ears to our world

At ETOW, we believe access to information is access to education. We provide innovative, simple and appropriate technologies to schools and communities in remote, rural and impoverished regions of our world.

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ETOW to Present at the Inaugural IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference

Great news:  Ears To Our World has been invited to make a presentation about the work we do, and how it addresses humanitarian needs in the developing world, at the first-ever IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference.  The IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. ETOW founder, Thomas Witherspoon, and board member Ed Harris recently answered a “Call for Papers” from the organizers of this prestigious forum, coauthoring and submitting a paper entitled “Avoiding the 30-Pound Paperweight: Success Via Contextually Appropriate Technologies.” We’re delighted to announce that the paper--which details how to successfully incorporate into humanitarian efforts the “human vector” (the real-world needs and input of the people served) with the “technological vector” (the tools currently available)--was accepted.  Thomas will present the paper, and explain how ETOW exemplifies this approach, to conference attendees, including technologists, representatives from NGOs, governments, academe, funders, and industry.

This is a tremendous opportunity to promote our work to an influential audience, and an incredible honor for ETOW, but it’s more: it’s also an affirmation by this internationally respected body that our mission and our methods converge in a realistic way that can make a real difference in the lives of those we serve.

The inaugural Global Humanitarian Technology Conference will be held from October 31 to November 1, 2011, at the Renaissance Hotel in Seattle, Washington. For more information, visit www.ieeeghtc.org.

Make: Magazine Maker Challenge--ETOW Radio Kit

At Ears To Our World, we have long wanted to give radios directly to school children in developing regions, but for a child, carrying one of our self-powered radios isn't always practical or even advisable, as this could make such children a target of theft. This is one of the reasons why teachers are the guardians of our radios. But ETOW recently hatched an idea to pursue the design and creation of an inexpensive kit that children could, themselves, assemble into a simple working FM radio--maybe even a green product, no less, in that the kit radio might incorporate a re-purposed plastic bottle as the radio's housing and/or a scrap cardboard base to hold together its components.  If the radio is somehow damaged, parts could thus be easily pulled off and replaced.

The exercise of assembling such a radio could be educational on many levels, and not only would teach a child about radio from the viewpoint of a young listener, but as a young engineer and perhaps even innovator.  This kit, while it would provide the basic electronics, may require a certain amount of ingenuity from the assembler as he or she would have to connect the electronics without solder, and perhaps with the assistance of items near at hand (scrap, recyclables, natural elements) for assembly board and housing.  Meantime, we at ETOW could learn an enormous amount from these radio-kit recipients, both in terms of practical usage and potential programming concepts.

With this in mind, Thomas Witherspoon, ETOW's founder/director, approached Make: Magazine; shortly after, we were surprised and pleased to learn that his casual inquiry has become a Maker Challenge in their online edition.  Creative hobbyists and "makers" alike instantly began to respond with ideas.

Many thanks to Make Magazine and the online editors for their support! What's more, we thank those who have (and have yet to) respond--and look forward to the invention of a kit radio, just for kids!

ETOW Featured in Wall Street Journal Magazine

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ETOW is both honored and humbled to be featured in the May 2010 issue of the Wall Street Journal Magazine (see page 24 in the print edition). Writer David Goren's stellar article brings to life our story, underlined by our mission-driven objectives, and highlights some of our recent significant partnerships; here is an excerpt:

Last August, ETOW teamed with the American Haitian Foundation, shipping radios to the 39 teachers at St. Antoine’s School, in the town of Petite-Rivière-de- Nippes, Haiti, 68 miles from the capital. The teachers brought the radios to their homes, gathering news to pass on to their students. When the earthquake hit, the teachers cranked them up to glean what information they could. “After the earthquake, all the radio stations were off in the country,” says Emmanuel Pressoir, the school’s business manager. “The telephone did not work, even the cell phone. But with their radios, they could go on shortwave, and be informed.” A week later, when a 5.9 aftershock rocked the village and rumors of an impending tsunami stirred panic, the teachers were able to turn to their radios again..."

 

Please visit the WSJ Mag website to read the full article.

ETOW would especially like to thank David, as well as editor Owen Phillips, photographer Randy Harris, and indeed all the WSJ staff, who made this nonprofit's dream come true in print before thousands of readers. We would also like to thank those of our partners and supporters who provided wonderful photos and comments that enrich the piece. Last but certainly not least, ETOW wishes to thank those readers who have responded with all forms of support, in the form of encouraging words, or in donations of money, time, and/or talent.

Many, many thanks to each of you -- we are profoundly grateful.

ETOW Featured in Popular Communications

Click to enlarge. Dear Friends of ETOW,

ETOW has had an incredible first year--from the donation of our first radios to their distribution in seven countries on three continents, from Eastern Europe to Africa and Haiti--we've seen healthy growth in our young organization. We're delighted and encouraged by our many empowering partnerships, as well, which have truly made our successes possible--such as that with the Empower Campaign, a stellar organization which is helping to build much-needed schools in Uganda, and which is now distributing ETOW radios to these same schools.

Our cover feature in December's international magazine, Popular Communications, sums up our year with hope for a bright future. See pages 14-19 for our story, Greg Majewski's excellent supporting article on page 22, and editor Edith Lennon's wonderful editorial on page 4.

We hope you've had a good year, too, and will continue to stay interested in and involved with Ears to Our World.

May blessings abound and peace reign throughout our listening world...

Warm thanks, Thomas.

Thomas Witherspoon Founder/Director, EARS TO OUR WORLD.

Download full article here--courtesy of Popular Communications.

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