Africa Source II, an attempt to enhance Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) skills of those working with non-profits in the region will be held in early January 2006, at Kalangala Island on Lake Victoria, Uganda. This eight day hands-on workshop is aimed at helping those working with NGOs on the continent to acquire technical skills.
What role do ICTs have in alleviating poverty? This issue was hotly debated at a distinguished panel on September 30, 2005 at the International Telecommunication Union Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Several APC member representatives and staff were among the audience. The debate was also broadcast on BBC World Television around October 22, 2005.
The second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) gets underway later this year. Between September 19th – 30th, GenderIT.org writers Jac sm Kee and Brenda Zulu participate in the third and final WSIS preparatory meeting (PrepCom 3) before the summit in Tunis. Check out their chronicle and read the following unreleased (on the APC website) postings about the activities of gender advocates, and women concerns regarding key issues on the agenda – internet governance and financing.
Podcasting hasn’t yet caught on among the alternate circuit but Partha Pratim Sarker of BytesForAll got off to a quick start at Geneva. At the Prepcom 3 events, Sarkar took along recording equipment to do what he described as a "sort of audio blogging with an RSS feed". APC’s Lenka Simerska, on hearing it, commented: "Cool blog, really! I find it useful and refreshing to use combination of written word and voice. I had a problem to listen though… But on second try it worked well." Podcasting is a method of publishing audio programmes via the Internet, allowing users to subscribe to a feed of new files (usually MP3s). It first became popular in late 2004.
Earlier this week, Karen Banks, Networking and Advocacy Coordinator for APC, expressed solidarity with a statement released by the Human Rights Caucus. The caucus, composed of many leading human rights activists of the global civil society, called for procedural safeguards to "avoid the reign of the arbitrary" on 22 September 2005, on the eve of the PrepCom 3 meeting in Geneva. The Human Rights Caucus thereby condemned the systematic blocking of the Human Rights in China (HRIC) association accreditation to the WSIS process. The original statement, proposed to adoption by the Civil Society plenary meeting in Geneva reads as follows.
Philippine government releases position on Internet governance; civil society seeks inclusive process
The Philippine government’s position on the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) Report, presently recently, is based on nationwide consultations Philippine Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) ran from June to August 2005 at the Manila Hotel. But the civil society points out hat the consultations were rather limited and that only the last consultation in Davao City had the benefit of discussing the WGIG Report. The rest had as main documents WGIG’s 12 issue papers.
Six major international civil society networks working on questions of access and affordability of the internet have emitted a joint statement on 27 September 2005, during the third Preparatory Meeting (PrepCom 3) of the WSIS process. The World Summit on the Information Society is making a last stop in Geneva before phase II of the summit in Tunisia, in November of 2005. The statement of the Informal Coalition on Financing ICTD goes beyond a document released by the WSIS Chair of a Sub-Committee on Internet Governance and suggests a series of steps to be taken to make the internet a true tool for development.
Communication infrastructures are changing at such an accelerated pace that while new technologies are released continuously, we are still ignorant about questions of internet interconnection. While the users of the North reap the benefits brought about by information and communication technologies’ advances, the users of the South are increasingly prevented from taking advantage of the innovations. Leading among the many factors, the privatisation of this sector’s operations in the industrialised countries and the adoption of new technologies have reduced the financial flows of the network towards the developing world. Available in English and Spanish.
What do ostrich eggs, free attitudes, ICT and graciousness have in common? An exciting new research initiative that brings together African researchers to study Africa, ICTs and women’s empowerment, called GRACE. The Gender Research in Africa into ICTs for Empowerment held its first researcher capacity-building workshop in Durban in July 2005, and while researchers from all over the continent honed their project proposals and fine-tuned networking skills, they also learned how to create ostrich eggs around themselves.
What changes does World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) — which meets in Tunisia in November — bring in regards to gender equality and women’s empowerment? Is WSIS worth it? How effective is gender advocates participation? What are the main challenges faced by gender equality advocates? This paper aims to answer these questions and summarise what has been achieved so far for gender equality in the WSIS process. It seeks to clarify the "gender and ICT" agenda for both phases of the WSIS. It analyses why gender advocacy was such a challenge within the whole process, and assess the outcomes as well as some of the indirect benefits WSIS brought for gender and ICT advocates. Written by Karen Banks, APC.