GLOBALIZATION, DOES IT AFFECT ALL THE PEOPLE?

“Globalization as defined by rich people like us is a very nice thing… you are talking about the Internet, you are talking about cell phones, and you are talking about computers. This doesn’t affect two-thirds of the people of the world.” (James Earl Carter)

More probably in the above comment, James Earl Carter talks about globalization in the sense of “Globalization as Technological and Social Revolution” (Simon Reich http://kellogg.nd.edu/publications/workingpapers/WPS/261.pdf). Most commonly or in the general sense globalization is defined by its process. To understand globalization it is important to understand the process of globalization.

“The globalization process involves the establishment of economic, political, social, and technological links among countries.” (Hamilton and Webster http://www.oup.com/uk/orc/bin/9780199213993/hamilton&webster_ch01.pdf). Looking at Globalization from the bigger aspect as defined here we could see that Carter’s comment only can be true or assumed to be true in the technological aspect. The economic, political and social effects of Globalization are completely ignored. Continue reading

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MULTI-SECTORIAL RESPONSE TO HIV/AIDS IN AFGHANISTAN

In Afghanistan where HIV/AIDs is not a major health problem and the number of infected people is one of the lowest in the world, there is a multi-sectorial approach towards stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. Under the leadership and coordination of National AIDS Control Program which was established by the Ministry of Public Health of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan many local and international organisations work together to tackle this issue. In addition, there is a huge amount of financial and technical support from International Organisations such as the World Health Organisation, World Bank, Global Fund and John Hopkins University.

Afghanistan is a low level HIV prevalence country and according to World Bank only 478 cases have been reported. However, UNAIDS and WHO estimates show that the number of people living with HIV could be around 2000. As of 2008 prevalence in the general population is below 0.05%.

To understand the nature of its spread we must first understand the risk factors associated with the spread of HIV and we must know the most-at-risk people in the country. Continue reading

Blood Donation Campaign

Youth in Action Association (YIAA) has organized a Blood Donation campaign on 29th of January 2011. The event aims to strengthen the sense of volunteering for donating blood to those in need of blood. Members from YIAA and other volunteers will donate blood and donors will register themselves for donations in the future.

Similarly, we had events like this one last year, and the year before last in Kabul, Gardez, Jalalabad and Laghman. 300+ volunteers have registered themselves in the blood donation database, developed and maintained by YIAA, and are ready to donate at any time as needed.

I had a live interview about this event on Lemar TV today. It was my first ever live TV show, in deed, it was a very good experience. I talked about the Blood Donation Campaign and other events we (YIAA)  had organized in the last two years.

Youth in Action Association is working hard to strengthen the sense of responsibility in youth and  their role in bringing prosperity to Afghanistan.

The Afghan Health System

“The Ministry of Public Health of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan presented its newly revised Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS) in 2005. Since the creation of BPHS in 2003, the MoPH has seen many positives changes in the health system. Most notable has been the expansion of access to BPHS service to 77% of the population.”  This is what the Ministry of Public Health of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan claims.

It is true that there has been positive changes in the health system, which MoPH defines as “many” however, I am not sure if “only one female doctor in a whole province” is many or nothing at all. It has been more than five years since the BPHS is revised and still the most simple medical cases are referred to neighbor countries.

The Afghan Health System sucks be it the public or private sector, and in comparison the private sector sucks the most. Millions of dollars are spent yearly on health tourism to India, Pakistan and Tajikistan and even Iran. And this costs our economy a huge amount. This is a big deal for a country which relies on foreign aid and has no economy of its own (as of now).

This is a very brief introduction to the Afghan health system, I will write about different issues in the mentioned system in the coming future..

 

Those ignorant people, how on earth they expected to survive?

“Those ignorant people, how on earth they expected to survive?” this is a phrase I heard in a documentary film called “Earth-2100”. I have always tried to be green and think green and I have always been worried about the future of the world. There are many people like me who talk about environment and how to do something to save it, however, there is very little that they do.

We cannot stop the destruction of the environment by simply talking about it and organizing a few social events, truly there are many who use renewable energy and many who have stopped using plastic materials, and these are good things to do but these small things doesn’t change the course of the world.

The way we can make a change is to be very very serious about it and start a global movement which stands for what they think, we have to demonstrate to the governments like the French do, we have to tell them that we won’t stop until they take this matter seriously.

They have to make electric cars, make renewable energy the only source, and we all together have to change at once and not step by step.

Developing Educational Activities with Ren’py

I came to know that  “Ren’Py is a free and cross-platform visual novel engine that helps you use words, pictures, and sounds to tell stories with the computer. Its easy and efficient script language makes it possible for non-programmers to make visual novels, while its Python support allows for complex simulation games.”

After using it for a few days I think it is an excellent tool for making interactive educational activities, it is easy to learn and it is fun. The good thing is that the user has option of choosing and the activity proceeds according to the options given/chosen by the user. Voice/Video can be recorded and used in the activity.

Right now, a Household Hygiene Management Activity is being made and once the initial version is finished I am thinking of making more health related activities such as, Oral Health Care, Nutrition guide and Maternity guide. I will provide a download link for Household Hygiene Management Activity as soon as the initial version is published.

OLPC Afghanistan’s Pedal Powered Progress

OLPC Afghanistan; now running for about the last year has a few technical updates we’d like to share.

Sustainable Working Human Power as you use the XO!

Just this morning we tested the first prototype – the PAIWASTOON team that perform the technical implementation designed a new pedal powered machine that can power the XO as you pedal and use it at the same time. Even small kids (3/4th grade) can power it.


XO laptop pedal power generator

By taking the Freeplay hand crank and connecting it to the feet which can more easily provide power it should make it much easier to deploy the laptop to countryside / rural areas. As the laptop charges as you use it no additional battery is needed. Photos / full specs will be published on the OLPC Afghanistan website. We are hoping to make this sustainably for XO / other power purposes in Afghanistan employing more Afghan staff. This should work fine with XO 1.5 as well!

Wireless Mesh Backbone System using Freifunk

To make deployment simpler we have adopted the OpenWRT Freifunk router firmware. Each classroom contains two routers; one to provide connections to the laptops the other to mesh with the other classrooms and make a backbone. Instead of having to do cabling; just one box is put on the wall. It should also make it easier to extend the network outside the gates of the school.


XO digital library index

New Simple Digital Library Index

As content is the key we need a way to simply deliver as much content as possible in environments without connectivity. Simple Digital Library Index automatically builds indexes from just dumping files into a folder (extracts the subject, title, description, thumbnail etc) from various formats and generates plain old HTML pages and a Javascript search system. No MySQL, PHP etc. needed.

The file contents can be simply copied and dumped into a web accessible directory. A master index is generated as an XML file. We see that being turned into a package management style activity where kids can ‘checkout’ books from the library

Monitoring and Evaluation survey under review for release

As we previously announced we were undertaking significant research to determine the educational / other impact of OLPC in the coming 1-2 weeks we should finish the evaluation; the impact

Right now 2,500 laptops are distributed to grades 4,5 and 6 in Kabul, Herat and Jalalabad. Now that we have a baseline system to work to deliver content libraries in limited connectivity environments (e.g. 64kbps connections or delivery on a stick) we are building the library to include more educational website copies that run offline (created through our previously released webdump based on httrack) and more curriculum / extra-curricular content.