24 November 2014

Creating a culture of reading to ICTs and Libraries

This video shows how Bhutan is supporting the growth of literacy through libraries and ICT initiatives. While not descriptive in respect to the how, it is neat to see how newer technologies and long-standing practices are working together on the same issue.

21 November 2014

An uncoordinated Ebola response

A rather damning article from Donald McNeil for the NY Times on the problematic Ebola response in Liberia.
American military helicopters ferrying doctors to remote areas were forbidden to fly back not only patients but even blood samples; recently samples from a village had to be walked to a road four hours away. At Monday’s meeting, according to the minutes, Dr. De Cock called this “unacceptable,” adding, “This has to change this week.”

Dr. Hans Rosling, a Swedish epidemiologist and consultant to Liberia’s Health Ministry, said that the helicopter order came “from somewhere in America.” In an interview, he cited problems not listed in the minutes: one Asian and two European donor countries are insisting on building new Ebola field hospitals in Monrovia, where hospitals have empty beds, rather than in remote counties where beds are desperately needed; they insisted because they announced those plans two months ago, he said. The national case count was not reported for two days recently because the government employee compiling it went unpaid and stopped working. The minutes of the Incident Management System were made available along with PowerPoint files and other documents by an expert who said the disorganization of the Ebola effort should be made public.
Read the full story here, it is well worth it. 

19 November 2014

The Jaden and Willow Smith interview: wisdom or nonsense?

An interview of Jaden and Willow Smith, the teenage children of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett- Smith, is garnering a lot of attention and mixed reactions. Here is an excerpt from their discussion with the New York Times Magazine:
What are some of the themes that recur in your work?

JADEN: The P.C.H. being one of them; the melancholiness of the ocean; the melancholiness of everything else.

WILLOW: And the feeling of being like, this is a fragment of a holographic reality that a higher consciousness made.

JADEN: [bursts into laughter] As soon as me and Willow started releasing music, that’s one thing that the whole world took away is, okay, they unlocked another step of honesty. If these guys can be honest about everything, then we can be more honest.
I have no opinion to offer here, other than just amazement at the conversation. I am curious what others think. 

Neat interactive tracking of actions by Ebola response donors from ONE

The ONE Campaign took their initial research on how donors are faring when it comes to funding the Ebola response to the next level. Today saw the release of the interactive Ebola Tracker. Here is how donor countries compare:

Sorry that it is really small. The UK comes out on top for pledged money as a percentage of GNI. Here is how the US is doing:

Go play around with it here.

17 November 2014

Blur/Gorillaz frontman on the problems with Band Aid and frames of Africa

"It starts to feel like it's a process where if you give money, you solve a problem. And really, sometimes giving money creates another problem," says Damon Albarn.

13 November 2014

Mapped: the trans-African highways

Usual caveats apply when it comes to things like this passed around the internet, but it is pretty neat. As someone who likes road trips, this is full of enticing opportunities.

via Ben Nwomeh