Wednesday, 9 March, 2011
The University of Oregon's Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC), which has helped to build Internet infrastructure and provide technical training in more than 100 countries around the world for nearly 20 years, will expand its activities thanks to a $1.25 million gift from Google Inc.'s Charitable Giving Fund.
"We are excited to support the NSRC's contributions to the growth of the Internet in developing countries," said Euan Guttridge, technical program manager for Google in Sub Saharan Africa. "The NSRC stands out for its sustained nurturing of technical talent and for its excellent relationships with the Internet community. We hope that Google's donation will accelerate the growth of this community and ultimately the accessibility of the Internet worldwide."
The NSRC was established in 1992 with support from the National Science Foundation to provide technical assistance to organizations setting up computer networks in developing areas for collaboration with U.S. scientists. Today, the NSRC is partially funded by the NSF, along with additional contributions from more than two-dozen public and private organizations at any given time in support of its Internet development work to help connect universities, research institutes and non-profit NGOs (non-governmental organizations).
"We have several niches within the NSRC, but our overarching focus is trying to assist countries that are less advantaged, in terms of money, bandwidth, technical resources and basic infrastructure, so that they are able to participate in and contribute to the global Internet," said NSRC Director Steven Huter. "We appreciate the recognition and support from Google to help build more net and scale up technical assistance with partner organizations in Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Africa. To build sustainable networks, it's essential to work with local hands, cultivating local expertise."
With the Google funds, the NSRC intends to expand existing efforts in these areas:
• Campus network design programs such as those held recently at universities in Kenya, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Nepal and Thailand. The programs emphasize the importance of the campus network as the foundation in building robust, high-performance national research and education networks. In addition to hands-on training for Internet engineers, the NSRC backs that effort by distributing donated books and network equipment to help universities develop their local infrastructure and technical libraries. From 1992 through 2010, the NSRC has helped distribute about 300 tons of donated technical reference books and networking equipment to engineering and computer science departments, university libraries, NGOs and networking training facilities in the least-connected countries, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
The donated equipment, along with NSRC assistance, "is making a significant impact in improving the functionality of the respective campus networks, which helps to achieve the [Kenya Education Network Trust's] goal of getting more faculty members and students using the Internet for research and education activities," wrote Kevin Chege, the trust's network manager, in the January issue of the Internet Society's IETF Journal.
In response to requests for assistance, the NSRC plans to work with university colleagues in Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga, Ecuador and Guatemala this year.
These activities are partially funded by a three-year, $1.6 million NSF grant awarded in May 2010 for a project led by the NSRC's Dale Smith and Huter to cultivate the International Research and Education Network fabric, an essential underpinning of necessary cyber-infrastructure. "This gift from Google is significant, because it will allow us to provide more assistance to our partners around the world," Smith said. "The assistance will translate directly to getting more university faculty and students connected to the Internet."
In one complementary training initiative, NSRC collaborators have worked closely with the African Network Operators' Group to improve employment opportunities for women in Internet infrastructure work. The goal is to help more women across Africa develop the technical skills to become system administrators and network engineers.
• WirelessU.org Internet infrastructure and training, an effort that began in 2007 with colleagues at NetworkTheWorld.org and the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Italy, to help researchers, educators and NGOs that request help with Internet connectivity solutions via wireless technology. WirelessU-NSRC programs have been conducted, for example, in Benin, Papua New Guinea, Nepal and Thailand.
• Wireless sensor networks for research purposes, allowing for remote monitoring and intensive data collection in real time. Among current projects is an NSF-backed effort to collect climate data from lakes, some of them in isolated locations, around the world.
In addition, Huter said, the NSRC will be exploring innovative new projects and collaborations to assist in digitization of scientific and cultural resources at university libraries. Having affordable access to software and digital content is a huge challenge in many countries.
"We have championed Koha open-source software in Malawi and have implemented integrated library systems in 10 nursing colleges," said Kondwani Wella, librarian for the University of Malawi's Kamuzu College of Nursing in the small, agriculture-dominated country in southeast Africa. "Malawi is a shining example in terms of HIV and AIDS interventions." She also noted the country's research on maize, nutrition and chemistry, where the focus in on cassava starch. "These could be shared with the international learning and research community via the Internet."
About the University of Oregon
Getting More People and Information Online in Africa - Including Nelson Mandela's and Desmond Tutu's Archives
Wednesday, 9 March, 2011
As one of the most influential leaders of our time, and the face of South Africa’s incredible transition to democracy, Nelson Mandela’s name is almost synonymous with efforts to create meaningful dialogue and promote social justice. It is with huge excitement that today we announce a $1.25 million dollar grant to the Nelson Mandela Foundation Centre of Memory, which will help to preserve and digitize thousands of archival documents, photographs, and audio-visual materials about the life and times of Nelson Mandela.
The online Mandela archive, which will be made available to the global audiences in the future, will be a wealth of information for those wanting to learn about and research the life and legacy of this extraordinary African statesman. The online multimedia archive will include Mr Mandela’s correspondence with family, comrades and friends, prison diaries, and notes he made while leading the negotiations that led to the end of apartheid in South Africa.
A grant of the same size has also been made to the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town, for the documentation and digitisation of Desmond Tutu’s archive, as well as an interactive digital learning centre.
At Google we want to help bring the world’s historical heritage online -- and the Internet offers new ways to preserve and share this information, in Africa and elsewhere. Recent examples of our efforts in this field include our partnership with Yad Vashem, the Jerusalem-based archive of Holocaust materials, and our partnership with some of the world’s most famous art museums, through the Art Project.
We are also delighted to be announcing additional grants, also through the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund of Tides Foundation, which will help bring many more people online across South Africa and Africa, so that they can benefit from better access to information. These include grants to the Tertiary Education and Research Network (TENET) of South Africa ($750,000 for continued work to assist South African universities with Internet and information technology services), the Nigeria ICT Forum ($500,000 to support efforts in improving access to Internet infrastructure in tertiary education institutions in Nigeria), and the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) at the University of Oregon ($1,250,000 to enable more people in numerous African countries to participate in and contribute to the global Internet).
Saturday, 19 February, 2011
A joint workshop by AIT's intERLab, Network Startup Resource Center NSRC, and WirelessU brought together 25 participants from 6 countries - Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, India, and Bhutan - with backgrounds ranging from academic, governmental and non-governmental, to private sector, and instructors from Indonesia, India/Tibet, USA, and Europe.
The 5 day program addressed the basics of building sustainable wireless infrastructure for campus, village, and regional networks, in a 50/50 mix of theorectical foundations and hands-on exercises.
Special focus labs were dedicated to:
Participants and instructors alike enjoyed a week of sharing and learning, hosted by a great team at AIT/intERLab - hopefully with future events to follow.
Provided by Sebastian Buttrich
Sunday, 30 January, 2011
Ermanno Pietrosemoli provided a written report on workshops which consists of lectures supplemented by practical exercises conducted over a five day period. The training was provided for those who have the required background and interest in building wireless broadband data network.
The workshops were made possible by a variety of organizations and dedicated people to insure the deployment and sustainability of wireless networks. The venue was provided by the University of West Indies (UWI) in St. Augustine, Trindad, and Tobago. The instructors were from ICTP, EsLaRed and Internet Society and used the "Wireless Training Kit" developed by ICTP and state of the art, yet low cost, wireless devices. Each instructor has many years of experience teaching and implementing wireless data networks.
The students were supplied with training materials such as the Wireless Training kit, developed by ICTP, a set of slides exercies and low cost wireless devices. They received a copy of two books: the "Wireless Networking for Developing World" and the "802.11 Wireless Networks: The Definitive Guide."
To read the complete report be sure to select the attached document.
Sunday, 30 January, 2011
Marco Zennaro successfully defends his PhD in Stockholm, Sweden. Congratulations Marco!