What do you do when challenged with difficult conditions that make your computer repeatedly crash in rural, tropical conditions? Fantsuam Foundation of Nigeria simply converted this into an opportunity. Computers in wooden boxes, minus spinning disks that get clogged in dust and crash in high temperatures, and desktops that consume a fraction of power other computers need are some of their solutions. Read on for some unusual and interesting ideas from West Africa.
The First International Symposium on Women and ICT took place in Baltimore, Maryland, USA in mid-June. There are different priorities coming up. For instance, the US is concerned about support for women in the information technology sector, the need for attracting more women to higher education, and having better slots open to them. From the South, the priority is still infrastructure and access. At Baltimore, meanwhile, the APC’s WNSP shared experiences in its Gender Evaluation Methodology for information and communication technologies (ICTs), to shared tools for participants to measure progress achieved on the gender front.
Being the world’s "largest non-profit supplier of computers" to the South may not rake in the millions; but APC member Computer Aid International’s chief executive Tony Roberts believes it saves millions.
There’s a contradictory silence surrounding Section J of the Beijing Platform for Action that relates to issues of women and the media at this year’s Beijing + 10. What are the possible reasons for the lack of vocalisation on this issue, even as women’s movements working on various issues recognise the impact and power of the media in their work?
Albania’s national ICT (information and communication technologies) strategy is one of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe, with a marked effort to include women’s needs and views. Gender incorporation in ICTs was part of Albania’s attempt to address growing disparities in income, gender and geographical location. What can we learn from their experience for future gender-sensitive ICT policy framing?
APC, the network of civil society organisations pushing for a pro-people thrust to the internet and ICTs (information and communication technologies), is gearing up for participation in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). This UN-sponsored conference about information and communication gets underway later this year.
Two APC members in Africa — Women’sNet and Ungana Africa — have shared resources and skills to work in the area of technology planning for non-profits. They are shortly expected to share their work with other APC members.The process aims to enable organisations to make better-informed decisions about technology, and thus promote their organization’s mission and objectives through its use.
ICTs, or information and communication technologies, offer immense possibilities to reduce poverty, improve governance and advance gender equality in Africa. But, cautions an APC-produced paper on the role of ICTs in the development of African women, this will happen only if these technologies are made more accessible and consciously applied to achieve these objects.
When civil society from Brazil and France got together recently, they focussed on exchanging "experiences in digital solidarity". Their mid-July meet in Paris saw them also look at the possibility of cooperation in fields like Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).
Just after the United States made clear it intention to retain control over the internet’s root-servers, an ICANN meeting took place in Luxembourg. ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is a California-based non-profit corporation created in 1998 to take over a number of Internet-related tasks earlier performed on behalf of the US Government by other organizations, notably the IANA.
Why do intellectual property issues matter to civil society? Because they affect the public’s access to knowledge in the public domain and to copyrighted work, and infiltrated into the domain of food and medicine, threatening the sustainability of indigenous knowledge and biodiversity. What can be done to protect the global commons, and culture and life forms in the public domain that are the heritage of humankind? What can civil society do locally to ensure that IP legislation responds to social and cultural needs rather to the needs of international capital? These questions are looked at in the latest edition of “Chakula”, the APC Africa ICT policy newsletter.
How’s this huge, influential and potentially-useful beast called the internet to be governed? Who is to call the shots? Brazil-based RITS’s strategy director Carlos Afonso takes a close look at how control of the internet is sought to be transformed, before a crucial crossroad comes up in the next few months. This 50-page paper in PDF format, commissioned by APC member Instituto del Tercer Mundo (ITeM) as part of its WSISpapers series, also provides useful historical background on the current internet global governance system.
Wireless networks is attracting growing attention across the globe, as a plausible way of providing internet access in marginal areas or in cases where costs are prohibitive. Cristo Redentor Telecentre co-ordinator Cristina Ojeda joined a workshop on wireless networking organized by the Latin American School of Networking EsLaRed) in Mérida, Venezuela and narrates her experience.
The WSIS Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus has supported and voiced its appreciation for the process and outcome of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). The Caucus has welcomed the adoption of a broad working definition of Internet Governance, and believes that the high quality of the WGIG final report is the result of both the multi-stakeholder collaboration and the open and inclusive consultation with the wider WSIS community.
What happens when wireless, Free Software and the internet reaches the Amazon? APC’s member in Brazil, RITS, gives an update of their project in Pará, a territory covered mostly by jungle, and the Amazon Rainforest.
Producer and artistic director Andrew Garton of APC´s Australian member organisation has left for Seoul, for work on a joint Creative Commons project. Over two weeks, he plans a "fairly daily blog from Seoul".
Wireless Technologies for Development has just got a new focus online — and that too in the planet’s third most widely spoken language, Spanish — with the launch of an information portal, WiLAC, that focuses exclusively on this theme. It is designed to support individuals, organisations, municipalities and businesses currently implementing community wireless connectivity projects, or those about to launch on this road.
Travelling down seven tracks, an estimated 220 participants from Latin America and the Caribbean take the fast-road to picking up essential tech skills that promise to make it easier for the region to communicate with less hiccups, and help build the much-needed not-for-profit networks and content-sharing links that serves the people of this continent.
APC’s member in Uruguay ITeM has been participating in the World Summit on the Information Society through its WSISPapers project it has developed. This project grew from the realization that in WSIS’s first phase, many Southern government delegates faced severe roadblocks in negotiating effectively. They found grappling with certain information and communication technology issues a puzzle, largely due to the lack of specific information resources to support their positions. The WSISPapers project is supported by IDRC’s research initiative PanAmericas.
The belief that technology is gender-neutral is still rife. At Rio’s recent regional World Summit on the Information Society meet, this point was driven home once more. Representatives of international organisations, financing institutions, and government representatives too simply overlook gender concerns in ICTs (information and communication technologies).