Children's Rights

Working Towards a Deeper Understanding of Digital Safety for Children and Young People in Developing Nations

Posted by EKStallings on Dec 19, 2011
Working Towards a Deeper Understanding of Digital Safety for Children and Young People in Developing Nations data sheet 413 Views
Gasser, Urs, Colin Maclay, John Palfre
Publication Date: 
Jun 2010
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

This exploratory study is a first output of an ongoing collaboration between the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and UNICEF. It is intended as a contribution towards building a deeper understanding of children’s safety in a digital context in developing nations. More specifically, the objectives of the paper are threefold: First (and foremost), it seeks to raise awareness about issues related to digital safety for youth in developing nations. Second, it aims to provide a tentative map of these issues and give insights into the current state of the respective




Harvests of Development in Rural Africa: The Millenium Villages After Three Years

Posted by ccarlon on Sep 20, 2011
Harvests of Development in Rural Africa: The Millenium Villages After Three Years data sheet 252 Views
The Earth Institute at Columbia University
Publication Date: 
May 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

At the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000, world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration, committing nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and address pressing challenges of hunger, gender inequality, illiteracy, and disease. The year 2015 has been affirmed as the deadline for reaching these Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets.


The goal is to show how an integrated approach to community-level development can translate the international MDG agreements into ground-level breakthroughs throughout rural sub-Saharan Africa. Villages are located in deeply impoverished rural areas that were considered hunger hotspots—with at least 20% of children malnourished. Sites were selected to reflect a diversity of agro-ecological zones, representing a range of challenges to income, food production, disease ecology, infrastructure, and health system development.


The Millennium Villages Project is a ten-year initiative spanning two five-year phases. The first phase focuses on achieving quick wins, especially in staple crop production and disease control, and on establishing basic systems for integrated rural development that help communities escape the poverty trap and achieve the MDGs. The Project involves the coordinated community-led delivery of a locally tailored package of scientifically proven interventions for agriculture, education, health, and infrastructure. Over the first five-year phase, interventions are delivered at a modest cost, totaling approximately $120 per capita per year, of which MVP brings about half to complement funds from the host government, the local community, and other partners. The second five-year phase will focus more intensively on commercializing the gains in agriculture and continuing to improve local service delivery systems in a manner that best supports local scale-up.

The World Bank

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 06, 2011

"The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. Our mission is to fight poverty with passion and professionalism for lasting results and to help people help themselves and their environment by providing resources, sharing knowledge, building capacity and forging partnerships in the public and private sectors.
We are not a bank in the common sense; we are made up of two unique development institutions owned by 187 member countries: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA).

Each institution plays a different but collaborative role in advancing the vision of inclusive and sustainable globalization. The IBRD aims to reduce poverty in middle-income and creditworthy poorer countries, while IDA focuses on the world's poorest countries.

Organization Type: 
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.

uReport: Citizen Feedback via SMS in Uganda

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Aug 28, 2011
uReport: Citizen Feedback via SMS in Uganda data sheet 3482 Views

For aid organizations, knowing what local communities and beneficiaries want and need is the key to running successful, sustainable programs. In Uganda, UNICEF is using mobile phones and broadcast media to get direct feedback from Ugandans on everything from medication access to water sanitation. The project, called uReport, allows users to sign up via a toll-free shortcode for regular SMS-based polls and messages. Citizen responses are used both in weekly radio talk shows to create discussion on community issues, and shared among UNICEF and other aid organizations to provide a better picture of how services work across Uganda.
Sean Blaschke, a Technology for Development specialist at UNICEF Uganda, explains that uReport gathers information from participants and informs citizens of their rights and available services. Recent polls have included questions about school dropouts, water point availability, mosquito net usage, and youth employment, all collected via SMS polls.

Basic Information
Organization involved in the project?: 
Project goals: 

The project is three-fold:

  • To collect feedback and information directly from beneficiaries of projects in Uganda
  • To create a system to directly communicate with and push messages to uReport members
  • To allow beneficiaries to share their views on a number of different topics
Brief description of the project: 

uReport is a UNICEF project in Uganda that sends SMS polls and messages to subscribers in order to gather feedback about communities across Uganda. The information is then used in broadcast and print media to inform citizens about their rights and available services, while also acting as a means of detecting vulnerabilities in communities.

Target audience: 

The target audience is youth in Uganda who want to share information about their communities and start discussions at a community level about available services and programs.

Detailed Information
Mobile Tools Used: 
Length of Project (in months) : 
What worked well? : 

The project has seen a huge number of signups (more than 28,000 registered users), and reasonably high response rates (ranging between 18% and 30%). UNICEF also found that the program is mutually beneficial between them and their partner organizations, as partner organizations can use the SMS system to directly target their members, while UNICEF can use the information collected in the polls to get a clearer picture of how services and systems are working in individual communities.

What did not work? What were the challenges?: 

Challenges include:

  • Finding ways to keep uReporters interested in the project so that they answer the polls (UNICEF is currently testing out multiple incentive programs to see how they affect response rates)
  • Finding a balance between the one-to-one contact of mobile communications and the need to share information with a large number of people (partnerships were built with eight local radio stations in different districts so that information could be broadcast regularly to non-mobile owners)

MXIT: Uses, Perceptions and Self-justifications

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Apr 16, 2011
MXIT: Uses, Perceptions and Self-justifications data sheet 1471 Views
Chigona, Wallace, Agnes Chigona, Bomkazi Ngqokelela, and Sicelo Mpofu
Publication Date: 
Jan 2009
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

This paper reports on a pilot study investigating the perceptions and use of Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) amongst the youth in South Africa. MIMs are enjoying a high adoption rate amongst the youth in South Africa and MXit is by far the most popular MIM. However, the media, parents and educators are overly concerned with the use of the system. The accusations against MXit have included the allegations that it is time-wasting for the youth, it is a hunting ground for paedophiles, and it leads to anti-social behaviours. It is interesting, however, that despite the negative perceptions of the system, the youth are still using it, and presumably with their parents’ blessings.


Data for the study was gathered through in-depth interviews with randomly selected youth who use MXit, as well as with parents of children who use the system. The study has found that the youth use the system mainly for social networking and that, to most users, the system is more than just a communication tool - it is also part of their lives. The study has also unearthed the perceptions of the users towards fellow users and towards non-users. In addition, it has been noted that both the users and parents of users are employing self-justification strategies to deal with the cognitive dissonance arising from the negative discourse on MXit and their continued use or support of the system.


The findings of this study contribute to the understanding of how the youth use new media. The findings could be useful for those who may want to use new media for educating the youth and for marketing purposes.

Finding Some ICT Answers in Benin: A Guest Post by Linda Raftree, PLAN International

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Mar 02, 2010

This guest post was written by Linda Raftree who is using social media and ICTs in youth and community development work in Africa and elsewhere. She works for the NGO Plan.  Her article is re-posted here with permission.

Over the past few months, I’ve been supporting the development of a mobile data gathering/ crowd sourcing and mapping workshop for youth in Benin.  The training is part of a broader initiative to reduce violence against children.  We’ve decided to use Frontline SMS and Ushahidi as tools in the project because we think (and want to test whether) mobile data collection/ crowd sourcing incidents of violence will allow for a better understanding of what is happening in this area.  We also think that geo-visualizing reports of violence against children may have an impact on decision makers and might allow them to better plan prevention and treatment programs and services.

Finding Some ICT Answers in Benin: A Guest Post by Linda Raftree, PLAN International data sheet 3964 Views
Countries: Benin

Book Review - SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Feb 10, 2010

SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa is a new collection of essays and case studies examining how SMS has been used in Africa for acticism. Essays include Amanda Atwood’s report on Kubatana’s experiences in Zimbabwe setting up mobiles as a means of sharing news outside of government propaganda, to Bukeni Waruzi’s essay on collecting data on children’s rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2004.  SMS Uprising is published by Fahamu, a British-based organization with a focus on information services for Africa.

SMS Uprising provides the reader with a decent understanding of the state of mobile SMS usage in Africa today. The essays are written by writers, developers, activists, and researchers who are committed to Africa, and cover a multitude of ways SMS can be applied for advocacy work – everything from alerts about political unrest to sharing health information. The book is divided into two parts: context and case studies.

Soukari Ekine, the editor, notes:

SMS Uprising is significant for many reasons not least because it has been edited by an African woman activist. Often initiatives in Africa are studied by people who are quite distant from the continent or are academics who are remote from the grassroots of the subject under discussion. The book is also unique in giving an insight into how activists and social change advocates are addressing Africa’s many challenges from within, and how they are using mobile telephone technology to facilitate these changes...The intention is that the information contained within the book will lead to greater reflection about the real potential and limitations of mobile technology. 


Posted by mrestrepo on Dec 18, 2009

Editacuja is a Brazilian startup focused in knowledge management and contend development services for education, training and culture.

Integrate emerging technologies to provide innovative solutions to companies, universities and schools, enabling cross border iniciatives with high ROI

Works with a multi-media approach, enabling mobile, press, audiovisual and web media services and products.

With a multi-disciplinary team, Editacuja adds value and knowledge for projects that can educate and relate.

Editacuja Integrate Technologies

  • Mobile 2.0 based learning
  • Web 2.0 and social based learning
  • Artificial and collective intelligence
  • Immersive Learning
  • Augmented Reality
  • Simulations





Organization Type: 
Rua Aimberé, 2090 - 42
São Paulo
Postal code: 

Scenes from Amman: Mobile Data for Social Action in the Middle East

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Dec 09, 2009

"Innovations in Mobile Data Collection for Social Action," a workshop co-hosted by and UNICEF in Amman, Jordan, featured Ignite Talks -- five minute presentations by inspiring people who are using mobiles for social action in the Middle East -- and interviews with key participants.  Jacob Korenblum describes the work of Souktel in Palestine, and Erica Kochi from UNICEF Innovation, the co-host of the event, illustrates why data collected by mobiles is so important for their work in Iraq. 

Innovations in Mobile Data Collection for Social Action

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Dec 07, 2009

We will be blogging and twittering this week from a workshop we are co-hosting on Innovations in Mobile Data Collection for Social Action in Amman, Jordan.

Co-hosted by UNICEF’s country office in Iraq, UNICEF Innovation, and, this three-day gathering is bringing invited experts from around the world together to explore some of the key issues related to using mobiles for data collection and analysis of some of the toughest social issues.

Why are we hosting this event?

With the ubiquity of mobile technology, data collection and monitoring of key indicators from the ground up by affected populations is now possible. Mobile technology in the hands of people can now be more than a person-to-person communication medium but can be used for capturing, classifying and transmitting image, audio, location and other data, interactively or autonomously.

Peace Corps

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 01, 2009

The Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to 1960, when then-Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. From that inspiration grew an agency of the federal government devoted to world peace and friendship. Since that time, more than 195,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 139 host countries to work on issues ranging from AIDS education to information technology and environmental preservation.

Organization Type: 
Washington, D.C.

Are There Conflict Minerals on Your Mobile Phone?

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jun 01, 2009

So asks the Enough Project, and its new campaign Raise Hope for Congo. The Enough Project is part of the Center for American Progress, a US-based left-leaning think tank and advocacy organization. The Enough Project's campaign aims, according to Eileen White Read from the organization in an article submitted to to

..end the trade in “conflict minerals” from the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, which are sold by rebel groups to purchase arms and serve as a direct cause of widespread sexual violence in that country.

Mobile Phones, Mobile Minds: A Video About Mobile Natives

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Sep 19, 2007

Owning a mobile is becoming an indispensable element of young people's lives all around the world. This well-done 30-min video focuses on mobiles in education, explores whether mobiles are a force for good, or an example of technology gone awry; and offers a lot of cultural analysis of how young people use mobiles.

Produced by about young people's use of mobiles (albeit UK-focused), it is a good look at the world of young people with mobile phones, and the impact on schools and education. Young people are mobile natives and schools and NGOs better take heed.


Human Trafficking Hotline: Mobile Phones in the Fight Against Slavery

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Aug 08, 2007

Mobile phones are a vital resource in the fight against human trafficking. We hear occasionally of stories like this recent one from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysian police tracked down a syndicate using foreign women as sex slaves after receiving text messages from the women allegedly being held against their will.

According to the Star, "groups of gangsters in the eastern Sarawak state on Borneo island are believed to be holding women from the Philippines, Indonesia and China as prostitutes for foreign labourers working at the massive Bakun hydroelectric dam construction site in the state." One of the women obtained the mobile number of a reporter from the English daily and began sending SMS messages that the Star reported to police. A police raid resulted in the arrest of a local pimp and 10 women from Indonesia, the Philippines and China.

Meanwhile, in the Ukraine, three of the country's carriers are collaborating with the International Organization for Migration and set up a toll-free trafficking hotline. According to a report on Radio Netherlands, "customers of Ukrainian mobile phone service providers KyivStar, MTS and life:) can dial '527' from their handsets in order to receive information and advice from the IOM on migration and trafficking issues." The short code routes calls to a free IOM service providing information on the current realities facing migrants abroad including human trafficking and the consequences of irregular entry and stay in foreign countries. Migrants can also request information on legal methods of migration.