Author Archives: wouterdijkstra

ICT4Uganda spin-off selected for EU blogging competition TH!NK3

www.ICT4Accountability.wordpress.com, one of the blogs started by a former New Media student of the UvA, is officially selected to compete in the internationally renowned blogging competition’ TH!NK3’. This blogging competition, set up by the European Journalism Centre, will bring together some 100 bloggers, journalists, issue experts and students from the 27 EU member states, as well as neighborhood countries and beyond, to exchange ideas and debate sustainable development and global cooperation topics. Winners of the competition will be awarded with opportunities to travel and report from Asia and Africa. The big prize is a trip to the UN headquarters in New York in September 2010, at the time of the Millennium Development Goals summit.

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ICT4Accountability in Kenya

Nairobi — Kenya is seeking the services of leading mobile phone companies in an ambitious campaign to market the East African Community Common Market. In an Obama-inspired campaign — where ICT played a major role in galvanising public support — the country plans to educate all the 17 million Kenyans who own mobile phones on how they stand to benefit from the Common Market, whose protocol was signed a month ago. It will do this through short text messages. Radio will also be used widely — targeting mainly rural areas. Continue reading

Accountability starts with Countability

By: Wouter Dijkstra

mathsIn Uganda, even at the peoples parliament of Ekimeeza, where intellectuals are supposed to be gathered, there is a substantial lack of numbers, statistics and measureable facts. People have not mastered advanced counting and have no logical perception of values and numbers. 2000 – 500 = a big problem for a lot of people. So how can they understand context? Continue reading

Ekimeeza 2.

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This week, the topic of the Ekimeeza was on elections in South Africa and how Uganda could learn or take examples for Ugandan elections in 2011. Again, no position was taken and no preliminary explanation or overview of key concepts concerning elections or South Africa were made. Again, the MP of the day came in 15 minutes after the show had started making the appearance of some kind of god or movie star. He brought his wife and both wore immaculate white casual clothing. Continue reading

Ekimeeza, the Peoples Parliament on Radio One

By: Wouter Dijkstra

ekimeeza12I arrived around 2.30 at club Obligato, where the massively popular radio talkshow ‘Ekimeeza’ was about to start. I was welcomed by a series of middle aged men, who directed me to the man sitting at the head of a table. The table was about 12 meters long and seated around 16 people; an audience of about 150 people was surrounding this central structure. ‘Ekimeeza’ is the Ugandan word for ‘big table’; it is the place where Ugandans can speak their mind about issues concerning social and political issues and where they will be heard by the thousands of people tuned in at radio one. Continue reading

The ‘Last Mile’; A crucial step to connect

After SEACOM touches the shores of east Africa, this part of the world will finally be connected to the broadband network. However, the SEACOM cable is  just the backbone of the connectivity. The Last Mile is the final leg of delivering connectivity from a communications provider to a customer. The actual distance of this leg may be considerably more than a mile, especially in rural areas in Africa.  

The hunger for information and communication technologies can only be stilled by these last mile services which prove to include considerable challenges. Laying cables trough the vast space of the African continent would take forever, fortunately wireless technologies are meeting the african demand. WiMAX is brought up as the solution and investments are well underway. 

But there is a new kid in the town of wireless connectivity. This kid might delay the process of widespread broadband connection in Africa. A big battle appears to be between WiMAX and a technology that doesn’t yet exist, LTE.  This new technology is making investors weary of investing in WiMAX because they believe it is already outdated. The WiMAX industry has been bragging about its time-to-market advantage over LTE. Mobile WiMAX networks are rolling out this year. LTE networks aren’t expected to become commercial until 2010 or 2011.

It will be interesting to see when the new technology will be introduced and how it will affect the leapfrog Africa is about to make.