APCNews No. 61 February 2006

APCNews, the monthly newsletter of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
February 2006 No. 61
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CEPES, Peru: Rolling out the applications for action in the Andes

CEPES, the Peruvian Centre for Social Studies, is unrolling web projects one after the other. For the last three years, the Peruvian APC member has been promoting website solutions for a variety of actors working in Peru’s rural and often remote districts. Small farmers, passionate environmentalists and civil servants from the Ministry of Agriculture have discovered the ActionApps content management system (CMS). “We’ve been spreading the web-based tool as a way to support rural development,” says a passionate Carlos Saldarriaga, CEPES representative to APC. – APCNews

OPEN FORUM OF CAMBODIA, Cambodia: Khmer Software Initiative: where local language solutions propel FOSS acceptance

“2005 has been a good year for KhmerOS, and — we hope — for Cambodia’s technological future,” says APC member Open Forum Cambodia, writing out of the southeast Asian kingdom of 13 million. Read the update on a project that make local language computing a reality in the Khmer language. – Open Forum of Cambodia

UNGANA-AFRIKA, South Africa: Out of college, when idealism is high… supporting non-profits in Southern Africa

Out of college, at a time when most young people would like just to have a good time, Rudi von Staden (27) is onto something very different. He believes his tech skills can really make a difference to those working for social change in southern Africa. And his commitment shows… A story from an APC member in South Africa. – APCNews

WOUGNET, Uganda: Meet to consolidate WSIS achievements, meet targets

APC-member WOUGNET in Uganda was one of the organisers of a conference in mid-December, on a post-World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) consolidation for Uganda. WOUGNET’s Dorothy Okello said: “I think, for one thing, the WSIS was a good platform to get us working more with government, due to the multi-stakeholder nature on inputs and participation that was expected of the WSIS.” – APCNews

COMPUTER AID INTERNATIONAL, U.K.: Computer Aid gets backing from BBC in fund-raising drive

BBC’s Radio 4 has announced an appeal cash donations to Computer Aid International, CAI’s project fundraiser Stephen Campbell announced. Meanwhile, this APC member is also launching an Kenya Cycle Challenge, which encourages volunteers to “cycle from the foot of Mount Kenya to the shores of Lake Victoria” in February 2006 in support of Computer Aid International’s work with Kenyan secondary schools. Computer Aid is looking for participants for this “trip of a lifetime”. Besides cycling for hundreds of kilometres across “one of the beautiful landscapes on earth”, participants also get a chance to visit schools benefiting from the project, along the way. Details from kenyachallenge@computeraid.org – Computer Aid International

WOMENSNET, South Africa: Mainstreaming ICTs in Africa, a new book is out

‘Mainstreaming ICTs: Africa Lives the Information Society” is a contribution towards efforts to bridge the “policy-practice” divide. The book is aimed at development practitioners and ICT innovators interested in inventive technology applications for social justice and development. It contains 10 case studies reflecting on the innovative and creative ways information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been used to promote people-centred development in a number of Sub-Saharan African countries. – Women’sNet

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INTERVIEW: “Our members have to re-invent themselves” — APC’s new chair, Natasha Primo

Natasha Primo was recently elected chair of the Association for Progressive Communications, which one publication described as being founded by a team “clued in to the potential power of ICTs at a time when many of us still thought of computers as glorified typewriters”. The first woman elected by her peers to the APC chair, Primo is also the executive director of the South Africa-based Women’s Net. She met up with APCNews at AfricaSource2, held recently in Uganda, and talks about APC’s priorities, challenges and thrust areas. – APCNews


Communications, ICTs, internet and networking for social justice took centre-stage on two continents in this year’s World Social Forums. Daily updates from APC’s correspondents in Bamako and Caracas have been publishing in APCNews, APC blogs, GenderIT.org, as well as the LAC ICT Policy Monitor.

The WSF is a meeting place of non-governmental organisations, trade unions, social movements of all stripes and all those believing in another world at the political, cultiral and economic levels. The polycentric WSF this year was the sixth edition of most publicised alternative event to the World Economic Forum (Davos, Switzerland).

ARTICLE: The right to communicate gains relevance at the World Social Forum in Venezuela

The Coalition for the Right to Communicate in Latin America and the Caribbean launched a continental campaign during a panel held concurrently at the VI World Social Forum and the II Social Forum of the Americas in Caracas, Venezuela, on the 26th of January. It was decided to strengthen the actions of all the independent and community media, communications networks, personalities and institutions that fight against the concentration of media in the hands of a few internationally funded companies, as well as in favour of the democratisation of communication. – APCNews


Get the audio out there!
By Fausto Rêgo
One of the most stimulating opportunities for democratising communications offered by the internet was discussed in the “Radio and internet: the great technological challenge” workshop.

Getting grounded
By Chad Lubelsky
Hugo Chavez is speaking today and everyone is abuzz. Not me. There is something disturbing about the cult of personality surrounding Chavez. It borders on the religious.


ICTs a need for women’s movements
By Brenda Zulu
The Bamako Polycentric World Social Forum (WSF) has an overwhelming 70 percent of participants who are being women from all walks of life in Africa and the World over.

The APC community blogged in English, French and Spanish.

English blog: http:/blog.apc.org
Spanish blog: http://blog.apc.org/es
French blog: http://blogue.apc.org

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NEWS: APC project contributes to Kenya ICT policy approved by Cabinet

For the last few years, APC has been working closely with other organisations and a large group of Kenyan civil society organisations and business to transform the national ICT policy. At last, a national ICT Policy has made it all the way! – APCNews

CONFERENCE: Internet governance debate shifts to Malta, island with highest internet penetration

An international conference entitled “Internet Governance: The Way Forward” is being organised on February 10-12, 2006 by the DiploFoundation in Malta, a small and densely populated island nation consisting of an archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea which incidentally also has highest internet penetration in the world. Panelists, representing stakeholders who have been active in the internet governance (IG) debate, include Karen Banks of the Association for Progressive Communication. – APCNews

ANNOUNCEMENT: APC policy meeting in Kathmandu postponed

The ‘APC regional consultation meeting on ICT policy in South Asia’, scheduled to be held in Nepal in end-January, has been postponed. This consultation aims to engage in surfacing ICT policy priorities and strategies in countries of South Asia, to exchange information on ICT policy issues and advocacy strategies, to explore new ways of networking and coordinating on ICT policy advocacy in South Asia and more. APC is also consulting with One World South Asia, Panos South Asia, and IDRC in organizing the meeting. – APCNews

RESEARCH: APC study on developing country and non-governmental actors’ role in WSIS

APC is undertaking a study of the participation of ‘developing’ countries and non-government actors — including civil society — in the recent World Summit on the Information Society and its associated fora, such as the Task Force on Financing Mechanisms and the Working Group on Internet Governance. It is being coordinated by Professor David Souter, of ict Development Associates ltd and the University of Strathclyde. – APCNews

ARTICLE: Towards knowledge-sharing societies

Just when the information market, in its highly competitive form where there are few rules, is marked by attempts to construct monopolistic positions, cooperative productive and self-productive processes and creations by the users themselves are emerging everywhere. Their success highlights the fact that creativity and innovation can sometimes escape the thralls of classic capitalism and raises questions about our notions of progress and development. – Word Matters / Vecam

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WIRELESS SOLUTIONS: Tinned food, water bottles and wi-fi connection for francophone Africa

Conventional “wired” connectivity to the internet is too costly or impractical to cover much of the globe. APC’s “capacity building for community wireless connectivity in Africa” is a partnership project looking at other options. Partners’ expertise from across the globe, touched francophone Africa with a workshop held in Dakar, Senegal, from January 24-28, 2006. Some 35 participants came from West African non-profits and community projects. The goal: to provide local actors the knowledge to plan, conceive, install and maintain low cost wireless networks in their communities, exchange experiences and raise awareness around wi-fi issues. – APCNews

FOSS EVENT IN AFRICA: Africa Source II makes befriending free software a real treat

Women’sNet’s training co-ordinator Elizabeth “Liz” Araujo writes that the recent Africa Source 2 event was set “against a beautiful Lake Victoria island backdrop, replete with sandy beaches, and fishing boats”, and turned out to be a “smashing success”. Held from January 8-15, 2006, the skills-packed practical workshop was aimed at introducing and exploring free/libre and open source software (FOSS) for non-profit organisations and local African communities. She says that what made this camp radically different from other technology-focused workshops was the almost natural seeming integration of novice, occasional user and high-end techie. – APCNews

INNOVATIVE PROJECTS: Speed-geeking, your date with development

You’ve probably heard of speed-dating: after a two minute chat with a stranger, you decide if you wish to give him or her your phone number for continued contact. Likewise, speed-geeking is a tech introduction-in-a-hurry. Some 11 interesting projects — including APC members — got a chance to introduce themselves to participants of Africa Source II, in January 2006 in Kalangala, a picturesque but really-remote island in Lake Victoria, Uganda. – APCNews

NEW WEBSITE: Sharing info online more effectively

IMARK is a suite of distance-learning resources, tools and communities on information management. A new website has just been launched. Modules are now available in French and Spanish. APC is part of the IMARK steering group together with UNESCO, FAO and others. – IMARK

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INTERVIEW: Women and ICT in Colombia: an issue still not completely incorporated in feminist agendas

Olga Paz of Colnodo, a Colombian member of APC, explains in this interview with GenderIT.org that in her country there still is not a clear gender perspective on national ICT policies and that there is still a way to go in achieving an understanding of the role of ICT as a political and strategic issue that can be very productive in social organisations and women’s groups. – GenderIT.org

ANALYSIS: ICT gender issues past, present and future

As women living in Africa we have many things to confront: the process of African enlargement and our participation in the globalised world, the decline of national states, the dominance of market and consumerism, growing poverty, social and political inequalities or insecurities within Africa and outside in the face of neo-conservatism and dominance of the United States. – GenderIT.org

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E-GOVERNANCE: UN Global E-government Readiness Report – 2005

The UN Global E-government Survey 2005 presents a comparative ranking of the countries of the world according to two primary indicators. Firstly, there’s the state of e-government readiness; and second comes the extent of e-participation. Constructing a model for the measurement of digitized services, the survey assesses the 191 member states of the UN according to a quantitative composite index of e-government readiness based on website assessment; telecommunication infrastructure and human resource endowment.

COPYRIGHT ISSUES: Google, guilty to a fault?

Google stands accused of copyright infringement by two major American authors’ associations and a French newswire. But the tools the company provides have done more to promote global access to information than any other. Here, librarians, lawyers, legislators and thinkers discuss the rights and wrongs of an internet giant.

NEW BOOK: Wireless for Development

Imagine trying to piece together a wireless network with no manuals, sporadic and slow access to the Internet, inadequate tools, a shortage of supplies, and in the most inclement weather. The authors of a recently published book, “Wireless Networking in the Developing World” don’t need to imagine. They have been doing so for years. The book is available in PDF form and for sale in print at the book’s website.

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BLOGS: Open to all

The APC blog is a permanent source of alternative news about ICTs and the internet for social justice and sustainable development. It is open to all. It serves the purpose of a ‘quick and dirty’ information exchange for all the participants of the APC community. If you attend an cyber-activist event, interview a social techie or want to share a great hyperlink about free and open source software, please don’t hesitate to post. Good reading, good writing, good blogging!
http://blog.apc.org/en [English, French and Spanish]

CALL FOR PAPERS: Internationalizing internet studies

From the mid-1990s onwards, the internet has shifted fundamentally from its co-ordinates in English-speaking countries, to become an essential medium in a wide range of countries, cultures, and languages. Gerard Goggin (University of Sydney) and Mark McLelland (University of Wollongong) are planning an anthology called ‘Internationalizing Internet Studies’. Contributions welcomed (but not restricted to) include non-anglophone language communities use of the internet, Asian countries and communities use of the internet, mobility and the internet, the use of internet by diasporic communities, internet use by minority language speakers, indigenous use of the internet, etc. Send abstracts of no more than 500 words to both editors outlining your proposed contribution to the edited collection at the earliest. – H-AHC

CONTEST: Prix Ars Electronica

For the third time, Prix Ars Electronica, the foremost international prize for computer-based art, has called for entries for “Digital Communities” projects. This category was a great success in its 2004 and 2005 editions and is singling out for recognition projects of significant sociopolitical relevance. Open to political, social and cultural projects, initiatives, groups and scenes from all over the world that display contentious commitment in coming up with smart, successful ways of deploying digital technologies to solve social problems. – Ars Electronica

CALL FOR PAPERS: Special Issue JoCI Community e-Health Initiatives

The Community e-Health Initiatives Special Issue will focus on the use of communitydriven e-health services, systems and technologies, highlighting applications in less developed countries (LDCs) and indigenous settings. Publication Date: Winter 2006 Journal of Community Informatics.

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February 8-10, 2006, New Delhi, India

March 1-3, 2006, Marrakech
International Forum of ICT Strategies and Investment (IFISI)
Marrakech Congress Centre (Palais des Congrès).

March 7-9, 2996, Johannesburg, South Africa
Second SANGONeT “ICTs for Civil Society” Conference and Exhibition
Indaba Hotel, Fourways, Johannesburg, South Africa

May 11-14, 2006, Seville, Spain
Symposium on ICTs for social action
[no hyperlink available]

May 24-26, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
First international conference on ICT for development, education, and training.

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Fundación Cibervoluntarios.es

APC member LaborTech has switched to a new URL — labourtech.net — in place of its earlier LaborTech2004.org. The purpose of LaborTech is to bring together labor video, computer and media activists in the US and from around the world to build and develop labor communication
technology and media. http://www.labortech.net/

The Freeplay Foundation
It is committed to promoting the importance of radio as a vital communication medium in the ‘developing’ world. Recognising a need for alternative energy sources amongst the world’s poorest communities, the Freeplay Foundation was founded in 1998 by the Freeplay Energy Group (FEG) as an extension of the group’s commitment to development and empowerment.

Edubuntu is a complete Linux-based operating system, freely available with community based support. The Edubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Edubuntu Manifesto: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customise and alter their software in whatever way they see fit.

Unesco Literacy Portal
Literacy today is a world preoccupation
The Literacy Portal aims to provide a platform for information-sharing on literacy projects and activities undertaken around the world and enhance UNESCO’s capacity in coordinating the United Nation Literacy Decade (UNLD) in building partnership at all level.

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

February 2-4: Oxford, UK
Meeting on Organisational Innovation, Oxford, UK. Information, Communication and New Media Studies: Good for What?

February 6-8: Lusaka, Zambia
CATIA (Catalysing Access to ICTs in Africa) 1A regulators training,
Lusaka, Zambia

February 10-12, Kampala, Uganda
Isis-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE)

February 11-13: Malta, Malta
Diplo Foundation AGM

February 16-17: Geneva, Switzerland
UN Consultations on Internet Governance Forum

February 21-22: Copenhagen, Denmark
UNA (Danish United Nations Association) WSIS follow up meeting. First International Follow-up Conference to the WSIS Process “Where to go from Tunis”?

February 20-23: Bolivia
APC/IICD (International Institute for Communication and Development) ICT policy training workshop, Bolivia

February 23-25: Nairobi, Kenya
Second IDLELO Conference on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).
“Idlelo” is a Zulu word for a common grazing ground.

February 24: Geneva, Switzerland
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Consultations on Internet Governance Forum

February 26-28: San Sebastian, Spain
IADIS (International Association for Development of the Information Society) global conference on applied computing

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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/

Some rights reserved: Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial Licence 2.0 – 2006 Association for Progressive
Communications (APC)

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