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ICTs FOR PEACE


As a precious goal of humanity, peace has to be achieved and sustained by all possible means. ICTs, even if they are not a direct tool of stopping armed and civil conflicts, are a useful and rich resource for raising awareness and suggesting appropriate action. Where countries are recovering from recent hostilities, ICTs can play a valuable role in recreating communication networks not only in terms of technical infrastructure, but also in terms of human interactions. The integrative function of ICTs can be especially valuable for overcoming  the past and moving optimistically towards the future. Virtual inclusion, as alternative of real-life exclusion, can promote positive social dynamics.

ICT stories from the field


Peace Worldwide - Pakistan

Success Strategy: Christian community is the largest minority group of Pakistan with the population of 2.5% and dispersed in all four provinces. 70% of this Christian population live in remote villages. The rest lives in the cities with only 0.5% higher income families who live in better standard conditions while the majority resides by the banks of sewerage and drainage canals of dirty waters of that city.

Peace Worldwide has been working from 1996 to arrange, establish and support various programs aiming at promoting literacy and professional training initiatives. The vocation of the organisation is, on one hand, to establish literacy centres and create educational & training opportunities and, on the other hand, sponsor short term professional courses especially for people residing in rural and remote areas for promoting income generating capacity and enhance livelihood systems. This strategy of boosting human resource potential in order to contribute to the solution of unemployment problem considers spreading information technology education through out the country. Thus it is aiming to provide the local population with more chances to integrate the regional and local employment markets and build more sustainable enterprises.

The women's development program of PWW is mainly focused on assistance to widows, divorcees and wives of drug addicts and unemployed men socially, economically and morally, arranging their training in various institutes including adult literacy centres since the majority of these women are illiterate.

A disaster prevention programme is also under way which is fitting in the global framework of the research and study projects of the organisation on natural and manmade disaster relief and early alarm system.

Although the activities of the PWW do not seem to have a great coverage, yet it is a pioneer of freedom of expression and of raising awareness about the value of the human right protection, the respect of human dignity and the empowerment of community members from minorities. The complementary purpose of making families and women in particular independent and self-reliant by learning skills and getting more competitive on the labour market is an other brave initiative in the context of Pakistani civil society life experience.

Target group: Christian women, poor families, remote Christian communities members

Partners: Peace Worldwide

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity


Conflict Prevention and Integration Program - Georgia

Success Strategy: The Conflict Prevention and Integration Program in Samtskhe-Javakheti, Georgia is designed to reduce tension and prevent conflict through activities related to language education, information flows and media development, legal assistance and legal information and management of inter-ethnic relations. The program’s objective is to strengthen the public's access to legal information and policymakers' skills in minority legal issues, by improving the professionalism of journalism and the availability of Georgian news programmes in Samstkhe-Javakheti.

Partners: Canadian International Development Agency - CIDA

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database


Colombia’s laptop warrior- Connectivity for peace and progress

Success Strategy: Vilma Almendra, a 23-year-old Paez Indian from Colombia, represents what Canadian Aboriginal Chief Dwight Dorey recently referred to as the modern "laptop warrior." Almendra coordinates the community information service, or telecentre, in the town of Santander de Quilichao in southwest Colombia. The telecentre — part internet café, part library, and part meeting place — is housed at the headquarters of ACIN, the Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas del Norte del Cauca [association of Indigenous governing councils of North Cauca], and is one of three internet-equipped information services in southwest Colombia supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Vilma Almendra says that information and communication technologies (ICTs) are playing a key role in denouncing human rights abuses in Colombia — a country plagued by civil war for the past 39 years. Almendra is part of a growing movement using internet communications as an antidote to violence against Indigenous peoples.She and Dorey addressed a Canadian-Latin American aboriginal forum on information technology and connectivity, held in Ottawa from March 24th to 26th  2003. The three-day meeting, sponsored by the Institute for Connectivity in the Americas (ICA)and several Canadian federal government departments, was webcast live on the internet via the Aboriginal Canada Portal

For more information: see IDRC website


Support Mine Action - Mozambique

Success Strategy: The goal of the project is to support and strengthen demining action in Mozambique. CIDA provided equipment (e.g. computers, plotters, and technical advisors) to the Database Unit of the Institute for National Demining (IND) and the Accelerated Demining Program (ADO), and ensured the proper installation of a global landmine information management system, which is used world-wide to track the location of landmines in landmine-affected countries. CIDA also supported the Geomatic component of the project.

Partners: Canadian International Development Agency - CIDA

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database


Building and Enhancing Information Networks between Local Communities

Success Strategy: The objective of the project "Building and Enhancing Information Networks between Local Communities" is to facilitate and document innovative models for local information networking combining the social and technological dimensions, in ways that facilitate practical use of information by poor women and youth for education, enterprise and income generation. Based on ongoing research into specific local information environments, configurations and processes for operationalizing local information networks will be developed. These networks are supposed to simultaneously identify needs, facilitate documentation and knowledge transfer and dissemination, and especially access to information by poor and marginalized groups, particularly women and youth, notably in conflict and post-conflict areas.

The activities being implemented in the framework of the project focus on grassroots level, and specifically on the information and communication processes that take place among the poor women, youth and their families. Networks will encompass social elements: grassroots women's and youth groups, their meetings, linkages amongst themselves and to other groups, to local knowledge brokers and information gateways. There will also be technological elements: different types of local ICT centres, internet access, specific software, cable audio and TV, local community newspapers, etc.

Key outputs of the project are expected to be new research and models for local information networking to be published in a comprehensive, user-friendly format, both online and in print. The project is intended to inspire replication of the models and to feed research findings into policy formation.

Target group: Disadvantaged communities and families, women, youth

Partners: UNESCO

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity


Women's Experiences in Situations of Armed Conflict - Uganda

Success Strategy: "Women's Experiences in Situations of Armed Conflict" was carried out using different ICT applications. This included use of tape recorders, video recording, photography and face-to-face interaction through meetings, focus group discussions and validation workshops. Their research results are available for download on their website.

The major focus of the project was to highlight women's experiences in situations of armed conflict, the roles they play, the effects and how they are coping in post conflict situations.

The project targeted areas that have experienced or are experiencing armed conflict in Uganda. The documentation was accomplished with the full participation of women war survivors and local leaders. All the respondents were based in affected rural areas.

This project has resulted in six research reports, two video documentaries, photographs and pictorial posters. Such a comprehensive package of information has been useful to a cross section of development workers and policy makers in lobbying for peace-building as well as a support of the community memory. This outcome is powerful tool in raising awareness amongst communities on the need for peaceful resolution of conflicts and peace-building. It enables both women and men, educated and illiterate to understand the causes of conflict, the physical and psychological effects on women and men, as well as the need for harmonious and peaceful living.

The documentation enabled Isis-WICCE to recognise the animosity that prevailed among the various affected ethnic groups. As a result, it was able to initiate women's initiatives that have effectively contributed to the peace-building processes in the affected communities.

The research findings were used to influence the Ministry of Gender and Community Development to incorporate the issue of peace as a cross-cutting issue in the National Action Plan.

Partners: Isis-Women's International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE), media crew, professionals and technical experts from different fields, medical staff, the Heinrich Boll Foundation and UNIFEM.

Awards: GKP Gender and ICT Award 2003 - Winner: Multi-Stakeholder Initiative (National/Local).

Source: The Global Knowledge Partnership website and the website of the activity


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