CEPES, the Peruvian Centre for Social Studies, is unrolling web projects one after the other. For the last three years, the Peruvian APC member has been promoting website solutions for a variety of actors working in Peru’s rural and often remote districts. Small farmers, passionate environmentalists and civil servants from the Ministry of Agriculture have discovered the ActionApps content management system (CMS). "We’ve been spreading the web-based tool as a way to support rural development," says a passionate Carlos Saldarriaga, CEPES representative to APC.
SANGONeT has gathered a collection of resources on sustainability for NGOs, ranging from information on Monitoring and Evaluation and the importance of Credibility and Ethics to matters such as Social Responsibility and Entrepreneurship as well as tips relating to practical concerns that others have encountered when grappling with how to implement effective Communication and Marketing strategies and sound Financial Management techniques in their organisations.
The first NGO e-elections in Bulgaria were held at the end of 2005, facilitated through the Civil e-Representation Platform designed by APC member in Sofia, BlueLink. This is an internet-based tool for electing representatives of NGOs in working groups and committees at institutions that implement environmental and sustainable development policies in Bulgaria. Before the development of this platform, the voting process for NGO representatives was carried by email, fax and regular ‘snail’ mail. The platform is based on specially developed software, using the Free Software-based PHP 4 and MySQL. It was first launched in March 2005, and has since undergone a series of tests.
The Coalition for the Right to Communicate in Latin America and the Caribbean launched a continental campaign during a panel held concurrently at the VI World Social Forum and the II Social Forum of the Americas in Caracas, Venezuela, on the 26th of January. It was decided to strengthen the actions of all the independent and community media, communications networks, personalities and institutions that fight against the concentration of media in the hands of a few internationally funded companies, as well as in favour of the democratisation of communication.
APC-member WOUGNET in Uganda was one of the organisers of a conference in mid-December, on a post-World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) consolidation for Uganda. This conference aimed at strengthening what happened at WSIS and finding a concrete way forward to meet the WSIS targets at the national level. Specially, establishing national priorities and benchmarks.
The interventions of civil society activists made a material difference to the outcomes of WSIS in Tunis, contents Willie Currie, the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Policy Manager with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC).
"2005 has been a good year for KhmerOS, and, we hope, for Cambodia’s technological future," says APC member Open Forum Cambodia, writing out of the southeast Asian kingdom of 13 million. Here’s an update of their project to create a Khmer-language solution in computing.
APCNews reporters cover the 6th Polycentric World Social Forums of Bamako and Caracas in four languages
The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) provides online coverage of the World Social Forums (WSFs) happening on three continents this year. While Bamako hosted the first in a series of three consecutive WSFs, Caracas is presently filling up with participants from the world of NGOs, grassroots social movements and the socially engaged from all over the Americas. During 10 days, between January 19 and 29, follow frequent updates on APC blogs, articles on ICT-related workshops and conferences with APCNews, as well as in-depth reports on GenderIT.org and the Africa and Latin American & the Caribbean ICT policy monitor portals.
For the last few years, APC has been working closely with other organisations and a large group of Kenyan civil society organisations and business to transform the national ICT policy. At last, a national ICT Policy has made it all the way!
It’s well known that the conventional "wired" connectivity to the internet can be really expensive and it doesn’t apply to every corner of the world. Some remote areas of the globe don’t even count with public telephone cabins or electricity. APC’s "Capacity building for community wireless connectivity in Africa" wants to reverse that scenario in reaching francophone Africa with a workshop held in Dakar, Senegal, from January 24-28 2006.
Women’sNet’s training co-ordinator Elizabeth "Liz" Araujo writes that the recent Africa Source 2 event was set "against a beautiful Lake Victoria island backdrop, replete with sandy beaches, and fishing boats", and turned out to be a "smashing success". Held from January 8-15, 2006, the skills-packed practical workshop was aimed at introducing and exploring free/libre and open source software (FOSS) for non-profit organisations and local African communities. She says that what made this camp radically different from other technology-focused workshops was the almost natural seeming integration of novice, occasional user and high-end techie.
APC is undertaking a study of the participation of ‘developing’ countries and non-government actors — including civil society — in the recent World Summit on the Information Society and its associated fora, such as the Task Force on Financing Mechanisms and the Working Group on Internet Governance. It is being coordinated by Professor David Souter, of ict Development Associates ltd and University of Strathclyde.
IMARK is a suite of distance-learning resources, tools and communities on information management. A new website has just been launched. Modules are now available in French and Spanish. APC is part of the IMARK steering group together with UNESCO, FAO and others.
‘Mainstreaming ICTs: Africa Lives the Information Society" is a contribution towards efforts to bridge the "policy-practice" divide. The book is amied at development practitioners and ICT innovators interested in inventive technology applications for social justice and development. It contains 10 case studies reflecting on the innovative and creative ways information and communciation technologies (ICTs) have been used to promote people-centred development in a number of Sub-Saharan African countries. The book was compiled and edited by Women’sNet with the assistance of a Southern African editorial group including Toni Eliasz, Ria Greyling, Benter Okello, Muroro Dziruni, Ashraf Patel, and Natasha Primo. The project was supported by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).
The ‘APC regional consultation meeting on ICT policy in South Asia’ that was to be held in end-January in Kathmandu, Nepal, has been postponed. This meet aims at engaging in surfacing ICT policy priorities and strategies in the countries of South Asia, to exchange information on ICT policy issues and advocacy strategies, and to explore new ways of networking and coordinating on ICT policy advocacy in South Asia. APC is also consulting with One World South Asia, Panos South Asia, IDRC, among others, in organizing the meeting.
Natasha Primo recently became the first-ever woman to chair APC, or the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), which one publication called The African Digital Commons described as being founded by a team "clued in to the potential power of ICTs at a time when many of us still thought of computers as glorified typewriters". Primo, also the executive director of the South Africa-based Women’sNet, outlines some issues, challenges and plans that stand before APC.
Out of college, at a time when most young people would like just to have a good time, Rudi von Staden (27) is onto something vastly different. He believes his tech skills can really make a difference to those working for social change in southern Africa. This representative of an APC member organisation shares his vision and mission with APCNews editor Frederick Noronha.
You’ve probably heard of speed-dating: after a two minute chat with a stranger, you decide if you wish to give him or her your phone number for continued contact. Likewise, speed-geeking is a tech introduction-in-a-hurry. Some 11 interesting projects — including APC members — got a chance to introduce themselves to participants of Africa Source II, in January 2006 in Kalangala, a picturesque but really-remote island in Lake Victoria, Uganda.
BBC’s Radio 4 has announced an appeal for cash donations to Computer Aid International (CAI). Meanwhile, this APC member is also launching a Kenya Cycle Challenge, which encourages volunteers to "cycle from the foot of Mount Kenya to the shores of Lake Victoria" in February 2006 in support of CAI’s work with Kenyan secondary schools. Computer Aid is looking for participants for what it calls a "trip of a lifetime". Besides cycling for hundreds of kilometres across "one of the beautiful landscapes on earth", participants also get a chance to visit schools benefitting from the project, along the way. Details from kenyachallenge @ computeraid.org
Projects from Brazil and Chile
that seek to include the disadvantaged in the realm of benefits brought about by information and communication technologies (ICTs) have emerged as joint winners of the APC Betinho Communications Prize 2005.