APCNews 116 – Violence in Nigeria, Internet for schoolgirls in Pakistan

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APCNews – March 12 2010 – Year XI Issue 116

The news service on ICTs for social justice and sustainable development

APC first came into contact with the rural Nigerian group Fantsuam Foundation when they won the 2001 APC Africa Hafkin Prize. At the time, Fantsuam ran a small micro-credit scheme and had introduced computer training for their borrowers – though Kazanka Comfort who ran the foundation told us that her dream was to eventually see women in all the local communities linked up by email so that when there were outbreaks of sectarian violence the women could email each other and get help.

Since 2001 Fantsuam has taken technology far in their efforts to alleviate poverty. They’ve set up a high tech training academy and provide internet to thousands of people. Since 2004 they have been using GEM –APC’s Gender Evaluation Methodology– to evaluate the extent to which they are changing the lives of women in their communities. In the latest outbreak of sectarian violence this week Fantsuam has had to help bury 287 dead – and they were almost all women and children.  In the month of Women’s Day and at the same time as the UN Commission on the Status of Women is meeting in New York, Fantsuam sees the extension of GEM into the broader Nigerian community as a potential solution.
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GEM in Hard Times: Sectarian violence in Nigeria can be beaten

KAFANCHAN (John Dada for APCNews) – Since January, sectarian strife has ripped through Nigerian communities. “A mass burial took place the day before yesterday and body counts are close to three hundred with over 80% of them women and children,” APC member John Dada told APC. “It is ironic that in the month of the Celebration of Women’s Day, such atrocities are being visited on innocent women and children.” Women are culturally respected as the givers of life and John blames deepening poverty and economic alienation for the cultural reversal but he sees a potential solution. More >>

Internet, schoolchildren and rural Pakistan: How to get community buy-in including for girls

CALGARY (LC and KAH for APC) – In rural Pakistan girls schools are sometimes burned to the ground, so when twenty-nine year old Huda Sarfraz and her team started to teach Punjabi girls how to create websites and use online chat, she feared they might be run out of town. However the girls clamoured to learn as much as the boys did and —overturning societal taboos— over-subscribed for the extra-curricular classes – ending up producing prize-winning websites. As a result of exposure to APC’s Gender Evaluation Methodolgy (GEM), and despite their own cultural reservations, Sarfraz’s team focused specifically on getting girls and women teachers involved. “Initially, we only saw two groups to work with — students and teachers. However because of GEM, we looked at them as four—girl students, boy students, women teachers and men teachers,” says Sarfraz. More >>

APC at the UN Commission on the Status of Women

NEW YORK 3 March 2010 (GenderIT.org) A small team from the APC women’s programme is in New York from March 1-12, blogging and tweetting from the UN headquarters. While governments are busy reviewing the Beijing Platform for Action, civil society organisations are being kept at bay and struggling to take part. Yet they are still managing to keep busy by organising side events, networking, and advocating for the inclusion of a women’s rights perspective in all the discussions. APC is closely following the discussions about communications rights and the role technology plays within. Our coverage is on GenderIT.org. More >>

Coverage from APC via the GenderIT.org site

Access to knowledge conference in Yale: Video interviews

More than 20% of human genes are patented in the US – preventing people from accessing affordable and appropriate testing and diagnoses of genetic diseases. This is only one example of how restrictive intellectual propery legislation is impacting human rights. At the Yale Information Society Project’s conference, where APC was an organising partner, these issues including the impact on innovation, scientific research, freedom of expression online and education were discussed by civil society and adademia. Watch some video interviews. More >>

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