APC member in South Asia, BytesForAll took part in the Baramati Initiative 2006 (www.baramatiinitiatives.org), a meet meant to promote ICTD in rural India, in March. This year’s theme was ICT-in-agriculture. From there, APCNews files a report on an interesting website.
A computer that’s encased in wood to resist tropical temperatures and consumes thirty times less electricity than the standard PC? The “Solo”
a unique computer that fights rural Africa’s heat, dust and unreliable power supply is being tested in Nigeria and will be ready for commercial production shortly. APCNews interviews Ochuko Onoberhie, a technician from APC member the Fantsuam Foundation, responsible for testing the Solo.
ZaMirNET’s web-based newsmagazine about civil society issues – ZaMirZINE [www.zamirzine.net] – established a network of independent webpages run by Croatian NGOs and civic groups, with the idea of improving the representation of civil society and its values in the media.
At the end of the day, the jury may be still out on whether these approaches from the heartland of rural India can be scaled-up and replicated across less-influential political constituencies. But what’s happening in Baramati is definitely worth a closer look.
In a vast country the size of India, the left hand doesn’t quite know what the right hand is doing in the ICT4D fi. Also, very little of India’s vast Free Software potential has actually been channelised into this field. Musings from Baramati… home to a recent, ambitious e-agriculture conference.
Welcome to what is being called here Asia’s first broadcaster dedicated to the farm
and the field. Farmers are keen on the information radiating via this invisible airwaves, from one of those stations being opened up under India’s new drive to license campus-based radio stations.
Because of the unseasonal rains (which lashed central India after midnight, accompanied by lightning and power failures) most of the participants at Baramati VI  arrived late at the venue. At the dinner table, at starting time, there were just three other participants who had flown in from abroad, via Mumbai.
"All flights are delayed by two hours," the director of the VIIT to volunteers, and the mood sunk. Even the Baramati skies appear overcast. Earlier, while I sat through a sandlewood-paste flavoured beard-trim (Rs 15) at the local roadside makeshift haircutting saloon, the TV spoke of rainy weather warnings.
Just four days before the WSF starts in Karachi on 24th March, it is common knowledge that leading women rights organizations in Pakistan have detached themselves from the WSF and will not participate in any event.
Major South African weekly, the "Mail and Guardian", reports from the APC-organised conference on EASSy, the East African submarine cable. The good news is that excessively high international bandwidth prices in Africa are to be challenged says the M&G but the benefits can be curtailed if operators maintain monopoly control.