NUANCE – March 2009

FEAST Meeting in Brussels

The Vice Chair of UbuntuNet Alliance, Mr Albert Nsengiyumva participated in the FEAST consultation in Brussels along with representatives of KENET and TERNET on 25th and 26th March. Ms Carmen Mena Abela of EU DG INFSO and the FEAST team who participated in the Development Partners Forum in November 2008 in Lilongwe played a key role in the meeting. Dr Boubakar Barry of AAU (Association of African Universities) was also present and supportive as always. In spite of the very cold weather, the meeting was upbeat and Albert is optimistic about the role of UbuntuNet Alliance in the implementation of Africa-Connect.

Carnegie Support for UbuntuNet Alliance

In the November 2008 Issue of NUANCE, it was announced that the Carnegie Corporation had committed major support to the Alliance, subject to matching support from the other Development Partners.  Sadly, as part of the wider financial world, our other partners were unable to commit as they had hoped. This means that the Carnegie support is not forthcoming as planned. Enormous work was put into the proposal by Dr F.F. Tusubira, the Alliance CEO, by Andrea Johnston of Carnegie and by several staff members of University of Malawi. This is appreciated. This work is not wasted. Perhaps at a later date, the harvest will come in!

Help on H1N1 (Swine) Influenza

Many of our NRENs have Library Consortia where the quality e-content they access is licensed through INASP PERI initiative ( Ann Powell of INASP has just sent out a link to a source to keep current on developments and the science of H1N1 (Swine) Influenza. Ann writes:

With the recent outbreak of Swine Flu, we hope the following information is of value to you. Please feel free to pass along this information to healthcare professionals at your institution as well as faculty, staff and students.

Due to the recent global outbreak of Swine Influenza, EBSCO Publishing and the DynaMed Editors have made DynaMed’s information about Swine Influenza free to health care providers and institutions throughout the world. The DynaMed topic on Swine Influenza consolidates information from multiple sources for health care providers to stay current with recommendations for monitoring, diagnosing, and treating patients with flu-like illnesses during this outbreak. DynaMed Editors will continue to monitor information and update this topic as needed throughout this Global crisis.

Please click on the following link for information regarding Swine Influenza:

DynaMed is a point-of-care reference resource designed to provide clinicians with the best available evidence to support clinical decision-making. DynaMed is part of the suite of medical products owned and provided by EBSCO Publishing and is updated daily by monitoring medical literature sources.

GLOBAL Face to Face meeting in Vienna

Participants testing webcamsTiwonge Banda and Margaret Ngwira faced snowstorms and plane de-icing to attend the 3rd GLOBAL (EU FP7 Project) Face to Face Meeting in Vienna from 25 – 27 March 2009. Consortium members gathered from Latin America, Europe and Africa to test technologies, strategise about forthcoming events and deal with issues of project management. One forthcoming event is the TERNEA Networking Conference (TNC 2009) in Malaga in June where Dr Tusubira, the Alliance CEO, is presenting a paper. GLOBAL through its Interactive Multimedia Conferencing resources will facilitate the presence of an African audience and presentation at the TNC 2009.

People on the Move

Sandra Alouch who was Project Manager of the Bandwidth Consortium has been a participant in almost all Alliance events since the foundation. Sandra contacts the Alliance to say that she is moving on at the end of March and sends her good wishes. The Alliance wishes her all the best and thanks her for the several years of cooperation.

Margaret Ngwira has retired from University of Malawi Libraries after a career stretching back 4 decades. She continues to be involved in the Alliance Secretariat and in MAREN.

News from NRENs

Working together – NAMREN, TENET

Sharing our expertise and experiences in NREN building is an output of being a member of an NREN that forms part of UbuntuNet Alliance.   This sharing goes on day in day out regardless of the availability external funding. A good example is currently happening with Dr Jameson Mbale. After assisting in the founding of ZAMREN, Zambia, he joined the University of Namibia and has been an enthusiastic catalyst in the development of NAMREN.

Dr Jameson Mbale invited Dr Duncan Martin, CEO of TENET to participate in a 1 day NAMREN Stakeholders, which took place on Thursday, 2nd April 2009. Dr. Martin shared experience in the creation/construction of an NREN. He addressed the meeting successfully. The meeting was chaired by the Deputy Minister of Ministry of Information and Technology representing Minister who was called for to attend an urgent meeting at the Parliament.

Dr. Duncan Martin demonstrated the patriotism and love of developing NRENs in the sub-Saharan region and Africa as whole. The Hon. Deputy Minister was very impressed with for Dr Martin for accepting the invitation and travelling from South Africa to attend the NAMREN crucial meeting.  A fuller description of NAMREN activities is on the Alliance website


In addition to the NAMREN work, Dr Mbale is also reaching out to Angola and establishing contact so that they may also embark on the process that will result in the formation of their NREN and resulting improvement in their academic activities through improved connectivity and collaboration.


Good news: Mauritius has established contact with UbuntuNet Alliance regarding establishing their NREN.  The Alliance will assist them in funding participation of their Observer member at the Nairobi Council of Members meeting on 17th April 2009 and hopefully their NREN will develop swiftly

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