Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales, the founder of the impressive Web-based free-content multilingual encyclopedia Wikipedia project sees a growing role for Asian initiatives on this volunteer-edited product, that is now rated among the top 20 websites globally. Currently, Japanese is the only non-European language among the ‘big ten’ of the Wikipedia. But Farsi, Arabic, Korean, Thai, Chinese, Bahasa Indonesia, are among those with 10,000+ articles. In the 1000+ articles category are Urdu, Bangla, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu among others.
India is making noticeable progress in the field of ‘Open Access’, a growing global trend which could help it get out of the trap which blocks researchers from here reading what other Indians have published.Yet, a lot more still remains to be done, say experts working in the area. "Nearly a hundred journals have already taken the Open Access route," says Chennai (South India)-based Subbiah Arunachalam, an information scientist once called India’s and the developing world’s "great advocate for open access".
Community Education Computer Society has been working on a project for an ICT training course for ‘computer literate’ high-school mathematics teachers, in Gauteng, South Africa. APC member CECS is itself an ICT training organisation, established in 1985. A pilot workshop took place on May 13, 2006. "I learned about techniques in drawing question papers, techniques I never knew existed," said one participant teacher.
Unlike its parent-organisation, the New Delhi-based Sarai.net is young, full of ideas and peppy. Not that the institution it grew out of is not full of ideas; but it has an old-world air about it, while Sarai fits in with the trendy, cyber-generation in an unusual way. APCNews met with Ravikant from Sarai.net to discuss localisation issues.
An article on EASSy just came out on the Daily Nation online on August 31, signed James Mugendi. Here is the link:
Nodo TAU, APC’s member in Rosario, Argentina, adapts and applies Paolo Freire’s model of popular education to the work it does providing training for new information and communication technologies. The blackboard and chalk made room for a monitor and a mouse, but the underlying principle is the same: learners are their own vehicles for change.
For a second year in a row, the neighbours of the western area of the city are participating in computing workshops. Within the framework of this initiative that arises from the participatory budget, 800 people were trained last year and the objective is to reach over 1500 neighbours this year. The municipal government adopts an approach “from the perspective of human rights, popular participation and a greater democratization of society.” The Nodo Tau civil association [APC member] was once again called on to train the trainers from the perspective of popular education.
French telco giant Alcatel has bagged the tender for the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System, an initiative to connect countries along the eastern coast of Africa, via a high bandwidth fibre optic cable system to the rest of the world. It is considered a milestone in the development of information infrastructure in the region. But what is really happening on the ground to make sure the important ‘open access model’ is implemented?
APC’s member in Nigeria, Fantsuam Foundation, has launched a vulnerable children’s service as part of its rural HIV/AIDS programme. This innovative project is meant to tackle prevention gaps head-on, with the help of multimedia.
“If you don’t try, you can’t complain,” said Chris Nichol the first time I interviewed him at a preparatory conference for the World Summit on the Information Society in February 2003. Chris was one of the many APC members I engaged with as a WSIS virgin tasked with the job of communicating the process in a web-friendly way for the organization.