Some months after the heat and dust settled on the Tunisian skyline, APC has come up with its evaluation of what the four-year World Summit on the Information Society could hold out for people on the planet. And our reflections throw up a mixed bag. There are some positive signs emerging from WSIS, it suggests. But unless active steps are taken to ensure that vested interests don’t take over, and local opportunities are created, all hope and optimism could be rather misplaced. Read the eleven-page report.
APC member SANGONeT holds its "ICTs for Civil Society" conference on March 7-9, 2006 at Johannesburg, together with its South African NGO Web Awards 2006. A number of speakers from organisations doing interesting work have firmed up participation in the event, and over 300 participants are expected. In store is an exciting event with much opportunity for learning, debate, information-sharing and networking.
London-based APC member GreenNet has had a "dynamic" past year as far as its web sites go. After three years of developing tools for dynamic web site construction, it is seeing the results in the form of content-rich sites that it has helped launch into cyberspace.
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.
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 Communications.
SANGONeT has gathered a collection of resources on sustainability for NGOs, ranging from information on Monitoring and Evaluation and the importance of Credibility and Ethics to matters such as Social Responsibility and Entrepreneurship as well as tips relating to practical concerns that others have encountered when grappling with how to implement effective Communication and Marketing strategies and sound Financial Management techniques in their organisations.
The first NGO e-elections in Bulgaria were held at the end of 2005, facilitated through the Civil e-Representation Platform designed by APC member in Sofia, BlueLink. This is an internet-based tool for electing representatives of NGOs in working groups and committees at institutions that implement environmental and sustainable development policies in Bulgaria. Before the development of this platform, the voting process for NGO representatives was carried by email, fax and regular ‘snail’ mail. The platform is based on specially developed software, using the Free Software-based PHP 4 and MySQL. It was first launched in March 2005, and has since undergone a series of tests.
Here is a good piece by Judy Rebick and Velcrow Ripper about the WSF. They say that “The inclusion of aboriginal people in this World Social Forum was a welcome change from the past. Another was the much greater participation of women in many of the panels. Women’s issues were also a major theme of the event.” Read the full article A tale of two social forums
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.
"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. Here’s an update of their project to create a Khmer-language solution in computing.