Networking communities in the South -- challenges for diverse actors: Remittance, microfinance and technology
In 2003 a Pew Hispanic Center survey found that 40% of the adult, foreign-born Latino population in the United States, some 6 million people, send money home on a regular basis. This paper deals with the issue of the high cost to migrants of sending money back to their families at home, i.e. international money transfers and who controls them, and discusses opportunities of creating an alternative system.
Scott Robinson is a Mexico-based anthropologist who has been a pioneer in community based information services, telecentres and ICTs for social justice in Latin America. APC thanks Scott for permitting us to reproduce his paper here.
Prior to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), UN Summits were largely closed spaces for inter-governmental debate and negotiation on issues of global public policy such as sustainable development or the position of women. Civil society summits ran in parallel to those of governments and usually at some distance. So during the UN Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002, governments met in the elite business zone of Sandton, while civil society met in the black township of Soweto.
On March 10, 2005, The Economist featured reports and an editorial on the digital divide in which it derided the Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF), which had been welcomed by governments at the WSIS Prepcom 2 in Geneva in February and was due to be launched on 14 March 2005. In its editorial on “the real digital divide”, The Economist made the following claims about the Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF):
- That on March 14th the United Nations will launch a Digital Solidarity Fund.
- That waving a magic wand to cause a computer to appear in every household on earth is just the sort of thing for which the UN’s new fund is intended.
- Technology firms operating in poor countries will be encouraged to donate 1% of their profits to the fund.
None of these claims is true.
“The working group on internet governance: a feminist conversation”, in Visions in process II the WSIS, Karen Banks, for Heinrich Boell Foundation.
The information revolution is not about technology, it is about people. This is increasingly recognised and has led to the convergence of major global development initiatives. Today, there is a strong correlation in the quest for an inclusive and equitable information society and the effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This book argues that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can play a decisive role in both. Drawing on current research, learning and experience from concrete projects, the authors show that ICT provide an overarching enabling platform for development processes. Because of their generic and transformative power, ICT can not only contribute to the achievement of specific development objectives in areas such as health or education, but are also key enablers of sustainable human development in a more general sense.
“Participation in development processes: Can ICT make a difference?” in Access, Empowerment & Governance Creating a World of Equal Opportunities with ICT, Anriette Esterhuysen, for GKP.
The information revolution is not about technology, it is about people. This is increasingly recognised and has led to the convergence of major global development initiatives. Today, there is a strong correlation in the quest for an inclusive and equitable information society and the effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This book argues that information and communication technologies (ICTs) can play a decisive role in both. Drawing on current research, learning and experience from concrete projects, the authors show that ICT provide an overarching enabling platform for development processes. Because of their generic and transformative power, ICT can not only contribute to the achievement of specific development objectives in areas such as health or education, but are also key enablers of sustainable human development in a more general sense.
“The potential of ICT for promoting gender equality”, in Access, empowerment & governance creating a world of equal opportunities with ICT, Natasha Primo for GKP.
This report is the work of the World Bank’s Rural Development and Natural Resources Sector Unit of the East Asia and Pacific Region. The core team responsible for the preparation of this report was led by Shobha Shetty (sr. economist, EASRD) and comprised Francisco Proenza (economist, FAO Investment Centre), Robert Schware (lead informatics specialist, CITPO), Wati Hermawati (gender and ICT Consultant), Sonia Jorge (gender and ICT consultant), and Chat Garcia Ramilo (gender and ICT consultant).
In November 2005, the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society will meet for the last time in Tunis. In its five year history, the WSIS has failed to succeed in redressing the North-South “digital divide”. Consensus in the 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.
“Summits and Strategies”, in Big Brother Goes Global, Karen Banks for Index On Censorship, Volume 3/2005.
“Women 2000 and beyond: Gender equality in information and communication technologies” was compiled by the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (UNDAW), with the collaboration of Sonia Jorge, Nancy Hafkin and Chat Garcia Ramilo.
Any world summit is challenging to design and to organize: the World Summit on the Information Society exceptionally so. This book describes, through the voices of some of its major actors, essential parts of the complex undertaking of the WSIS, from conception to realization. The work of many participants culminated in the Geneva Declaration and Plan of Action, as well as in the ICT4D Platform. When moving forward, it is important to remember history. WSIS already has a history of its own. This book is not a history book. But the stories, the contributors to this book tell us, are part of this history. The target audience of this book goes beyond the “usual suspects” and insiders, who has lived and worked in the “WSIS spaceship” for more than two years. The book will reach out to a broader public, because the Information Society is for everybody. The individual articles of this book will enable readers to get a better understanding of the complex issues raised by the WSIS process. It gives the opportunity to see the different perspectives of different players and stakeholders, the controversies and conflicts, which will continue to exist when the process goes ahead. Readers will get firsthand information and personal impressions on how WSIS I was done by governmental negotiators, who have been heavily involved in the deal-making inside and outside the conference halls of the International Geneva Convention Center and the Palais des Nations where most of the sessions took place. Representatives of the private sector and civil society give their perspectives and write about the expectations they have when they discuss the future of the WSIS process. And academic observers add some theoretical analysis which helps to put single issues into a broader context.