Open source, open content, open access, open standards, open processes… Many of us in civil society claim we are committed to any number of “open-nesses” but can we put our hand on our heart and say that we really walk-the-talk?
As “social techies” APC and partners are committed to supporting and promoting the use of computer and internet technology as an empowerer —as something to help social justice and development workers meet their goals. At an Open Day hosted by APC and our host member in Bulgaria, BlueLink, which was a real learning event, APC, BlueLink and guests examined and exchanged experiences and know-how on the complexities and realities and the issues at the heart of real “open access for all”.
More than a hundred social movements and civil society organisations gave endorsed a letter released earlier this month by some of the most active groups involved in the World Summit on the Information Society process. Condemning tight surveillance activities, human rights and fundamental freedoms violations on behalf of the Tunisian authorities, the protagonists expressed their concern about the conditions in which the WSIS is to take place in Tunis in November 2005. Read the letter addressed to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, and endorse the statement by sending an electronic message to "info at apc dot org".
BytesForAll co-founder Frederick Noronha, an active Free Software evangelist, went to Cambodia’s small town of Siem Reap. But his goal wasn’t to reach out to the splendoured Ankor Wat temple structures nearby. Rather, it was to take part in FOSSAP-II, the Free and Open Source Software Asia-Pacific Consultation 2005. FN, as he is known in the GNU/Linux circuit, brings home lessons picked up in the longish essay below and stresses the need to build links between two sets of natural allies — Free Software and not-for-profit organisations.
The Philippines is moving fast ahead in the task of building bridges between non-profits and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). LinuxWorld Philippines, is the biggest and only nationwide Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) event in that country.
The Betinho prize has launched its fourth edition, and entries are being accepted till mid-October 2005. Once more, this is to benefit initiatives which make use of the internet or other information and communication technologies (ICTs) to get results that make the crucial difference. This year’s subject is "community connectivity projects for economic development".
APC member Nodo Tau is turning 10 in October 2005. For the occasion, the Argentinian organisation is hosting two popular events that put emphasis on alternative news. On October 4, a first panel discussion on the theme of "Alternative media: strategies to foster the inclusion of social organisations’ perspective into the information agenda" will be followed by a second panel on "Communication experiences of social organisations". On October 29, a social networking event with organisations using good practices (http://www.enredando.org.ar) will take place in Rosario.
Africa Source II, an attempt to enhance Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) skills of those working with non-profits in the region will be held in early January 2006, at Kalangala Island on Lake Victoria, Uganda. This eight day hands-on workshop is aimed at helping those working with NGOs on the continent to acquire technical skills.
What role do ICTs have in alleviating poverty? This issue was hotly debated at a distinguished panel on September 30, 2005 at the International Telecommunication Union Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Several APC member representatives and staff were among the audience. The debate was also broadcast on BBC World Television around October 22, 2005.
The second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) gets underway later this year. Between September 19th – 30th, GenderIT.org writers Jac sm Kee and Brenda Zulu participate in the third and final WSIS preparatory meeting (PrepCom 3) before the summit in Tunis. Check out their chronicle and read the following unreleased (on the APC website) postings about the activities of gender advocates, and women concerns regarding key issues on the agenda – internet governance and financing.
Podcasting hasn’t yet caught on among the alternate circuit but Partha Pratim Sarker of BytesForAll got off to a quick start at Geneva. At the Prepcom 3 events, Sarkar took along recording equipment to do what he described as a "sort of audio blogging with an RSS feed". APC’s Lenka Simerska, on hearing it, commented: "Cool blog, really! I find it useful and refreshing to use combination of written word and voice. I had a problem to listen though… But on second try it worked well." Podcasting is a method of publishing audio programmes via the Internet, allowing users to subscribe to a feed of new files (usually MP3s). It first became popular in late 2004.
Earlier this week, Karen Banks, Networking and Advocacy Coordinator for APC, expressed solidarity with a statement released by the Human Rights Caucus. The caucus, composed of many leading human rights activists of the global civil society, called for procedural safeguards to "avoid the reign of the arbitrary" on 22 September 2005, on the eve of the PrepCom 3 meeting in Geneva. The Human Rights Caucus thereby condemned the systematic blocking of the Human Rights in China (HRIC) association accreditation to the WSIS process. The original statement, proposed to adoption by the Civil Society plenary meeting in Geneva reads as follows.
Philippine government releases position on Internet governance; civil society seeks inclusive process
The Philippine government’s position on the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) Report, presently recently, is based on nationwide consultations Philippine Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) ran from June to August 2005 at the Manila Hotel. But the civil society points out hat the consultations were rather limited and that only the last consultation in Davao City had the benefit of discussing the WGIG Report. The rest had as main documents WGIG’s 12 issue papers.
Six major international civil society networks working on questions of access and affordability of the internet have emitted a joint statement on 27 September 2005, during the third Preparatory Meeting (PrepCom 3) of the WSIS process. The World Summit on the Information Society is making a last stop in Geneva before phase II of the summit in Tunisia, in November of 2005. The statement of the Informal Coalition on Financing ICTD goes beyond a document released by the WSIS Chair of a Sub-Committee on Internet Governance and suggests a series of steps to be taken to make the internet a true tool for development.
Communication infrastructures are changing at such an accelerated pace that while new technologies are released continuously, we are still ignorant about questions of internet interconnection. While the users of the North reap the benefits brought about by information and communication technologies’ advances, the users of the South are increasingly prevented from taking advantage of the innovations. Leading among the many factors, the privatisation of this sector’s operations in the industrialised countries and the adoption of new technologies have reduced the financial flows of the network towards the developing world. Available in English and Spanish.
What do ostrich eggs, free attitudes, ICT and graciousness have in common? An exciting new research initiative that brings together African researchers to study Africa, ICTs and women’s empowerment, called GRACE. The Gender Research in Africa into ICTs for Empowerment held its first researcher capacity-building workshop in Durban in July 2005, and while researchers from all over the continent honed their project proposals and fine-tuned networking skills, they also learned how to create ostrich eggs around themselves.
What changes does World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) — which meets in Tunisia in November — bring in regards to gender equality and women’s empowerment? Is WSIS worth it? How effective is gender advocates participation? What are the main challenges faced by gender equality advocates? This paper aims to answer these questions and summarise what has been achieved so far for gender equality in the WSIS process. It seeks to clarify the "gender and ICT" agenda for both phases of the WSIS. It analyses why gender advocacy was such a challenge within the whole process, and assess the outcomes as well as some of the indirect benefits WSIS brought for gender and ICT advocates. Written by Karen Banks, APC.
The second phase of World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) takes place in Tunisia later this year. APC’s GenderIT.org team joined the third and final preparatory meeting, held in Geneva (Switzerland) from September 19 to 30. In the run-up to the mid-November WSIS summit, there ‘s a special section collating a wide variety of resources and articles related to gender and the WSIS.
The word ‘trafficking’ suggests something very physical. But does it always have to be so? Take this case: a 19-year-old is filmed by her 30-year-old lover while they have sex. They break up, and years later, without her consent, the video hits the internet. Suddenly, the woman’s image is crossing the world, making some people a lot of money in the process too. Is this trafficking? The woman herself hasn’t been transported across any international boundaries. But her image has. An informative backgrounder to the modern dimensions of a global issue of widespread concerns.
Follow GenderIT.org writers Jac sm Kee and Brenda Zulu as they participate in the third and final WSIS preparatory meeting (PrepCom3) before the summit in Tunis. Read their postings from Geneva about the activities of gender advocates, and women’s concerns.
A "Cantenna"? What’s that? It’s a solution that comes out of using empty tin cans and other simple tools that a lot of communities can afford. "Cantenna" technology can make wireless connection cheaper for poorly served rural areas and economically disadvantaged African people who do not have access to Internet connectivity. This is what emerges from a report on an APC-run series of capacity-building workshops in Africa.