Google offers travel grants for women in IT

Google is offering a travel grant to female computer scientists in a bid to encourage more women to attend and participate in conferences.  The Google EMEA Travel & Conference Grants will be worth up to 1,000 (£838) in travel expenses to be paid after the conference, and will also cover the cost of registration for the chosen event. To apply for the bursary, applicants must be female and working in or studying computer science, computer engineering or a technical field related to the conference subject. They also need to have a strong academic background with demonstrated leadership ability, and will have to attend the core days of the conference.

Applications will need to include a CV (with a maximum file size of 500MB), with the subject heading ’2012 Google EMEA Travel and Conference Grant’ plus the name of the conference the grant is for.

Other details required include applicants’ full name, email address, current postal address, contact phone number, copy of photo ID and a one-page statement of no more than 600 words explaining why they wish to attend the conference and why it is important to their research, work or future career.

The deadline for applications – access the form here – is 1 March.

UN initiates comprehensive study on cybercrime

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says it has initiated a comprehensive study on the problem of cybercrime and the responses to it by Member States, the international community and the private sector.

The agency’s Executive Director Yury Fedotov who announced this at a global risks meeting at the just-ended 2012 World Economic Forum said “Member States would shortly receive a questionnaire from UNODC on cybercrime prevention, policy, legislation, law enforcement and criminal justice response, international cooperation and technical assistance.”

The results of the study will be presented to the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in 2013 and will inform Member States’ responses to cybercrime, said the UNODC January 26, 2012.

“Many countries lack basic legislation that either criminalizes cybercrime or provides for the necessary procedural powers for law enforcement authorities to carry out specialized investigation, such as interception of online traffic data or use of computer forensic software,” Mr. Fedotov said in a statement.

The agency indicated that the study is in line with its mandate to contribute to a greater understanding of the threat of cybercrime and to provide technical assistance and training to States to improve national legislation and build capacity to deal with cybercrime.

By Ekow Quandzie

MTN-Ghana inaugurates ICT centre at Nyinahin

GNA – The MTN Ghana Foundation in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has inaugurated an ICT Centre of Learning at Nyinahin in the Ashanti Region.

This is part of the Foundation’s 10 ICT projects estimated at one million dollars. They would be furnished with 220 desktop computers, 10 laptops, 10 projectors, 10 colour printers, 10 photocopiers, 10 scanners and digital cameras along with the requisite furniture in all the 10 Regions of Ghana.

The grand inauguration of the project was undertaken by Mr Paul Boateng, a Patron of MTN Ghana Foundation, as part of his working visit to the country at Ningo in the Greater Accra Region in August this year.

A statement issued in Accra on Wednesday said the MTN ICT Centres of Learning were being executed in a joint partnership with UNDP Ghana to bring ICT services closer to the underserved and deprived communities in the country and fostering the efforts of inclusive growth.

The intervention is not only targeted at augmenting government’s effort in implementing the mandatory ICT component of the new Educational Reform, but to also explore ICTs to improve pedagogy towards attaining the Compulsory Universal Basic Education in response to the Millennium Development Goal 2 (MDG2).

Inaugurating the centre, Mr Michael Ikpoki, Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana, said Kumasi was one of the key Regions for the business of MTN.

“MTN believes it is important to empower the youth through various avenues like education, health facilities, sports and quality entertainment and through the use of ICT facilities to enhance and achieve the needed impact.

“The provision of this ICT Centre is to ensure that young people in all parts of the country have access to information, knowledge and the ability to transact their businesses wherever they find themselves.”

Mr Ikpoki said currently, MTN was engaging Asanteman in the “Enriching Lives Project” which offered MTN the opportunity to interact with people in the Region with the ultimate aim of deepening MTN’s brand affinity in the Region.

The Country Director of UNDP, Kamil Kamaluddeen, expressed gratitude to the Nyinahin community for their support and entreated them to continue to own the project and sustain it.

He reiterated the UN’s global position on ICTs and its role in giving voice to the marginalised.

“We are living in times when developments in the global economy and ICTs are resulting in fundamental changes to our lives. The 21st Century has emerged as an era where globalisation and technological changes continue to create a new global economy powered by technology, fuelled by information and driven by knowledge.

“This calls for us to examine the changing future roles of our children and how they can be properly equipped and integrated to be able to partake and exert influence in this new global economy.”

Mr Kamaluddeen was hopeful that the MTN ICT Centre of Learning initiative would contribute to accelerate the pace of universal access to ICTs as part of reinforcing the fundamental rights of the marginalised and vulnerable poor.

Nana Amanpene Boateng Twum II, Chief of Nyinahin, expressed appreciation for the project.

He said though the project was a myth in the past, the inauguration was a monumental evidence of the many dividends yielded by MTN and UNDP in Ghana.

“Please let us appreciate what these two giants have done by not engaging in any internet fraud or use it for any negative purpose. If we use it wisely, we will fully benefit from it,” he added.

Mr Isaac Kwame Asiamah, Member of Parliament for Atwima Mponua thanked MTN and UNDP for the intervention and encouraged the community to ensure that the centre was maintained for them to reap the full benefits that came with it.

The other eight ICT centres yet to be inaugurated are located at Adidome (Volta Region), Esiama (Western Region), Komenda (Central Region), Kpong (Eastern Region), Techimantia (Brong Ahafo Region), Tolon(Northern Region), Pwalugu(Upper East Region) and Hamile (Upper West Region).

In December 2008, MTN Ghana Foundation, entered into a strategic agreement with UNDP Ghana to develop the MTN ICT Centres of Learning Project meant to be implemented throughout the country.

Since its establishment in 2007, the MTN Ghana Foundation has supported Ghana’s educational system in diverse ways. In conjunction with its strategic partners, MTN is, among other education projects, putting up a six-classroom block for Zujung Community School in the Northern Region, a three-unit classroom block at Asempaneye in the Eastern Region in partnership with Rotary Club (RC) – Ghana and supported five schools in the Northern Region under the AED (Academy for Education Development) project with teaching and learning materials.

It has supported the National Best Teacher Award over the past three years with a total of GH¢112,500 and is providing the Akropong School For the Blind with a 16-unit dormitory block, 20 desktops for ICT laboratory and a 33-seater Coaster School bus.

The MTN Foundation was established by the MTN Group Board as the vehicle for effectively administering MTN’s Corporate Social Responsibility contributions.

The Foundation is funded by a percentage of profit after tax (PAT) of the relevant operating unit, and has so far launched two flagship projects since its establishment in November 2007.

These are the refurbishment of the second floor of the maternity block of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra and establishment of 10 MTN ICT Learning Centres in all regions of Ghana.