ICT for development
ICTs for democracy: Information and Communication Technologies for the Enhancement of Democracy - with a Focus on Empowerment
The democratisation process is often uneven and rocky as the power dynamic shifts between governments and their respective constituencies. In practically all cases, however, governments hostile to citizens’ civil and political rights have both the resources and the power to withhold these rights. It is therefore imperative that support be channeled to governments to deepen their awareness of citizens’ rights and the processes needed to ensure they have access to these rights. Equally important is support to civil society groups so that they can demand their civil and political as well as economic, social and cultural rights from their governments. There is ample evidence of the importance of “demand side” approaches for ensuring the longevity of a human rights culture. In the cases of young and emerging democracies, it is essential that institutions, processes and mechanisms be installed to support and underscore national efforts to strengthen democracies. This study by the APC and the Swedish International Development agency explores the potential information and communication technologies (ICTs) have for advancing democracy and empowerment, with a special focus on Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
1. Uganda: Milking a cow you don’t feed
2. Tanzania: A ‘pushy’ policy on broadband falls short
3. Rwanda: Upbeat, but policy gaps still niggle…
4. Kenya: Killing two birds with one stone
“With GEM I began to appreciate why sometimes the women that are part of our community resist the empowerment process. I used to be annoyed but now I understand that this is the product of years of conditioning and it will take some effort to reverse the trend. GEM helps you see the situation for what it is, so you can optimise your resources where you can make the maximum impact in creating change,” John Dada has been a GEM user since 2007 in rural Nigeria. GEM is an evaluation tool for determining whether ICTs are really improving or worsening women’s lives and for promoting positive change. GEM has been developed from the ground up, and has involved the collaboration of hundreds of community-based organisations and individuals since its first design in 2002.
In a new publication “Change at hand: Web 2.0 for development”, APC’s Anriette Esterhuysen explores the circular relationship between information and communication technologies for development and Web 2.0 for development, and the assumptions about the “quick fix” that ICTs were expected to provide.
Thetha – a Nguni word for debate – bring together a wide range of national, regional and international stakeholders on the expected ICT challenges and opportunities that the Southern African region will face in the next ten years are being organised by APC member SANGONeT. Pre-Thetha reports on Zimbabwe and Mozambique make useful contextual reading. Find out more about Thetha.
This Day, Lagos, Nigeria
Woman! Thou Are Loosed From Poverty
22 July 2009
This major independent daily covers APC member Fantsuam Foundation "a rural-based non-governmental organisation [which] works with local communities to fight poverty and empowers disadvantage people. It is committed to making Southern Kaduna a successful and replicable model of integrated rural development in Nigeria. It was founded in 1996 by a group of Nigerian professionals from the area who recognised the need for empowering their rural neighbours and community members, particularly women, to find means of employment and income and meet their own development needs." And mentions that among its many 'firsts', Fantsuam Foundation was the winner of the First APC Africa Hafkin prize (2001).
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) is advocating promotion of community radio with the government in relations with other organizations since its inception.
APC member, Fantsuam Foundation established the first rural community wireless internet service provider (ISP) in Nigeria in 2006. On Tuesday April 21 the ISP took a huge blow as the central communication tower was destroyed in a storm. Several buildings including the old network operation centre, a Cisco Laboratory and a neighbouring building were seriously damaged. No people were hurt. This is the second major natural disaster that Fantsuam has suffered in a few months. In August 2008, a lighting strike destroyed a large part of their power and wireless infrastructure. APC is waiting for news of how you can help Fantsuam rebuild. For now visit the IT46 site for more details.