A Bad Back

I woke up this morning with severe pain in my the left side of my lower back. In addition, I also had apparent infection in my right eye which was all stuffy and wet. When it rains it pours indeed…

I managed to take a shower and get dress and was ready to make an appointment with the eye doctor. But then my back collapsed altogether

I am now in bed as I can hardly move, never mind walking. I am taking the medicine my doctor prescribed in the past for episodes such as this ( I recall I do have a small lumbar hernia so…). But the medicine basically knocks you uot and makes you feel sort of stoned and slow.

Is is in occasions like this when one really appreciates the use of light laptops and wireless connections. I am writing this from bed, sort of cool

Certainly not one of my best days.

Read More

Donor iInterest on OLPC

Last Friday I received a call from the Mission of Spain to the UN requesting a meeting to discuss possible support for OLPC. So I had to wear a nice tie and shirt for the ensuing meeting which took place today.

The meeting with the Mission’s Deputy went quite well. I presented UNDP’s take on this initiative which in a nutshell related to both the achievement of the MDGs (goals 2 and 8 for those who are really curious) and also added the governance angle from the perspective of service delivery for the poor.

Donor Interest in OLPC

Last Friday I received a call from the Mission of Spain to the UN requesting a meeting to discuss possible support for OLPC. So I had to wear a nice tie and shirt for the ensuing meeting which took place today.

The meeting with the Mission’s Deputy went quite well. I presented UNDP’s take on this initiative which in a nutshell related to both the achievement of the MDGs (goals 2 and 8 for those who are really curious) and also added the governance angle from the perspective of service delivery for the poor (education is still a public service is many countries but still does not reach many children and when it does it is precarious).

Spain expressed interest in possibly doing a pilot in Latin America or Africa. Consultations with Madrid are expected to take place soon.

In the press but…

Early this morning I got a call from a colleague from the UN who told me that I had made an article in a local press web service. The article is here: http://www.innercitypress.com/undp121306.html. Inner City Press has been running for a few days an exposé on UNDP. It is clear that inside imformation is being furnished to the journalist wiriting these stories.

Too bad that I have never been to Uzbekistan nor have we ever supported any Open Source programme there or in that sub-region.

Out of (South) Africa

Flying from Maputo to Johannesburg, which takes 45 minutes, is an efficient gateway to easily notice the huge gap between the two countries. The same goes for most of the sub-Saharan African nations. It is almost like flying from Mozambique to a Latin American country at the speed of sound.

The first time I visited Cape Town a couple of years ago I immediately though of Rio de Janeiro. I shared this with my fellow travelers back then but unfortunately none of them had ever been to beautiful and dangerous Rio. After seeing the �twin cities� in South Africa, I concluded that this country is in fact a lot like Brazil, with a very different historical background, but facing many of the same challenges. Pretoria is in fact Brasilia and Joburg, yes, of course, a nearby Sao Paolo.

South Africa,

Read More

Maputo in May, again

Six months is probably not a long time to expect and run into major changes in most countries. Mozambique is, of course, no exception. Maputo is still an intriguing city with its beautiful geographical surroundings and coastline that hosts the grayish Indian Ocean. Unlike New York City, time in Maputo is less expensive and much more patient and considerate; it even stops sometimes to check us out and remind us of local history.

For reasons I did not quite understand, I spent my two nights in Maputo in two different hotels. One a good 3 star which offered a room almost the size of the upscale cubicle that some call �my office� in NYC; the other a guesthouse in a beautiful four-story house near the UNDP office. Neither offered Internet access from the room.

I thought I was going to be off

Read More

Dominican Republic

This was my first time back in Santo Domingo since 1999. I must admit the city has changed quite a bit. The first thing one notices is the development of physical infrastructure, buildings and roads specially. The long and beautiful ride from the airport to Santo Domingo has now been transformed into a 6 lane highway. They have however managed to preserve those great palm trees and related vegetation along the coastline which hosts the forever-magical Caribbean Sea.

The city itself has brand new and modern buildings and ‘urbanizaciones’, plenty of shopping malls and restaurants, and by far many more car dealerships per square kilometre than Westchester. All this modernisation, as some call it, occurring in the upper/upper middle class neighbourhoods. As I told some of the locals, it reminds

Read More

Bangladesh Mission

Great trip to Bangladesh. We have an SDNP project with great potential and lots of resrouces. The Staff is top notch too and support from the host institution is rock solid. The report spells out the recommendations I am making which in a nutshell call for a refocusing on more development oriented (less techie) pilots and proposes connections to both the National ICT Strategy and the MDGs.

I spent a lot of time in a car going from meeting to meeting. Traffic is a bit crazy. With over 300k rickshaws on the road, circulation is not easy. As the SDNP coordinator told me: “In some countries they drive on the right, in some others on the left; in Dhaka we drive on both!”.

I was amazed to see the Grameen Sky Rise. Pretty good stuff for a non-profit NGO!. One subsidiary, Grammen CyberNEt which is

Read More

Ecuador

Lack of both time and connectivity prevented me from using the Net more effectively in Quito. The recent volcano eruption was also to blame, at least partially. I could neither connect from the hotel room as the UNDP SITA config had changed and I was not aware of it. At any rate, the hotel was charging 35 cents per minute for local calls and 2 dollars per min for international. Is this really the 21st century?

I arrived on Monday almost at midnight and the car driver gave me a great overview of the new president elect who was elected the night before. The new guy is also a former military man who is on the center/left and has widespread popular support.

The mission went pretty well. We saw many key organizations and stakeholders. There is indeed a niche to steer the existing National Connectivity

Read More