APCNews No. 72 February 2007

APCNews, the monthly newsletter of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
February 2007 No. 72
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ARID LANDS INFORMATION NETWORK-EAST AFRICA (ALIN-EA), Kenya: International campaign against Coca-Cola hits WSF

The giant multinational soft-drinks Coca-Cola Company is in trouble, thanks to an international campaign to hold Coca-Cola accountable fordestroying lives, livelihoods and communities. The campaign initiated in India puts pressure on the Coca-Cola Company and links human rights, environmental justice and labour rights. – ALIN-EA WSF coverage: International campaign against Coca-Cola hits WSF

BLUELINK, Bulgaria: Debate over the third sector’s involvement in ICT policy decision-making in Bulgaria

The integration of environmental sustainability in information and communications technology (ICT) policy was a major focus at the national consultation on ICT policy in Bulgaria, led by BlueLink and the State Agency for Information Technology and Communications. The consultation, backed by small grants offered by APC to support national policy consultations in different parts of the world, took place in Sofia on December 13 2006. – BlueLink

BYTES FOR ALL, South Asia: Tragedy as Pakistan police raid and erroneously detain owner of internet phone start-up. Still jailed and his wife suffers miscarriage

Blind use of authority, high-handedness by intelligence agencies, yawning gaps in policies and misleading rules and regulations all converged on Pakistan in early December, when the Federal Investigation Agency and staff of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority raided the offices of small VoIP start-up in Islamabad. Read the full story and join the campaign. – BytesForAll

CEPES, Peru: Huaral Valley: Wireless technology for traditional Peruvian agriculture

Huaral is a coastal valley in Peru with a desert climate where it never rains. But it’s being irrigated by information. CEPES, APC member in Peru is working with farmers to prove that the creative use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) can improve the lives of small-holders in an entire region, if not beyond. APCNoticias (APCNews’ Spanish counterpart) spoke to Maicu Alvarado of CEPES in December 2006 at the Latin American APC members’ meeting about the latest news on this rural development work which has now been underway for six years. – APCNews

INSTITUTE FOR POPULAR DEMOCRACY, Philippines: To the barangay… taking relevant FOSS software to local government

Can free and open source software make a difference to the way in which local government functions in the Philippines? Manila-based Institute for Popular Democracy, an APC-member, believes it can. – APCNews

SANGONeT, South Africa: SANGONeT… attempting a rescue of poorly performing telecentres

APC member SANGONeT features in a recently released report titled South Africa: Rescue Attempt On Poorly Performing Telecentres. In this report released by South Africa’s major business-oriented daily, Business Day, strong criticism of telecentres is advanced. “Of 133 telecentres set up by the Universal Service Agency, many are underused, entirely dysfunctional or have turned into private businesses benefiting the people appointed to run them,” it says, before explaining that “Sangonet, a body that helps development agencies use IT in the communities they serve, is driving the telecentre overhaul.” – APC blog

VOICE, Bangladesh: Hunger… and aid: Shades of the hidden truth from Bangladesh

Monga, is a famine-like situation, most strongly observed in several northern districts of Bangladesh, and has been recurring every year for decades. The two months of monga between September and October are marked by a dire lack of food, due to the absence of non-agricultural employment and the agricultural lean-season coinciding. The misery of millions of poor people for years on end, is, in fact and essentially, not an economic problem but a political one. A new book on this and the politics of aid… released at the WSF by APC’s newest member in Bangladesh, VOICE. – VOICE

WEB NETWORKS, Canada: Canadian non-profit techies make major contribution to Drupal

With the WebFM module, Web Networks, APC-member in Toronto, has made a major contribution at the end of 2006 to the an open source content management system called Drupal. With simple-to-use drag and drop and folder creation and deletion functions, WebFM is increasingly becoming popular with unions and associations like the APC, says Web Network’s executive director, Oliver Zielke. – APCNews

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From January 20 to 25 2007, thousands of people from non-profit organisations, labour unions and self-organised groups joined together to participate in the 7th edition of the World Social Forum. For the first time, it was held on African soil, in Nairobi, Kenya. A team of writers from Kenya, Zambia, Denmark and other locations have provided APC with live coverage, even though communication conditions were especially difficult. Other articles selected here come from the independent press agency Inter Press News Service.

IPS ARTICLE: A tale for two forums

Nairobi and the Swiss resort of Davos are set apart not only physically – ideologically too the Davos economic forum’s belief in conventional “Trickle Down” is a world apart from the WSF’s faith in building
“Another World”. – INTER PRESS NEWS SERVICE http://ipsterraviva.net/TV/Nairobi/en/viewstory.asp?idnews=809

ARTICLE: Slum activism at the WSF

In Punwami there are 35 toilets in total, and four computers. No internet is available, and the computers are mostly used for playing CDs which contain preventive HIV information. Walking around Pumwani, I visit a small para-legal office. Para-legals are people who receive basic training in human rights and the law, in order to give legal advice to other people in the community. – Rikke Frank Jorgensen for APCNews

ARTICLE: Another world is not possible without women

Another world is not possible without women who yesterday demanded for their rights at the ongoing World Social Forum in Nairobi. “We want our rights” chanted the women participating in the women’s rally organised by the Feminist Dialogue Coordinating Group. Over 500 people took part in the march around Kasarani Stadium. – APC WNSP

ARTICLE: Wanted: Toilet-training at the WSF

The private yet very important room! The toilet is one room that every human being — regardless of race, social status or gender — can never avoid. To most people, visiting the washroom requires high degree of secrecy. Yet, often, this secrecy is seldom given priority especially in public places. – Magdaline Nkando in the APC blog

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INTERVIEW: Is Tunisia calm, now that the storm is gone?

In Nairobi, where the World Social Forum 2007 was taking place, Rikke Frank Jorgensen interviewed Souhayr Belhassen, Tunisian activist and outspoken human rights advocate on Tunisia’s current human rights situation since the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS) held in Tunis in November 2005, where Tunisian government targeted non-governmental organisations (NGOs) time and again. “The situation has gotten worse and worse, since the Summit. I think we are being punished for WSIS. It’s hardly possible for us to work anymore. A large number of sites are being blocked, email is not working, phones are cut off, NGOs are harassed, and meetings are prevented from taking place. How can you work under these circumstances?” she asks . Souhayr is losing hope that change will ever happen in Tunisia. And the fact that hope is dying is actually the worst part. – APCNews

REPORT: The power of the internet: UN adopts convention on people living with disabilities in record time

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a landmark disability convention that will benefit ten per cent of the world’s population. “It is the most rapidly negotiated human rights treaty in the history of international law; and the first to emerge from lobbying conducted extensively through the internet” by the community of people living with disabilities, the Secretary-General Kofi Annan said. The convention covers rights to education, health, work and a range of other protective measures for people with disabilities. – UN

ARTICLE: India joins Creative Commons camp of building sharable knowledge

Chair of the global Creative Commons network, Joichi Ito, has welcomed India into the network of countries that offer alternatives to “all rights reserved” approaches of copyright, saying this was a significant country to offer such alternatives. – IANS

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ARTICLE ON THE USE OF DIGITAL AUDIO: Getting a voice in cyberspace

In campaign mode, everyone understands the importance of getting a voice in the media. The problem is, the mainstream media often trivialises or misunderstands your cause. So? You needn’t just sit back and groan. Technology is today increasingly placing the tools in the hands of those who want to wield them. And it’s getting simpler, more affordable and freer all the time. – APCNews

INTERVIEWS: Wireless technology and blogging in Africa

Following an APC-coordinated meeting on wireless internet technology in Africa last December, John Dada from Nigeria and Alaa Ahmed Seif al-Islam of Egypt gave interviews to the BBC World Service. Here they are in mp3 files. Both were broadcasted on the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme in December 2006. – BBC WORLD SERVICE Focus on Africa

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CALL TO ACTION: National gender and ICT policies in Uruguay

In Uruguay, the National Women’s Institute led a consultation process with a range of social actors to develop the first “National Plan for Equal Opportunities and Rights”. One of its chapters specifically includes gender as a strategic priority. “It’s a big step forward on the long journey towards consolidating a national strategy for digital inclusion,” says GenderIT.org contributor Cecilia Gordano. “Nevertheless, the timidity with which this need is addressed leads one to believe that pieces of this puzzle are still missing.” – GenderIT.org

ANALYSIS: Gender and ICT policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Re-thinking ICT development through gender

Lamija Kosovic examines the country’s current ICTs situation in light of post-war reconstruction efforts, particularly to the need to integrate gender concerns by both the women’s national machinery and civil society organisations. – GenderIT.org

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BOOK REVIEW: Challenging The Chip: Labour rights and environmental justice in the global electronics industry

If you believe in the power of technology for our development, here’s a book you just can’t afford to miss. “Challenging The Chip” is a 2006-published book on labour rights and environmental justice in the global electronics industry. The 357-page book is structured in three parts that look at global electronics, environmental justice and labour rights, and electronic waste and extended producer responsibility. – APCNews

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Solomon Islands ICT strategy
This 2003 report by Stork, Leeming, and Biliki was published in the Electronic Journal on Information Systems in Developing Countries. http://www.is.cityu.edu.hk/research/ejisdc/vol12/v12p5.pdf

New Guinea National ICT workshop
This 2004 report by Stork and Leeming was published by the UNDP.

The impact of ICT on rural development
This 2005 report by Chand, Leeming et al. Was published by the University of the South Pacific

BOOK: Towards an inclusive future: Impact and wider potential of information and communication technologies.
This book answers the following question, among others: Why the inclusion of “Design for All” principles in standards will become as commonplace as reference to quality standards.

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MOBILE TECH COLLABORATION: APC-member Ungana-Afrika is setting-up a mobile technology program and looking to partner up. Ungana-Afrika has started implementing the first phase of its capacity building programme focusing on mobile technologies, that will aim at supporting different stakeholders to utilise mobile technologies in their development initiatives. During this phase, a short research study and a high-level programme concept will be implemented. The project is supported by Open Society Foundation for South Africa. Currently Ungana-Afrika is approaching relevant stakeholders and initiatives for future collaboration purposes. Expressions should be sent with a short definition of the organisation/project and your ideas for possible collaboration to info@ungana-afrika.org.
More information: http://www.ungana-afrika.org/projects/mobile.htm

ICT4D COLLABORATIVE REPORT: BytesForAll launches draft report on the use of technology for development in Bangladesh

APC member in South Asia, BytesForAll, has launched its ‘ICT4D Status Report 1.0’, a document looking into the use of information and communication technology for the purpose of development. Areas covered are localisation/open content development, updates on the telecentre movement, access and infrastructure issues, community radio development and e-governance in the context of Bangladesh.

LABOUR RADIO PODCAST: Radio LabourStart has been relaunched in a new and more accessible format

You can now listen to labour radio broadcasts on your PC or mp3 player (such as an Apple iPod). Also, radio LabourStart is set to expand over the next few days and weeks. They are always interested in labour audio material.

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CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Preserve Nature in Bulgaria!
A campaign site, developed by BlueLink, warns citizens of potential threats to protected areas, exposed
nature-destroying projects and provided web-tools for rapid response.

NEW COLLABORATIVE LIBRARY: Online library for practical knowledge launched. Howtopedia, a Swiss non-profit organisation, supported by Practical Action and the International Network for Technical Information (INTI), aims to establish a major collaborative platform for simple technologies. They are convinced that sharing low-tech know-how across borders and organisations is essential for an independent and self-sufficient form of sustainable development.

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FEBRUARY 12-14: ICT policy workshop offered by the APC and the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD)
Cape Town, South Africa

FEBRUARY 13-14: Open consultation of the multisectorial assessment group of the Internet Governance Forum
Geneva, Switzerland

FEBRUARY 27-28: Strategic meeting of the Global Alliance for ICTs and Development (GAID)
Santa Clara, San Francisco, USA

MARCH 26-30: ICANN meeting
Lisbon, Portugal

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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!

FEBRUARY 3-10: APC staff meeting
Cape Town, South Africa

FEBRUARY 12-13: UNESCO Roundtable on Information and communication for development
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

FEBRUARY 12-14: APC-IICD policy workshop
Cape Town, South Africa

FEBRUARY 13- 14: Internet Governance Forum Multistakeholder Advisory Group – Open Consultation
Geneva, Switzerland

FEBRUARY 18-20: Building Communications Opportunities Alliance (BCO) partner meeting
Johannesburg, South Africa

FEBRUARY 26-28: Communications Regulators´ Association of Southern Africa
(CRASA) annual general meeting
Windhoek, Namibia

FEBRUARY 27-28: GAID (Global Alliance for ICTs and Development) strategy meeting
Santa Clara, San Francisco, USA

MARCH 4: International Studies Association Annual Conference
Chicago, USA

MARCH 4-5: Indicators Workshop (organised by IDRC)
Singapore, Singapore

MARCH 7-10: CREA for violence against women and ICTs campaign
Delhi, India

MARCH 12-17: Tricalcar (LAC Wireless) project coordination meeting
Huaral Valley, Peru

MARCH 20 -23: GEM workshop for IREACH Cambodia Project
Phnom Pehn, Cambodia

MARCH 26-30: ICANN meeting
Lisbon, Portugal

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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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Association for Progressive Communications (APC), 2007

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