Transform Africa Summit – The Future Delivered Today

Smart Agriculture: The promise of Connected Agriculture

I presented this article at the Transform Africa Summit organized by the President of Rwanda, President Paul Kigame and ITU in Kigali, Rwanda – 28th – 31st October 2013.  

The conference title, The Future Delivered Today is so interesting and true. In 1998, we had a Great Idea to do something that many thought was crazy at that time.  We had an idea to set up an E-business system for agricultural producers and traders in Ghana – to help the smallholder non-traditional exports agricultural producers sell their products via the internet.  This was such an ambitious idea and most people who heard of it thought we were just crazy.  We put these ideas into a proposal and got some financial and technical support from a Dutch organisation, the International Institute for and Communication Development (IICD) in The Hague.  After two years of implementation of a pilot phase in two districts in Ghana, it was realized that it was not a crazy idea after all.  We got bigger money to replicate the project across the country.  Little did we know then that we were delivering the future.

Like any other venture, there were some challenges.  The key ones were the problem of connectivity and the lack of e-payment systems in the country.  There were just a few broadband networks in the country, found mainly in the two largest cities – Accra and Kumasi.  We were working with small holder farmers and traders working from the smaller towns and so we had to rely on dial-up systems using land line telephones to access the internet.  The challenge with this system was that the telephone lines were configured for voice communication, not data transmission so when you connect to the internet, the line drops after 5 minutes.  Cellphones were non-existent and so there was no mobile broad band as we have now.  The other challenge was that there were no e-payment system for them to receive payment for the products they sold online.  The few who were able to sell had their monies paid into some off-shore accounts with its attendant challenges.  These challenges were great threats to the project, but there was still a greater need.  The need for information by all the actors in agricultural value chains.  Information that could change their livelihoods; information that would make them compete in a competitive global environment.

It’s about 15 years now and broadband connectivity is almost all over the country. Mobile networks with coverage across the whole country.  Proliferation of cellphones with mobile broadband on them.  There are many mobile applications for agriculture, and many interesting things happening.  The question now is: are the problems solved?

–          Are the actors receiving the required information?

–          Are the new things happening now making any difference in their livelihoods

–          Do we have a Smart Agriculture?

–          Is out agriculture connected?

Many will say we have come a long way and so many improvements have happened, but there is the opportunity the do more.

A Smart Agriculture

To achieve a smart agriculture, there are some few things we have to do and do them very well.  Many people talk about policies – the need to develop good policies to transform agriculture.  The question is, don’t we already have the policies?  What is the problem then?  My answer is that we already have the wonderful policies.  Ghana has a wonderful ICT4D policy with all the wonderful statements and strategies designed to address key developmental challenges in all sectors of the economy including agriculture.  We also have a great agricultural policy – the Food and Agriculture Sector Policy (FASDEP) and an implementation plan – the Medium Term Agricultural Sector Investment Plan (METASIP).  Will these policies and strategies lead to a Smart Agriculture?  Will they help in getting our agriculture connected?  Probably yes – but how long will that take?  Can we wait for another 10 year hopping that we would achieve it?  I don’t think so.

FACTS:

–  About 1.5 to 2 billion people world- wide depend on Smallholder Agriculture

–   Technology is the key to addressing the low productivity and food insecurity in Africa

–    ICT is a crucial driver for sustainable growth in Africa

We have everything we need to connect our agriculture, turning it into a smart agriculture.  We have the right policy environment, mobile phones, broadband systems both mobile and terrestrial, and enthusiastic vibrant young men and women eager to develop all kinds of mobile applications to support agriculture.  There is however the need for a change in the way we do things.

The Policies

ICT should no more be seen as a tool for development but an enabler. It is not enough to have fine ICT policies and fine agricultural policies.  There is the need to integrate ICT into the agricultural sector – the ICT policies and strategies should be part of the agricultural policies.  I will for example want to see how ICTs could be used for the achievement of policy objectives in an agricultural policy.  It is also crucial that there is a commitment at the governmental level for the implementation of the policies.

Models

There is the need to develop models that are commercially viable and sustainable.  They should be models that will earn the farmer more income so that they would be able to pay for the services.  Our young app developers will continue developing innovative applications only when they get they are paid for.  There should be systems that deliver relevant information to the actors;

–         information that will improve their business practices;

–         information that will lead them to affordable credits,

–         information that will enhance their access to markets

Connected Agriculture is more possible today than ever.  The time to act is now.

The story below was published in CTA’s ICTUPDATE – August 2013 edition – (http://ictupdate.cta.int/en/Regulars/Parlons-Tech/Outils-TIC-pour-illettres)

Edward Addo-Dankwa shares his experience training a group of illiterate farmers computer skill

ICTs have generally been viewed as a tool that can bring about sustainable change in agricultural and rural development in Africa. The challenge has been how to teach a largely illiterate sector to read and write, two key skills needed to use ICT tools such as computers and cell phones. The general consensus among development professionals therefore has been that farmers need intermediaries to effectively benefit from ICTs. 

This solution brings with it its own extraordinary challenge: how to persuade farmers to once again rely on their educated community members – precisely those who had deceived them in the past because they could not read and write. It has been my belief that illiterate farmers could use ICT tools themselves, and in 2009 I set out to prove that this was possible. 

I am an experienced ICT trainer and have trained many different people, including primary school children, junior and senior high school and university students. I have even trained members of parliament how to use their laptops. I have never doubted my ability to deliver. All I needed was to prepare the relevant material, rehearse it and then go and deliver it.

I have always taught in English, and this has never been a problem. So I was eager to take up the challenge of teaching computer skills to illiterate so they could access an online video and audio library without relying on other people’s help. But how would I teach these people who had never seen the inside of a school to understand and use ICT tools? How would I use their vernacular to teach them a completely alien computer terminology? This represented a major challenge that needed a lot of thinking – beyond my normal way of doing things.

Capacity building for the illiterate

As an ICT consultant, I was asked to work on this project and train a group of illiterate farmers computer skills so they could access agricultural information. These were men and women between the ages of 40 to 50, most of whom had never seen a computer before. 

For the project, we developed a web-based tool that streamed video and voice on demand stored in a database that had been set up in a community information centre. The videos and audios demonstrated various good agricultural practices such as composting, planting distances, fertilizer application, pest control and many other topics. A computer with a user-friendly interface gave access to the database and the materials that had been stored in it. Users had to interact directly with the database and therefore needed a basic understanding of how to use computers and the interface to call up the video and audio material they want to look at or listen to.

At first a lot of people were very sceptical about the venture. However, I thought it was possible and became determined to give it a try. I strongly believed that ICTs were not just for the educated and that the ‘uneducated’ too should have the opportunity to use computers and the database with educational videos and audios.

All they needed was some training. They should at least know what the computer and other ICT tools were used for and how they worked. We decided that they first needed some literacy lessons to enable them to identify letters and read and pronounce simple words, especially in their local language.

The ICT training

The ICT course itself was basically a hands-on computer training. We introduced our trainees to the various components of a computer, after which we took them through an extensive training in using the computer. The most interesting part of this training was that these adult learners devised their own methods for mastering skills like ‘clicking’ and ‘double-clicking’.

Using the keyboard was a major challenge, however. They had difficulty typing their usernames and passwords. But after two weeks of training, all trainees had mastered sufficient skills to use computers effectively, and two months later they were able to fully use computers to access the videos and other materials in the database. 

The training boosted the trainees’ confidence in using ICT tools and they are now using a mix of ICT tools to access information that could enhance their livelihoods. They now listen to agricultural radio programmes and use their cell phones to interact with the radio presenters, asking them questions and contributing to discussions. They also use their cell phones to obtain market information such as commodity prices from the major markets in the country. On the basis of that information they can now decide which market to bring their produce to, and they have more leverage to negotiate for better prices.

At the moment, the use of ICTs is predominantly the preserve of the educated. However, many uneducated people could use them too if they only were less shy. Our project has demonstrated that if they are properly trained they can use them effectively. The number of web applications that could help to enhance agricultural development in Africa is rapidly growing. If we limit the use of these apps to just the educated, we can wait a long time before there is any growth in agricultural productivity in Africa, because the majority of farmers in our countries are uneducated. That’s why it is important to continue training illiterate farmers to effectively use computers, cell phones and other ICT devices so they can improve their livelihoods.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Author bio

Edward Addo-Dankwa ( nyaneba@gmail.com) works as a national value chain development expert at the Ghanaian Ministry of Food and Agriculture. He has organised and facilitated many capacity development programmes leading to the training of over 700 of the ministry’s staff and other actors all over Ghana. Addo-Dankwa has also developed various training materials for value chain development in Ghana and led ‘training of trainers’ workshops in Ghana.

Greenhouse gases and their relevance

Greenhouse gases (GHG) are gases in the atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared spectrum. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. Many chemical compounds found in the Earth’s atmosphere act as “greenhouse gases.” These gases allow sunlight to enter the atmosphere. When the sunlight strikes the Earth’s surface, some of it is reflected back towards space as infrared radiation (longwave radiation). Greenhouse gases absorb these infrared radiations (longwave radiation) and trap them as heat in the atmosphere, and thus, greatly affecting the temperature of the Earth.  Many gases exhibit these “greenhouse” properties with many of them occurring naturally. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone.  Without these gases, Earth’s surface would have been colder than the present average of about 14 °C (57 °F)

The Greenhouse effect

The Earth’s surface receives energy from two main sources: the sun & the atmosphere.  Solar radiation (energy from the sun) at the frequencies of visible light passes through the atmosphere to warm the earth’s surface. The earth then emits this energy at the lower frequencies of infrared thermal radiation back to the atmosphere.  The Infrared radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gases, which in turn re-radiate much of the energy to the earth’s surface. This process is termed the greenhouse effect; named after the effect of solar radiation passing through glass and warming a greenhouse.

An increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases leads to an increase in the magnitude of the greenhouse effect.  This is usually called enhanced greenhouse effect, and this result in global warming which ultimately leads to climate change.

Climate

Climate is the general weather conditions averaged over a long period of time.  It also includes statistics other than the average, such as the magnitudes of day-to-day or year-to-year variations. Climate captures meteorological variable including temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, precipitation, and many others in a given region over long periods.  Climate is thus said to be the sum of all statistical weather information that helps describe a place or region. It also applies to large-scale weather patterns in time or space such as an ‘Ice Age’ climate or a ‘tropical’ climate. On the other hand, weather is the present condition of these variables over shorter periods.  The climate of any location on the earth’s surface is affected by the terrain, the altitude, and the latitudes.

Climate change

Climate Change refers to a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability or both, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer) – IPCC 2001.  According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), climate change refers to a change of climate that is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and that is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

According to the David Suzuki Foundation, climate change occurs when long-term weather patterns are altered, mostly through human activity. Global warming is one measure of climate change, and is a rise in the average global temperature

Climate Variability is the way climatic variables such as temperature and precipitation depart from some known average state – either above or below the average value.  Even in a stable climate regime, there will always be some variation; either wet or dry years; warm or cold years, etc. There will hardly be a year with completely “average” or “normal” climate conditions.  The challenge for scientists is to determine whether any increase or decrease in precipitation, temperature, frequency of storms, sea level, etc. is due to climate variability or climate change.

The causes of climate change

Most climate scientists have come to the conclusion that Climate Change is caused by global warming, which has two main causes; natural causes and anthropogenic (human induced) causes.  The natural causes of global warming include changes in the earth’s orbit, the solar variations, drifting continents and volcanic eruptions.

In its recently released Fourth Assessment Report, the IPCC concluded that there was a more than 90 percent probability that human activities over the past 250 years have warmed the earth. They contend that the industrial activities that our modern civilization depends on have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels for example from 280 parts per million to 379 parts per million in the last 150 years. They also concluded that there was a more than 90 percent probability that human-produced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have caused much of the observed increase in the Earth’s temperatures over the past 50 years.  They said the rate of increase in global warming due to these gases is very likely to be unprecedented within the past 10,000 years or more. (IPCC, 2007)

It is believed that the anthropogenic influences are the greatest causes of global warming. Changes in the concentration of greenhouse gases as a result of human activities have greatly influenced the earth’s climate. Global atmospheric concentrations of CO2, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) have increased markedly as a result of human activities since the 1750s.

Current developmental processes require a lot of energy and this has led to the burning of huge quantities of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal) for power generation and transportation. Industrial processes in recent years release large quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere leading to increases in their concentrations beyond the acceptable levels.  The forests which serve as carbon sink are being cleared for timber and other developmental processes, leading to an increase in the carbon load of the atmosphere.  The flaring of natural gas in oil exploration and the burning of biomass all contributes to the increasing of CO2 in the atmosphere.  It is worthy to note that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most significant anthropogenic greenhouse gas. Its annual emissions grew by about 80% between 1970 and 2004. Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 (379ppm) and CH4 (1774ppb) in 2005 exceed by far the natural range over the last 650,000 years.

Methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas which is much more potent at trapping heat than CO2 is produced through the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter in biological systems.  Methane levels in the atmosphere have been enhanced through a number of anthropogenic activities including solid waste landfill sites.  The decomposition of organics in the landfills produces large quantities of methane.  Rice production in lowlands (wetland) requires a waterlogged field.  This production system generates methane into the atmosphere.  The digestive processes in ruminants produce a lot of methane in the guts of the animals and released into the atmosphere, hence livestock production also contributes to the methane levels in the atmosphere. The production and distribution of fuel from fossil sources also generates appreciable quantities of methane into the atmosphere.

Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is about 300 times more effective in trapping heat energy than carbon dioxide.  It is produced naturally through the microbial processes of nitrification and de-nitrification in biological systems. Agricultural activities contribute immensely to the increasing loads of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.  The application of nitrogen-based chemical fertilizer to agricultural fields contributes to this problem.  Industrial production processes and the burning of solid waste also release Nitrous Oxides into the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuel also contributes to the N2O levels in the atmosphere.

HFCs, PFCs and other sulphur compounds have very long atmospheric lifetimes and their concentrations in the atmosphere can irreversibly accumulate.  These gases are released into the atmosphere through industrial processes like aluminium smelting, electric power transmission and distribution, and the manufacturing of semi-conductors.

Evidence of climate change

Increase in global temperature is one of the key indicators if climate change.  Eleven of the last twelve years (1995-2006) rank among the warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature (since 1850).  The temperature increase is widespread over the globe and is greater at higher northern latitudes. Land regions have warmed faster than the oceans.

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level (IPCC 2007)

Rising sea level is consistent with warming. Global average sea level has risen since 1961 at an average rate of 1.8 [1.3 to 2.3] mm/yr and since 1993 at 3.1 [2.4 to 3.8] mm/yr, with contributions from thermal expansion, melting glaciers and ice caps, and the polar ice sheets.

Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner.  Effects that scientists had predicted in the past would result from global climate change are now occurring: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves.

Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, largely due to greenhouse gasses produced by human activities. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), forecasts a temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. According to them, the extent of climate change effects on individual regions will vary over time and with the ability of different societal and environmental systems to mitigate or adapt to change.

The IPCC predicts that increases in global mean temperature of less than 1.8 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 3 degrees Celsius) above 1990 levels will produce beneficial impacts in some regions and harmful ones in others. Net annual costs will increase over time as global temperatures increase. The IPCC states that, “the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time.”

Some of the regional impacts of global change forecast by the IPCC include;

  • A decreasing snowpack in the western mountains of North America; 5-20 percent increase in yields of rain-fed agriculture in some regions; increased frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves in cities that currently experience them.
  • Freshwater availability projected to decrease in Central, South, East and Southeast Asia by the 2050s; coastal areas will be at risk due to increased flooding; death rate from disease associated with floods and droughts expected to rise in some regions.
  • Gradual replacement of tropical forest by savannah in eastern Amazonia in the Latin America; risk of significant biodiversity loss through species extinction in many tropical areas; significant changes in water availability for human consumption, agriculture and energy generation.
  • Increased risk of inland flash floods in Europe; more frequent coastal flooding and increased erosion from storms and sea level rise; glacial retreat in mountainous areas; reduced snow cover and winter tourism; extensive species losses; reductions of crop productivity in southern Europe
  • By 2020, between 75 and 250 million people are projected to be exposed to increased water stress in Africa; yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50 percent in some regions by 2020; agricultural production, including access to food, may be severely compromised.

Contribution of Greenhouse effect to climate change

Greenhouse gases in their natural occurrence are beneficial to the environment. Increasing concentrations of these greenhouse gases in the atmosphere generally produce an increase in the average temperature of the Earth. Rising temperatures may, in turn, produce changes in weather, sea levels, and land use patterns, thus, “climate change.”

Climate assessments generally suggest that the Earth’s climate has warmed over the past century and that human activity affecting the atmosphere is likely an important driving factor. A study by the National Research Council (2001) stated that, “Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and sub-surface ocean temperatures to rise. Temperatures are, in fact, rising. The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability.”

It can therefore be concluded that the Greenhouse Effect through the activities of the naturally occurring greenhouse gases does not cause Climate change. Climate change is caused by the enhanced greenhouse gases mainly through anthropogenic activities.

 

References

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect (accessed 4th June 2013)
  2. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/climate-change/science/climate-change-basics/climate-change-101-1/ (accessed 4th June 2013)
  3. IPCC, 2007, Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report – Summary for Policymakers
  4. 4.      National Research Council, 2001, Advancing the Science of Climate Change

I went a Tigo transfer vender at Akropong in the Eastern Region to transfer some credit onto my tigo phone and met  this highly agitated vendor (almost in tears) who almost vented his bottled anger on me.  I was about the 10th customer to have asked for the service that morning- around 8 am. Unfortunately, he had to turn away all these good business. His reasons? Well this was due to what he termed “anti-business practices” by Tigo in recent times. According to him, Tigo has restricted vendors to particular “wholesalers” in the transfer business such that each vendor is linked to a particular wholesaler. If that wholesaler does not have credit to sell , you the vendor CANNOT buy from any other wholesaler. According to him, Akropong, like many other large towns has only one wholesaler, and this guy “almost always” has no credit to sell to the many vendors in the town. His major frustration that morning was that this wholesaler had some credit to sell but could not sell to him because his number is linked to another chip which did not have credit on. I was told that some months back, the vendors could buy from any wholesaler any where just like MTN and Vodafone are doing. He could just call another wholesaler in Accra or Koforidua who would just send him the credit in no time.

Incidentally, this was about the 3rd time I had encountered similar compliants even in Accra. I don’t know what strategy Tigo is using in marketing their product. The little I know about economics is that competition brings about improvement in service delivery. I wonder what strategy this is? Monopolistic strategy? In this world? I think this is breeding inefficiency in the system. We are hooked unto the Tigo network … but hey, the competition is stiff. I did not get credit transfered unto my phone that day and so did not enjoy the tripple bonus that was advertised just because all the transfer vendors up there were linked (by Tigo) to this particular wholesaler, and he did not have the credit to give out. I think Tigo owns us an explanation for this. I agree with this young man that this is an ANTI-BUSINESS practice and they have to do something about it. TIGO, Libralise the market PLEASE!!!!!!

The Internet Society has awarded pioneering Internet engineer Nii Quaynor the prestigious Jonathan B. Postel Service Award for 2007 for his leadership in advancing Internetnii-quaynor.jpg technology in Africa and galvanizing technologists to improve Internet access and capabilities throughout the continent. The Internet Society presented the award, including a $20,000 [USD] honorarium, during the 70th meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

“Dr. Quaynor has selflessly pioneered Internet development and expansion throughout Africa for nearly two decades, enabling profound advances in information access, education, healthcare and commerce for African countries and their citizens,” said Internet Society president Lynn St. Amour. “Today, Dr. Quaynor continues to champion not just technological advances but also African involvement in Internet standards, processes and deployments, discussion on Internet policies and regulations, and ensuring African interests are well-represented globally. He has shaped a community of Africans who share his vision and reflect the dedication shown by Jon Postel.”

“I am humbled by the award and what Jon Postel represents to our community in Africa. Jon Postel’s efforts and the global view he maintained on the operation of the domain name system and the numbering services assured that Africa would share in the Internet growth and early. I thank the Internet Society for the recognition and am very pleased to be associated with Jon’s memorial,” said Dr. Nii Quaynor. “We will work to develop more African engineers to meet the fast network growth needs of the region, being a late starter, and to join the technical policy processes. Our overall objective is to strengthen education and research in network technologies in Africa.”

The annual Internet Society award is named after Dr. Jonathan B. Postel to commemorate his extraordinary stewardship exercised throughout his thirty-year career in networking. Between 1971 and 1998, Postel managed, nurtured and transformed the RFC series of notes, which encompasses the technical specifications and recommendations for the Internet and was created by Steve Crocker in 1969 as a part of his work on the Arpanet, the forerunner of today’s Internet. Postel was a founding member of the Internet Architecture Board and the first individual member of the Internet Society, where he also served as a trustee until his untimely death.

Dr. Quaynor is chairman of Network Computer Systems (NCS) Ghana.COM and a professor of computer science at University of Cape-Coast, Ghana. He is also the convener of the African Network Operators Group (AfNOG), a network technology transfer institution since 2000 and the founding chairman of AfriNIC, the African numbers registry.

Dr. Quaynor began his pioneering Internet work in Africa in 1993 when he returned to his home country of Ghana to establish the first Internet Service operated by NCS in West Africa. At NCS, he and his team worked on the early development of the Internet in Africa. Today, there are more than 43 million Internet users in Africa.

Prior to NCS, Dr. Quaynor worked with Digital Equipment Corporation in the United States from 1977 till 1992. In 1979, he established the Computer Science department at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Dr. Quaynor graduated from Dartmouth College in 1972 with B.A (Engineering Science) and received a Ph.D. (Computer Science) in distributed systems in 1977 from State University of New York at Stony Brook.

About the Jonathan B. Postel Service Award

The Jonathan B. Postel Service Award was established by the Internet Society to honor those who, like Postel, have made outstanding contributions in service to the data communications community. The award is focused on sustained and substantial technical contributions, service to the community, and leadership. With respect to leadership, the nominating committee places particular emphasis on candidates who have supported and enabled others in addition to their own specific actions.

Previous recipients of the Postel Award include Jon himself (posthumously and accepted by his mother), Scott Bradner, Daniel Karrenberg, Stephen Wolff, Peter Kirstein, Phill Gross, Jun Murai, Bob Braden, and Joyce K. Reynolds. The award consists of an engraved crystal globe and $20,000 [USD].

This year’s award is sponsored in part by Afilias Global Registry Services.

About the Internet Society

The Internet Society is an independent international nonprofit organization founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet related standards, education, and policy. With offices in Washington, DC, and Geneva, Switzerland, and with more than 80 chapters worldwide, it is dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world.

Source: Reston, VA and Geneva , Switzerland – 5 December 2007

This is the interview with GTV.  This video works
Formats available: MPEG1 Video (.mpg)

Grave3“Seeing is believing” they say. Do you have an idea of what this picture is about? Can you just believe this? I heard of the story of a rich American who built his grave and furnished it very well long before his death. According to the story, he had the grave furnished with the best of everything you can imagine. Well I did not believe this so much because to me, it is only someone who has a problem “up there” will even think of this ….. but hey, a friend just told me that most times too much money with individuals can make them “incorrect up there”. To buttress his point, he told me of a man who was so poor from childhood. His parents were soooo poor .. he never had a new cloth to wear all his life …. he always had to contend with ‘pass downs’ from his elder brothers when theirs become too small for them …. and you can imagine the state it will be since the brothers also get it used. When this man at the age of 25 years made some good money from boxing, he decided that he will never wear an old set of clothing ever again ….. and true to his word, he made sure he wore a new set of clothing everyday. In fact he never wore any item of clothing more than once. NEVER !!!!!. Hmmm Some Madness !!!!. Anyway back to my story ….. The pictures below, I hear has been circulating on the web for sometime. Well I had to revise my beliefs when someone sent me these pictures. It is a reality?? Can some people really do this? Do they know what death means? Well one can never imagine what the mind can dream. Just watch the pictures below and let me know what you think.

Grave2

grave1