Based in the UK, Computer Aid the largest and most experienced non-profit in the world which supplies professionally refurbished computers to not-for-profit organisations in developing countries. They have provided over 25,000 quality computers to progressive organisations in the South working to bring about social and economic change. This year, Computer Aid is focusing their work on less-developed countries and to increase provision to and via rights based organisations and women-led initiatives. They also plan to focus on training and computer refurbishment as a means for self sustainability. Computer Aid is APC’s first new member of 2004!
Alternatives –the Action and Communication Network for International Development- joined APC in November 2003. Alternatives is based in Montreal, Canada, and works on a regional, national and international level with non-governmental organisations defending the interests of vulnerable populations; specifically, labourers, women and young people constructing a more environmentally conscious, humane and democratic society.
New intellectual property law forces Cambodians to start developing their own Khmer-language software
“We envision, in 2007, a country where Cambodians can learn and use computers in their own language, a country that does not have to change to a new language in order to use computers!” say the activists behind the new KhmerOS initiative. Until now, computer use in Cambodia has been mostly in English, and mostly using unlicensed copies of Microsoft Windows products. However, a new Cambodian intellectual property law means that a user will have to purchase a license for each copy of software sold by companies such as Microsoft and that’s unaffordable for most Cambodian computer users. This new portal coordinated by APC member, Open Forum of Cambodia, gets together some previously isolated developers and is starting out by providing Khmer translations of well-known free software programmes such as Mozilla (the powerful web browser and mail programme). But the eventual goal is to create a full applications package under GNU/Linux, "which has 90% of all applications which 100% of all users need". Find out more about the motivation behind KhmerOS.
Women’sNet, an APC member in South Africa, is hosting a regional workshop to be held in Johannesburg in February which will bring together women’s organisations, government officials, and gender and development practitioners and researchers, involved in gender and information and communication projects and initiatives.
Since 1997, Intercom – Ecuanex, APC member in Ecuador, has published ‘Conexión’ a newsletter featuring resources and news on the use of internet for the democratisation of communication and human development. Now since edition no. 58, thanks to the support of the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD), Conexion will be getting a face-lift which will include full-colour printing and new in-depth sections. Published three times a year and with an increased distribution, Intercom will broaden its ICT for development coverage. Visit Conexion.
Kenya needs a workable and all-inclusive ICT policy and this is only possible through a partnership approach. This was the conclusion of a stakeholder’s forum held in Nairobi in November 2003 that brought together members of the government, the private sector and civil society organizations interested in ICT policy issues to deliberate on an all inclusive information society in Kenya and Kenya’s participation at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
CEPES, one of APC’s newest members, has trained participants in a rural-urban information service to set up a portal and exchange agricultural information from six telecentres in a remote area of the northern Peruvian sierras. A replication of the course is being organised for staff at the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture’s offices in the same region. The technology of choice is APC’s free software, APC ActionApps.
Reports and news on the fourth edition of the World Social Forum, which had its venue for the first time in Asia. This year the Forum, held in Mumbai, focused on imperialist globalization, religious sectarianism, identity politics and fundamentalism, castes, racism and social exclusion, patriarchy and militarization.
The conference addressed the challenges and opportunities of the creation and use of free / open source software and open content and their development potential for Africa. The conference had both strategic and practical objectives, as it sought to bring together participants from government, education, business and civil society together with the developer community.
Nineteen women from all over India participated in the Women’s Electronic Network Training Workshop in India (WENT-IN) where they trained in planning effective web-based information services, and in using online communication tools to advance their networking and advocacy work.
APC ActionApps allows anyone to publish online without knowing any programming or learning specialised software. It’s a content management system design specifically for progressive organisations. And because it is being developed and adopted all over the world APC ActionApps software is available in English, Spanish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Romanian, Japanese and German. Find out more about the ActionApps!
APC takes you through the main events in the run-up to the first World Summit on the Information Society phase in Geneva 2003 from the perspective of civil society representatives.
A UN summit designed to shrink the technology gap between rich and poor nations has ended with agreement on lofty principles, but no commitments to practical measures.
An international group of independent researchers attending the Word Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) has revealed important technical and legal flaws, relating to data protection and privacy, in the security system used to control access to the UN Summit. The system not only fails to guarantee the promised high levels of security but also introduces the ery real possibility of constant surveillance of the representatives of the civil society.
"How information and communication policy is decided today will shape the future of contemporary societies," says APC in a new book presented at last week’s World Summit on the Information Society.
APCNews asked the editor of APC’s new book "ICT Policy: A Beginner’s Handbook" Chris Nicol to comment briefly on motivation behind the handbook which was published in December.
APC’s partner IPS (InterPress Service) sent a letter of complaint to the Secretary General of the ITU (organisers of last week’s World Summit on the Information Society) following the removal of many hundreds of their independent newspapers, Terra Viva, by Tunisians trying to suppress criticism of their government. The same people were disrupting meetings critical of the Tunisian human rights record, including the World Forum on Communication Rights which also took place last week in Geneva.
Carlos Afonso, Director of Planning at APC member in Brazil, RITS (Rede de Informações para o Terceiro Setor – Information Network for the Third Sector) left government delegates clear during his speech on behalf of civil society at the Plenary Session of the World Summit on the Information Society that "digital inclusion [..] will only be possible with the decisive support of a national public policy, in partnership with civil society." Carlos’s powerful speech was delivered spontaneously and without notes and translated into English by APC.
At a conference this afternoon, civil society representatives presented an ‘alternative’ declaration to the official Declaration expected to be approved by the world’s governments tomorrow at the final day of the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva.
The civil society declaration
called “Shaping information societies for human needs” was needed because the process has constantly been disillusioning and frustrating said representatives at the heavily-attended conference. They recognised that some impact was made on the official WSIS Declaration especially involving the vision and the principles, which were previously technocratic and have become more human-centred. However, the civil society declaration goes further, calling for information societIES that are free from discrimination, violence and hatred, and based on a framework of social, political and economic justice and a more equitable distribution of resources.
The Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) held the Awards Ceremony for the winners of the awards for gender, youth, media and poverty reduction. During the Awards Ceremony, APC executive director, Anriette Esterhuysen, and Women’s Programme coordinator, Chat Garcia Ramilo, announced the winners of the Gender and ICT Awards on behalf of APC.