Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 17

Search results for: Freda van der Walt

17 Juxtaposing South Africa’s Private Sector and Its Public Service Regarding Innovation Diffusion, to Explore the Obstacles to E-Governance

Authors: Petronella Jonck, Freda van der Walt

Abstract:

Despite the benefits of innovation diffusion in the South African public service, implementation thereof seems to be problematic, particularly with regard to e-governance which would enhance the quality of service delivery, especially accessibility, choice, and mode of operation. This paper reports on differences between the public service and the private sector in terms of innovation diffusion. Innovation diffusion will be investigated to explore identified obstacles that are hindering successful implementation of e-governance. The research inquiry is underpinned by the diffusion of innovation theory, which is premised on the assumption that innovation has a distinct channel, time, and mode of adoption within the organisation. A comparative thematic document analysis was conducted to investigate organisational differences with regard to innovation diffusion. A similar approach has been followed in other countries, where the same conceptual framework has been used to guide document analysis in studies in both the private and the public sectors. As per the recommended conceptual framework, three organisational characteristics were emphasised, namely the external characteristics of the organisation, the organisational structure, and the inherent characteristics of the leadership. The results indicated that the main difference in the external characteristics lies in the focus and the clientele of the private sector. With regard to organisational structure, private organisations have veto power, which is not the case in the public service. Regarding leadership, similarities were observed in social and environmental responsibility and employees’ attitudes towards immediate supervision. Differences identified included risk taking, the adequacy of leadership development, organisational approaches to motivation and involvement in decision making, and leadership style. Due to the organisational differences observed, it is recommended that differentiated strategies be employed to ensure effective innovation diffusion, and ultimately e-governance. It is recommended that the results of this research be used to stimulate discussion on ways to improve collaboration between the mentioned sectors, to capitalise on the benefits of each sector.

Keywords: E-governance, ICT, innovation diffusion, comparative analysis

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16 Technical Efficiency and Challenges of Smallholder Horticultural Farmers in Ghana: A Wake-Up Call for Policy Implementers

Authors: Freda E. Asem, R. D. Osei, D. B. Sarpong, J. K. Kuwornu

Abstract:

While market access remains important, Ghana’s major handicap is her inability to sustain export growth on the open market. The causes of these could be attributed to inefficiency, lack of competitiveness and supply-side constraints. This study examined the challenges faced by smallholder horticultural farmers and how it relates to their technical efficiency. The study employed mixed methods to address the problem. Using the Millennium Development Account (MiDA) Farmer Based Organization survey data on farm households in 23 districts in Ghana, the study assessed the technical efficiency of smallholder horticultural farmers (taking into account production risks). Focus group discussions (FGDs) and in-depth interviews were also conducted on smallholder mango, pineapple, and chilli pepper farmers selected districts in Ghana. Results revealed the constraints faced by smallholder horticultural farmers to be marketing, training, funding, accessibility, and affordability of inputs, land, access to credit, and the disconnect between themselves and policy makers and implementers.

Keywords: productivity, gender, policy, efficiency, constraints

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15 Caring for the Carers: A Qualitative Study to Evaluate the Perspective of Mental Health Carers on the Effectiveness of Community Services in the Illawarra Region (NSW)

Authors: Mona Nikidehaghani, Freda Hui

Abstract:

In Australia, one-third of mental health carers provide 40 hours or more of unpaid care per week. These hidden workers contribute significantly to the Australian mental health workforce by providing unpaid services both direct and indirect to people in their care. However, carers are often neglected in the healthcare system because Government services focus on those with a mental health condition rather than those supporting them. The aim of this study is to evaluate the perceptions of mental health carers on the effectiveness of community services designed for carers and how these services could be improved. We collaborated with One Door Mental Health, a community organisation that supports mental health carers. Through semi-structured interviews with 27 mental health carers residing in the Illawarra region (NSW), we documented their daily challenges and evaluated outcomes of the current programs for carers. Our findings demonstrate that services such as education programs enable capacity building and improve the social life and mental health of carers. Drawing on the perceptions of mental health carers, this study maps pathways for making meaningful changes in the lives of carers and proposes an outcome framework to evaluate the impact of a community organisation on the lives of their clients. The framework prepared by this project would be replicable, allowing other community organisations to measure the outcomes and improve their services.

Keywords: capacity building, community development, community service, mental health carers

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14 Factors Associated with Rural-Urban Migration and Its Associated Health Hazards on the Female Adolescents in Kumasi Metropolis

Authors: Freda Adomaa, Samuel Oppong Boampong, Charles Gyamfi Rahman

Abstract:

The living and working environment of migrants and their access to healthcare services induce good or poor health. This study was conducted to assess the factors associated with rural-urban migration and its associated health hazards among female adolescents. A sample size of two hundred (200) was chosen in which all responded to questionnaires comprising closed-ended questions, which were distributed to gather data from the respondents, after which it was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20. The utilized three causes of rural-urban migration thus political, economic and socio-cultural. The study revealed that political situations such as regional inequality (65.4%) and ethnic conflicts (78.2%) whereas economic factors such as lack of amenities (82.3%), lack of employment in rural communities (77.4%), lack of education (74%), and poverty (85.3%) as well as socio-cultural factors such as divorced parents (65.6%), media influence (79.1%), family conflicts (59.4%) and appealing urban informal sector (65.2%) are major causes of migration. Respondents’ encountered challenges such as poor remuneration for services (87.2%), being maltreated by a colleague or worker (69%), sleeping in open space (73.3%), and harassment by the task force (71.4%) and teenage pregnancies (58.5%). The study concluded that the three variables play a key role in adolescent migration and when they travel they end up getting involved in serious health hazardous behaviors such as rapes as well as physical and psychological harassments’. The study, therefore, recommends that vocational training of the rural people on small scale industries (non-farm) activities that could generate an income for the rural household should be introduced.

Keywords: rural, urban, migration, female health hazards

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13 Implications of Fuel Reloading in Heterogeneous Thorium-Based Fuel Designs for Improved Fuel Cycle Characteristics

Authors: Hendrik Bernard Van Der Walt, Frik Van Niekerk

Abstract:

Fuel models render a reduction in BOL when thorium is added to a reactor core. Thorium emulates the role of a fertile poison, and is beneficial for reducing beginning of cycle (BOC) excess reactivity. In spite of the build-up of 233U over the duration of a fuel cycle, the effects of fuel reloading have a significant impact on fuel viability, especially in the case of heterogeneous thorium-based fuels. The most common practice of compensating for the reduction of BOC reactivity is the addition of fissile isotopes (uranium fuel with increased enrichment or plutonium). This study introduces a heterogeneous thorium-based fuel with minimal fissile isotope additions. A pseudo reloading scheme was developed for numerical simulations of an infinite reactor based on the North-Anna 1 reactor operating in Virginia, USA. Use of this reloading pattern allows new thorium-based fuel to be loaded into the reactor model as part of a phasing in strategy at the end of any conventional reactor cycle. Results demonstrate the effects of thorium-based fuel on fuel cycle characteristics such as fuel cycle length, neutron economy and material matrix. Application of the above mentioned approach delivered promising results and presents a heterogeneous thorium-based fuel which could replace conventional fuel of typical, currently operating (or future) reactors without the need for expensive reactor redesign or fuel recycling strategies.

Keywords: nuclear fuel, nuclear characteristics, nuclear fuel cycle, thorium-based fuel, heterogeneous design, fuel reloading

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12 Nuclear Characteristics of a Heterogeneous Thorium-Based Fuel Design Aimed at Increasing Fuel Cycle Length of a Typical PWR

Authors: Hendrik Bernard Van Der Walt, Frik Van Niekerk

Abstract:

Heterogeneous thorium-based fuels have been proposed as an alternative for conventional reactor fuels and many studies have shown promising results. Fuel cycle characteristics still have to be explored in detail. This study investigates the use of a novel thorium-based fuel design aimed at increasing fuel cycle length of a typical PWR with an explicit focus on thorium- uranium content, neutron spectrum, flux considerations and neutron economy.As nuclear reactions are highly dependent on reactor flux and material matrix, analytical and numerical calculations have been completed to predict the behaviour of the proposed nuclear fuel. The proposed design utilizes various ratios of thorium oxide and uranium oxide pellets within fuel pins, divided into heterogeneous sections of specified length. This design renders multiple regions with unique characteristics. The goal of this study is to determine and optimally utilize these characteristics. Proliferation considerations result in the need for denaturing of heterogeneous regions, which renders more unique characteristics, these aspects were examined in this study. Finally, the use of fertile thorium to emulate a burnable poison for managing excess BOL reactivity has been investigated, as well as an option for flux shaping in a typical PWR.

Keywords: nuclear fuel, nuclear characteristics, nuclear fuel cycle, thorium-based fuel, heterogeneous design

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11 A Rare Case of Endometriosis Lesion in Caecum Causing Acute Small Bowel Obstruction

Authors: Freda Halim

Abstract:

Endometriosis in bowel is rare condition, about 3-37% of endometriosis cases. Most of bowel endometriosis rising in the rectosigmoid (90% of bowel endometriosis). The incidence of caecal endometriosis is very low ( < 5% of bowel endometriosis) and almost never causing acute small bowel obstruction. The aim of this paper is to show that although bowel obstruction caused by caecal endometriosis is difficult to diagnose as it is rare, and may require laparotomy to make definite diagnosis, but it should be considered in infertile female patient. The case is 37 years old woman infertile woman with intestinal obstruction with pre-operative diagnosis total acute small bowel obstruction caused by right colonic mass, with sepsis as the complication. Before the acute small bowel obstruction, she complained of chronic right lower quadrant pain with chronic constipation alternate with chronic diarrhea, symptoms that happened both in bowel endometriosis and colorectal malignancy. She also complained of chronic pelvic pain and dysmenorrhea. She was married for 10 years with no child. The patient was never diagnosed with endometriosis and never seek medical attention for infertility and the chronic pelvic pain. The patient underwent Abdominal CT Scan, with results: massive small bowel obstruction, and caecal mass that causing acute small bowel obstruction. Diagnosis of acute small bowel obstruction due to right colonic mass was made, and exploratory laparotomy was performed in the patient. During the laparotomy, mass at caecum and ileocaecal that causing massive small bowel obstruction was found and standard right hemicolectomy and temporary ileostomy were performed. The pathology examination showed ectopic endometriosis lesions in caecum and ileocaecal valve. The histopathology also confirmed with the immunohistochemistry, in which positive ER, PR, CD 10 and CD7 was found the ileocaecal and caecal mass. In the second operation, reanastomosis of the ileum was done 3 months after the first operation. The chronic pelvic pain is decreasing dramatically after the first and second operation. In conclusion, although bowel obstruction caused by caecal endometriosis is a rare cause of intestinal obstruction, but it can be considered as a cause in infertile female patient

Keywords: acute, bowel obstruction, caecum, endometriosis

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10 “Lightyear” – The Battle for LGBTQIA+ Representation Behind Disney/Pixar’s Failed Blockbuster

Authors: Ema Vitória Fonseca Lavrador

Abstract:

In this work, we intend to explore the impact that the film "Lightyear" (2022) had on the social context of its production, distribution, and reception. This film, produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, depicts the story of Buzz Lightyear, a Space Ranger from which the character of the same name in the "Toy Story" film franchise is based. This prequel was predicted to be the blockbuster of the year, but it was a financial fiasco and the subject of numerous controversies, which also caused it to be drowned out by the film "Minions: The Rise of Gru" (2022). The reason for its failure is not based on the film's narrative or quality but on its controversial context for being a commitment to LGBTQIA+ representation in an unexpected way, by featuring a same-sex couple and showing a kiss shared by them. This representation cost Disney distribution in countries against LGBTQIA+ representation in media and involved Disney in major disagreements with fans and politicians, especially for being a direct opposition to the Florida House Bill 1557, also called the “Don't Say Gay” bill. Many major companies have taken a stand against this law because it jeopardizes the safety of the LGBTQIA+ community, and, although Disney initially cut the kiss off the film, pressure from the staff and audience resulted in unprecedented progress. For featuring a brief homosexual kiss, its exhibition was banned in several countries and discouraged by the same public that was previously the focus of Disney's attention, as this is a conservative “family-friendly” branded company. We believe it is relevant to study the case of "Lightyear" because it is a work that raises awareness and promotes representation of communities affected during the dark times while less legislation is being approved to protect the rights and safety of queer people.

Keywords: Don’t Say Gay” bill, gender stereotypes, LGBTQIA+ representation, lightyear, Disney/Pixar

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9 Corporate Governance in Higher Education: A South African Perspective

Authors: Corlia van der Walt, Michele K. Havenga

Abstract:

The study considers corporate governance regulation and practice in South African higher education institutions and makes recommendations for the improvement of current governance practices in this sector. The development of corporate governance principles and practices in South Africa, culminating in the King IV Report on Corporate Governance which was launched in November 2016, is discussed. King IV enjoys international recognition as a progressive corporate governance instrument. It was necessitated by the fundamental changes in business and society nationally and globally, as well as by the significant changes to South African company law introduced by new legislation. Corporate governance and the corporate form are narrowly associated, but there is general recognition that the principles of ethical and effective leadership are not restricted to corporations. Thus King IV was drafted with the express aim that it should apply to all organisations, regardless of their form of incorporation, and the report includes specific sector supplements in support of this aspiration. The South African higher education sector has of late been under intense scrutiny, and a few universities have been placed under administration because of poor governance practices. Universities have also been severely impacted by the consequences of what is generally known as ‘#FeesmustFall’, a student led protest movement initially aimed against the increase of fees at public universities, but which rapidly expanded to also include other concerns. It was clearly necessary to revisit corporate governance policy and practice in the sector. The review of the current higher education governance regime in light of the King IV recommendations, lessons from company law regarding the entrenchment and enforcement of corporate governance principles, and a comparison of higher education governance practices in selected other jurisdictions led to recommendations for the improvement of governance practices in South African higher education. It is further suggested that a sector supplement for higher education institutions may provide additional clarity. Some of the recommendations may be of comparative value for international higher education governance.

Keywords: committees, corporate governance, ethical leadership, higher education institutions, integrated reporting, King IV, sector supplements, sustainability

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8 A Proposed Inclusive Motor Skill Intervention Programme for Pre-schoolers in Low Resources Areas in Preparation of School Readiness

Authors: J. Van der Walt, N. A. Plastow, M. Unger

Abstract:

Gross and fine motor skill difficulties among children affect their ability to learn and progress in school. Research indicates that children in low socio-economic areas are at a higher risk of motor skill difficulties, while therapy resources are limited. The Hopscotch motor skill programme is a well-researched accessible in-school intervention developed by occupational and physiotherapists through complex intervention development. The development stage of the complex intervention development model firstly included a prevalence study in a low-resourced area in the West Coast of South Africa, indicating a high prevalence with significant motor skill difficulties among pre-school children at 14.5% with fine motor skill difficulties at 24.6%. A scoping review identifies motor skill interventions for pre-school children and a proposed a framework of fundamental concepts to consider when developing a motor skill intervention. a Delphi-study considered the framework and encouraged collaboration between therapists and educators to make the programme accessible, resource and cost effective, specifically geared towards a rural, low resourced area. The results from the Delphi study, together with the proposed framework from the scoping review was used to develop the Hopscotch programme, adopting a task-shifting approach. The eight-week small-group programme is facilitated by teachers with the support of therapists. The programme aims to improve the motor skills of pre-school aged children with motor skill difficulties to promote academic readiness through obstacle courses, ball skill games and fine motor games and crafts. A randomised controlled trial is planned as a next stage to determine the preliminary effect of the programme on the motor and early academic skills of pre-school children.

Keywords: accesible learning, motor skill intervention, school readiness, task shifting

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7 Comparison of Cyclone Design Methods for Removal of Fine Particles from Plasma Generated Syngas

Authors: Mareli Hattingh, I. Jaco Van der Walt, Frans B. Waanders

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A waste-to-energy plasma system was designed by Necsa for commercial use to create electricity from unsorted municipal waste. Fly ash particles must be removed from the syngas stream at operating temperatures of 1000 °C and recycled back into the reactor for complete combustion. A 2D2D high efficiency cyclone separator was chosen for this purpose. During this study, two cyclone design methods were explored: The Classic Empirical Method (smaller cyclone) and the Flow Characteristics Method (larger cyclone). These designs were optimized with regard to efficiency, so as to remove at minimum 90% of the fly ash particles of average size 10 μm by 50 μm. Wood was used as feed source at a concentration of 20 g/m3 syngas. The two designs were then compared at room temperature, using Perspex test units and three feed gases of different densities, namely nitrogen, helium and air. System conditions were imitated by adapting the gas feed velocity and particle load for each gas respectively. Helium, the least dense of the three gases, would simulate higher temperatures, whereas air, the densest gas, simulates a lower temperature. The average cyclone efficiencies ranged between 94.96% and 98.37%, reaching up to 99.89% in individual runs. The lowest efficiency attained was 94.00%. Furthermore, the design of the smaller cyclone proved to be more robust, while the larger cyclone demonstrated a stronger correlation between its separation efficiency and the feed temperatures. The larger cyclone can be assumed to achieve slightly higher efficiencies at elevated temperatures. However, both design methods led to good designs. At room temperature, the difference in efficiency between the two cyclones was almost negligible. At higher temperatures, however, these general tendencies are expected to be amplified so that the difference between the two design methods will become more obvious. Though the design specifications were met for both designs, the smaller cyclone is recommended as default particle separator for the plasma system due to its robust nature.

Keywords: Cyclone, design, plasma, renewable energy, solid separation, waste processing

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6 Physical Activity Levels in Qatar: A Pedometer-Based Assessment

Authors: Suzan Sayegh, Izzeldin Ibrahim, Mercia Van Der Walt, Mohamed Al-Kuwari

Abstract:

Background: Walking is the most common form of physical activity which can promote a healthy well-being among people of different age groups. In this regard, pedometers are becoming more popular within research and are considered useful tools in monitoring physical activity levels based on individuals’ daily steps. A value of ˂5,000 steps/day is identified as a sedentary lifestyle index where individuals are physically inactive. Those achieving 5,000-7,499 steps/day have a low active lifestyle as they do not meet the moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) recommendations. Moreover, individuals achieving ≥7,500 steps/day are classified as physically active. The objective of this study is to assess the physical activity levels of adult population in Qatar through a pedometer-based program over a one-year period. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis, as part of a longitudinal study, was carried out over one year to assess the daily step count. “Step into Health” is a community-based program launched by Aspire as an approach for the purpose of improving physical activity across the population of Qatar. The program involves distribution of pedometers to registered members which is supported by a self-monitoring online account and linked to a web database. Daily habitual physical activity (daily total step count) was assessed through Omron HJ-324U pedometer. Analyses were done on data extracted from the web database. Results: A total of 1,988 members were included in this study (males: n=1,143, 57%; females: n=845, 43%). Average age was 37.8±10.9 years distributed as 60% of age between age 25-54 (n=1,186), 27% of age 45-64 (n=546), and 13% of age 18-24 years (n=256). Majority were non-Qataris, 81% (n=1,609) compared with 19% of the Qatari nationality (n=379). Average body mass index (BMI) was 27.8±6.1 (kg/m2) where most of them (41%, n=809) were found to be overweight, between 25-30 kg/m2. Total average step count was 5,469±3,884. Majority were found to be sedentary (n=1110, 55.8%). Middle aged individuals were more active than the other two age groups. Males were seen as more active than females. Those who were less active had a higher BMI. Older individuals were more active. There was a variation in the physical activity level throughout the year period. Conclusion: It is essential to further develop the available intervention programs and increase their physical activity behavior. Planning such physical activity interventions for female population should involve aspects such as time, environmental variables and aerobic steps.

Keywords: adults, pedometer, physical activity, step-count

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5 Assessment of Physical Activity Levels in Qatar: A Pedometer-Based Study

Authors: Souzan Al Sayegh, Izzeldin Ibrahim, Mercia Van Der Walt, Mohamed Al-Kuwari

Abstract:

Background: Walking is the most common form of physical activity which can promote a healthy well-being among people of different age groups. In this regard, pedometers are becoming more popular within research and are considered useful tools in monitoring physical activity levels based on individuals’ daily steps. A value of ˂5,000 steps/day is identified as a sedentary lifestyle index where individuals are physically inactive. Those achieving 5,000-7,499 steps/day have a low active lifestyle as they do not meet the moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) recommendations. Moreover, individuals achieving ≥7,500 steps/day are classified as physically active. The objective of this study is to assess the physical activity levels of adult population in Qatar through a pedometer-based program over a one-year period. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis, as part of a longitudinal study, was carried out over one year to assess the daily step count. 'Step into Health' is a community-based program launched by Aspire as an approach for the purpose of improving physical activity across the population of Qatar. The program involves the distribution of pedometers to registered members which is supported by a self-monitoring online account and linked to a web database. Daily habitual physical activity (daily total step count) was assessed through Omron HJ-324U pedometer. Analyses were done on data extracted from the web database. Results: A total of 1,988 members were included in this study (males: n=1,143, 57%; females: n=845, 43%). Average age was 37.8±10.9 years distributed as 60% of age between age 25-54 (n=1,186), 27% of age 45-64 (n=546), and 13% of age 18-24 years (n=256). Majority were non-Qataris, 81% (n=1,609) compared with 19% of the Qatari nationality (n=379). Average body mass index (BMI) was 27.8±6.1 (kg/m2) where most of them (41%, n=809) were found to be overweight, between 25-30 kg/m2. Total average step count was 5,469±3,884. Majority were found to be sedentary (n=1110, 55.8%). Middle aged individuals were more active than the other two age groups. Males were seen as more active than females. Those who were less active had a higher BMI. Older individuals were more active. There was a variation in the physical activity level throughout the year period. Conclusion: It is essential to further develop the available intervention programs and increase their physical activity behavior. Planning such physical activity interventions for female population should involve aspects such as time, environmental variables and aerobic steps.

Keywords: adults, pedometer, physical activity, step-count

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4 Three Year Pedometer Based Physical Activity Intervention of the Adult Population in Qatar

Authors: Mercia I. Van Der Walt, Suzan Sayegh, Izzeldin E. L. J. Ibrahim, Mohamed G. Al-Kuwari, Manaf Kamil

Abstract:

Background: Increased physical activity is associated with improvements in health conditions. Walking is recognized as an easy form of physical activity and a strategy used in health promotion. Step into Health (SIH), a national community program, was established in Qatar to support physical activity promotion through the monitoring of step counts. This study aims to assess the physical activity levels of the adult population in Qatar through a pedometer-based community program over a three-year-period. Methodology: This cross-sectional longitudinal study was conducted between from January 2013 and December 2015 based on daily step counts. A total of 15,947 adults (8,551 males and 7,396 females), from different nationalities enrolled in the program and aged 18 to 64, are included. The program involves free distribution of pedometers to members who voluntarily choose to register. It is also supported by a self-monitoring online account and linked to a web-database. All members are informed about the 10,000 steps/day target and automated emails as well as text messages are sent as reminders to upload data. Daily step counts were measured through the Omron HJ-324U pedometer (Omron Healthcare Co., Ltd., Japan). Analyses are done on the data extracted from the web-database. Results: Daily average step count for the overall community increased from 4,830 steps/day (2013) to 6,124 steps /day (2015). This increase was also observed within the three age categories (18–30), (31-45) and (>45) years. Average steps per day were found to be more among males compared with females in each of the aforementioned age groups. Moreover, males and females in the age group (>45 years) show the highest average step count with 7,010 steps/day and 5,564 steps/day respectively. The 21% increase in overall step count throughout the study period is associated with well-resourced program and ongoing impact in smaller communities such as workplaces and universities, a step in the right direction. However, the average step count of 6,124 steps/day in the third year is still classified as the low active category. Although the program showed an increase step count we found, 33% of the study population are low active, 35 % are sedentary with only 32% being active. Conclusion: This study indicates that the pedometer-based intervention was effective in increasing the daily physical activity of participants. However, alternative approaches need to be incorporated within the program to educate and encourage the community to meet the physical activity recommendations in relation to step count.

Keywords: pedometer, physical activity, Qatar, step count

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3 The Diversity of Contexts within Which Adolescents Engage with Digital Media: Contributing to More Challenging Tasks for Parents and a Need for Third Party Mediation

Authors: Ifeanyi Adigwe, Thomas Van der Walt

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Digital media has been integrated into the social and entertainment life of young children, and as such, the impact of digital media appears to affect young people of all ages and it is believed that this will continue to shape the world of young children. Since, technological advancement of digital media presents adolescents with diverse contexts, platforms and avenues to engage with digital media outside the home environment and from parents' supervision, a wide range of new challenges has further complicated the already difficult tasks for parents and altered the landscape of parenting. Despite the fact that adolescents now have access to a wide range of digital media technologies both at home and in the learning environment, parenting practices such as active, restrictive, co-use, participatory and technical mediations are important in mitigating of online risks adolescents may encounter as a result of digital media use. However, these mediation practices only focus on the home environment including digital media present in the home and may not necessarily transcend outside the home and other learning environments where adolescents use digital media for school work and other activities. This poses the question of who mediates adolescent's digital media use outside the home environment. The learning environment could be a ''loose platform'' where an adolescent can maximise digital media use considering the fact that there is no restriction in terms of content and time allotted to using digital media during school hours. That is to say that an adolescent can play the ''bad boy'' online in school because there is little or no restriction of digital media use and be exposed to online risks and play the ''good boy'' at home because of ''heavy'' parental mediation. This is the reason why parent mediation practices have been ineffective because a parent may not be able to track adolescents digital media use considering the diversity of contexts, platforms and avenues adolescents use digital media. This study argues that due to the diverse nature of digital media technology, parents may not be able to monitor the 'whereabouts' of their children in the digital space. This is because adolescent digital media usage may not only be confined to the home environment but other learning environments like schools. This calls for urgent attention on the part of teachers to understand the intricacies of how digital media continue to shape the world in which young children are developing and learning. It is, therefore, imperative for parents to liaise with the schools of their children to mediate digital media use during school hours. The implication of parents- teachers mediation practices are discussed. The article concludes by suggesting that third party mediation by teachers in schools and other learning environments should be encouraged and future research needs to consider the emergent strategy of teacher-children mediation approach and the implication for policy for both the home and learning environments.

Keywords: digital media, digital age, parent mediation, third party mediation

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2 Pricing Techniques to Mitigate Recurring Congestion on Interstate Facilities Using Dynamic Feedback Assignment

Authors: Hatem Abou-Senna

Abstract:

Interstate 4 (I-4) is a primary east-west transportation corridor between Tampa and Daytona cities, serving commuters, commercial and recreational traffic. I-4 is known to have severe recurring congestion during peak hours. The congestion spans about 11 miles in the evening peak period in the central corridor area as it is considered the only non-tolled limited access facility connecting the Orlando Central Business District (CBD) and the tourist attractions area (Walt Disney World). Florida officials had been skeptical of tolling I-4 prior to the recent legislation, and the public through the media had been complaining about the excessive toll facilities in Central Florida. So, in search for plausible mitigation to the congestion on the I-4 corridor, this research is implemented to evaluate the effectiveness of different toll pricing alternatives that might divert traffic from I-4 to the toll facilities during the peak period. The network is composed of two main diverging limited access highways, freeway (I-4) and toll road (SR 417) in addition to two east-west parallel toll roads SR 408 and SR 528, intersecting the above-mentioned highways from both ends. I-4 and toll road SR 408 are the most frequently used route by commuters. SR-417 is a relatively uncongested toll road with 15 miles longer than I-4 and $5 tolls compared to no monetary cost on 1-4 for the same trip. The results of the calibrated Orlando PARAMICS network showed that percentages of route diversion vary from one route to another and depends primarily on the travel cost between specific origin-destination (O-D) pairs. Most drivers going from Disney (O1) or Lake Buena Vista (O2) to Lake Mary (D1) were found to have a high propensity towards using I-4, even when eliminating tolls and/or providing real-time information. However, a diversion from I-4 to SR 417 for these OD pairs occurred only in the cases of the incident and lane closure on I-4, due to the increase in delay and travel costs, and when information is provided to travelers. Furthermore, drivers that diverted from I-4 to SR 417 and SR 528 did not gain significant travel-time savings. This was attributed to the limited extra capacity of the alternative routes in the peak period and the longer traveling distance. When the remaining origin-destination pairs were analyzed, average travel time savings on I-4 ranged between 10 and 16% amounting to 10 minutes at the most with a 10% increase in the network average speed. High propensity of diversion on the network increased significantly when eliminating tolls on SR 417 and SR 528 while doubling the tolls on SR 408 along with the incident and lane closure scenarios on I-4 and with real-time information provided. The toll roads were found to be a viable alternative to I-4 for these specific OD pairs depending on the user perception of the toll cost which was reflected in their specific travel times. However, on the macroscopic level, it was concluded that route diversion through toll reduction or elimination on surrounding toll roads would only have a minimum impact on reducing I-4 congestion during the peak period.

Keywords: congestion pricing, dynamic feedback assignment, microsimulation, paramics, route diversion

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1 General Evaluation of a Three-Year Holistic Physical Activity Interventions Program in Qatar Campuses: Step into Health (SIH) in Campuses 2013- 2016

Authors: Daniela Salih Khidir, Mohamed G. Al Kuwari, Mercia V. Walt, Izzeldin J. Ibrahim

Abstract:

Background: University-based physical activity interventions aim to establish durable social patterns during the transition to adulthood. This study is a comprehensive evaluation of a 3-year intervention-based program to increase the culture of physical activity (PA) routine in Qatar campuses community, using a holistic approach. Methodology: General assessment methods: formative evaluation-SIH Campuses logic model design, stakeholders’ identification; process evaluation-members’ step counts analyze and qualitative Appreciative Inquiry session (4-D model); daily steps categorized as: ≤5,000, inactive; 5,000-7,499 low active; ≥7,500, physically active; outcome evaluation - records 3 years interventions. Holistic PA interventions methods: walking interventions - pedometers distributions and walking competitions for students and staff; educational interventions - in campuses implementation of bilingual educational materials, lectures, video related to PA in prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCD); articles published online; monthly emails and sms notifications for pedometer use; mass media campaign - radio advertising, yearly pre/post press releases; community stakeholders interventions-biyearly planning/reporting/achievements rewarding/ qualitative meetings; continuous follow-up communication, biweekly steps reports. Findings: Results formative evaluation - SIH in Campuses logic model identified the need of PA awareness and education within universities, resources, activities, health benefits, program continuity. Results process evaluation: walking interventions: Phase 1: 5 universities recruited, 2352 members, 3 months competition; Phase 2: 6 new universities recruited, 1328 members in addition, 4 months competition; Phase 3: 4 new universities recruited in addition, 1210 members, 6 months competition. Results phase 1 and 2: 1,299 members eligible for analyzes: 800 females (62%), 499 males (38%); 86% non-Qataris, 14% Qatari nationals, daily step count 5,681 steps, age groups 18–24 (n=841; 68%) students, 25–64; (n=458; 35.3%) staff; 38% - low active, 37% physically active and 25% inactive. The AI main themes engaging stakeholders: awareness/education - 5 points (100%); competition, multi levels of involvement in SIH, community-based program/motivation - 4 points each (80%). The AI points represent themes’ repetition within stakeholders’ discussions. Results education interventions: 2 videos implementation, 35 000 educational materials, 3 online articles, 11 walking benefits lectures, 40 emails and sms notifications. Results community stakeholders’ interventions: 6 stakeholders meetings, 3 rewarding gatherings, 1 focus meeting, 40 individual reports, 18 overall reports. Results mass media campaign: 1 radio campaign, 7 press releases, 52 campuses newsletters. Results outcome evaluation: overall 2013-2016, the study used: 1 logic model, 3 PA holistic interventions, partnerships 15 universities, registered 4890 students and staff (aged 18-64 years), engaged 30 campuses stakeholders and 14 internal stakeholders; Total registered population: 61.5% female (2999), 38.5% male (1891), 20.2% (988) Qatari nationals, 79.8% (3902) non-Qataris, 55.5% (2710) students aged 18 – 25 years, 44.5% (2180) staff aged 26 - 64 years. Overall campaign 1,558 members eligible for analyzes: daily step count 7,923; 37% - low active, 43% physically active and 20% inactive. Conclusion: The study outcomes confirm program effectiveness and engagement of young campuses community, specifically female, in PA. The authors recommend implementations of 'holistic PA intervention program approach in Qatar' aiming to impact the community at national level for PA guidelines achievement in support of NCD prevention.

Keywords: campuses, evaluation, Qatar, step-count

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