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* SAFIPA: Call for Proposals – South Africa

SAFIPA (the South Africa - Finland Knowledge Partnership on ICT) has announced its first call for proposals. SAFIPA is a partnership programme between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for Finland (MFA) and South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology (DST), and operates within the Meraka Institute of the CSIR.

This three-year programme is jointly funded by the MFA and the DST to the tune of three million Euros and R9m respectively. These funds are earmarked to develop ways and means - via information and communications technology (ICT) - for ordinary South Africans to benefit from services in health and education, and other specialised services.

Participation in this programme through the proposal process will be welcomed from South Africa’s ICT community, notably academia, industry, NGOs, small and medium enterprises, and the educational community. In this way, SAFIPA hopes to ensure that the research, development and innovation it funds, will contribute to local knowledge and expertise, and help to grow a sustainable information society in South Africa.

By encouraging collaboration among various stakeholders in the South African ICT community, SAFIPA will ensure that the applications developed are suited to local conditions, such as rural communities or under-serviced urban and peri-urban communities. It is envisaged that this will also promote innovative social entrepreneurs who can develop new ICT services for commercialisation. Challenges to be addressed in the local context include a lack of connectivity, the need to increase computer literacy and provide access to self-learning, and ways to increase awareness of existing services.

A steering committee has been set up, which will meet quarterly to decide on projects. As part of its activities, SAFIPA plans to host annual international conferences over the next three years, together with relevant programme stakeholders, such as universities, companies and communities. Each annual conference will assess progress on a year-on year-basis and will feed into a learning and knowledge system.

Deadline: 24 October 2008

klahde@csir.co.za

http://www.safipa.com/4