Did you say cell phones for development? “Yes, technology can do anything, really, but people have to drive it”
Considering the demographic overlap between those most affected by HIV/AIDS and cell phone users, it only makes sense that a major focus be put on how this low-cost technology can fight this deadly pandemic. APC-member Women’sNet recently engaged in a UNICEF-driven speed assessment of fifteen projects that apply cell phones towards development objectives in Africa, with a particular focus on HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care.
Applications are now being accepted until May 18 for technical training scholarships that will cover expenses for attending the first workshop of the TRICALCAR project. This community based wireless networks project is initiated by APC-members in South America. The workshop will be held in Huaral, Peru from July 16 to 21, 2007.
APCNews interviewed Nicholas P. Sullivan, author of ‘You Can Hear Me Now: How Microloans and Cell Phones are Connecting the World’s Poor to the Global Economy’, a book published in February 2007 by Jossey-Bass. Sullivan argues that ‘inclusive capitalism", combined with the ‘external combustion engine’ are better approaches to development than foreign aid. Do you agree?
In 1993, Bangladesh was considered a no-go zone by foreign investors. Foreign direct investment in the country totalled USD 3 million that year. Today, it has multiplied to around USD 1 billion, three quarters of which feeds the telecommunications industry. How did foreign investment skyrocket in such a short period of time? The answer lies in the story of the GrameenBank, if we are to believe Nicholas P. Sullivan, author of You Can Hear Me Now: How Microloans and Cell Phones are Connecting the World’s Poor to the Global Economy.
On the sidelines of the OURMedia conference held in Sydney, Australia, in mid-April 2007, John D.H. Downing spoke to APCNews and explained where his critique of the media intersects with the possibilities opened up by information and communication technologies.
Grant McHerron always has a joke and formidable technical skils to share. Or so it seemed when APCNews ran into APC.au’s technical director in Sydney, Australia, during the APC’s Asia-Pacific members meeting, held in mid-April 2007.
Documentary filmmakers take note: there are other ways in which you can choose to distribute your films. Rather than the all-rights-reserved approach of the copyright world, take a look on the creative side.
The South Korean parliament is discussing a dangerous revision of the "Protection of Communications Secrets Act". So what? It seems quite clear that the revision would legally enforce telecommunications companies and internet service providers (ISPs) to retain ‘communications data’. But do people agree with this? APC-member in South Korea, Jinbonet, thinks not. International civil society organisations think not. They endorsed a letter of protest that was sent to the South Korean parliament
To address the current information and communication technologies capacity crisis most development organisations are facing, APC-member Ungana-Afrika will be expanding and strengthening the network of development sector oriented ICT consultants, eRiders, across the southern African region.
“In a nutshell, Africa needs to be concerned about developing internet usage first, rather than dwelling on who governs the internet and how,” claimed the African non-governmental organisation CIPESA in a research paper published right before the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which took place in Athens at the end of 2006. With eye kept on the upcoming IGF II in November, APCNews discussed this underrepresented approach to internet governance with Vincent Bagiire of CIPESA.
South Africa-based APC member Community Education Computer Society (CECS) is working to build a free knowledge and ICT literacy portal as part of its wider goal to promote "ICT Literacy For All".
Up until recently, Prague-based Econnect, a civil society association facilitating communication through the internet, broadcasting news clips via its website. Most of the these were simple text articles, some had pictures. Now, Tomáš Tetiva of Econnect says they are changing their approach and going for ‘new media’.
Soon after the launch of the CreativeCommons.org licensing programme for India, to the west, neighbouring Pakistan is working to get the same moving too. During a two-day workshop in Lahore, Pakistan, entitled "Towards an Open Information Society in Pakistan", issues of copyrights, intellectual property rights (IPR) and alternate forms of IPR were heavily discussed.
APC member in Croatia, ZaMirNET, has joined an information and communication technologies industrial cluster working on free and open source software. Interview with Danijela Babic of ZaMirNET in this part two (of two) on Croatian software policy.
The APC member in Croatia, ZaMirNET, has joined an industrial cluster working on free and open source software. Read part one (of two) of this new adventure which might help transform Croatia’s software sector. The full interview in part two reveals the specific role ZaMirNET will play in the still-in-formation economic network.
The Gender Research in Africa into ICTs for Empowerment (GRACE) is a research project that APCNews has been covering in the past. APC’s women programme in Africa (AAW) also engaged with the project over the last months. But where is it at? Capacity building workshops were held in July 2005 and June 2006, with a third workshop planned for July 2007. Here is a short update on GRACE.
In releasing the list of successful applicants in one of its small grants initiatives, APC’s women programme in Africa injected some real-life into the Swahili word "harambee" in March 2007. DSI.ORG, a small non-profit located in the western Ugandan district of Kabarole, was one of six Harambee small grants winners. It’s recently created Diary Project, which assists boys from child-headed families affected by HIV/AIDS to cope with grief, stigma and discrimination, share experiences and knowledge, and work together.
"Access to knowledge is both an issue of economic development and an issue of individual participation and human liberty" says an article by Jack M. Balkin. This buzzword makes reference to a world in which information and knowledge are increasingly becoming like products. Knowledge is worth money. Knowledge is worth power. Without much fanfare, a group of twenty-two Asians sat down in Bankok last March to tap into that power. They drew out a roadmap of actions in order for that knowledge to stay in the hands of the people. Idealistic? Maybe, but the actions are real and timely and might take you further than you think.
Increasingly, harassment and stalking is happening in and through digital communications technology. As we gain access and use stuff like blogs, mobile phones, social networking platforms like Orkut and Friendster, personal information displayed and shared may be used in targeted harassment.
Subramanya Sastry is an Indian techie who holds a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin but chooses to deploy his software skills for the development sector back home. A tool he created, called NewsRack.in, is drawing rave reviews from the few who have encountered it early.