APC dedicates flagship publication to A.K. Mahan, activist who valued intellectual rigour and concrete outcomes
Amy Mahan, a long-time collaborator of APC, died unexpectedly on March 5. Amy was a fervent supporter of Global Information Society Watch, a watchdog report that has become recognised as an essential reference by activists and critics in ICT policy all over the world, since its conception. APC will be dedicating the 2009 edition of GISWatch to be published in November in her honour. Amy touched all who worked with her, leaving a legacy of activist work that aspires to combine intellectual rigour and concrete outcomes that make a difference in the lives of people who lack resources, power and access.
In late 2003 APC gathered in Colombia to define our strategic priorities for the following five years. Like most good APC meetings, the event mixed politics with capacity building, debate and dialogue with dancing, and it was the largest meeting in our history at the time. Looking back over this period in earnest is quite intimidating. We hope that the APC Progress Report for 2004 to 2008 will give you some idea of those challenges and gives us an opportunity to recognise why APC is what it is and why we do what we do – making the world a better place by helping people gain the access, the skills, and the rights they need to work together online.
According to the UN, access to electricity is extremely low in some areas of African countries like Kenya, where only 3 people out of 20 have power. Schools in rural areas generally have no access to a reliable power source, and other alternatives such as diesel or solar panels are an expensive alternative, and therefore not ideal for IT. In an attempt to provide pragmatic and adapted computing solutions in areas where electricity remains a challenge, Computer Aid International set out to identify what computer solutions were available and appropriate to rural African settings. Read the Computer Aid report on the five top-scoring low-cost, low-power computers or read more about it in an “online review by ZDNet”:http://reviews.zdnet.co.uk/hardware/0,1000000323,39363065,00.htm.
Since our inception, APC has been combining grass roots initiatives with local and national impact, with global experiences that amplify these impacts. An example of this is Take Back the Tech! – an international campaign that uses technology to fight against violence against women. We present this and other initiatives that the network hopes to be carrying on the next four years.
May First/People Link, a New York collective, has been hosting websites and providing technology solutions and support to the city’s non-profits since the late ’90s. They have doubled in size since 2005 to about 250 members – without government or foundation funding. During the US Social Forum 2007 they provided all the technology for the event and are in the middle of planning for the next USSF. Find out more about APC’s newest member.