The snap shot age distribution in a population can take three basic shapes. Pyramid is the most common in animal world where reaching the ripe old age is rare. Advances in medicine and economy have changed that in human societies. The pot shape is the best (till is lasts) as the workforce is larger with respect to the number of dependents (old and children). An urn, with a wider top and a bottom is the worst.
At Sri Lanka’s largest agricultural market a large projection screen overlooks 12 acres of stalls brimming with produce. Traders at the Dambulla market consult the screen to receive up-to-the-minute pricing information on produce being sold in the market. This information helps them negotiate fair prices at any of the market’s 144 booths, says Harsha de Silva, head economist at Sri Lanka-based LIRNEasia, a non-profit organization and IDRC partner that aims to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve the lives of Asia’s people. In the case of the Dambulla market traders, de Silva says farmers can negotiate from a stronger position because information is accessible. Such information is vital to ensuring agricultural markets work efficiently because it helps farmers reduce their transaction costs, according to de Silva.
Exactly seven years from yesterday (still today to some), early in the morning on September 11, 2001, nineteen hijackers took control of four commercial airliners en route to San Francisco and Los Angeles from Boston, Newark, and Washington, D.C. The hijackers flew two of the airliners, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center. Another group of hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon. A fourth flight, United Airlines Flight 93, whose ultimate target was either the United States Capitol or White House, crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
While some Asia-Pacific economies are world leaders in information and communication technologies (ICT) where broadband access is ultra-high speed, affordable and close to ubiquitous, in most of the region’s poorer countries Internet access remains limited and predominantly low-speed. This is what ITU’s Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Report for the Asia-Pacific region 2008 says. It was released at ITU TELECOM ASIA 2008, Bangkok, Thailand yesterday (Sept 2, 2008). The Report finds evidence that ICTs and broadband uptake foster growth and development, but the question remains as to the optimal speed that should be targeted in view of limited resources. The area in which the region really stands out is the uptake of advanced Internet technologies, especially broadband Internet access.
Beyond Tunis: Changing Policy Rohan Samarajiva Government is about the sustenance of hope. Yet in too many places, government is about killing hope: “you can’t make it because you’re poor/ your ethnicity is wrong / you aren’t from the right school.” When hope is dead, when the pie looks like it’s not expanding, and the game is zero-sum, the path that remains is hatred. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) shake things up. Not necessarily for the better; but with prodding of the right kind and possibly some luck and happenstance, the equilibrium can be broken in a positive way.
humanitarian.info » The Long Last Mile Courtesy of Nuwan on the humanitarian-ict mailing list, I just watched “The Long Last Mile” on YouTube. Produced by Television for Education – Asia Pacific, it describes the project by LIRNEasia to evaluate Last-Mile Hazard Information Dissemination. Some useful points in an accessible format – redundancy in communication technologies, identification of key responders, community engagement in the process, the importance of simulation exercises for learning, and so on. Only 12 minutes long, it’s definitely worth watching.
Two publications, with chapters by LIRNEasia researcher Chanuka Wattegama, were launched during the GK3, third global Knowledge conferences held in Kuala Lumpur in December, 2007. The biennial Digital Review of Asia Pacific is a comprehensive guide to the state-of-practice and trends in information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) in Asia Pacific. The third edition (2007/2008) covers 31 countries and economies, including North Korea for the first time. Each country chapter presents key ICT policies, applications and initiatives for national development. In addition, five thematic chapters provide a synthesis of some of the key issues in ICT4D in the region, including mobile and wireless technologies, risk communication, intellectual property regimes and localization.
by Harsha de Silva & Ayesha Zainudeen In Does inequality matter? Exploring the links between poverty and inequality (p. 135-167), Edited by Prashan Thalayasingam & Kannan Arunasalam. Published by CEPA, Colombo, 2007 Pre-publication version available for download. The paper was presented at the Centre for Poverty Analysis Annual Symposium on Poverty Research in Sri Lanka (6-7 December 2007, Colombo) Introduction: Much has been said of the benefits of access to telecommunication especially at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’.
On October 1, LIRNEasia’s Director of Strategic Development Helani Galpaya made a presentation at the University of Southern California. Her title is a play on an old song celebrating the golden era of radio: “Video killed the radio star.” The slides she used are available here . USC Annenberg | Annenberg Research Network on International Communication Speaker Series: Helani Galpaya Join students and faculty for a presentation by LIRNEasia’s Director of Strategic Development, Helani Galpaya. Her topic: “Mobile Kills the Telecenter Star.
LIRNEasia is in the process of updating and fine-tuning its Mission Statement; this is being done in light of the rapid expansion–both in terms of research interests and geographical coverage. The process was kick-started at a planning meeting in Kandalama, Sri Lanka on 30 June, where LIRNEasians reviewed the current Statement, and came up with some suggestions as to how it can be improved to more accurately capture its mission.
By Rohan Samarajiva The findings of a pilot project on learning how information-communication technologies and community-based training can help in responding to disasters such as tsunamis were discussed by community leaders and international experts at a workshop on “SHARING KNOWLEDGE ON DISASTER WARNING, WITH A FOCUS ON COMMUNITY-BASED LAST–MILE WARNING SYSTEMS” held on March 28th and 29th, 2007 at the Sarvodaya headquarters in Moratuwa. These finding ranged from the difficulties experienced in communicating disaster warnings to villages when mobile GSM and fixed CDMA telecom networks were not functional due to conflict conditions to the importance of not leaving newspapers on top of sensitive electronic equipment which can overheat and shut down as a result. In terms of the five communication technologies that were evaluated across multiple criteria, the addressable satellite radio sets and the java-enabled mobile phones performed the best, with the GSM-based community warning device developed locally by Dialog Telekom, MicroImage and University of Moratuwa following closely. The VSAT based warning system did not perform too well in the tests. The objective was not to declare a winner among the technologies, but to find out how they could be improved to perform reliably in the difficult conditions of Sri […]
By Rohan Samarajiva LBO >> Choices : Priceless Link 08 March 2007 08:26:29 http://www.lbo.lk/fullstory.php?newsID=2020236857&no_view=1&SEARCH_TERM=24 March 08 (LBO) – Indonesia, like Sri Lanka, sends its women to foreign lands to work as housemaids.
The first phase of the Last-Mile Hazard Information Dissemination (HazInfo) project funded by IDRC, was completed recently with the training of trainer component. LIRNEasia is implementing this project along with its project partners Sarvodaya, the largest community organization in Sri Lanka and TVE Asia Pacific (TVEAP), a non-profit media organization working in the Asian region. LIRNEasia has undertaken a number of initiatives in the area of ICTs disasters and early warning post the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster of 2004. However, this is by far the largest project undertaken LIRNEasia in this area to evaluate the suitability of a number of ICTs (information and communication technologies) deployed in varied conditions for their effectiveness in the last-mile of a hazard warning system.
A Participatory Study on Actions Required to Avoid and Mitigate Dam Disasters download document in PDF Executive summary in Sinhala (PDF) Executive summary in Tamil (PDF) The need for this project arose in the course of disaster-management expert consultations carried out by LIRNEasia and The Vanguard Foundation in the preparation of “NEWS-SL: A Participatory Concept Paper for the Design of an Effective All-Hazard Public Warning System” in January-March 2005. The current Concept Paper outlines the contours of an early warning system for dam related hazards in Sri Lanka. It is being developed in a participatory, consultative, and transparent process. This interim draft has been compiled on the basis of research and an Expert Consultation held 20 May 2005 at the Distance Learning Center located on the campus of the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration, with participation from experts representing several decades’ worth of experience in several key Sri Lankan dam administration authorities. This draft is posted for comment.
Samarajiva and Zainudeen had an article published in this issue of E-Gov, the full PDF of which is linked to below. In 2002, the-government of Sri Lanka embarked upon a broad development strategy, with a focus on services. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) were identified as one of the key drivers of national integration and economic growth. The eSri Lanka Initiative (eSL), which was designed in 2002-03, was intended to �take the dividends of ICT to every village, to every citizen, to every business and transform the way Government works � [to] develop Sri Lanka�s economy, alleviate poverty, and improve the quality of life and the opportunities for all of our people� . R.
Round 1 (November 12-23) Comments requested An organization that is coherent and focused must have a common purpose and its members must know what that purpose is. Even better, those members must have ownership of that purpose, having participated in defining it. This is the case in organizations that are more than the sum of their parts. LIRNEasia is an affiliate of LIRNE.NET, an organization that was created by Bill Melody, Rohan Samarajiva and Knud-Erik Skouby (with the help of several others) in 2000.