MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, 07 December 2004
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 ICT 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.
By November 2003, when APC members came together in Colombia for our biennial face-to-face membership meeting, the impact of the WSIS process was evident on our own network. New members were present that had joined APC because of our involvement in the WSIS. The ICT policy capacity-developing workshop preceding the meeting was attended by more than twenty partner organisations from Latin America and the Caribbean with whom we worked closely in the regional WSIS process. And using internet-mapping tools to analyse the civil society advocacy networks that had emerged around the WSIS we saw that APC had become a central point of reference in a vast web of WSIS-related websites.
So the 2003 APC annual report includes APC’s advocacy work for the United Nations summit on the information society (WSIS) including our practical guides and unique “beginner’s handbook to ICT policy”. And of course it includes other major highlights like the 2003 APC Betinho Communications Prize which recognised outstanding technology initiatives in Latin American and the Caribbean, the completion of the multilingual Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM) for ICT and internet initiatives after two years of field-testing piloting in four continents, and the nomination of APC’s ActionApps software as one of the “Top 10 Open Source Tools for e-Activism”.
As usual a large section of the report features what APC chair Julian Casasbuenas refers to as “the real work of members with grassroots organisations [that] is contributing to the building of a better world for all, showing CSOs and people how new ICT tools can strengthen their networks.”
Achievements from APC members on five continents highlighted in the report including these from 2003’s new members:
• Alternatives from Canada – “300-strong partnership strengthens civil society voice in the Congo”
• ArabDev, from Egypt – “Children hungry for computer training held back by lack of PCs in Upper Egypt”
• CEPES, from Peru – “Cooperation improves information-sharing in Peru’s rural communities”
• Foundation for Media Alternatives, from the Philippines – “Human Rights Software Tested in the Philippines is Expected to Improve Documentation of Abuses”
• Open Forum of Cambodia – “Intellectual property law forces Cambodians to start developing their own Khmer-language software”
• Unimondo, from Italy – “Building a well-informed information society in Italy”
• WomensHub, Philippines – “A draft policy framework on gender and ICT for the Philippines”
• Women’sNet, from South Africa – “Enabling South African women to use the internet to find the people, issues, resources and tools they need for women’s social activism”
• ZaMirNET, from Croatia – “Using ICTs for peace-building in war-torn communities”
Download the APC Annual Report 2003 here in pdf format.