Strategic use of the internet
At the end of the day, the jury may be still out on whether these approaches from the heartland of rural India can be scaled-up and replicated across less-influential political constituencies. But what’s happening in Baramati is definitely worth a closer look.
Web Networks has recently completed a working prototype of a unique online tool to deliver literacy, as part of its "In Your Language – En tu Idioma" family of products. "Yodigo" incorporates the "Conditional Cash Transfer" approach to development funding within an interactive, video-based learning environment that can be provided online or on DVD. You can see www.yodigo.tv for more information and to try out the demo, and contact Oliver Zielke (oliver @ web.net) if interested in participating in piloting this tool in the field. Watch for more information next month about the En tu Idioma project and APC partners in Latin America.
Does it make sense to monitor information about women that is published or transmitted through by the media? Is the image that media construct of women important? In what way does it influence our social imaginary for women to almost always appear in the news as victims and rarely as experts on subjects of political, social and economic relevance? The WACC made the results of its media monitoring known on February 16th, 2006 and thus launched three action weeks to raise awareness on the treatment that women receive in the media and the information disseminated about them.
APC member SANGONeT holds its "ICTs for Civil Society" conference on March 7-9, 2006 at Johannesburg, together with its South African NGO Web Awards 2006. A number of speakers from organisations doing interesting work have firmed up participation in the event, and over 300 participants are expected. In store is an exciting event with much opportunity for learning, debate, information-sharing and networking.
Women’sNet’s training co-ordinator Elizabeth "Liz" Araujo writes that the recent Africa Source 2 event was set "against a beautiful Lake Victoria island backdrop, replete with sandy beaches, and fishing boats", and turned out to be a "smashing success". Held from January 8-15, 2006, the skills-packed practical workshop was aimed at introducing and exploring free/libre and open source software (FOSS) for non-profit organisations and local African communities. She says that what made this camp radically different from other technology-focused workshops was the almost natural seeming integration of novice, occasional user and high-end techie.
‘Mainstreaming ICTs: Africa Lives the Information Society" is a contribution towards efforts to bridge the "policy-practice" divide. The book is amied at development practitioners and ICT innovators interested in inventive technology applications for social justice and development. It contains 10 case studies reflecting on the innovative and creative ways information and communciation technologies (ICTs) have been used to promote people-centred development in a number of Sub-Saharan African countries. The book was compiled and edited by Women’sNet with the assistance of a Southern African editorial group including Toni Eliasz, Ria Greyling, Benter Okello, Muroro Dziruni, Ashraf Patel, and Natasha Primo. The project was supported by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).
IMARK is a suite of distance-learning resources, tools and communities on information management. A new website has just been launched. Modules are now available in French and Spanish. APC is part of the IMARK steering group together with UNESCO, FAO and others.
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.
Out of college, at a time when most young people would like just to have a good time, Rudi von Staden (27) is onto something vastly different. He believes his tech skills can really make a difference to those working for social change in southern Africa. This representative of an APC member organisation shares his vision and mission with APCNews editor Frederick Noronha.