APC is among more than 120,000 activists at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The WSF is the world’s largest gathering of social movements, non-profits, and progressive groups who believe that "another world is possible".
This year there are 2,500 planned activities taking place in almost 300 tents and over 200 meeting venues and APC is collecting and covering the debates, panels, workshops, and stories that illustrate the use of internet and ICTs for social justice and sustainable development. Visit our WSF site.
You can tune in to programming in AMARC, the worldwide network of community radios, in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Italian coming live from the world’s biggest gathering of activists.
Activists from Tunisia, Italy, Paraguay and Brazil reported on conditions in their countries and the response of civil society. APCNews reports from the Vth World Social Forum.
The first four World Social Forums — from 2001 to 2004 — were extraordinary moments of congregation, participation, debate and exchange amongst tens of thousands of activists from around the world, who transformed the WSF into the trademark meeting of civil society.
In late January, India’s technology mecca Bangalore became the venue for an international ‘camp’ intended to promote free and open source software (FOSS) among civil society. Asia Source, as the ‘tech camp’ is called, was held from January 28 to February 4, 2005 and "hopes to bring together over a hundred people from 20 countries to increase the use and awareness of FOSS amongst the non-profit sector in South and South East Asia."
The control wielded by big media and the need for strategies to challenge that power were among the central themes addressed at the First Information and Communication World Forum (ICWF).
Sihem Bensedrine, from OLPEC (National Council for Tunisian Freedom) believes that holding the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), in her country in November 2005, will help Tunisian people realise the importance of their right to communicate. It will also encourage work for changes in the communication field in our country, she added.
Presenters at the First World Forum on Information and Communication, discussed the possibilities of creating new methods of communication that are inclusive and have the potential of breaking down well-estalished communication patterns linked to the market and media corporations.
The World Social Forum has open information systems in place to go with an open political ethos. All of about 1,000 computers at the forum are using free software. The official website has been developed for the first time in ‘php,’ an open source language. A new translation system is also a free software tool. The Forum is hosted in Brazil, a nation whose government at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society held in Geneva in 2003, strongly opposed intellectual property on software, and succeeded in getting this omitted from the final resolution.
APC will be participating in a number of meetings at this fifth annual gathering of social movements, NGOs, and progressive groups who believe that “another world is possible”. On Thursday January 27th we are offering a workshop on “Networking for change and empowerment: building a gender and ICT policy agenda in the women’s movement”. Check out our agenda in English, French and Spanish.
The new year presents everyone at SANGONeT with a number of fresh and exciting challenges and opportunities, starting with the first SANGONeT "ICTs for Civil Society" conference and exhibition which will be held from 1-3 March 2005 in Fourways, Johannesburg. Read about this and other important plans for 2005 in SANGONeT’s monthly e-newsletter, "Lwati".
For an sector that talks of alternatives, the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or voluntary sector stays surprisingly aloof from one significant alternative that has really worked — free software. But there are stirrings to bridge this huge chasm. In end-January, India’s technology mecca Bangalore is to be the venue for an international, APC-supported ‘camp’ meant to promote FLOSS among the NGO sector.
Beginning a process of regionalisation APC member Computer Aid International opened its Southern Africa Regional offfice in Johannesburg, South Africa. The new Computer Aid office will support existing and future partners in Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Those of us who use internet as a work tool are used to encountering spam messages (unsolicited email) with million dollar businesses, magic solutions or attractive prizes. All of which are of dubious origin, and therefore untrustworthy. What had not yet occurred, at least in Bulgaria, was for these messages to be directed specifically to non governmental organisations.
Through its Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy Monitor for Latin America and the Caribbean, APC held a workshop on ICT policy strategies in Rosario, Argentina, which was attended by the Latin American members of APC, as well as important organisations from the region involved in the subject.
IPLeft, a social group for information commons in South Korea since 1999, launched the Korean Open Access Licence (KOAL) in October, 2004. KOAL is a newly-introduced model of open access to information in South Korea. Jinbonet, APC member in Seoul, has participated in IPLeft activities to develop this new initiative.
On 15 December 2004 BlueLink
the APC member in Bulgaria officially launched Civil Society Information Portal in Bulgaria (www.bluelink.info).
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) and the Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (Hivos) are inviting applications for the second round of the GenARDIS small grants programme. Ten grant funds of up to 5,000 Euros each will be given to address gender issues in information and communication technologies (ICTs) for agricultural and rural development in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP countries). Submission deadline is 25 February 2005.
In November 2004, twenty young journalists and civil society representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro learned how to use internet as a tool for organising civil society social movements.
MS Swaminathan Research Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation called an expert group meeting on “Up-scaling ICT for Poverty Reduction”. The event was held in Chennai, India, from 17–19 November 2004. APC Women’s Networking Support Programme (WNSP) Asia Pacific Coordinator, Cheekay Cinco, was among the participants.