Seva Foundation">Seva Foundation

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Convening Community through Stories">Convening Community through Stories

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Infostate of Africa 2009">Infostate of Africa 2009

Infostate of Africa 2009

Infostate of Africa 2009

An awesome Applabs infographic showing the African continents trends in information technology and communication.

OSM 2008: A Year of Edits">OSM 2008: A Year of Edits

OSM 2008: A Year of Edits from ItoWorld on Vimeo.

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Sharing data to improve social business">Sharing data to improve social business

I’ve recently started following the database technology called FluidINFO.
FluidINFO is an openly writeable shared database.

Data can be dynamically organised, shared, combined, augmented and searched.

FluidINFO is conceptually simple:

  • Objects represent things
  • Tags describe data related to an object (and can optionally have a value)
  • Namespaces organise related tags
  • Permissions control who can act on what namespace, tag or value

This makes it possible for data to be social as a network of interrelated data, information and annotations builds up.

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cittadelcapo – your capetonian guide to the mother city">cittadelcapo - your capetonian guide to the mother city

Countryman Media recently developed Citta’ del Capo. A travel site is designed for Italians visiting the Mother city.

The site is built to achieve two primary user experiences:

1. Find places of interest on the map.
Using OpenStreetmap we identify places and activities and put them on the map. These places are tagged in Italian and presented in a list on the homepage. In addition we have added Microformats to the places so you can export the contact details.

2. Find accommodation in the area that’s right for you.
We’ve teamed up with so that you can make a hotel reservation. The pink circles on the map represent hotels. When you have decided where you want to stay click on the pink circle to book accommodation.

Citta’ del Capo connects users with local information in the international language of images, maps and tags. This intuitive connection to local information gives the user the ability to find what they want.

The site provides location-based services, in English and Italian, through the Geodjango geographic web framework.
Through PostGIS, Geographic objects are saved a Postgresql database. The site uses django-tagging and olwidget to present activities and hotel locations. Maps are served through the OpenStreetmap and Openlayers combination.
All location data is wrapped in a Microformat to facilitate indexing, search and information re-use.

Hotel reservation and transport reservation is enabled through and respectively.
Images are served through fancybox and hosted on Flickr.

Deployment is through the mod_wsgi module running on Apache 2 behind an nginx proxy.
The site is hosted on a virtual machine running Ubuntu 9.10

Post to Twitter – the open source for water and sanitation"> – the open source for water and sanitation

Over the weekend I attended the AID Information Challenge. The event was held at the Guardian in London and was part of the Guardian Open Platform. I was fortunate enough to meet the AKVO team.

Thomass Bjelkemann-Pettersson presented an overview of the organisation.

We create and share internet and mobile phone tools that for the first time make it easy for everyone to reach out and fund thousands of new water and sanitation projects. This is really important, because today 2.6 billion people lack sanitation facilities and 1.1 billion still can’t access safe drinking water. Fix this, and people climb out of poverty fast. You get healthy people, who don’t have to spend hours fetching water and can make a better living.

Akvo addresses the following problems:

Information exchange

Information about low cost sustainable water and sanitation solutions is available, but spread over a large number of sources, and essentially disorganised.


The water and sanitation community struggles to attract additional flows of money and connect funds directly to where the demand is.


The sector is stuck in a ‘thick Word report’ process, and struggles to share and visualise results in an appealing way to funders and the general public.

Akvo makes it much easier to do four things:

1. Find projects to fund

Akvo makes it clear where your money goes. Funders choose the projects they want and watch progress unfold as the community teams share updates via SMS, photos and movie clips.

2. Find donors to fund your project

Akvo cuts bureaucracy and paperwork for NGOs around the world who today find that process burdensome. They can post projects in a simple manner without being forced through complex steps. All partners are from trusted networks. We make it easier and quicker for them to find the right kind of funds.

Professional development organisations assist in carefully selecting the field partners that are allowed to post projects online. Every project in Akvo has a field partner (project executor) and a support partner (responsible for monitoring) to make sure we meet the highest quality requirements. The online payment system that Akvo uses is set-up in close cooperation with our strategic partner, the Rabobank.

3. Report on project progress

Akvo Really Simple Reporting (RSR) makes it easy for local communities and field teams to share short text updates, images
and films clips, creating a positive feedback loop. Donors and fundraisers follow project progress online and can showcase
storylines automatically in their own websites using Akvo Widgets. NGOs can work with more partners because we offer a common standard for project updates.

4. Share water and sanitation knowledge

Akvopedia works just like Wikipedia. It is filled with information on smart and affordable water and sanitation technology in rural or urban settings. Anyone can contribute knowledge and edit Akvopedia. Local field workers get access to new ideas for their projects, and can share knowledge in new ways. For those with good content but who are short of time to share it, Akvopedia offers free editorial services.

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Millenium development goals">Millenium development goals


Target 1:
Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day

Target 2:
Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people

Target 3:
Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger


Target 1:
Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling


Target 1:
Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015


Target 1:
Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate


Target 1:
Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio

Target 2:
Achieve universal access to reproductive health


Target 1:
Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AID


Target 2:
Achieve, by 2010, universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it

Target 3:
Have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases


Target 1:
Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources

Target 2:
Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss

Target 3:
Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation

Target 4:
By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers


Target 1:
Address the special needs of least developed countries, landlocked countries and small island developing states

Target 2:
Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system

Target 3:
Deal comprehensively with developing countries’ debt

Target 4:
In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries

Target 5:
In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications

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