Knowledge sharing & community-based innovation models in Africa: Which knowledge governance in the future? (part II)

December 12, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Africa

Source: source_knowledge_innovation_in_africa_scenarios_future / license: CC attribution share alike non-commercial

Source: source_knowledge_innovation_in_africa_scenarios_future / license: CC attribution share alike non-commercial

In part II of this blog series, I will link the current reality of knowledge sharing in Africa with appropriate knowledge governance systems for the future. For the future, the Open African Innovation Research and Training network has worked on Three Scenarios for the Future of Knowledge & Innovation in Africa.The current reality is described in the compendium „Innovation & Intellectual Property: Collaborative Dynamics in Africa“, which was just released and in my last blog entry on „knowledge sharing in the informal economy in Africa & the knowledge commons“.

This report grapples with the complex and dynamic forces shaping innovation systems over the next two decades. It distills three different but equally plausible future scenarios: one a world of “wireless engagement,” another where “informal is the new normal,” and a third that is “sincerely Africa.” Each scenario raises different issues for control and access to knowledge in Africa.

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Just out: Practical knowledge on “Open African Innovation” and stunning examples of the knowledge commons in Africa

December 11, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, News on publications, Open Source & Africa

Openair-books-345Great start of the long-awaited conference of the Open African Innovation Research and Training Network: We just launched two really interesting compendia on “Open African Innovation” packed with practical examples of the knowledge commons in Africa – and with a tool that allows policy advisors to discuss the future of knowledge governance in Africa in three scenarios for 2035. Check the books out online (they are free knowledge of course, sharable under a cc licence) at:

Again: congrats to the Open AIR network for pulling all of this together and pulling it off.

For live info on on the conference and the concurrent Global Congress on IP and the public interest, you might also follow #gcongress #openair13 on twitter – and this blog 🙂

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Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany ( Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

New US bill wants to boost a knowledge commons for (English) college textbooks

November 15, 2013 in Freedom to learn

800px-Global_Open_Educational_Resources_Logo.svgLike it: Two US senators today introduced the Affordable College Textbook Act, which directs the Secretary of Education to fund the creation of college textbooks and materials to be made available under open licenses.

I can only fully agree with the assessment by Creative Commons U.S.A. Director Michael Carrol: “This bill seizes the opportunity to make high quality textbooks affordable and reusable by paying once for their production and permitting free copying, updating, and adaptation with the requirement of an open license.” I think that this could mark an important step towards a knowledge commons for (English) textbooks. What do you think? Cheers, Balthas
Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany ( Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

Program Manager Information Program | Open Society Foundations (OSF)

September 25, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Work

Dear all,

this job offer by the Open Society Foundations (OSF) might be of interest to some of you – for further information, see their website:

“The Information Program seeks a full-time program manager to develop and expand the program’s work to support the nascent digital advocacy field, and the strategic use of new technologies and data by the human rights and transparency/accountability sectors.”


Link to new knowledge sharing wiki on agricultural water management – welcome, knowledge commons

August 12, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

agripedia logoWith joy, I reproduce below the invitation of GIZ colleagues to join the official launch of the global knowledge platform for agricultural water management !


Main focus

  • focuses on agricultural water management in the context of climate change and food security.

It aims to secure knowledge gained from experiences in development cooperation. serves as an knowledge exchange and networking platform for practitioners and development experts and all those interested in the topic of increasing challenges in agricultural water management. What’s in it for you?

  • The platform contains a library with at the moment about 260 publications, a lot of them from pre-digital times, only digitally available and from anywhere in the world accessible on
  • will give you access to relevant and up-to-date knowledge, as well as to expedient approaches, practices and experience in agricultural watermanagement.

 You like the idea and you’re already thinking about how to become a part of the knowledge network?

 Like all wikis, depends on user contributions. Please feel free to improve the platform by editing or writing articles, or by uploading publications.

 Visit and sign up for an account today!

 For further information please contact: (SV Nachhaltige Landwirtschaft) Your Agriwaterpedia-Team

Registration Open: Calling for Proposals – IP, Innovation and the Public Interest, December 2013 in Cape Town: user rights, access to medicines, enforcement, openness, traditional knowledge

July 4, 2013 in Freedom to innovate

Call for presentations and workshops

The programme is being developed through a collaborative planning process, via an open call for:

  1. presentations/papers related to five thematic tracks: (1) user rights; (2) access to medicines; (3) enforcement; (4) openness; and (5) traditional knowledge.
  2. participant-led workshops.

Proposed contributions should address one of the five thematic tracks, and should also shed light on the overarching theme: “Global questions, local answers“. What is the public interest in IP? Is it similar or different from place to place? What are the local priorities among the communities you work with? How are public interest IP research and advocacy activities connected? Which strategies are most effective for achieving positive change at the global or local level?

The deadline is 31 August 2013 for registered Congress & Conference participants to submit a proposal for a presentation/paper or workshop. The submission form is online via the Cape Town 2013 page.

Media and registration enquiries: Contact Congress & Conference Lead Coordinator Nan Warner on

Please pass this notice on to others who need to know. When tweeting about this Cape Town 2013 gathering, please use the #gcongress hashtag.

Tanzanian IT experts in Germany on Linux-Learning-Tour / Afrikanische Computerexperten lernen Linux in Freiburg » Linux-Magazin

July 1, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business

Interesting news coming from former training partner of it@ab, Mr. Hans-Peter Merkel. His organization “FreiOSS” is right now hosting Tanzanian IT experts in Germany on Linux-Learning-Tour. More in the news item (in German)…


‘Open content licensing for educators’ – online course now open for registration, online from 4 to 18 September 2013

June 16, 2013 in Freedom to learn

Dear all, please find below the invitation to a free course on “Open Content Licensing for Educators”, which might be of interest to some of you – please also share with other interested people. For more info, please contact the persons named on the website.

“The next Open Content Licensing for Educators course will be facilitated by the *UNESCO OER Chair Network* in collaboration with the *OER Foundation* and the* Commonwealth of Learning*.

*Open content licensing for educators<> (OCL4Ed) is a free micro Open Online Course (mOOC) designed for educators and students who want to learn more about open education resources, copyright, and Creative Commons licenses. *

This workshop will:

  • Reflect on the practice of sharing knowledge in education and the permissions educators consider fair and reasonable;
  • Define what constitutes an open education resource (OER);
  • Explain how international copyright functions in a digital world;
  • Introduce the Creative Commons suite of licenses and explain how they support open education approaches;
  • Connect with educators around the world to share thoughts and experiences in relation to copyright, OER and Creative Commons.



*When*: 4 – 18 September 2013. / *Where*: Online / *Cost*: Free

Reserve your seat today by registering from the course homepage <>.

Share the gift of knowledge and invite your friends and colleagues to join you.

Open African Innovation Research at GIZ’s innovation lounge at re:publica in Berlin

May 28, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business

republica-2013_copyright_re_publicare:publica is à priori a German blogger conference. Over the years it has however morphed into an international gathering of more than 5000 people from more than 50 countries with a common interest in the following themes: Digital business and innovation, social media, research & education in the Internet, campaigning, culture, media and ultimately, the “res publica”.

So re:publica 2013 was a good place to talk about the ‘Open African Innovation Research & Training Network’ and the upcoming ‘Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest’ and interwoven ‘Open A.I.R conference on open innovation and intellectual property’ in Cape Town from 9 to 13 December.

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Yours, network!

May 28, 2013 in Work

my network on APD 2013Nice. I just found this new feature of the Alumniportal Germany, that shows a map of all my contacts (click on the picture on the left side to see the large version). [Disclaimer: I work at GIZ’s unit managing the Alumniportal Germany]

Hi to everyone, from Canada via South Africa to Indonesia. Let’s stay in touch! And I am happy to see that the portal is moving one step closer in the direction of “showing” networks and communities. Which is a genuine challenge, as I discussed in a previous blog post titled “Non-“Sense”?! Why you can’t touch an online network (yet)

P.S. 1: unfortunately I had to cut the Fidji Islands and my friends from over there from the picture for space reasons, sorry). P.S. 2: If you are a user of the Alumniportal Germany, you should find the map with your own network at MY CONTACTS -> MY NETWORK. The URL should be [replace YOURUSERNAME accordingly] [This will be a link to content within the Alumniportal Germany (register or login first to access the link)]____
Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany ( Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

Open A.I.R. Conference on Innovation and Intellectual Property in Africa & 3rd Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest

May 16, 2013 in Freedom to innovate

Are you interested in open innovation & the future of intellectual property in Africa? Or copyright, creative commons, openness, innovation, and the knowledge commons? Then check this conference announcement & join the open community of “Open African Innovation Research and Training” here:

Also, feel free to spread the word about the Open A.I.R. Conference on Innovation and Intellectual Property in Africa & 3rd Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest, 09. December 2013 to 13. December 2013, Cape Town, South Africa.

Call for Applications: Tactical Tech’s Info Activism Camp 2013, Deadline: Friday, April 19th

April 17, 2013 in Freedom to innovate

I really recommend Tactical Tech’s Info Activism Camp for anyone who is in the business of evidence-based advocacy. More info below and on the website:

Evidence is an activist’s most powerful asset. Used well, it can transform even the most difficult advocacy effort into an initiative that influences perceptions and actions around an important issue. Tactical Tech is organising the 2013 Info Activism Camp ( to explore the ways in which digital technologies, data and visuals can be used to collect and present evidence to influence debates. Applications are open until 19th April! We’re seeking curious and creative individuals working with information to investigate, expose, monitor, challenge, and mobilise support around human rights issues. Join us for a week of discussion, debate and skill-share. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and build connections with people working across the world, in different practices, and build their knowledge and skills in evidence-based advocacy. The camp will run from 23-30 June at Centro d’Ompio, a beautiful retreat centre in Northern Italy (read more: Places are limited. We only have 80 spots and plenty of interest! So please do share this with suitable candidates. Full and partial grants are available for travel and stay, upon application. The application deadline for those who needed to apply for visas to come to Italy has closed. But it’s still open for those who do not need to apply for a visa. The new deadline is 19th April (24:00 CET). More application information and forms:


The School of open just opened: Learn open practices, discuss Open Educational Resources, Open Access and more

March 18, 2013 in Freedom to learn

News on an open course on openness by our friends from p2pu. Reproduced below:

Why “open”? Universal access to and participation in research, education, and culture is made possible by openness, but not enough people know what it means or how to take advantage of it. We hear about Open Source Software, Open Educational Resources, and Open Access… But what are these movements, who are their communities, and how do they work? Most importantly—how can they help me? A collaboration with the public. Courses are powered by mentors and learners like you. Whether you are an individual volunteer or organizational representative, we invite you to create or improve a course! The School of Open is coordinated by P2PU and Creative Commons, a globally focused nonprofit dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Learning about “open”. The School of Open offers courses on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, research, and beyond. We offer two types of courses: •Stand-alone courses that can be worked through at your own pace at any time, with or without others •Facilitated courses that run for a set period of weeks with an organizer that provides feedback and facilitates discussion Get involved. •Sign up for announcements. We just launched our first set of courses. Sign up to be notified of future launches. •Join the discussion. Help us build the School! Conceive, create, and test courses with your peers. •Learn more. Give feedback on core documents, attend an upcoming workshop, participate in our monthly working calls, and more.


Facilitated courses Sign up for these facilitated courses through Sunday, March 17. These courses will start the week of March 18. To sign up, simply click the “Start Course” button under the course’s menu navigation on the left. 1.Copyright 4 Educators (US) 2.Copyright 4 Educators (AUS) 3.Creative Commons for K-12 Educators 4.Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond

Link to news on

Interesting OpEd by ICT association: ‘Should Industry Support LDCs’ Request For Unlimited Time To Implement The TRIPS Agreement? Absolutely

March 4, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business

Just found a good Opinion Editorial on ‘Intellectual Property Watch’ on the question, whether LDCs should have Unlimited Time To Implement The TRIPS Agreement: The ‘Computer and Communication Industry Association (CCIA)’ thinks so and has endorsed a bid by the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDC’s) to remove any specific deadline for full compliance with the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement. Read more in the opEd.

Link to OpEd on

Learning Creative Learning – interesting new open online course by peer-to-peer university and the MIT Media Lab

February 4, 2013 in Freedom to learn

The Peer-to-peer university (p2pu) has worked with GIZ’s Academy for international Cooperation (AIZ, where I work) last year on “Selbstlernen”. Now p2pu and the MIT Media Lab are experimenting with a new course approach on “Learning Creative Learning“. It’s being organized as a massive open online course, meaning everyone is invited to join. The organizers have asked to “tell your friends about it”. Which is what I do with pleasure, copying below the course announcement by p2pu. Cheers, Balthas Seibold

“Learning Creative Learning is an online course for designers, developers and educators. Offered by the MIT Media Lab & yours truly, the folks at P2PU. It’s based on a course Mitch Resnick teaches at the Media Lab. And now it’s online for the first-time through a collaboration with P2PU. That’s pretty cool. You learn a whole lot about learning. And because learning (and learning about learning) is more fun with other people we’ll group you with other students, so you can share ideas, give each other feedback, and make new friends. Each week we’ll focus on a particular topic related to creative learning, such as “Interest-Based Learning” or “Powerful Ideas” or “Tinkering.” We’ll host a panel discussion, inviting some of the world’s best thinkers and builders to join us in person or online. You’ll be able to suggest questions beforehand and follow along live (or watch it later). We’ll also design a hands-on activity for each week that you can tackle on your own or in a group (more fun!). You’ll get a chance to experiment with lots of different technologies and projects. More information: