By APCNews Rome, 19 December 2007
For the first time, in September 2007, a large group of people involved in one way or another with development work met to discuss the possibilities and drawbacks of sophisticated web-based applications in situations of low bandwidth and limited access to powerful hardware. Many of them had the chance to experiment with the tools in a workshop APC co-organised at a conference called Web2forDev. The interest of this community, gradually expanding under the ‘Web2forDev’ label, focuses on how cutting-edge technology can help close the gap related to access to ICTs, as opposed to widening it further.
The APC Strategic Tech and Network Development programme (STaND) has published videos filmed during the conference in two accessible formats. These are accessible through the conference wiki http://wiki.web2fordev.net, a space which has grown into a one-stop-shop resource centre for those interested in web2fordev-related issues.
Web2.0 and training initiatives
Web2.0 workshop for Ugandan itrainers, December 2007
Together with the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD), the STaND team took the issue from conference halls and online spaces to the field in East Africa. They prepared a skills sharing workshop for ICT trainers who live and work in an environment where bandwidth is relatively limited. As a measure of this, downloading an email with a pdf attachment can grind your computer to a halt for several minutes. In the three-day-long event, local trainers learned how their peers use Web 2.0 applications, were introduced to some new tools and tried them out during hands-on sessions.
More information on the workshop is available on the web2fordev wiki.
Web 2.0 with Ugandan connectivity – feedback from workshop participants
“After the Kampala workshop, I created a wiki platform for the Busoga Rural Open Source Initiative (BROSDI). This helped the team to put documents in one central place where everyone can contribute. I also managed to figure out how to go about RSS [feeds] and how to use Google reader. Before, there were these many websites that I kept checking for news in terms of calls for proposals and events related to ICT policy. This was so time-consuming and given the bad connectivity, I could end up opening a number of pages. Some of them didn’t even ever open. But right now, I get feeds in one central place and “dismiss” those that are not very useful. I use less bandwidth, since I get to read the feeds first, before going to the actual pages that may actually take a lot of time to open.” – Lillian Nalwoga, CIPESA, Itrainer
“I introduced blogs to some members in a community back in Tororo [Eastern Uganda]. They were really excited to start using blogs, although the slow internet connectivity and power cuts frustrated both me and them… I also trained some staff of the Centenary Rural Development Bank on wikis and I plan to do a follow-up to find out how far they have gone.” – John Onyuthi, Itrainer
“I have tried to use Web 2.0 tools for my classes. Connectivity issues continue to be a major challenge. Otherwise they thrill everyone.” – Gerald Kavum, Itrainer