Highway Africa is the world’s largest conference for African journalists. This year’s three-day meeting
called "Media making the information society" is attended by more than 350 people. The information and communication technology (ICT) focus will provide a platform for journalists to learn and report on information society issues. APC is running workshops on secure online communication workshops and ICT policy. Read news coming out of Highway Africa by visiting the site and clicking on the news box on the left.
Partnership will provide 1000s of low-cost computers for development work in dry lands of East Africa
APC members ALIN-EA and Computer Aid have come together in order to extend low cost PCs to not-for-profit community development groups working in the rural dry lands across East Africa.
The partnership has already shipped 450 fully refurbished Pentium II and Pentium III computers to Nairobi for distribution by ALIN-EA to its member organisations and to wider civil society structures. The intention of the partnership is to be able to provide literally thousands of quality refurbished PCs at the lowest cost possible backed up by a first class technical support service and one year guarantee.
The Fantsuam Foundation provides refurbished computers to civil society organisations and partners, runs computer training centres and offers the only internet connection for hundreds of miles around in rural Nigeria. All this in Kafanchan State where electricity is often unavailable and innovators power their computers using car batteries. The Foundation’s work is supported by a home-grown corps of ICT youth volunteers, the Zitt Geeks. The Geeks are already free software devotees and they are the first participants in Fantsuam’s business incubator which provides training, mentoring and funding to enable enterprising youths to become self-employed.
Bulgarian environmental organisations have formed a coalition protesting the planned construction of a second nuclear power plant in Bulgaria. “The government has already announced that the decision for constructing the plant is made despite the fact that the public hearings and an environmental impact assessment have not been finished,” says a representative of the coalition coordinator, APC member, BlueLink. “We ask governments and civil society groups to contact the Bulgarian government questioning the project.” Campaign volunteers can write to beleNE@bluelink.net or visit the campaign site.
Catalysing a Gender and ICT Advocacy Movement: First APC women’s programme policy conference for change and empowerment
“We are constantly urged to make the case for gender and ICT,” said Karen Banks, former coordinator of the APC Women’s Networking Support Programme in her opening address to the APC WNSP’s first gender and ICT policy conference, “ICT policy makers, funders, governments and even civil society ICT advocates ask ‘why gender?’ and the women’s movement asks ‘why ICTs?’” Analysis of the debates that dominated the two-day meeting in Rio de Janeiro in June now online.
APC member, the Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT), will be organising its first annual "ICTs and Civil Society" conference to take place from 2-4 March 2005 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
From 6-10 September 2004 in Johannesburg, South Africa, APC member Women’sNet hosted a southern Africa-wide workshop to build awareness of and demonstrate the potential use of free and open source software (FOSS) in the non-profit sector, and women’s organisations specifically.
New report: Bridging the Gender Digital Divide – Challenges in Central and Eastern Europe and the ex-Soviet states
A research study “Bridging the Gender Digital Divide: A Report on Gender and Information and Communication Technologies in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS)” produced by UNIFEM in collaboration with UNDP and Lenka Simerska and Katerina Fialova of the APC women’s programme (APC WNSP) reports that women in CEE/CIS share many of the challenges experienced by women in other world regions. But there are also some issues specific to this region that needs to be examined in the context of the legacy of communism and historical and cultural sub-regional diversities.
Every year in the UK approximately 3 million PCs are decommissioned and are no longer in use. A great many of these un-used PCs are in fine working order. Yet, in the developing world 99% of schoolchildren graduate from high school not having seen or touched a computer in the classroom. APC member in the UK, Computer Aid has supplied over 35,000 refurbished PCs to Africa over the past six years and intends to send an additional 25,000 in the next year alone. In June, they signed a partnership agreement with AITEC Africa, Africa’s leading organiser of ICT exhibitions and conferences to provide a framework for co-operation between the two organisations to improve the supply of low-cost computers to African institutions.
One neighbourhood retraces its history through an online archive of web pages, photos, and audio clips. It is a rich telling of anecdotal histories of Aboriginal mounted police, a prisoner of war camp, and more that would otherwise be lost. Another community has built a website to monitor the media regarding development planning that could make or break the community.
Internet domains (such as .uk, .fr) are sold for a profit to any taker, even if the prospective holder does not have any legal binding with the corresponding country. Thus many ccTLDs are no longer identified with their countries on the Internet, having been sold to national or foreign companies for a profit – some are supposed to be identified with some specific sectors of activity instead of countries, just like some sTLDs (sponsored gTLDs, like .aero for example), but in practice accept any registrant from anywhere in the world with a valid credit card.
APC member in London, GreenNet, tells APC about their latest mammoth project. A website for the ESF which will process registration of more than 40,000 attendees, provides logistical information and houses must-read documentation on the issues – in five languages.
The acclaimed book from APC can now be browsed online. First published in soft-back in December 2003, the handbook is for people who want orientation about information and communications technology (ICT) and internet policies, who want to understand how the internet and markets work, the background on policy and regulation, and what’s at stake for ordinary citizens.
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.
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.