Thursday, December 20, 2007

Guide to managing ICT in the voluntary and community sector

Produced by: ICT Hub (2007)

This guide is aimed at staff and volunteers from voluntary and community organisations (VCOs) who want to manage their information communication technology (ICT) better. It is intended particularly for staff and volunteers from small and medium-sized organisations and especially for those people who don't have access to "paid for" technical advice and support. The main sections reflect some of the key issues that VCOs face in managing ICT, from policies and procedures to keep things running; and how to produce an ICT strategy to putting realistic costs into funding bids. Case studies help to illustrate how others have taken up the challenge of ICT and there is plenty of signposting to other information, especially to useful websites.

For more information, click here.

Friday, November 30, 2007

E-skills and Your Career Radio initiative

E-skills and Your Career, has just been introduced on radio by Jidaw ( The focus is developing skills and careers for opportunities provided through Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs). E-skills and Your Career is created to raise awareness of electronic skills (e-skills), new opportunities and new thinking to address real issues and solve problems in society - unemployment, education, business development and entrepreneurship. (, the companion website contains all content broadcast on radio as well as related content and ideas and provides information for those unable to listen to the program due to reasons of location and or time.

Source: Content update - Culture and Development on the Development Gateway
Contributed by Ayo Adediran on 26 November, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Breaking Down the Firewall

Internet censorship is the book burning of the modern age, denying as much as a third of the world's population access to news and information.

But a new brand of activists -- or "hacktivists" -- are using their computer expertise to help people stranded in Web-censored countries abroad (and corporate offices and military bases at home) jump the firewall. The key innovation, developed by the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, is a software program called Psiphon. In the latest version (due out this winter), prospective users, or aid groups, contact the Citizen Lab to receive passwords and Web links. Once signed in, users are then patched directly into the Psiphon network of servers. A search bar pops up on their own screen, and they can surf the Web freely. All censors see is an unfamiliar IP address, which could be for anything from a bank transaction to an eBay sale.

According to Ronald Deibert, the lab's director, the biggest threat to the system is censors who might sign up for the service to learn Psiphon's IP addresses and block them. But the lab has developed a high-tech shell game to counter this measure. As soon as one address is blocked, Psiphon assigns it to another region and puts in a new one. When the next one gets discovered, Psiphon again swaps in a new one. The process can go on indefinitely, until the censors grow tired or the firewalls come down.

--Meryl Rothstein


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Seventh Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues


Dear friends,

Pre-registration for the Seventh Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is now open.

The Seventh Session will take place at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, from 21 April to 2 May 2008. The special theme will be "Climate change, bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods: the stewardship role of indigenous peoples and new challenges."

Pre-registration is open to indigenous peoples' organizations, academic institutions and NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status. Please visit the Seventh Session webpage, where you will find all online registration forms:

Best regards,

Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues


Estimados amigos,

El proceso de pre-inscripción para el Séptimo período de sesiones del Foro Permanente para las Cuestiones Indígenas ya está abierto.

El Séptimo período de sesiones se llevará a cabo del 21 de abril al 2 de mayo de 2008 en la sede de las Naciones Unidas, en Nueva York y el tema especial será "El cambio climático, la diversidad biocultural y los medios de vida: la custodia por los pueblos indígenas y nuevos retos".

La pre-inscripción está abierta para las organizaciones de pueblos indígenas, las instituciones académicas y las ONGs con estatus consultivo ante el ECOSOC. Les invitamos a visitar la página web del séptimo período de sesiones, en donde podrá acceder a los formularios de pre-inscripción en línea:

Saludos cordiales,

Secretaría del Foro Permanente para las Cuestiones Indígenas

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Buy a Laptop for a Child, Get Another Laptop Free

A children’s laptop, equipped with a camera and wireless communication ability.

One Laptop Per Child Web Site

Published: September 24, 2007
New York Times

One Laptop Per Child, an ambitious project to bring computing to the developing world’s children, has considerable momentum. Years of work by engineers and scientists have paid off in a pioneering low-cost machine that is light, rugged and surprisingly versatile. The early reviews have been glowing, and mass production is set to start next month.
Orders, however, are slow. “I have to some degree underestimated the difference between shaking the hand of a head of state and having a check written,” said Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of the nonprofit project. “And yes, it has been a disappointment.”

But Mr. Negroponte, the founding director of the M.I.T. Media Laboratory, views the problem as a temporary one in the long-term pursuit of using technology as a new channel of learning and self-expression for children worldwide.

And he is reaching out to the public to try to give the laptop campaign a boost. The marketing program, to be announced today, is called “Give 1 Get 1,” in which Americans and Canadians can buy two laptops for $399.

One of the machines will be given to a child in a developing nation, and the other one will be shipped to the purchaser by Christmas. The donated computer is a tax-deductible charitable contribution. The program will run for two weeks, with orders accepted from Nov. 12 to Nov. 26.

Just what Americans will do with the slender green-and-white laptops is uncertain. Some people may donate them to local schools or youth organizations, said Walter Bender, president of the laptop project, while others will keep them for their own family or their own use.

The machines have high-resolution screens, cameras and peer-to-peer technology so the laptops can communicate wirelessly with one another. The machine runs on free, open source software. “Everything in the machine is open to the hacker, so people can poke at it, change it and make it their own,” said Mr. Bender, a computer researcher. “Part of what we’re doing here is broadening the community of users, broadening the base of ideas and contributions, and that will be tremendously valuable.”

The machine, called the XO Laptop, was not engineered with affluent children in mind. It was intended to be inexpensive, with costs eventually approaching $100 a machine, and sturdy enough to withstand harsh conditions in rural villages. It is also extremely energy efficient, with power consumption that is 10 percent or less of a conventional laptop computer.

Staff members of the laptop project were concerned that American children might try the pared-down machines and find them lacking compared to their Apple, Hewlett-Packard or Dell laptops. Then, in this era of immediate global communications, they might post their criticisms on Web sites and blogs read around the world, damaging the reputation of the XO Laptop, the project staff worried.

So the laptop project sponsored focus-group research with American children, ages 7 to 11, at the end of August. The results were reassuringly positive. The focus-group subjects liked the fact that the machine was intended specifically for children, and appreciated features like the machine-to-machine wireless communication. “Completely beastly” was the verdict of one boy. Another environmentally conscious youngster noted that the laptop “prevents global warming.”
Still, the “Give 1 Get 1” initiative is mainly about the giving. “The real reason is to get this thing started,” Mr. Negroponte said.

He said that if, for example, donations reached $40 million, that would mean 100,000 laptops could be distributed free in the developing world. The idea, he said, would be to give perhaps 5,000 machines to 20 countries to try out and get started.

“It could trigger a lot of things,” Mr. Negroponte said.

Late last year, Mr. Negroponte said he had hoped for orders for three million laptops, but those pledges have fallen short. Orders of a million each from populous Nigeria and Brazil did not materialize.

Still, the project has had successes. Peru, for example, will buy and distribute 250,000 of the laptops over the next year — many of them allocated for remote rural areas. Mexico and Uruguay, Mr. Negroponte noted, have made firm commitments. In a sponsorship program, the government of Italy has agreed to purchase 50,000 laptops for distribution in Ethiopia.

Each country will have different ideas about how to use the machines. Alan Kay, a computer researcher and adviser to the laptop project, said he expects one popular use will be to load textbooks at 25 cents or so each on the laptops, which has a high-resolution screen for easy reading.

“It’s probably going to be mundane in the early stages,” said Mr. Kay, who heads a nonprofit education group, whose learning software will be on the XO Laptop. “I’m an optimist that this will eventually work out,” Mr. Kay said.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Historic Milestone for Indigenous Peoples Worldwide as UN Adopts Rights Declaration

Historic Milestone for Indigenous Peoples Worldwide
as UN Adopts Rights Declaration

New York, 13 September - Marking an historic achievement for the more than 370 million indigenous peoples worldwide, the General Assembly today adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the result of more than two decades of consultation and dialogue among governments and indigenous peoples from all regions.

"Today, by adopting the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples we are making further progress to improve the situation of indigenous peoples around the world," stated General Assembly President Haya Al Khalifa.

"We are also taking another major step forward towards the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warmly welcomed the adoption, calling it "a triumph for indigenous peoples around the world."

He further noted that "this marks a historic moment when UN Member States and indigenous peoples reconciled with their painful histories and resolved to move forward together on the path of human rights, justice and development for all."

Adopted by the Human Rights Council in June 2006, the Declaration emphasizes the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations. It establishes an important standard for eliminating human rights violations against indigenous peoples worldwide and for combating discrimination and marginalization.

"The 13th of September 2007 will be remembered as an international human rights day for the Indigenous Peoples of the world, a day that the United Nations and its Member States, together with Indigenous Peoples, reconciled with past painful histories and decided to march into the future on the path of human rights," said
Ms. Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

The Declaration addresses both individual and collective rights, cultural rights and identity, rights to education, health, employment, language and others. The Declaration explicitly encourages harmonious and cooperative relations between States and Indigenous Peoples. It prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them.

Calling the Declaration "tangible proof of the increasing cooperation of States, Indigenous Peoples and the international community as a whole for the promotion and protection of the human rights of indigenous peoples", Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Sha Zukang said that the UN "has fulfilled its role as the world's parliament and has responded to the trust that Indigenous Peoples around the world placed in it, that it will stand for dignity and justice, development and peace for all, without discrimination."

The Declaration was adopted by an overwhelming majority of the General Assembly, with 143 countries voting in support, 4 voting against (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States) and 11 abstaining (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa, Ukraine).

To view a webcast of the General Assembly session, see:

For more information on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, please see:

For media enquiries, please contact: Renata Sivacolundhu,
Department of Public Information, tel: 212.963.2932, e-mail:

For Secretariat of the Permanent Forum,
please contact: Mirian Masaquiza,,
tel: 917.367.6006,

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Building a free and safe internet

For almost 60 years, the Council of Europe has been finding solutions and responding to issues that affect now 800 million people and organisations in Europe, by working with and influencing member states’ policies and legal frameworks. These responses are set out in our conventions and other standard-setting documents. Even if many of these texts were developed before the Internet came into existence, many of the provisions of those conventions and documents apply equally to online environments. By drafting treaties and setting standards about the Internet, the Council of Europe seeks to secure peoples’ enjoyment of a maximum of rights and services, subject to a minimum of restrictions, while at the same time seeking to ensure the level of security that users are entitled to expect. The concrete and practical Council of Europe responses to Internet governance issues mentioned later significantly contribute to the development, sustainability, value, robustness and security of the Internet.

Source: Development Gateway
Contributor: john ngahu Published Date: August 19, 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Video: Community Technology Delivers Opportunities to Youth

The Children's Partnership is pleased to announce the release of our new video, "Community Technology Delivers Opportunities to Youth", produced in partnership with youth from the Bresee Foundation. This video is an important new tool for civic leaders and policy makers working to increase children's access to and meaningful use of technology. This new video lets the youth and adults featured in it speak for themselves about the difference community technology programs make in their neighborhoods and schools. They share their own perspectives on how technology has helped them improve their health, educational achievement, preparation for the workforce, and civic participation.

View full text ››

Source: Development Gateway
Contributor: Thomas BEKKERS Published Date: August 19, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wikiversity: An "Open University" project based on Wikimedia technology

"Welcome to Wikiversity, "where teachers learn, and learners teach".

Wikiversity: An "Open University" project based on Wikimedia technology. The wikiversity is an ambitious project aiming to build a free online learning community more or less similar to "Open Universities" projects. Practitioners will find a set of Wikibook, Wikiqoute, Wikisource (Free Content Library), Wikimedia Commons, Wiktionary and all other accessible Open Content based on wikimedia technolgy. Wikiversity described itself as "a community for the creation and use of free learning materials and activities. Wikiversity is a multidimensional social organization dedicated to learning, teaching, research and service." Its primary goals are to create and host free content, multimedia learning materials, resources, and curricula for all age groups in all languages and to develop collaborative learning projects and communities around these materials. Learners and teachers are invited to join the Wikiversity community as editors of this wiki website where anyone can edit the pages.

View full text

Source: Development Gateway
Contributed by Thomas BEKKERS on 14 Aug , 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

Recording and preserving the Dakota language

Photo by Elizabeth Flores , Star Tribune
Because tribal elder Curtis Campbell is one of just a handful of fluent Dakota speakers left, he and Wayne Wells have spent hundreds of hours together at Campbell’s home on the Prairie Island Reservation recording words and phrases of the dying native language. Wells was amused by a translation.

Recording and preserving the Dakota language

A device resembling a small computer, called a phraselator, is being used to record and preserver the Dakota language. The electronic interpreter was first used in combat zones.

By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune

Dakota language teacher Wayne Wells pulled a chair next to tribal elder Curtis Campbell, who had settled into his favorite living room rocker to begin an unusual recording session. Wells clutched a gray metal box called a "phraselator," an electronic interpreter first introduced in Iraq and Afghanistan for use by U.S. soldiers at military checkpoints and security zones. He handed a microphone to Campbell, and asked him to repeat -- in Dakota -- decidedly civilian phrases such as "I want some coffee."

Campbell responded, "Pezutasapa mak'u wo." And the words were added to a databank of hundreds of phrases and sentences stored in the device. Word by word, the effort is helping students at Prairie Island Indian Community preserve their fragile native language.

"There's only about two or three people here who speak Dakota fluently, so time is of the essence," said Wells, the language teacher at the community outside of Red Wing. "If the kids don't learn it now, there won't be anyone left who knows it."

Last year, the Prairie Island Community became one of more than 50 Indian communities nationwide to integrate phraselators into their arsenal of language preservation tools. The hand-held device resembles a small computer, with a monitor showing tabs for 'weather,"family,"animals" and "Dakota virtues and values," among other subjects.

"You can scroll up and down and find different phrases," explained 12-year-old Kachina Yeager, one of Wells' students, sitting on her front porch and fiddling with the tabs. "Say I want to hear the word for 'mother.' I can find it here and then tap it. Or I can just speak 'mother' into the top of the phraselator."

A few seconds after explaining this, Campbell's deep voice boomed "een na" out of the phraselator.

The first batch of phraselators was loaded with phrases in languages such as Arabic, Pashto and Farsi, said John Hall, president of VoxTec International, the device's Maryland-based manufacturer. The stock phrases would include "show me your hands" or "stay away from the area," he said. But a few years ago, it began catching on with Indian communities as well, Hall said.

Because Campbell is one of just a handful of native speakers left, he and Wells have spent hundreds of hours together in his living room decorated with tall Indian vases from the Southwest and Native American art on the walls.

Last week, the two were completing a section on food. The session showed the challenges of bringing ancient languages into modern times. Wells asked Campbell to translate, "I want some cake."There is no word for 'cake'," responded Campbell. "How about 'sweet bread'?" Ditto for "restaurant."How about 'food house'?" he asked.

Campbell, a retired construction worker, said he speaks Dakota fluently in part because of a lucky turn in his childhood.

Growing up in the 1940s, he was able to avoid being sent to a Indian boarding school, where children were beaten if they spoke their native language. He did, however, have to cut his long shiny hair in order to start school at a little one-room schoolhouse, he recalled, and had to learn to speak English fluently. But he continued to speak Dakota at home.

Wells wasn't so fortunate. He said his grandfather refused to speak Dakota with his children because he was so "traumatized" by the boarding school experience. So Wells learned Dakota at the University of Minnesota. He's still nowhere near fluent, but
recording with the phraselator is helping, he said.

Kachina's mother, Shelley Buck-Yaeger, has been so impressed with the device that she's planning to buy one for the family. Her parents didn't speak Dakota either, she said, and she's always wanted to learn.

Plus the phraselators are practically indestructible, a key feature given the wear and tear they can undergo at the hands of active children. Made for combat, they can be dropped 6 feet onto cement without damage, according to the VoxTech advertisements.

The phraselators aren't cheap: The cost of purchasing three of them, plus installing the software, and receiving training and technical support, was about $25,000, said Alan Childs, treasurer for the Prairie Island tribal council.

But the device can be used for more than just basic translation, he said. It can also preserve traditional Dakota songs and stories, said Childs, who is a singer in the community.

Over the years, there have been other attempts to preserve the Dakota language, which now only has about 100 fluent speakers in four Indian communities in Minnesota, Childs said. It's still too soon to tell whether the phraselators are going to make a breakthrough, he said. But a combination of a fancy high-tech tool and a dedicated teacher from the tribe could start making a difference, he said.

"You start building the wheel," Childs said, "and eventually it will start turning."

Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511 •

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The new Google Earth Outreach will let nonprofits tell their story using layers on Google Earth.

By Christopher NicksonStaff Writer, Digital Trends News

In a new venture, Google is using its Google Earth to help nonprofits. Called Google Earth Outreach, it will use Google Earth layers to allow the nonprofits to tell their stories. The program will provide the resources and software the nonprofits need to implement the technology.

While most of us know Google Earth as something free, there’s also a Pro version (which costs $400) that has tools for building maps and layers.

Google took its first steps in this direction back in April, when it showed a “Crisis in Darfur” layer that had been created by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The layer showed affected areas in the region, along with video and audio testimony of the crisis. Since then others have created layers, including the United Nations Environment Program.

“Our goal with Google Earth Outreach is to help public service organizations worldwide leverage our mapping technology to further their goals by providing tailored technical guidance and grants,” said John Hanke, director of Google Earth & Maps.

The Outreach site will have video tutorials, case studies, and forums moderated by staff. Organizations will also be able to apply for grants for further technical support.

The site will also have a showcase of some of the most compelling new stories. Google says there have been 250 million downloads of Google Earth to date.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

New Indigenous ICT Discussion List created...

(IITF) - At the Tunisia phase of WSIS Indigenous delegates agreed to establish an Indigenous ICT Task Force to continue the work of WSIS in particular the aspirations of the indigenous parallel event in Tunis called Indigenous Peoples and the Information Society: “Towards an International Indigenous Portal.”

This discussion list will allow the members of the Indigenous ICT Task Force to share ideas and programs with the wider audience and facilitate further discussion.

Everything about this list:

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Global Forum on Youth of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development

Global Forum on Youth of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development,
24-26 September, Geneva

Co-hosted by the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Global Youth Forum will engage youth in debates and discussions with their peer representatives, policy makers, private sector, technology and thought leaders and others. It will feature roundtables, workshops and an open marketplace (deadline for application to present projects, initiatives or case studies is 30 June 2007). On-line registration is available. More information on the GAID website.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

International Indigenous ICT Task Force Launches an Indigenous Internet Portal Created, Owned, and Operated by Indigenous Peoples

New York, NY May 21, 2007 – At United Nations Headquarters, the Indigenous ICT Task Force (IITF) successfully launched a unique internet portal about Indigenous Peoples, for Indigenous Peoples and by Indigenous Peoples during the 6th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. This new and exciting portal web site will serve Indigenous communities around the world by operating in four basic languages: English, Spanish, French and Russian.

“The portal you see today is only the beginning or skeleton of what the portal will look like when it is fully functional” stated Kenneth Deer (Mohawk), a member of the IITF and the moderator of the historic event. “This project will encourage Indigenous Peoples to use the Information Society to their benefit and promote capacity building” said Deer.

Other members of the IITF in attendance for the launch included Malia Nobrega (Hawai'i), Irina Kurilova (Russia), Lucky Sherpa (Nepal), Teanau Tuiono (Aotearoa, New Zealand), Marcos Terena (Brazil), and Roberto Múcaro Borrero (Borikén, Puerto Rico).

One of the portal developers, Teanau Tuiono (Maori) explained that “the site is divided into eight geographical regions in order to accommodate the vast cultural diversity of the Indigenous Peoples. In each region, an Indigenous editor will control and encourage content by, for and about Indigenous Peoples in their area in any language that they chose.”

“There will be a multitude of links to sites such as Indigenous Peoples radio and Youtube videos with indigenous content. The potential of the portal is endless” stated Tuiono. (see photo above)

“Each region will have an Indigenous editor to add content and links. They will be trained in the software and supplied with proper equipment and connections to enable them to operate effectively” stated Malia Nobrega.

Nobrega also announced that job postings for the editorial positions as well as the general portal manager position are now posted at the portal site ( Indigenous Peoples were encouraged to visit the portal and apply for the positions.

“What is important to note about the project is that its success is based on the dedication of a group of indigenous volunteers who worked in collaboration with non-indigenous partners” said Roberto Múcaro Borrero (Taino).

Borrero continued stating “The non-indigenous partners did not impose conditions on their assistance and we were able to produce a portal that reflected the aspirations of Indigenous Peoples who participated throughout the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)”

The launch was described as one step of an ongoing project, in development, by the IITF.

The International Indigenous ICT Task Force

The International Indigenous ICT Task Force (IITF) is a volunteer body created at the WSIS in Tunis in 2005. The objective of the IITF is to implement the Plan of Action of the WSIS process which specifically mentions Indigenous Peoples, and the objectives of the Global Forum of Indigenous Peoples and the Information Society. Article 15 of the WSIS Declaration states: “In the evolution of the Information Society, particular attention must be given to the special situation of Indigenous Peoples, as well as to the preservation of their heritage and their cultural legacy.”

Members of the IITF are from the seven geographical regions from around the world.

One of the first projects of the IITF was the creation a portal for and by Indigenous Peoples with a goal to build capacity and encourage the use of the internet. A working group of the IITF was enacted created to undertake this objective, and began writing a project proposal. The group was also charged with taking steps to implement a separate “portal board”, which could initiate the long-term administration of the portal project. With assistance from the Swiss Development Agency through the offices of Incomindios, a Swiss based NGO, the planning and organization of the portal project took shape leading to its successful launch at the United Nations.

For more information contact:

Saturday, June 2, 2007

eLAC2007 is the Regional Plan of Action for the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean

It is a regionally concerted public policy agenda which recognizes the importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for economic and social development in the countries of the region.

The eLAC2007 Action Plan is based on dialogue and cooperation between all Latin American and Caribbean countries and on the construction of a shared political consensus and strategic vision.

eLAC2007 sets 30 concrete goals encompassing 70 activities with the potential to yield tangible results and provide an effective response to the needs of the region_s countries in accordance with the situation of each. The goals are based on current projects and activities and are designed to build on synergies and improve regional coordination, while encouraging the launch of new initiatives. They also favour the preparation and implementation of national initiatives on the basis of information-sharing to enhance knowledge and understanding in critical areas.

See full story at:

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Content update - Indigenous Issues on the Development Gateway

Content update - Indigenous Issues on the Development Gateway:

Among the 18 new resources, which were recently added to Indigenous Issues on the Development Gateway at , please note two articles on the International Indigenous ICT Task Force.

Monday, May 21, 2007

WSIS follow-up UNESCO Action Lines, 21-25 May, Geneva

In accordance with the Tunis Agenda, UNESCO is organizing 6 multistakeholder consultation meetings on the following action lines: C-3, C-7, C-8, C-9 and C-10 at both the ITU Bulding and the Palais des Nations. Check here the registration form and the online discussion forum.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Indigenous Peoples All But Forgotten During World Telecommunication and Information Society Day*

New York, NY (UCTP News) 17 May 2007 - At an event organized by the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) entitled “Tale of Two Worlds: Keeping Pace with a Moving Target” representatives of governments and UN agencies, along with civil society and industry executives met to share diverse perspectives on the occasion of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2007.

The event included not only a message from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon but also a message from Dr. Hamadoun Toure, Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and opening remarks by Jose Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary General, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The opening remarks, welcoming statements and keynote addresses were followed by two sessions, one focusing on “Visions of a Connected Future” and the other on “Universal Access.”

Indigenous Peoples were brought to the forefront of the session in comments made by Roberto Múcaro Borrero (Taino) who was representing the International Indigenous ICT Task Force (IITF). Borrero informed the panel that the IITF was an indigenous initiative with a mandate to follow-up on the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). He also noted that while indigenous peoples were a “major group” represented throughout the WSIS processes they were relatively “invisible” from all official follow-up mechanisms.

Offering a recent example, Borrero pointed out the lack of indigenous presence in the GAID publication “Foundations of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development.” He also stated that “transparency, inclusion, and genuine partnerships” were essential to follow-up initiatives. He then asked the panel, which included Mr. Sarbuland Khan, the Executive Coordinator of GAID, “How can we be speaking about the future when we cannot even communicate in the present?”

Borrero then noted the willingness of the IITF to share information such as the May 21 launching of a new international indigenous portal developed by Indigenous Peoples at the sixth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues but consistent outreach to GAID and the ITU yielded no response.

In direct response to Borrero’s comments, Mr. Sarbuland Khan, assured him and all those gathered that GAID was indeed interested in working with Indigenous Peoples and particularly the IITF. He stressed the networking potential being developed by GAID and hoped that the IITF would be come a part of the GAID “family.”

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is observed annually on 17 May and marks the anniversary of the signature of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union. World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated since 1969.

*Article source:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

VENEZUELA: The Gift of Native Tongues, On the Air

By Humberto Márquez

CARACAS, May 4 (IPS) - Eiker García and Nelson Maldonado took a deep breath, then exhaled slowly, producing a long "mmm" sound, following the instructions of the professional radio presenter who was giving them breathing and elocution lessons.

García and Maldonado are young Ye'kuana Indians from the Watamo and La Esmeralda communities in the Amazon rainforest some 800 kilometres south of Caracas, where one of eight indigenous community radio stations, networked with the public Venezuelan National Radio (RNV) station, is to be installed later this year.

"We're learning to overcome our fear of the microphone and how to conduct interviews," García told IPS during a break in the lessons. He was still enjoying the excitement caused by his first airplane flight.

Maldonado told IPS that very few of their people were qualified for this work. "The community sent us on this first course because we are cultural promoters back home," he said.

Twenty-one young people from 10 different indigenous groups, nearly all of them from remote border regions, participated in the short introductory course on radio broadcasting in late April, in preparation for the installation of the radio stations next October.

The course was provided by the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL).

"CONATEL will assign the frequencies and provide the transmitters and other necessary equipment to instal eight FM stations, and will also give support in technical and management aspects to guide those responsible for the facilities," general services manager for CONATEL Wilfredo Morales told IPS.

See full story at:

Related Story:
ARGENTINA: First-Ever Permit for Indigenous Community Radio - May 2005

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2007

17 May marks the anniversary of the signature of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union. Since 1973, the occasion has been recognized as World Telecommunication Day.

Following the World Summit on the Information Society, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/60/252 which identifies 17 May as World Information Society Day.

The ITU Plenipotentiary Conference which met in Antalya (Turkey) in November 2006 therefore decided to henceforth celebrate 17 May as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 2007

IITF Special Event at the Sixth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Launching of the International Indigenous Internet Portal
Monday, 21 May

1:15 p.m.-2:45 p.m
Conference Room 9

Kenneth Deer
Roberto Mucaro Borrero
Teanau Tuiono
Malia Nobrega

International Indigenous ICT Task Force (IITF)
Co-sponsors: Incomindios, Switzerland; Na Koa Ikaika I ka Lahui, Hawaii

IITF Letter to President Joe Shirley, Navajo Nation

Hon. President Joe Shirley,
Navajo Nation
c/o George Hardeen,
Communications Director
Ofc: 928-871-7917

Cell: 928-309-8532

Dear Hon. President Shirley:

On behalf of the International Indigenous ICT Task Force (IITF), I am writing to thank you thank you for the information that your Communications Director has forwarded concerning your presentation on ICTs in New York. I am sorry that while you were in New York we could not meet to discuss potential follow-up to our partnership formed during the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis, Tunisia.

If you recall you and your delegation worked together with the WSIS Indigenous Caucus and members of the International Indigenous Steering Committee present at the Tunis meeting. As per the results of the final report by the WSIS Indigenous Steering Committee we looked forward to supporting each others initiatives whenever possible.

With that in mind, and as I have already indicated to you in the previous communication that I sent to Mr. George Hardeen, indigenous peoples involved in the ICT issue have been keen to receive substantive follow-up on the Navajo Nation’s work in this area not only for your Nation but for other indigenous peoples. For example, we have been waiting to receive information about the ITU office, which is planned to be opened in Window Rock and how we as an indigenous follow-up initiative of the WSIS can be involved.

We would also like to bring your attention to one of the tasks the IITF was entrusted to begin work on, which was an international indigenous portal. We will be presenting the results of our work at the upcoming Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues this May. It is important for the IITF to be aware of how the Navajo Nation can support the call for an international indigenous portal and assist us in the realization of the current International Indigenous Portal Project.

Please inform us if any members of the Navajo Nation will be attending the Permanent Forum as we feel that would be an opportune time to meet and discuss these issues.

I thank you in advance for your time and consideration.


Roberto Múcaro Borrero
IITF Caribbean Focal Point
C/O UCTP PO BOX 4515 • NEW YORK, NY • 10163
PHONE: 212.604.4186

Navajo President Joe Shirley, Jr., addresses international UN conference on information, communication, technology

NEW YORK, N.Y.- Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., has renewed the Navajo Nation's commitment and leadership to help bring information,communication and technology ­ (ICT) ­ to the indigenous people of the world.

Speaking before the 7th Infopoverty World Conference 2007 at the United Nations here Thursday and Friday, he said the Navajo Nation can assist to preserve languages, cultures and ways of life while providing access to education and economic development online.

President Shirley said that in 2005 when the UN learned that the Navajo Nation had created one of the largest wireless networks in the world through satellite technology, it asked if it could share that knowledge with the rest of the world.

He said that led to the Navajo Nation joining the International Telecommunications Union and the Observatory for Cultural and Audiovisual Communication, or OCCAM, and creating plans to open an international office for indigenous nations in Window Rock later this year.

He said all 110 Navajo Nation communities have wireless internet access, and every Navajo who wants an e-mail address can have one.

"There is not another Native American tribe or organization in the world that is coming close to taking the kind of leadership position that the Navajo Nation is," said Ernest Franklin, Executive director of the Navajo Nation Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, who attended with President Shirley.


Audio: President Shirley

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Cluster of WSIS-related events, 14-25 May 2007, Geneva

A series follow-up and implementation meetings of the World Summit on the Information Society outcomes will take place in Geneva . Organized around the 10th session of the UN Commission for Science and Technology for Development (21-25 May) and the World Information Society Day ceremony (16 May 2007), the cluster will also include multi-stakeholder implementation facilitation meetings and various ICT-related meetings and consultations. Registration is available on-line. More information on the WSIS website and on the CONGO website.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Informal consultation between ITU and civil society, 18 May, Geneva

An informal consultation between the International Telecommunication Union and civil society on the participation of all relevant stakeholders in the ITU activities will take place on Friday 18 May,between 10:00 and 13:00, in Room K1/K2 (ITU). The meeting will takeplace in the context of the implementation of PP-06 Resolution 141,which calls for a study of the participation of relevant stakeholders in the activities of the Union related to WSIS.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

International Communications Foundation (ICF)

The International Communications Foundation was established in 1988 with a purpose to contribute to harmonious and fruitful development ofthe world by promoting international communications through studiesand grant making in a wide range of areas related to internationaltelecommunications. Their applications are invited through public announcement. Grant-making areas include: Research Grant, Grant forholding International Conferences, Grant for Social-Contribution andCultural Activities.

For more Information, see:

World Radio Communication Conference

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

UNESCO shares training resources on the Web through the Open Training Platform

UNESCO invites development stakeholders to share training resources on the Web through the Open Training Platform:

It aims at making available training and capacity-building resources developed by a variety of stakeholders worldwide in a myriad subject, including literacy, computers, business, environment, community development and much more. The platform is at the service of:

- Any trainers and learners offered access to the free (and when possible) open capacity building resources they need

- All development stakeholders producing training materials, who can share theirs and use existing ones.

We therefore propose development stakeholders to support this collective effort to share capacity building resource for development. They can contribute by:

- Registering and up loading their training materials on the Open Training Platform, maximizing their use and impact and advertising the institution’s effort and commitment in a certain area

- Promoting the Open Training Platform, increasing the traffic and the use of it, bringing new contributors on board thus improving its usefulness and quality (using your network, newsletter or website for which ready-to-use web banners available from the Platform homepage


Related News

Press release March 2007

“UNESCO invites development stakeholders to share training resources on the Web”

UNESCO launches an online platform to make available training and capacity-building resources developed by a variety of stakeholders worldwide in a myriad subject, including literacy, computers, business, environment, community development and much more.

The objective of this platform is to provide trainers and learners with the learning resources they need, and a space where they can share and use material. It therefore also to advocates open content in non formal education: most of the training programmes featured on the platform have open licenses, such as Creative Commons, which make them accessible to anyone to use for non-commercial purposes such as teaching and learning.

The platform has been designed to include material from any partners involved in development, notably UN agencies, governments and NGOs, especially those involved in the Open Education Resource movement. UNESCO invites any player to share their capacity building resources on this user-friendly platform.

The user-rated resources made available on the platform target the wide range specific needs: those of policy makers, development and educational specialists, teachers, trainers, and learners. Material is also organized to serve communities: civil servants, members of civil society, cultural actors, decision-makers, development and social workers, educators, environment specialists, farmers, health specialists, librarians, archivists and information specialists, media professionals, scientists, and trainers.

It reflects the conviction that there is much scope to increase the use of information and communication technologies in development, for both communities and individuals.”

For more information, please contact:
Armelle Arrou
Information Society Division
1 rue Miollis
F-75732 Paris Cedex 15
Tel: 33 1 45 68 42 08
Email Armelle

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Brazil Offers Internet Access to Native Tribes

Brazil's government has signed an agreement with the Forest People's Network to provide an Internet signal by satellite to 150 communities, including many reachable only by riverboat, allowing them to report illegal logging and ranching, request help and coordinate efforts to preserve the forest.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

10th UN Inter-Agency Round Table on Communication for Development

The 10th UN Inter-Agency Round Table on Communication for Development, which will be hosted by UNESCO in Addis Ababa on 12-14 February 2007, aims at developing a UN system-wide common approach to Communication for Development in the context of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Held on a biennial basis since 1988, the UN Inter-Agency Round Table on Communication for Development seeks to address cooperation issues among the UN agencies regarding the implementation of programmes and projects in this domain.

The theme chosen for the 10th UN Inter-Agency Round Table is 'Developing a UN system-wide common approach to communication for development in view of acheiving the Millennium Development Goals'.

The theme was selected because of the unprecedented political support for the MDGs, which provide a strong unifying basis for inter-agency collaboration, and the recognition of Communication for Development’s potential to help deliver the MDGs.

*Article Source: