By the time you are reading this blog post, you most probably have already gone to the movies to watch Black Panther. If not, do yourself a favour: stop reading and go watch it NOW.
Yet, regardless of whether you watched it or not, I hope you have come across the bountiful articles, tweets and social media posts that describe what makes it so revolutionary: it is the first Hollywood blockbuster movie to have an African-American director, starring a predominantly black cast, with the first black super hero. Above all, it is a celebration of blackness and a movie that finally offers black people the representation they deserve: that of powerful, smart, creative and beautiful people. Read More
In my previous blog post, I wrote about smallholder farmers and how they are more likely to experience financial exclusion because of heightened operational and risk assessment challenges. Today, I want to focus on another group of people that is disproportionately underserved by financial institutions: Women. Read More
How can startups in sub-Saharan Africa reap their potential in challenging environments? The October 2017 London ICT4D Meetup had some answers, which we'll summarize in four key points for this post. We also share the presentations given that night. Read More
Returning to the subject of education and gender, this post is a bit more about using the data available to you to make informed decisions when running ICT4D projects. For some, these will be painfully apparent; for others, perhaps a little less so, so I am essentially writing this post for the latter group. Experts and data-savvy types, avert your eyes.It is probably best to frame this around a particular question or conjecture, so I am going to assume that one of the potential pathways for greater employability for women in some countries and in particular greater employability in "innovative" fields is research. Read More
There was a time, early in my career, where I exhibited Tom Cruise levels of enthusiasm for the use of mobile websites in development projects. Sitting in meetings trying to convince clients that they could use a mobile site to deliver vital information and support to thousands of people at a time would trigger sofa-bouncing displays as I tried to convince them that it was possible.
And it worked - funders took the plunge, access to the mobile web has continued to grow, and I went on to lead the design and launch of over 20 mobile sites aimed at connecting audiences across Africa for fantastic projects ranging from sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), to gender equality, to advocacy.
As time went by, however, I started doing less sofa bouncing and more soul searching. Showing off a website I’d designed to some friends, I once dissolved into tears because I knew that the site itself had very little chance of making a real impact in an area I cared deeply about. Not because it wasn’t well designed, but because of a number of fail-factors which I had by then become savvy to. Read More
According to the latest estimates by the World Bank, two billion people still lack access to basic financial services. The main barriers of lending to the unbanked have always been high costs of outreach anddelivery, and lack of traditional data for risk assessment. These barriers exacerbate when dealing with smallholder farmers (SHFs), making them the most likely to be underserved. In fact, despite agriculture remains the main economic activity and employs the majority of the people in most low income countries, only a smaller share of financial institutions portfolio is invested in it, leaving a $ 200 billion in unmet financing, as estimated by the Initiative for Smallholder Finance. Read More
The Government of Indonesia have committed to adopt SDGs while at the same time want more control over internet. Can they achieve these ambitious goals and targets without giving more freedom for citizens online? Read More
A new issue of me and Alex's Gender and Mobiles Newsletter is out, and we are delighted to help spread the word about the eSkills4Girls.org online platform! Launched to help close the digital gender gap, this initiative is a flagship activity of Germany's 2017 G20 presidency. Read More
I have been spending some time with two reports recently that have me thinking a bit about the outcomes we in the ICT4D and digital education fields are looking for in our work. Both challenge some of my perhaps idealistic beliefs that the technology could enable positive impact (which in some cases it has) in resource deprived environments. I can point to enough evidence there to suggest that is the case, but it isn't evidence that scales very well. A success story here or there tied to a regional context. Some data to suggest increased literacy levels or greater access to health care. Overall, a tick upwards towards meeting SDGs, a small triumph in and of itself. Read More
In this blog post, Panoply Digital Associate Eko Prasetyo discusses open data and eGovernment systems, with a perspective from Jakarta city's recent open data work. "eGovernment systems are information systems handling data to deliver information for decision making and transactions. Workstreams in Open (Government) Data, either data publication on portals or a more specific use case like an e-contracting system fit in this category too. Read More
We are expanding a bit, so I wanted to take a brief moment to introduce the newest additions to Panoply Digital. The Panoply Digital Associates joined us in 2017 and represent some of the brightest lights in the field bringing with them considerable capacity for knowledge management, for programming, evaluation, informatics, and more. Truly an exceptional bunch. Read More
The world of educational technology is clearly a favorite subject of mine, particularly as it applies to developing contexts. We have seen an almost litany of attempts, some seemingly well-intentioned and others not so much, to avoid the dirty work of teacher training in favor of automation or some sort of teach by numbers approach (see any number of posts we have done on this). We have seen some naive approaches to student surveillance and lax approaches to protecting the data that emerges as a result. All of this is, more or less, an effect of neoliberal policy designed, overtly or not, to pull back or disinvest from commitments to the public sector at the national level, in favor of privatization or whatever the market will bear. In some communities, this means a repurposing of education towards a more market orientation. In other communities, particularly developing nations, this is a process a bit more fraught with danger. Read More
Returning to a favorite subject of mine, discussed here and here in past posts, is the ongoing Bridge Academy debacle throughout the continent, but particularly in Kenya, which has now turned legal.
“Lawyers for the for-profit chain secured a temporary court order preventing Wilson Sossion, General Secretary of the Kenyan National Union of Teachers (KNUT), and the union or its “agents,” from publicly criticizing Bridge “pending” a court hearing. Bridge accuses Sossion of putting a “malicious post on twitter about the institution.” Sosson accused Bridge of recruiting the “richest of the poor at great cost of those families.” Read More
This is a special blog post to highlight that two members of the Panoply Digital team have recently achieved significant milestones. Co-Founders Michael Gallagher and Ronda Zelezny-Green are now officially PhD holders! They met before launching the consultancy since they shared Associate Professor Niall Winters (Oxford) as a supporting PhD supervisor on their different but related mobile learning PhD projects. Read More
Panoply Digital is busy with developing a training curriculum for upcoming workshops for our partner the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and their partner network afield. We are doing several such two-day training events in the upcoming months with the first one being Kathmandu, Nepal in a few weeks with subsequent trainings in Argentina, Kenya, Jordan, and more. Read More
Following the still hard to fathom inauguration of President Trump on the 20th January 2017, Panoply Digital was inspired to see the international solidarity of people in the women’s marches that unfolded as a resulting protest. We hope we as a worldwide community can translate these marches into political, social, and legal apparatuses that ensure we don’t have the need to do this again in subsequent generations - despite history indicating we will. At the very least, we are thrilled at the prospect of these marchers leading the fight against injustice; these are the people we want out front. Panoply Digital stands in support, and wishes to make a brief statement about what these events mean to us.
Developing capacity and expertise isn’t always about doing; reading and research need to be a part of the equation. I outlined a few of the reports we were reading in a previous post. Recently I was reviewing the Measuring the Information Society Report 2016 from ITU (ITU is the United Nations specialized agency for ICTs). Read More
As we approach the end of the year, we at Panoply Digital are working our projects and spending some time in research, reading, and reflection. In the interests of sharing, I wanted to share the reading and research part as it affects many of us working in international education and ICT4D. Read More
For the past five years or so, Panoply Digital co-Founder/Director Alex Tyers and I have been producing the Gender and Mobiles newsletter. It started out initially as the Gender and Mobile Learning newsletter but we quickly found that there was not enough content being written in that area to fill our coffers. This evolution benefited us and our readership greatly as we have been able to highlight a wider range of fascinating stories that illustrate the increasingly complex relationships between women, men, girls, boys and mobile phones. Read More
Reading a recent UNICEF post from Suman Khadka titled Star Wars: Force For Change supports digital monitoring systems in Cambodia, I found myself reflecting a bit on visibility in terms of tracking, monitoring, and surveillance. The project that Khadka describes involves “the technology for a digital tracking system which converts the paper-based method to an Inspection App. The app can complete the equivalent of a 20-page form — a process that previously took multiple days — in just one day.” Read More