ICT for development
APC is currently holding an ambitious programme in South Asia, and is drawing a wide range of participation. Here's looking forward to more activity in the most populous region of the planet. Where ICTs, if effectively used, could make a big difference...
India is also getting networked as never before. But that seems to be mainly for the middle classes. Some musings en route to Dhaka for the APC Asia ICT Policy Meet, to be held in mid-April 2006 at the Bangladeshi capital.
Since 9 March 2006, an informal African ‘open access task force’ – made up of NGOs and small and medium sized ISPs – was initiated to lobby for the implementation of an open access model in internet infrastructure. The task force is currently mobilised to make the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) ‘easy’, affordable and open. APCNews staff writer Frederick Noronha has gathered statements from two civil society stakeholders in what is to become a determining project for Africans’ equitable access to the web.
APC member in South Asia, BytesForAll took part in the Baramati Initiative 2006 (www.baramatiinitiatives.org), a meet meant to promote ICTD in rural India, in March. This year’s theme was ICT-in-agriculture. From there, APCNews files a report on an interesting website.
A computer that’s encased in wood to resist tropical temperatures and consumes thirty times less electricity than the standard PC? The “Solo”
a unique computer that fights rural Africa’s heat, dust and unreliable power supply is being tested in Nigeria and will be ready for commercial production shortly. APCNews interviews Ochuko Onoberhie, a technician from APC member the Fantsuam Foundation, responsible for testing the Solo.
In a vast country the size of India, the left hand doesn't quite know what the right hand is doing in the Handout: ICTs for Development (ICT4D), Multimedia Training Kit (part of APC's ICT policy training curriculum)">ICT4Dfi. Also, very little of India's vast Free Software potential has actually been channelised into this field. Musings from Baramati... home to a recent, ambitious e-agriculture conference.
Because of the unseasonal rains (which lashed central India after midnight, accompanied by lightning and power failures) most of the participants at Baramati VI  arrived late at the venue. At the dinner table, at starting time, there were just three other participants who had flown in from abroad, via Mumbai.
"All flights are delayed by two hours," the director of the VIIT to volunteers, and the mood sunk. Even the Baramati skies appear overcast. Earlier, while I sat through a sandlewood-paste flavoured beard-trim (Rs 15) at the local roadside makeshift haircutting saloon, the TV spoke of rainy weather warnings.
I've lost all sense of time, but my mobile phone (which fortunately works 800 kms away from home) tells me it's 10:29 am on March 9, 2006. Later today, the 6th Annual Baramati Initiative on Source: APC">ICTand Development (focussing on The Potential of e-Agriculture) gets underway at this rural, but education-oriented island two hours away from Pune in Central India.