At my office we have lots of discussions about how we can share our free WASH content on water sanitation and hygiene water with Africa, with mobile phones spreading rapidly out there. I am always saying that most of the subscribers to our paper Source Bulletin newsletters do not have access to internet. Oh sure, I have come across the occasional NGO activist in Ghana and engineer in Nigeria that tell me to go to an Internet cafe each weekend to get our newsletter and download other relevant stuff from our site www.irc.nl. We all believe that mobile phones provide the chance for most Africans to get access to relevant content on the internet.
At the HIVOS/IICD Fill the Gap conference http://www.fill-the-gap.nl/ in Amsterdam last Friday we had some sobering news on this from Estelle Akofio-Sowah from Google in Ghana. The costs for internet access in Africa are coming down, but still costs 135 Euro per month. Google Ghana provides universities with free broadband internet access. They are introducing their android mobile phones at a price of around 38 euro.
Other challenges identified by Estelle included:
lack of local content
many local languages.
The free Friday afternoon was my first free time in my effort to reduce my workweeks in my retiring from work year.
I just finished three days of work at IRC in 2011, my last professional year before retiring. Various colleagues applaud my idea to start a blog with weekly posts. I call it IRC jewels then and now, sharing what I do and with what outputs, based on relevant lessons from my 30 years experience of newsletter writing and strategic marketing, communication and media work.
Part of this and my more personal observations on how I experience the gradual breaking away from my job I’ll also publish here. Today at 16:30 we had the first IRC drink with a few words for the New Year. This was the first event this year on which I can say: this was the last one for me.
I just finished three weeks holiday at home in which I devoted a lot of time in writing a brochure on the life and paper cutting work of my great-grandfather Bram Bosch, who was a skipper on a boat doing inland transport all his life (1865-1943).
So far I completed 44 pages with text and some 25 of his paper cuttings. It will be published later this year by the W. Tj. Lever Foundation. Mr. Lever was the most famous among the Dutch artists who do paper cuttings.
Here is an example of his style, a boat cut from a letter.
For a preview on other interesting paper cuttings of my great grandfather look at my new web site that I am experimenting with on my Mac.
I had my first working day at my work today 11 January 2011, at http://www.irc.nl. Funny, because I started my last year before retiring at 65 in December. It made my Christmas and New Year holiday different. I twittered already if I should start a blog on my retirement year to make it special and interesting. I am still thinking about what and where I could write about a last official professional year, on this blog, or at an IRC blog? Is it interesting enough for outside?
It means I have only four more Source Bulletin features to write. I will try to take my free days this year in such a way that I make in practice working weeks of three days, already preparing for my pension.