The West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN) demonstrated its commitment to opening windows of opportunities for women, historically underrepresented in STEM fields, as it launched its first Women in WACREN event under the theme “Physical Computing with Python.”
In addition to providing an opportunity for women to enhance programming skills, the conference forged strategic partnerships with women and organizations committed to addressing the underrepresentation of women in the field and served as a model for member NRENs.
“The workshop exceeded our expectations as it served as a platform for training, networking, and building strategic partnerships with women and organizations that share our commitment to increasing participation of women in all NREN initiatives,” said Omo Oaiya, WACREN’s Chief Technology Officer. “We hope to replicate the training for women at WACREN member institutions,” he added.Grouping to execute Python projects on Raspberry Pi based prototyping systems
1 week ago ago by WACREN Media. The workshop introduced content for a 10-week training experience which will continue online. A total of 30 women representing 5 countries participated in the workshop co-sponsored by Eko-Konnect, the University of Lagos (UNILAG,) and AfricaConnect2, and held at the University of Lagos, Entrepreneurship and Skill Development Center, January 22-26.
The workshop was followed by the Eko-Konnect ICT for Girls community day, an initiative to enhance opportunities for girls at the secondary and tertiary levels by improving their readiness to enter STEM fields. The event featured presentations by women in ICT who shared words of encouragement, strategies for success, and research affirming the need for more women in STEM fields.
Ifee Kojo, country lead, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Nigeria “Mentoring Moments: Why skilled women should mentor upcoming women”
1 week ago ago by WACREN Media.
In a presentation titled “Cultural Factors Influencing Female Participation in Software Development,” Mandeep Saini, the Head of Software Development at GEANT, outlined root causes of the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields, addressing unconscious bias and cultural norms that affect women’s preparation and experiences in the field.
Saini cited research evidence that demonstrates the business case for including women in the field. “Groups with greater diversity solve complex problems better and faster than homogeneous groups,” she said.
Women can be further encouraged by existing research as she quoted research findings which assert: “Tech companies led by women delivered higher revenues using less capital and were more likely to survive the transition from startup to established company.”
The EU-funded AfricaConnect2 project has just announced that, following the tender call to connect West and Central (W&C) Africa back in June 2016, GÉANT has awarded a 15-year contract to MainOne for connectivity services. By signing the contract through AfricaConnect2, WACREN, the regional Research and Education Network in West and Central Africa, will join the global Research and Education (R&E) networking community. In addition to that, a complementary contract was signed with XON Systems for the provision of equipment.
This comes at the time of an ever-widening digital divide. The slow and sporadic adoption of ICT technologies in W&C Africa has led to one of the lowest internet penetration rates in the world. In this light, the recent contract announcement will undoubtedly facilitate the digital economy and will allow WACREN to truly unleash its potential and work with its members to meet the needs of its users.
Welcoming the progress of the AfricaConnect2 project and underlining the importance of connecting the region to the global R&E network, Boubakar Barry, CEO of WACREN said: “The signing of the contracts with MainOne and XON is an important milestone in the journey WACREN has embarked on towards the provision of first-class network infrastructure for the education and research community in West and Central Africa. When the first connections will be up in the first quarter of 2018, the big hole that currently exists in the global research and education networking map will finally be closed”.
Leveraging EU funding, AfricaConnect2 was able to secure a 15-year IRU (Indefeasible Right of Use) and pay an upfront circuit provisioning cost. This supports the EU objective of creating a sustainable, high-capacity data communications network that serves higher education and research institutions across the region.
Initially, the WACREN network will provide a 10Gbps link from Lagos, Nigeria to London, UK where it interconnects with the pan-European GÉANT network, thus providing access to R&E collaborations with over 50 million researchers, academics and students across Europe. As part of the contract, an additional link will go out from Lagos terminating in Accra, Ghana. The implementation of this contract will not only connect the first two countries in West and Central Africa but will also form the building block for the WACREN backbone in support of R&E communities across the entire Central and Western part of the African continent.
MainOne, the company which was awarded the contract for the provision of network connectivity services in the WACREN region after being successful in the highly competitive connectivity tender, is a leading provider of innovative telecom services and network solutions in West Africa.
Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, commended the commitment of WACREN to connect regional researchers to the global research and education communities across the world: “MainOne was born out of a passion to close the digital divide in West Africa and this agreement with WACREN leverages our capacity and provides us the opportunity to get all Research and Educational institutions in West Africa connected among themselves and to the rest of the world. We are delighted to have won this bid and believe we will add value to institutions in our region with our cost-effective and innovative connectivity solutions”.
On the other hand, the contract with XON Systems, an IP equipment provider, completes the first procurement cycle by introducing a 4-year framework agreement under which WACREN is able to purchase the IP Routing equipment required for setting up and running its regional network.
“XON have worked closely with GÉANT in the past on the AfricaConnect projects and we are honoured and privileged to have been selected as the IP-routing equipment supplier of choice to help build the AfricaConnect2 project for the WACREN network”, said Sub-Saharan Sales Manager Dewalt Uys. “By leveraging our vast experience of providing equipment and services to Tier-1 service providers across the continent, we can bring our vendor partnerships, engineering competency and logistics expertise as we help WACREN embark on this formidable and exciting journey.”
Celebrating this achievement, Cathrin Stöver, GÉANT’s Chief Collaboration Officer and the project manager of AfricaConnect2, said: “The global R&E community has just become stronger and more enriched. I congratulate WACREN on this milestone and invite its users to make the most of the unlimited opportunities that this sort of connectivity brings.”
AfricaConnect2 is an EU-funded pan-African connectivity project with a total budget of €26.6m covering a period of 3.5 years. It aims to support the development and consolidation of high-capacity regional internet networks for R&E across Africa and their interconnection with the pan-European GÉANT network, creating a continental gateway for collaborative research and education across and beyond Africa.
For more information, visit www.africaconnect2.net
WACREN is the West and Central African Research and Education Network. The objectives of the organisation are the promotion and establishment of interconnections between national research and education networks in West and Central Africa to form a regional research and education network, the interconnection of this network with other regional and continental networks, and the provision of services aiming at fostering collaboration between research and education institutions in the region, as well as between these institutions and their peers at a continental and international level. To achieve its goals, WACREN works not only with educational and research institutions but also with bodies such as regional economic communities (ECOWAS, ECCAS, UEMOA), telecommunications regulators (WATRA) and a number of national policy and decision-making institutions in West and Central Africa. WACREN was constituted in 2010 and currently includes 11 participating NRENs in the region.
For more information, visit www.wacren.net
GÉANT is Europe’s leading collaboration on network and related infrastructure and services for the benefit of research and education, contributing to Europe's economic growth and competitiveness. The organisation develops, delivers and promotes advanced network and associated e-infrastructure services, and supports innovation and knowledge-sharing amongst its members, partners and the wider research and education networking community.
For more information, visit www.geant.org
MainOne is West Africa’s leading connectivity and data centre solutions provider. We are the first choice for wholesale internet, enterprise services, cloud solutions and managed data services for businesses with global scale ambitions. We operate the only Tier III-certified data centre in West Africa with ISO 27001 and PCI DSS. Our cost-effective and innovative solutions are such that businesses that partner with us are fully empowered to meet the needs of today’s market and also prepared for tomorrow’s growth opportunities.
For more information, visit www.mainone.net
About XON Systems:
XON Systems Ltd established in 1996, designs, builds, operates, and manages information and communication technology (ICT) solutions created specifically for customers. We are a level 2 B-BBEE business that embraces social responsibility and upliftment.
For more information, visit www.xon.co.za
Programme and Registration
You can now register for the WACREN 2018 Conference and Annual General Meeting to be held in Lomé, Togo, on 15-16 March 2018. The WACREN network will be officially launched at this occasion.
Conference attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a number of fun and exciting social events. Each event offers a unique opportunity to experience some of the local culture and network with fellow attendees.
Venue and Accommodation
The venue of the event is Hotel 2 Février (formerly Radisson Blu Lomé). The negotiated rate (single, breakfast included) is 95,000 CFA (145 EUR). Please make your room bookings as soon as possible by sending an email to Mr Edward Nouwossan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Special rates for bed & breakfast have also been negotiated at the following hotels (mention the Ministry of Higher Education and Research to book at these rates):
Please always copy email@example.com so that we can assist you efficiently if the need arises.
All these hotels provide free airport shuttle service. If you don’t want to use this service, taxi fare to these hotels is between 3,000 and 5,000 XOF (approximately 4 to 7 EUR). Do negotiate the fare with the driver before you enter the taxi. 3,000 XOF is considered to be a fair price. The fare is regardless the number of passengers (we recommend not more than 3 passengers per taxi).
Forex bureaus, as well as ATMs, are available at the airport and in most of these hotels. Banks are generally open only from Monday to Friday (8 am – 4 pm) and Saturday morning, but ATMs are accessible 24/7.
If you need a visa for Togo and there is a Togolese embassy in your country of residence, we recommend that you apply for a visa there; this will save you time when you arrive at Lome airport. However, visa can be issued on arrival at a fee of 10,000 XOF (15 EUR); this visa is valid for 7 days and can be extended if necessary. See details here: https://www.aeroport-lome.com/visa_togo.php.
If you hold a passport or national ID card from an ECOWAS country, you don’t need a visa to enter Togo.
Conference website: https://indico.wacren.net/event/59/
Don’t miss WACREN 2018 and a historical event: the official launch of the WACREN network.
We look forward to welcoming you to Lomé!
This “Women In WACREN” training and community event is held in collaboration with the Eko-Konnect Research and Education Initiative, a cluster the Nigerian NREN (NgREN), the Entrepreneurship & Skills Development Centre and Faculty of Engineering of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), and the AfricaConnect2 project.
Leveraging a broader promotion of maker culture and hackerspaces in NRENs, the event is part of a program aimed at reducing current imbalances in gender participation. It will support female students and staff to improve STEM skills through experimentation with robots and electronics and learning to program these devices.
The participants wind down at the end of the 5-day training workshop in the "ICT for Girls" community day, a networking opportunity open to faculty and guests from other women tech hubs with representation from government and industry.
Workshop Goal: Teach Python in a series of practical hands-on exercises that introduce the fundamentals of physical computing with the Raspberry Pi, GPIO breadboard and sensors.
Targeted Audience: Female students and staff in computing and engineering or from other disciplines with good computer skills and interest in intelligent environments. A programming background and knowledge of Linux or other UNIX operating system is useful but not required.
Expected Outcomes: Over time, participants will be able to work on their own or in small teams to develop electronic or robotic projects at varying levels of complexity to solve problems.
Language: Conducted in English with bilingual trainers
Lunches and coffee breaks will be provided for all participants for the duration of the workshop.
Selected international participants who are not able to get full or partial sponsorship from their organisations to attend the workshop may be supported for travel and/or accommodation, subject to availability of resources.
Deadline for application is 10 January 2018 at https://indico.wacren.net/event/61/
(Luanda, Angola) 11 December, 2017 – Angola Cables today announced an agreement with the West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN), the regional research and education network (REN) that facilitates interconnections between national RENs in West and Central Africa. The agreement will support the growing connectivity among academic communities across West and Central Africa, including services that at foster collaboration between research and education institutions within and beyond the region.
According to Antonio Nunes, CEO of Angola Cables: “WACREN is an important player in Africa’s growing connectivity requirements, and Angola Cables recognises the need for African scientists, researchers and other academics to have bandwidth comparable to their international colleagues.”
Angola Cables is part of the consortium of companies that manage the West Africa Cable System (WACS), which provides carrier-level services to operators in Angola and in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa. The company is also building the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) between Angola and Brazil that is expected to be completed in mid-2018, which will connect to the Monet submarine cable system – linking Santos and Fortaleza in Brazil, and Boca Raton, Florida, in the USA – a project which is currently being completed.
“As we grow our alliance, Angola Cables will certainly play an important role in enabling us to boost the connectivity in our region and beyond, and allow our members to collaborate more efficiently among themselves and with colleagues in other parts of the world,” said Boubakar Barry, CEO of WACREN.
As part of its work in the region, WACREN was involved in the TransAfrican Network Development (TANDEM) a project that aims to expand integration into the global REN community, as well as Sci-GaIA (Energizing Scientific Endeavour through Science Gateways and e-Infrastructures in Africa), an Africa-wide project that produces educational and training resources in various fields of science, and MAGIC (Middleware for collaborative Applications and Global virtual Communities), all funded by the European Union. WACREN is also implementing the AfricaConnect2 project, in collaboration with its European counterpart GEANT.
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About Angola Cables
Angola Cables is a multinational telecommunications company founded in 2009, who operates in the wholesale market and whose core business is international transmission capacity in Submarine Cable Systems and IP Transit. SACS, Monet and WACS, three cable systems operated by Angola Cables, interconnect four continents (South America, North America, Africa and Europe). Angola Cables runs Angonix, an Internet Exchange Point located in Luanda and third largest in Africa. Angola Cables also manages two Tier III data centres, in Fortaleza (Brazil) connected to SACS and Monet and in Luanda, connected to SACS and WACS. For more information, visit http://www.angolacables.co.ao.
WACREN is the West and Central African Research and Education Network which supports interconnections and fosters collaboration between R&E institutions in the region and international peers by building and operating a world class network infrastructure, developing state of the art services, promoting collaboration among national, regional, and international R&E communities, and building the human capacity of the REN community.
Constituted in 2010, membership is open to all 22 countries in the region and it currently has 12 participating NRENs from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo. WACREN has also two Associate members from France and Nigeria. For more information, visit http://www.wacren.net