Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Do We Still Need Telecentres?

Here's an article based on a report commissioned by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). The report, written by wireless expert Ian Howard, explores sustainable ICT and the need for wireless internet access for development (W4D).

The article "Rural communication: Is there still a need for telecentres now that there are mobile phones?" is also available in French and Spanish.

Fellowship Opportunity @ Stanford

The Center for African Studies at Stanford University requests applications for the African Leadership and Economic Development Fellowship.

Fellows will receive training in economic development from the Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies. Two fellowships will be offered. Awards will support tuition for this two-year master’s degree. A stipend will be included to help cover housing, books and other expenses. Upon graduation, fellows will be expected to return to their respective countries of origin where they will take leadership positions and make significant contributions to their country’s economic challenges.

Eligibility: To be considered for this fellowship, all applicants must be from Africa. They must be admitted to the Master of Arts program in International Policy Studies. Applicants must possess strong academic records and demonstrate commitment to economic development in Africa. We especially welcome applications from women.

How to Apply: Visit for details on how to apply to the Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies at Stanford University.

African Women Bloggers

Looking for information online can be so difficult. It's so easy to get sidetracked with one thing on the other. Reading the Technorati report, I decided to check the page for my blog there and saw that Ore's Notes was listed among Afrigator's top 45 female African bloggers (and just one of 3 blogs by Nigerian women).

Of course, this is drawn from blogs listed on Afrigator (Afrigator is an African social media aggregator), which is dominated by South African blogs (I used it last year to search for blogs by African women).

One good thing from this discovery is finding some new blogs to peruse.

Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2008 Report

I'm reading up about the use of blogging to build, promote and sustain social movements - particularly among women's groups. It's hard to find truly concrete examples of the use of blogging to do this and what I have found is anecdotal (nice, but if you have examples, please forward them to me0.

I am reading Technorati's 2008 State of the Blogosphere report. Their findings are not so surprising.

On a global level:

  • Two-thirds are male
  • 50% are 18-34
  • More affluent and educated than the general population
    • 70% have college degrees
    • Four in ten have an annual household income of $75K+
    • One in four have an annual household income of $100K+
  • 44% are parents

48% of bloggers live on North America; 27% in Europe; 13% in Asia; 7% in South America; 3% in Australia; and a measly less than 1% in Africa.

Of course, this is based on who responded to their survey, and so is not necessarily a true reflection of the actual number of bloggers.

However, if these figures are anything to go by, then blogging emerges as a still elitist activity and you can understand why blogging is having limited real effects particularly in Africa and among women.

The Future Awards: Nominations Extended

The Future Awards is a celebration of young people by young people. The event was recently launched at Studio 868 with nominations formally declared open. Judges for this year include Mo Abudu (Moments with Mo), Bolanle Austen-Peters (Terra Kulture), Siene Allwell-Brown (Nigeria LNG), with Dr. Reuben Abati remaining as the Chair.

The original deadline for nominations has been extended until at least Nov 10th, so if you know of any inspiring and accomplished young man or woman (ages 18 to 31, I believe), please send them in via the website,

The winners will be unveiled at the awards ceremony on the 18th of January, 2009, in Lagos .

I met Emilia Asim-Ita, the Future's PR Director online and am yet to meet her. I finally saw what she looks like when she appeared on Today with STV. She now hosts a segment on books and reviewed Madeline Albright's autobiography. This morning, she appeared with the Future's Operation Director, Adebola Williams talking about the event.

I'm so glad that celebrations like this are emerging, where we are finally learning to appreciate young people more, especially in a culture that *still* believes that young people should be seen and not heard - despite so much evidence that we are capable of so much.

10th Lagos Book and Art Festival

Theme: Literacy and the Global Knowledge Society

Date: November 7-9, 2008

Venue: Exhibition Hall, National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos

Key Literary Events: Panel Discussions, Dialogues, Conversations, Arthouse Parties

Details on; or visit the CORA secretariat at 95 Bode Thomas Street, Surulere, Lagos; or contact Toyin (0805.762.2415) or Jummai (0802.368.3651).

I attended last year and it was fun. The panel discussion I attended (the topic was on Diaspora writing) was on was hugely entertaining with the speakers passionately defending their points of view. There were also lots of stands to browse. And in my great tradition, I bought books that I still haven't read yet.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oxford Internet Institute: MSc in Social Science of the Internet

The Oxford Internet Institute (OII) has announced its new Masters program in Social Science of the Internet. See below for more info:


We are delighted to announce that the application process for our new MSc in Social Science of the Internet is now open. The first application deadline for the course is 21 November 2008 (for start in October 2009). The next deadlines are: 23 January 2009 / 13 March 2009. The same deadlines apply to our DPhil course in Information, Communication and the Social Sciences.

We are seeking applications from outstanding candidates, who have already achieved excellence in their chosen field and who display deep intellectual and practical curiosity about the many social aspects of ICTs. Further information about these courses, including course structure and reading lists, potential funding for students, and application process, are available at:

Best wishes,
Dr Victoria Nash
Director of Graduate Studies

'Be Bold' Podcast: Social Entrepreneurship

If you've heard the term "social entrepreneurship" and are unclear what it means; or if you have heard the term and are thinking about related career options, here is a podcast that you might want to check out.

I haven't listened to it yet (my currently highly unsatisfactory internet service won't permit me to), but Echoing Green, the organisation behind this podcast, are great supporters of social entrepreneurs (infact it's all they do), so it can't be half-bad. If you are able to listen to it, please share your feedback. It'll be much appreciated.

Internet Woes

My internet access has been so patchy this past week that reading and responding to emails has been virtually impossible. Seeing as it would take on average 7 minutes to open an email (IF I was lucky), I only selected those emails that appeared to be absolutely important. Btw, this is the Visafone that I just got hooked up with. My Starcomms connection at work has been just as bad (and it's usually the worse one). Then, my Dad's 21st Century was also not working, so I assumed it was a general problem. Until a friend mentioned that MTN's 3G service is working just fine. Hmmmm......

Anyway, FINALLY after only 1 week of being virtually offline, I find my service seemingly working okay (at 1.25am, thank you very much)! I called Visafone's customer service to harass them anyway for good measure. The lady I spoke with said they are "experiencing some downtime." Whatever that means. However she was sure that "it would be working soon." Again, whatever. I asked her if their customers would be compensated for a week of service paid for, with no service received. She said that she was sure that "they would do their best."

I hope this week is a better one, internet-wise.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Gbenga Sesan is Awarded an Ashoka Fellowship

It's a season of winning for Nigerians. I just had to share this great piece of news. Gbenga Sesan, executive director of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), one-time IT youth ambassador and ardent ICT champion has been honoured with an Ashoka fellowship.

Ashoka is a global organisation that supports leading social entrepreneurs in the work they do to make the world a better place. Fellows are selected following a rigorous screening process and become part of a prestigious group of changemakers.

Congrats Gbenga on this incredible achievement.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

What a Day

What a day! Most of it was spent sitting in a car in traffic. I can honestly say that I got almost not work done today. There was crazy traffic on the mainland; really bad traffic on the way from the mainland to the island; and crippingly slow traffic on the island. I really don't know what else to say. And Lagosians lamenting about the traffic feels as cliched as British people talking about their weather. I ended theday in the gym and worked harder than I have in a while, so I feel less stressed and ready to take on the rest of the week.

Here's a series called Nigerian Women Speak Out on the PBS website. It's rather old, but still makes for some interesting reading. Interviews include Hauwa Ibrahim and Chris Anyanwu.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Chimamanda Wins MacArthur Genius Grant

Old news now. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was awarded a 'genius grant' from the MacArthur Foundation. The fellowship, which comes with a grant of $500,000 spread over the next 5 years, is awarded annually to "support individuals across all disciplines who show exceptional merit and promise of continued creative work".

More info is available on the Guardian and MacArthur Foundation websites.