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ICT Success Stories

Main WSIS site |  UN Millennium Development Goals | Visions of the Information Society |

 

 

ICTs FOR DEVELOPMENT


This category highlights strategic partnerships, national and international, cross-sector and multi-stakeholder, that target developing countries and regions to help bridge the digital divide.  Such initiatives target a wide range of development constraints to alleviate the persistent problems that perpetuate hunger, poverty and suffering in the developing world. Poverty is a major challenge and digital inclusion is a special goal enabling further overall societal development. Partners are striving to capitalize their digital opportunities and make concerted efforts to achieve a win-win situation in improved welfare and enhanced future prospects.

 

ICT stories from the field


 Regional Space Applications Programme for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific (RESAP)


Success Strategy:
The objective of ESCAP is to assist member countries to address the development and enhancement of strategies and policies supporting national goals for maximizing benefits from new developments in information and communication technologies.

ESCAP promotes the use of ICT that contributes to economic and social development. Some of its activities focus on key applications identified in the Plan of Action of the first phase of WSIS and the Tokyo Declaration such as e-governance, e-business, knowledge sharing, rural ICT services, e-health, distance education, and the section also supports the activities of APCTT.

The Programme is leading a broad range of activities in space technology applications. There are two current major areas of focus. The first special focus is on satellite communications for Connectivity, including activities promoting public-private partnerships as well as other enablement toward growing benefits from satellite communications for improved connectivity. A purpose of the programme in this field is to contribute to guarantee affordable, accessible and usable products and services benefiting underserved communities in Asia and the Pacific.

A subsequent overall goal of ESCAP is to create operational space-derived information products and services for sustainable capacity building in Asia and the Pacific.

Thus, through its activities and partnerships efforts ESCAP encourages space agencies and others to move forward from prototyping and pilot projects to delivering operationally useful products and services that are affordable, accessible, and usable.

Target group:Underserved areas in Asia-Pacific, space agencies

Partners: UN ESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific)

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity


  DOT-COM Alliance: Digital Opportunities through Technology and Communications Partnerships


Success Strategy:
DOT-COM Alliance has developed a partnership between USAID and more than 75 partners - each with specialized expertise in using ICT for development.

The Alliance consists of three USAID funded Leader-with-Associates cooperative agreements, each with specific areas of ICT expertise:

  • dot-GOV: Promotes policy and regulatory reform to create enabling environments for ICT, including equitable use, trade in telecom services and e-commerce, and an open and secure internet-led by Internews Network with 21 resource partners.
  • dot-ORG: Extends ICT access to under-served communities and accelerates the applications of development-related uses of ICT-led by the Academy of Educational Development (AED) with 63 resource partners.
  • dot-EDU: Strengthens education and learning systems through customized ICT interventions and content for educators, students, and professionals-led by the Education Development Centre (EDC) with 35 resource partners.

DOT-COM activities cross all sectors, including education, economic growth, women in development, agriculture, trade, health, environment, and telecommunications & e-commerce policy.

Target group:Developing countries and countries in transition

Partners: U.S. Agency for International Development, US Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture & Trade, Office of Energy and Information Technology (EGAT/EIT/IT), US Office of Education (EGAT/ED), Office of Women in Development (EGAT/WID) and many partners form the public and private sector

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity

For more information : see the Description of DOT Alliance [191K pdf]


  Asia Broadband Programme - Japan

Success Strategy:On the basis of “Asia Broadband Program” from 2002, an action program of the Government of Japan, a wide range of measures have been deployed to bridge the digital divide, to bring the benefit of ICT to all the people in Asia and to seek further social, economical, cultural development of Asia. Setting 2010 as the target year, a common goal in Asia is to invigorate information flows within the region to make Asia as a whole a global information hub.

The Programme is aiming both at enhancing technical and infrastructural capacities and diversifying digital content. The goal of the joint efforts is to increase the volume of information flows between Asia and the rest of the world improving in parallel the quality of the information and knowledge shared. The ambition of the partners involved is manifest - make Asia a leading region in the field of ICTs, particularly in the development of next-generation mobile communications technology, paying special attention to strengthened security and other beneficial features.

A cultural & grassroots subset of specific goals is also developed to digitize and archive major cultural assets in Asian countries, to share them within the region and transmit them to the rest of the world via broadband. In order to facilitate the implementation and guarantee the success of this large-scale project, a number of human capacity building opportunities are created. E-learning projects as well as exchange of trainees and experts are conceived and carried out.

Fostering the relationship among Asian countries, this Programme’s goals go further beyond the technical cooperation and the pure ICT benefit. In the concept of the project is reflected the awareness of the vital importance of building network infrastructure so as enabling all peoples in Asia to access broadband platforms at an affordable price level in the future. The multi-stakeholders' partnerships formed including ten Asian countries are a catalyser of process of enabling all people in Asia to take advantage of the digital opportunities, paying special attention on developing countries needs.

Partners: Governments and organisations form Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, Philippine, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity


  InfoDev

Success Strategy: “Information for Development Program” is a global program to promote the use of ICTs in the development co-operation.

InfoDev’s mission is to help developing countries and their partners in the international community use ICTs effectively and strategically as tools to combat poverty, promote sustainable economic growth, and empower individuals and communities to participate more fully and creatively in their societies and economies. infoDev pursues this mission through an integrated set of programs. These programs are led within infoDev's three key research areas -- Mainstreaming, Enabling Access For All and Scaling Up.

Created in 1995, infoDev has until recently been primarily a grant facility for pilot projects using ICTs to combat poverty and promote development. In the past few years, ICT-for-development initiatives have proliferated and the resources devoted to ICT in development portfolios have expanded. Yet, rigorous field-tested knowledge about "what works and why" in ICT for development, and a deeper understanding of the enabling conditions and success factors in ICT-for-development initiatives, have been relatively scarce. As a result, there is a growing consensus in the development community that ICT will only become an effective and mainstream tool of poverty reduction and sustainable development if the proponents of ICT-for-development can provide more rigorous evidence, strategies, benchmarks, indicators, and good practices that are directly relevant to the core poverty-reduction and development priorities of developing countries and their international partners.

infoDev's new strategy is designed to strengthen the linkages between pilot projects, evidence, analysis and action in harnessing ICTs for development. The principal focus of infoDev's activities in 2004-2005 is on how ICTs can substantially advance progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  infoDev has launched an intensive program of support for research, analysis, and evaluation, impact monitoring, and toolkit development focused on distilling the lessons of experience from the past ten years on the impact of ICT on poverty, with a particular focus on mainstreaming and scaling up successful ICT approaches and applications.

Partners: Denmark - Director ICT department, World Bank, official bilateral and multilateral development agencies and other partners

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity


  The Acacia Initiative - Africa

Success strategy: The Acacia Initiative: Communities and Information Society in Africa, is an initiative of the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to empower sub-Saharan African communities with the ability to apply information and communication technologies to their own social and economic development.

The Acacia programme is commencing its second phase (2001-2005), which will look to build on the first one, notably by focussing on disseminating findings widely, learning from its initial projects and developing new types of projects. The objectives of Acacia II are: 

  • To enhance the understanding and knowledge of the innovative, transformative or dysfunctional effects of ICTs in poverty reduction and human development in Africa

  • To improve African countries capacities to formulate and implement national ICT policies promoting equitable access to ICTs and information doe socio-economic development

  • To contribute to research in appropriate ICTs that support the development and adoption of affordable and functionally relevant technical solutions for Africa

  • To support research that enhances African content through software development for the effective application of ICTs for development

  • To learn from Acacia's community-based research and experimentation and to widely disseminate this knowledge.

Activities include regional and sub-regional convening to garner broad participation of stakeholders in debates about ICTs and development, as well as recognition of the need to address a broad spectrum of policy issues. There are projects to develop local content needs to meet educational, business, and environmental needs and a variety of community access mechanisms (such as telecentres). Acacia activities also include stimulating private sector participation and supporting sectoral initiatives such as school networking to support formal and informal learning.

Under the Acacia Initiative, several big-scale projects are underway, including:

  • SchoolNet South Africa Programme - to test various connectivity models and to develop an understanding of the educational processes, benefits and constraints relating to the use of ICTs in education.

  • Mozambique Pilot Telecentres in Manhica and Namaacha - The telecentres will offer various services from photocopying to e-mail, but the main focus of the telecentres will be to provide educational resources to the most disadvantaged groups in the two communities.

  • Application of ICTs and Decentralization of Health Services - Phase I: Telemedicine Pilot Project - to introduce new information communication technologies and enable the control of such technologies with local health practitioners. The telemedicine facility will service distant and underprivileged communities outside Dakar.

  • Economic Empowerment of Women through ICTs in Uganda - Online and offline databases and other information sources on a variety of issues to increase women entrepreneurial opportunities are combined with ICT training for women and technical assistances for using these databases.

  • The Evaluation and Learning System for Acacia (ELSA) constituted a very significant element of the entire first phase of Acacia (Acacia I). Perhaps the most important lesson learned from the first generation of Acacia was how challenging it can be to mount this type of program.

Partners: IDRC was a founding memeber of PICTA and has partnered broadly with the principal agencies involved with ICTs in Africa (through, for example, the African Information Society Initiative and the African Networking Initiative). Partners include the UNECA, UNESCO, ITU, NORAD, European Commission, Open Society Institute, Worldlinks, IICD and many others. Among its developing country partners, just to cite a few, there is APC, ENDA TM, GEEP, Wits University, Makarere University, Eduardo Mondlane University, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, OSIRIS, SADC, INIIT, ITIGEO, etc.

Source: The Communication Initiative website


 The Communication Initiative: Association for Progressive Communication

Success Strategy: The Communication Initiative provides a space to share, debate and innovate for more effective development communication practice. It is focused on

  • Debating development communication issues and programmes

  • Improving strategic communication analysis and action

  • Supporting a stronger voice for the communication experiences and learnings in The South

  • Expanding communication and development networks in The South

  • Promoting the importance of communication for development

The change strategy of The Communication Initiative is based on the assumption that people and organizations improve the relevance and effectiveness of their work when they:

  • Increasingly access the information they need in a form that provides quick, relevant access.

  • Expand levels of peer commentary and review on their work, plans and ideas.

  • Increasingly identify and engage with a network on shared issues.

  • Develop more and better partnerships as essential elements of their action, strategy and thinking

  • Expand knowledge of strategic options

  • Increase inter-personal dialogue with other people in the development communication field

  • Increase their contribution and perspective to the dialogue within the development community on effective development and communication strategies and investments

  • Increase support for the 'voices' of the people most engaged in communication for development action being to the fore in policy dialogue and resolution

The extensive website of the Communication Initiative showcases summarized information - 17,000-plus pages - related to communication for development, including base line data from development and communication sectors, programme descriptions and experiences, Specific projects in support of development communication, evaluation data and many more.

Partners: many not-for-profit, governmental and civil society partners

Source: The Communication Initiative website


 [Re]creation of Social Interconnectedness using ICT to Reach out to Families in Extreme Poverty

Success Strategy:Joseph Wresinski Training Centre, around Kuyo Grande, Cusco in Peru started with the farmers’ communities. The training project concerns children and young people of farmers, enabling them to acquire knowledge through training without being forced to leave their farm and give up the farming work. The aim of the project is that these young people will be trained with modern technologies and in return will become trainers for their own neighbourhood and their own family. This project is also answering to the concern expressed by the Government so that the average technologies information reaches the rural areas and isolated communities

Target group: Disadvantaged families, farmers, young adult from rural communities

Partners: ATD Fourth World

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity


  The Global Knowledge Partnership Portal


Success Strategy:
The Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) is a worldwide network committed to harnessing the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs)* for sustainable and equitable development. GKP’s vision is a world of equal opportunities where all people can access and use knowledge and information to improve their lives. The network enables the sharing of information, experiences and resources to help reduce poverty and empower people. Advocacy and Awareness Raising as well as Knowledge Development are continuously enhanced in the sake of improvement in all spheres of human life - economic welfare, democratic rights, knowledge and information access, health and peaceful existence.

Within the GKP framework, governments, civil society groups, donor agencies, private sector companies and inter-governmental organisations come together as equals to apply ICTs for development (ICT4D). Such alliances are known as ‘multi-stakeholder partnerships’ (MSPs), a relatively new approach to forging collaborations among different sectors sharing a common vision and goal.

Promotion of multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) has been a long-standing priority for the Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP), which is itself a multi-stakeholder partnership, provides an ongoing context in which action oriented MSPs can be developed. Many members of the GKP are engaged in such partnerships. Since its establishment in 1997, GKP has consistently advocated for the approach and continues to do so in global policy fora including the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS).

In order to promote knowledge sharing, enhance organisational learning and build partnerships in support of ICT4D, GKP engages in a set of programmatic activities including international and regional convenings, publications, advocacy, awards, seed grants, internships, and thematic and regional focal groups.

Founded in 1997, GKP now comprises 100 members from more than 40 countries covering all continents. It is governed by an elected Executive Committee and serviced by a Secretariat based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Partners: Global Knowledge Partnership

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity


 Kerala - God's own Digital Country

Success strategy:One would have thought that bridging the digital divide is an impossible task. But Kerala, Amarthya Sens’s favourite development model, has shown how it is possible to attain complete literacy and long life expectancy and excellent social indicators despite having low per capita income. Kerala, in an endeavour to bridge the divide and propel Kerala as India's foremost knowledge society, embarked on 'Akshaya Project' on the 18th of November, 2002. It is expected that Akshaya will be a watershed in effacing the divide between "information haves" and "information have-nots" and in disseminating the benefits of IT to the common man. The Akshaya project has three focus areas – facilitate access to technology to all region of the state, to felicitate development of skills and competencies to enable use of IT by all sections of society, to develop content in local language on topic of local relevance.

Akshaya will rank amongst the most ambitious ICT programs ever attempted in a developing society. The project is expected to generate a network of 6000 information centres in the state, generate about 50,000 employment opportunities and throw up investment opportunities to the tune of Rs.500 Crores, all within a time span of 3 years.The Akshaya project was envisaged as a practical, commercially viable enabler essentially having to

  • Impart basic IT literacy to at least one member of the lakh families in the state.

  • Extend the training initiative into a service delivery mechanism for the local citizen.

The Service Delivery Mechanism is simple -once the people have been introduced to the immense possibilities of ICTs the next step would be to make facilities available to make their learning useful and reap the benefits.

The Akshaya project has already been successfully implemented in Malappurram district of Kerala. At least one person in over 75 0000lakh families has been made computer literate.

Furthermore, the focus of the programme will be to ensure a viable, sustainable service delivery mechanism for the citizens of the state. The Akshaya centre have been equipped with necessary equipment like computers, fax, printers, telephones, broad band internet connection etc., and software so as to cater to the information and communication requirements of the local citizens. A community portal, which will cater to the day-to-day requirements of the local community, is also envisaged.

eLitteracy Campaign

The eLiteracy campaign is the foundation on which the state seeks to bridge the digital divide in the state. The underlying objective of the campaign is to remove the "fear of the unknown" that common people have about technology in general and computers in particular.

The eLiteracy campaign proposes to impart basic/functional eLiteracy to one member of each of the 65 lakh families in the state. Selection of the member to be trained will be decided by the family members. The persons trained as part of this campaign are expected to act as a catalyst in ensuring the overall success of the project.

The course content is being designed keeping this in mind. The emphasis of the training program will be on the use of technology and not on technology itself. The program will aim at opening up the minds of the student to the immense possibilities and benefits of ICT.

The expected direct benefits from the programme are mainly: 

  • At least 1 computer literate person in every home in the state

  • Network of 6000 Community Information Centres across the state 

  • Convenient access for the common man to information services

  • Local Community Empowerment

  • Generate locally relevant content 

  • Generate over 50,000 direct employment opportunities in three years

  • Generate direct investment of over Rs. 500 crores in 3 years

The expected indirect benefits are: 

  • Cheaper communication through internet telephony, e-mail, chat etc 

  • Enhanced ICT demand in Tele-medicine, e-Commerce and e-Education 

  • Enlarged marketing opportunities for agricultural, traditional products and artefacts 

  • Improved delivery of public services 

  • Catalysing of all sectors in the IT Industry

The project has been designed to leverage Kerala's unique strenght, active community organisations, progressive social framework, advanced telecom infrastructure and wide- spread media penetration. The use of self-employment programmes and private enterprise within a government framework in development of training institutes and content generation will aim at ensuring commercial viability as well as sustainability of the project.

After initial successful implementation in Malappuram, the plan is to cover the entire state by end 2005. This would create direct investment of 3000000 INR and create 50000 job opportunities. The 6000 – 9000 Akshaya centers would network 30 million people across 600 thousand household giving them access to broadband connectivity. Akshaya centers would also provide service like data entry, desktop publishing, advanced computer training and internet telephony. More importantly; these centers would serve as a front end for government services such as disbursement of forms or payment collections.

In future Akshaya will also offer information tailor-made for Keralites. The content developed in local language would include education, health, law, career development, agriculture, gender studies, taxation, housing and other avenues to empower people to better help themselves. Akshaya would also include self development modules covering spoken English, vocational training, personality development, career planning and accounting.

Partners: Public Private Partnership (PPP) joining Kerala State IT Mission, STED (Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board) and C-DIT (The Centre for Development of Imaging Technology),  implemented through the Local Self Government (Panchayati Raj) Institutions (LSGIs)

Awards: Digital Communities Award of ARS Electronica 2005

Source: TakingITGlobal website and e-mail of Geert Lovink to the reader-list@sarai.net,  May 23, 2005

For more information: see http://www.akshaya.net


  United Nations Health Internetwork

Success Strategy:Health Internetwork is one of four major initiatives of the UN Millennium Action Plan. It aims to bridge the digital divide in health by providing access to high quality, timely information for health professionals, researchers and policy makers in developing countries, using the internet. The core components of this public-private partnership are content, connectivity, capacity building and policy.

 Recognizing the negative effects associated with unequal distribution of health-related information throughout the world, the Secretary General of the United Nations called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to bridge the digital divide in health.  Drawing on the expertise of public and private actors, international organizations and NGOs, WHO launched the Health Internetwork in Septembre 2000 to address the healthcare information gap that exists between developed and developing countries.  It aims to improve public health by facilitating the flow of health information, using the internet. The core elements of the project are content, internet connectivity and capacity building. The seven-year, USD 150 to 200 million project has three key focuses:

  • Content creation: Upon completion of a country assessment study, WHO implementation teams will work with academia, private sector and local partners to create an internet portal that will give marginalized groups access to high-quality, contextually relevant content created, where possible, in local/ regional languages.

  • Connectivity: Guided by a technology advisory group comprised of UNDP and ITU officials, the project seeks to establish over 10,000 internet access sites over the next seven years.  The WHO will work closely with NGOs and local partners to implement, manage and maintain the internet sites.

  • Capacity building: Realizing that many communities in the developing world lack the skills to effectively use ICTS, the WHO implementation teams will provide hands-on training in a variety of new technology fields, including basic computer and internet workshops.

As a key component of the project, the Health Internetwork portal provides a vast library of the latest and best information on public health. Users can access more than 1,000 scientific publications, as well as statistical data and information for health policy and practice - essential information for research, and health services delivery. The portal will also make available information technology health applications such as geographical information systems and epidemiological tools, plus courses and training offered through distance learning. Pilot projects are  at present underway in eight countries in Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. 

Deliver effective public health servicesCountry needs are the basis for content development and selection; for example, publishing local and regional public health information that is currently unavailable electronically is given special attention. A content advisory group guides the selection of core public health content and the process for making it available. The academic and private sectors, along with local partners are contributing their knowledge and experience in developing and publishing information as well as contributing content. The Health internetwork seeks also to establish or upgrade thousands of internet-connected sites in public and not-for-profit institutions in developing countries.

Capacity building: to create an information environment Health Internetwork training concentrates on building the skills needed to put information into action: information access and use in daily work, basic computer and internet skills, and hands-on training to use specialized public health information, literature and tools. A training advisory group is being established to guide the development and delivery of training courses, adapted to fit the needs of institutions with different information environments.

During the first year the Health Internetwork achieved a major breakthrough on provision of health content. Starting in January 2002, the world's six biggest biomedical journal publishers have agreed to provide access to more than 1,000 of their scientific publications for free or at deeply-reduced rates to medical schools, research institutions and government offices in developing countries. Many other publishers are interested in joining this initiative as it expands.

Several examples of pilot projects could be find on the website of the activity.

The Health Internetwork was created with one single purpose: to bridge the digital divide in health. Towards that end, health information - relevant, timely and appropriate - must become unrestricted and affordable worldwide, so that all communities can benefit from this global public good.

Target group:Professionals in the field of Medical sciences, large audience

Partners:World Health Organization (WHO) and a large number of partners

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity


 Global ePolicy Resource Network (ePol-NET)


Success Strategy:
Launched at WSIS 2003, ePol-NET provides ICT policy makers in developing countries with focused ICT strategies and resources that can serve as enablers for social and economic development.

The Global ePolicy Resource Network (ePol-NET) provides a focal point for global efforts in support of national e-strategies for development. It brings together partners from a range of organisations around the world that contribute e-strategy and e-policy information and expertise for the benefit of individuals, organisations, governments and regulators in developing countries.

The network provides ICT policymakers in developing countries with the depth and quality of information needed to develop effective national e-policies and e-strategies. In collaboration ePol-NET resource centres around the world address a wide range of ICT policies, regulations and strategies in areas such as e-commerce legal and policy frameworks, spectrum management, e-government, information society metrics and analysis, etc.

Partners:G8 DOT Force initiative under the auspices of the UN ICT Task Force, Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), United Nations Development Program's (UNDP), The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Accenture, Industry Canada and Canadian ePolicy Resource Centre (CePRC)

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity


 Bellanet

Success Strategy:The multidonor international initiative, created in 1995, aims to promote and facilitate effective collaboration within the international development community through the use of ICTs. The initiative is devoted to the mission of increasing the impact of development programming. It targets the fostering of inter-agency collaboration through more effective use of information and communication technologies.

Bellanet delivers its program through three main Program Lines: Online Communities, Knowledge Sharing and Open Development. Together they represent key approaches to building institutional and individual collaboration skills and maximizing the potential of ICTs to support collaborative development work. In addition, three important crosscutting areas are considered and woven into all aspects of Bellanet's work: Gender Equality, Capacity Development, and Monitoring and Evaluation.

Furthermore, Bellanet has launched its Bellanet South initiative in order to increase its ability to directly respond to the needs and realities of the development community in the South. This initiative will increasingly focus Bellanet's efforts and activities to harness local capacity of partnering organizations and associates in the South.

Bellanet South operates through strategic partnerships with select organizations in the South to deliver Bellanet-like programs and services with local relevance. Such partnerships result in a more efficient use of resources, and in a rich process of cross-fertilisation and learning for Bellanet and its partners.

Partners: Bellanet - Denmark, Canadian International Development Agency – CIDA, Fundacion Accesso, Sap-Nepal

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity


 RANET - Global

Success Strategy: RANET is an international collaboration to make weather, climate and related information more accessible to remote and resource poor populations. The program combines innovative technologies with appropriate applications and partnerships at the community level in order to ensure that the networks it creates serve the entirety of community information needs. Community ownership and partnership is the core principle of RANET's sustainability strategy.

In the framework of RANET, a range of activities are undertaken including training, pilot activities to demonstrate various community technologies, and development of a dissemination network through partnership and platform development. Its goal is to facilitate day-to-day resource decisions and help people prepare for, mitigate against, and respond to natural hazards.

 RANET also works to build telecommunication bridges between scientific-based products and remote communities to foster the exchange of environment-related information. RANET is a 2-tier system. The first tier carries information necessary for meteorological services to improve their own products. Examples include satellite imagery, ocean temperature measurements, synoptic observations, and large-scale model runs. These products are taken from public domain websites. The second tier is designed to serve the communities and local populations by further distributing locally/nationally produced information, such as forecasts, bulletins, and warnings. In several cases, communities have requested additional information such as crop prices, which is then also placed on the network. In all cases RANET strives to have information produced in local languages and in a non-technical format.

The programme has been developing specific technology-based platforms. For instance, in Africa new and existing analogue (FM/AM) radio stations were integrated with new digital radio satellite technologies. RANET's strategy in this and other projects involves helping ensure the programme builds upon existing capabilities and local knowledge, is community owned and operated, and is locally relevant.

RANET also provides a web-hosting programme. In exchange for the chance to develop web skills and an online presence, national environmental services are asked to make some operational products available via RANET's digital radio broadcast. The WorldSpace Foundation (renamed First Voice International, or FVI) developed and manages the satellite system through which RANET broadcasts multimedia (data) content to all of Africa and most of Asia, and probably soon in the Pacific.

Partners: International, regional, national, and local organisations from the public, non-profit, and commercial sector, including the Australian Government with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the African Center of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD). Support has been provided by the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the NOAA Office of Global Programs, and FVI.

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database, the Communication Initiative website and the website of the activity


 APC-Africa-Women - Africa

Success strategy: The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) African Women’s Programme Africa-Women (AAW) is a network of organisations and individuals that work to empower African women's organisations to access and use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to promote equality and development. The association is the African regional programme of APC's Women's Networking Support Programme (APC-WNSP).

The programme Works in partnership with women’s organisations and with women in Africa focusing on women's empowerment through:

  • providing information to women about gender and ICTs and access to tools and resources that facilitate women's ease of access to key information;
  • providing regional support to women's organisations through developing their ability to network by using ICTs strategically;
  • lobbying and advocating around gender and ICT policy at a regional and global level including media-related global meetings and via partnerships with civil society organisations;
  • delivering ICT training to African women's organisations, networks and initiatives;
  • conducting research in the area of gender and ICTs;
  • participating in regional and global events and with our global partner APC

APC-Africa-Women aims to promote gender equity in the design, implementation, and use of ICTs. They focus particularly on inequities based on women's social or ethnic background by providing research, training, information, and support activities in the field of ICT policy, skills-sharing in the access to and use of ICT, and women's network-building. It also aims to:

  • promote the consideration and incorporation of gender in ICT policy-making bodies and forums;

  • initiate and implement research activities in the field of gender and ICT;

  • advance the body of knowledge, understanding, and skills in the field of gender and ICT by implementing training activities;

  • facilitate access to information resources in the field of gender and ICT;

  • create and sustain a forum in which African women and women's organisations can discuss issues of common concern and develop common actions towards the other goals.

Members of the network are Africa-based women and women's organisations working to empower African women in media and ICTs. Women can join as institutional or individual members and membership is free.

Partners: Humanist Institute for Development Co-operation (HIVOS)

Source: APC-Africa-Women website and The communication Initiative website


  ICIPESA Partners Network

Success Strategy: CIPESA conducts its work in parallel with related efforts to build on the momentum around ICT policy issues, limit duplication, and provide a mechanism for targeting input and information exchange. In particular, CIPESA works with its sister Centre in West Africa, CIPACO, other like-minded organisations and initiatives, and the CATIA management team to ensure that its efforts contribute to a coherent, single knowledge management system.

Further, CIPESA collaboration members are already involved in collaboration with a number of international initiatives, such as the Global ePolicy Resource Network (E-Pol-NET), NEPAD South African ICT sector group, South African Presidential International Advisory Council on Information Society and Development, the e-Africa Commission e-Schools Initiative, the UNDP e-Strategy Programme, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and its African Information Society Initiative (AISI) as well as the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS).

Partners: bridges.org, CATIA Partners, UK's Department for International Development (funding), University Institute of Computer Science (MUICS) in Kampala, Uganda, ResearchICTAfrica.net (RIA), CIPACO, The Berkman Center

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity


  Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative

Success strategy:  The Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI) was established in recognition of the vital role that education plays in creating long-term, sustainable development and how Information and Communication Technologies for Education (ICT4E) is a catalyst for improved education, community empowerment and socio-economic growth. GeSCI works to help achieve the UN Millennium development goals.

We believe that improving education is a cornerstone of sustainable socio-economic development and a key mechanism to enabling people to share in a country's prosperity. With an estimated 350 million school-aged children not attending school and more than 800 million illiterate adults worldwide, the challenge is great and the stakes are high, says Stephen Nolan, Executive Director, GeSCI.

Developing regions can derive major benefits from the creation and implementation of rational, directed e-schools strategies. But it is crucial that, from the beginning, these strategies be formulated using a complete and sustainable approach, so that the resulting systems can be deployed with maximum impact on education and community development.

GeSCI’s role is two-fold. Firstly, GeSCI concentrates on facilitating and supporting ICT4E initiatives working with the local Ministries of Education and ICT in developing countries. Specifically, GeSCI firstly provides assistance with planning of ICT4E initiatives, providing knowledge and experience in the drafting of national plans so that each country can take ownership of a strategic and attainable plan.

Secondly, GeSCI also convenes global partners, so that needs identified can be successfully matched by resources, be they donors or other private sector entities who can provide expertise, technical, physical and financial support. GeSCI has initially focused its work on four priority countries, Namibia, Ghana, Bolivia and the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. Currently, work is progressing in each partner country with each working towards its own ICT4E strategy. In addition to these countries, it is also working with the Jordanian Education Initiative on a codification, analytical and problem-solving exercise in Jordan and with SchoolNet Africa’s One Million PCs campaign.

Target group:  Children, youth, communities in developing countries

Partners: UN ICT Task Force, the Governments of Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and Ireland (GeSCI)

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity


 OSISA's ICT Programme - Southern Africa

Success strategy: OSISA's ICT programme is a communication project aimed at Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe by Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), a non-profit foundation. The programme aims to contribute towards creating an atmosphere where there is free and equitable flow of information. The organizers say the project is also aimed at deploying appropriate technologies, systems and knowledge. They say networks are applied to enhance and deepen citizen's rights, access, usage and participation towards an open society through ICT.

OSISA's ICT programme is being implemented in the context of a growing digital divide, an outcome of the broader 'development divide' which has as it's core challenge the fighting of poverty, inequality, gender discrimination and the environment crises. Organisers state that on the one side of the digital divide are the highly industrialised countries of the North and West, operating in highly technological environments and able to harness technology to develop their national economies, empower their populations and enhance the overall quality of life of their citizens.

On the other hand is the African continent and the rest of the developing world which are being excluded from full participation in the information society through international policy and regulatory mechanisms, high costs of investing in technology, low connectivity, high level of skills development required and attention is rather given to more pressing social and economic issues faced by governments and populations.

The organizers feel, to harness the development potential of ICTs and to ensure inclusion of the needs of vulnerable groups, their project exists to empower civil society organizations, NGOs and social movements to effectively engage in ICTs for development and various ICT policy initiatives that determine the shape and direction of the growth of the information society.

Concretely, the goals of the programme are:  

  • To support the strengthening of ordinary citizen's participation and social networks in, and influence of the ICT policy and  regulation processes .

  • To support initiatives that aim to further local development goals through effective and innovative application of ICTs.

  • To ensure that the southern African region is not marginalized but fully equipped and ready to effectively participate and advocate in all aspects of the global Information Society.

Although the Information Society holds new and exciting possibilities for the southern African region and continent to fully integrate into the new global internet economy, the organizers say there are growing concerns that the development of an Information Society in the region needs to integrate the inputs, needs, concerns and contributions of civil society. At a global, continental, and regional level many new policy and regulatory initiatives are being developed and implemented that will have a significant impact on southern Africa's information society development.

Partners: OSISA

Source: The communication Initiative website and the website of the activity


  it@coops - Information Technology in Asian Cooperatives

Success Strategy: The project is to support Asian cooperatives and their umbrella organizations to use IT technologies. It further aims to install national and regional cooperative networks. Within the framework of larger cooperatives "ICT Business Development Centres" will be established. These are local Tele-centres that provide internet access, training courses and business information for cooperative members and affiliated small and medium sized enterprises.

The project comprehend a full range of rising-awareness and educational activities - from providing information about existing opportunities to creating new resources targeting particular local needs of the population more vulnerable groups. Conventional e-learning training programmes as well as additional coaching to future educators are provided.

A long-term goal of importance is the creation and enhancement of national and trans-regional knowledge networks for cooperatives and umbrella organizations in order to assure consistent and efficient communication between professionals, different kind of organisations and individual as well as to disseminate broadly local achievements.

Target group: Women, youth

Partners:InWEnt – Internationale Weiterbildung and Entwicklung gGmbH, Germany

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity


  Catalysing Access to ICTs in Africa (CATIA) - Africa

Success Strategy:The Catalysing Access to ICTs in Africa (CATIA) programme aims to enable poor people in Africa to gain maximum benefit from the opportunities offered by ICTs) and to act as a strong catalyst for reform. The programme supports a package of strategic activities to improve affordable access to the full range of ICTs, from internet to community radio. This programme is focused on addressing the need for ICTs to address social and economic development issues. It has been working to help build capacity across Africa to achieve sustainable change.

CATIA is a three-year programme with overall budget is about £9 million. A large number of partners are involved. It will be implemented in close coordination with the Canadian government’s Connectivity Africa initiative. The programme will end in April 2006.

The programme is driven by two centres of expertise in ICT policy located in Africa. The centres were developed throughout the various activities under CATIA. One centre located in and working on behalf of stakeholders in East and Southern Africa and another centre located in and working on behalf of West and Central Africa.

The centres are expected to play a leading role in developing the capacity of African stakeholders to contribute effectively to international decision-making on ICT products and services, on the role of ICTs in development and in building multi-stakeholder national policy making capacity in African countries.

The programme aims at:

  • Low-cost satellite internet access widely available across Africa.

  • Robust African internet backbone with exchange points at the core and strong African ISP Associations

  • An African-led network of institutions, actively strengthening the African expertise involved in setting ICT related policy

  • Increased capacity for African developing countries to participate in international ICT decision-making

  • Low-cost computer and open source software being developed and tailored to the African market

  • Positive policy environments for radio broadcasting across Africa

  • Stronger network of community radio, FM and public service radio stations across Africa, offering good pro-poor radio programmes

  • A thriving African-based Open Knowledge Network (OKN), catalysing the creation and exchange of local content

Partners: United Kingdom - Department for International Development, OneWorld network, Amarc Africa, Panos Institute, DFID, ATOS KPMG Consulting - South Africa.

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database, the Communication Initiative website and the website of the activity

Background materials: a CATIA PDF file from 11/02/2005


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