Sunday, December 25, 2005

The second part of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)- Tunis 2005

was held in Tunis on 16 -18 November 2005.

Observations from

Heads of state and government from all over the world have adopted a Tunis Commitment and a Tunis Agenda. The most contested issue in the final negotiations was Internet governance, but the summit itself put financing ICT for Development and related questions back on the table.

Independent news coverage We were in Tunis with a couple of reporters and have brought you daily news, analyses and documents from a civil society perspective, from 13 to 18 November 2005. A complete listing is at the end of this page. Other news sources:

Venue / Webcast
The summit, the accompanying ICT4ALL exhibiton, and most parallel events took place at the Kram Exhibition Park in Tunis. For those not able to participate - or who could not get into the rooms because of the mass of particpants - there is an archive of the webcast audio/video stream. 

Parallel Events The ICT4ALL exhibition and the parallel events took place from 15 to 19 November. There were also high-level round tables, a high level panel on ICT for Development and "side events" that are related to WSIS but take place somewhere else - sometimes not in Tunisia.

Civil Society Concerns around the Summit / Citizens' Summit on the Information Society 

Civil society groups have a number of concerns around the summit. Therefore, a number of them have tried to hold a Citizens' Summit on the Information Society (CSIS) parallel to the summit, together with independent Tunisian NGOs. Detailed information is available at the CSIS website. The announcement is here: (rtf): English | French | Spanish | Arabic The CSIS was prevented from happening by Tunisian authorities, without any written documentation and reference to legal reasons.

The preparatory process was mostly occupied with Internet Governance debates, which implies that there was no time for a real discussion about how to move from decisions and declarations (the Geneva phase) to implementation (the Tunis phase and beyond). So there still is a real danger that the summit in the end has produced tons of paper and documents, but has had no impact on the real world and on the conditions of living for a great number of people.
Where there was discussion around implementation and follow-up, the organizers have planned the summit in the style of a trade fair or a showcase for "best practices" and were determined to sell the the event as "the summit of solutions". This approach avoided speaking about the tougher questions that come up when assessing the summit from a human rights and global justice perspective. WSIS civil society had to decide if it again distances itself from the official outcomes and the techno-liberal attitude of the official summit process and develops an independent summit document. It did not draft another declaration, but a month after the summit issued a joint assessment of the WSIS outcomes and process:
WSIS Civil Society Statement on WSIS: "Much more could have been achieved", final version (revision 1), 23 December 2005
english: pdf | doc
Also, the host country Tunisia is known for its bad human rights record, and civil society groups were afraid that the summit would only lead to internationally legitimizing the non-democratic regime of president Ben Ali. Therefore, there was some discussion about completely boycotting the summit if Tunisia does not radically minimize its human rights violations. Independent Tunisian civil society groups instead asked for international support. Tunisian independent groups have issued a declaration about this in January 2005. One outcome was the Citizens' Summit effort. The WSIS Civil Society Bureau had also submitted an official position about the summit preparations and the summit itself in March 2005. news and analysis on the Tunis Summit
22 December 2005: Creating Spaces for Civil Society in the WSIS. A Reply to Michael Gurstein, By Willie Currie
22. December 2005: Networking the Networked/Closing the Loop. Some Notes on WSIS II, By Michael Gurstein
19 December 2005: “Much more could have been achieved”. Civil Society Finishes Assessment of Summit Outcomes
28 November 2005: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Part II. Rik and Ralf’s Take on the WSIS, By Ralf Bendrath and Rik Panganiban
23 November 2005: Civil Society Best Practices to bridge the digital divide. Evaluations of the involvement in WSIS, By Charlotte Dany18 November 2005: “The End of the Beginning” – WSIS is over. Documents adopted, Civil Society preparing assessment
18 November 2005: Civil Society groups reflect on WSIS process. Where to Next?
18 November 2005: The panel I never attended. About a journey of a WSIS participant who tried to seize the day, By Johannes Schunter
17 November 2005: The WSIS "High Level Panel". A missed opportunity? A comparison of two panel events
17 November 2005: "Art and Free Knowledge" event in Tunis. When Richard Stallman and Gilberto Gil sing a duet...
17 November 2005: One long month of hunger strike for three basic democratic objectives. Increasing international support for eight Tunesian opposition leaders on strike, By Christine Wenzel
16/17 November 2005: The citizens summit is dead – long live the citizens summit! CSIS press conference becomes major human rights gathering
16 November 2005: Summit Agenda switching to “ICT and development”. Governments use final statements to reiterate their pet subjects.
16 November 2005: "Visions in Process II" released at World Summit. New Publication of the Heinrich Böll Foundation
16 November 2005: Second WSIS summit officially opened. Kofi Annan: Challenges are political, not financial – Ben Ali receives deep criticism for Tunisian human rights record
15 November 2005: Negotiations closer to agreement. Consensus on Internet Governance Forum and - almost - ICANN oversight
15 November 2005: Broadcast Media in the Information Society? World Electronic Media Forum
14 November 2005: Meeting Tunisian civil society – and Tunisian secret police. The strategy of intimidation
14 November 2005: Tunisian authorities escalate conflict with civil society. Citizens Summit meeting blocked
13 November 2005: PrepCom3 has re-convened. Trying to find common ground under chaotic circumstances
9 November 2005: Tunisian Authorities block our Side-Event. Harassment can lead to summit being not in Tunisia, but about Tunisia

Monday, December 12, 2005

e-Paliament : Global Center for ICT in Paliament launched

The Global Centre for Information and Communication Technologies in Parliament is a joint initiative of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and a group of national and regional parliaments launched in November 2005 on the occasion of WSIS in Tunis.

The Global Centre pursues two main objectives:

  • to strengthen the role of parliaments in the promotion of the Information Society, through fostering ICT-related legislation, in light of the outcome of the World Summit on the Information Society;

  • to promote the use of ICT as a means to modernize parliamentary processes, increase transparency, accountability and participation, and improve inter-parliamentary cooperation.
The Global Centre for ICT in Parliament intends to achieve these objectives by providing a framework for sharing knowledge, coordinating actions, providing technical assistance and pooling information and resources across legislatures around the world, regardless of their country’s economic development level.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

World Bank Justice for the Poor (J4P) Workshop

Following the UN announcement of the formation of the Commision of the Legal Empowerment of the poor this October, the World Bank's Justice of the Poor (J4P) Program, which was formed pre-Commision around 2002 (I THINK, I remember hearing about it then), held a long workshop from 9-30 November. It will be interesting to see how this intersects with the UNDP's efforts.  Announcement from J4P:

The J4P workshop centered on two major themes: Origins and Content of Program Design; and Dynamics of Implementation and Impact. The workshop established (and has since consolidated) a fruitful cross-country dialogue regarding experiences, opportunities, limitations, and constraints with J4P initiatives across development institutions. A number of recommendations came out of the workshop, most notably: (a) the need for an established network of practitioners who can share ideas, experience and knowledge; and (b) the desire for ongoing knowledge sharing events which explore in more detail some of the topics covered during the discussion.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Accidental Techie

Hey, this is who I am....! Sue Bennet has finally written a book to describe all the crazy tech-related hard work I do on the side.  This editorial review from
Accidental Techies"" get some respect. I've finally gotten my hands on the new book The Accidental Techie: Supporting, Managing, and Maximizing Your Nonprofit's Technology, by Sue Bennett, with Tom Battin, Cristina Chan, Eugene Chan, Mary Lester, and Jonathan Stein. I'm delighted to say that it's an outstanding contribution to the field of nonprofit technology and should be on everyone's bookshelf. The premise of the book is that many nonprofit ""technologists"" have little (if any) formal technology training, and have had to learn a variety of skills on-the-fly such as database planning, purchasing technology, managing tech consultants, maintaining computer networks, hosting websites and much more. The book presents a down-to-earth approach to building a support system to manage technology. One of my favorite parts of the book are the ready-to-use templates, worksheets, and sample policies to plan and organize technology systems. Chapter 6 on the role of the accidental techie in a nonprofit is a ten page tour de force discussion of what has often been a taboo topic in nonprofits. The book is a valuable toolkit to help small and mid-size nonprofits adapt to the technology demands of running today's nonprofit. Kudos to CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and Fieldstone Alliance for publishing the book, and to the funders who supported it. --Michael Stein,   Nationally renowned author and Internet strategist. - February 10, 2006

Recommended Reading. Nonprofit, nongovernmental, grassroots or other mission-based organizations are increasingly turning to technology and new media to get out their message and spur social change. The Nonprofit Technology Network, or NTEN, is a professional community that offers support for those who work in their information and communication technologies at such organizations. Katrin Verclas, executive director, says NTEN advises these groups on using technology to meet their larger goals and also provides a forum for ""accidental techies,"" or those who have with little or no formal information-technology training. Ms. Verclas refers to the people at NTEN as ""techies for good."" The Accidental Techie: Supporting, Managing, and Maximizing Your Nonprofit's Technology, By Sue Bennett and Tom Battin ""This book is essential reading for anyone who has taken on technology responsibilities at an organization without any formal training -- the office or program manager turned 'accidental techie.' It includes step-by-step guides as well as templates and worksheets for various projects from assessing your systems to writing proposals for funding. Highly useful for nonprofit leaders, program staff, and board members seeking to gain understanding of their organization's technology needs. --Keith Huang,   The Wall Street Journal Online - November 28, 2006. THE JOURNAL REPORT: TECHNOLOGY
Product Description
How to manage tech support (and keep your sanity!) One day you unjammed the printer and saved the day. But now, somehow, all technology resources have become your responsibility! The Accidental Techie shows you how to create a support system that will help your organization use technology more effectively and make your day-to-day life less hectic. Step-by-step guidance to creating an effective support system. This hands-on guide walks you through five projects that, when completed, will give you a comprehensive and usable support system: conducting a technology inventory, assessing and buying technology, protecting your organization from disasters and data loss, and managing your role. You dont have to tackle the projects all at once or in any particular order. Dive in where it makes sense for you. Techie Tools make this guide even more useful. Youll find... Ready-to-use templates, worksheets, and sample policies. 135 resources on topics such as funding, discussion groups, application service providers, web site development, and donor management software. A security policy checklist. Steps for creating a database that gives you the reports you need. A glossary of terms every techie should know. How to get technology funding. A special chapter on funding reveals five questions most funders ask to judge technology requests, and gives you tips for creating a compelling request. Whether you're new to all this or a veteran, The Accidental Techie if your ally. Use it and start making your life easier today!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Last minute suggestions by APC on Internet Governance- Can they save WSIS 2?

Internet Governance is one of the most contentious issues since WSIS Geneva, when the topic of Internet governance was discussed. Since no general agreement existed even on the definition of what comprised Internet governance, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan initiated a Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) to clarify the issues and report before WSIS 2005 in Tunis. Since then, there have been many debates and controversies about who should 'control' the internet, based on very different opinions for how and indeed whether the Internet should facilitate free communication of ideas and information. One of the main debates concerns the authority and participation of certain actors, such as national governments, corporate entities and civil society, to play a role in the Internet's governance.

Indeed, even the definition of Internet governance has been contested by differing groups across political and ideological lines. A Working group established after a WSIS 1 in Geneva proposed the following definition of Internet governance as part of its June 2005 report:
Internet governance is the development and application by Governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.

Last week on 11/15,  (the eve of the WSIS Tunis 2005 Tunis!), APC issued a statement on it's stand. APC, the Association for Progressive Communications, is an international network of civil society organizations — whose goal is to empower and support groups and individuals working for peace, human rights, development and protection of the environment, through the strategic use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), including the internet.APC has participated extensively in the internet governance process at WSIS.

Out of this participation and in collaboration with other partners, including members of the WSIS civil society internet governance caucus, APC has a set of recommendations with regard to internet governance ahead (one day ahead!) of the final WSIS Summit in Tunis. APC proposed specific actions in each of the following five areas:

  • The establishment of an Internet Governance Forum;
  • The transformation of ICANN into a global body with full authority over DNS management, and an appropriate form of accountability to its stakeholders in government, private sector and civil society;
  • The initiation of a multi-stakeholder convention on internet governance and universal human rights that will codify the basic rights applicable to the internet, which will be legally binding in international law with particular emphasis on clauses in the universal declaration of human rights specifically relevant to the internet, such as rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and privacy.
  • Ensuring internet access is universal and affordable. APC argued: "The internet is a global public space that should be open and accessible to all on a non-discriminatory basis. The internet, therefore, must be seen as a global public infrastructure. In this regard we recognize the internet to be a global public good related to the concept of the common heritage of humanity and access to it is in the public interest, and must be provided as a global public commitment to equality."
  • Measures to promote capacity building in "developing" countries with regard to increasing "developing" country participation in global public policy forums on internet governance.

It will be interesting to see how the issue of internet governance will be resolved, at WSIS 2 and beyond. 

Friday, November 11, 2005 bloggers attending WSIS

Awesome resource from a human bottom-up perspective:, a multilingual coalition of bloggers attending WSIS. Lots of multimedia too-  photos, podcasts and video- totally interesting!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Free online articles on Introduction to Internet Law

The Berkman Center's Internet Law Program has uploaded a series of excellent modules on the introduction to  issues in Internet Law, which I've linked below. Very useful especially for those with little legal background. These online readings are provided to ensure that attendees have the necessary understanding of Internet technology and the relevant fields of law. 

Privacy (Professor Nesson)
Cybercrime (Professor Fisher)
Online Business-Method Patents (Professor Fisher)
Domain Names (Professor Fisher)
Jurisdiction and Zoning (Professor Zittrain)
Access to the Internet (Professor Benkler)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Roadmap for Open ICT Ecosystems

The Berkman Center last month launched the Roadmap for Open ICT Ecosystems report.

I am excited about this Roadmap because, in my line of work, I see governments deciding on technology decisions in a haphazard manner, with no overriding strategy or priorities, and often reactive, under peer pressure, or driven by vendors . This results in systems that might work for the particular agency or institution in the short term, but that discourages sharing of information or collaboration across agencies, because the technical (and human) systems don't know how to talk to each other. 

The Roadmap is a very user-friendly guide for policymakers and technologists to understanding, creating, and sustaining open information and communication technologies systems, and addresses key issues such as interoperability and the implementation of open standards, that would allow for an integrated planning and implementation of ICT systems in the country (or other systems) that is most effective, efficient and scalable. 

Here is my summary of the Roadmap:

Who created this report?
  • senior government officials from 13 developed and undeveloped countries
  • five global organizations
  • two leading technology companies
  • Harvard academics
What is Openness?
It refers to collaboration, connectivity, access and transparency, and this movement is promoted by the blazing growth of the internet.  It includes using open technologies but goes beyond that to include the policies, strategies, processes, information, and stakeholders that together support an open technology environment for a country, government or an enterprise. 

Why is it important for governments? 
It promotes efficiency, innovation and growth. From the report: "Economic growth depends increasingly on information and communications technologies (ICT); countries, enterprises and individuals need to harness this power through collaboration, innovation and development. This report demonstrates, by its process and its outcome, the enormous potential of open collaboration and information sharing."

Values: An open ICT ecosystem should be:
  • Interoperable – allowing, through open standards, the exchange, reuse, interchangeability and interpretation of data across diverse architectures.
  • User-Centric – prioritizing services fulfilling user requirements over perceived hardware or software constraints.
  • Collaborative – permitting governments, industry, and other stakeholders to create, grow and reform communities of interested parties that can leverage strengths, solve common problems, innovate and build upon existing efforts.
  • Sustainable – maintaining balance and resiliency while addressing organizational, technical, financial and legal issues in a manner that allows an ecosystem to thrive and evolve.
  • Flexible – adapting seamlessly and quickly to new information, technologies, protocols and relationships while
How to do it? 
It is not created per se, but rather a process of evolutions. Steps include:
  • Scoping- Assessment to define vision and goals
  • Create Policies- for open standards as well as related areas
  • Managing the implementation
(refer to the Roadmap for detail including practical tools for each step).

(updated 11/15/05) 
The webcast of the Roadmap's launch and discussion at the World Bank on 9/9 is via this Archived video

Friday, September 30, 2005

UNDP forms the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor

Maybe I wish that the international community will embrace a bottom-up, rights based approach will come true? I mentioned about this wish in this previous post (and I'm sure I let it slipped elsewhere too) where I said that while I've done both reform work and NGO rights-based work, the current paradigm seems to be heavily biased in favor of top-down Rule of Law institutional reform work. 

A colleague of mine sent me this UN announcement via email (apologies that I don't have the original link,a nd note too that, while I'm generally skeptical of top level, collaborative results, I do hope that these efforts, especially given the high profile members, will at least put the topic on the international agenda):

Global Poverty Linked to Scarce Rule of Law:  New Group To Promote Access to Legal Protections for the World’s Poor
September 13th, 2005
New York, NY - The Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, a new independent global initiative, today announced it will fight global poverty by focusing on the connection between poverty and the lack of legal protections.
Legal Empowerment, which is co-chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, this month will begin its unique mission to extend the rule of law to the world’s poor.
Legal Empowerment members include an array of international leaders with a diversity of views from the worlds of politics, economics, law, and social policy. They include Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, former Presidents Fernando Cardoso of Brazil and Mary Robinson of Ireland, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi of Iran, all of whom were in New York for Legal Empowerment’s launch today.
“This is a wholly different approach to the poverty debate,” said co-chair Madeleine Albright. “While many worthy initiatives are underway to fight global poverty, our Commission will focus on a unique and overlooked aspect of the problem: the inextricable link between pervasive poverty and the absence of legal protections for the poor.”
“Our ultimate goal is to give the world’s three billion poor the tools they need to create capital and economic growth for themselves,” said Hernando de Soto. “We need to replicate successful practices that allow individuals to participate in legitimate economic systems and to improve their lives.”
Legal Empowerment’s work is based on the conviction that broadening the rule of law and ensuring users’ and property rights for the poor and marginalized populations leads to economic and social empowerment. As poor populations gain benefits that go beyond property and ownership, they will become participants in a system of laws and commerce that can leverage capital, create investment, and generate such rewards as clean water, medical care, schools and economic growth.
“Global poverty can be eradicated only if governments give the poor a legitimate stake in the economy by extending property rights and other safeguards to all citizens,” said Secretary Albright.
“Most of the world’s poor possess assets of some kind, but they are unable to benefit from the economic system because they lack legal means to protect and leverage their assets,” said Dr. de Soto. “In many poorer countries, overly burdensome and unworkable bureaucracies compound the problem.”
Legal Empowerment will operate as an independent entity with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its capacity as chair of the UN Development Group. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) will also play an important role in light of its support for countries that are transitioning towards a market economy.
Legal Empowerment will be funded by voluntary contributions from the private and public sectors, and is endorsed by the governments of Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Guatemala, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Tanzania and the United Kingdom.
This two-and-one-half year effort is intended to contribute significantly to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the global and country levels, including the pledge by all UN members to cut extreme poverty worldwide by half by 2015.
In addition to drawing on the experience of Legal Empowerment members, advice and expertise will be solicited from a variety of non-governmental organizations, multilateral agencies, and target populations, such as indigenous people, women, labor unions, and displaced individuals.
Other Legal Empowerment members attending the launch activities included Lahkdar Brahimi, head of the United Nations Mission to Iraq; Ashraf Ghani, dean of Kabul University and former Minister of Finance for Afghanistan; Muhammad Medhat Hassanein, former Minister of Finance for Egypt; Hilde Frafjord Johnson, Minister of Development Corporation, Norway; Mike Moore, former Director General of the World Trade Organization; Syed Tanwir H. Naqvi, former chairman of the National Reconstruction Bureau of Pakistan; Arjun Sengupta, chairman of the National Commission on Enterprises in the Informal Sector of India; Lindiwe Nonceba Sisulu, Minister of Housing for South Africa; and Pansak Vinyaratn, Chief Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister of Thailand.
More information is available about the Level Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor at

Friday, September 9, 2005

2nd phase of WSIS coming up soon!

The World Summit on the Information Society is held in two phases. The second phase of WSIS is taking place  in Tunis from 16 to 18 November 2005. ( Read more about WSIS here. (PS. I am not sure if I am able to attend, even though invited. I am hoping that I can take a side trip to Tunis from Dubai, while en route to Afghanistan.)

A bit of trivia about the 2 phases:

  • Both Switzerland and Tunisia proposed to be the host country of the Summit, Switzerland as the host country of ITU (ITU headquarters are in Geneva) and Tunis as the country that had proposed the resolution to hold a World Summit on the Information Society at the Plenipotentiary Conference of ITU in Minneapolis.
  • The Secretary-General of ITU, given this special situation, proposed to the ITU Council to hold the Summit in two phases, a novelty regarding UN Summits. The Council followed the argument of the Secretary-General of ITU. The Council considered that the advantage of two phases would allow to discuss information society issues once in the setting of a developed country and once in the setting of a developing country. Also, there was hope that holding a UN Summit in two phases would allow for a better implementation and follow-up. The second part of the Summit would also allow for follow-up on the first part.
  • The UN General Assembly, in Resolution 56/183, took note and approved the idea of holding WSIS in two parts. The Geneva and Tunis phase became thus part of the same Summit. 
  • Some civil society groups expressed alarm that the 2005 phase of the WSIS will be held in Tunisia, a country with serious human rights violation

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

ADB Special Review on Access to Justice

In line with recent interest in access to justice and legal empowerment, as as a follow up to its Law Reform symposium earlier this year in January, ADB Review has published an online special issue focussed on Access to Justicehighlighting developments in reform and access to justice in the region. I especially like reading the Review series because of its on-the-ground, country-based focus (not to mention its magazine style and photos!). While it is still fairly typical of the top-down approaches adopted by the Banks, I do witness more of an effort to include women and other minority groups into the discussions.

Articles include:
  • The Unbroken Line of Law- Creating the conditions for economic growth and poverty reduction necessitates legal reforms that take into account all aspects of the rule of law
  • Paying for Justice- Three justice experts discuss the importance of the connection between judicial reforms and the progress of development in Asia and the Pacific
  • Better Policing- Tackling the problems besetting the Bangladeshi police services means overcoming a long history and great shortage of funding
  • Justice for All- Justice system reforms in Pakistan are helping strengthen legal protection for all particularly the poor and vulnerable and reduce delays in court
  • Gender Justice- A leading Indian academic highlights the need for gender perspectives in law reform
  • More articles 
    • The Quest for Justice 
    • New Era for Pakistan's Police 
    • Laws to Favor the Poor 
    • Bringing Justice to the Poor
    • Climate for Change 
    • Court Boosts Lao PDR Banks 
    • Cleaning Up Corruption 
    • Better Justice 
    • Land of Their Own 
    • Guarding Prisoners in Transport
You can access this ADB Review on Access to Justice articles online, or download the pdf

Monday, June 20, 2005

Global Voices Online- a Project to follow

In my recent trip to Asia which included the Cambodia, Thailand and Nepal, I specifically asked our local partners to point me to local bloggers. I'm struck by how many people are using blogs, even if usually not for purposes outside of personal journaling. This reminded me of the blogging conference at Harvard last year, and I looked online to check its outcome. I'm impressed by how much has happened in a mere six months!

If you are a blogger, especially one from a developing or non-western country, get involved!

Quick facts:

  • Global Voices Online was developed out of the one-day blogging track as part of harvard's Internet and Society 2004 conference. I posted a couple of briefs about these two events below. This blogging conference was led by Ethan Zuckerman (technologist and Africa expert) and Rebecca MacKinnon (former CNN Beijing and Tokyo Bureau Chief), both Berkan Center Research Fellows. 

  • A very "Rebecca Mackinnon, CNN"-like podcast about the importance of global blogging and the voices of non-western bloggers assessed on the Harvard webspace here (interesting interviews with bloggers from China, Iraq, Kenya and other countries. who were at the conference).
  • Global Voices online is now at instead of in addition to the longer Harvard url: If you would like to get involved (and it seems to be a very inclusive project), look out for the announcements for input and participation. 
  • Technologically, it now uses an rss aggregator to track recommended blogs from around the world, but there is a call for you to 
    • Start publishing a roundup on your own blog 
    • Translating posts and other documents into English
    • Let them know about good global blogs, so they can include it in the aggregator and index (if not already)
  • Global Voices also produced a Manifesto authored collaboratively by the people at the blogging conference (note: In light with Global Voices' mandate, they are asking for translators for this manifesto via the Global Voices wiki):

Global Voices Manifesto:

We believe in free speech: in protecting the right to speak — and the right to listen. We believe in universal access to the tools of speech.
To that end, we seek to enable everyone who wants to speak to have the means to speak — and everyone who wants to hear that speech, the means to listen to it.
Thanks to new tools, speech need no longer be controlled by those who own the means of publishing and distribution, or by governments that would restrict thought and communication. Now, anyone can wield the power of the press. Everyone can tell their stories to the world.
We seek to build bridges across the gulfs that divide people, so as to understand each other more fully. We seek to work together more effectively, and act more powerfully.
We believe in the power of direct connection. The bond between individuals from different worlds is personal, political and powerful. We believe conversation across boundaries is essential to a future that is free, fair, prosperous and sustainable - for all citizens of this planet.
While we continue to work and speak as individuals, we also seek to identify and promote our shared interests and goals. We pledge to respect, assist, teach, learn from, and listen to one other.
We are Global Voices.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 resource to bridge the gap for Accidental Techies (like me)

Deborah Finn's blog on technology for nonprofits introduces San Francisco's (which is to me, like Seattle's NPower, which now has grown and evolved into NPower National), These nonprofit organizations in their various permutations serve other nonprofits in the use of technology internally (to enhance efficiency) and externally (to enhance program impact). 

Reproduced from Deborah Finn's blog on technology for nonprofits
I worry a lot about exasperated and over-extended nonprofit workers, who often have to take on technology problems in addition to their more-than-full-time jobs.  They are not even accidental techies; they are recusant techies.

Most of the time, nonprofit professionals don't need or want to plunge into a general education in ICT (information and communication technology) in order to solve a problem.  They want a quick overview, or perhaps even a cheat-sheet. And then they want to go back to being social workers, legal advocates, community organizers, environmentalists, direct care providers, educators, lobbyists, or philanthropists - anything but techies.
Enter TechSoup, the definitive web site about nonprofit technology.   When you have a question, it's the first place you should go, even before you ask the Cyber-Yenta!
If you've never visited TechSoup, the place to start is the page for first-time users.  Once you've familiarized yourself with this wonderful resource, you'll be amazed at how often your problem has arisen in other nonprofit organizations, and you'll be able to see if any of your colleagues (and fellow-sufferers) have already worked out options.  
Of course, if you've searched TechSoup and you still have a question, you're always welcome to post it to this blog.
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