Blog Posts for 2013

November 20, 2013 | 0 comments

(By: Zelie-Sandra Munzimi) On November 4th, 2013 was held a seminar animated by Dr. Gregg Zachary, Professor in Technology at Arizona State University. His field of study on science and technology in Sub-Saharan Africa is essentially oriented to information, knowledge production and the emergence of innovation in African cities. Zachary’s studies in science, technology and Africa reflect the need of science and technology to the individual, state and civil society. Using examples, the speaker sketched out the level and character of the techno-scientific shift occurring in the Sub-Saharan region from absorption of new technologies created by distant innovators to home-grown African innovations. This shift occurs essentially in diverse domains including agriculture, health–care, media, communications and commerce. The speaker also suggested the necessity of a robust program of support for home-grown African techno science that reflects the distinctive character of the emerging urban centers and educated middle classes in the region.

In the Sub-Saharan historic charts, shifts go from adoption of mature technologies created by others to incubation of emerging technologies of their own design. The speaker explained that Africans are becoming more willing to create things on their own. Thus, even though African stories emphasize disaster, disease, strife over resources, terrorism, etc., the speaker defined Africa as a “hopeful continent”. The speaker talked about the...

November 19, 2013 | 0 comments

As many of the devastating stories and photos of typhoon-wrecked Philippines show, one of the most pressing problems of the Philippines crisis is the lack of toilets and the collapse of water systems. Tacloban is currently facing a desperate lack of sustainable sanitation. UNICEF, among other organizations, has delivered portable toilets and hygiene supplies to Tacloban and is appealing for $34 million to help the four million children affected by Typhoon Haiyan, the estimated amount for six months of assistance. The lack of sustainable sanitation that the Tacloban region is suddenly facing is part of daily life for an astonishingly high percentage of the world's population. To throw a spotlight on the issue, the United Nations General Assembly declared this year would kick off the inaugural World Toilet Day on November 19. "We must break the taboos and make sanitation for all a global development priority," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in an official statement in Singapore last July. Some sobering facts about the world's lack of toilets, according to the United Nations: 2.5 billion people -- one in three people in the world -- do not have a toilet or access to sustainable sanitation Diarrheal diseases are the second most common cause of death in young children in developing countries They kill more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and measles combined In many countries girls stay home during menstruation days because of the absence of a safe place to change and clean...

November 19, 2013 | 0 comments

In addition to eradicating polio in India and starting the personal computer revolution, the Seattle Superman of our age has managed to make going to the bathroom a cause célèbre. Five years ago, if I’d told people I worked on toilets, they would have surely assumed I was a plumber. Now, they exclaim: “Oh! Isn’t Bill Gates into that?” More than one-third of the world’s population, approximately 2.5 billion people, doesn’t have access to a toilet. The Gates Foundation and a handful of celebrities like Matt Damon deserve credit for putting this sanitation crisis on the map. The trouble is that the Gates Foundation has treated the quest to find the proper solution as it would a cutting-edge project at Microsoft: lots of bells and whistles, sky-high budgets and engineers in elite institutions experimenting with the newest technologies, thousands of miles away from their clients: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/19/opinion/bill-gates-cant-build-a-toilet...

November 19, 2013 | 0 comments

The U.S. military is playing a major role in delivering food and water to the victims; it's the distribution that's the hardest part right now. Colonel John Merna is in charge of the 1,000 additional U.S. Marines who will join the relief effort by Wednesday. CBS News traveled with the colonel on one of the Marines' 12 Osprey aircraft operating here:
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57612886/u.s-military-helping-with...

November 18, 2013 | 0 comments

With local governments greatly diminished, churches, Philippine community groups and individuals have also vastly expanded their roles. South of here, in the village of San Joaquin, a priest organized the digging of a mass grave in the front yard of his church when local authorities could not clear access to the public cemetery:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/18/world/asia/philippine-community-groups...