When the world meets up at Tunisia, in coming November, during the World Summit on the Information Society, this meet signals global recognition that information and communication technologies can play a major role in social and economic development and contribute significantly towards poverty alleviation. South Africa’s civil society takes a look at the focus and objectives of the WSIS.
APC member RITS was concerned that introducing telecentres in the Amazon would snuff out the traditional culture. But they report, “the opposite has happened”. The locals have embraced this new world on the internet, “have succeeded in better identifying who there are and now want to launch community sites to present their reality to the world.” Two telecentres are now running on the banks of the Tapajós River and another telecentre is planned. But there are other new developments in the air. – RITS
Synesthesia Urbania is a collaborative audio/visual public performance integrating mobile devices, a multilingual multimedia online workspace (moblog), collective copyright licensing and a custom 3D performance engine. Participants from Seoul will encounter those from Melbourne in this innovatively-charted out event.
By a (legal) sleight of hand, the European Parliament 2003 vote against software patents has been effectively overturned, allowing monopoly control over the critical tools of an ‘information society’. This threatens both the free and unhindered access to information, and even free speech.
APC’s new member WOUGNET, the Women of Uganda Network, is seen as well thought of within the women’s movement in that country. It works actively to support grassroots involvement in ICTs and facilitate access to information to those not connected. WOUGNET works out of a country where there is much to do regarding ICTs.
APC’s new member Ungana-Afrika is a non-profit organisation that provides technology support, and helps others initiate technology support programs, within the development community of Southern Africa. Their work includes incubation of ICT capacity building programs, in-house ICT programs, and individual projects.
A Venezuelan organisation with a reputation for its high-level technical training in ICTs for over a decade in Latin America has joined the APC as member, raising hopes for enhanced reach and credibility for both sides of the new partnership in the region.
In Peru, the internet acts like fertilizer in the field. Or, you could say it helps to harvest information needed about sowing operations in a timely and far more accurate manner. This promises to bring home some benefits to poor farmers working on a subsistence model.
ANNOUNCING THE APC BETINHO COMMUNICATIONS PRIZE IN 2005: Community connectivity for economic development in Latin America and th
In 2005, the APC Betinho Prize will be offered in recognition of community initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean that use the internet and other networks to access markets, skills and opportunities to derive real economic benefits.
We are looking for ICT initiatives that:
- make a positive economic contribution to the community
- are driven and developed in Latin America and the Caribbean
- can demonstrate a sustainable use of technology
As civil society organizations increasingly use personal computers and online communication tools, they are becoming prone to ever-advancing threats ranging from malware (viruses, spyware or adware, spam, phishing), to digital surveillance and interception, and even the seizure of equipment. Development organisations in Asia recently faced up to the challenge.
Stanford professor of law Lawrence Lessig visits Brazil, and comes back with this fascinating story explaining how the ideals and inspiration of Free Software is giving rise to Free Culture. Lessig describes what risks and threats come along with the new strategies to spread regulation in the digital world, in a long but fascinating write-up.
APC members in the Philippines, the Foundation for Media Alternatives, took the lead in a consultative workshop on the national leg of the information society summit. While welcoming the workshop, it also spoke out to voice concern that the first national summit of May 2004 had not been taken seriously by the government, with very few discussions held last year.
Local content; community broadcasting; freedom of expression, diversity and pluralism; financing the digital divide; education and ICT literacy; and gender and ICTs — what role should these issues play at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)? In South Africa, a June-end 2005 meet seeks to provide an opportunity for civil society organisations (CSOs) to reflect on WSIS issues.
"A project offering business skills to impoverished Kenyan youths has been recognised with a prestigious award. Computer and software skills play a key part of the training," says the BBC in this report on the APC Hafkin Prize winner just announced on May 26.
THE WINNER OF THE APC AFRICA HAFKIN COMMUNICATIONS PRIZE 2004-5: Global Education Partnership - Wundanyi, Kenya
For young people living in poverty in coastal Kenya, surfing the internet and learning how to use computers make most sense when these skills mean better economic opportunities and work-readiness. In recognition of this, APC announced on May 26 that the winner of the APC Africa Hafkin Communications Prize for 2004-5 is the Global Education Partnership – Wundanyi in Kenya.
"If it were not for GEP, I would not have learned to use a computer," Jostinah Wawasi, a former GEP student told APC. "After GEP I joined a local university and majored in Economics. As a young woman living in Wundanyi, Kenya, this was not a usual career. My GEP experience helped me understand my talents and abilities. After graduation, I became a consultant in Wundanyi for a major agriculture project where I have helped my community members to set up savings and credit societies."
Free software offers various ‘freedoms’. But in India, enthusiasts are working on a new one — the freedom to build bridges to potential partners from half-way across the globe, and facing similar developmental concerns or challenges.
Where does gender intersect with information and communication technologies (ICTs)? Such issues are far less theoretical and abstract than they first seem, if you go by how participants responded at a Cairo workshop on a methodology called GEM. A report from APC WNSP.
APC members in Cairo, ArabDev (http://www.arabdev.org) is taking Free and Open Source Software to the disadvantaged south of Egypt. Students ask "who and how" made the software programmes. When shown a long list of names, they ask, "All these?" Thinking of programmers as normal people, not masters of some secret magical lore, could make a differnce to the thinking of these citizens of tomorrow.
Rosario — one of Argentina’s three most-populous cities — sees computer literacy as its citizens’ passport to accessing the job-market. Residents of its western district voted to finance a computer training project, and APC member Nodo TAU was handed the challenge of training the trainers.
First released two years ago, a toolkit created by a partnership initiative led by UNESCO and coordinated by APC, has been found useful in "meeting a previously unmet need" by 87.4% of users questioned. It focusses on the needs of those working in grass-roots communication and information activities.