For the first time, in September 2007, a large group of people involved in one way or another with development work met to discuss the possibilities and drawbacks of sophisticated web-based applications in situations of low bandwidth and limited access to powerful hardware. Many of them had the chance to experiment with the tools in a workshop APC co-organised at a conference called Web2forDev. The interest of this community, gradually expanding under the ‘Web2forDev’ label, focuses on how cutting-edge technology can help to close the gap in access to ICTs, as opposed to widening it further.
This handbook for development practitioners offers 10 case studies from southern Africa in an attempt to bridge policy and practice in the use of ICTs to confront issues of gender inequalities, schools with limited resources, and harsh environmental realities. It also features five toolkits to help civil society organisations deepen their capacity to apply ICTs and forge their path in the information society. One of the toolkits featured is APC WNSP’s Gender Evaluation Methodology for Internet and ICTs (GEM).
This paper sets out to look at the question to information and communication technologies (ICTs) in relation to women’s development in Africa. The emphasis is on current issues and the paper highlights key issues and challenges faced by women in Africa and to a smaller extent, globally. The paper provides examples of good practice and includes recommendations to civil society organisations on how to create an enabling environment for women to access and use ICTs for development. The crucial link between understanding the gender dimensions of the information society – in terms of what women’s needs are and a thorough understanding of conditions of access, policies – and the potential ICTs have of boosting the economic, political and social empowerment of women, and the promotion of gender equality is explored. An extensive resource list and examples of successful initiatives form the field are included in appendices.