Using ICTs in Education in Fragile Contexts: A Working Paper

1.1 Mapping A Fragile Context

Only by securing development can we put down roots deep enough to break down the cycle of fragility and violence – Robert B. Zoellick, President

According to the World Bank, a billion people live in countries affected by fragility and conflict. Poverty rates average 54 percent compared with 22 percent for low-income countries as a whole. These countries which are defined by weak institutions and the impact of warfare constitute a protracted development challenge where results are hard to achieve. While the risk of failure in these countries is high, the risk of non- action is even higher: the annual global cost of conflict is estimated to be around $100 billion. Aside from the lives lost and damaged due to conflict and the scale of human suffering it creates, conflict also destroys assets and institutions. Against this background, ICTs can provide innovative solutions to the provision of knowledge in fragile situations where communities and governments are faced with the challenges of limited resources and capacities. Continue reading

101 for Campaigning for Human Rights in Africa

WHAT does it mean to campaign for internationally recognized human rights in sub Saharan which is chock-filled with rampant human violations? Does it mean that because governments in the region violate human rights willy-nilly, there should be no concerted effort to engage in a campaign for their recognition.

It is not enough to feel outrage when we learn of the number of children exploited sexually or at work, of refugees or of those suffering from hunger. We must react, each one of us to the best of our abilities. It is not just a matter of looking at what government is doing – Federico Mayor, former UNESCO Director-General

Human rights are often misunderstood and can sometimes be seen as abstract ideals with not much practical relevance for real people. And there is no doubt that the rampant abuse of human rights in Africa only serves to worsen the inequalities and vulnerabilities of individuals and communities.

The promotion of social justice and the culture of peace in Africa is of paramount importance but doing the job can be quite a risky business. And, of course, not so many people are willing to put their lives on the line. It’s understandable.

There are many stories of people who have disappeared in the night never to be seen again, of daylight murders, of state impunity that fill the majority of the citizens of the continent with terror. Continue reading