Not sure what the opposite of a fanboy is – but it’s that what I am in regards to Micro$soft. Nevertheless: credit where it’s due. I’m not commenting on the Bill & Belinda Gates Foundation (BBGF) or the Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha organization in Bangladesh (I haven’t research either). But on the surface it looks like a project worthwhile funding.
Under its Global Development Category the BBGF’s Global Libraries gives out once a year the Access to Learning Award, which “recognizes the innovative efforts of public libraries or similar organizations outside the United States to connect people to information through free access to computers and the Internet”. In 2007, Australia, which makes its indigenous population live in third world conditions, received the Award for its Northern Territory Library program to apply innovative technological solutions in extremely remote, underprivileged communities to draw Indigenous Australians into local libraries while still preserving their culture.
Already in 2005, Bangladesh’s Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, originally created through local grassroots resources, got the Award for its efforts to convert indigenous boats into mobile libraries that provide free computer and Internet stations and training to agricultural communities in a northern watershed. The boats anchor at remote villages, using generators or solar energy for power and mobile phones for Internet access. Volunteer staff help meet the individual needs of library guests.The program particularly benefits girls and women, who are restricted by religious and social rules from traveling outside their own villages for education and training. As a result, female literacy rates are rising and women are developing skills for starting their own businesses.
For more information go to the Bill & Belinda Gates Foundation’s website.