News

Blogs for African Women get Nigerian women hooked on technology

MEXICO, MEXICO 29 March 2007 (ES for APCNews)

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. Blogs for African Women (BAWo) has taken hold of the Nigerian blogging spirit to strengthen women’s activism and by the same token, got awarded one of six Harambee small grants. Read about Networking for Success, BAWo’s second initiative getting Nigerian women into the blogosphere.

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Kenya sets world first with money transfers by mobile

NAIROBI, KENYA 28 March 2007 (Xan Rice)

The ping of a text message has never sounded so sweet. In what is being touted as a world first, Kenya’s biggest mobile operator is allowing subscribers to send cash to other phone users by SMS. Known as M-Pesa, or mobile money, the service is expected to revolutionise banking in a country where more than 80% of people are excluded from the formal financial sector.

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A missing link? Media and development in Africa

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM 23 March 2007 (Abiodun Jagun for APC)

Is mobile technology driving the internet revolution in Africa? Does the distinction between new and old media make sense? These are some of the questions that APC raised in a recent conference on the role of media in building African society.

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ICT policy: A beginner's handbook in French

BERLIN 13 March 2007 (APCNews)

This flagship book by APC is a must. It lays out the issues and dispenses with the jargon to encourage more people to get involved in issues related to information and communication technology (ICT) and policy. The new French version is part of APC’s efforts to make French its third full official language before the end of this year.

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Bytes for All to review Pakistan’s IT policy

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN 12 March 2007 (Bytes for All)

Bytesforall.org, in collaboration with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is planning to conduct "Review of Pakistan’s IT Policy and IT Action Plan”. This brand new initiative by APC’s member in South Asia will be undertaken from a civil society perspective in order to identify the gaps and analyse their implications on community use of information and communication technology (ICT).

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Funredes redefining its action lines

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY 12 March 2007 (APCNews)

Funredes, APC member in the Dominican Republic, is in the process of transition towards work which, in its words, “will involve more reflection than action.” APCNews spoke with Funredes’ director Daniel Pimienta about the new focus of the organisation.

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Ungana-Afrika connecting advice centres in rural South Africa

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA 12 March 2007 (Ungana-Afrika)

APC-member in South Africa, Ungana-Afrika, is in the middle of a rural connectivity initiative that targets legal advice centres. Communication capacity is being beefed-up in the rural area of South Africa. Ten advice centres are already on Ungana-Afrika’s eRiders roadmap. And they’re moving fast.

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UN agencies and industry launch network on e-waste

GOA, INDIA 7 March 2007 (FN for PCNews)

Several United Nations agencies, partners and technology companies are setting up a consortium aimed at extending the life of computers and other electronic equipment, reducing pollution and improving the salvage, which is turning into a growing problem worldwide.

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Communication, a cornerstone of development policy

GOA, INDIA 6 March 2007 (FN for APCNews)

A study commissioned by UK’s international development agency lists the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in the top ten organisations survey respondents identified as networks they find are valuable resources of information relevant to their internetional development work.

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ALTERNATIVES, Democratic Republic of the Congo: New report on internet infrastructure in the Congo

GOA, INDIA 6 March 2007 (FN for APCNews)

Montreal-based Alternatives is in the final sprint to release a report on the development of internet infrastructure in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The feasibility report by this APC member focuses on the set-up of a national internet backbone as well as on the content of a national information and communication technology policy for Africa’s third largest country.

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Going autonomous with wireless networks

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC 5 March 2007 (Karel Novotny)

“TRICALCAR” is a Spanish abbreviation that stands for Weaving Wireless Community Networks in Latin America and the Caribbean. But much more than an abbreviation, it is in fact a project. It brings together ten partner organisations that are all dedicated to training Latin American computer network administrators in building and administering community wireless networks.

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Keeping track of what media's saying via African software

GOA, INDIA 5 March 2007 (FN for APCNews)

The South Africa-based Media Monitoring Project has developed the first version of a software application which will eveluate gender-sensitivity in online media. "Media monitoring is relevant to all countries, both those with advanced and less advanced media sectors," claims project coordinator Sandra Roberts.

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E-waste: Impacts, challenges and the role of civil society

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA 28 February 2007 (Katherine Walraven)

That information and communication technologies (ICTs) have a valuable role to play in building a more fair, just, and sustainable world is well established. APC is a firm believer in the power of these tools to transform lives and communities. And yet, while the benefits of expanding access to ICTs are many, there are negative impacts as well, such as the problems associated with a growing volume of e-waste.

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'Consumers shouldn't subsidise South African telephone monopoly'

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA 23 February 2007 (APCNews)

It’s time to stop subsidising monopolies like Telkom, argues APC’s director Anriette Esterhuysen. That’s after Telkom told South Africa daily, the Financial Mail, that too much competition in the provision of international bandwidth in Africa could be bad for business.

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Huaral Valley: wireless technology for traditional agriculture

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY 29 January 2007 (AL for APCNews)

Huaral is a coastal valley in Peru with a desert climate where it never rains. It is also the name of an initiative that CEPES, APC member in Peru, is carrying out in the region. And above all, it is proof that the creative use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) can improve the lives of farmers in an entire region, if not beyond. APCNews spoke to Maicu Alvarado of CEPES in December 2006 at the Latin American APC members’ meeting about the latest news on this rural development work which has now been underway for six years.

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To the barangay... taking relevant FOSS software to local government

GOA, INDIA 29 January 2007 (FN for APCNews)

Can free and open source software (FOSS) make a difference to the way in which local government functions in the Philippines? Manila-based Institute for Popular Democracy believes it can. It is therefore working on sharable, localised and relevant software.

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BytesForAll launches draft report on the use of technology for development in Bangladesh

GOA, INDIA 29 January 2007 (FN for APCNews)

APC member in South Asia, BytesForAll, has launched its ‘ICT4D Status Report 1.0’, a document looking into the use of information and communication technology for the purpose of development. Areas covered are localisation/open content development, updates on the telecentre movement, access and infrastructure issues, community radio development and e-governance in the context of Bangladesh.

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Web.net makes major contribution to Drupal

BERLIN, GERMANY 29 January 2007 (FD for APCNews)

With the WebFM module, APC-member in Toronto has made a major contribution at the end of 2006 to the open source content management system Drupal. With simple-to-use drag and drop and folder creation and deletion functions, WebFM is increasingly becoming popular as Web Network’s executive director, Oliver Zielke, himself states in the following interview excerpts.

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Is Tunisia calm, now that the storm is gone?

NAIROBI, KENYA 29 January 2007 (Rikke Frank Jorgensen for APCNews)

In Nairobi, where the World Social Forum 2007 was taking place, human-rights advocate Rikke Frank Jorgensen files a story about Tunisia’s current human rights standing. “The situation has gotten worse and worse, since the Summit. I think we are being punished for WSIS. It’s hardly possible for us to work anymore. A large number of sites are being blocked, email is not working, phones are cut off, NGOs are harassed, and meetings are prevented from taking place. How can you work under these circumstances?” asks the interviewed Souhayr Belhassen.

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Slum activism at the WSF

NAIROBI, KENYA 29 January 2007 (Rikke Frank Jorgensen for APCNews)

In Punwami there are 35 toilets in total, and four computers. No internet is available, and the computers are mostly used for playing CDs with preventive HIV information. Walking around Pumwani, I visit a small para-legal office. Para-legals are people who receive basic training in human rights, in order to give legal advice to other people in the community.

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