By FD for APCNews BRAZZAVILLE, Congo, 16 October 2007
APCNews: AZUR Développement became a member of APC in August 2007. What drew you to APC?
It was good news to find out that APC had accepted us into its big family. We had first heard about the Association for Progressive Communications in 2005 during the preparatory workshops for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). We thought about joining APC to explore opportunities for collaboration with other organisations in the field of information and communications technologies (ICTs). There is a Congolese proverb that says, “You can’t wash your face with just one finger,” and we thought that since APC’s members have a lot of experience with ICTs, they could help us to get things moving in this field here in our country.
APCNews: What kinds of projects and activities did you work on before joining APC?
Our work focuses on five main programmes: ICTs, HIV/AIDS and assistance for vulnerable people, indigenous people’s rights, young women and leadership, and environmental education. In the framework of the ICTs programme, we organise trainings, support networking among telecentres in the Congo, and participate in ICT policy advocacy.
Our efforts place particular emphasis on young women, indigenous women and people living in rural areas. AZUR Développement itself currently acts as a network for other organisations. We provide support to civil society organisations and also media professionals in the Congo and fifteen other Francophone countries in Africa on the use of ICTs to achieve their objectives. We have trained civil society representatives from Togo, the DRC, Mozambique and Mali, to name just a few.
APCNews: Obviously, you are still just starting out in APC and have to deal with both this new setting and the pressing demands on the ground in the Congo. But where do you see opportunities for collaboration and for the potential development of the APC network as a whole and civil society as a whole?
We are ready to get fully involved in the APC network’s activities. At this stage, we cannot precisely identify opportunities for collaboration, since we will need more time for that.
At the same time, the APC network can look at possibilities for collaborating with us on the projects we will be working on for the rest of the year. Our current and upcoming activities include a national workshop for young women on communications and advocacy; a local content production project for rural grassroots organisations; an anti-malaria project with an ICT component that involves ten Francophone African countries; capacity building for telecentre administrators in the Congo; and a series of activities to be carried out during sixteen days of activism against violence against women.