Women and cyberstalking


Take Back the Tech! is a collaborative campaign to reclaim information and communication technologies to end violence against women.

From their website: “The campaign calls on all ICT users – especially women and girls – to take control of technology and strategically use any ICT platform at hand (mobile phones, instant messengers, blogs, websites, digital cameras, email, podcasts and more) for activism against gender-based violence”.

Most important, this campaign wants to raise awareness about cyberstalking, ang give the women an important tool to defende themselves from this new form of violence


A digital class in Senegal – People (part 2)

On Monday morning, I got up early. It was unusually warm for me, I have just left the Italian winter, with its rainy days. But telling the truth, I have to admit that I was very excited.

I didn’t know anything about the people we were going to meet, and my head was full of commonplaces. I would have never thought that the young girls immediately asked for a Facebook account  …

Let’s start form the beginning … that morning, we met just a woman. The class was scheduled for the afternoon, but all the village knew we were there. The lady wanted to learn writing her name, using a pen, not a computer.

Finally, in the afternoon we met our first group of ‘students’, mainly composed by women. And two men. At the beginning there were few words, many smiles, and a sort of suspicion. It was difficult to understand their expectations, it was difficult to realize ours. For most of them was their first ‘digital’ experience, and even the keyboard was largely unknown …

Our first class flew by, in a mix of multiple languages … Italian, French, Serer, English for some technical words …

But the real surprise was on Tuesday morning: when we arrived we found a group of young girls waiting for us. Same as all teen agers, they wanted a computer class to create a Facebook account. In a while, I realized that we are so full of commonplace, that we can’t face reality. Yes, we were in a small dusty village, but connections make information very fast, and Africa is running fast.

So  that, at the end of our second day, we had two fabulous different groups of students




A digital class in Senegal – Intro (part 1)

Djilor - 'skyline'

Djilor – ‘skyline’

Djilor is a small village located in Senegal, in Fatick region, 200 km away from Dakar, near the delta of Sine Saloum.
Even if we can consider 200 km as a short distance from Dakar, there is a huge gap in terms of health and daily life: here malaria is endemic the whole year and a simple diarrhea can cause a serious disease. The only hospital is in poor conditions.
In spite of these problems, telcom technology is widespread: smartphones are very common and mobiles work everywhere. If you talk to teenagers about internet, they immediately ask for a Facebook account. The only internet point is in Fimela, at a walking distance of half an hour, and wifi connection is available only in couple of touristic and expansive lodges.
Fortunately, in one of these lodges, we were able to manage our ‘digital classroom’ with some secondhand laptop donated by an European company.
After a short visit to a local festival, we spent our first day installing software, cleaning virus, resetting keyboards, translating in French, dusting down computers, testing connections … On Sunday night, everything was ready for our first class in Senegal.

… to be continued …

Djilor - main square

Djilor – main square

Setting up computers

Setting up computers

My first time in Africa

If you are a reader of my blog, a friend of mine or you simply look for my name in the web, you can think I am a liar. That’s true, I visited many African countries in the last twenty year, as a tourist or tour leader (it means the same for me!)

But my next trip will be a very special one for me. For the first time I’ll go there for a serious project. Thanks to Italian no-profit organizations Informatici Senza Frontiere (it sounds like IT without borders) and Yungar per la pace (Yungar for peace) me and two other friends will teach basic computer in Senegal.

That’s why I feel like my first time in Africa. I deeply believe that facilitating access to computing, helping to fight digital divide represents a step towards democracy, and social inclusion.

I hope to tell you soon about this story here, or if you’d like to practice your Italian also here.

Stay tuned!


Social Media Week – February 7-11, 2011

February 7 -11, 2011

Next week it will be held an important event for Social Media.  Nine cities will host simultaneously The Social Media Week : from New York to Rome, San Francisco, Paris, Hong Kong, Toronto, London, Istanbul, Sao Paulo.

Every city has its onw agenda, hundreds of people involved in  free meeting and conferences.

I think it would be useful to attend some events also if you are in a different country. In my experience, even if we rightly consider the Net as a whole, there are many differences between countries, as for culture, technology, development.

I hope there will be also the opportunity to spread the voice about  Egypt protest, and talk about how people are using the Net in this situation, censorship, freedom, and so on.

So if you are in Rome … I suggest to not miss Colosseum, but also some Social Week’s events!

Malaria: how technologies can improve prevention campaigns

I started reading something about malaria the first time I went to Africa. It was more than 20 years ago. I only needed to know the best treatment to prevent the disease.

I surprisingly realized that there weren’t many medicines, and they couldn’t prevent the disease for sure. I wasn’t affected with malaria, but I had a lot of diseases because of the treatment.

It was in that time that I asked myself how so many people in different countries can struggle against this disease, as treatments are so expensive, and plenty of side-effects.

I began from my country, Italy. Malaria was widespread in 40’s and 50’s, in many areas in the countryside. Then, there were many environment reclamations, and this issue became less and less important.

Nowadays that many people move from one country to another, as it’s easier to travel for tourism or for job, and the costs are becoming more and more higher for many countries, there is an increasing attention on this disease.

Just a couple of highlights from the World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report 2008, which draws upon data collected through 2006:

–       new methods estimate the number of malaria cases is 247 million for 2006.

–       small children remain by far the most likely to die of the disease  (a child dies of malaria every 30 seconds)

–       malaria is endemic in more than 90 countries

–       access in Africa to a rather new artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), which is recommended by WHO, reached only 3% of children in need

One of the more effective malaria intervention is the bed net, so far.

But there is a good news, as many researchers are trying to find new solutions, supported by technology. Thanks to the last issue of Wired-Italia I acknowledged that  the team of Environmental Surveillance Core at Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, led by Gregory Glass.

By using a special software, a GPS computer identifies the area more infected by plasmodium mosquitoes. Satellite  pictures and data are processed in order to give information about at-risk areas, and consequently planning effective malaria interventions, campaigns, bed nets distribution, etc.

Isn’t it great? Fortunately, this is just one of the many projects to struggle malaria. And they are increasing together with the awareness of importance of this disease.

Internet for Peace: a photo contest

Dears All,

once again I am proud as I can offer my little help to Shoot4Change, by promoting an important campaign.

As you probably know (otherwise, please read my previous post!), last November, the magazines Wired Italia, Wired UK, and Wired US proposed Internet as candidate for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

This proposal generated a worldwide movement, supported by Shirin Ebadi (Nobel Prize 2003), Umberto Veronesi (scientist), Nicholas Negroponte (founder MIT medialab and OLPC), Giorgio Armani (fashion designer), Zeferino Andrade De Alexandre Martins (Minister of Education of Mozambico), Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire (Minister of Education and Sports of Uganda), Luìs Federico Franco Gómez (Vice President of Paraguay), Joi Ito (CEO of Creative Commons), and the three Wired directors: Riccardo Luna, Chris Anderson, and David Rowan.

Everyone can be part of this movement. Everyone can play a starring role in this project.

That’s why Shoot4change launched SHOOT FOR PEACE photo contest! It’s not a commercial contest, its aim is to focus attention on the peaceful power of Internet.

You can take pictures using a camera or your mobile phone, but don’t hesitate in showing your point of view about Internet for Peace.

You have 100 days until June 30th, 2010.

For more info … www.shoot4change.net and http://internetforpeace.org/