Symposium on Africa: help, cooperate or invest?

November 19, 2013

Last Saturday November 16th 2013, the Symposium “Africa: help, coopertate or invest?” took place in Lugano, organized by Fosit and MIC.

It started off with an introduction to the topic by Prof. Veglio, president of FOSIT and professor at the university of St. Gallen, followed by a roundtable discussion. The guest speakers were Blandine Sankara (sister of the Thomas Sankara, President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 198, murdered 26 years ago.) Prof. Katharina Michaelowa (ETH) e Chrystel Ferret (SDC); moderated by Roberto Antonini (TSI).

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In the afternoon, three different Atelier were organized. The pictures below refer to Atelier 2 on Microfinance.
The topic was introduced by Damiano (student at the University of St. Gallen), who gave an insightful overview on the status of microfinance in the world. I particularly like the visualization below, which maps the situations in which people need (micro-)loans or other financial products such as micro insurances, and what elese they normally do if they can’t get them from a bank.

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Then Isabelle Dauner gave a talk on the topic of microfianance specifically in Africa, using a ‘analogue’ technique, drawing the ouline of Africa and then pasting different information, sldes, drawings and coloureful notes on the poster.

Simposium Africa Helvetas


Representations of knowledge in Africa

June 26, 2013
Professor Heike Winschiers has presented her interesting work at the UniversitĂ  della Svizzera italiana. Of German origin, she lives in Namibia since 20 years and conducts research on Human Computer Interaction in Africa.
Why is HCI different in Namibia compared to Europe or the U.S.? Because our thinking patter is different, as already proposed in 2005 by Pauleen and Murphy in “In praise of cultural bias” Published on MIT Sloan Management Review.
Heike and her team in Namibia are experimenting culturally friendly knowledge repositories. What does it mean? Look at the picture below:
on the left-hand side a typical German interface (produced by a German designer). Clean, clear, based on keyword. Too bad the rural Namibian people could not use it because they don’t generally use keywords or ask questions, and there are issues with the spelling of words (which could be spelled in many different ways).
Solution? On the right-hand side of the picture you can see a more culturally appropriate solution with images and videos.
Together with Kasper Rodil they are experimenting the use of visual approaches, in particular with the reconstruction of the local village in a 3D envirorment and embedded videos. Find out more on their website Namibia Knowledge Portal.
Heike Winschiers at USI
References:
Kapuire, G. K., Winschiers-Theophilus, H., Chivuno-Kurio, S., Bidwell, N. J., & Blake, E. (2010). Revolution in ICT, the last hope for African rural communities’ technology appropriation.
Rodil, K., Winschiers-Theophilus, H., Bidwell, N. J., Eskildsen, S., Rehm, M., & Kapuire, G. K. (2011). A new visualization approach to re-contextualize indigenous knowledge in rural Africa. In Human-Computer Interaction–INTERACT 2011 (pp. 297-314). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

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