APCNews No. 62 March 2006

APCNews, the monthly newsletter of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
March 2006 No. 62
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SANGONeT, South Africa: 300 participants expected for South African ICTs for Civil Society meet

APC member SANGONeT holds its “ICTs for Civil Society” conference on March 7-9, 2006 at Johannesburg, together with its South African NGO Web Awards 2006. A number of speakers from organisations doing related work have firmed up participation in the event, for which over 300 participants are expected. In store is an exciting event with much opportunity for learning, debate, information-sharing and networking. – SANGONeT

BLUELINK, Bulgaria: BlueLink launches first NGO e-election in Bulgaria

The first non-government organisation e-elections in Bulgaria were held at the end of 2005, facilitated through the Civil e-Representation Platform designed by APC’s member in Sofia, BlueLink. Civil e-Representation is an internet-based tool for electing representatives of NGOs in working groups and committees at institutions that implement environmental and sustainable development policies in Bulgaria. – BlueLink

RITS, Brazil: More telecentres for Brazil

By March-end 2006, the first 50 telecentres of the Telecentros BR project are expected to be launched. They’re located in low-income communities. This project was developed by APC-member RITS, Brazil’s state-run oil corporation Petrobras and ITI (National Institute of Information Technology). Each unit is equipped with 20 internet-linked computers. Free Software technicians and social developers were hired and especially trained for the project. RITS developed a management system that can generate real-time reports about the usage of every telecenter. Telecenters will offer free access to the internet using Sacix – http://www.sacix.org.br – a customized Debian version of the GNU/Linux operating system.

ENDA, Senegal: A commitment to access

Two weeks into 2006, Dakar (Senegal) played host to an exciting and educational workshop that brought together IT specialists and journalists from five francophone West and Central African countries. What gave the conference a particularly interesting ambiance was the gender balance attendees invited as speakers or participants, and the way that organisers were able to keep focus on gender at the top of the agenda of Universal Access Telecommunications policies. – APCNews

GREENNET, United Kingdom: GreenNet helps launch more content-rich sites

London-based APC member GreenNet has had a “dynamic” past year as far as its web sites go. After three years of developing tools for dynamic web site construction, it is seeing the results in the form of content-rich sites that it has helped launch into cyberspace. – GreenNet

NODO TAU, Argentina: Hands that speak of new alternatives

Last year, civil society organisation Nodo Tau provided training to a group of young people with severe speech and hearing difficulties at the free software-based community computer telecentre that is available at its headquarters. A telecentre is a space that provides a community with open access to technologies. Trainings are also held at these locations on the use of these technologies, so that neighbours can use them to resolve problems and improve their community. – Tau

UNGANA-AFRIKA: Seeking partners in Southern Africa

In 2006 Ungana-Afrika will implement the ‘Incubation of ICT Capacity Building’ workshops in two Southern Africa countries. This APC member is looking out for “pro-active local organisations” to collaborate with. Their goal is to help networks of non-profits and individual organisations within them, with the start-up of their ICT programs. This involves a process known as “incubation”. – APC blogs

WEB NETWORKS, Canada: Taking small, endangered languages online… and literacy in a new format

Web Networks has recently completed a working prototype of a unique online tool to deliver literacy, as part of its “In Your Language – En tu Idioma” family of products. “Yodigo” incorporates the “Conditional Cash Transfer” approach to development funding within an interactive, video-based learning environment that can be provided online or on DVD. You can see www.yodigo.tv for more information and to try out the demo, and contact Web Network’s Oliver Zielke if interested in participating in piloting this tool in the field. Watch for more information next month about the En tu Idioma project and APC partners in Latin America. – APCNews

BYTESFORALL, South Asia: Looking forward to collaborative websites

APC member spread across South Asia BytesForAll is experimenting with the use of CivicSpace software to build simple-to-update not-for-profit, community-driven websites for villages in the small Indian state of Goa. BytesForAll is also moving to a new server, and is planning to install CivicSpace there too. CivicSpace is a free software platform for building online communities that communicate effectively, act collectively, and coordinate coherently with a network of other related organisations and communities. – BytesForAll
http://www.goa-india.org and http://saligao.goa-india.org

LANETA, Mexico: The triple M: Women behind the lens

Nine skilled information and communication technologies trainers from five different women’s media organisations met in Mexico City in February 2006. They came together to learn about a medium they never imagined they would one day have access to: video. The “Media Mujeres Mexico” (Media, Women, Mexico) project brought two trainers from Montreal to Mexico, equipped with a miniDV camera and a boom pole, to offer an intensive training in video theory and practice for women. – LaNeta

FANTSUAM FOUNDATION, Nigeria: APC member gets profiled in nonprofit-ICT study

A new report, “Civil Technologies: The Values of Nonprofit ICT Use,” authored by Ken Jordan and Mark Surman, is recently out. It explores “exemplary instances” of nonprofit ICT adoption by civil society groups from around the world, and draws attention to ways the values of civil society are reinforced and extended through their use of digital tools. One of the organisations profiled – Fantsuam Foundation – is an APC member, while eHomemakers.net of Malaysia won the APC WNSP Gender and ICT award last year. – Fantsuam Foundation

SANGONeT, South Africa: Planning a revamp of a web-based database of South African non-profits

SANGONeT is planning to revamp PRODDER, a web-based database of South African NGOs and development organisations. It wants to focus on the technical expansion, content compilation and quality assurance of the project. Details can be obtained from SANGONeT’s Deputy Director, Fazila Farouk. – APCNews

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PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT: East Africa needs a fair entry-ticket to afford cyberspace – Easing Access to EASSy

Africa currently has to pay for some of the most expensive bandwidth in the world. This will change if the proposed East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) cable is built as it will connect eight countries on the eastern side of the continent. To help make this possible, APC is launching a new website “Fibre-for-Africa” and on March 10 will hold a consultation with more than 80 key stakeholders from all over Eastern and Southern Africa to ensure that access to EASSy is ‘easy’, affordable and open. – APCNews
Fibre-for-Africa: http://www.fibreforafrica.net

NEW MEMBER: AARC, Kenya’s first internet provider joins APC

Kenya-based African Regional Centre for Computing (ARCC) is the newest member of the Association for Progressive Communications. It is a non-profit ICT training, research and development centre based in Nairobi, and was the first provider of internet connectivity in the East African nation of 32 million. – APCNews

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NEW REPORT: APC’s reflections on the World Summit on the Information Society

After the World Summit on the Information Society ended in Tunisia last November, the Civil Society Statement commented: “Overall, it is impossible not to conclude that WSIS has failed to live up to (its) expectations.” In a more-recent article titled ‘Pushing and prodding, goading and hand-holding’, the APC presents its verdict. It comes from a
perspective which believes that the ability to access, produce and share information is a key requirement for creating more equal and just societies. – APCNews

The full report: http://rights.apc.org/documents/apc_wsis_reflection_0206.pdf [English]
http://rights.apc.org/documents/apc_wsis_reflection_0206_ES.pdf [Spanish]
http://rights.apc.org/documents/apc_wsis_reflection_0206_FR.pdf [French]

ICTD ARTICLE: Collective ICT policy making in Bolivia

Surrounded by the tropical forests of Bolivia, about 18 organisations and institutions representing civil society, the private sector and the government gathered to develop proposals and action strategies for ICT policies. Most of the participants brought with them the lessons learned during their involvement in the Bolivian ICTD strategy – ETIC – process.

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SURVEY: APC members see FOSS as route to building skills, sharing knowledge

APC member-organisations, who responded to a survey, see free/libre and open source software (FOSS) as an opportunity to learn new skills and share knowledge. They also see non-proprietary software as an “important form of co-operation” or being capable of “reducing desktop costs”. – APCNews

ARTICLE: Share your experiences of shifting to FOSS, says Shuttleworth

As part of his Asian tour to promote free and open source software (FOSS), the techie-millionaire founder of the Ubuntu Linux Foundation Mark Shuttleworth spent a day in Manila on February 2 to meet with different sectors of the ICT industry in the country. – APCNews

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ANALYSIS: We assume FOSS benefits all equally. But does it really?

FOSS has the potential to change the way women relate with ICTs, allowing for more control over the tools they use. As Users, women will have the freedom from steep licensing fees and the opportunity to influence software development to meet their needs. As developers, the open principle behind FOSS encourages a more collaborative environment, in which women may discover more freedom to create applications and solutions. However until women are recognised as equal partners, users and developers in FOSS, these potentials will remain unexplored. – GenderIT.org

INTERVIEW: Two women lobby for communication rights

In the Latin American and Caribbean Region, women representing civil society organisations in the WSIS process have been lobbying heavily in favour of communication rights. Read the contribution by Olinca Marino, director of the APC’s Mexican member LaNeta, and APC staff member Valeria Betancourt of Ecuador. – Digital Futures
http://www.penelopes.org/Download/DF3.pdf [see page 6]

MEDIA ARTICLE I: Global media monitoring: Women in the news

Does it make sense to monitor information about women that is published or transmitted through by the media? Is the image that media construct of women important? In what way does it influence our social imaginary for women to almost always appear in the news as victims and rarely as experts on subjects of political, social and economic relevance? The WACC made the results of its media monitoring known on February 16, 2006 and thus launched three action weeks to raise awareness on the treatment that women receive in the media and the information disseminated about them. – APCNews

MEDIA ARTICLE II: What reality does media reflect?

Media should be the main source of information on what is really happening in the world. But, is it? If it neglects to make 52% of the population visible, what reality are we talking about? These and other questions were asked and addressed by hundred of activists that participated in the Global Media Monitoring. Having taken place the 16th of February of 2005, and every 5 years since 1995 under the sponsorship of the World Association for Christian Communication. – APCNews

INTERVIEW: Women developing FOSS – freedom for knowledge free from prejudice

Sulamita Garcia is a 28-year-old consultant who specialises in Unix systems and is completely enthusiastic about free and open source software. She is responsible for the LinuxChix Brasil project. In this interview for GenderIT.ORG, Sulamita tells about the recent experience of LinuxChix Brasil, which is delivering online courses on FLOSS for women. She speaks about prejudice, stereotypes and the need for women to overcome initial difficulties when facing new technologies. – GenderIT.org http://www.genderit.org/en/index.shtml?w=a&x=91693

ANALYSIS: FOSS breaks many walls… but not among the genders?

FOSS, or free/libre and open source software, has dramatically changed the way software is produced, distributed, supported and used. It has a visible impact on enabling a richer social inclusion. But how has it allowed the gender problem existing in the software industry to be replicated in the world of FOSS? Amsterdam-based Taiwanese researcher Yuwei Lin lists seven reasons why women stay off FOSS. – Mute magazine

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TECTONIC.CO.ZA, South Africa: Microsoft and FLOSS advocates face off at SANGONeT

Richard Frank – A Microsoft representative added some spice to the open source plenary held at the SANGONeT ICT conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

DIGITAL DIVIDE NETWORK, USA: New Website Explores Africa’s Need for Internet Fiber

The Association for Progressive Communications has launched a new website to promote East Africa’s dire need for an international submarine cable that could provide affordable broadband Internet access.
This web site, FibreForAfrica.net, has been put together to provide basic information about international Internet bandwidth in Africa, its costs and the existence of monopoly access to it. Bandwidth is the means through which Africa as a continent communicates with itself and the rest of the world. APC and the other orgs that have put the site together believe that the high costs of international bandwidth on the continent are an obstacle to the its social and economic development.


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has announced the new IMARK website http://www.imarkgroup.org . It offers online access to self-paced e-learning modules which have previously been available only on CD ROM. Learners can now register and take the IMARK module “Management of Electronic Documents” in English or in French and the module “Digitization and Digital Libraries” in English. IMARK now has over 30 partners and collaborating institutions since its inception in 2001, and is coordinated through a Steering Group consisting of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), and others.

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COMMUNITY BROADCASTS: Supporting community broadcasts, monitoring freedom issues

ObsMedia is an initiative of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC). The main purpose of this site is to help monitor alerts on freedom of expression affecting media worldwide, and to inform on regulations advances and setbacks in the recognition of community media. By providing updated information on the status of community radio and fostering information sharing, ObsMedia supports the development of community broadcasting as well as the action towards their recognition.

SUSTAINABILITY OF NON-PROFITS: Resources now available online

SANGONeT has gathered a collection of resources on sustainability for NGOs, ranging from information on monitoring and evaluation and the importance of credibility and ethics to matters such as social responsibility and entrepreneurship as well as tips relating to practical concerns that others have encountered when grappling with how to implement effective communication and marketing strategies and sound financial management techniques in their organisations.

WEBINARS: online seminars, on topics related to non-profit technology

A webinar is an online seminar hosted by N-TEN, on topics relating to non-profit technology. Participants log-in to watch the presentation on their personal computers and listen by dialling in by phone. Webinars usually last 90 minutes. A recent webinar dealt with ReliefWeb, the world’s leading on-line gateway to information (documents and maps) on humanitarian emergencies and disasters. View upcoming live webinars and recorded webinars.

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VACANCIES AT COMPUTER AID INTERNATIONAL: APC member Computer Aid International is seeking to appoint two new Africa Programme Officers based in their Nairobi office but travelling widely in the region to serving existing and potential new partners in West and Central Africa. For information about Computer Aid International visit www.computeraid.org. For a copy of the job description and application form send a blank email to french@computeraid.org Please note that this is an auto-response email address and no correspondence to this address can be entered into.

CONFERENCE & CALL FOR PAPERS: International Conference on Cultural Attitudes Towards Technology and Communication (CATaC’06). Conference theme: Neither Global Village nor Homogenizing Commodification: Diverse Cultural, Ethnic, Gender and Economic Environments June 28 – July 1, 2006. University of Tartu, Estonia http://www.catacconference.org

NOISEFOR AMNESTY:High-profile international artists. Classic Lennon tracks. United for human rights. This is Make Some Noise – a mix of music, celebration and action in support of Amnesty International. Music can change the world, but only with your voice. http://noise.amnesty.org/

TECH VOLUNTEERS: Geekcorps promotes economic growth in the ‘developing world’ by sending highly skilled technology volunteers to teach communities how to use innovative and affordable information and communication technologies to solve development problems. It has been on the lookout for GNU/Linux geeks who not only know Linux networking, including extensive management tools, but also can teach French-speaking Malians what they’re doing so the Malians can replicate and maintain the systems they design. Details www.geekcorps.org

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Area 808, Internet: Social and political aspects
A great blog from Canada about ICT policies and uses.

FOSS content-management solutions, enables you to choose the best tools that allows you to build and then, very easily maintain, your websites.

Disaster Information Management System. A Global Initiative for preparing civil society to meet emergencies

Chris Coward and the Center for Internet Studies at the University of Washington run this site to promote ICT4D in the framework of the University and/or higher education, to think about the role of this institution in the field of development by means of ICTs.

APDIP – Asia Pacific Development Information Programme
The Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP) is an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that aims to promote the development and application of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for poverty alleviation and sustainable human development in the Asia-Pacific region.

Institutions ICT4D
List of institutions with interests and/or works related to ICT4D

Workgroup for Community Informatics researchers

African internet connectivity
Summary of International ICT Development Projects in Africa

E-Belarus.org is a site about ICT developments in Republic of Belarus for improvement of the information society.

Balancing Act
Balancing Act is a company that facilitates the development of content on the internet and other new media from or about Africa that will have an impact on people’s lives and that they will want to use. It encourages the creative entrepreneurial culture needed to develop emerging new media economies in Africa, and supports the policy and regulatory changes required to produce an effective digital infrastructure on the continent.

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa: Harnessing Information for Development.

RSS Compendium
The RSS Compendium is designed to link you to information about RSS readers, resources, tools, etc…

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MARCH 7-9, 2006: ICTs for Civil Society – SANGONeT
Indaba Hotel, Fourways, Johannesburg, South Africa

March 7-15, 2006: World Telecommunication Development Conference 2006
Sheraton Convention Centre, Doha, Qatar
The purpose of the Conference is to agree on development priorities in view of the high-level recognition of the Digital Divide between developing and developed nations created by the rapid but uneven expansion of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

MARCH 9-11, 2006: Sixth Annual Baramati Initiative on ICT and Development
Baramati, Maharashtra, India
This year, the conference will focus on the use of Information and Communication Technology in Agriculture (e-Agriculture), exploring avenues through which governments, NGO’s, development agencies and corporates can work to successfully promote e-agriculture to benefit the rural economy.

MARCH 15-17, 2006: First World Congress on Communication for Development
Rome, Italy
Contact: cmorry @ comminit.com

MARCH 17-19, 2006: The Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM)
University campus at La Doua, Villeurbanne, Lyon, France
A first-of-its-kind conference for developers of free and open source graphics applicationsand will feature speakers from the GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus, and other graphics projects teams. It will showcase the public premiere of Elephant’s Dream , the 3D animated film created in Blender by Project Orange.

MARCH 21-24, 2006: Increasing the Impact of Microfinance in Asia
Tianlun Dynasty Hotel, Beijing, People’s Republic of China

MARCH 27-29, 2006: International Conference on Distance Education (ICODE2006)
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

APRIL 18-20, 2006: Asia Commons: Asian Conference on the Digital Commons
Bangkok, Thailand
Asian Conference on the Digital Commons aims to bring together participants from Asia-Pacific and around the world to discuss, explore and collaborate around 3 key themes: Access to Knowledge and Culture in Asia, Models for Collaborative Knowledge and Culture, Towards a Healthy Asia Commons.

APRIL 25-28, 2006: dlAsia 2006: Digital Learning Asia: The ICT and Education Conference
Bangkok, Thailand
Digital Learning Asia will take stock of the progress of the Asian countries in utilizing ICTs to enhance the quality and reach of education and capacity building. The conference will provide a platform for policymakers, practitioners, industry leaders and academicians to share experiences, knowledge and perspectives in integrating ICTs in education and deliberate on the future strategies for education that can strengthen the knowledge society.

APRIL 25-28, 2006: egovAsia 2006
Bangkok, Thailand
egov Asia 2006 will highlight e-Government trends and strategies in Asia bringing forth the challenges and opportunities specific to Asian region. Along with exhibition, it will be a forum to showcase best practices, innovative technologies and ICT solutions.

MAY 25-26, 2006: ICTD 2006
Berkeley, California

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You can meet up with APC and/or APC WNSP (APC women’s programme) representatives at the events below during March 2006. Write to events@apc.org to obtain contact information. See you there!

March 5-9: New Delhi, India
GEM South Asia Workshop
[No URL]

March 7-9: Johannesburg, South Africa
2nd Annual SANGONeT “ICTs for Civil Society” Conference and Exhibition

March 9-12: Baramati, India
Siixth Baramati Initiative, on “The Innovative use of Agriculture and Information Technology”.

March 10: Mombasa, Kenya
EASSy Consultation for key stakeholders, East Africa

March 14-26: Johannesburg and Ithala, South Africa
APC executive board and staff meeting

March 20-22: Paris, France
UNESCO Council for Information for All Programme (IFAP)

March 20-25: Johannesburg, South Africa
Catia 1A champions training (English/French)

March 24-29: Karachi, Pakistan
World Social Forum

March 27-31: Wellington, New Zealand
ICANN Meeting

March 29-31: Montevideo, Uruguay
FORD Foundation: Changing Windows into Doors

March 31-Apr 2: Cambridge, US
WOMEN, ACTION & the MEDIA 2006: Making Noise, Making Change

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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. APCNews Archive: http://www.apc.org/english/news/apcnews/

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Attribution-NonCommercial Licence 2.0
Association for Progressive Communications (APC), 2006

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