APCNews No. 75 May 2007

APCNews, the monthly newsletter of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) May 2007 No. 75
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C2O, Australia: APC.au, sailing with changing times and moving with the surf

Grant McHerron always has a joke and formidable technical skills to share. Or so it was when APCNews
ran into APC.au’s technical director in Sydney, Australia, during the APC’s Asia-Pacific members
meeting, held in mid-April 2007. – APCNews

JINBONET, South Korea: Opposition to draft legislation on “Communication Data Retention”

The South Korean parliament is discussing a dangerous revision of the “Protection of Communications Secrets Act”. The revision would legally enforce telecommunications companies and internet service providers (ISPs) to retain ‘communications data’. Do people agree with this? APC-member in South Korea, Jinbonet, thinks not. International civil society organisations think not. They endorsed a letter of protest that was sent to the South Korean parliament – Jinbonet

UNGANA-AFRIKA, South Africa: Team of social techies moving across southern Africa

To address the current information and communication technologies capacity crisis most development
organisations are facing, APC-member Ungana-Afrika will be expanding and strengthening the network of development sector oriented ICT consultants, eRiders, across the southern African region. – Ungana-Afrika

WOUGNET, Uganda: Ugandan women network launches a book about ICT-based entrepreneuship

Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) launches Women’s ICT-based Enterprises Handbook and a CD entitled “A Guide to Promote, Initiate and Improve Women’s ICT Based Enterprises in Uganda”. The APC-member WOUGNET published the multilingual document in English and two local languages. – WOUGNET

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THREE NEW APC MEMBERS: In April 2007, three new members joined the APC family. For this occasion, the Association for Progressive Communications has grown to 48 members in total. BFES from Bangladesh, Protégé QV from Cameroon and Metamorphosis from Macedonia are presented here succinctly. APCNews will continue covering the APC members so as to count on in-depth analysis of their many projects.

BFES, Bangladesh: Bangladesh Friendship Education Society becomes new APC member

Bangladesh Friendship Education Society (BFES) is a non-government development organisation based in Bangladesh. It was established in 1993 and its mission is to promote educational projects in rural areas. – APCNews

PROTEGE QV, Cameroon: PROTEGE QV, the first central african member at APC

PROTEGE QV is a group of people who are passionate about educating and promoting youth, women and leaders so that they can play their roles as citizens in full. The Yaoundé-based APC-member who brings the number of francophone members at APC to three, herewith catalyses innovative solutions, good practices to those who are in need, rural populations and women particularly. – APCNews

METAMORPHOSIS, Macedonia: Metamorphosis, a think and do tank

Metamorphosis is a think and do tank from Macedonia, gathering experts and activists devoted to the
development of an information society, which we see as crucial element in bettering people’s lives.
Most of the people currently involved rely on a background in the IT industry and the NGO sector,
but in general, we favour an interdisciplinary approach and broad involvement of stakeholders. APCNews
interviewed Bardhyl Jashari, director of this newest APC-member. – APCNews

REMINDER APC POOL OF WRITERS: Two job announcements, one pool, one day left to apply!

APCNews and GenderIT.org are building a pool of writers to contribute on a freelance basis. We are
interested in working with writers from all continents. APC is a virtual network and in general most
of our research and interviews are done online. Read the details and send your application
before May 15, 2007. – APCNews

WIRELESS NETWORKING: Technical training scholarships offered

Applications are now being accepted until May 18 for technical training scholarships that will cover
expenses for attending the first workshop of the TRICALCAR project. This community based wireless
networks project is initiated by APC-members in South America. The workshop will be held in Huaral,
Peru from July 16 to 21, 2007. – APC

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ACCESS TO INFORMATION ARTICLE: ‘All rights reserved’ not the only option for documentary filmmakers

Documentary filmmakers take note: there are other ways in which you can choose to distribute your films.
Rather than the all-rights-reserved approach of the copyright world, take a look on the creative side. – APCNews

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LOW-COST TECHNOLOGY SERIES: Every month until year’s end, APC offers an insight into strategic use aspects of technology. The use of low-cost technologies in developing countries should be promoted and implemented as a matter of priority. Low-cost technology can be backbone or light-weight infrastructure, hardware and software.

APC concentrates its policy advocacy work and strategic use efforts on the infrastructural challenges
facing ‘developing’ countries. But, this does not mean that hardware and software issues are not important. For this reason, we aim at providing you with a comprehensive picture of all the facets that enter into play when we talk about low-cost technology.

To explain the different aspects of low-cost technology, we kick the series off with a special coverage of
cell phone technology in two ‘developing’ country contexts. Short messaging services in South Africa and the growing use of GrameenPhone in Bangladesh are the topics of the month.

WOMENSNET, South Africa: Cell phones in the fight against HIV/AIDS

Considering the demographic overlap between those most affected by HIV/AIDS and cell phone users, it only makes sense that a major focus be put on how this low-cost technology can fight this deadly pandemic. APC-member Women’sNet recently engaged in a UNICEF-driven speed assessment of fifteen projects that apply cell phones towards development objectives in Africa, with a particular focus on HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care. – APCNews

LOW-COST TECHNOLOGY BOOK REVIEW: Gold in the mud unleashed through ‘inclusive’ capitalism?

In 1993, Bangladesh was considered a no-go zone by foreign investors. Foreign direct investment in the
country totalled USD 3 million that year. Today, it has multiplied to around USD 1 billion, three quarters
of which feeds the telecommunications industry. How did foreign investment skyrocket in such a short period of time? The answer lies in the story of the GrameenBank, if we are to believe Nicholas P. Sullivan, author of You Can Hear Me Now: How Microloans and Cell Phones are Connecting the World’s Poor to the Global Economy. – APCNews

LOW-COST TECHNOLOGY INTERVIEW: “IT spreads throughout society at all levels, and is not concentrated in the hands of a few”

APCNews interviewed Nicholas P. Sullivan, author of ‘You Can Hear Me Now: How Microloans and Cell Phones are Connecting the World’s Poor to the Global Economy’, a book published in February 2007 by Jossey-Bass. Sullivan argues that ‘inclusive’ capitalism, combined with the external combustion engine are better approaches to development than foreign aid. Do you agree? – APCNews

MEDIA & ICT INTERVIEW: Radical question: Can alternative media get a push from new technology?

On the sidelines of the OURMedia conference held in Sydney, Australia, in mid-April 2007, John D.H. Downing spoke to APCNews. The professor of international communications at the South Illinois University in the USA, explained where his critique of the media intersects with the possibilities opened up by information and communication technologies. – APCNews


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 will offer you the profiles of the six Harambee grantees of 2007 over the next three months.
This month, APCNews zooms in on the “Diary Project” in Uganda and the “Blogs for African Women” out of Nigeria.

Réseau Sida Afrique, Congo: Fighting HIV/Aids with blogs, wikis and electronic mail

Often, people working in prevention of HIV/Aids experience difficulties in gaining an overview of successes and failures of HIV/Aids programmes in the most affected countries. The key information about vulnerable segments of the population who are not yet enrolled in these programmes is generally absent. It is around these two reasons that Réseau Sida Afrique’s work revolves. APCNews asked some questions to Lydie Diaboungana of the secretariat of the network, located in Brazzaville, in the Congo. Chronicle of a tough fight with the help of ICTs. – APCNews

ITOCA, South Africa/Zimbabwe: Ever heard of soil health? If not, networking is taking it to you front door

The Information Training & Outreach Centre for Africa (ITOCA) is a capacity building organisation for librarians, information specialists, scientists, researchers and students of sub-Saharan Africa. Better said, it assists them in mastering information and communication technology. APCNews talked to Gracian Chimwaza, executive director of ITOCA, about the organisation’s latest project aimed at groups working on ‘soil health’. The goal? Help them locate and access information cost-effectively. – APCNews

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ARTICLE: “If technology were like shoes….” Take Back the Tech gets ready to sprint

Shoes, technology, and violence against women? How do they all get tied together? In 2006, Take Back the Tech called on internet users to examine the connections between violence against women and information and communication technologies (ICTs) and take action during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. – APC WNSP

ARTICLE: More women into IT in the Czech Republic

It’s hard to find women in the IT sector in the Czech Republic so the IBM corporation decided to break with the status quo and bring “Women into IT”. In partnership with the Association for Progressive Communications Women’s Programme, IBM aims to attract more women into the information technology field through a new project aimed at high school girls and women. “Women into IT” features training and gender and IT awareness sessions as well as public round table discussions, in the cities of Prague and Brno. – APC WNSP

WORKSHOP REPORT: Women’s networks for effective communication

Dafne Sabanes Plou is the regional coordinator for Latin America for the APC Women’s Networking Support Programme (WNSP). In mid-March she coordinated the “Building inclusive community networks” workshop in Comodoro Rivadavia, Chubut Province, Argentina, in which women interested in learning about strategic uses of information and communication technologies took part. This is an account of the experience, prepared exclusively for GenderIT.org. – GenderIT.org

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NEW PUBLICATION: APDIP and APC WNSP release publication on Gender and ICT

This publication, with a foreword by Executive Director of UNIFEM, Noeleen Heyzer, looks at information and communications technology (ICT) for development through a gender lens and discusses ICT within a gender equality framework.

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RE:PUBLICA: re:publica, or the blogger pilgrimage to Berlin
By Frédéric Dubois

Re:publica was on in Berlin! This blogger conference is a first for Germany and that might help to explain
its success. More than 600 people showed up already to discuss what tools to use for blogging, what censorship in Egypt implies and what politics 2.0 means. You might want to revisit, or participate for that matter, in re:publica 08. – APC blog

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CAMBODIA MIRROR: The Cambodia Mirror, an interesting publication that collates material from the Khmer press, run by Norbert Klein of APC’s member in Cambodia is now layed out in an online version.

ALTERNATIVES-INTERNATIONAL: APC’s Québec member Alternatives, has engaged in extensive collaborations with similar-minded communication NGOs in several countries. These groups, from places such as Niger, Palestine-Israel or South Africa are social and political movements struggling against neoliberalism, imperialism, social injustice and war. Their common website is full with fresh articles on the topics of the day!

CRISSCROSSED is a blog that aims to explore and develop social changes through communication. It focuses on tools such as internet — it’s impact, potential and challenges it faces within different cultures around the world. Christian Kreutz is the person behind the blog. He is interested in knowledge management and communication and works at the GTZ, the German Technical Cooperation agency.

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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!

MAY 14-25: World Summit on the Information Society action line follow-up meetings and World Information Society Day
Geneva, Switzerland

MAY 14-15: Second facilitation meeting on “Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs” (WSIS action line C5)
Geneva, Switzerland

MAY 16: Joint facilitation meeting on action lines on information and communication infrastructure (C2), capacity building (C4), and enabling environment (C6).
Geneva, Switzerland

MAY 16: Press briefing on the World Information Society Report 2007

MAY 21-25: Annual meeting of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD)
Geneva, Switzerland

MAY 22: Joint meeting of CSTD and the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID)
Geneva, Switzerland

MAY 22: Global Information Society Watch report launch
Geneva, Switzerland

MAY 23: Second facilitation meeting on the action line on the role of public governance authorities and all
stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development (C1)
Geneva, Switzerland

Internet Governance Forum (IGF) consultation meeting
Geneva, Switzerland

MAY 24: Second facilitation meeting on the action line on ICT applications (C7): E-government and e-employment (two parallel meetings)
Second facilitation meeting on the action line on cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and
local content (C8)
Second facilitation meeting on the action line on media (C9)
Geneva, Switzerland

MAY 25: Second facilitation meeting on the action line on ethical dimensions of the information society (C9)
Second action lines facilitators meeting: all action lines

MAY 18: OpenNet Initiative second conference
Oxford, United Kingdom

MAY 18-20: International Summit for Community Wireless Networks
Columbia, Maryland, USA

MAY 21-25: Latin American and Caribbean Internet Address Registry (LACNIC) meeting
Isla Margarita, Venezuela

MAY 27-29: APC Europe member meeting
Barcelona, Catalunya

MAY 28-30: Second international conference on ICT4D, education & training: Building Infrastructures & Capacities to Reach out to the Whole of Africa
Nairobi, Kenya

MAY 30: APC Building Communication Opportunities (BCO) Impact assessment meeting
Barcelona, Catalunya

MAY 31-JUN 2: APC Executive Board meeting
Barcelona, Catalunya

JUNE 3: Reclaim the Web, organised by APC member GreenNet
London, United Kingdom

JUNE 4-6: Regional Workshop ‘Communication Public Policies and the Popular Radio in LAC’ and Public National Forum and Workshop ‘Communication and the Constituent Process in Ecuador’
Quito, Ecuador

JUNE 11-12: Knowledge Management Conference: Influencing Policy and Practice (Gdnet)
Cairo, Egypt

JUNE 15-17: i-Commons second Annual Conference
Dubrovnic, Croatia

JUNE 25-29: ICANN meeting
San Juan, Puerto Rico

JUNE 28-30: Civil Society Forum
Geneva, Switzerland

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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.

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