The World Social Forum has open information systems in place to go with an open political ethos. All of about 1,000 computers at the forum are using free software. The official website has been developed for the first time in ‘php,’ an open source language. A new translation system is also a free software tool. The Forum is hosted in Brazil, a nation whose government at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society held in Geneva in 2003, strongly opposed intellectual property on software, and succeeded in getting this omitted from the final resolution.
The new year presents everyone at SANGONeT with a number of fresh and exciting challenges and opportunities, starting with the first SANGONeT "ICTs for Civil Society" conference and exhibition which will be held from 1-3 March 2005 in Fourways, Johannesburg. Read about this and other important plans for 2005 in SANGONeT’s monthly e-newsletter, "Lwati".
For an sector that talks of alternatives, the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or voluntary sector stays surprisingly aloof from one significant alternative that has really worked — free software. But there are stirrings to bridge this huge chasm. In end-January, India’s technology mecca Bangalore is to be the venue for an international, APC-supported ‘camp’ meant to promote FLOSS among the NGO sector.
Beginning a process of regionalisation APC member Computer Aid International opened its Southern Africa Regional offfice in Johannesburg, South Africa. The new Computer Aid office will support existing and future partners in Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Those of us who use internet as a work tool are used to encountering spam messages (unsolicited email) with million dollar businesses, magic solutions or attractive prizes. All of which are of dubious origin, and therefore untrustworthy. What had not yet occurred, at least in Bulgaria, was for these messages to be directed specifically to non governmental organisations.
Through its Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy Monitor for Latin America and the Caribbean, APC held a workshop on ICT policy strategies in Rosario, Argentina, which was attended by the Latin American members of APC, as well as important organisations from the region involved in the subject.
IPLeft, a social group for information commons in South Korea since 1999, launched the Korean Open Access Licence (KOAL) in October, 2004. KOAL is a newly-introduced model of open access to information in South Korea. Jinbonet, APC member in Seoul, has participated in IPLeft activities to develop this new initiative.
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) and the Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (Hivos) are inviting applications for the second round of the GenARDIS small grants programme. Ten grant funds of up to 5,000 Euros each will be given to address gender issues in information and communication technologies (ICTs) for agricultural and rural development in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP countries). Submission deadline is 25 February 2005.
In November 2004, twenty young journalists and civil society representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro learned how to use internet as a tool for organising civil society social movements.
MS Swaminathan Research Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation called an expert group meeting on “Up-scaling ICT for Poverty Reduction”. The event was held in Chennai, India, from 17–19 November 2004. APC Women’s Networking Support Programme (WNSP) Asia Pacific Coordinator, Cheekay Cinco, was among the participants.
After months of research, the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA) – APC member in the Philippines- convened a validation workshop to discuss the findings of its ongoing Philippine Communication Rights Report last October 6, 2004 at the Institute of Social Order, Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU).
APC’s newest member, Bytes for All, is an online citizen’s network that connects the people of South Asia on the issues of information and communication technologies (ICT) and development. Bytes for All produces a summary of previous month’s hottest discussion topics on the network. APCNews will now be featuring the summaries on a regular basis. In November deliberations ranged from the FLOSS (Free/libre and open source software) movement in non-profit organisations, ICTs for development, internet governance, and transparency and accountability in transactions to internet standards.
On 15 December 2004 BlueLink
the APC member in Bulgaria officially launched Civil Society Information Portal in Bulgaria (www.bluelink.info).
A network of community computer centres, linked by wireless technology, is providing a helping hand for poor farmers in Peru. The initiative is being coordinated by APC member in Peru, Cepes. The BBC Online reports.
In spite of the wide range of activities that took place during last year, for APC, 2003 is memorable for one particular process that galvanised our efforts – the World Summit on the Information Society which took place in Geneva in December 2003. WSIS was a watershed in public participation as information and communications policy shifted from the obscure world of techno-jargon to be recognised as social policy that affects everyone. From APC’s perspective as a network of ‘social techies’ this was a major break-through.
APC’S latest annual report includes APC’s advocacy work for WSIS and other major highlights as well as achievements from APC members on five continents building of a better world for all through technology. Find out more about it and then download the full report!
longtime APC collaborator is localising OpenOffice.org and other open software to Swahili, the lingua franca of East Africa, spoken by almost 100 million people. The software has just been released.
Using RSS technology, it’s now possible to get news headlines from APC and APC member websites direct to your desktop. News feeds available cover a rich variety of civil society concerns –from the environment in Bulgaria, to human rights in Spain, to peace campaigning in the USA, to monitoring aid agencies in Australia. But what is RSS? Read our easy-to-understand feature.
APC endorses open letter to the European Parliament, asked by EU governments to vote on mandatory finger-printing and biometric
Privacy International (PI), alongside with Statewatch and European Digital Rights, called to endorse an open letter to the European Parliament. The submission will be made on Tuesday 30 November and PI are accepting signatures until Monday 29 November. The European Parliament will most likely vote on Wednesday 1st. December.
In 2003, together with more than 300 local partners, Alternatives launched a portal in the Democratic Republic of Congo . The project empowers local civil society groups to present and promote their activities and perspectives, which is particularly important in the current period, where civil society is taking an ever-increasing role in defending the principles that can support long-term peace in the region.
Together with a collective of twenty organisations and networks working to protect Peru’s wildlife and flora, CEPES developed the Peruvian Environmental Portal. The portal systematises information to really take advantage of the information available and improve dissemination.