The World Social Forum has open information systems in place to go with an open political ethos. All of about 1,000 computers at the forum are using free software. The official website has been developed for the first time in ‘php,’ an open source language. A new translation system is also a free software tool. The Forum is hosted in Brazil, a nation whose government at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society held in Geneva in 2003, strongly opposed intellectual property on software, and succeeded in getting this omitted from the final resolution.
The new year presents everyone at SANGONeT with a number of fresh and exciting challenges and opportunities, starting with the first SANGONeT "ICTs for Civil Society" conference and exhibition which will be held from 1-3 March 2005 in Fourways, Johannesburg. Read about this and other important plans for 2005 in SANGONeT’s monthly e-newsletter, "Lwati".
For an sector that talks of alternatives, the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or voluntary sector stays surprisingly aloof from one significant alternative that has really worked — free software. But there are stirrings to bridge this huge chasm. In end-January, India’s technology mecca Bangalore is to be the venue for an international, APC-supported ‘camp’ meant to promote FLOSS among the NGO sector.
Beginning a process of regionalisation APC member Computer Aid International opened its Southern Africa Regional offfice in Johannesburg, South Africa. The new Computer Aid office will support existing and future partners in Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Those of us who use internet as a work tool are used to encountering spam messages (unsolicited email) with million dollar businesses, magic solutions or attractive prizes. All of which are of dubious origin, and therefore untrustworthy. What had not yet occurred, at least in Bulgaria, was for these messages to be directed specifically to non governmental organisations.
Through its Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy Monitor for Latin America and the Caribbean, APC held a workshop on ICT policy strategies in Rosario, Argentina, which was attended by the Latin American members of APC, as well as important organisations from the region involved in the subject.
IPLeft, a social group for information commons in South Korea since 1999, launched the Korean Open Access Licence (KOAL) in October, 2004. KOAL is a newly-introduced model of open access to information in South Korea. Jinbonet, APC member in Seoul, has participated in IPLeft activities to develop this new initiative.
On 15 December 2004 BlueLink
the APC member in Bulgaria officially launched Civil Society Information Portal in Bulgaria (www.bluelink.info).
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) and the Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (Hivos) are inviting applications for the second round of the GenARDIS small grants programme. Ten grant funds of up to 5,000 Euros each will be given to address gender issues in information and communication technologies (ICTs) for agricultural and rural development in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP countries). Submission deadline is 25 February 2005.
In November 2004, twenty young journalists and civil society representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro learned how to use internet as a tool for organising civil society social movements.