Natasha Primo recently became the first-ever woman to chair APC, or the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), which one publication called The African Digital Commons described as being founded by a team "clued in to the potential power of ICTs at a time when many of us still thought of computers as glorified typewriters". Primo, also the executive director of the South Africa-based Women’sNet, outlines some issues, challenges and plans that stand before APC.
You’ve probably heard of speed-dating: after a two minute chat with a stranger, you decide if you wish to give him or her your phone number for continued contact. Likewise, speed-geeking is a tech introduction-in-a-hurry. Some 11 interesting projects — including APC members — got a chance to introduce themselves to participants of Africa Source II, in January 2006 in Kalangala, a picturesque but really-remote island in Lake Victoria, Uganda.
The APC blog was started in November of 2005 for the World summit on the information society (WSIS) taking place in Tunis. The blog was an instant hit. It attracted a diversity of voices. The APC comms team decided to make the blog a permanent source of alternative news about ICTs and the internet for social justice and sustainable development.
The APC blog is open to all. It serves the purpose of a ‘quick and dirty’ information exchange for all the participants of the APC community. If you attend an cyber-activist event, interview a social techie or want to share a great hyperlink about free and open source software, please don’t hesitate to post.
Good reading, good writing, good blogging!
BBC’s Radio 4 has announced an appeal for cash donations to Computer Aid International (CAI). Meanwhile, this APC member is also launching a Kenya Cycle Challenge, which encourages volunteers to "cycle from the foot of Mount Kenya to the shores of Lake Victoria" in February 2006 in support of CAI’s work with Kenyan secondary schools. Computer Aid is looking for participants for what it calls a "trip of a lifetime". Besides cycling for hundreds of kilometres across "one of the beautiful landscapes on earth", participants also get a chance to visit schools benefitting from the project, along the way. Details from kenyachallenge @ computeraid.org
Projects from Brazil and Chile
that seek to include the disadvantaged in the realm of benefits brought about by information and communication technologies (ICTs) have emerged as joint winners of the APC Betinho Communications Prize 2005.
On December 13, the Third Sector Information Network (Rede de Informações para o Terceiro Setor – Rits) launched its Centre for Research, Study and Education (Núcleo de Pesquisa, Estudos e Formação – Nupef). The objective of the initiative is to organise and promote research, disseminate knowledge, and train and qualify people in various fields and on various subjects related to civil society’s position in terms of the challenges created by the dynamics of the information and communication society.
The second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) took place in Tunis from November 16 to 18 2005. While heated debates on the future of the internet were taking place inside of the police-surrounded conference venue, citizens’ demonstrations reclaiming the host country’s compliance with international human rights agreements were being severely repressed in downtown Tunis.
Material to share internet knowledge on wireless networking were developed as part of the ‘capacity building for community wireless connectivity in Africa’ initiative which is funded by IDRC and coordinated by APC. This is the first public release of the materials, which will be undergoing further revision during a pilot workshop series. Additional materials will be released in English, French and Arabic during 2006.
Integrating GEM, or the Gender Evaluation Methodology, in the women’s health context, can be a daunting task and there are no quick answers to gender issues in their contexts. But tools like GEM could help one immediately know if their projects are "gender friendly", suggests the experience of a mini-workshop held recently in Vietnam.
Four institutions from Latin America — ICA, CEPAL, LIS and Colnodo — have jointly launched an online repository of ICT-focused projects and professionals in Latin America and the Caribbean. The repository, Protic, can be found at www.protic.org. Currently, it contains information about over 850 projects and around 300 ICT professionals.