Global

UN-GAID: One more acronym - or a new beginning?

Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA

South Asia-based BytesForAll‘s newest member, Nalaka Gunawardene of Sri Lanka, who is a veteran journalist and observer of the “ICT4D” (information and communication technologies for development) field, was there at the launch of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UN-GAID) in mid June 2006 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He wonders whether the newly-formed UN-GAID will manage to connect disparate initiatives, enhancing or multiplying their impact? Or might it evolve into another self-serving bureaucracy, competing with everyone else for limited resources, media attention and people’s time?

Often, it's the simple tools that matter... says Egyptian blogger

GOA, India

An ant, they say, can infuriate an elephant. That is, if the ant choose the right target, and goes into the elephant’s ear. In the Egyptian world of technology, an 24-year-old engineer is doing the same by giving a voice to protest that’s otherwise stifled in that part of the globe.

Alaa Abd El-Fatah released

Johannesburg

Alaa has finally be released after 45 days in prison. We heard the good news from Manal earlier this week. Here is a news report from the The Independent published on 21 June 2006.

E stands for environment: ICT tools to empower activists struggling to protect environment around the world

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY 22 June 2006 (Pavel Antonov for APCNews)

A working group of APC members aims to bring environment higher on the ICT policy priorities of global civil society. Information and communication technologies are a powerful tool for civil society protecting environment. But more is needed to streamline ICT work of different groups and communities, and offer them access to the ICTs they need to secure environmental sustainability, a BlueLink/APC survey shows.

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Depressing birthday, national budget and Sales Tax on Computers

Pakistan

Supposedly the birthday should be a bright day, with pleasant weather, gifts, lots of flowers, hundreds of birthday wishes via SMS and emails, sumptuous ice cream cake, dinner party with friends etc. However, this wasn’t the case on my birthday this year.

Human rights, Cuba and the internet

Says Amnesty International: "Independent journalist Guillermo Fariñas has been staging a hunger strike since 31 January 2006 to obtain access to internet for all Cubans. Internet remains under governmental control, accessible only through official organizations or at hotels from where Cuban nationals are normally barred".

GRACE project: State of the research

WYNBERG 6 June 2006 (Ineke Buskens for GRACE)

GRACE is a group of 14 research teams working in 12 African countries focusing on Gender Research in Africa into ICT’s for Empowerment, supported by a research grant from the International Development Research Centre of Canada. This research project was completed in be completed in 2008. Read the full update.

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Rits.lac: Civil society, a step towards regional integration

TOULOUSE, FRANCE 5 June 2006 (APCNews)

Latin America is undergoing a historic process of regional integration. In the meantime, what is going on with civil society? The joint working experiences between social movements from different Latin American countries are rich and have a long common history. The synergy is far from running dry: regional integration initiatives are on the rise and being consolidated. Rits.lac, a new project from Brazilian APC member, RITS, is following this exact tendency.

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Gender and ICTs in Africa: Let’s talk research

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA 5 June 2006 (AAW)

Performing research can be challenging, especially when researchers turn to their own communities. In the GRACE project, researchers will meet to share their findings and develop their writing skills in early June in Durban, South Africa. Organised in fourteen different teams, the researchers live and work in twelve African countries and all are tackling a fundamental question: How do women in Africa use information and communication technologies (ICTs) for empowerment?

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E-government: An opportunity for citizen participation in the era of digital development

QUITO, ECUADOR 5 June 2006 (Valeria Betancourt)

The initiatives that have been adopted to improve e-government in Latin America primarily focus on improving online services and state administration. Citizens, however, remain unable to participate in the decision-making process because this dimension, which is at least as important if not more then the previous one, has been left aside.

As a starting point for reflecting on the issue, APC’s Valeria Betancourt affirms that ICT and e-government initiatives do not generate greater participation in and of themselves. If participation mechanisms are not developed, there is not a single technological advance that will be able to make up for the lack of political will to promote human and social development.

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