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Showing posts from July, 2011

Daproim and Steve Muthee, its founder

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As I noted in my first blog on my African trip, I was delighted with the entrepreneurial culture in Nairobi, Kenya. A social entrepreneur who very much exemplified this was Stephen Muthee, founder of Daproim, a data entry social enterprise based in Nairobi.
We were introduced to Steve and Daproim through the great offices of Leila Janah and Samasource, the "Give Work" people. Leila's dream has been to connect the people of East Africa with dignified digital work, and connecting Steve to our Bookshare team has been highly successful for Daproim, Samasource and Bookshare! It's part of what we call our social enterprise supply chain.
It's so cool to come into an office in Nairobi's Central Business District and see a couple of dozen people working on transcribing textbooks for Bookshare's users with print disabilities. Steve wanted me to work my way around the office shaking everybody's hand! I was happy to thank everybody for their work on behalf of o…

Breakthrough on Global Access at WIPO in Geneva!

There has been a major breakthrough recently on international copyright negotiations in Geneva around improved access for people who have print disabilities. Through negotiations, four competing proposals have been merged into a single document supported in June by the Latin Americans (led by Brazil), the U.S., the European Union and others.

Here are some questions and answers I've prepared on this topic, based on my recent trip to Geneva to attend the first week of discussions on the issue.
1. Question: What are the two key points of the document?Answer:
• Countries should provide for a copyright exception in their national laws to allow nonprofit organizations serving people with disabilities to make accessible versions of inaccessible books and other content
• Import and export of such accessible materials shall be permitted
2. Question: Why is this a good idea?
Answer: A copyright exception makes it much easier for people with print disabilities to get access to the materials they n…

Kipp and Philip of the Social Development Network in east Africa

I've just ended an exciting three week long Africa trip to Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana. There are so many exciting people and organizations to talk about! One of my very first meetings in Nairobi, Kenya, was with John Kipchumbah (Kipp) and Philip Thigo of the Innovation Program of the Social Development Network.

I dropped in on them because Kipp had been trained on our Martus human rights software years ago and had been helping human rights groups in the region with using Martus. However, I was thrilled with the incredible range of activities I heard about during our dinner together.

Kipp explained that they wanted to take a broad approach to improving human rights, and so had expanded into other areas in the social sector. They felt these new initiatives would all contribute to a better human rights environment in the region.

One of the first areas was a budget tracking tools for Kenya, to make it easier for people to learn about budgeted amounts for their areas. Huduma makes it…

Bookshare User Sends Haiku

A guest Beneblog by Lindsie Verma of the Bookshare Team

Hot Fall Sun hangs low

Cooling breeze ruffles oak tree

Beneath, small boy reads.

And now, as an old man, that boy is still reading. Thanks! –Don Meyer, Bookshare user.

We get a lot of emails from happy users, but never before have we received gratitude in Haiku-form! When we asked Don for permission to post his haiku, he said, "It was very gratifying to find that you, and your team, enjoyed the haiku. As I said to you before, that boy was me. Even now I can still see the sunlight filtering through the oak trees, the shadows, the life that surrounded me as I read poetry under the oaks in front of Crown Point Country School. Even as early as the third grade I had learned to sit quietly and observe everything with the whole of my body, all senses. I did not start to write poetry until my late thirties, though, when, finally, all the bottled up emotions began to emerge. I know, now, that my 'journey of a tho…