Daily Archives: March 8, 2018

ITC Global Awarded Contract Renewal with Plan International for Communications to 24 Sites in Western and Central Africa

Three-Year Agreement Follows Multiple Awards Supporting NGO Missions in Africa & Middle East

HOUSTON, March 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — ITC Global, a leading provider of satellite communications to remote and harsh environments, announced today that it has been awarded a three-year contract renewal by Plan International for service to 24 sites across western and central Africa. The agreement, which establishes continuous delivery of remote communications services and includes an electronics upgrade for all sites, supports the delivery of Plan International’s global strategy to spearhead a movement for 100 million girls around the world, enabling them to learn, lead, decide and thrive. The contract follows ITC Global’s recent contract awards with multiple non-governmental organizations (NGOs) covering connectivity needs for more than 80 sites across Africa and the Middle East. ITC Global has enabled always-on communications for Plan International’s operations in Africa for nearly 10 years, and this award speaks to the partnership history and high quality of performance that ITC Global has consistently delivered. Plan International is a non-profit development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.

ITC Global - A Panasonic Company

The agreement establishes delivery of a custom network using very small aperture terminal (VSAT) technology to support Plan International’s in-country operations. In addition to sites’ existing fixed, 2.4-meter antennas in service, all system electronics will be upgraded. These efforts will require local field technicians to perform site visits for equipment replacement and general maintenance, enabled by ITC Global’s local presence in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Democratic Republic of the Congo. The field electronics refresh will be completed in 2018, all while being backed by ITC Global’s 24×7 network monitoring and support for the entire contract lifecycle.

“Leading NGO and humanitarian aid organizations trust ITC Global to deliver upon mission-critical needs out in the field – whether they are responding to natural disasters or working to improve quality of life for vulnerable individuals or environments,” said Yagnesh Rajendren, Vice President, Global Enterprise at ITC Global. “By establishing connectivity life lines for those on the front lines, we make operational excellence possible via reliable, always-on communications. We are pleased to serve Plan International’s work in Africa once again and value the true partnership we’ve developed over the last 10 years.”

“We have selected ITC Global to continue providing communications capabilities for our African operations as we’ve worked together over a significant period to customize the service so that it expertly addresses our needs on the ground,” said Bhavin Patel, Global Infrastructure Manager at Plan International. “As a long-standing partner, we have confidence in ITC Global’s ability to deliver innovative connectivity solutions via the latest technology, purpose-built for critical humanitarian operations such as ours.”

ITC Global has delivered communications services for NGO customers across the globe, including within the Africa, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Europe regions, for more than a decade. In 2017, ITC Global added and extended contracts for two high-profile customers to its NGO and humanitarian aid portfolio, encompassing large-scale site operations in Africa. These organizations – requiring always-on connectivity for their missions around the world – include an international humanitarian organization providing medical services to regions impacted by diseases and combat, along with a wildlife conservation group seeking to protect remote, biodiverse environments.

About ITC Global
ITC Global is a leading provider of satellite communications to the energy, mining and maritime and NGO markets. Companies in remote and harsh environments require communications with both global coverage and unwavering customer service. ITC Global enables improved real-time decision-making and enhanced health, safety and environmental management through a unified communications solution, tailored to the requirements of each client. Solutions include custom network design, hardware implementation, field engineering, technical support and enterprise-grade satellite bandwidth. ITC Global operates 24×7 carrier-class networks across the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. It became a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation in 2015. For more information, visit www.itcglobal.com.

Alix Anne Wright, Director of Global Marketing

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Scholastic Literacy Pro™ Named Primary Resource/ Equipment Supplier of the Year at The 2018 GESS Education Awards

Literacy Pro Recognized for Matching Students with High-Interest, Authentic Titles to Raise Reading Achievement while Providing Educators with Data to Differentiate Instruction

NEW YORK, March 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Literacy Pro™, an innovative digital reading and assessment program from the international division of Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, was named the Primary Resource/Equipment Supplier of the Year by the 2018 GESS Education Awards. The GESS Education Awards recognize high-quality and diverse educational products, resources, service and people as well as the best educational establishments and the most dedicated members of the teaching profession.

Scholastic Logo.

For more information about Literacy Pro, visit scholastic.com/literacypro.

As the Primary Resource/Equipment Supplier of the Year, Literacy Pro was recognized for its strength in guiding educators to support students in grades 2–12 in reaching reading proficiency goals, connecting them to authentic books that will maximize their achievement, and building a culture of reading within a school.

Currently used in 47 countries, Literacy Pro provides an online adaptive assessment that measures students’ reading comprehension and generates a personalized book list that matches each student’s reading level and individual interests. Each title includes a comprehension quiz that provides an opportunity for students to earn points towards certificate levels in the program. Educators also have access to dashboards where they can view detailed reports that inform instructional decisions and ensure students are reaching required levels of proficiency, all of which can be customized within the program to support different curriculum benchmarks.

Literacy Pro Library, an enhancement of the program, offers an interactive ebook library consisting of more than 900 titles including popular series Goosebumps™, Discover More, A True Book™, and more. The Library includes resources such as audio books, interactive vocabulary, and a student recording feature to provide a personalized experience for all readers. Additionally, educators can assign books to students using reading levels and content areas and monitor their reading progress.


Anne Boynton-Trigg, VP, Export Sales and Marketing at Scholastic
“We are honored that Scholastic Literacy Pro has been named ‘Primary Resource/Equipment Supplier of the Year’ and is receiving recognition as a program students and educators can depend on to inform classroom instruction and independent reading. The program’s ability to effortlessly match students with engaging, authentic texts they want to read creates a culture of reading that engages every child while building the foundation they need to become lifelong learners.

Leticia Becerril, Educator and Literacy Pro user, Colegio Cuernavaca, Mexico
“Literacy Pro and Literacy Pro Library provide teachers with evidence-based data so we can make the best teaching and learning decisions to develop our students into successful, proficient readers.”

Since 2017, Scholastic Literacy Pro has received the BESSIE award for Best Primary Literacy Resource Website and was a finalist for the 2018 BETT award for Best Primary Content Resource.

For more information about Scholastic, visit http://mediaroom.scholastic.com.

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Tillerson Reaffirms US Commitment to Africa

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has re-affirmed the U.S. commitment to Africa, two months after President Donald Trump’s reported derogatory comments about the continent.

“I think the United States commitment to Africa is quite clear in terms of the importance we place on the relationship,” said Tillerson at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. “The president himself wrote a personal letter to the chairperson, reaffirming the importance of this relationship.”

Trump in January reportedly used an expletive to describe Haiti and some African countries. At the time, officials from the AU and several African nations said they were outraged by the reported comments.

On Thursday, Tillerson met with AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, who spoke of renewed ties.

“This incident is of the past,” Mahamat said during a joint news conference with the secretary in the Ethiopian capital. “With the visit of Secretary of State Tillerson, the evidence of the relations between Africa and the United States is personified through his visit.”

Tillerson said promoting peace and security, development and trade, and good governance, are three pillars of Washington’s approach to Africa.

His visit to Addis Ababa came after Ethiopia officials decided to impose a state of emergency. But protests in the restive Oromia region have continued.

The top U.S. diplomat said after Thursday’s meeting with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu the answer to political turmoil in Ethiopia is greater freedom. He said he hoped to see “the country move on past the state of emergency as quickly as possible.”

Tillerson added, “We firmly believe that democratic reform, economic growth, and lasting stability are best addressed through an inclusive political process, rather than through the imposition of restrictions.”

He noted the U.S. appreciated the statements on South Sudan made at the AU summit in January, where the African body raised the possibility of sanctions for the violation of cease-fires in the conflict-stricken nation.

Continental free trade

Meanwhile, the AU plans to sign a Continental Free Trade Agreement later this month aimed at economically integrating the continent, which has a population of 1.2 billion people and a combined estimated GDP of $3.5 trillion.

Tillerson said Washington supports “the African Union’s economic regional integration efforts to lower intra-trade barriers on the continent, boost more intra-regional trade, which we know has been a central goal of the negotiations around the constant Continental Free Trade Agreement, which we are quite supportive of.”

Fighting corruption

Leaders of the African Union, which represents 55 countries, also outlined an official theme of anti-corruption for the year of 2018 during its annual summit in January.

“We think these are all positive developments. So the continent is moving in one direction and we’re just hoping the current administration is taking noteand is also engaging this continent in a direction in which it’s trying to move,” said Brahima Coulibaly, Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative senior fellow.

Proposed cuts in aid

But the Trump administration is under criticism for a proposed 2018 budget cut on efforts to combat HIV and AIDS.

While Tillerson has announced nearly $533 million in new humanitarian assistance for food insecurity in some African nations, the Trump administration has not proposed a signature initiative to aid Africans.

“It is unusual for a secretary of state to make a trip like this and to have no deliverables, to have no initiative that they’re ready to announce,” said Witney Schneidman, the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative nonresident fellow.

After more than a year since entering the White House, Trump still has not nominated a chief U.S. diplomat for Africa, and embassies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Africa and in five other African countries remain without ambassadors.

China in Africa

Speaking Tuesday before leaving for Africa, Tillerson said the United States is “eager” to lower barriers to trade and investment on the continent, whose largest trading partner by far is China.

He pointed up that the U.S. approach of “incentivizing good governance” contrasts sharply with China’s, “which encourages dependency, using opaque contracts, predatory loan practices and corrupt deals that mire nations in debt and undercut their sovereignty.”

Tillerson’s one-week, five-nation trip is focusing on counterterrorism, promoting peace, good governance and trade and investment. He is scheduled to meet with top officials in Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria all of them U.S. allies in the war against terrorism and jihadist groups such as Boko Haram, al-Shabab and Islamic State.

Without partnerships to build infrastructure and achieve more economic development, Tillerson warned there will be “new ways for terrorists to exploit the next generation.”

The secretary of state also said U.S. and African leaders “must work to find long-term diplomatic solutions” to regional conflicts “that cause so much human suffering.”

Source: Voice of America

International Women’s Day: The ‘time is now’ to transform global push for women’s rights into action – UN

This year, International Women’s Day comes at a pivotal moment, and with a wave women’s activism from the #MeToo movement to #TimesUp and beyond exposing the structures that have allowed women’s oppression to flourish, the United Nations is urging the world to stand with rural and urban women activists to topple the remaining barriers to gender equality and empowerment.

The historical and structural inequalities that have allowed oppression and discrimination to flourish are being exposed like never before, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his message on the Day, marked annually on 8 March.

From Latin America to Europe to Asia, on social media, on film sets, on the factory floor and in the streets, women are calling for lasting change and zero tolerance for sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination of all kinds, said the UN chief, declaring that achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.

The activism and advocacy of generations of women has borne fruit, he continued. There are more girls in school than ever before; more women are doing paid work and in senior roles in the private sector, academia, politics and in international organizations, including the United Nations.

However, some remaining serious obstacles include that more than a billion women lack legal protection against domestic sexual violence; over the next decade millions more girls will undergo genital mutilation; and women’s representation in parliaments stands at less than one quarter and even lower in boardrooms.

Where laws exist, they are often ignored, and women who pursue legal redress are doubted, denigrated and dismissmantled, he lamented.

Noting that the UN should set an example for the world, Mr. Guterres recognizes that this is not always the case.

He did, however, point out some changes to address it, saying We have now reached gender parity for the first time in my senior management team, and I am determined to achieve this throughout the Organization.

Totally committed to zero tolerance of sexual harassment, Mr. Guterres added the UN’s plans to improve reporting and accountability, elaborating how the Organization is working globally to prevent and address sexual exploitation and abuse by staff in peacekeeping missions.

We at the United Nations stand with women around the world as they fight to overcome the injustices they face whether they are rural women dealing with wage discrimination, urban women organizing for change, women refugees at risk of exploitation and abuse, or women who experience intersecting forms of discrimination, maintained the Secretary-General.

Noting that women’s empowerment is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda, he affirmed that progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) means progress for all women, everywhere.

Gender inequality and discrimination against women harms us all, he underscored, saying that that gender equality is not a favour to women, but a human rights issue in everyone’s interests.

He asserted that investing in women lifts up communities, companies and countries.

Women’s participation makes peace agreements stronger, societies more resilient and economies more vigorous, he detailed, adding that discrimination against them is detrimental to all.

The UN chief stressed the need for transparency and accountability if women are to reach their full potential to lift up communities, societies and economies.

Stand with women, listen to them and learn from them, Mr. Guterres urged.

Time is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives

In her message for the Day, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women explained that this year’s theme captures the life of the women activists whose passion and commitment have brought change over generations and won women’s rights.

What we see today is a remarkable gathering of strength among women all over the world, demonstrating the power of speaking with one voice, as they call for opportunity and accountability, drawing momentum from grassroots networks and coalitions that stretch right up to government leadership, she said.

She credited feminist leaders, spotlighting Asma Jahangir of Pakistan and UN Women’s Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Africa Jaha Dukureh of the Gambia for their powerful work.

She pointed out that healthy societies have a mix of voices that provide checks and balances important for good decision-making and saluted those who speak out for justice.

We commend the women who spoke out in the International Criminal Court where their testimonies have held to account those who used rape as a weapon of war, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka asserted.

We celebrate activists who campaigned for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, and we recognize those who advocated for legal reform, she added.

The feminist movement must continue to increase its diversity to support and shape the agenda including young men and boys, who will learn to value and respect women and girls and change the way men behave.

Recognizing the power of stereotypes to influence how people are valued, she held sway that a movement of women that can address these issues is critical, but we also need a movement of male feminists as a means to alter the way women are heard and seen.

Today’s activists must empower those most likely to be left behind, the majority of whom are women, as our latest report, Turning Promises into Action reveals, she said.

She encouraged stronger support for women’s political activism and a broader space for their civil society voices as a combined effort will better target those who need change most.

The culture of gender-based poverty, abuse and exploitation has to end with a new generation of equality that lasts, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka concluded.

Source: United Nations

IGAD Executive Secretary Receives Representatives from AfDB and a Counter Terrorism Network

Djibouti (Djibouti): The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), H.E. Amb (Eng) Mahboub Maalim, yesterday received in his office the African Development Bank (AfDB-Kenya-Ethiopia Offices) Chief Transport Engineer, Eng. Wa-Kyendo Mumina, who was on mission to Djibouti for the Addis Ababa-Djibouti corridor.

Eng. Mumina, during his courtesy visit, was accompanied by Mr. Dileyta Soultan Mohamed Director of Transport (Djibouti Ministry of Transport) and Mr. Tadesse Tefera (Ethiopia Ministry of Transport).

The purpose of the mission to Djibouti was to assess the condition and developmental needs of the Addis Ababa � Djibouti road corridor.

AfDB is hopeful that it will work alongside IGAD in project preparation towards the development of the Addis Ababa � Djibouti corridor, especially in improving the three corridor alternative routes including Djibouti-Dikhil-Galafi; Djibouti-Dudubalala-Ali Sabieh-Guelile; and Djibouti-Holhol-Ali Sabieh-Guelile sections. The mission has noted that the Dikhil-Galafi road section is destroyed and requires urgent reconstruction.

IGAD updated the mission on the ongoing Kampala-Juba-Addis Ababa-Djibouti corridor studies.

The Executive Secretary in a separate meeting received a delegation from the Regional Network Officer (Sub-Saharan Africa)-Counter Terrorism & Extremism Network (CTEN) of the British Government: Ms. Anna Waters and Ms. Tammy Clayton.

The ES updated them on the significant progress that has been undertaken in supporting IGAD Member States in countering terrorism and violent extremism. The visiting delegation expressed their deep satisfaction in the work of the IGAD Center of Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE Center) based in Djibouti.

They pledged UK support to the activities and programmes of the CVE Center.

Source: Inter Governmental Authority on Development