Strategic use of the internet
In November 2005, the United Nations’ World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) will meet for the last time in Tunis. APC’s WSIS coordinator Karen Banks points out that in its five year history, the summit has failed to redress the North-South "digital divide". Consensus at WSIS has been elusive: the private and public sectors hold diametrically opposing views on issues such as market fundamentalism, free and open-source software, and intellectual property rights reform; while on issues of financing and internet governance, agreement between governments has been split along North-South lines. It remains to be seen whether civil society groups participating in the summit will be able to shift attention away from these competing interests towards human rights issues.
The Betinho prize has launched its fourth edition, and entries are being accepted till mid-October 2005. Once more, this is to benefit initiatives which make use of the internet or other information and communication technologies (ICTs) to get results that make the crucial difference. This year’s subject is "community connectivity projects for economic development".
Being the world’s "largest non-profit supplier of computers" to the South may not rake in the millions; but APC member Computer Aid International’s chief executive Tony Roberts believes it saves millions.
What do you do when challenged with difficult conditions that make your computer repeatedly crash in rural, tropical conditions? Fantsuam Foundation of Nigeria simply converted this into an opportunity. Computers in wooden boxes, minus spinning disks that get clogged in dust and crash in high temperatures, and desktops that consume a fraction of power other computers need are some of their solutions. Read on for some unusual and interesting ideas from West Africa.
Two APC members in Africa — Women’sNet and Ungana Africa — have shared resources and skills to work in the area of technology planning for non-profits. They are shortly expected to share their work with other APC members.The process aims to enable organisations to make better-informed decisions about technology, and thus promote their organization’s mission and objectives through its use.
What happens when wireless, Free Software and the internet reaches the Amazon? APC’s member in Brazil, RITS, gives an update of their project in Pará, a territory covered mostly by jungle, and the Amazon Rainforest.
Producer and artistic director Andrew Garton of APC´s Australian member organisation has left for Seoul, for work on a joint Creative Commons project. Over two weeks, he plans a "fairly daily blog from Seoul".
Travelling down seven tracks, an estimated 220 participants from Latin America and the Caribbean take the fast-road to picking up essential tech skills that promise to make it easier for the region to communicate with less hiccups, and help build the much-needed not-for-profit networks and content-sharing links that serves the people of this continent.
Issues highlighted in the latest Chakula newsletter, dated July 2005 focus on the World Intellectual Property Organisation and its ‘Development Agenda’. Chakula traces the background to calls for reforms at WIPO, outlines the key issues of the proposal for the establishment of a ‘‘Development Agenda’’ for the organisation, and the developments so far after a series of meetings this year. Chakula is the Swahili word for ‘food’. This Africa Policy Monitor newsletter got its name to reflect its intended nature as a "form of nourishment" for organizations working in the field of ICTs for development in Africa.
What happens when popular media takes on the political class? In Thailand, it resulted in a $10 million civil suit, and a criminal libel suit, slapped on the young lady-campaigner who leads that country’s campaign for popular media reform. You can add your voice to an online campaign gaining momentum and drawing support from some prominent global campaigners.