By APCNews MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, 26 March 2004
APC is an international network of civil society organisations supporting the use of ICTs for social justice and sustainable development and has been present in Latin America since the late 1980s when two of our founding members were technology activists based in Nicaragua and Brazil.
APC’s websites are produced in both English and Latin-American Spanish. www.apc.org/espanol is updated weekly, often with information coming direct from our eight members based in Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador. Our monthly newsletter, APCNoticias, is also in Latin-American Spanish.
APC’s Latin American and Caribbean ICT Policy Monitor Project
The ICT policy monitor
which began in 2001 is based on the principle that access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) is a basic human right. We aim to raise awareness amongst civil society actors regarding our ICT rights and we provide information, tools and training so that organisations can lobby decision-makers so that civil society needs are taken into account at the time that ICT policy is actually created and developed.
Current activities include:
· An online ICT policy information centre which is the result of months of researching, classifying, analyzing and monitoring policies which affect Latin American countries and the ability of civil society and excluded communities to take advantage of the information revolution. The centre is updated weekly. It contains a complete regional ICT legislation database.
lac.derechos.apc.org/legislacion.shtml? and lac.derechos.apc.org
· A bulletin on ICT policy in Latin America and the Caribbean distributed by APC to increase civil society’s awareness of topics related to ICT policy. The newsletter focuses on a different theme each edition and is published in Spanish. It carries original material produced by APC.
· We run a public space for discussion, spreading and exchange of information to encourage and nurture a network of people interested in ICT policy and actively monitoring current policy. listas.ecuanex.net.ec/listas/listinfo/politicas-tic-lac
· We develop research and materials which provide a basis for concrete “good ICT policy” actions that CSOs can carry out at home. We’re continuously refining a training curriculum in English and Spanish for ICT policy workshops for civil society groups and we have also trained trainers in Latin America.
Training curriculum: www.apc.org/english/capacity/policy/curriculum.shtml
Guide to holding national ICT policy consultation: derechos.apc.org/guianacional_wsis_v1_espanol.pdf
· We point visitors to reliable mailing lists, discussion forums and other participatory spaces dealing with ICT policy in the region.
· We’re working to establish a debate around the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) – next held in Tunisia in 2005. A series of national and regional reports to feed the discussion and other related resources are collected on a dedicated Spanish-language WSIS site which has become a point of reference for the Latin American and Caribbean Caucus at WSIS.
lac.derechos.apc.org/wsis and lac.derechos.apc.org/wsis/caucuslac.shtml
APC, ICTs and Latin American and Caribbean Women
APC’s women’s programme (WNSP, known as PARM in Spanish) has an active Latin American and Caribbean network of women working in ICT from all over the region. Members come from civil society organisations and are also individuals, but what they all share is a commitment to the use of ICTs for social change and progress.
The WNSP’s principal work over the last 3 years has been the creation and field-testing of an ICT initiative evaluation tool – the Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM). GEM has been tested in seven Latin American initiatives and coordinated by a well-known journalist and gender expert based in Argentina who is also the coordinator of PARM-LAC. GEM is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese. GEM workshops have taken place in Mexico, Ecuador and Colombia and will be held mid-year in Brazil.
Who’s testing GEM in LAC: http://www.apcwomen.org/gem/whoslatin.htm
Gender and ICTs: http://www.apc.org/english/news/women_index.shtml
The APC Betinho Communications Prize: Recognising the use of ICTs for social justice in Latin America and the Caribbean
The $7,500 USD Betinho Prize is open to NGOs, community-based groups, coalitions, working groups or social movements that have successfully used information and communication technologies as an essential ingredient in their social justice and development work. In 2003, for the first time, the APC Betinho Prize was offered in recognition of ICT efforts that are improving the lives of people and communities in Latin America and the Caribbean.
APC targeted ICT initiatives that:
1. are people-centred and mobilise participation
2. have positive community impact
3. are driven and developed in Latin America and the Caribbean
Applications were accepted in three of the most widely used languages in the region and the finalists stories translated into Spanish, Portuguese and English so that more people can find out about these outstanding ICT initiatives. The prize will next be offered in 2005.