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The past 30 days in technology for development

Just touchdown in London town (JUNE 6TH)

We arrived in London roughly at 8am. The flight was good and what made it great it that there were 3 seats empty next to me. I was able to stretch out and relax a little. I was not able to sleep though; for some reason I cannot sleep on flights. Hopping the pond wasn’t all that bad and Virgin Atlantic made it a lot better. Our meals were great and it seems every hour we were served some sort of snack or beverage. Our plane arrived at Heathrow around 8am. Mike and I jetted off to customs and found ourselves at the end of an enormously long line. I am not a fan of waiting.

“Whites make locomotives; Negroes cannot make simple needles”

by Diane Bennett

The poor can’t sleep
Because their stomachs are empty.

The rich have full stomachs,
But they can’t sleep
Because the poor are awake.

-Copper miner
Lusaka, Zambia

Rulers, communities, and revolution

by William Easterly

“Whenever any form of government becomes destructive to [the pursuit of liberty], it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.”

These inspirational words may have been in the mind of courageous rebels who revolted recently against tyrannical Rulers.

I’m not sure what words were on their minds, though, because some of the rebels were dogs and toddlers.

"Book Discovery" and Policy Impact

Clive Thompson's article in the latest Wired on "The Future of Reading" is a compelling read. And I found especially interesting his mentioning of "what bibliophiles call book discovery."

He talks about the benefits of both putting book content online *and* also allowing people to engage/comment/mashup the text.

Breaking with Business As Usual - An MDG Strategic Conference

Next week, I'm pleased to be participating on a panel as part of an intriguing event called "Breaking with Business As Usual - An MDG Strategic Conference".  It is being led by a group I've recently learned about called MIDEGO - Global Partnerships Reaching Global Health Care Goals, based here in D.C.  I like the concept of the conference: Accelerating the Millennium Development Goals

The making of an SMS icon

Running social mobile tools through the global branding machine might not seem like an obvious thing to do, but done right it can lead to some surprising - and unexpected - results. This is our story.

Foko Welcomes Bloggers in Sava & Antsiranana and more cultural insights

These last weeks have seen a whirlwind of activities at FOKO : our bloggers travel, found photography clubs and celebrate their first year anniversary of blogging.

Paul Farmer and the Human Right to Development

by William Easterly

I’ll write one final post to complete the human rights trilogy, then collapse from exhaustion and go back to easy topics like World Bank follies.

Paul Farmer is my hero as a man of action, who has done amazing things for poor people at great personal sacrifice. He is also a forceful advocate for the human rights of the poor to health care, to food, to housing, to literacy, and to jobs. (I will be quoting from his Tanner Lecture from 2005.)

Ceibal Jam!: Creating Local Applications for Educational Needs in Uruguay

Last week we followed a group of volunteer students and professors from the University of the Republic who traveled to Santa Lucía, Uruguay to show primary school teachers how to incorporate the EduBlog platform into their classroom activities.

Ceibal Jam!: Creating Local Applications for Educational Needs in Uruguay

Last week we followed a group of volunteer students and professors from the University of the Republic who traveled to Santa Lucía, Uruguay to show primary school teachers how to incorporate the EduBlog platform into their classroom activities.

Second EWAMT Workshop

I did not expect to have this large number of girls who want to have the knowledge of blogging and social networks, so we enforced to looking for a volunteer to be just responsible for receiving these emails and registration. After our success in the first workshop, we received many emails from NGOs candidates their workers to attend our series of workshops. In addition, the most surprising thing that some men called us racial because these workshops are just for female, and they cannot be enrolled in our series of workshops

UN Human Rights and Wrongs

By William Easterly

Last Friday’s post “Poverty is not a human rights violation” spurred a very healthy dialogue on rights, including a response from Amnesty International , which mentioned the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Where compliance is king

This is the ninth in our series of FrontlineSMS guest posts. In this latest post Aurelio Gomes, who works out of Universidade Catolica de Mocambique, explains their use of the software in monitoring and improving anti-retroviral treatment (ART) compliance among rural communities in Mozambique

Amnesty International Responds to "Poverty is Not a Human Rights Violation"

by Sameer Dossani, Demand Dignity Campaign Director at Amnesty International

Bill Easterly takes on Amnesty International’s 2009 Annual Report. I know and respect Easterly’s work; I’ve even been on a few panels with him over the years on aid effectiveness and the World Bank, but I have to say he’s pretty off base here.

The basic premise of his post is this:

Hiperbarrio: Winner Of The Prix Ars Electronica Awards

Rising Voices congratulates its grantee Hiperbarrio from Medellín, Colombia for winning the prestigious Prix Ars Electronica awards in the Digital Communities category and with it a 10,000 euro prize. The Prix Ars Electronica is one of the most important awards for creativity and pioneering spirit in the field of digital media. From the Ars Electronica website:

Focus on the users, and all else will follow

If we were to have a mantra on the FrontlineSMS project, it would be this: “Focus on the users, and all else will follow”.

Poverty is not a human rights violation

By William Easterly

The title of this blog will make many think I am callous, and yet I definitely agree that poverty is an EXTREMELY BAD THING. Perhaps some use the words “human rights violation” to be equivalent to “extremely bad thing,” but why? There are many different “extremely bad things,” and it helps if everybody discriminates between them.

Missions look to SMS in Nigeria

This is the eighth in our series of FrontlineSMS guest posts. Here, Mike Blyth - Computer Systems Coordinator at Serving in Mission (SIM) - discusses their use of the software among missions operating in central Nigeria

Here’s a US development program working – stop it immediately!

by William Easterly and Laura Freschi

“[O]pen trade and international investment are the surest and fastest ways for Africa to make progress,” President Bush said when he signed an extension to the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) in 2004. Originally signed into law in 2000, AGOA removes US quotas and duties for thousands of products coming from some 40 sub-Saharan African countries.

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