Ready for Tunis: Tin-can antennas, free software, and e-riding models
GOA, INDIA, 02 November 2005
From demoing cantennas (low-cost antennas made out of used cans), to community wireless training programmes, highlighting gender issues, to joining a citizens’ summit, the Association for Progressive Communications is chalking out plans for its participation in the second World Summit on Information Society at Tunis in mid-November 2005.
At the time of writing, over 50 participants from APC and its members were planning to be at Tunis. This included 31 representatives from 18 APC members. Two from APC Africa Women, 14 staff members, and five project consultants and partners were to also join the event.
APC’s Karen Banks explained that there would be three main areas of focus for the association. They are:
- The Tunis Documents, where negotiations are at in relation to the two Documents for Tunis: the Political Chapeau (now called ‘the Tunis Commitment’) and the Tunis Agenda for Action. "APC’s particular focus is on financing mechanisms for ICTD and internet governance," said Banks.
* Civil Society — the forgotten stakeholder. In addition to APC’s emphasis on financing mechanisms and internet governance, APC also plans to "prioritise civil society participation in post WSIS outcomes". This will reflect both in principle (by way of language in the documents) and in practice (civil society participation in national, regional and international processes).
* The Human Rights Agenda — how this issue impacts on the summit as a whole, what activities are planned to highlight human rights in the ‘Information Society’ and plans for solidarity actions with local Tunisian organisations.
For a start, a community wireless training workshop will be held on November 15, from 9 am to 10 am at the KRAM/IDRC Booth. Here, APC and partners, the IDRC, will deliver a selection of training units in English, French and Arabic, that are of particular relevance for civil society workers and policy makers who work with internet access for marginalised groups.
Another such community wireless training workshop takes place from 9 to 11 am on November 16, 17 and 18 at Kasserine. In association with wire.less.dk — Sebastian Buettrich and Tomas Krag — this training in English will offer an introduction to wireless technologies. Besides a general introduction, it will showcase projects and visions of what solutions can be implemented, and the level will be one looking basic technical concepts for non-techies.
In association with the Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP), the Gender and ICT Awards function takes place from 1 to 1:45 pm on November 16, at KRAM/GKP Pavilion.
CSIS, or the Citizens Summit on the Information Society opens on Nov 16 from 4 to 6 pm.
APC/FAO with the ItrainOnline partnership hosts the ‘ITrainonline capacity building to promote and ensure the effective use of ICT’ event on November 16, from 5 to 7 pm at KRAM/Bizerte.
Meanwhile, the Citizens Summit on the Information Society’s main programme is scheduled for 9 am to 6 pm on November 17. On Nov 17 from 9 am to 11 am, at KRAM/Sidi Bouzid, APC and Ungana Afrika focus on the E-riders concept. This event will show how a replicable and low-cost ICT capacity building and support model is possible. It will cull experiences from selected successful cases around the globe.
On the same morning, from 10:45 to 12:45, APC member IteM (the Third World Institute) of Uruguay focuses on the theme of "Framing WSIS in global governance processes: Linkages and follow-up".
Free and open source software (FOSS), comes in the spotlight on November 18, from 9 am to 11 am at KRAM/Kasserine. This day’s series in the Community Wireless training workshops will look at free networks, free software and the GNU/Linux-based wireless infrastructure.
Bruno Roger (speaking in French) will explain how it’s possible to use free software such as Gnu/Linux to solve real community connectivity issues. Roger will also talk on how low-cost embedded hardware, and low-power servers can improve both the user experience and the total costs of expensive capped internet connections such as VSAT links.
APC WNSP’s workshop entitled ‘ICTs for Women’s Empowerment’ is slotted for 11 am to 11:45 am at the GKP on November 18.
Tomas Krag and Sebastian Buettrich continue from 12 noon to 1:30 pm with their community wireless session on mesh networks.
Their presentation will explain the basics of mesh networking and look at examples of mesh networking that can empower communities in urban and rural settings. Some hands-on demos of low-budget quick start approaches will be given, as will some case studies. [Mesh networking is a way to route data, voice and instructions between nodes. It allows for continuous connections and reconfiguration around blocked paths by "hopping" from node to node until a connection can be established. Mesh networks are self-healing: the network can still operate even when a node breaks down or a connection goes bad. So, a very reliable network is formed. Applicable to wireless networks, wired networks, and software interaction.]
On November 18, from 1 to 5 pm is the slot for the World Forum on Communication Rights. The second world forum hosted by the CRIS campaign will provide a platform for organsations working for communication rights in the information society to highlight their work and plan for post-WSIS strategies, activities and campaigns.
Other events are expected to be announced. Please follow APC’s WSIS to stay informed: http://www.apc.org/english/wsis/