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_/  B y t e s   F o r   A l l ---  http://www.bytesforall.org
_/  Making  Computing  Relevant to the  People of  South Asia
_/  MAY 2002  * MAY 2002  * MAY 2002  * MAY 2002 * MAY 2002 *
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IT FOR THE CLASSROOM: A CONTEST
-------------------------------

Nice news for the talented software writer, interesting news for the
ICT-for-development sector... and great news for schools. The
Hyderabad-based International Institute of Information Technology
(formerly the Indian Institute of Information Technology) has launched
an interesting software contest.

In association with the Andhra Pradesh government, it has announced the
contest to develop IT-based resources for teaching  science concepts to
rural school children between seven to ten years.

Resource to be developed is for the topic of 'Water', with the scope
extending from properties to use and importance in daily life. It can
either be a software module, or a detailed 'script' that can be IT
enabled.

The aim: developing pertinent concepts through text, graphics,
audio/video clips, animations and examples from everyday life and
incorporate as much user interaction as possible. The module should run
for about 20 to 30 minutes. Above all, it should be built on open/free
software.

Interestingly, the software can be in any Indian language, including
English. Send in entries to [EMAIL PROTECTED] or on floppy/CD to the
'Science Education Competition', International Institute of Information
Technology, Gachi Bowli, Hyderabad 500 019.

Prizes of Rs 20,000, Rs 10,000 (two prizes) and Rs 5000 (two prizes).

Authors of prize winning entries will have the opportunity of
participating in a larger developmental programme involving content
creation for a wide ranging school curriculum to be implemented in
schools and non-formal institutions country-wide.

The last dates for receipt of entries are: 15th May 2002 for category A.

'PENGUIN BABY' IS BORN
---------------------

>From Mumbai comes this product called the 'Penguin Baby', a "reliable,
feature-rich, fast, scalable, low-cost Linux-based communication
server". It is specially aimed at the small and medium enterprise,
having a base of under 25 PCs.

It consists of a Mail Server (to send, receive, manage, your mail IDs)
and a proxy server (allowing one Internet connection to be shared by all
office PCs). What's promised is not just a highly cost-effective Linux
solution but also "no piracy hassles and the highest product
shelf-life".

Contact 50, Hira Mahal, 250 Kalbadevi Rd , Mumbai 400 002. http://
www.ramshyam.com Tel +91.22. 207 8946, Email: [EMAIL PROTECTED]

ONLINE RIGHTS FOR WOMEN
------------------------

Tune into bridges.org for details about another Indian project.

Nari Raksha Samiti (NRS) is an Indian social welfare organisation
devoted to improving the lives of poor and destitute women.  Founded
fifty years ago to help women in distress, NRS focuses on promoting the
safety and security of women, family welfare, employment, health, and
training in job-oriented professions. The Samiti has twenty centres
headed by volunteers.

Under the leadership of Vandana Sharma, NRS has begun using twenty-first
century technology to address the wrongs that result from the age-old
traditions associated with the dowry system.  Vandana recognized the
impact that computers are having on the changing Indian economy and
established a small computer education centre in the NRS building. 
Vandana and the NRS volunteers are now training 250 young women -- sixty
of whom are dowry victims and have a history of harassment and
exploitation -- in basic computer literacy as well as office software
such as Excel, Word, and Power Point.  This IT training program joins
training programs in tailoring, interior decoration, cooking, food
preservation, and weaving in providing needy women with the job skills
necessary to break out of the cycle of poverty and abuse which affects
so many women in India.

The NRS computer centres not only provide job training, but have also
allowed NRS to establish an online complaint system for solving dowry
and family dispute issues.  Women can confidentially lodge complaints
through the system and receive assistance from NRS and police and
government authorities.  NRS has been successful in training more than
four hundred dowry victims and poor women in the community.

Contact Vandana Sharma at +91-11-3973949/2945372 or at [EMAIL PROTECTED]
or visit the NRS website at http://www.narirakshasamiti.org.

E-COMMERCE IN NEIGHBOURING NEPAL
--------------------------------

What's the potential for e-commerce in Nepal? Look below, and see some
specific recommendations regarding potential e-commerce projects in the
country. The authors conclude that they "were struck by the degree to
which e-commerce considerations in developed nations were valid in
developing nations." http://www.isoc.org/oti/articles/0401/press.html

IT AND THE DEAF
---------------

Here's an interesting note from Chetan Sharma
<[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

The IT Industry can employ visually impaired persons in various
functional responsibilities involving administration, front office,
telephone operators, legal as well as medical transcriptionists,
e-servicing as well as client servicing With appropriate training, those
who are visually impaired can be employed at senior levels.

One such training tool, called JAWS, and developed by a group of
visually challenged persons from the US, is a screen-reading software,
i.e. whatever is typed or appears on the screen is read out orally (in
robotic voice and standard accent and pronunciation) to the visually
impaired people. JAWS helps the blind people to learn to type in not
more than 10 to 15 days after using the software and obtaining relevant
training.  Support in Braille is also available.

The Indian National Association for the Blind (NAB), Bangalore has been
using JAWS  to offer visually challenged persons an entry-level program
to become familiar with computers.

ONLINE COLLABORATION IN S.ASIA
------------------------------

Propoor.org says the Net can bring together campaigners to share "both
information and resources as well as have a shared vision".  What's
more, any barriers of real space and time are overwhelmingly minimised
when a community goes into online collaborations.

In South Asia, information is readily available but is hard to find. So
even the social sector has relatively limited resources to learn from
its own experiences. "Therefore, learning through sharing becomes an
important way to become knowledgeable," says Pro-poor.

Online collaborations through ICTs have the capacity to link hospitals,
schools and libraries to the Internet. Such interactive collaborations
help promote active participation in societies through online "town
squares" where communities exchange relevant information.

Some examples from Proopoor.org: Collaborative ICT tools at Milk
Collection Centres at Co-operative Dairies in Gujarat brings tangible
benefits to more than 60,000 farmers daily. Using weighing machines with
PC interface and online milk testers, this system has delivered results
over many years.

Jhabua Extension Education in tribal Madhya Pradesh documents the use of
satellite communication for extension education in remote areas of the
State. Using direct reception TV sets, with satellite-based talk-back
facility, the project successfully experimented developmental programs
targeting village health workers, staff and government employees.

The Kothmale Internet Community Radio in Sri Lanka combines the "old"
technology of community radio with that of the Internet. The radio team
browses the Internet for information requested by the audience,
translates it into the local languages and then broadcasts it in a daily
programme.

A classic example of Wide Area Networking (WAN) that is serving the
Indian society for quite some time is the computerised railway-ticketing
service.

Nice examples. But we probably need much, much more happening! If we
want to make a real difference to the lives of millions...

DATABASE ON GENDER ISSUES
-------------------------

POPLINE database is now available online.

Looking for the latest information on female genital mutilation? Need a
journal article on adolescent reproductive health and HIV/AIDS? Trying
to track down an article on population and the environment? The answers
to these questions and much more are now just a few mouse clicks away on
the new Internet POPLINE database. POPLINE, the world's largest
bibliographic database on population, family planning, and related
issues.

Is now available free of charge on the Internet. All 280,000 citations,
representing published and unpublished literature, can be accessed for
no charge at http://www.popline.org. For more information, log on to
http://www.jhuccp.org or send an e-mail to [EMAIL PROTECTED]

E-COM WITH MINMAL INFRASTRUCTURE
--------------------------------

PEOPLink <www.peoplink.org> is researching a new strategic plan. It is
to develop e-commerce software <www.catgen.net> that works with minimal
telecommunications infrastructure.

Says PEOPLink: "We provide training and free software to craft
cooperatives; we are interested in expanding to other sectors.  We are
very interested in locating evaluation studies on dissemination of
information technology to micro enterprises so that we can learn from
the experience of others.  We are particularly interested in studies
involving India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya, Brazil, and Ecuador."

NEWSLETTES OF GKP
-----------------

PARTNERS is the newsletter of the Global Knowledge Partnership, bringing
you news and views from GKP, via e-mail and the World Wide Web, monthly.
Submissions are welcome. Contact [EMAIL PROTECTED]

RECYCLING COMPUTERS
-------------------

Computer Aid International is a non-profit registered charity based in
London, England which supplies fully refurbished second-user Pentium
computers for schools and community organisations in Third World
countries.

In less than four years of existence Computer Aid has supplied 10,000
fully refurbished computers to non-profit organisations in 63 different
developing countries.

Computer Aid recovers its costs by charging a "handling fee" of 39 per
Pentium computer (approx US$55) plus any shipping fees incurred. By way
of example a full container of 230 Pentiums delivered to Johannesburg
freight terminal including all "handling fees"; transport, shipping,
insurance and customs documentation as far as the freight terminal costs
a total of 10,300 or 45 (approx US$64).

"The total cost per computer is typically less than one tenth of the
purchase price of a new computer locally," says this network. Further
info from www.computeraid.org or from Angela Anyiam at
[EMAIL PROTECTED]

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bYtES For aLL is a voluntary, unfunded venture. CopyLeft, 2001. bYtES
For aLL e-zine volunteers team includes: Frederick Noronha in Goa,
Partha Sarkar in Dhaka, Zunaira Durrani in Karachi, Zubair Abbasi in
Islamabad, Archana Nagvenkar in Goa, Arun-Kumar Tripathi in Darmstatd,
Shivkumar in Mumbai, Sangeeta Pandey in Nepal, Daryl Martyis in Chicago,
Gihan Fernando in Sri Lanka, Rajkumar Buyya in Melbourne, Mahrukh
Mohiuddin in Dhaka and Deepa Rai in Kathmandu. To contact them mail
[EMAIL PROTECTED]

Two years on, BytesForAll thanks all those who have volunteered their
time, energy and motivation in taking this experiment forward, since its
launch in July 1999. If you'd like to volunteer too, contact the above
address.

BytesForAll's website www.bytesforall.org is maintained by Partha
Sarkar, with inputs from other members of the volunteers' team and
supporters.  To join or leave this mailing-list simply send a message to
[EMAIL PROTECTED] with SUB B4ALL or UNSUB B4ALL as the subject.

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