Seven women and thirteen men from Anglophone and Francophone Africa and the Caribbean met during the last days of September in Gorée Island, Senegal. They have many things in common, but one in particular is their ability to make innovative connections in gender, agriculture and information and communication technologies (ICTs). This ability has led them to be finalists of the Gender, Agricultural and Rural Development in the Information Society (GenARDIS) small grants fund.
Participants at the Feminist Tech Exchange will put new skills and knowledge into practice at the FTX Hub during the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) 2008 Forum on Movement Build
The FTX will explore feminist practices and politics of technology and raise awareness on the critical role of communication rights in the struggle to advance women’s rights worldwide.
How can feminists use technology to their advantage? On November 10, the first ever Feminist Tech eXchange (FTX) in Cape Town will bring together more than 100 activists from around the globe to address this type of question. Organized by the APC Women’s programme in the run up to the massive women’s movement forum AWID, the capacity-building and information-exchange event will explore various technologies such as video, audio, social networking platforms and other emerging ICT tools. The event will act as an open space to network, share knowledge, and learn new skills and strategies for how to make technology work best for the women’s movement.
Following the initial rush of Information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) projects in rural Africa, many did not yield the anticipated outcomes, and interest has been dying down. People then began talking about “sustainable ICT” projects, in which it was understood that projects would become self-sufficient after their initial donor-led investment and set-up period. But with the use of mobile phones gaining in popularity, popular rhetoric has begun to question the need of ICTs beyond the mobiles phone. While mobile phones certainly have had a great impact in rural areas, a new study by Ian Howard, commissioned by APC, through the analysis of two case studies he argues that the need for telecentres and affordable internet connections exists, as such centres cater to rural and niche markets the way larger companies cannot.
Non-profit internet provider GreenNet has recently released a new ultra-low power computer. The tiny computer can run on a car battery for hours and uses a maximum of nine watts of electricity. Sustainable in almost every way – from its fabrication, to its distribution and consumption – the E2 also comes fully equipped with free and open source operating systems. APCNews interviewed Sharif Fanselow of GreenNet to find out more about this revolutionary computer.
According to March 2008 statistics only 3.6% of internet users in the world were from Africa. Asia contributed to 37.6% of internet users globally, but this percentage is inflated by large numbers of users from China. The number of fixed lines has not increased significantly, and in some cases has even shrunk. And, in addition to this, a new divide is emerging: the broadband (or “high speed internet”) divide. In Manaus, deep in the Amazon jungle, “broadband” is available but at a cost. There, a 200Kbps connection (hardly considered speedy in better connected parts of the world) costs about $100 USD a month.
The recent release of the 2008 Basic Capabilities Index (BCI) results, an alternative poverty estimate produced by Social Watch, revealed that the current rate of progress is moving at a snail’s pace. Out of 176 countries where a BCI figure is being measured, only 21 have made noticeable progress over the past 8 years. As such, the international poverty reduction goals for 2015 will not be met; in fact in certain areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, an entire century would be needed. Social Watch is an initiative of the Third World Institute (ITeM), member of APC in Uruguay.