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South Africans off to summit Kili for Caring4Girls

first_imgEach step to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, no matter how slowly it is taken, will be for beneficiaries of Caring4Girls, says Melissa Rehbock. She is one of about 40 participants of the 2016 Trek4Mandela Kilimanjaro Expedition. The expedition takes place annually.She is aiming to take it slowly, one step at a time. The Capetonian and others left South Africa for Tanzania on Wednesday, 13 July to start the expedition up Mount Kilimanjaro. Kili, as it is known, is the highest mountain on the African continent. It rises approximately 4 877 metres from its base to 5 895 metres above sea level. Melissa Rehbock says she will take it one step at a time to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. She and others aim to fundraise to assist thousands of girls with sanitary pads. (Image supplied)The aimThe target of the initiative this year is to help 350 000 South African girls who are not able to buy their own sanitary towels, says the Trek4Mandela website. According to research, girls from impoverished backgrounds could miss up to 50 days of school each year as a result of these challenges.“Trek4Mandela aims to create awareness of the Caring4Girls programme and give much-needed accessibility to sanitary towels. This, together with effective hygiene education, will ensure the development and growth of thousands of young South African and African women. Our ultimate goal is to reach two million girls by 2020,” reads the site.In a video on YouTube, a teacher says that some of the girls at her school are afraid to ask for a sanitary pad. This is one of the reasons she is happy that the Caring4Girls initiative was created by the Imbumba Foundation.Watch the beneficiaries of Caring4Girls explain how this project affects them:Nerve-racking expedition“It’s the altitude that is the biggest factor [on the expedition] and not always how fit one is,” Rehbok explains, although she thinks she is fit enough for the expedition. “No-one knows how their body is going to react to the altitude, so that’s a little nerve-racking.“We will be going slowly as one does on Kilimanjaro. The term is ‘pole pole, slowly slowly.’”Training started six months ago. It included hiking, running and strength training in the gym.A morning spent on @LionsHeadCT to send @millydoeskili on her way for her summit pic.twitter.com/97MoQctYob— Stace (@StaceyRehbock) July 3, 2016Rehbock says she learned about Caring4Girls in May last year. “When I heard about the Trek4Mandela climb, I immediately said I wanted to do it. I knew I wanted to be part of something so special and raise as much money as I could for the initiative. The dream has become a reality.”On a Skype call recently with women from Saudi Arabia, she learned lack of access to sanitary pads was a wider problem. “This cause [girls having the lack of access of sanitary towels] does not only happen in South Africa.”Freezing conditionsCarmen Cupido, who lives in Johannesburg, says the idea of summiting Kilimanjaro in the middle of the night by walking 1.5 kilometres over three hours in freezing conditions and little oxygen, terrifies her. “But I am a brave person. That’s what I tell myself.”Her last physical challenge was running a marathon (42.5km) in 2010. She is looking forward to the camaraderie, fitness and rediscovering her deeper reserves of determination. “I want to achieve new goals with my body, mind and spirit.”Cupido is one of six in Seacom’s team. The company is a submarine cable operator.As part of their training, in the last five months they had five group training sessions. “Two of the sessions were Drakensberg 18km hikes. The other three were Suikerbosrand 12km hikes, which were followed the next day with two hours of Westcliff stairs training,” explains Cupido. “Individually, hikers are doing their gym training, running and/or cycling, strength training and Pilates. This varies from person to person.” Albie Bester, Suveer Ramdhani, Carmen Cupido, Kelly Crofton, Sibusiso Khanye and Lizaan de Jongh make up the 2016 Seacom Kilimanjaro team. (Image supplied)Kelly Crofton, one of Cupido’s colleagues, says she is looking forward to meeting new people, sharing stories and learning more about herself.The Kilimanjaro expedition is something completely out of her comfort zone.Happy to be part of a team to raise funds for Caring4Girls, Crofton adds: “Quite frankly, no girl should not have no option but to stay absent from school because they have their period. Nor do they have to face the humiliation of not having a sanitary pad when their period is due.”She hopes their fundraising will give a few girls the opportunity of having one less stress in their lives.Sibusiso Khanye, another Seacom employee, says to summit Kilimanjaro has always been his dream. A Comrades runner, he is proud to be touching lives and making a difference by helping Caring4Girls.Watch an interview with Samantha Pillay, who was diagnosed with lupus disease. She spoke to the SABC about why she is doing this year’s expedition:Promoting Mandela MonthRichard Mabaso, founder of the Imbumba Foundation, started the Caring4Girls initiative in 2012, shortly after he overheard that one of his nieces did not have access to sanitary pads.He told Sello Hatang, the chief executive officer of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, about Caring4Girls and that fundraising for it was the reason for summiting Kilimanjaro.Speaking to the SABC, Mabaso says: “One thing we owe to Madiba is to start taking a leading role as South Africans to educate people about Mandela Day… in terms of what it means and to really go beyond 18 July.”Madiba is Mandela’s clan name.The pillars of Mandela Day 2016 are: education and literacy, food security, shelter and the environment. The Nelson Mandela Day website encourages South Africans and international supporters to “Make every day a Mandela Day” by taking action and inspiring change. The annual day is on Madiba’s birthday, 18 July.The oldest person to summit Kili was 80, according to Mabaso. “Sometimes it’s not about your fitness, but your discipline. You have to be disciplined: drink water, take one step, take a rest and then take another step.”Supporters flooded Twitter with their well wishes for the expedition:Good luck To all the 2016 @Trek4Mandela climbers! @PennyLebyane @sibueverest pic.twitter.com/Zen61mcvx4—Mpumi Mbethe (@MpumiMbethe) July 11,2016Tothe team, Safe travels, clear perspectives and fresh insights all for a worthy cause,@Trek4Mandela @ubuntubami https://t.co/lfZcHnoaWE—Masire-Mwamba (@mmasekgoam) July 11,2016Advice on climbing KiliSibusiso Vilane, their expedition guide, gave him the following advice, Mabaso says: “He told me to internalise the climb when you get to the mountain. It must be a personal journey.“So one: set up your summit. Break down your summit into mini summits. Your first day you should be about: ‘I want to get to the gate. I want to do the first hike and I want to get to the next camp.’“The minute you step down, it becomes easier. People are more challenged by their mental fitness.”SouthAfrica.info reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See:Using SouthAfrica.info materiallast_img read more

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RW Q&A: Singapore’s CIO weighs in on IoT and smart cities

first_imgSingapore, the booming Asian city-state, is one of the world’s leading smart cities. With technology-driven government projects stretching back decades, it remains at the forefront of global smart city innovation.To further its ambitious Smart Nation 2025 plan, Singapore recently launched two new agencies focusing on innovation-related aspects of this complex smart city strategy, one of which is the GovTech agency.Chan Cheow Hoe is the new deputy chief executive of GovTech and, more sweepingly, is also Singapore’s Chief Information Officer.Chan Cheow Hoe, Singapore’s CIO and Deputy Chief Executive of GovTechChan spent more than 20 years in the financial services sector, running technology at such banks as Barclays and Citibank. However, two years ago he signed on as the Singapore government’s CIO, bringing with him a wealth of private sector knowledge.He sat down with ReadWrite to outline the approach he brings to Singapore’s Smart Nation strategy and to the new GovTech agency, which is a unique mix of governance, technology strategy and multi-agency implementation. His comments have been edited for length and clarity.ReadWrite: As Singapore rolls out its Smart Nation 2025 plan, what are some of smart city revelations you’ve had?Chan: In the past, we tried to build ourselves out of problems. But now many cities are realizing they can’t build any more roads, because there’s not enough space. There’s a limit to the number of train lines or hospital beds you can build. This is where the new technology comes into play. Smart Nation is about using technology and data effectively to optimize the use of the scarce resources and infrastructure that you have.See also: White House plans to help with smart city projectsRW: Can you give me an example of one of Singapore’s successful smart city initiatives?Chan: If you look at smart transportation, the question is how you make public transportation more efficient. So we took all the bus transportation data, and we used concentration analysis to develop the BeeLine Singapore app. We started mining the data and got these dynamic routes planned out, then brought it to the bus companies who needed to become comfortable with these routes. And then people could go online and suggest other routes we could begin drilling into, because it’s also about engaging the community to help you solve these problems. And it also uses Open API so entrepreneurs can develop apps.RW: Speaking of Open API, how can governments foster innovation using open data?Chan: Everyone talks about open data but it’s not free. Good quality, dynamic data costs money. Ultimately if data is so useful, and generates economic value and it costs the government a lot of money to provide, it creates big questions plaguing many countries. At what point do you start charging for data? And what kind of data should be charging for? Perhaps using a freemium model, where you consume free for seven days and beyond that it’s going to charge you. But those models aren’t available yet, and many countries are currently assessing it.RW: What are some obstacles that governments face when rolling out smart city programs?Chan: The biggest challenge most nations face about smart cities, and I’m going to be a bit controversial here, is everybody is doing POCs (Proof of Concept), but nobody is able to scale up. There are POCs everywhere. You go to one street there are 20 smart lampposts and 20 smart bins and it stops there. So what happened to the rest? Twenty smart dust bins isn’t going to improve the lives of citizens. So its more important to ask how do we make use of the data and the infrastructure to create impactful applications that improve the lives of citizens and businesses.RW: So how can programs like Smart Nation improve the lives of citizens, particularly the poor or vulnerable?Chan: We have to be realistic about things that this initiative isn’t going to solve all the problems in Singapore, it’s not going to cure cancer. So we are very selective about how we can use technology to solve certain problems. Like with Singapore’s rapidly aging population, how do you provide the right level of tertiary care using technology? An important part is about data again, how you transmit data from one point to the other. But one of the big realizations is that it’s just not about technology, it’s about acceptance. How do you get care personnel to convince old people that it’s ok to be wired up for two hours a day? There’s a lot of change management there. A lot of smart city initiatives focus on technology for the sake of technology but it has to be humanized.RW: As CIO to an increasingly wired country, how do you handle the ever-evolving security threat to Singapore’s vital systems?Chan: This is a game you can never win, because you’re always playing catch-up somewhere. It is a prioritization exercise, because it takes a lot of money to protect everything. That’s when you determine which are the critical and non-critical systems and you offer different levels of protection. Some systems go down for two days and life goes on, other systems go down for 2 hours and life is very painful. We isolate some systems, building resiliency into some systems becomes important. But it cannot be one-size-fits-all because it costs you too much money and there will never be enough resources to handle that.RW: As Singapore is becoming increasingly connected, how are you addressing threats from the Internet of Things?Chan: It’s a serious problem, because a lot of IoT devices have zero protection, it’s a simple pass-through. There is a mystification around Internet of Things but security for IoT is actually very simple. Is the data classified or is it non-classified? If it’s non-classified the data can go anywhere. It depends on what data you’re carrying and what level of data it is in terms of privacy and security. The question of when the data becomes sensitive is really where the challenge is. At some point when you process data it could become sensitive, either from a privacy point of view or a security point of view. The processing, that’s where the security comes in. But you can’t protect every single end point, because that is impossible.See also: Blockchain drives Wanxiang’s $30B smart city projectRW: As the country’s CIO how have you managed to tackle the perennial government challenge of getting multiple departments and agencies to collaborate effectively?Chan: For a lot of these whole-government projects that touch multiple agencies, normally we do it centrally, with the funding through the Ministry of Finance. Because if you expect every agency to fund it themselves, these projects will take five years to do. But how do we get agencies to conform, when they are always protective of their systems and their data? For many of these multi-agency problems we’ve given up on trying to integrate systems. So we changed the architectural approach so that instead of integrating systems, we integrate with data.RW: How did this data integration approach work for example with Singapore’s OneService app, which handles citizen-reported problems for 14 different government agencies?Chan: We built a centralized software that does the routing, we built a front end and then we plugged everything through using API calls. We didn’t touch any of their systems, because integrating 14 agency’s systems would be impossible. This is instead integrating systems with data. We built a system of engagement, and we left the system of records, with the legacy systems just becoming a database. This is a concept I brought from the banks. We built this in just 9 months and people were shocked because in the past this would have taken five years.RW: What practical smart city advice would you give to other governments?Chan: Our architectural concept really helps us because it takes away the splitting of hairs between “my system and your system”. That is why we are moving very aggressively towards an API economy. All I care about is if an API is there I can build an app. That’s why we have a government API gateway where we funnel all these APIs through. That allows us to build front-end, user-centric apps. As needs change, they are more agile this way. And over time these systems become quite easy to replace, because there are very few processing rules in there any more, so the migration process becomes easier too. Otherwise, if you keep building on these legacy systems one day it will just be a Frankenstein. Related Posts Tags:#cyber security#Internet of Things#IoT#open API#Singapore#Smart Cities For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… Surveillance at the Heart of Smart Citiescenter_img How Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi… How IoT Will Play an Important Role in Traffic … Donal Powerlast_img read more

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Ready to be an alternative, says NCP

first_imgA day after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi, the NCP on Tuesday said it can be an alternative for government formation if the Shiv Sena so decides. Mumbai NCP chief and MLA Nawab Malik told reporters, “We have made it clear that we can be an alternative … if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fails to form a government … It is the Sena’s turn to take the decision.” While Congress and NCP leaders have said the Sena has not sent them a proposal seeking support, there have been reports of meetings between Sena MP Sanjay Raut and Mr. Pawar. According to sources, Mr. Pawar has also had telephonic conversations with Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. Officially, both have denied this. Support against poachingOn the possibility of the BJP attempting to poach MLAs from the Sena or the Opposition, the NCP said there will be absolute support to the Sena. “In such a case, we will all support the Sena candidate in the bypoll and ensure it retains the seat,” NCP State president Jayant Patil said. According to sources within the Congress and the NCP, the only way they will offer support the Sena is if the party quits the National Democratic Alliance at the Centre and its minister Arvind Sawant resigns from the Union Cabinet. “There cannot be two opinions on this,” a Congress leader said. While the State Congress leadership appears to be in favour of backing the Sena, all eyes are on the central leadership, which will take the final call. Ashish Dua, party secretary and Maharashtra in-charge, said, “All parties are in wait and watch mode. Even the BJP, which was boasting a few days ago, has turned helpless and is doing the same. The State governance has been paralysed due to an incapable BJP government. The party leadership will soon take a decision on the matter of supporting the Sena.”last_img read more

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London Olympics 2012: Vijay Kumar- who is he?

first_imgBefore Friday, when he won the coveted Olympic medal, clinching silver in the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol, the armyman from a small town in Himachal Pradesh had won two World Cup silver medals in the 10m air pistol event, one each in 2009 and 2011.He also won two bronze medals at the 2010 Asian Games and three gold and one silver medal at the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games. All coming in the 10m air pistol event – his primary event.On Thursday, Vijay was in hot pursuit finishing fifth in the qualification stage 1 of the event. He ended with a score of 293/300 (99, 96, 98) with the leader Alexei K Limov of Russia getting 294.On Friday, Limov got eliminated, while Vijay ended with a final score of 28. The gold went to Cuban Leuris Pupo, who equalled the world record of 34. Chinese Feng Ding won the bronze.Vijay Kumar is serving as a subedar in the Indian Army.last_img read more