Voices that must be heard - RITS reports on the latest round of the information society summit, WSIS
"The situation that was created in Hammamet makes it plain that there’s an urgent need to overcome the barrier to participation by organisations from civil society in the South." This is the conclusion of APC member in Brazil, RITS, at the conclusion of the first PrepCom of the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Tunisia in June. "The massive presence of pro-government Tunisian ‘organisations’ made the work of international civil society present almost impossible because of divisions principally regarding the position of the human rights caucus which was calling attention to the question of rights in Tunisia." In Portuguese.
Carlos Afonso of RITS has been elected to the Brazilian committee which manages the internet in Brazil and controls .br. The election results were announced on July 15. He is one of four representatives from civil society. Other sectors represented are the scientific community, the business and telecommunications sectors, and internet service providers. It is the first time in Brazil that internet governance has been opened up to the public. In Portuguese.
Soul Beat Africa is looking for information about how individuals and organisations are using communication for change and development in Africa. Soul Beat Africa is a collaboration between the Communication Initiative (CI), which shares similar information globally, and Soul City, a health communication organisation based in South Africa, and is being implemented by SANGONeT, APC member in South Africa.
APC member in rural Nigeria, Fantsuam Foundation, has recorded yet another first in rural ICT programmes. Earlier this year, Fantsuam launched a VSAT facility which provides the first rural-based internet access in Kaduna State, if not in Nigeria. APCNews talked to Fantsuam’s director, John Dada, about the impact the new internet satellite connection is having on the community and the Foundation.
SANGONeT is currently implementing a Central Case Management System (CCMS) for paralegals in South Africa. This project aims to develop a centrally accessible database system for paralegal organisations to capture and manage case records and related information, while enabling an online networking and discussion space for them to be informed of one another’s work, share experiences and support the advocacy work which they perform on behalf of the communities they serve.
BlueLink's Balkans partnership initiative included in a United Nations online clearinghouse on environment
An environmental portal that pools information from eight different environmental partners in the Balkans has become part of a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) clearinghouse which showcases good practices. The UN initiative is expected to make implementation of the 1998 Aarhus Convention
which aims at improving access to information and public participation in decision-making regarding environmental matters more effective.
"Letsati" is a Setswana word meaning sun. This new discussion forum series, offered by APC member SANGONeT, aims to demonstrate the practical benefits of technology to the South African non-profit sector.
This advocacy document produced by APC member in Senegal, ENDA, presents the major issues faced by African countries in relation to their inclusion in the information society, as perceived by women. It’s a tool for public, private and civil society stakeholders and decision-makers for integrating gender into ICT policies to contribute to a fair, plural and inclusive African information society. The foreword is written by APC.
After nine years at the helm of the Women's Programme, Karen Banks moves into advocacy for APC full-time
A major change for APC programmes occurred in July. Karen Banks has moved over to become APC’s Networking and Advocacy Coordinator and her former role of manager of the APC women’s programme (APC WNSP) will be taken on by well-known Philippine gender and technology advocate, Chat Garcia Ramilo.
APC member, the Third World Institute (Instituto del Tercer Mundo, ITeM) has launched a research project intended to contribute to the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) decision-making process. Research will be focused on key issues of interest to developing countries. Based on the research, position and briefing papers will be produced to advise Southern negotiators and working groups on the policy implications of the different proposals they will be considering during the Summit process.
The SisBIM helps decision-makers in local governments make informed decisions regarding planning for development by providing a series of key indicators and essential geo-information. It also serves as a ‘sustainable development observatory’ where citizens can find basic development information and importantly hold government accountable. The system has been developed by APC member Colnodo and coordinated by the Ministry of Environment, Housing and Development.
Until now, a native Cambodian has needed to be able to read in a foreign language to be able to send email in Cambodia. Software was not available in Khmer. But APC’s member organisation in Cambodia, the Open Forum, is changing that. The KhmerOS portal, set up earlier this year to bring together previously isolated developers is starting out by providing Khmer translations of well-known free applications such as the powerful e-mail application, Thunderbird. Thunderbird was ready for use after just two months – sixty days earlier than expected! The Open Forum has sent APC the report on their advances in the first half of 2004.
New partners mean that RITS
APC member in Rio de Janeiro is drawing up a blue-print for the set-up and operation of 1000 telecentres in municipalities situated in areas of extreme poverty throughout Brazil. This follows RITS’ experience working with the government in Brazil’s largest city to establish over a 100 free public internet access points in marginalised neighbourhoods.
Kenya’s new Minister of Information and Communication, Hon. Raphael Tuju, has announced his support for the liberalisation and advancement of ICT policy in Kenya following a week-long ICT policy advocacy workshop in Nairobi organised by APC. The multi-stakeholder workshop – which ran from 19-23 July – brought together some of the most influential ICT policy stakeholders from civil society organisations, the private sector and the media from nine African countries.
The Americas Social Forum 2004 takes place in Quito, Ecuador July 25-30. APC is at the event offering a workshop on ICT policies and gender, as a joint initiative of the LAC ICT Policy Monitor and the Latin American network of the APC Women’s Programme (WNSP), with the support of APC member in Ecuador, INTERCOM.
In a few years, an old woman in rural Africa should be able, if all goes according to plan, to connect to the net and communicate with her children in the city. This is what an information and communications technology (ICT) workshop held in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, by APC is seeking to explore.
Civil society ICT policy portals: How the ten websites in ten different countries were developed simultaneously
APC’s Anna Feldman explains the process behind the challenge to set up ten information portals around the world in under six months in a team effort where everyone involved collaborated entirely online.
APC is holding a five-day ICT (information and communication technology) policy advocacy workshop in Nairobi starting July 19. The workshop intends to galvanise the growing interest there is in ICT policy into a network of policy advocates working in their home countries. It will be the first of two regional ICT policy advocacy workshops, the second being held in Dakar, Senegal later this year. "Through the workshop, we hope to kick start concerted policy actions at the national level," says APC executive director, Anriette Esterhuysen. "There’s a lot of interest and concern and a lot of expertise out there but not enough collaborative action. We want to do more than just build capacity."
“Learning and working on the computer makes me feel that I am no less than anyone else in the world.” “Everyone should learn how to use a computer, especially the poor.” This is how the children of 4th grade elementary in Abou Korkas, Menia governorate feel about their computer classes but hundreds of other children are being deprived of classes because of red tape and computer shortages. ArabDev, APC member in Cairo, sends us this report.
The second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
the first-ever UN conference on information and communication has started. Delegates are meeting in Hammamet, Tunisia in the first ‘prepcom’ of phase two, and APC is amongst them. As input to the debate of the issues that were most contentious during the first stage of WSIS internet governance, financing for ICT initiatives in developing countries and "e-strategies" APC has commissioned discussion papers written by civil society experts in the areas. You can download the papers from this site.