hear from you.

Use of dgCommunities is open to all and has a global membership. They are committed to the values of tolerance and respect for all views, with no preference or bias as to the source of any content submitted by a community member or partner organization. The dominant language of most individual communities and their content is English. Navigation is also available in Arabic, French, and Spanish. They encourage members to submit content in French and Spanish. Currently, only the Arab reform community accepts content in Arabic. Most guides, advisors, and other participants speak more than one language, in some cases, many languages. Feel free to contact them.

dgCommunities is provided by Development Gateway Foundation (DGF) as part of its mission to reduce poverty and enable change in developing nations through information technology.


Open Access Week, Day 4: Access across the Atlantic - Part 1

This is Day 4 of Open Access Week and today's blog is about the first of two special joint issues of the International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology (IJEDICT) about opening access the Atlantic.

IJEDICT is an e-journal about ICT in development that provides free and open access to all of its content. It fully supports the open access movement and has dedicated these two special joint issues of the journal to the movement by deepening the flow of academic knowledge between the Caribbean and Africa.

IJEDICT has always had a special relationship with Africa. One of the Chief Editors was working at Cape Town University of Technology when the journal was first started and is now the Director of TISI, an NGO headquartered in Cape Town. And of course, IJEDICT continues to have a very special relationship with the Caribbean because it is published by The University of the West Indies, and the Founding and Managing Editor (me) is located there as a Director in the Open Campus of the University.

So what better tribute to Open Access Week than to have two special joint issues of IJEDICT dedicated to the Caribbean and to Africa.

The first of these two issues - Vol. 5, No. 4 (2009) - has now been published online at:

Here are the contents:


"Editorial: Special Issue on eLearning in the Caribbean"
Stewart Marshall, Open Campus, The University of the West Indies, Barbados
Wal Taylor, TISI, Cape Town, South Africa

"Guest Editorial: eLearning in the Caribbean"
Dianne Thurab-Nkhosi, Open Campus, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago

Refereed Articles

"Burrokeet, an Application for Creating and Publishing Content Packages with support for Multiple Input and Output Formats"
Margaret Ann Bernard, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago
Anil Ramnarine, Open Campus, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago

"E-learning at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business - A Survey of Faculty Members"
Balraj Kistow, Lok Jack GSB, Trinidad & Tobago

"myDR: Improving the Self-Care Process for Caribbean Patients with Type II Diabetes through Mobile Learning"
Salys Sarah Sultan and Permanand Mohan,
The University of The West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago

"MyeLearning as a tool to enhance the writing process in Spanish as a foreign language"
Diego Mideros, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago

"Creating Reusable Lesson Plans for E-learning using the IMS Learning Design Specification"
Diana M Ragbir and Permanand Mohan,
The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago

"One Size Fits All? – The Case of ECNG 3020 – Special Project Portal"
Wayne Sarjusingh, Crista Mohammed, and Fernando Castellanos
The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago

"Technology-oriented or Learning-driven?"
Lisle Waldron, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago


Open Access Week, Day 3

This is Day 3 of Open Access Week and today's blog is about an open access book on another favourite topic of mine - telecentres for development.

The book - Making the Connection: Scaling Telecenters for Development – identifies and discusses the most pressing issues facing the global telecenter movement, presents a condensed view of the current state of knowledge with regard to telecenters, and highlights possible paths forward.

The book was developed through a partnership between the Academy for Educational Development, Microsoft® and IDRC's telecenter.org. Two AED staff, Barbara Fillip and Dennis Foote, were the principal authors of the book.

As C.K. Prahalad says in the Forword -
"We know that the Internet has brought the potential for empowering even the most marginalized groups in our societies. We know that it will benefit all of us if we can unleash their entrepreneurial energy and creativity. Among the first steps is surely the challenge of how to achieve access to the Internet for the groups at the bottom of the pyramid, so they can participate fully in shaping their own future."

In developed countries we tend to think of "universal access" as meaning having Internet access in the home. But in so many developing c0untries we have to think differently about this concept. Instead, we need to think of strategies for providing universal communal access. Hence the need to "scale telecenters for development". The primary goal of this book is help people move forward, to inspire them and whenever possible, to guide the growth of this movement.

The book is in three main parts. Part 1 reviews the past and the evolving vision of telecenters for development. Part 2 seeks to identify appropriate organizational models and appropriate technologies for sustainability and scaling. Part 3 looks at scaling up at the national level.

The book uses case studies to illustrate the main themes. Many of these case studies are from projects that AED’s Information Technology Applications Center has carried out over the last two decades, some are from Microsoft® and some from IDRC’s telecentre.org program.


Open Access Week, Day 2: Open access materials for teachers

This is Day 2 of Open Access Week and today's blog is about this goldmine of resources I found a little while ago. It has video programs and supporting resources on a whole range of topics for K-12 teachers courtesy of Annenberg Media. Go to their website http://www.learner.org to see what is available.

Utilising these resources will certainly create interesting classes. And of course, the whole idea of the project is to create interesting, creative educational K-12 classes. Annenberg Media uses media and telecommunications to advance excellent teaching in American schools. This mandate is carried out chiefly by the funding and broad distribution of educational video programs with coordinated Web and print materials to assist K-12 teachers improve their classes and also for their professional development.

They have a brochure available to assist people to find material on their website.

Annenberg Media is part of The Annenberg Foundation and advances the Foundation's goal of encouraging the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.


Open Access Week, Day 1: Timeline of the open access movement

For the whole of Open Access Week, October 19 – 23, 2009, each day's blog will be devoted to ... you've guessed it - open access.

This is Day 1 and this first blog of the week is about the timeline of the open access movement.

Peter Suber used to maintain a Timeline of the Open Access Movement (formerly called the Timeline of the Free Online Scholarship Movement) but since February this year it has moved to be a sub-component of a wiki called the Open Access Directory. Moving it to a wiki is, of course, an excellent idea. It means that the OA community can update, edit and maintain the content, rather than all this falling on one person.

I found the timeline very informative. Although I have been a supporter of the OA movement and an editor/publisher of an OA journal IJEDICT for several years, I hadn't realised that one of the very early OA journals is New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development which started as an OA journal in 1987. There's lots of other interesting facts included in the comprehensive timeline.

Whilst browsing the timeline, I decided to look at the "containing" wiki - the Open Access Directory (OAD).

The OAD collects together lists of sources and resources about open access (OA) to science and scholarship. It is maintained by the OA community so is continually being added to, edited and refined. The easier they are to maintain and discover, the more effectively they can spread useful, accurate information about OA. By bringing many OA-related lists together in one place, OAD makes it easier for everyone to discover them and use them for reference. Thus, for example, there is one page on "Free and open-source journal management software" - very useful to institutions thinking of starting journals.


Open Access Week, October 19 – 23, 2009

I just want to remind everyone that Open Access Week starts in a week's time - so you've just got time to organize something.

This event, which takes place October 19 – 23, is an annual event to broaden awareness and understanding of open access to research, including access policies from all types of research funders, within the international higher education community and the general public. As you all know, open access is a topic close to my heart, so I hope you'll all participate in some way.

Open Access Week builds on the momentum generated by the 120 campuses in 27 countries that celebrated Open Access Day in 2008. Event organizers SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition), the Public Library of Science (PLoS), and Students for FreeCulture welcome key new contributors, who will help to enhance and expand the global reach of this popular event in 2009: eIFL.net (Electronic Information for Libraries), OASIS (the Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook); and the Open Access Directory (OAD).

This year’s program will highlight educational resources on Open Access that local hosts can use to customize their own programs to suit local audiences and time zones. OASIS will serve as the centerpiece of the 2009 program, delivering resources for every constituency and every awareness level. The Open Access Directory will again provide an index of participants on five continents, as well as their growing clearinghouse for all OA resources. Through the collaborative functionality of the two initiatives, OA videos, briefing papers, podcasts, slideshows, posters and other informative tools will be drawn from all over the Web to be highlighted during Open Access Week.

The organizers will also work with registrants to develop a variety of sample program tracks, such as “Administrators’ introduction to campus open-access policies and funds,” “OA 101,” and “Complying with the NIH public access policy” that take full advantage of available tools. Participants are invited to adapt these resources for local use, and to mark Open Access Week by hosting an event, distributing literature, blogging — or even just wearing an Open Access t-shirt.

For more information about Open Access Week and to register, visit http://www.openaccessweek.org.


The Ghana Information and Knowledge Sharing Network

It is rather ironic that ICT is the most powerful tool we have for sharing knowledge and yet we are not sharing experiences and knowledge about ICT project implementation effectively. Initiatives spring up everywhere, seemingly with little awareness of what is going on elsewhere.

One way to tackle this problem is to have country-based or regional information and knowledge sharing networks. The Ghana Information and Knowledge Sharing Network (GINKS) is a good example of this approach. It streamline all disjointed ICT projects, initiatives and programs in a way that provides solutions to challenges and problems in the Ghana ICT environment.

The whole purpose of GINKS is to create a structure through which all relevant Ghana ICT initiatives will be facilitated. As a network, it will:
  • Commission research on ICTs and development;
  • Publish an influential on-line and off-line quarterly newsletter;
  • Organise and participate in workshops, seminars and fora on ICT4D related themes;
  • Undertake activities and programmes to generate and source for funds in aid of the network;
  • Form strategic partnerships and build networks with organisations and institutions;
  • Provide a united front for advocacy on ICTs for development themes and issues.

So far the activities of GINKS include:
  • Interactions with rural communities to identify development partners who will work with GINKS to address the information needs of local communities;
  • Co-organising monthly seminars on ICT4D issues with BusyInternet called the cyberseries
  • An online space for networking through the GINKS mailing list and GINKS portal;
  • Co–organising information exchange events with development partners for members of the network with other stakeholder participation;
  • Working with organisations such as ITAfrica.org to generate and disseminate local ICT4D content.


Food Security Open Educational Resources

Just came across this useful open access resource from an EC/FAO Programme. Their website "Food Security Information for Decision Making" has lots of information, news and self-access e-learning courses.

The website offers self-paced e-learning, developed by international experts to support capacity building and on-the-job Training and Workshops at national and local food security information systems and networks.

You can try the sample lesson without registering - "What is Food Security?" I had a look at it. The presentation is clean and colourful, with easily manageable amounts of information presented on each page. I found it to be a well developed self-access course.

The following courses are also available (free of charge) just by registering:
- Food Security Information Systems and Networks
- Reporting Food Security Information
- Availability Assessment and Analysis
- Baseline Food Security Assessments
- Food Security Concepts and Frameworks
- Collaboration and Advocacy Techniques
- Livelihoods Assessment and Analysis
- Markets Assessment and Analysis
- Nutritional Status Assessment and Analysis
- Food Security Policies - Formulation and Implementation
- Targeting
- Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis

Well worth exploring.