All online communities are there to connect people who share worldviews and above all, share the need to carry out concrete activities to bring them closer to reality. The environmental movement has been a pioneer in incorporating information and communication technologies (ICTs) for advocacy and as a working method.
What kinds of phone connections do the poor use? How much do they spend on telecom services? Are they willing to spend more? How do they choose their phone connection? What do they use phones for? And, what difficulties do they face while doing so? Many questions here… but the hints of possible answers come up in a South Asian study that looks at telecom users in India and Sri Lanka who have monthly incomes of less than USD$ 100.
Between April 19 and 29, the Alto Vera district – some 400 kilometres from Asunción, Paraguay’s capital – was host to a mobile wireless connection training. Two members of APC group Nodo Tau participated. One of them, the training team’s Maria Cristina Ojeda found that “the mobile wi-fi system is interesting and is going to be very useful for the local people. Personally, I learnt a great deal. In the technical sense, I learned how to install antennas, hardware and software related to wi-fi." Read how technology can work wonders if applied creatively.
Read the series of stories about Betinho prize winning projects, narrated by FLASCO Chile. This group was one of the two winners of APC’s 2005 Betinho Communication Prize. According to the jury, their networking efforts are "improving the lives of individuals and communities in Latin America and producing real economic benefits”. What exactly is their networking about? What is its real impact, what real life stories are to be found in the background? APCNews discussed this with the team behind the scenes. A Betinho prize series in six parts…
APC and WiLAC – the information portal about wireless projects in Latin America and the Caribbean – are organising a “Forum on Internet and Society” on July 24-28, 2006 in Quito, Ecuador. This is intended to promote participant involvement in considering information and communication technologies from the perspective of development.
As an academic centre, FLACSO Chile generates knowledge and reproduces it through its alumni and graduates in different fields of political science. The networking programme falls therefore within the scope of promoting access to and ownership of information.
The female telecentre users initially become involved discreetly, they are curious to know what is going on, what the telecentre consists of and the services it offers. This is the first time that many of the women from the communities have access to equipment.
The www.telecentroscomunitarios.cl portal is one of the internet-based participatory spaces for content production that the programme offers to the 17 telecentres. This is done through a collaborative publishing platform where organisations find the tools to upload news, activities, product offers, local services and also resources for the creation of their own webpages.
At the beginning, arriving and installing telecentres that use computer equipment that run on an open operating system like GNU/Linux was not a simple process. In Chile, the degree of penetration of the Windows operating system is considerabe, and merely encountering something different often generated great resistance from the organisations and communities. We have observed that ”free software” was associated with cost reduction, hence lower quality. As a result of this, there was a significant investment made in the first phase of the implementation of the project to raise awareness about and disseminate of the use of GNU/Linux and associated free software programmes and applications.
Many telecentres are located in Mapuche communities, particularly Pehuenches, and are administered by associations that group these indigenous peoples: Melipeuco, Lonquimay y Villarrica. Until recently, these communities were completely cut-off from ways to access and unable to use these technologies.