Proponents are asked to submit this form electronically, either as an attachment to an email, or mailed in to the office on a diskette. Proponents should use MS Word or Word Perfect for the proposal. While no particular graphical form is required for an infoDev proposal, it should be structured as a response to the requests for information listed below.

Proposal for infoDev Activity


Activity ID number: (to be completed by infoDev)


1. Activity Title (one line only)

    African Component of the Global University System

2. Date of Proposal.
3. Name of participating organization serving as grantee.
4. Participating organizations, with contact information. Include email addresses when available. (Note that letters of commitment may be required before award of a grant.)


    John C. Afele, Ph.D
    International Program for Africa
    Department of Plant Agriculture
    Ontario Agricultural College
    University of Guelph
    Guelph, Ontario
    Canada N1G 2W1
    Tel: +1-519-824-4120 ext 3934
    Fax: +1-519-763-8933

      Ghana Coordinating Nodes
      (Contact: Dr. John Afele at the University of Guelph)

    • Faculties and Departments of Universities in Ghana, e.g., School of Mass Communication, Institute of Adult Education, etc. (University of Ghana, Legon), Faculty of Education (University of Cape-Coast); to be coordinated by Legon Centre for International Affairs (LECIA), University of Ghana, Legon, Accra: Dr. Gilbert Bluwey, Director; Prof. J.A. Ayee, Chair, Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, Legon; Mumuni Dakubu, Communications Director, University of Ghana,, Prof. Clement Dzidonu, University of Ghana,; Prof. Christine O. Kisiedu, Library Studies, University of Ghana,

    • National Development Planning Commission, Office of the President, Accra, Ghana Nana (Dr.) Kwabena G. Erbynn, Director General,,

    • ISP: Dr. Nii Narku Quaynor, Executive Chairman, National Computer Systems Ltd., Accra, Ghana,

    • Institute for Scientific & Technological Information (INSTI), C.S.I.R., Accra, Ghana. Contact: Clement Entsua-Mensah, Director, Joel Sam, Senior Assistant Librarian,

    • Ministry of Communication, Contact: Issah Yahaya, Assistant Director,

    • Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Contact: Mr. H. Atubra

    • Curriculum Research Division, Ghana Education Service, Accra. Contact: Ms. Grace Budu-Smith; World Links for Development Programme Contact: Samue Eshun, National Coordinator,

    • Tertiary Technical/Vocational Institutes. Contact: Nana (Prof.) Baah Boakye, Principal, Accra Polytechnic

    • Three Administrative Districts/Traditional Councils in The Volta Region of Ghana:

    • Kpando District Council
    • Hohoe District Council,
    • Ho District Council

      International and African Regional Informatics Societies and Related Institutions

      Contact John Afele for listing of cooperating organisations

European Union

    P. Tapio Varis, Ph.D, Professor
    Acting President, Global University System
    Chairman, GLOSAS/Finland
    Professor and Chair
    Media Culture and Communication Education
    Hypermedia laboratory
    University of Tampere
    P.O.Box 607
    FIN-33101 Tampere
    Tel: +358-3-215 6110
    GSM: +358-50-567-9833
    Fax: +358-3-215 7503


    Takeshi Utsumi, Ph.D., P.E.
    Chairman, GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the U.S.A. (GLOSAS/USA)
    Founder of Consortium for Affordable and Accessible Distance Education (CAADE)
    President Emeritus and V.P. for Technology and Coordination of Global University System (GUS)
    43-23 Colden Street
    Flushing, NY 11355-3998
    Tel: 718-939-0928
    Fax: 718-939-0656 (day time only--prefer e-mail)

5.a. Activity summary: please limit this to Half A Page only.

    1. Problem or Opportunity

    A major outcome of this project would be development of an infoculture in institutions of learning in Africa. That is, an information affluent society to take advantage of the merging information societies and its privileges. Inclusion of basic schools in the African component of the Global University System would ensure the acquisition of this new learning culture at an early stage of education.

    The concept of the Global University System is an integrated knowledge flow, from childhood through formal school years to a life-long learning system. Thus the African Component of the Global University System features connectivity for basic school, junior and senior schools, technical and vocational institutions, to universities and adult-learning mechanisms with Ghana as the pilot country.

    2. Proposed Activities

    The major first target will be to:

    • Establish an earth station at the University of Ghana which will become the major Internet Service Provider (ISP) from which three other universities in Ghana (University of Cape-Coast, University of Science and Technology Kumasi, and University of Rural Studies Tamale) will be connected. The Global University System will build a network into the African Virtual University program and also links to the Association of African Universities. Other tertiary level connectivity schemes, e.g., for polytechnics and vocational institutes would seek to enhance human resource building for the middle level management and technical and support services, e.g., secretarial, administrative, hotel and food, tools, etc., for an expected rise in the business sector. The Ghana Earth Station will serve as connectivity hub to:

      • Four "Internet Bulletin Boards" at four universities in Ghana (Legon, Cape-Coast, Kumasi, and Tamale)
      • Three technical institute (Accra and Ho Polytechnics and Kpandu Technical Institute) to coordinate activities for technical/vocational schools
      • Mawuli Primary School will coordinate the basic school program. Five sub-nodes as corners of secondary school connectivity will be established within the local library system in Ho, Kpando, Hohoe, Peki, and Kpedze, to serve schools therein.

    • Junior and High schools, and primary schools will be cascaded down and equipped with convergent information tools (e.g., Internet, email, HF-Radio, CD-ROM, Digital Camera, Scanner, VCR, Fax, Copiers, Laser Printers, etc.) with wireless and remote-access devices for sharing and ensuring universal access.

    • The ISP in Ghana will be connected to the Northern hub which will be located at the University of Guelph, Canada.

    • The proposal includes content development and provisions of facilitators and teacher training, etc. through the extensive knowledge network of the proposed grantees.

    The overall framework is to test the hypothesis that global knowledge can be concentrated within a target rural African community as brain power to decode and integrate indigenous African knowledge into modern knowledge or enhanced local knowledge. Enhanced knowledge is desirable for resolving local crises, human capacity development, rural poverty alleviation and environmental rejuvenation for human-human and human-environmental system sustainability. The group will develop, refine, and disseminate examples of the blended knowledge system.

    3. Anticipated Outcome.

    1. Educational systems linkages would supplement rural classroom lessons with virtual school teachers and textbooks, provide health knowledge such as counselling to rural African teenage girls and boys on STDs, and produce computer graphic animations of indigenous folklores into virtual children programs for web, CD-ROM, and video systems.

    2. Tele-Health Education which would create an educational atmosphere and flow of health knowledge (telehealth nodes) between external centres, e.g., World Health Organisation (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), to include the science of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA's) who are the highest level of obstetrics among the majority populations and indigenous healers who are health officials for 80% of most communities. Studies in Pharmacology would include synthesis of dental products from the traditional chewing sticks.

    3. Technical and engineering institution linkages would include second-cycle technical and vocational institutes, and knowledge of indigenous toolsmiths and rural artisans (who are the indigenous engineers of rural technologies, e.g., agricultural implements such as hoes), for example in design of hand-held solar-energy dependent motorised-hoes to replace the quintessential hoe and machete as primary tillage tools.

    4. Business studies and management curricula would include modern financial institutions while cognisant of the indigenous social capital systems of susu and fidodo in the design of rural banks, and e-Commerce would include knowledge about the values and mechanisms of indigenous marketing structures.

    5. Agricultural studies would feature indigenous rural agricultural practices, provide weather charts and tracking of disease epidemics with Geographic Information Systems, and knowledge for cultivation of mushrooms instead of hunting for them from the wild.

    6. Yet a highly desirable outcome would be ability to strengthen indigenous civil society, the pinnacle of which is the indigenous African governance structure which is the repository of the African knowledge system and basis of the survival and mobilization of rural African communities. That would be accomplished by developing social studies and science and technology policy programs which reflect the need to blend both knowledge systems.

b. Total Activity Cost (in $US):

c. Funding Requested from infoDev (in $US):  



6. infoDev Program Objective? (see guidelines for explanation):

Please choose ONE of the following:

    (Underlined is the chosen one.)

    1. Creating market-friendly environments.
    2. Reducing poverty and exclusion of low-income countries or social groups.
    3. Improving education and health.
    4. Promoting protection of the environment and natural resources.
    5. Increasing the efficiency, accountability and transparency of governments.

7. infoDev Strategic Activity? (see guidelines for explanation):

Please choose ONE of the following:

    (Underlined is the chosen one.)

    1.Consensus building and awareness raising.
    2. Telecommunications reform.
    3. Information infrastructure strategies.
    4. Pilot projects.

8. Sector of Proposed Activity?:

    (Underlined are the chosen ones.)

    1. Agriculture/Industry
    2. Commerce/Trade
    3. Education
    4. Environment
    5. Forum
    6. Government
    7. Health
    8. Infrastructure
    9. Internet Connectivity
    10. Telecom/Policy

9. Grantee Organization Type?:

    (Underlined are the chosen ones.)

    1. Academic/Research
    2. Non Governmental Organization
    3. Private Sector
    4. Government
    5. Regional and Bilateral Organizations
    6. United Nations
    7. World Bank Group

10. Geographic Location of Activity? (Specific country, or region if a regional project)

    The target area is Africa, with emphasis on rural schools, with Ghana as primary country focus. The pilot studies in the proposal are in three administrative districts of the Volta Region of Ghana and the four national universities (outside these districts) which have a mandate for this region as well. The pilot would serve as centres of innovation and following positive evaluation and Best Practice Assessment would be replicated elsewhere.

    Ghana was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence from Europe and in that capacity has established itself as one of the primary centres of innovation in education, economic restructuring strategies, and democratization and decentralisation of rulership. Thus Ghana served as U.S. President, Bill Clinton's "Gateway to Africa."

    The target area has three urban communities (Ho, Hohoe, and Kpandu) and significant towns such as Peki, Kpedze, Anfoega, Logba and Ve. There are national libraries located in the four corners of Ho, Kpandu, Hohoe and Peki, into which the pilot could be tied.

    The shared national educational system within Ghana and between Ghana and the rest of Africa through the African Virtual University program and the Association of African Universities would allow for diffusion of positive elements to sub-regional and regional levels.



11. What is the problem or opportunity that this activity addresses?

    Sub-Saharan Africa's economic, technological, political and social emancipation and realisation of the New African Renaissance, would depend on the manner and extent to which it is able to access, assess, and integrate global knowledge, particularly critical technologies, into its indigenous knowledge platform. Nowhere is human security as threatened as in sub-Saharan Africa. The strength of any human civilization is its human resource base and knowledge system, however, Africa's ability to provide knowledge to its citizenry through education, was based on an elitist system which served only about 20% well, leaving the majority rural populations to Stone Age practices. Obviously, attempts to substitute indigenous African Knowledge and Ideas with alien theories in the development process have been expensive failures.

    The African Component of the Global University System describes the philosophical bases and themes, and the required knowledge networks to generate the blend of indigenous and modern knowledge systems and translation into integrated practical policy tools for the benefit of some of the world's poorest. It concentrates on critical technologies while conversant of the need to modernise and utilise indigenous governance systems to provide the peaceful domain in which advances in technology can be harnessed.

    Intellectualization of Indigenous African Knowledge for sustainable livelihoods, is built on the following issues:

    1. the desired effects of enhanced knowledge utilisation in rural technological advancement;
    2. indigenous African knowledge as technological platforms for sustainable rurality;
    3. interactions among the peoples of Africa and of the African Diaspora;
    4. Information and Communications Technologies as facilitating medium.

    Knowledge and ideas as critical inputs in economic development, stem from education which enables making informed decisions about social, political, economic, and ecological harmony. However, upon all the expansion of education across the world, illiteracy has increased in the poorer countries. Access to education in Africa has continued to be limited at all levels, resulting in the lowest literacy rates in the world. The most crucial stages in human education would be the early ages, as this would determine a community's ability to rejuvenate itself. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, the primary school age population is the most deprived in knowledge resources. Primary school age population in Africa is increasing at about 3.3 per cent annually while school enrolment for the group is rising by only 2.2. per cent.

    To address Africa's chronic educational deficiency, the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments of the Organization of African Unity adopted the Decade for Education 1997-2006 (Resolution AHG/Res. (251 XXXII)) in June 1996 (Africa Economic Report, 1998) with the objective of removing obstacles which impede progress toward "Education for All." The international community as a whole has also resolved to strengthen educational systems at all levels in The 1995 Social Summit (Plan of Action) by calling for the creation of the necessary conditions for "... ensuring universal access to basic education and lifelong educational opportunities while removing economic and socio-cultural barriers to the exercise of the right to education as a precondition for an open political and economic system which requires access by all to knowledge, education and information."

    But Africa's education and research communities are facing severe problems at all levels, therefore our designs should have the perspective of integrated distance learning and research.

    The West African Examination Council released its annual review recently. The examination board is responsible for secondary and high school examinations in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra-Leone, and The Gambia. That is GCE O and A levels. It said "... there was a high failure rate in the November/December 1998 SSCE for private candidates ... in which the Chief Examiners reported "massive show of poor knowledge on the rules of grammar."

    In a separate case, the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals and vice-chancellors of universities of Ghana met on September 23, 1999 and deliberated on the current crisis in funding tertiary education and observed that “Purchase of items such as chalk, chemicals, books and journals, equipment and what goes into direct teaching has been virtually impossible. This has made it very difficult for the Universities to effectively carry out their programmes.”

    Or the state of scientific investigations which could be generalized for Africa: The Director-General of Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) said “the new expenditure framework could not provide the needed funds to address demand-driven researches. Prof. Alhassan said the awareness had been created but the commitment to practise does not appear to be total and it is contributing to low performance. Other factors were lack of seed money to carry out projects through pilot-phase testing.”

    IT and Education

    Conventional teaching and learning methods, however, have become inadequate in the wake of deepening illiteracy, paucity of well-trained teachers and diminishing resource allocation toward education. Innovative teaching and learning schemes are therefore required if sub-Saharan Africa should ensure the evolution of its civilization in the face of globalization. Rapid advancements in IT herald unprecedented potential for the resolution of the knowledge hunger in rural sub-Saharan Africa. However, teledentsity, the principal index of IT utilization, in sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa, is only 0.48 telephone per 100 population while the region's rural peoples (70% of the population) share only 228,000 telephone lines. In Ghana, for example, teledensity is 0.31 lines per 100 people nationally but some 40% of the nation's population (of 18 million) contained in the Volta, Upper, Northern, and Brong-Ahafo administrative Regions share 3,800 telephone lines, or 0.06 lines per 100 people. The Ghana Government's Telecommunications Policy for an Accelerated Development Programme 1994-2000 for telecommunications seeks to meet short-term demands in telecommunications by providing 100,000 new lines but businesses are the priority of that program while overall demand is estimated at 300,000 - 500,000. The government has acknowledged that network growth of about 35% pa would be required to meet even the lower end of demand estimates; that is a network growth rate of almost two times the level achieved by some more advanced economies. The government's connectivity target for rural Ghana, even if achieved, would mean one public telephone line in each village of 500 people, which is far less than the modest five lines per 100 population recommended by the International Communication Union. Considering that the investment cost in telecommunications in Ghana is about $1,500 - $4,200 per line, the chances of educational reform via IT are unrealistic except innovative methods in communication and education are devised.

    What is needed is a poor person's learning system which, in this case, would enable an entire community to utilise a few units of the convergence of television, radio, telephone, Internet, CD-ROM, and print media, to offer new prospects in the delivery of sophisticated information to the previously ‘uneconomic' regions of the world. That is, IT systems in development of school curricula in rural Africa should be adapted to local realities. The impact of IT on local education demands planning at national and regional levels so as to make these tools relevant to socio-cultural needs. This proposal features development of an enabling educational environment which would include integration of all data on Africa and permit dissemination of such data, as well as extend the oral storytelling of the African traditional system. It is said that "an archive is the most precious gift a generation bequeaths onto the next." Oral traditions of information storage and retrieval in Africa should therefore be viewed with scrutiny in the age of IT. Njinya-Mujinya and Habomugisha (1998) have called for the establishment of rural information or data banks in Africa to document Indigenous livelihoods and as a means to redressing the "booklessness" state of rural Africa. The advent of IT in rural Africa should seek to tie the notion of telecentres into this rural infobank concept as a process toward the intellectualization of African tradition, and for building human capacity in rural Africa.

    Essentially, such an approach would integrate formal school curricula development, adult education programs, and continuous learning systems. Thus the role of national library systems, university faculties of education and communications, ministries of education and information services or their variations, should be revised to reflect the need for modern information storage and retrieval systems.

    Gender Component

    At least 50% of participants - pupils, students and instructors will be female.

    Access to lower levels of the educational structure in Ghana (basic and secondary schools) might be "gender neutral," however, female pupils and students face difficulties above their male colleagues in career drives and available time to prepare for competitive national test scores which determine a pupil or student's advancement on the educational ladder. For example, domestic duties detain girls at home while the boys play and socialise; keeping one's appearance, e.g., braiding hair, etc consume time, and the social norm of a young woman being married off eventually to a richer man, prey on the ability of girls and young women to pursue concentrated academic and career drives.

    The "gender in development" philosophy of our initiatives is based on substantive, systematic and innovative diagnosis of the state of women, family and development, and finding appropriate solutions. For example: 40% of pregnancy related maternal deaths occur in Africa, largely because most of the child deliveries are under the supervision of traditional birth attendants who could be provided with some internship programs by municipal hospitals, to minimise infections and stop excessive bleeding; rural African women give birth anywhere - at home, on farm roads, etc; many young African girls do not have reproductive health counselling; etc.

    There is a need for intellectualizing and coordinating women activities and professions, such as trading in African textiles or other retailing forms, for effective participation in the globalized market.

    We have made contact with female professors at the University of Ghana, and others in the information sector of Ghana (e.g., a woman producer at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation; at the Ministry of Education; at the Ghana Information Services; and at the Home Science Department of University of Ghana, Legon) towards establishing a Women's Study Program in the Ghanaian university structure. We are also aware of statements that a Women's University would soon be established in Ghana, as partnership with an African-American group and the national government in Ghana. Our ability to interact with such an institution is foreseen.

12. What is the anticipated outcome of the activity? (who will benefit, what type and magnitude of benefits)

    A major outcome of this project would be development of an infoculture in institutions of learning in Africa. That is, an information affluent society to take advantage of the merging information societies and its privileges. Inclusion of basic schools in the African component of the Global University System would ensure the acquisition of this new learning culture at an early stage of education. The proposal would achieve this status through development of the virtual classroom for all ages of learning in Africa, with emphasis on basic education and adult or continuous learning in rural areas, where about 70% of the African population live. This would transform hitherto information-starved communities into learning societies.

    At the university level, the goals would be connectivity to global information systems, such as matching university systems in the developed and other developing countries, and to global centres of research and knowledge, e.g., via on-line library and journal sharing.

    The three districts have a total of 350 primary schools, 240 junior schools, 30 senior schools. There are four universities nation-wide. In terms of enrolment: 60,000 primary school pupils, 26,000 junior schools, and 10,000 senior schools and some 20,000 students in four universities and polytechnics. The proposal would impact primary school and Junior Secondary Schools in two villages (Woadze and Anfoeta) and two towns (Ho Mawuli Primary School and one in Kpandu); Six Senior Secondary Schools and two Polytechnics to be accessed via the town libraries in (Ho, Kpandu, Hohoe, Kpedze and Peki), four universities (Accra, Kumasi, Cape-Coast, Kumasi and Tamale) and Accra Polytechnic.

    The goals are:

    • Create community-focussed literary African populations for human capacity development through access to global knowledge in combination with Indigenous knowledge. The current pilot proposal would enable connectivity to reach rural schools more effectively than other programs being contemplated by many other groups.

    • Develop channels for the diffusion of the blend of Indigenous and Modern Knowledge systems

    • Development of an integrated knowledge network which would provide examples of the blend between modern and indigenous knowledge of the target area in the areas of governance, rural technologies, rural agriculture (e.g., farming systems), environmental rejuvenation and its sustainable utilization, mobilization, primary health care particularly related to teenage girls (prevention of STDs, reproductive health responsibility, career development, etc.), marketing and women, and social capital, among others.

    • Produce on-line, CD-ROM, text and audio-visual (on/off-line) documentations of rural mobilization, organization and communication networks essential to the long term efficacy of designs and strategies for sustainable development communication in rural Africa.

    • Establish a domain name/site which will automatically capture and index all web entries on "rural Africa," as well as link all African intellectuals in Africa and elsewhere, and individuals and organizations whose engagements impact education and rural poverty alleviation in Africa. Establish a surrogate rural African node at the University of Guelph to host the domain site and organise a moderated Listserv on issues pertinent to education for sustainable rural African livelihoods.

    • Produce an instructional and educational support tool among institutions and agencies whose activities impact on rural communities in Africa. The product would also serve as a useful teaching material in academic institutions involved in international development activities and programmes.

    The model is for personalized learning eventually while beginning with the community as the focus group until such a time that individual classrooms in rural African can be connected to global information systems.

13. What specific activities will the activity undertake? (That is, what will the activity produce, such as training, databases created, policy dialogue, etc. These are the actions that will have the impact described in question 11.)

    "Convergence of IT" would enable identification of excellent formal school teachers of defined school courses, or the knowledge of local trade and artisan groups and practitioners of rural occupations (e.g., toolsmiths, pottery makers, market women) in the country and the capture of their course deliveries or trade practices into web-based systems, CD-ROM, HF-Radio broadcasts, video documentation and text-based manuals for pupils of other schools, and adult communities.

    University Level

    To establish a Satellite Earth Station at the University of Ghana, Legon which will serve as the hub in Ghana and connected to the African Host of the Global University System at the University of Guelph, Ontario Canada. Three other universities in Ghana (Kumasi, Cape-Coast, and Tamale) will be connected to the Legon node. The goal is to enable sharing of on-line journals and library information systems among the Ghanaian universities and external sources of learning. The program will interact with the African Virtual University of the World Bank of which University of Ghana is already a node. Also, interaction with the Association of African Universities which is located in Ghana will allow for diffusion of positive elements at regional and sub-regional levels.

    National Research System Links

    Our plan entails interaction between the universities and national research systems of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (C.S.I.R), through the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) and the Institute for Scientific & Technological Information (INSTI), both of the C.S.I.R.

    Indigenous Institutions

    A unique feature of our design is the interaction of formal educational system and research centres with indigenous institutions for advancement of indigenous knowledge and practices, such as tools and process.

    Technical and Vocational Third-cycle Institutions

    These institutions are critical in middle-level human resource development for the private, government bureaucracies, and trade sectors, e.g., secretarial, management economics and accounting, tools and engineering, hotel and food industry, agricultural and health management and extension services. The efficiency of such sectors, e.g., human resource, managerial and technologies are required for the perceived expansion into the global market. These institutions will be coordinated from the Office of the Principal, Accra Polytechnic, in Ghana. It will entail development of on-line training in the defined disciplinary areas.

    Basic School and Second-cycle Educational System

    Mawuli Primary School, which is of high reputation, would lead the basic school project, in development of a computer literate culture among the other schools and pupils in the target area:

    • Training of rural school teachers in computer literacy;
    • Development of locally-adapted virtual classroom curricula through the engagement of convergent IT tools;
    • Introduction to the computer hardware; Hands-on demonstration of basic computer skills, such as word processing and data management;
    • Enable interaction of rural school pupils with their contemporaries in other regions of the world to share in shaping their common future;
    • Dissemination of local, regional and global knowledge;
    • Basis to gauge the development and efficiency of local browse programs and to customize data search to Indigenous/rural communities (Indigenous Index Structure);
    • Development of local area networks based on rural occupations such as marketing;
    • Connectivity (classroom video conferencing) between schools in the pilot with selected classrooms in other parts of the world to share in shaping children's concept of the global future, knowledge about local issues, lifestyles, and cultures in each other's zone, e.g., how children of the Ghana pilot make their own toys (e.g., hats and baskets from straws), or children of the North taking care of the environment. The proponents have a network of virtual/international curriculum development experts who have agreed to coordinate such inter-continental link-up;
    • Produce computer graphic animations of indigenous folklores as children's virtual programs; Children's Health: Develop school curricula, at the primary and secondary levels of education (up to 18-year olds), to reflect issues pertinent to reproductive health as a means to preventing teenage pregnancy and STDs.
14. What type of inputs, such as human and financial resources, facilities, etc. will be required for these activities?


    • Satellite earth station at the University of Ghana to serve as hub
    • University of Guelph as host of the African Component of the GUS with connectivity to the Legon host
    • microwave network
    • fixed wireless broadband Internet
    • Internet routers and servers
    • system engineers, etc

    Content Development

    • Instructors
    • programmers
    • teacher training
    • facilitators
    • scientists and technologists, etc.


    • Accountants
    • financiers
    • supervisors
    • librarians
    • fund raisers, etc
15. Why is this set of activities a cost effective method of achieving the outcome described in question 12? Is there a lower cost method?

    The insecurity state of Africa, particularly rural areas, is a reflection of lack of modern knowledge and consequently inefficient production systems, management of natural resources, or ensuing ethnic rivalries. Knowledge has become the most strategic asset in development today. However, conventional learning methods would be inadequate in wake of the extent of the decay of the African state. A learning system which is both interactive and widely diffused would be the necessary requirement to reach so many people at different learning states simultaneously. There are several connectivity schemes targeting Africa, however, most of such schemes are devoid of realistic integration of the indigenous platform into the designs.

    The program content is based on modernising the indigenous knowledge system and to be accessed by the majority of the target population.

    The proposed activities provide the lowest cost-effective method to promote the use of advanced broadband Internet for the benefit of societies in Africa.

    The World Bank and African Partners have been operating the African Virtual University system. There is also the Association of African Universities. Both of these programs include the University of Ghana Satellite Earth Station and hub. Positive elements of the pilot would therefore be easily transferable across the West African sub-region and the African region.

    The University of Guelph which may serve as host of the African Program is well-adapted to the critical needs of rural Africa. Guelph has been involved in educating many citizens of Africa through various programs. This proposal would enable the university extend its knowledge development program in Africa beyond those students who are physically present in the Guelph environment to the larger mass of students in Africa through sharing on-line journals and library resources.

    Wireless Internet requires (i) less regulation, (ii) less initial investments, and (iii) less operating costs. Distance Learning and telemedicine would provide greater flexibility, enhanced content and greater accessibility.

16. Why would this activity be important for the rest of society? Does it represent a general solution to the problem discussed in question 11? Are its activities replicable? How will other groups be able to utilize the experience of this activity?

  • The next millennium would be characterized by increased globalization forged by integrated economies and facilitated by the Global Information Infrastructure. If Africa is able to interact with the global knowledge pool, its people would be able to apply knowledge in resolving local crises. An educated population is an asset to the human capacity pool of a nation and the global community. The 1995 Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development recognised "that the new IT and new approaches to and use of technologies by people living in poverty can help in fulfilling social development goals; and therefore to recognize the need to facilitate access to such technologies." So essential is communication that the capacity to communicate is expected to become a human rights issue, hence the international community has dedicated much of this decade to Africa's Connectivity issues, including the Global Knowledge for Development (GKD) real and virtual fora, the Global Connectivity for Africa Conference, several mail lists and programs. A glance at connectivity programs for Africa, such as provided by Mike Jensen <> would demonstrate the myriad of programs towards Africa's Connectivity by regional and international agencies of development. While it is prudent to allow sufficient period for gestation of these projects, it is still important to begin to contemplate if efficiency can be improved - in terms of avoiding duplication, and proof that real change can be measured soon. Perhaps, even at this early stage, it is critical for each country and region to fully coordinate such connectivity programs. Would connectivity be better served by first identifying critical national and regional needs and then strategically distributing the task, including funding, to the local, regional, and international resource and donor communities? Would such a matching of need-to-donor be decided by thematic areas, or would it continue to be between one agency and a perceived sector, with others not being well informed?

  • A comprehensive educational program of knowledge development and utilization, as the Global University Systems contemplates, would be an ideal model to coordinate knowledge acquisition and utilization.

  • On relevance and replication elsewhere: The principal indicators of insecurity which this program addresses are found elsewhere in Africa (outside the pilot area) as well as other communities of the South, such as indigenous communities of the Americas and Australia. The rural poor everywhere have little to eat, drink water which serves as disease inoculum, employ primitive tools in income-generating activities, produce inefficiently, and have alien systems of governance which perpetuate marginalisation from decision-making machinery.

  • Our model has been requested by many other institutions. Individuals and institutions, from Nova Scotia (eastern Canada), through U.S.A. to the Caribbean and Latin America, and in Europe and Asia, have encouraged the development of these perspectives, as the extensive network exemplifies.

  • The Office of the Dean, Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph, has been exploring affiliations with Fort Cox College of Agriculture and Forestry, South Africa. We hope to test this model of connectivity for education, in distance course delivery with this college as well.

  • A report on evaluation will be available as Best Practice Assessement on the web to inform others who might be similarly engaged.


17. What are the specific deliverables to infoDev from this activity?

  • To fulfil International Declarations of Education for ALL and Information as basic right for all, particularly in developing countries.

  • A prototype of developing country rural school access to global knowledge gateways and development of virtual classrooms

  • Develop prototypes in knowledge blends - between indigenous and modern knowledge systems

  • Connecting schools in one corner of the world with others elsewhere for their potential in shaping a common future

  • Provide direction for integration of indigenous knowledge into modern formats for application in sustainable rural development

  • Conference report for public dissemination

  • Final report to infoDev
18. How will the activity be sustained following the end of infoDev grant funding, both institutionally and financially?

  • To turn pilot into national and local government authority and provide mechanisms for integration into formal education structure.

  • The proponents do not intend to relinquish all interactions with the target schools following the pilot. Continuous monitoring and integration of new formats as they evolve are imagined since most of the stakeholders in the pilot are integral to the national education and communications systems.

  • The Organisation for African Unity and global institutions and governments have been concerned about Africa's human resource base. This program is an attempt to develop such capacity.

  • Efforts to encourage private sector participation for development of its workforce would be sought for continuous funding in form of developing highly trained personnel and fees would be charged for such services and ploughed back into the scheme.

  • The idea is integration of the desirable outcomes into national policy as platforms for continuous evolution.

  • The learning system described, if accomplished, would enable generation of an informed society to make informed decisions for personal, community and national enrichment. Thus, if basic school learning can lead to improved educational standards at that level, it should lead to a more educated second-cycle students and at tertiary levels, better mental equipment for rural occupations and outputs, provide easier access to global markets, and production of an innovative community as a nation's human resource cadet corp. Such achievements should enable increased capacity of the individual, community and nation, which should feed-back into the pool as sustenance of the scheme. For example, reduction in STDs (e.g., HIV/AIDS) should save the national coffers significant budget allocations; improved farming systems would reduce food import, etc. Design of better agricultural tools by technical institutes should improve productivity which should translate into health benefits and improved life, lower food costs, and produce the human physical health required of a strong human resource base.

  • Education is often under national government jurisdiction, to ensure universal access. Governments have often devoted significant budgetary allocations to education of citizenry. There is no presumption that this scheme would be devoid of continuous support from the national government or the international community. It is foreseeable that when successful, the program could be integrated into the national education curriculum, and funded as routine curriculum development and delivery methods.

  • Education budgetary items such as further training school teachers would be achieved through this process en mass thus minimising the cost.

  • Uniform quality of education as virtual courses would be universal for the target region.

  • Textbooks which are already non-existent would need to be printed less.

  • The nation's human capacity pool would increase, finding solutions to unemployment and lack of human expertise.

  • Such outcomes should dictate the national government's continuous support of the scheme.

  • Furthermore, achievement of the goals set in this proposal would translate into enhanced income generation or expected benefits sufficient enough to allow fees to be charged for access, like all education schemes.
19. What are the major risks to the success of this activity, and how will they be mitigated?

  1. Reliability of the physical infrastructure: to be overcome with ingenuity of designs and recruitment of experts internationally. The program intends to train local technical personnel to handle minor and somewhat major technical glitches

  2. Cost of connectivity: Efforts to employ the most cost-effective system

  3. Lack of local expertise initially to handle data mining and translation into knowledge: The program will provide training to teachers who would guide pupils and students initially

  4. Availability of other connectivity schemes: The initial phase of the pilot would be a comprehensive assessment of current connectivity programs in the target area and seek ways to make the best resourceful utilization of such schemes, to minimise cost as well as learn from the critical success factors

  5. Introduction of a new learning tool could be a hindrance to performance initially. Therefore, the infoculture development includes and emphasises skill acquisition at early stages of education

  6. A tendency for dominance of technologies by male pupils and students. This program would require 50% of participants to be female, including instructors.
20. How will activities and outcomes be measured, and evaluated? Include plans and schedule for measuring and evaluating impact.

  • Critical Success Factors in utilisation of IT and distance education methods will be applied in the continuous assessment/review of the scheme. The benefits of an educated and knowledgeable society is a qualitative factor. It cannot be easily measured. However, performance of pupils/students in national tests would be one method of evaluating basic school connectivity if the content is well-designed; the individual participant would be assessed by personal satisfaction in knowledge enrichment. Programs targeting tertiary technical and vocational institutions would be measured by increased output in the trade assigned, e.g., if the sector has been able to derive more competent personnel.

  • Prior to commencement of pilot (following initial survey of connectivity nodes and stakeholder agreements), an international panel of experts, including proponents and funding organisations, as well as experts in distance education and virtual systems, would review the plan and offer suggestions as to ensuring program success;

  • Participating schools and coordinators will submit progress reports every three months to the international review process;

  • Bi-annual major review of the program. These reviews will involve survey of pupils/students as to fulfilment of career goals and learning ability. It will include issues of relevance to the national education and human resource development. Changes will be incorporated in an on-going manner in terms of tools and contents to reflect the rapidly changing terrain of information and communications, as well as in national agenda and infostructure.
21. How will ownership and control of physical or intellectual assets of the activity be determined? Please certify that infoDev will have title to all intellectual property produced using grant funds.

  • Development schemes in the last five decades may have been less successful than initially predicted because of lack of involvement of the target group in the planning, execution, supervision, evaluation, and analysis.

  • The current scheme features blending knowledge systems of the indigenous society with the external knowledge format, by building bridges across, through connectivity schemes which involve the African intellectual society, local authority, and external centres of advancement and academia.

  • Individuals and institutions which develop content, hardware and frameworks, or contribute to the intellectual capacity of the program would be natural stakeholders. Other executing staff would be acknowledged as required. Funding institutions would be accredited as such. However, since the idea of the rural school connectivity system is to be based on the assets of that knowledge system, percentage of the blended knowledge system would be accredited to the local community.
22. What is the activity schedule? Include beginning and end date, as well as major milestones.
23. Resources required for activity. Provide separate columns for expenses funded by infoDev and other sources. This budget should be compatible with the inputs listed in question 14. Where possible, disaggregate the budget by activities listed in question 13. For example:

Item Units Amount infoDev funding Other Funding Total Cost
24. Sources of Financing? Include all sources of financing, including contributions other than infoDev and in-kind contributions by proponent organizations. (Written commitments for non-infoDev funding will be required prior to grant award. In the absence of written commitments, infoDev may award a grant contingent upon the securing of co-financing).


25. Proponent Capability Statements
26. Resumes of proposed staff


  • John C. Afele, Ph.D
    University of Guelph
    Guelph, Ontario

    John is Director of International Programs for Africa at the Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. He has been described among three other "African Making News" on the Voice of America Radio.

    John obtained a doctorate degree from the University of Guelph in 1990, M.Sc. from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium (1986) and B.Sc (Hons) from the University of Ghana in 1984.

    John and colleague, Dr. Kofi Anani, have defined The Indigenous African Perspectives on Sustainable Livelihoods and the necessary international and local network units whose activities would translate into a synthesis and application of knowledge which would be relevant to the cultural and philosophical platforms of the target region in promoting sustainable livelihoods.

    John is a member of the Diaspora Focus Group within the African Development Forum of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. The African Development Forum held its inaugural session in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, and is an attempt to define Africa's entry into the knowledge economy. He also participated in the infoDev symposium The New Networked Economy (Washington D.C., November 9 - 19, 1999). He is also a member of the Science and Technology Working Group of the Constituency for Africa, and was a panelist in the Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series during the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Forum (September 15, 1999, Howard University/Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.).

    John is also a member of "ICT for Rural Development" working group of Arbeitsgemeinschaft fuer Tropische und Subtropische Agrarforschung-Council for Tropical and Subtropical Agricultural Research (ATSAF e.V.) with whom he was a co-organizer of a Symposium on "IT and Development" which was held within the 2nd Conference of the European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture (EFITA/99) on September 28, 1999, in Bonn, Germany. John and his colleague (Dr. Kofi Anani) also initiated an on-going exploration of affiliation between the Sustainable Livelihoods Program of the Bureau for Development Policy of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the University of Guelph.

    John has also served as a panellist of the World Bank's "Technet Think Tank for Identifying Critical Technologies for Developing Countries" (Feb 15 - March 15, 1999). These perspectives also have been encouraged by members of the United States Congressional African-American caucus, such as Representative Carrie Meek; Malik Chaka (professional staff, House sub-committee on Africa); Florida State Legislators Beryl Robert-Burke and James Bush III; Mr. Melvin Foote, Executive Director of the Constituency for Africa; the Foundation for Democracy in Africa and the Africa Leadership Forum.

    The perspectives are also encouraged by Caroline Wagner, Special Assistant to the Director of the Science & Technology Policy Institute, and Senior Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation and Prof. Takeshi Utsumi, Chair of GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the U.S.A.and Laureate of Lord Perry Award for Excellence in Distance Education. John has provided the background paper for Africa's participation in Emerging Global Electronic Distance Learning (EGEDL '99) which held an International Workshop/Conference at the University of Tampere, Finland, August 9 to 13, 1999.

    John is also a member of the Ghana Computer Literacy and Distance Education Project (GhaCLAD) of which he is chair of the Research Committee. John is also among the group which is providing the structural framework for extending telehealth programs from local hospital nodes to unconnected rural communities under the Africa Telemedicine Project design which is a joint initiative of the Africa Telemedicine Consortium and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

    A micro-credit scheme, which is based on the indigenous Ghanaian forms of social capital (susu and fidodo), is being developed by the group for PlaNet Bank (Paris) and the Ghana National Investment Bank. John co-edited and contributed a chapter to a book [Now and in the Next Millennium,1990s-3000 CE: Assessing Africa's Scholarly Publishing Needs and Industry1999 Edition, Journal of African Religion and Philosophy (JARP)] and has been active on many Listservs, e.g., the Global Knowledge for Development Listserv.

European Union

  • Tapio Varis
    University of Tampere
    Tampere, Finland

    Tapio Varis is currently Professor and Chair of Media Culture and Communication Education at the University of Tampere Finland (Journalism and Mass Communication and Department of Teacher Education), consultant on new learning technologies for the Finnish Ministry of Education and advisor to several international organizations. In 1996-97, he was UNESCO Chair of Communication Studies at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain. He has also been a faculty member of the European Peace University, the University of Art and Design in Helsinki and Communication and Media Scholar at the University of Helsinki.

    Tapio Varis is a former Rector of the University for Peace in Costa Rica and Professor of Media Studies in the University of Lapland, Finland. He has published approximately 200 scientific contributions, the latest being Media of the Knowledge Age, published by Helsinki University Press 1995 (in Finnish). He is listed in Who's Who in the World (1984 & 1995) and Men of Achievement (1986 & 1995).


  • Takeshi Utsumi
    GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association, U.S.A.
    Global University System (GUS)

    Takeshi Utsumi, Ph.D., P.E., is Chairman of the GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the USA (GLOSAS/USA) and President of the Global electronic) University (GU/USA) System (a divisional activity of GLOSAS/USA). He is the 1994 Laureate of Lord Perry Award for the Excellence in Distance Education. His public service has included political work for the deregulation of global telecommunications and the use of e-mail through ARPANET, Telenet and the Internet; working to extend American university courses to the Third World; the conduct of innovative distance teaching trials with "Global Lecture Hall(GLH)" multipoint-to multipoint multimedia interactive videoconferences using hybrid technologies; and lectures, consultation and research in process control, management science, systems science and engineering at the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, M.I.T. and many universities, governmental agencies and large firms in Japan and other countries.

    Highlights among his more than 150 related scientific papers and books are presentations at the Summer Computer Simulation Conferences (which he created and named) and the Society for Computer Simulation International. He is a member of various scientific and professional groups, including the Chemists Club (New York, NY); Columbia University Seminar on Computers, Man and Society New York, NY); Fulbright Association (Washington, D.C.); International Center for Integrative Studies (ICIS) (New York, NY); and the Society of Satellite Professionals International (Washington, D.C.).

    He received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Polytechnic University in New York and his Ch.E. from Montana State University, after studying at the University of Nebraska under a Fulbright scholarship. His professional experience in simulation and optimization of petrochemical and refinery processes was gained at Mitsubishi Research Institute, Tokyo; Stone & Webster Engineering Corp., Boston; Mobil Oil Corporation and Shell Chemical Company, New York; and Asahi Chemical Industry, Inc., Tokyo.
By submitting an activity proposal to infoDev, proponents authorize the infoDev Program to make public the information in fields 1- 10, for the purpose of promoting contacts between proponents and other interested parties.

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