APCNews No. 77 August 2007

APCNews, the monthly newsletter of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
August 2007 No. 77
—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-
—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-

BLUELINK, Bulgaria: Bloggers intimidated as wave of environmental protests hits Bulgaria

The Bulgarian police has called in bloggers and pressured them to stop writing about the recent wave
of environmental protests that has swept across the country in the recent weeks. While the issue is hot
in Bulgaria and broadly covered by the Bulgarian press, APC’s member in Bulgaria believes this deserves to go global. – APC blog

BYTES FOR ALL, South Asia: Global Information Society Watch report launched in Dhaka

The Global Information Society Watch report was launched on the sideline of a discussion meeting called
‘Reviewing the progress of WSIS action plan in Bangladesh’, organised by Bytesforall Bangladesh and other partner organisations. APC’s Uruguayan member, ITeM, has produced the GISW report, which monitors the information society revolution and sheds light on Bangladesh’s country case. – BytesForAll Bangladesh

PROTEGE QV, Cameroon: Two radio stations experiment with a brand new multimedia resource kit

Nearly 70% of households in Cameroon have a radio set. APC-Cameroon member PROTEGE QV intends to place information at the disposal of the urban and rural women, particularly by means of radio broadcasting programmes. With their latest project oriented towards small businesses run by women, representatives of PROTEGE QV carried out a field trip earlier this year to rural localities in western Cameroon to hand-over material to two radio stations and promote their Multimedia Resource Kit. – PROTEGE QV

WOMEN’SNET, South Africa: New generation of cell phones to address underdevelopment?

A rapid assessment, commissioned by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in South Africa and implemented by APC member Women’sNet, has just been released. The document provides baseline data that will inform a strategy to launch a new generation of cell phone technologies to address underdevelopment and in particular HIV/AIDS. Read our correspondent’s article “Did you say cell phones for development?” or the full 64-page assessment. – APCNews

WOMEN’SNET, South Africa: BaseBox is out! Free software tools for your non-profit

Tactical Tech and APC member Women’sNet are pleased to announce the web launch of the latest edition of NGO-in-a-box, the BaseBox. The BaseBox is a collection of tools for the day-to-day running of small to medium sized NGOs. It aims to make it easier to set up base, find the right software and learn how to use it. Targeted primarily at activist and advocacy organisations in developing countries, the BaseBox contains a set of peer-reviewed free and open source software tools, with associated guides and tutorials. The edition can be accessed online but its primary form is as a physical box set of CDs. – Women’sNet

—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-


APC’S LATEST ANNUAL REPORT: 2006 – Open Access for All

Training communities to set up wireless internet access points using empty tin cans, “taking back the tech!” to combat violence against women and keeping the focus of the world’s governments on the importance of affordable internet access. Read APC’s new annual report for 2006 in English, French and Spanish. As usual a large section of the report features achievements from APC members on five continents from 2006, including:
·ESLARED, Venezuela: Wireless connection world record
·FANTSUAM FOUNDATION, Nigeria: Technology provides vulnerable children with a support line in Nigeria
·LABORNET, USA: Labour and the digital revolution
·STRAWBERRYNET, Romania: Raising awareness of ICT policy impact on Romanians’ lives
·WOMENSHUB, Philippines: For overseas migrant workers, emergency assistance is just one SMS away

Download the APC Annual Report 2006 from http://www.apc.org/books in pdf format. The report is also available in Spanish and for the first time, in French.
http://www.apc.org/books/apc_ar2006_EN.pdf [English, 3.0 MB]
http://www.apc.org/books/apc_ar2006_ES.pdf [Spanish]
http://www.apc.org/books/apc_ar2006_FR.pdf [French]

APC FOSS PRIZE: Announcing the finalists of the APC Chris Nicol free software prize 2007

In September, APC will award the $4,000 USD prize to up to three of the outstanding initiatives mentioned below that are making it easy for people to start using free and open source software (FOSS). The seven Chris Nicol FOSS Prize finalists in 2007 currently under consideration by an international jury of experts are: Extramadura’s Technological Literacy and Free Software Plan, in Spain; Free Geek from the USA; Gleducar from Argentina; KLDP from South Korea; MetaReciclagem from Brazil; NepaLinux from Nepal and Saregune from Spain. – SU&CB

—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-


During June and July 2007, APC member Alternatives and its partners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) finalised a major independent study. This policy document, which was presented to DRC’s authorities in early August, is expected to make a major contribution to the development of an internet backbone for this Central African country. APCNews translated the press release of the launch, and carried out two interviews with leading researchers in this month’s DRC special coverage.

DRC SPECIAL COVERAGE: Alternatives reveals the first independent study on an internet infrastructure that can serve the entire country

The NGO Alternatives revealed the first independent feasibility study on the implementation of a vast high-speed internet infrastructure the size of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Carried out by Congolese and international researchers, the study proposes, in particular, that the implementation of the internet network be carried out in partnership with the Congolese National Electricity Company. – Alternatives

DRC SPECIAL COVERAGE: No electric infrastructure, no internet backbone?

Within the perspective of making high-speed internet accessible to the Congolese people, the development of an internet backbone in the Congo seems to be a necessity that could give an immediate boost. On Tuesday 7 August 2007, the feasibility study for an open internet backbone in the DRC was officially revealed in Kinshasa. APCNews quizzed Alphonse Ntita, a specialist in ICTs and internet infrastructure issues, who is part of the team of researchers behind the study. – APCNews

DRC SPECIAL COVERAGE: Developing the net in co-ownership

“Feasibility study for an open internet backbone in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, this is what the ripened fruit has been called for close to a year by a team of seasoned researchers. François Ménard is one of those who were hands on in this exhaustive study. He is a project manager with the Canadian firm Xit Télécom. APCNews interviewed him on the subject of deploying a high-speed internet in Congo. – APCNews

INTERVIEW: A technology entrepreneur joins APC’s policy team in Africa

Coura Fall is enterprising, dynamic, knows the media and has knocked around with all sorts of acronyms. One of these is ICT, used to refer to information and communication technology. Coura is preparing to give us an earful of these three letters in her new appointment as Africa ICT policy coordinator for the Association for Progressive Communications. Her first objective is to advocate for a broader access to ICTs, in particular to the internet. This, she says, will primarily be pursued by partnering with civil society, governments and the private sector for developing internet infrastructure in Africa. – APCNews

—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-


BOOK REVIEW: Media in central African conflicts: A difficult choice between impartiality and propaganda

Information has become a powerful weapon that can be manipulated during times of conflict. This was seen again in central Africa between 1993 and 1994, as revealed by Sylvie Niombo of APC-Africa-Women in her analysis of the work, The media and conflicts in Central Africa, edited by Marie-Soleil Frère and published in 2007 by the Panos Institute of Paris. – APCNews

—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-


ARTICLE: Mental gym at the GEM exchange

GEM speaks to people, said Sarah Earl, an evaluation specialist attending a workshop to improve what’s been coined as the Gender Evaluation Methodology. More than an evaluation theory, GEM is a “development theory,” commented Earl who, along with over 40 ICT practitioners from around the world, took part in a training exchange in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the end of July 2007. – APC WNSP

ARTICLE: ICT and development: The eyes we see the world through

Through evaluations we can measure to what extent our work is contributing our bit, our grain of sand, in the struggle for a better world. The APC women’s programme took this premise to heart when it developed the Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM). At the end of July women and men from around the world gathered in Kuala Lumpur to share their experiences with the use of GEM in particular and evaluations in general. One of the lessons learned was… – APCNews

ARTICLE: Making a good thing better: Adapting GEM to software localisation

The Gender Evaluation Methodology for internet and ICTs (GEM) changes the way development projects look at gender, project planning and achievements. Sana Gul, from the PAN Localization Project says GEM “transformed our entire concept of when and where gender should be taken into consideration.” Localisation efforts sometimes get labelled as “gender neutral” because they focus on software – translating software to local languages and contexts. But that’s hardly the end of the story. – APC WNSP


ANALYSIS I: Revolution in ICT infrastructure: Hope for the Ghanaian woman

In the area of telecommunications, Ghana appears to perform relatively well in relation to its neighbours in the West-African region. How does it fare in terms of ensuring that gender concerns are taken into consideration whilst promoting ICTs for development? Emily Nyarko examines this question through a closer look at the Strategic Document for ICT and Gender in the national ICT policy agenda. – GenderIT.org

ANALYSIS II: ‘Wanting to’ versus ‘Being able to’: The rhetoric of access to the information society

Uruguay has one of the highest rates of internet coverage in Latin America, but studies that demonstrate this fact is gender-blind. So what have been the experiences of Uruguayan women with new technologies in relation to the three basic dimensions of any digital inclusion initiative, connectivity, education and infrastructure? – GenderIT.org

ANALYSIS III: New technologies and women in Arab countries: a forest of concepts, a complex reality

Natalia Fernández-Diaz identifies the difficulties of understanding feminist concerns regarding the needs and potential benefits of emerging technologies in what is usually known as ‘Arab countries’. Locating the relationship between women and ICTs in women’s movements, Fernández-Diaz interrogates the concepts of technologists, producers, users, victims and indirect beneficiaries in this complex political, geographical and imaginary terrain. – GenderIT.org

REPORT LAUNCH: GenARDIS engenders adoption of ICTs, finds freshly baked report

“This prize will be of great help to us in building our capacity to promote the rights of women farmers through the demystification of new ICTs, and through gender advocacy,” said a GenARDIS participant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A couple of months down the road, the GenARDIS project has made much progress. An evaluation to assess the achievements of the GenARDIS grants carried out with grantees and honourable mentions in 2006 was just released. The report found that these small grants are making “important inroads in the ICT for development field” in African, Caribbean and the Pacific countries and “consciously encourage and engender the adoption and application of ICT.”
Download the report summary (pdf, 417 kb), including key recommendations, or the entire report (pdf, 3.2 mb) from the GenARDIS website. – GenARDIS


Harambee (pronounced haram-BAY) means “pulling together” in the most widely spoken language of sub-Saharan Africa: Swahili. The word Harambee captures the efforts invested to build and maintain communities.

The Association for Progressive Communications not only uses the term, it also celebrated it in March 2007. In releasing the list of successful applicants in one of its small grants initiatives, APC’s women programme in Africa injected some real-life into the motto online. Harambee small grants are offered to better equip Africa-based networks to play a lead role in development dialogues and actions affecting them. Six applicants out of the original 200+ walked away with a grant that highlights their networking activities.

APC’s writers have profiled all six Harambee grantees of 2007 over the last three months.

VIVA NETWORK: Harambee small grant helps Viva Network Africa put the net into networking

RÉSEAU SIDA: The fight against HIV/AIDS armed with blogs, wikis and emails in Congo-Brazzaville

ITOCA: Ever heard of soil health? If not, networking is taking it to your front door

MEKELLE CHILD CENTERED FORUM: A little goes a longer way with ICT-based networking in Ethiopia

DSI.org: Overcoming the orphan curse with ICTs in Uganda

BLOGS FOR AFRICAN WOMEN: BAW get Nigerian women hooked on technology

—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-


Developing Telecoms: Updates on low-cost laptops, EASSy, WSIS
By Alec Barton, May 08, 2006

ICT, Cable, Telephony, Global: The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) publishes a lively newsletter called APCNews. The latest issue contains features which many Developing Telecoms readers may find useful in keeping up to date with some of the issues we have been reporting on over the last few months… – Developing Telecoms

—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-


ENGAGEMEDIA are very excited to announce the release of Plumi, a free software video sharing platform. Plumi enables you to create a sophisticated video sharing and community site out-of-the-box. In a web landscape where almost all video sharing sites keep their distribution platform under lock and key Plumi is one contribution to creating a truly democratic media.

FREE download of documentaries on human rights issues.

ICT Update Magazine latest issues tackle ‘Podcasting’ and ‘Refurbished Computers’ from all sides. The magazine has also completely redesigned its website.

REPORTING SKILLS: AN e-learning package for development professionals was launched by United Kingdom charity ELD. The Reporting Skills and Professional Writing Handbook: a self study programme for development professionals is meant to benefit field workers, managers and consultants working with development projects of all sectors.

—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-


Makerere University in Uganda is launching a new bi-annual journal called The International Journal of Computing and ICT Research (IJCIR).

BFES, Bangladesh: Amader Gram fellowship announcement – 2008
The Amader Gram (Our Villages) project is a pilot scheme in twenty villages of south-west Bangladesh by providing appropriate knowledge and ICT intervention that facilitates both skill transfer and employment creation. The Amader Gram ICT for development project is offering fellowships for the year 2008. Interested students can send their request by 30 August 2007. – BFES

—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-


EPEAT, the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool is a system to help purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, notebooks and monitors based on their environmental attributes.

‘A Race to the Bottom: Privacy Ranking of Internet Service Companies’

Baobab Health Partnership was founded by Gerry Douglas and Dr. Thuy Bui in late 2000 as a direct result of their work with the health care system in Malawi between 1995 and 1997. Baobab’s first project was the development of a touchscreen-based patient management information system in the paediatric department of Lilongwe’s main hospital.

—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-


You can meet up with APC and/or APC WNSP (APC women’s programme) representatives at the events below during the next two months. Write to events@apc.org to obtain contact information. See you there!

AUGUST 25-29: Women’s Electronic Network Training (WENT) 2007 on digital storytelling
Durban, South Africa

AUGUST 31st – SEPTEMBER 2: European Digital Rights Initiative (EDRI) data retention meeting and annual general meeting
Berlin, Germany

SEPTEMBER 3: Internet Governance Forum consultation
Geneva, Switzerland

SEPTEMBER 4-5: Global Information Society Watch partner meeting
Geneva, Switzerland

SEPTEMBER 6-8: Building Communications Opportunities partner meeting
Berne, Switzerland

SEPTEMBER 9-13: Digital Citizens Indaba on Blogging and Highway Africa: Quality and Professionalism in Journalism and the Media: the case for New Media
Grahamstown, South Africa

SEPTEMBER 10-14: SAT-3 submarine cable workshop and first WATRA/ECOWAS mobile roaming conference and exhibition
Abuja, Nigeria

SEPTEMBER 10-14: Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC) meeting. ICT sessions: Regional telecentres encounter, UN interagencial meetings, eLAC2007 coordination meeting.
Santiago, Chile

SEPTEMBER 17-21: GEM Workshop, Research Centre for Women’s Action (CIPAF) and the National commission for the Information Society
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

SEPTEMBER 21-23: European feminist forum programming meeting, IIAW,
Warsaw, Poland

SEPTEMBER 23-28: AFRINIC open policy meeting
Durban, South Africa

SEPTEMBER 24-27: Technical Centre for Agricultural Development (CTA) meeting: International Conference Web2ForDev 2007
Roma, Italy

OCTOBER 5-7: Strategic planning workshop on gender and Information Society Policies – UN Global Alliance for ICT and development GAID community of expertise on gender and policy related event
Bangalore, India

OCTOBER 5-6: Latin American & the Caribbean regional preparatory meeting for the LAC ministerial conference for the Information Society
Buenos Aires, Argentina

—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —-
APCNews, in English, and APCNoticias, in Spanish, are distributed monthly by APC — a worldwide network supporting the use of internet and ICTs for social justice and sustainable development since 1990.

Subscribe to APCNews: http://lists.apc.org/mailman/listinfo/apcnews
Visit the APCNews archive: http://www.apc.org/english/news/apcnews/
Contact APCNews: apcnews [at] apc.org

Some rights reserved: Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
Association for Progressive Communications (APC), 2007

APC Forum is a meeting place for the APC community – people and institutions who are or have been involved in collaboration with APC, and share the APC vision – a world in which all people have easy, equal and affordable access to the creative potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve their lives and create more democratic and egalitarian societies.

Sign in to APC.org