Connect with us

Tech News

Nepal Solve-a-thon 2019: Young data enthusiasts tackle development challenges

Published

on

A two-day Solve-a-thon, the first of its kind, was organized by the World Bank and The Asia Foundation with support from UKAID at the Kathmandu University School of Management on 14-15 December. The event brought together data scientists, programmers, developers, researchers, and professionals with diverse backgrounds and provided them a platform to work collaboratively on data-driven projects to tackle developmental challenges. 

Youth in Nepal have immense potential to drive progress faster if they have access to data and proper mentorship,” stated Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Manager for Nepal. “Prototypes of products that came out of this two-day solve-a-thon validates that – from building a chatbot that lets Nepalis keep track of air quality, and a dashboard to monitor tourist flow in Nepal. To see how Nepal’s young data enthusiasts can come up with a range of solutions to help improve lives in Nepal is indeed fascinating.”

After a public call for application, the program received over 100 entries (individual and team applications combined) which were then screened based on the applicant’s technical and subject matter expertise along with their willingness and potential to continue contributing to the data space. A total of 55 participants and 14 mentors participated in the Solve-a-thon. Teams were formed based on the skill sets and expertise of the participants to ensure cross-pollination of ideas and effective collaboration. Over the two days, the participating teams worked with mentors and respective domain experts to come up with solutions, refine them and devise various prototypes.

The participants worked on nine different projects – three culminated from the 100-hour Nepal Data Literacy Program organized by the World Bank from June-November, three were proposed by the participants, and three selected by the team based on the pertinent developmental issues and availability of data. Participants tackled issues such as air pollution, tourism and women’s access to finance coming up with solutions such as autobots to communicate air quality and precautionary actions, a dashboard to visualize tourism data, and an app-based budgeting tool for women. 

Development work in Nepal brings up great opportunities but also many challenges. In the face of difficult or controversial issues, understanding and being able to use data and evidence empowers us to be brave – clearly setting out the issues at hand, identifying the priorities and holding ourselves, and others, to account to take the necessary steps,” stated Craig Irwin, Statistics Advisor at DFID.

At the end of the event, the teams presented their work via a series of lightning talks. Each team was provided with an opportunity to submit their detailed proposals and receive funding from the program to further develop their prototypes. The World Bank, jointly with The Asia Foundation, will select two to five proposals based on the availability of data for prototyping and its possibility to generate actionable solutions. In addition to receiving financial support, the selected proposals will also receive technical support for further development of the project.  

It is a pleasure to be part of this community working to make data accessible and open to all. We however, need to strengthen this community further. The open data expo was a great platform to connect the budding data enthusiasts with the existing data entrepreneurs,” highlighted Megan Nalbo, Country Representative for Nepal, The Asia Foundation.

The two-day Solve-a-thon concluded with an open data expo that brought together 14 local and regional organizations working in open data space. Organized to exhibit products and services based on an open-data model, the expo sparked a broader discussion on data usage to solve complex problems of everyday life. It attracted around 100 participants from the government, private sector, donor communities, academia, open data community, civil society and media. 

The expo helped to bridge the gap between data-based product and service providers, and their potential users. It was a pleasure to connect and network with other Nepali organizations who have been working to derive open-data based solutions,” shared a representative from one of the 14 participating organizations.  

Continue Reading
Comments

Tech News

Uzbek home appliance manufacturer Artel joins United Nations Global Compact

Published

on

This week, Artel Electronics LLC (Artel), Central Asia’s largest home appliance and electronics manufacturer, has become an official participant of the United Nation Global Compact (UNGC). Launched in 2000, the UNGC is a voluntary leadership platform for the development, implementation, and disclosure of responsible business practices. Artel becomes Uzbekistan’s third company to participate.

Artel joins over 10,000 companies worldwide, including Microsoft, Facebook and Nestlé, in affirming the Compact’s ten principles. These include a commitment to human rights, labour standards, sustainability, and anti-corruption.  The company will also seek opportunities to promote the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As one of the country’s largest companies, Artel’s membership will provide significant momentum towards the alignment of the Uzbek private sector with international standards.

Furthermore, Artel has become a founding member of the Coalition of Business Champions for the Sustainable Development of Uzbekistan. Artel will use its position alongside coalition partners to promote placing environmental and social considerations at the heart of the country’s growth. This builds on the company’s significant work on water provision, gender equality and education.

Bektemir Murodov, CFO of Artel Electronics, said: “We are delighted to join the UN Global Compact and become part of such a proactive global community of businesses working towards sustainable development. As a large Uzbek company, we have a huge responsibility to promote sustainability as well as international labour standards, human rights and anti-corruption. This reaffirms our commitment to these principles. 

We also know that this is a great opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leading companies, and we look forward to taking an active part in the conversation around how to promote the SDGs in Uzbekistan.”

Becoming a participant of the UNGC is the next step in Artel’s ESG development. The company has restructured its corporate governance to align with international best practice, and continually works to increase the efficiency of its products and reduce the environmental impact of its operations. Artel also has significant social projects that focus on water access and education. Most recently, Artel promoted the UN’s 16 days of Activism against Gender-based Violence and will soon launch a Women’s Development Programme with a legal clinic to promote legal literacy and gender equality.

Continue Reading

Tech News

World Bank Provides $100 Million to Accelerate Rwanda’s Digital Transformation

Published

on

The World Bank Group today approved $100 million in financing under the International Development Association’s (IDA) Scale Up Window to help the Government of Rwanda increase access to broadband and selected digital public services, and strengthen the digital innovation ecosystem in Rwanda.  

The new Digital Acceleration Project will support the government to expand digital access and adoption by spearheading a series of innovative digital access and inclusion initiatives, including supporting 250,000 households with financing to help acquire smart devices as well as training three million people in basic digital literacy (with targets for girls and women).

The project will also enhance the government’s digital service capabilities by equipping it with the ability to harness the power of big data and develop at least 30 new or upgraded digital services through large-scale investments in shared digital standards, platforms, and infrastructure. These will enable the government to safely scale more fully transactional and remote service delivery, including enrolling and issuing new digital ID credentials to 75 percent of the population. Finally, the project will increase Rwanda’s capacity to support digitally enabled innovation by strengthening the local entrepreneurship ecosystem, developing Rwanda’s digital talent base and helping tech firms to move from startup to growth. At least 300 digital start-ups will be directly supported by the project, with a focus on those that are female-owned.

Expanding digital access and adoption, enhancing digital public service delivery and promoting digitally enabled innovation are essential for Rwanda’s digital transformation which can in turn help drive a robust post-COVID-19 recovery,” said Rolande Pryce, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda. “The Rwanda Digital Acceleration Project encompasses all these elements and will contribute to Rwanda’s vision to become a knowledge-based economy and upper middle-income country by 2035, by leveraging digital technologies to accelerate growth and poverty reduction.”

The project will also support Rwanda’s efforts to crowd in private sector investment in digital inclusion initiatives, digital infrastructure and through support for digital innovation and entrepreneurship – with the goal of preparing the country for a data-driven and e-service based economy capable of supporting sustainable recovery in a post-COVID-19 context.

For Rwanda to leverage digital transformation as a driver of growth, job creation and greater service delivery, digital adoption needs to markedly improve. This project will help Rwanda tackle the affordability of digital devices and services, but also bridge lingering basic digital literacy gaps, to increase local demand for digitally-enabled services and platforms,” said Isabella Hayward, World Bank Digital Development Specialist, and Task Team Leader of the project. “The project will also support the GoR’s aspirations of providing 24-hour, cashless, paperless and fully transactional Government-to-Government, Government-to-Business, and Government-to-Person e-services both at the central government and sectoral levels.”

The project will be co-financed in the amount of $100 million by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), of which Rwanda is a non-regional member. This will be the AIIB’s second investment in Rwanda, and the first digital project investment financing to be co-financed with the AIIB.

Continue Reading

Tech News

The City of Ideas platform is a unique opportunity to make the city comfortable

Published

on

The Moscow City of Ideas platform is a platform where citizens can propose ideas for solving various issues related to the life of the capital and vote for proposals selected by experts.

Ideas with the largest number of votes are implemented in the city. Over the seven years of such projects, more than 270 thousand Muscovites have sent about 112 thousand ideas for the development of urban infrastructure. More than four thousands of them were selected by experts for further study, over three thousand ideas have already been implemented.

The citizens took part in projects like “My Park”, “Electronic House”, “Moscow Central Diameters”, “Moscow child health center”, “Museums of Moscow” and much more. Thanks to the proposed ideas, new public transport routes have appeared, a Moscow standard for children’s recreation has been developed, public service centers, children’s and adult clinics, libraries, and parks have been transformed.

After modernization, the City of Ideas platform has become more user-friendly. Citizens themselves propose suggestions of improving the platform. 12 thousand residents of the capital took part in the project. They proposed with over 600 ideas. The implementation plan included 121 of them, some have already been implemented.

Today, the platform provides short video instructions and materials explaining how to use platform. This will help both beginners and advanced users. Now citizens can submit their ideas directly from the platform’s main page. When sending a photo attached to the text.

The modernization also affected the voting process: the ideas that pass the expert selection will be presented in a single list. You don’t need to go to each page for grading.

And most importantly, the City of Ideas platform today has a modern design. These changes were suggested and supported by the citizens.

This service is available to individuals, representatives of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Africa Today2 hours ago

Rights experts call for end to violence against women in Tigray conflict

Experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council have called for urgent action to end violence against women and girls...

Human Rights4 hours ago

‘Bodyright’ campaign launched, to end rise in gender-based violence online

Corporate logos and Intellectual Property (IP) receive “greater protection online than we do as human beings”, the UN’s women’s health agency that works to end gender-based violence, UNFPA, said on Thursday, launching a new...

Africa6 hours ago

Gender Equality at the Expense of Democracy in Africa

At a first glance, the Transitional Charter released by the Comité national du rassemblement et du développement (CNRD), the junta...

Defense8 hours ago

Will India go Nuclear in the Future? – A regional overview

South Asia has not seen stability in long while. Ever since the colonial takeover by the British, it has been...

Finance10 hours ago

GCC returns to growth amid high oil prices and strong responses to COVID-19

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies are expected to return to an aggregate growth rate of 2.6% in 2021, according to...

Southeast Asia12 hours ago

Vietnam’s President Phuc visit to Switzerland and Russia

Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited Switzerland and Russia(November25-December 2) to promote his country’s bilateral ties with the two countries. During the visit to...

Africa Today14 hours ago

New Project to Support the Emergence of a Digital Economy in Djibouti

The World Bank today approved a US$10 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s program for...

Trending