ICT news round-up – issue 90

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Posted in: Technology & Innovation

ICT news round-up – issue 90

December 04, 2006

In the developing world, corporations give small businesses management tools, and Nokia plans media project for Africa’s young. Meanwhile, BT research finds young people think goverment is the worst listener and international banks begin to take action against internet child pornography.

Bad listeners

The government is the worst listener according to new research by BT, finding 56% of children and young people in Britain think they are not being heard in today’s society. BT has launched its Better World Campaign, which aims to ensure that young people across the country improve the way they communicate.

The £10m campaign will run over three years and fuses BT’s Education Programme and Am I listening? campaigns. The survey included 1,200 young people between the ages of 7 and 16 and 80% of them rated their friends as the best listeners. Nearly half (44%) felt that adults did not listen to them.

The Better World Campaign aims to improve the speaking and listening skills of young people. The campaign also includes a website where users can find out how good they are at communicating as well as the Speaking and Listening Awards, which will award schools and youth groups that come up with novel ways in which to communicate with young people.

Adrian Horsford, director of corporate responsibility at BT, said: “At BT we believe that the ability to communicate effectively is the number one life skill.”

Contact; Emma Williams, CSR communications manager, BT 020 7356 5000 www.bt.com

SME toolkit

Small businesses in the developing world are to receive business management tools from IBM and the International Finance Corporation. The technology will also be made available to minority- and women-owned enterprises in the US. Called the SME Toolkit, the technology will be free.

“Access to best practice and business management tools is a significant barrier to the growth and sustainability of SME’s in developing countries,” said Lars Thunell, executive vice president of IFC. Stanley Litow, president of the IBM International Foundation and vice president of IBM corporate community relations, described the toolkit as a way in which to “accelerate economic development and job growth”. The two companies are focusing on developing partnerships using the toolkit specifically in India, Brazil and South Africa.

Contact; Catherine Collins, IBM 001 917 472 3460 www.smetoolkit.org

Africa’s voice

Nokia and Plan International have partnered to give a voice to Africa’s children. Nokia has initially donated 1m euros to develop information and communications technologies, such as radio, mobile phones and the internet, in Africa. Plan runs around 60 youth media programmes worldwide.

The children produce digital media, such as radio, video or music productions, which is relevant to them and promotes their rights. According to Plan, it also helps the children to gain self-confidence and ICT is also essential when fighting poverty. It also links remote communities to a wider national audience. Nokia’s donation will initially be used to support the existing media programmes.

Contact; Dan Coberman, Plan International & 020 8529 0202 www.plan-international.org; Nokia 00358 7180 34900 www.nokia.com

Banks act on child internet porn

International banks are to cut off financial sources in an effort to stop internet child pornography. In September, Standard Chartered called on all financial institutions to join its Light A Million Candles campaign. Mike DeNoma, group executive director of consumer banking at Standard, explained that the goal of the campaign is to “gather a million signatures in a virtual petition to challenge financial institutions, governments, payments organisations, internet service providers, technology companies and law enforcement agencies to work together to eradicate the problem”.

DeNoma wants banks to share information about criminal activity and to ensure that they do not provide capital for the websites. He also wants customers that use debit and credit cards to pay for the pornographic images to be stopped.

In order to do this, DeNoma is calling for all financial organisations to join the Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography, launched in March and involving banks and internet companies joining the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) to fight the sale of child pornography. The goal of the coalition is to eradicate commercial child pornography by 2008.

Contact; Jaime Tan, Standard Chartered Bank 0065 6530 3488 www.standardchartered.com; www.lightamillioncandles.com; International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children www.icmec.org

Economic empowerment through mobiles

Mobile banking (m-banking) is helping the poor to gain access to banking facilities, according to a Vodafone report, Economic Empowerment through Mobile, published on November 7. The research was carried out by Vodafone in partnership with The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and World Resources Institute (WRI). Vodafone also worked with Forum for the Future (FFF) to investigate the social and economic impact of its Airtime Transfer product in Egypt.

Contact; Vodafone Group www.vodafone.com; The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) www.cgap.org; World Resources Institute www.wri.org; Forum for the Future www.forumforthefuture.org.uk

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