Progressive technology organisations all over the world met in Cape Town to discuss the future of the free content management system – ActionApps. ActionApps is a software that makes websites easier to manage and more dynamic and facilitates the creation of portal sites, improving the visibility of civil society information. Almost 40 developers from as far afield as Egypt, Cambodia, Spain, Peru and the Philippines debated future plans, sustainability, documentation needs and a new online campaigning action kit for activists which will come to life in 2005.
“People won’t benefit from improved access to digital networks, if the necessary capabilities to select, apply and interpret the available information are not better developed”, says Arnold Pietersen of CECS. With oversight from ICT NGOs from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia, CECS designed an ‘ICT Literacy’ programme.
APC member Computer Aid International will officially launch an exciting and innovative new partnership with a Rwandan not-for-profit, E-ICT. By providing an affordable solution to high cost computers, the partnership aims to increase access to ICT for schools and not-for-profits.
The Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA), together with key free and open source software (FOSS) advocates in the country organized a training-workshop for Philippine non-government organizations (NGOs). Held on 28-29 October 2004 and attended by 30 participants from 18 organizations, the learning activity sought to impart not only with the necessary skills and knowledge of FOSS but more importantly, to provide the trainees with the confidence in using FOSS-based applications.
Arid Lands Information Network – Eastern Africa (ALIN-EA) has successfully completed a one-year pilot phase of the Open Knowledge Network (OKN) East Africa project. OKN is a global initiative linking marginalized communities and facilitating information sharing through Information Communications Technologies (ICTs).
APCmember SANGONeT launched a new joint venture, called NGO.ZA. The overall aim of NGO.ZA is to meet and respond to the South African NGO sector’s connectivity, hardware and e-business infrastructure requirements, and as a result, transform the information and communication technologies (ICT) usage, capacity and infrastructure levels of the sector.
Telecentres in rural Croatia run by APC member ZaMirNET don’t just provide training facilities. They’re also bringing together neighbours of different ethnicities. “During the computer course, we were socialising with other nationalities. We were all in the same position of learning new things and sharing what we know,” recounted a Croat woman. “Now we greet each other in the street.”
APC member in Canada, Web Networks, has integrated APC’s free software ActionApps with a number of other applications to come up with a first – the ability to easily view Inukititut (a Canadian Aboriginal language) online, as well as giving Inuit abilities to easily publish online in their native language.
Using RSS technology, it’s now possible to get news headlines from APC and APC member websites direct to your desktop. News feeds available cover a rich variety of civil society concerns –from the environment in Bulgaria, to human rights in Spain, to peace campaigning in the USA, to monitoring aid agencies in Australia. Find out more about the news feeds.
What we want is an information society based on social justice and human rights. That’s only going to happen if the people affected by the policies get involved in their development. Collecting indispensable documentation since 2001, the new look ‘Africa Monitor’
just launched on October 28 has a new design and structure including powerful cross-referencing which let’s you search by theme and by country at the same time. For the first time, there’s a ‘Getting started’ section for people new to ICT policy and advocacy which collects information specially selected by our editors. Go and take a look!
In a statement, APC has condemned the seizing by US and European law enforcement agencies of the web servers of independent online news service Indymedia, closing down over 21 of the more than 140 Indymedia web sites worldwide. “We are disturbed by the apparently arbitrary and extreme measures taken to silence an independent internet-based source of information,” said Anriette Esterhuysen, APC’s Executive Director. “This is a violation of freedom of expression across international frontiers.”
Thursday morning, US authorities issued a federal order to Rackspace ordering them to hand over Indymedia web servers to the FBI. Rackspace, which provides hosting services for more that 20 Indymedia sites at its London facility, complied and turned over the requested servers, effectively removing those sites from the internet.
For years now, progressive groups have been trying to get the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization to start thinking about ways of promoting creativity and development instead of just IP — to get the organization to see that its raison d’etre is a better world, and that stronger IP laws is just one way of accomplishing that — and that IP only works sometimes.
Which is why this is such good news: at the general session of the WIPO in Geneva this weekend, the Assembly as adopted a decision to put development and the promotion of creativity front-and-center in its goals. That means that from now on, WIPO isn’t an organization that blindly supports more IP no matter what, but rather one that seeeks to improve the world by whatever tool is best suited to the job.
The first “free software” workshop run for women by women in the world? Southern African women do it!
Splicing cables, partitioning hard drives, developing technology plans and sharing stories of activism set the scene for a lively and full first Southern African Development Community Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) workshop to be held. And as far as we know, the first FOSS workshop for women in the world, writes Jenny Radloff of APC-Africa-Women.
Online security and privacy should be of concern to anyone who uses the internet. But for journalists and human rights organisations operating under repressive political conditions or in situations of conflict, online security can become a matter of life or death. The challenge is to gather, protect and disseminate information in a way that minimises risk to activists. APC is offering workshops on "Secure Computing and Online Communications", most recently at Highway Africa, the world’s largest conference for African journalists.
Neighbourhood telecentres in Argentina’s second city to ensure women and girls make full use of technology
Report from an awareness-raising workshop held in Rosario, Argentina to introduce local social activists to GEM – the APC’s gender evaluation methodology tool for ICT initiatives.
South African policy activist becomes APC's new Communications and Information Policy Programme Manager
Willie Currie joined APC as our policy programme manager in early September. Currently based in New York, from 1999-2002 Willie was a councillor with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA).
In the mid ‘90s, he co-ordinated the telecommunications policy process that led to South Africa’s first post-Apartheid telecommunications policy document. Prior to this, as general secretary of the Film and Allied Workers Organisation, Willie was involved in the development of broadcasting policy during the transition to democracy in South Africa and a public campaign to ‘free the airwaves’. APCNews talked to Willie about his new role.
South Asia has 23% of the world’s population but less than 1% of the internet users. Bytes for All
a Southern Asian network promoting ICT for development has just become APC’s newest member. Bytes for All is active throughout South Asia with volunteers from numerous countries including India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
A workshop held in Manila focused on pressing communication rights issues in the Asian region including attacks on freedom of expression and independent media. Activists issued a statement in support of a Thai colleague present who returned home to face a million-dollar lawsuit for speaking out in the press against government corruption.
“I learned a lot and changed my way of thinking not only about computers and the internet, but about working for the community”. “I didn’t just learn to write and upload news to a website, I learned about leadership and how to build projects.” “In the RIJ we are bringing about positive change for young people. We help get their message out.” This is how some of the teenage participants feel about RIJ, a communications network for Bogota youth. Now the project is over, they’re still planning to keep the network alive.