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Why am I excited to go to the Digital Youth Summit?

Todd Jensen's picture
Learn, register, and check out the schedule for the Digital Youth Summit. 

First, I’m just very excited to meet everyone there! I’m eager to learn and share. 

Second, Peshawar! The oldest city in Pakistan! So much history! 

Third, and most importantly, I’m looking forward to being part of a great movement. Let me explain. 

Private equity firm JAB just bought Panera (a bakery, sandwich, and salad chain) for $7.5 billion. Yes, that’s billions of dollars. Nvidia (a graphic and mobile computing company) had a stock price of around $14 a share in 2012. Today, shares are worth $100 and it has a market valuation of $57.8 billion. What do these two very different companies, operating in completely separate markets, have to do with each other?  

Future focused innovation. 

Many people think that all innovation is future focused. Innovation within a company is a function of its strategic direction. If the company is simply about reducing costs and maintaining it’s market share, then innovation tends to be about present operations and marketing. It’s about efficiency or managing growth. Panera and Nvidia are different. 

Early on Panera perceived a shift in casual diners patience for waiting. Consumers in big cities want good food without the wait … so, in 2014 they started deploying digital technologies to cut waiting times and allowed advanced orders. Many other restaurants are now trying to follow their lead, a couple of years too late. Yes, Panera has quality food and good locations and from that, their trajectory of growth was good. But they wanted to be decisively better than their competition. They needed to get to capabilities no company had. They needed to get innovative with digital in order to deliver their great food. They are decisively winning now. 

In 2016 Nvidia introduced the worlds fastest processing unit for automobile AI. They are also dominant in virtual reality hardware. Years ago, when Nvidia had to start building for the future, there wasn’t clear and present demand for high powered computing on mobile, virtual reality, and self-driving automotive platforms. But they made the decision to innovate for the future and now, they own it. 

Why am I excited to go to DYS 2017? Because it’s very likely that someone in attendance will create a disruptive service or technology. You will build a company around it or sell it and use the proceeds to create 10 more services or technologies. I can’t wait to see all the ideas and energy around improving the future! 

College of Engineering Pune - taking reforms to new heights

Lola Nayar's picture
Reviving an institution to its past glory of being among the best in the country can be a tough task. But after fifteen years of administrative and educational reforms with financial help and guidance of the World Bank and the government, the 160-year-old College of Engineering Pune (COEP) has emerged among the top 25 in the country. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has ranked COEP at 21 out of the top 100 engineering colleges in the country, in the first ever ranking exercise undertaken by it. Even in private sector exercises by various periodicals, COEP, which boasts a heritage building and a workshop complex which reportedly undertook armament manufacturing during the World War II, scores over some of the prestigious IITs and NITs.

Much more than just funding by the World Bank under its Technical Education Quality Improvement Project (TEQIP) has clearly helped COEP not just arrest the slide in academic standards but also reemerge among the top ranking engineering colleges in the country where both the faculty and the students take pride in being meritorious. 

Trophies and certificates of merit can be seen displayed not just in COEP director Prof Bharatkumar B. Ahuja’s airy room in the restored heritage building, which houses the administrative office, but in many other workshops and main halls of the college. Prof Ahuja states with pride that after IITs, it is the first choice of students from the state. 

In an environment where industry is known to be critical of most engineering colleges, COEP has received Rs. 1 crore worth scholarships for students this year. Many of the industries are coming forward to help the college set up labs for promoting innovation. Having got autonomy, a precondition under the World Bank project, COEP is striving to achieve university status to push ahead with its programme to introduce more specializations and research. It boasts of 118 PhDs among its 217 faculty members.
Rapid Prototyping Lab : The Rapid Prototyping Laboratory has facilities for making physical objects directly from Computer-Aided Design (CAD) models. UG and PG students use these facilities for experimentation and product development.

During a recent visit, unmindful of the high temperature in the tin roofed workshop of the yore, enthusiastic students could be seen engaged in club activities like robotics, racing car, 3D printing, etc.  The college has over 30 clubs including a satellite club, where like in a relay race projects are started and taken forward by next batch of students. On the fourth floor of one of the buildings,  in a makeshift station the satellite club members monitor and communicate daily with the communication polar satellite Swayam ( the fourth student satellite from India) when it passes over Pune. The club is now working on a new satellite - Solar Sail - with research funding from ISRO.

Why am I excited for the next digital youth summit?

Anna O'Donnell's picture
Visit website to sign up:

This year, perhaps even more than in previous years, I am very excited to come to DYS for two main reasons.

First, since its inception in 2014, the Digital Youth Summit has become one of the premier technology conferences in Pakistan. Back in 2014, we got some skeptical responses to the idea of holding a tech conference in Peshawar. National speakers were hesitant to make the trip to Peshawar. Security restriction on international travel were in place for KP up to a week before the event. Several international speakers dropped out because of difficulties getting visas.

But in 2014, the first Digital Youth Summit came on the tech scene, redefining Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as an emerging digital economy. The event brought together local and international participants (some attending their sessions by videoconference) to deliberate on supporting the growth of nascent ecosystems. Local youth showed up, curious about how the internet is shaping jobs of the future. I met one young woman who had traveled on an overnight bus with her child and sister just to learn more about what it means to work online. She told me excitedly that she could not wait to begin her new internet based career. And for the international speakers who made it, the hospitality and warmth of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reshaped their views of Pakistan.

Fast forward three years to DYS 2017. DYS has become an established event in Pakistan’s tech community. It has provided an international platform to showcase the vibrancy and enthusiasm of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as it embraces the digital economy. And while it continues to identify with its core objective—to raise awareness among youth—it has also become a platform for Pakistan’s tech community to deliberate the growth of tech entrepreneurship, the future of digital payments, and how to promote Pakistan’s digital transformation. The commitment and presence of the Government, as well as participation of a wide range of international experts, complements each panel discussion. But it is the enthusiasm and excitement of the youth that gives the event its signature energy and vibrancy.

څوک ښوونځي ته ځي؟ ولايتي لنډيزونه موږ ته د لومړني ښوونځيو د حاضرۍ کچه په ډاګه کوي

Christina Wieser's picture
Also available in: English
Student in a classroom in Afghanistan.
Students in a classroom in Bamyan Province. Photo Credit: Taimani Films/ World Bank

افغانستان له یو لړ ننګونو لکه بېوزلۍ، نه پرمختګ او نا امنۍ سره لاس او ګرېوان دی. دا د حیرانتیا خبره نه ده، چې تاوتریخوالي او جګړې د هېواد پر اقتصاد او د خلکو پر سوکالۍ ژوره اغېزه کړې ده خو افغانستان د پرمختيا هيله لري لکه تر ۲۰۳۰ پورې په لومړنيو ښوونځيو کې د جنسیت برابري.

د دې لپاره چې ډاډه شو افغانستان خپلو موخو ته رسېږي، مهمه دا ده د هېواد پر ټولنيز او اقتصادي پرمختګ پوه شو.

د افغانستان د اسلامي جمهوریت د اقتصاد وزارت په همکارۍ او د مرکزي احصايې ادارې د اطلاعاتو پر اساس، نړیوال بانک په دې وروستيو کې د ولايتي لنډیزونو درېیمه ګڼه په پښتو او دري دواړو ژبو خپره کړې، چې په ټولنیزو او اقتصادي شاخصونو کې هر اړخیز پرمختګ (د زده کړو په ګډون هم په ملي او هم د ولايتونو په کچه) څرګندوي.

دا څه په ډاګه کوي؟ موږ وینو چې افغانستان د بشري انکشاف په برخه کې په زړه پورې پایلې لري؛ لکه ښوونه او روزنه، روغتيا، او اساسي خدمتونو ته لاسرسی، خو افغانان په ټولیزه توګه دغو پرمختګونو ته، چې په بېلابېلو ولايتونو کې ژوند کوي، مساوي لاسرسی نه لري. په حقیقت کې ټولنيزې او اقتصادي پایلې د افغاني کورنیو پر ژوند ژور اغېز لري.

لنډیزونه ښيي چې نجونې په ځانګړې توګه په لومړني ښوونځي کې د شاملېدو په وخت له ننګونو سره مخ کېږي خو په هغو ځایونو کې، چې هغوی ښوونځي ته ځي، زده کوونکي خوښ وي چې خپلو اهدافو ته رسېږي. د دریچه نور ښوونځي زده کوونکې مسعودې نبي وویل: ((د نجونو او هلکانو تر منځ توپير باید نه وي، زه نه ډارېږم، زه خوشحاله یم، چې ښوونځي ته راغلې يم، زه غواړم، چې یوه انجینره شم.))

له بده مرغه ټولې نجونې د مسعودې په شان ښوونځي ته د تګ فرصت نه لري، موږ په ښوونځي کې د هلکانو او نجونو تر منځ په حاضرۍ کې د لوی توپیر شاهد یو. په افغانستان کې د نجونو او هلکانو د حاضرۍ کچه، د لومړني ښوونځي د ۲۰۰۷ او ۲۰۰۸ په پرتله په ۲۰۱۱ او ۲۰۱۲ کې لوړه شوه خو د ۲۰۱۱ او ۲۰۱۲ په پرتله په ۲۰۱۳ او ۲۰۱۴ کې ټیټه شوه. په منځني ډول په ۲۰۱۳ او ۲۰۱۴ کې د هرو درېیو هلکانو په مقابل کې یوازې دوه افغان نجونې لومړني ښوونځي کې شاملې شوې. لا تر اوسه په لومړنيو ښوونځيو د جندر برابري نه ده رامنځته شوې، په داسې حال کې، چې ډېری نجونې له زده کړو بې برخې دي.

نو پوښتنه دا ده، چې موږ باید د نجونو د زده کړو په برخه کې په کومو ځایونو کې پانګونه وکړو، تر څو د جندر برابرۍ ته ورسېږو؟ د دې ځواب به يوازې په ملي کچه د اطلاعاتو په ورکولو سره کافي نه وي، موږ باید د افغانستان له ولايتونو څخه اطلاعات ولرو، څو وشو کولی په دې برخه کې پرمختګ اندازه کړو.

لنډیز، له ۲۰۰۷ کال راهیسې په هر ولايت کې پرمختګ ښيي، موږ ته اجازه راکوي، چې په لومړني ښوونځي کې د حاضرۍ توپیر له احتماله ارزونه وکړو.

په ډېری ولایتونو کې (۱۸ د ۳۴ څخه) کوم پرمختګ چې موږ له ۲۰۰۷ - ۲۰۰۸ څخه تر ۲۰۱۳ - ۲۰۱۴ کلونو پورې وليد، بسنه نه کوي، څو تر ۲۰۳۰ پورې په لومړنيو ښوونځيو د جنسیت توپیر له منځه یوسو.

که څه هم ځيني ولايتونو شته، چې موږ ته هيله راکوي؛ په دایکنډي او هرات ولایتونو کې د هلکانو په پرتله ډېرې نجونې په ۲۰۱۳- ۲۰۱۴ کلونو کې لومړني ښوونځيو کې شاملې شوې. سربېره پر دې  اووه ولايتونه به په راتلونکو پنځو کلونو کې د هغو د پرمختګ په اوسنۍ کچه به په لومړنیو ښوونځیو کې د جندر برابري ترلاسه کړي.

سرپل کې د ۲۰۰۷- ۲۰۰۸ په پرتله په ۲۰۱۳- ۲۰۱۴ کلونو کې په لومړني ښوونځيو کې د هلکانو د حاضرۍ په نسبت د نجونو په حاضرۍ کې فوق العاده پرمختګ راغی. سرپل کې به په دې کچه پرمختګ وکولی شي د یو کال په موده کې په لومړنیو ښوونځيو کې د جنسیت توپیر له منځه يوسي.

Who goes to school? Here’s what Afghanistan’s Provincial Briefs tell us about primary school attendance

Christina Wieser's picture
Also available in: پښتو
Student in a classroom in Afghanistan.
Students in a classroom in Bamyan Province. Photo Credit: Taimani Films/ World Bank

Afghanistan grapples with a range of challenges from growing insecurity to stagnating growth and rising levels of poverty. It is no surprise that the impact of the violent conflict on the country’s economic prospects and the welfare of its people is profound. Yet, Afghanistan carries ambitious development goals including achieving gender parity in primary schooling by 2030 among others. To ensure Afghanistan meets its goals, it is important to know how the country has progressed on socio-economic outcomes.  

In collaboration with the Ministry of Economy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and based on data provided by the Central Statistics Organization, the World Bank recently published the third edition of the Provincial Briefs (also available in Dari and Pashto), which provides a comprehensive profile of the most recent progress on a set of socio-economic indicators including education both at the national and at the provincial levels[1].

What do they reveal? We can see Afghanistan has achieved impressive improvements in human development outcomes—in areas such as education, health, and access to basic services. But this overall progress has not benefitted everyone equally and gaps in access between Afghans living in different provinces persist. In fact, where Afghan families live matters greatly for their socio-economic outcomes. And when it comes to schooling, this is no different. Location determines whether children will go to school or not.

The Citizens’ Charter—a Commitment toward Service Delivery across Afghanistan

Ahmad Shaheer Shahriar's picture
Citizens charter launch in presidential palace
Inaguration of the Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project (CCAP) on 25th September, 2016 was attented by the President, the Chief Executive of Afghanistan, cabinet ministers, and over 400 representatives from the donor community, international organizations, and Community Development Councils (CDCs) from all 34 provinces of the country. Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy / World Bank

Will rural communities in Afghanistan be deprived of development services upon the completion of the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) in the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD)?
What will happen to the Community Development Councils (CDCs) established in rural communities to execute people’s development decisions and priorities?
Will our country continue to witness reconstruction of civic infrastructure?
These were some of the questions that troubled thousands of villagers as the NSP neared its formal closure date - NSP had delivered development services in every province of Afghanistan for 14 years.
To address these questions and allay their concerns, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan formally launched the Citizens’ Charter Program on September 25, 2016 to sustain the uninterrupted development and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

Empowering a New Generation of Female Entrepreneurs in Afghanistan

Mabruk Kabir's picture
Photo Credit: Mabruk Kabir / World Bank

Fatima brimmed with optimism. The 19-year-old recently established a poultry enterprise with the support of a micro-grant, and was thrilled at the prospect of financial independence.

“After my family moved from Pakistan, I had few options for work,” she said from her home in the Paghman district in the outskirts of Kabul. “The grant not only allowed me to start my own poultry business, but let me work from my own home.”

With over half the population under the age of 15, Afghanistan stands on the cusp of a demographic dividend. To reach their full potential, Afghanistan’s youth need to be engaged in meaningful work – enabling young people to support themselves, but also contribute to the prosperity of their families and communities.

Women can play a greater role in realizing South Asia’s potential

Annette Dixon's picture
Mumbai Train
The suburban train system in Mumbai is used by millions of women and men everyday, who rely on safe transport to access education and job opportunities. 

Last week, I took a journey on Mumbai’s suburban train system, which carries a staggering 8 million women and men, equivalent to the entire population of Switzerland, every day to where they live, work, and spend time with family and friends. Although stretched, the system has reduced mobility constraints and increased independence for millions of women who rely on safe transport to access education and job opportunities; contributing to the city’s dynamism and growth. There are similarly inspiring examples from all countries in South Asia.

As we mark International Women’s Day, we celebrate the progress made in improving women’s inclusion and empowerment, while seeking to better address continuing challenges, which are estimated to cost South Asian economies $888 billion, through devising and implementing solutions that will bridge remaining gaps.

Much to be proud of­a lot more remains to be done

South Asian countries have seen encouraging increases in greater access and gender parity in education. At the same time, the region has achieved substantial decreases in maternal and child mortality. Countries have made great strides in healthcare access through training more female healthcare workers while providing affordable care for mothers and children. The region also boasts many inspiring female leaders and role models, as well as the countless individuals positively contributing to their communities and societies against difficult odds. 

However, much more needs to be done in order to nurture all women and men to realize their potential. As South Asian countries become more prosperous, their growth trajectory will be less assured if hundreds of millions of women remain excluded from education and employment opportunities. South Asian countries will need to substantially expand their workforce in order to meet their economic growth goals and, at the same time, adequately support their increasingly large populations. Studies show that only around 1 out of 4 women in South Asia participate in the labor force, about half of what is typical in middle-income countries in other regions. Too many women face restrictions in decision-making, mobility, public safety; and far too many experience gender-based violence—the most egregious cases making headlines around the world. What can help bridge these gaps?

The long road to gender equality in Nepal

Richa Bhattarai's picture
The Government of Nepal is working to incorporate gender equality in all its development policies and programs. Credit: Bijay Gajmer/World Bank

Today marks International Women’s Day throughout the world. Here in Nepal, it is a joyful tribute to the fact that the country boasts three women holding key leadership positions in the country – Bidhya Devi Bhandari as President, Sushila Karki as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and Onsari Gharti Magar as Speaker of the Parliament.

All three are the first women to hold their respective posts, and the Chief Justice, especially, has been lauded as a bold and independent decision-maker.

The Constitution of Nepal 2015 has been a huge improvement from the days of yore:  Article 43 deals with the rights of women that include rights to lineage, right to safe maternity and reproduction, right against all forms of exploitation, and equal rights in family matters and property.

The Government of Nepal is also working to incorporate gender equality in all development policies and programs, including developing a gender responsive budget system.

We also have excellent examples of women making great leaps in almost all fields – science, economics, banking and finance, media, environment, education, public health, social service and development.

And in a heartening move, Chhaupadi, an inhuman practice that imposes upon women to stay outside their homes in unhygienic cow sheds during menstruation and childbirth, is set to be criminalized in the new legal code.

However, progress made in specific fields has not yet contributed to the overall improvement in girls’ and women’s lives across the country. Similarly, plans and policies do not always spur positive changes in reality.

Women’s voices should help shape Afghanistan’s future

Nandini Krishnan's picture
The National Solidarity Programme has achieved  widespread involvement of women in rural Afghanistan’s community decision through the Community Development Councils (CDCs)
The National Solidarity Programme has achieved  widespread involvement of women in rural Afghanistan’s community decision through the Community Development Councils (CDCs). Credit: Rumi Consultancy / World Bank

Women and men agree on Afghanistan’s development priorities according to the findings of the country’s most recent Living Conditions Survey of 2013/14 where more than 20,000 Afghan women and men were separately asked what they thought their government’s main development priority should be.

Both women and men picked service delivery, infrastructure development and increased security as top development priorities. Three-quarters of men and women said that the main priorities were improved access to drinking water, construction and rehabilitation of roads, and improved health facilities. About 15 to 18 percent of the respondents picked more jobs, access to agriculture and veterinary services, and improved local education facilities. Not surprisingly, in districts rated as insecure, priorities for both women and men shifted toward increased security. This emphasis on security meant that men and women in these districts gave a relatively lower priority for infrastructure services especially for road construction and electricity provision.