Digital Repository in Nepal

11 December 2014
UNDRN Team

The United Nations Information Center (UNIC) in Kathmandu, Nepal, has launched an initiative to create an inventory of United Nations’ Knowledge—a unique digital collection process of all the UN reports and documents related to Nepal, from 1951. Known as the United Nations Digital Repository in Nepal (UNDRN), this program is the first of its kind in the Nepal UN Country Office.

Following an extensive process known as Knowledge Management, the wealth of available data is collected, developed and shared to the target population, mainly students, researchers and academicians. 

Currently, these reports are either available in print at the UNIC reference library in the UN House or are scattered in various UN agencies. Therefore, without an electronic intervention, the conventional library limits people to the physical documents and lacks instant accessibility. An online repository is an ideal way to preserve the growing volume of publications produced by UN agencies each year, and ensures efficient accessibility from anywhere, without cost to them. 

The venture is intended to significantly amplify the circulation of UN’s publications and help raise public awareness about the Organization’s work in Nepal. The project also aims to manage knowledge and preserve institutional memory through electronic resources.  

UNICs  around the world are the principal local sources of public information about the United Nations, enabling the general community, journalists, non-government organizations and students to obtain information. The online repository will develop and maintain a comprehensive collection of digital materials including reference materials of the UN and its Specialized Agencies, official and mimeographed documents, DPI publications etc. The accumulated data will follow a cataloguing protocol introduced by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library, United Nations Department of Public Information in New York.

The online repository can be accessed through www.un.info.np. The database is currently in the compilation process and access is limited to those involved. Data is uploaded by UNIC and UN agencies and will be verified for accuracy by agency focal persons. The UNDRN will be launched to public by June 2015. However, since Nepal only has a 31.69% internet penetration rate (NTA April 2014) which is around 2.6 million people, an offline version of the UNDRN will be made available at UN Corners, universities, colleges and organization clubs that will be promoted via extensive information campaigns. 

The UN Digital Repository can also be installed in offline intranet databases of educational institutions upon request. The database can also be accessed from portable devices such as smart phones and tablets. Documents can be listed automatically using web services of the UN Digital Repository. It is especially designed for United Nations agencies to list all their documents available on their website and automatically onto the repository.  

Interns at work

Currently, there are around 2.3 K documents uploaded to date with the help of seven enthusiast interns who are working alongside the UNIC team. The interns work for the generation of metadata; they essentially feed or upload reports, publications, posters, press releases and other official manuscripts of the UN in Nepal to the database. The goal is to achieve 10 K documents by the release date. Other interns are involved in promotion packaging, article writing, reference library management and the ICT engineering aspect of the venture. The team is composed of energetic youths from various backgrounds such as engineering, social work, literature and journalism. The internship has high female participation.

The software of the repository has been developed by UNIC Kathmandu and the data center is also maintained by the team. The server is present at the UN House which makes the process of using the online repository more efficient, particularly in terms of cost and accessibility. This allows the team to establish offline databases at UN corners and other locations. The team is also currently backing up all the data in two servers in Nepal, while simultaneously generating it. The in-city back-up server is located at the UNICEF ROSA Office and the off-site or off-city back-up server is located at the UNICEF Office outside Kathmandu. This backup measure fundamentally safeguards information from natural calamities and digital mishaps. 

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NGO partners commit to making greater impact as UNIC Lagos hosts TEDx PlaceDesNations viewing party

11 December 2014
TEDex viewing party

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Nigeria have made commitments to work harder to make greater impact on the lives and wellbeing of the people. This commitment was made at the TEDx PlaceDesNations viewing party organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Ikoyi Lagos.

Moved by compelling and inspiring stories of despair, resilience, doggedness and mental strength as a prelude to success, the NGOs resolved to partner with UNIC in organising video screening sessions of such inspiring stories seen in TEDx PlaceDesNations to a larger audience including students.  

Speaking during the discussion of concepts and principles behind some of the stories, the immediate Past President of Zonta International Lagos and Director, Educare Trust, Ms Shade Bebatoun-Young, requested for the recording of the TEDx PlaceDesNations and called on UNIC Lagos to organise another viewing party involving a large audience of NGOs and students to further underscore the key to making impact.

Inspired by the story of Maryanne Diamond, the immediate Past President of the World Blind Union (WBU), the Executive Director of Disabled Persons Rights Initiative (DIPRI) Ms Adaeze Ikedianya and the Executive Director of African Anti-Slavery Coalition (ASLAC), Mr Femi Phillips, noted that persons with disabilities needed to be told Maryanne’s stories adding that they would be willing to partner with UNIC Lagos in empowering people with disabilities with life-changing information.

Moderating the discussion, the National Information Officer of UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, highlighted the inspiring stories of Beatrice Ayuru, who rose from being a village cassava trader to becoming the first female University graduate from her region in Uganda and a big entrepreneur with diverse business investments; Mahelet Afework, a fashion designer based in Addis Ababa and the eye-opener by Dr Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology on the use of technology to stimulate development that truly improves the lives and wellbeing of people. 

Soremekun assured the participants that UNIC Lagos would organise follow-up meetings and would take those impactful stories to schools.

In her contribution, the Senior Public Information Officer, UNIC Lagos, Ms Envera Selimovic, underscored the need for NGOs to work together in order to achieve greater impact.

TEDx PlaceDesNations was viewed by 24 viewing parties (including the one organised by UNIC Lagos) in 22 cities, spread in 5 continents of the world.

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Human Rights Day: Hope rises for ‘awaiting trial’ prison inmates in need of legal representation

10 December 2014
Prison inmate asking a question

The observance of the 2014 International Human Rights Day at the Ikoyi Prison facility by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, has provided hope for ‘Awaiting trial’ inmates who could not afford and did not have legal representation and therefore, languishing in prison custody.

Responding to inmates’ recount of challenges of long stay in prison custody due to lack of legal representation, a Chief Magistrate in the Lagos State Judiciary, Mrs Eniola Fabanwo, urged affected inmates to use the services of the Office of Public Defender (OPD) which has the responsibility to provide them with legal representation. 

The Chief Magistrate also called on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the justice sector to be more active on issues related to access to justice especially as concerned ‘Awaiting Trial’ prison inmates. 

In a special message delivered by the Snr. Public Information Officer of UNIC Lagos, Ms. Envera Selimovic on the occasion, the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Ban Ki-moon, declared that ‘human rights are for all of us, all the time: whoever we are and wherever we are from; no matter our class, our opinions, our sexual orientation’ He called on States to honour their obligation to protect human rights every day of the year; and on people to hold their governments to account.

Speaking earlier, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon. Justice Oluwafunmilayo Atilade, represented by the Deputy Chief Registrar (Legal), Mr Emmanuel Ogundare, explained that the Lagos State Judiciary observed the sanctity of Human Rights principles and practice which he said was a daily procedure. 

‘This year’s theme, ‘Human Rights 365’, he added, ‘aligned with the vision of the State Judiciary that observance of human rights should be an everyday affairs.’

In his welcome address, the Deputy Controller of Prison, Ikoyi Prison, Mr Emmanuel Bamidele, disclosed that over 80% of inmates at the Ikoyi Prison were those awaiting trials, many of whom have been in custody for years. He stressed the urgent need for the prison to be de-congested.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Human Rights 365’, the National Information Officer of UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, explained that it ‘encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day’, he noted that the theme ‘underescores the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to human rights,’ and that ‘human rights belong equally to each of us.’ 

The Director of the National Human Rights Commission, South West Zone, Mr Lucas Koyejo, reiterated the commitment of the Commission to monitor, report and protect human rights of all citizens.

The 2014 International Human Rights Day was organized by UNIC Lagos in collaboration with the Lagos State Judiciary, the Nigerian Prisons Service and the National Human Rights Commission.

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16 Days of Activism for Gender Equality_Farrukh Zakirov

09 December 2014

As the 16 days campaign for gender equality, comes to an end, UNO Tashkent recorded their the last aimed to inspire girls and boys against bias and prejudice. 

UNO Tashkent’s 16 day campaign came to a close with a short and meaningful statement from Farrukh Zakirov, the People’s Artist of Uzbekistan, the soloist of the legendary “Yalla” band and the pride of the Uzbek pop-music art! Mr Zakirov joined a dozen other top names in the entertainment industry to inspire youngsters – both girls and boys – to seize the day and follow their dreams! The message shared is very touching and gives inspiration and motivation to millions of young Uzbeks all around the country!

Watch the video statement with Farrukh Zakirov here!