Volume 3, Issue 4

July/August 2001

This issue is co-sponsored by: UNESCO; Academy for Educational Development; Educational Testing Service
The contents of this Issue do not necessarily reflect the policies or the views of the co-sponsors or their affiliates

Thematic Focus: Technology for Social Action

5 Social Action: The Road to Where?
Wadi D. Haddad, Editor Economic globalization is going hand in hand with a broadening of social concerns, which necessitate social action. But wisdom and expediency call for the exploitation of all channels, including technologies, to make the social actions successful, sustainable and timely.

7 Information and Communication Technologies and Poverty
Charles Kenny, Infrastructure Economist, The World Bank This article discusses the use of ICTs in poverty alleviation, the poor’s limited access to ICTs, and government policies that might help to overcome this ‘digital divide.’

12 E-Dialogue, Social Policy, and the United Nations
John E.S. Lawrence, Senior Associate, The INTERNET LISTSERV is a relatively new and immensely promising phenomenon in United Nations deliberations. This article traces the factors that led to its acceptance as a new force in the UN system through four illustrative global conferences.

17 TechKnowNews
♦ IT Brings Connectivity to North America’s Native Populations ♦ All-Spanish Software Measures Telecenter Impact ♦ National Science Foundation to Build Digital Library ♦ Verizon Introduces Suite of Software to Help Meet Security & Privacy Protection Rules ♦ Top 15 Education and Training Vendors Outgrow Rest of Market but Leave Plenty of Opportunity for Others, IDC Says

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19 Schools Think about HIV/AIDS: A World Links Online Collaborative Project
Ann Klofkorn Bloome, World Links HIV/AIDS Consultant Can you catch AIDS from kissing? Why doesn’t saliva transmit HIV? Why do we care about HIV/AIDS anyway? These are the latest questions discussed by participants in the World Links HIV/AIDS Online Collaborative Project, an ongoing HIV prevention effort conducted mainly via email, using, as resources, the Internet and information downloaded onto a CD-ROM.

22 Nashe Maalo: Kids’ TV in Macedonia for Violence Prevention
Lisa Shochat, Media Project Manager, Common Ground Productions A consortium of television and conflict-resolution experts recently debuted an educational project that encourages intercultural respect and understanding among the children of Macedonia. After only one brief season, research shows that a children’s television series has begun to make real inroads into overcoming deep-seated prejudices and stereotypes.

24 Big Blue’s Coming to Town: Zimbabwe’s Mobile Computer Lab
Anthony Bloome, World Links This is the story of “Big Blue,” a brightly colored mobile computer lab, that is providing Internet access and computer literacy training to schools and community clients in a rural community in Zimbabwe.

27 Internet Learning in Unlikely Places: Supporting Education in Nations with Crisis
Maureen W. McClure, Director, GINIE Project; Frank Method, Consultant; Margherita Amodeo, Director of Communications, UNICEF The Internet is making a significant contribution to four critical areas of education for humanitarian assistance: information management and decision support; professional development; external mobilization and coordinated responses; and integration of technologies and basic services.

31 E-Volunteerism: Technology in Action
Sonia Jurich With the incorporation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) into most sectors of life, the use of technology as a tool and focus of volunteer actions should not come as a surprise. Read about five volunteer organizations using ICTs as an integral part of their work.

33 Empowerment through the Internet: Opportunities and Challenges for Indigenous Peoples
Bjorn-Soren Gigler, The World Bank This article provides, based on several case studies, a brief overview of Internet use by indigenous peoples; highlights key challenges; and gives several policy recommendations on how to ensure that they can participate in and benefit from the new information economy, while maintaining their cultural values and identities.

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38 Civic Education in 28 Countries: An IEA Cross-National Study
Judith Torney-Purta, University of Maryland This is a summary of a two-phased study on civic education conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Education Achievement, which examined civic knowledge and engagement of 14-year-olds in 28 countries.

40 Mistica: A Collective Endeavor – In Search of the Social Impact of ICTs in Latin America and
the Caribbean
Luis Barnola, Research Associate, IDRC/CRDI Canada, and Daniel Pimienta, Executive Director FUNREDES What is the contribution and significance of virtual communities in the collective assessment of the social impact of ICTs in Latin America and the Caribbean?

45 Francisco el Matemático: A TV Miniseries for Teaching Values in Bogotá
Clemencia Chiappe, General Director, IDEP Francisco el Matemático is Bogotá’s innovative approach to using TV miniseries to teach values in the schools. Read about its rationale, context, and outcomes.

48 IT and Education for the Poorest of the Poor: Constraints, Possibilities, and Principles
Daniel A. Wagner, Director, International Literacy Institute, University of Pennsylvania – UNESCO In what ways can IT-based learning and information resources be put to service to assist the poorest sectors of populations in diverse cultural settings?

51 Computer Mediated Communication and WWW: Delivery Modes and Implementation
Variables – The Case of the University of South Africa
Japie Heydenrych, Bureau for University Teaching, University of South Africa This article aims at identifying four modes of distance education delivery, using CMC and the WWW to varying degrees, and highlighting important organizational variables challenged by the technology.

55 Internet Appliances: Then, Now, and (Possibly) Tomorrow
Editorial Staff What are Internet Appliances? What went wrong? And what’s in store for their future? Read on…

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57 WorthWhileWebs
Anthony Lizardi, Graduate Student, International Education Program, The George Washington University Here you will find a selection of websites of organizations that are in the business of social action, but more importantly, use ICTs as an integral part of doing this business. The selection includes organizations involved in social advocacy, or in providing support for others.

59 Internet2: The Internet Times a Thousand
Tressa Steffen Gipe The Internet has fundamentally changed the way many people live their lives, do business and access information. Internet2 promises to enhance all those remarkable advancements to create the next best thing in Internet capabilities – times a thousand.

61 AED: Technology for Social Change
Kurt D. Moses, Vice President, Academy for Educational Development AED’s use of technology for social change has run the gamut from the use of radio, to the use of advanced Internet techniques, to accelerating information access through computer technologies/new software, to widespread use of the World Wide Web (including in its wireless form) - - all to inform, entertain, and stimulate change.

EDITORIAL CALENDAR YEAR 2001 January/ February Management of Education Systems March/ April Science and Math Education May/ June e-Learning for the Work Place July/ August Social Action September/ October Early Childhood Development and Parental Ed. November/ December Language Education

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Wadi D. Haddad, Editor

Social Action:
The Road to Where?
Global Social Concerns Economic globalization is going hand in hand with a broadening of concerns for social development, democratization and peace. There is a growing consciousness all over the world about issues of democracy, citizen empowerment, freedom of communication, culture, civic participation, gender equity, human rights, civil justice, peace and general quality of life. Likewise, development goals are no more restricted to economic growth. The International Development Goals (IDGs) of 2000 target " a world free of poverty and free of the misery that poverty breeds." The goals are set in terms of reductions in poverty, improvements in health and education, and protection of the environment. They have been adopted by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the members of the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD, and many other agencies. They found a new expression in the Millennium Declaration of the United Nations, adopted by the General Assembly in September 2000. Conflict Resolution There is an optimistic assumption that when countries and communities flourish they will not fight. But we have to ponder the great paradox of the 20th century: no other period in history has produced so much material progress, and at the same time so much mass human and material destruction. The present outlook is not much better. There are conflicts everywhere. They cause severe human suffering, material devastation, human capital loss and damage of the very social fabric. One of the major challenges in the face of existing and potential strife, exploitation and human rights violations, is to instill in the minds of citizens at all levels the principles of tolerance, democracy, human rights, responsibility, accountability and peace - among countries, within countries, and among people. "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” (Preamble to UNESCO’s constitution.) Obviously education per se does not do it; only a certain kind can be effective. It is in the interest of everybody (governments, businesses, communities, etc.) to draw on the best minds in conflict resolution, attitude change and civic education to face this challenge and create stable societies that are essential for political sustainability, social development and economic prosperity. Quality of Life Despite advances in health and medicine, there continues to be massive human suffering due to ravaging diseases, bad health conditions, lack of understanding of health issues and limited use of health services. The General Assembly of the United Nations, last month, singled out HIV/AIDS for urgent and concerted action. HIV/AIDS increases human suffering, reduces life expectancy and productivity, disrupts social systems, and exacerbates poverty. Countries urgently face a dual challenge of reducing HIV prevalence and of coping with the impact of existing high prevalence rates on the education, health, social, and economic sectors. This calls for frankness in addressing the problem and boldness in using the different channels, including the education system and mass media, to promote reproductive health education, including information on STD and HIV prevention. Such education may help alter the social norms of the next generation of adults in ways that encourage safer sexual behavior. Facing the Challenges The challenges of social development, conflict resolution, peace and better quality of life are not only formidable but they belong to a category that we do not have much experience in dealing with. Unlike economic development, physical construction, and technological advancement, these challenges are not straightforward. Many elements of them are contextual, fluid

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© Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

and controversial. The challenge becomes dual: conceptual and operational. Meeting the challenge involves issues of : • • Advocacy - how to keep these issues on the agenda for public concern and financing and for international cooperation and partnership; Consensus building - how to create a common ground among interest groups divided by cultural and political ideologies, private and public interests and levels of understanding and commitment; Know-how - how to stimulate and sustain social change in different environments and what are the most effective mechanisms for social action; Resources - how to mobilize necessary human, institutional and financial resources under conditions of competing demands; and Time - how to race with time to turn around the dynamics of poverty, conflict and suffering.

Published by Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.
In editorial collaboration with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO ) Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD )

• • •

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Wadi D. Haddad, President, Knowledge Enterprise, Inc.

What About Technology Experience has shown, as demonstrated by the many articles in this Issue, that technology has the potential to assist in addressing the above six issues. Communication technologies may facilitate consensus building, collaborative actions and will draw into the process historically marginalized groups. Information technologies have the ability to archive, classify and disseminate knowledge about social needs as well as lessons of experience. Mass media technologies - such as radio soap operas and TV miniseries may be very effective in orienting and educating. Technologies could also be very effectual in raising consciousness and making the case for the mobilization of resources. Finally, due to the nature, scope, coverage and speed of information and communication technologies, action in time and on time becomes feasible. ****** Ethics and human rights dictate social concerns. Social concerns necessitate social action. But wisdom and expediency call for the exploitation of all channels, including technologies, to make the social actions successful, sustainable and timely.

INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD: Jarl Bengtsson, Head, CERI, OEDC Claudio Castro, Pres., Advisory Bd., Faculdade Pitágoras Gajaraj Dhanarajan, President & CEO, The Commonwealth of Learning Dee Dickenson, CEO, New Horizons for Learning Alexandra Draxler, Director, Task force on Education for the Twenty-first Century (UNESCO) Pedro Paulo Poppovic, Secretary of Distance Education, Federal Ministry of Education, Brazil Nicholas Veliotes, President Emeritus, Association of American Publishers

ADVISORY EDITORIAL COMMITTEE: Joanne Capper, Sr. Education Specialist, World Bank Mary Fontaine, LearnLink, AED Kathleen Fulton, Independent Consultant Gregg Jackson, Assoc. Prof., George Washington Univ. Sonia Jurich, Consultant Frank Method, Dir., Washington Office, UNESCO Laurence Wolff, Sr. Consultant, IDB MANAGING EDITOR: Sandra Semaan GENERAL QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS FEEDBACK ON ARTICLES EDITORIAL MATTERS: SPONSORSHIP AND ADVERTISING ADDRESS AND FAX Knowledge Enterprise, Inc. P.O. Box 3027 Oakton, VA 22124 U.S.A. Fax: 703-242-2279 This Issue is Co-Sponsored By: UNESCO, Academy for Educational Development (AED), Educational Testing Service (ETS)

Wadi D. Haddad

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Information and Communication Technologies and Poverty
Charles Kenny Infrastructure Economist, World Bank1 Few would argue that lack of access to information and communications technologies (ICTs) is an element of poverty in the way that insufficient nutrition or inadequate shelter are. If being poor is defined as lacking access to the Internet, for example, no one in the world escaped poverty before 1969, when the first network was built. But, ICTs are increasingly central in the effort to escape poverty. This article will discuss the use of ICTs in poverty alleviation, the poor’s limited access to ICTs, and government policies that might help to overcome this ‘digital divide.’

ICTs and Poverty Alleviation
We have forty years of evidence on the utility of broadcast media as a tool for improving incomes. A survey of some of the 21,000 farmers enrolled in radio-backed farm forums in Zambia showed that 90 percent found programs relevant and more than 50 percent credited the programs and forums with increasing their crop yields.2 Building telephone centers is another significant means for creating income. In the Indian state of Punjab, for example, one study found over 10,000 staffed telecenters had sprung up by 1996—generating close to 9,000 USD in gross revenue per center, much of which went to salaries. In Bangladesh, Grameen Phone gives loans to low-income women entrepreneurs in rural areas to provide payphone services based on cellular technology. Villagers report that the introduction of the service has allowed rural farmers to check livestock prices and coordinate medical needs, and has challenged the traditional power that wealthy landowners and intermediaries have held over rural economies and politics. Also, the phones themselves have become an important new business sector in the villages, generating jobs and income where none previously existed.3 The average income per village telephone operator has been estimated at $700 per annum. Small manufacturers of traditional handicrafts are also discovering how ICTs can assist in the marketing and distribution of their wares to a worldwide client base. In Kenya, the Naushad Trading Company (, which sells local woodcarvings, pottery, and baskets, has seen revenue growth from US$ 10,000 to over US$ 2 million in the two years since it went online. Consumers and shopkeepers can access constantly updated color pictures of NTCLimited’s product line, place orders, and make inquiries of other types of handicrafts.

The impact of ICTs on the lives of poor people goes far beyond income generation, however. In education, at the primary and secondary levels, radio and television are an increasingly important means of reaching the rural poor. Educational radio has been utilized in: • • • Mexico and Mali, for literacy training; Thailand, to teach mathematics to school children, and for teacher training and other curricula; and The Dominion Republic and Paraguay, in support of primary education. 4

There are also a number of Internet-based education programs, including ENLACES in Chile and the World Bank’s WorldLinks program. Information technology also has a role in improving the quality of health services. A significant percentage of health workers in Uganda (54 percent) and Kenya (20 percent/year) have taken part in radio-backed training courses and there are consistent reports and surveys suggesting that these result in improved knowledge, attitudes and practices. ICTs can also significantly cut the cost of education and health care through the improvement of management systems using networked computers. ICTs also have a role in supporting environmental awareness programs and publicizing the actions of polluters, in preserving and disseminating cultural information and practices, and a range of other development tasks. Finally, ICTs also have a major role in reducing the vulnerability of the poor —especially to natural disasters and powerlessness. One of the reasons for this is the part that ICTs can play in amplifying the voices of the poor. ICTs bridge the distance between remote communities and service pro-

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viders—markets, government departments, and aid agencies. They can allow the opinions of the poor and the needs of the poor to be heard. For example, in India, the women’s rights NGO ‘Sakashi’ had faced difficulties in lobbying for sexual harassment legislation. With help from international women’s networks provided over the Internet, Sakashi was able to receive advice and technical assistance on legal issues surrounding sexual harassment. As a result, the group succeeded in convincing the Supreme Court to establish sexual harassment guidelines in the workplace and brought the issue within the purview of human rights violations.

pointer to the dominance of industrial countries. A recent host survey shows that Africa generates only 0.4 percent of global content. Excluding South Africa, the rest of Africa generates a mere 0.02 percent.5 And, especially for the Internet, use is dominated by a tiny educational elite. Ninety-eight percent of Ethiopian Internet users had a university degree—in a country where 65 percent of the adult population is illiterate. Finally, women have less access to ICTs than men. Only 38 percent of the population polled in urban Latin America who use a computer and Internet are women. The numbers are even more skewed in Africa: a survey of African users found that 86, 83, and 64 percent of Internet users in Ethiopia, Senegal, and Zambia, respectively, were male.

The Digital Divide
Despite these potential links between ICTs and poverty reduction, direct access by the poor to more advanced ICTs in particular is extremely limited. Radio is listened to every week by as much as 80 percent of the populations of many developing countries. Figure 1 suggests that even the poorest developing countries also have more televisions per capita than would be suggested by their income level. But citizens of poor countries have significantly less access to telephones and the Internet than those living in rich countries, while poorer people within countries are even further excluded. For example, Rwanda has a population of over 6.5 million. In 1998, it had 11,000 telephones—about half the number of telephones as Gibraltar, with a population of 27,000. Within Rwanda, these telephones were almost exclusively concentrated in Kigali. There were 4 telephones per hundred people in the capital city, compared to 4 per 10,000 in the rest of the country.

Should There Be Concern?
Having said that, the mere existence of a gap in levels of ICT services between rich and poor across and within countries does not imply that ICTs should be a priority for government action; after all, poor countries also have fewer factories, fewer cars, fewer doctors and nurses, and lower calorie intakes per capita than wealthy countries. That said, there are a number of reasons why a growing gap in the provision of advanced ICTs should be of concern:

The gap in provision is already large, and for advanced ICTs it is much larger than income disparities. This represents a majority of people around the world—and especially the poor—having no access to modern networking technologies. And the gap is growing at a time when the trends in other determinants of development, such as levels of education, health, and access to transport, are converging.6 Threshold effects are at work. Two linked economic features suggest that low provision could force people and countries into poverty traps—network externalities, where there are increasing benefits to a connection the more that others are connected, and bottlenecks. In the same way that a weak port infrastructure reduces the attractiveness of all merchandise trade with a country, it might be that a weak information infrastructure will reduce the competitiveness of an even wider range of goods and services. Weak information infrastructure might then act as a bottleneck to trade-led development. Evidence is growing that a range of ICTs is vital for taking part in trading, and the lack of such technology really does act as a bottleneck. For example, surveys in Botswana and Zimbabwe suggest that areas lacking telephone access see significantly less entrepreneurial activity than those with access.

Looking at the Internet, in 1998, Bangladesh had a population of 125 million, with just over 1,000 Internet users. The availability of local content on the Internet is a further

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Within-country gaps in service provision worsen existing inequities. If the opportunities for improved income generation and access to services provided by the new ICTs are limited to the wealthy, this will perpetuate and strengthen a number of disparities, including gender inequality and the inequalities faced by the disabled.

communications operators; moving toward cost-oriented tariffs and the elimination of internal cross-subsidies, with the limited exception of carefully designed subsidies to ensure access and use for the poor; as well as recourse to a strong and truly independent regulatory agency, capable of enforcing rules.

Policies to Ensure Access for the Poorest
The first step to begin fulfilling the communications needs of the poor is to leverage the full potential of market mechanisms in reaching out to poor communities, by allowing the establishment of a competitive, private sector–led market. A range of studies suggest that there can be dramatic increases in access to telephone and Internet services, through a telecommunications-sector reform program based on three pillars: privatization, competition, and independent regulation.

Figure 2 below, based on evidence from a set of Latin American countries, shows that privatized open telecommunications markets in that region saw basic line rollout approximately three times as fast as countries with a state monopoly and twice as fast as those with private monopolies. A liberalized telecommunications sector is also vital to make access to advanced information technology more affordable, because a large part of the costs of Internet access are accounted for by telecommunications. A recent study of African Internet service providers suggests that countries with a highly liberalized telecommunications network had costs of Internet access eight times lower than those with a completely closed market. Countries with more open telecommunications sectors also had more host sites, lower monthly Internet charges, a greater number of providers, and higher rates of Internet penetration.7 Opening the broadcast sector to independent operators can also have a dramatic impact on the range and quality of programming. In Columbia, for example, over 1,000 new licenses were issued to community stations in 1995. This should be part of a broader move to issue spectrum licenses to local and national stations, which can dramatically increase listener choice and information flow.

Moving to private competitive markets is unlikely to be enough to ensure that the poor have access to ICTs, however. A combination of regulatory requirements, carefully designed privatization and license contracts, and bidding procedures and financial support for private provision of public access will be required to meet this goal. Service requirements are a simple method used by regulatory agencies to ensure a certain minimum level or distribution of telecommunications development within a country. They are primarily written as conditions into the license of an operator. They can involve teledensity or rollout targets for public and private lines, along with conditions on the quality and speed of service. Regulations can also support access by the disabled, supporting enhanced accessibility features to allow use by the visually and hearing-impaired. Service requirements should be set bearing in mind their commercial feasibility: requirements that are unrealistically ambitious may jeopardize financial performance and thus operators’ ability to meet the targets and improve access. In license-tendering processes, build-out targets are increasingly used as an important, sometimes primary, bid evaluation criterion, alongside the bid price. This approach, if preceded by careful analysis of the target users’ capacity to pay, ensures that the rollout targets are indeed feasible. For example, in both Uganda and India, bid evaluations included rollout or coverage criteria. If license conditions are to be met, enforcement procedures to follow up on the accomplishment of committed targets and a plan of sanctions for

Gaining full benefit from private-sector participation and liberalization also requires the regulatory environment of the communications industry to be conducive to a wellfunctioning competitive market. In the telecommunications sector, this can be achieved through legal and regulatory mechanisms that promote, among other things: fair interconnection and revenue-sharing arrangements between tele-

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failure are essential. To make licenses with rollout conditions more attractive, a range of options are available, including bundling, packaging areas, and free choice of technology.

Potential Benefits
Using regulatory and policy support for public access, be it to a telephone line, to a radio, TV screen, or to an Internet terminal, countries can aggregate demand so that a large number of people benefit from one or a few connections. This allows sustainable provision of ICT services even where incomes are low. In Senegal, for example, more than 6,000 privately operated and highly profitable telecenters have come into existence since the early 1990s.9 Public access to a telephone has more than doubled. India, Peru, South Africa, and Thailand have also seen dramatic growth in privately owned and operated telecenters providing rural inhabitants with new information sources and opportunities. In a competitive environment, the costs of providing public access in environments where private returns to provision are likely to be low can be financed through special funds. These funds are set up as a transitory mechanism to help partially defray the initial investment costs of network expansion in rural and poor areas. A prime regulatory objective in setting up universal access funds is to maximize the impact of the subsidies awarded, which is why the funds should be allocated to operators in a competitive way. The introduction of competition through a bidding process for the use of funds encourages operators to look for the best technology and other cost-savings practices. This tends to minimize the need for subsidies, if they are required at all. The choice of a funding strategy can also support a level playing field among operators so that none of the operators is overly compensated or unfairly burdened by the funding mechanism. In such a competitive bidding process, the fund administrator determines the target areas to be served, normally based on socioeconomic studies and on consultation with the local authorities and population. New entrants and sometimes existing operators compete for subsidies for network build-out in these areas. The subsidy is then awarded to the operator with the lowest required subsidy or the highest service rollout commitment, or a combination of both. In Chile, for example, just over US$ 2 million in public funds leveraged US$ 40 million in private investment to install telephones in 1,000 localities, at about ten percent of the costs of direct public provision. Very few areas received no bids and thus remained unserved.10 Although the initial focus of these types of universal access funds was to support the provision of public telephones by telecommunications operators, some countries are using this

approach to support the establishment of public Internet access points, notably through telecenters. This has been the approach followed in South Africa, where the Universal Service Agency has used the funds to franchise telecenters around the country. Peru has recently started using a similar mechanism to support the public provision of telecenters and Internet terminals in poor city neighborhoods.

Into the Future
It should be noted that the ICT movement is still in its early stages in developing countries, and it has faced some setbacks. One study of a pilot program of the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Fisheries in Mexico, for example, found that of 23 telecenters set up in rural areas around the country, only five remained functional after two years. Problems encountered included insufficient maintenance funding, inadequate political interest and will, and cultural constraints that hampered community interest in the projects.11 This suggests the importance of participatory design and continued government support. Local communities need to be involved in the design of universal access programs by participating in decisions about particular information access outlets. Indeed, most studies find that the most effective way of ensuring the economic success of ICTs in rural areas is to encourage local participation and create social institutions in support of the new technologies. This can be achieved through a participatory approach, to complement technical and economic calculations of telephone placement. Further, given the cost and skills demands of Internet access, it is likely that direct access by the poorest in developing countries will remain limited. Through the more affordable intermediary of the radio, however, some of the benefits of Internet access can be provided to those without direct access. In Kothmale, Sri Lanka, a joint project between UNESCO, the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and the Media, the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, and the Sri Lanka Telecommunication Regulatory Commission uses radio as an interface between rural people and the Internet. A daily one hour live radio program in which an announcer and a panel of resource persons browse the Internet at the requests of listeners, has proven to be capable of overcoming linguistic barriers in using the Internet by non-English speakers. The radio station adds value to the information by interpreting it into a local context, by broadcasting it in vernacular languages, and by providing a platform for feedback through local discussion and networks of local correspondents. In addition to the radio program, the Kothmale Community radio station is developing a rural database (, primarily by packaging public domain information often requested by listeners for off-line use.

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It should be noted that provision of infrastructure is only the first step in exploiting ICTs for development. Without appropriate content, for example, the Internet will not be relevant to the poor in developing countries. There is also a large role for government to support the creation of appropriate content in broadcasting media. Same-language subtitling for television broadcasts supports language and literacy goals, and radio-based educational programming across a

range of subjects and topics (math, language, health, and agriculture) have been found to be highly cost-effective. Utilizing private investment and entrepreneurship to its full extent, then providing government support to ‘fill in the gaps,’ developing countries can go a long way in overcoming the digital divide and use ICTs as a powerful tool of poverty relief.

Based on Kenny, Charles, Juan Navas-Sabater, Christine Z. Qiang (2001) "Information and Communication Technologies and Poverty in the World Bank" (Ed) Poverty Reduction Strategy Sourcebook, Washington DC: World Bank. ( The longer paper also discusses the importance of ICTs in improved provision of government services and governance. The ideas and opinions in this paper are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of the World Bank or its Executive Directors.


Dodds, T. (1999) Non-Formal and Adult Basic Education through Open and Distance Learning in Africa. Mimeo, Centre for External Studies, University of Namibia. More information can be found on Grameen Phone at



The examples on the use of radio come from Nwaerondu, Ndubuisi Goodluck, and Gordon Thompson. 1987. "The Use of Educational Radio in Developing Countries: Lessons from the Past." Journal of Distance Education 2(2): 43-54.

The statistics in this paragraph are drawn from Africa Internet Forum. 1999. “Internet Economic Toolkit for African Policy Makers,” available online at, ITU.(1999). World Telecommunication Development Report. ITU, Geneva, and Wilson, E. and Rodriguez, F. 1999. Are Poor Countries Losing the Internet Revolution? infoDev Working Paper. Washington, D.C.


See Easterly, W. 1996. Life During Growth. Washington D.C.: World Bank..


Africa Internet Forum. 1999. “Internet Economic Toolkit for African Policy Makers,” available on line at Wellenius, Bjorn. 1997a. Telecommunications Reform: How to Succeed, World Bank Viewpoint Note No. 130.


For more information on telecenters in Senegal, see and Wellenius, Bjorn. 1997b. Extending Telecommunications Service to Rural Areas—the Chilean Experience, World Bank Viewpoint Note No. 105.
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Robinson, Scott S. 2000. Telecenters in Mexico: Learning the Hard Way, presented at the “Partnerships and Participation in Telecommunications for Rural Development: Exploring What Works and Why” conference at the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, October 26-27.

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E-Dialogue, Social Policy, and the United Nations
By John E.S. Lawrence
Senior Associate,

The 1990s decade saw an unprecedented array of global summits and conferences addressing various aspects of social development. Amongst the most influential were the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in March of 1995, the Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women later in 1995, the Global Knowledge Conference in Toronto in 1997, and the Dakar World Education Forum in 2000 in Senegal. The United Nations system (including the Bretton Woods institutions) was closely involved in each of these fora, having encouraged such dialogues in search of improved social and economic conditions during the fifty years since its inception. But for the first time in 1995 at the Social Summit, an e-dimension was introduced. This was to open a new electronic window on the proceedings, and permit (in theory) much greater participation by ordinary people (albeit those with access to INTERNET- still a major limitation). Opposed initially as a disruptive intrusion into the arcane maze of protocol and delicate diplomatic and substantive balancing necessary to reach consensus, this e-tributary has swelled in flood to become a wide river. Electronic discussion LISTS are now a central, vital part of the policy-shaping process both of the UN system, and of its composite and partner agencies. But it was not always that way, and the pioneers had to trek new territory! Because the INTERNET LISTSERV, as a democratic forum, is a relatively new and immensely promising phenomenon in United Nations deliberations, it is worth tracing the factors, which led to its acceptance as a new force in the UN system through these four illustrative global conferences. While they were by no means the only uses of e-discussions ongoing in their time, the four examples chosen here were unique in respect to the way UN business was then being formally conducted. So, a brief summary of each is presented, and key

factors identified which led to the rapid mainstreaming of these techniques. These cases illustrate some of the advantages (and disadvantages) of bringing innovative information/communication technologies (ICTs) into the service of social development, specifically in the context of engaging people not otherwise likely to be engaged (locally) in building global consensus. As such, the link between community and national/international policy dialogue is tenuous, but alive and intriguing, and is discussed at greater length elsewhere.1 In the case of the Social Summit, successful application of the methodology itself was as important as the substance, or informational throughput of the dialogue, because this was a first attempt at formalizing the e-process in a United Nations summit. In the case of Dakar, the substance was more important, since it dealt with the impact of HIV/AIDS on educational systems in southern Africa (a subject until that time not given the priority it clearly deserved). Many positive outcomes emerged from these experiments. Edialogue has both illuminatory and participatory dimensions, and in addition offers various forms of anonymity. Despite initial fears, the INTERNET proved neither a threat to UN protocol, nor exclusionary to `southern’ involvement. Wider engagement in UN functions promoted greater clarity, as well as transparency, such that brighter light was necessarily shone on issues and procedures under discussion. Formerly, only delegates in touch with their governments, and their small and refined coteries of specialized experts were privy to decision-making and preparing for major global events. Edialogue simply opens up this process (the digital divide notwithstanding) to a much broader audience. The prevailing tendency of a unidirectional information arrow – from `us’ out to `them’ – is reversed. Feedback offers new information on which more responsive social policy can be intelligently based.

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Disadvantages are also documented, such as difficulties in engaging senior policymakers, and the inevitable friction inherent in bringing constituencies onboard that are resistant to virtual participation. On balance however, the evidence is predominantly positive and favors the further incorporation of these and other yet-to-be identified (and perhaps even more democratic, across the digital divide) technologies. The purpose is to promote wider engagement in international discussion of serious social development issues. Participation through ICTs in many aspects of UN dialogue and programming is widening inexorably as time progresses, and as technologies improve. Although poverty and illiteracy, and language-dominance (persistence of colonial languages in newly independent countries) continue to pose difficult challenges, the precedents set in the nineties bode well for the new century, and for extended enfranchisement of local interests in setting global priorities.

to survive another fifty years, the UN must stand proudly as the peoples’ forum. A Social Development summit should therefore have the greatest possible participation (with due deference to the ways each member government wishes to be represented). It seemed that the INTERNET might take one step towards providing greater awareness of the Preparatory Committee’s deliberations at least in the form of an information outlet. And perhaps, if carefully managed (but without strangling spontaneity), it might work the other way by helping the deliberations become more participatory, and by bringing fresh ideas/voices to the discussion process. Thus a new channel presented itself through which a kind of `knowledge interactivity’ could be enabled. In no way can the formal roles of Heads of States and national governments and their elected or appointed representatives be usurped. Rather, a complementary role must be sought where ordinary folks can see themselves as legitimate participants rather than mere recipients. This was the rationale on which the argument for a WSSD electronic discussion list was based. Membership of the WSSD LISTSERV included a broad spectrum of civil society worldwide, and with specific focus on `southern’ as contrasted with `northern’ institutions. Organizations (intergovernmental, governmental and nongovernmental) were contacted to catalyze and broaden expression of social development options for consideration and discussion at all levels. In addition, the project design was deliberately self-conscious in that it sought to examine systematically and document its own progress.3 The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) supported the Education Development Center (EDC) in design and operation of the LISTSERV during the seven months prior to, during, and immediately following implementation of WSSD in March 1995. This experiment broke new ground in attracting 600 subscribers from 54 countries representing all world regions. Surprisingly, half of the participants were outside North America, and 21% from Latin America, Asia and Africa despite the inability of the project to defray participant access costs. A key outcome of the LISTSERV was the participation of NGOs in raising awareness, and sharing information around WSSD issues. Documentation (drafts, position papers, and technical reports) were made available, and ultimately, delegations were contacted independently as a result of LISTSERV discussions. On at least one documented occasion, a nation’s reluctance to meet with its NGOs on substantive draft language was noted on the LISTSERV, and collective pressure was brought to bear to bring about successful collaboration.4 Another key outcome was recognition

The Social Summit (WSSD) in Copenhagen in March 1995 was the largest gathering ever of world leaders at that time.2 It pledged to put people at the center of development. It sought three quite ambitious social objectives: the outright conquest of poverty, full employment, and the fostering of social integration. During the Summit’s preparation in 1994, the INTERNET was just budding, and not full flowering. But even then, its power was recognized as a mechanism for rapid electronic access to enormous, undifferentiated amounts of knowledge. Still, however, only a lucky few could purchase a ticket to the on-ramps for what was then called the Information Highway. It struck some of us engaged in the formal planning process for WSSD that ICTs could work both ways in opening up a relatively privileged discussion. There were people living within a block of UN Headquarters who had no idea what WSSD was about, indeed who had no access to information on UN business in general. They watched limousines pulling up at the gates, and discharging small elite bands at the delegates’ entrance. Little could be deduced from the gatherings of dignitaries other than another irritating traffic jam around the UN. How much greater were the degrees of separation from those living in poverty in the remotest areas of the world. Yet the first words of the UN charter establish the responsibility of `we the peoples of the United Nations....’ as determining the course of the organization. Above all, if it is

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and acceptance of the LISTSERV as a justifiable and legitimate method of complementing the WSSD deliberations. Initial resistance gave way to acknowledgement that not only was this democratic extension inevitable, but also generally beneficial.

America and Europe offering solutions, even promising subscriptions to keep the LISTSERV from closing. Finally an anonymous LISTSERV member from a private (northern) firm came forward with funding to extend the life of the forum for further discussion of post-Beijing issues.



The Beijing Conference took place in September 1995, only six months later.5 Given the modest but significant success of the WSSD LISTSERV, the UNDP/EDC team decided to continue with the LISTSERV subscriber base, but roll it over conceptually and substantively to meet the new demand for information and participation predominantly by women. The linkage was fortunate and productive between the two discussions, thus enhancing the substantive relationship between WSSD and Beijing goals. Considerable outreach was needed to encompass the new constituencies implied by the substance of FWCW, and especially the Asian venue in China. LISTSERV membership expanded very fast, and ended up reaching more than 1600 people from 65 countries. Discussion centered around three broad topics: administrative and organizational information sharing on meeting schedules and activities; substantive debate over documentation, particularly the Conference platform and program of action; and news from the Conference and its satellite meetings. The INTERNET turned out to be a major information exchange medium for FWCW through not only the LISTSERV, but through various other channels, formal and informal. One UN report states that there were a total of 158,722 visits to the INTERNET space at the Conference from 68 countries.6 These efforts by UNDP and others to widen electronic access to FWCW were explicitly recognized and formally documented during a June 1996 international follow-up session in New York solely devoted to continuing use of electronic communications and future virtual conferencing in the service of women’s development.7 The major utility of the LISTSERV to subscribers, however, was discovered later, when UNDP decided to conclude funding after the Conference had finished. There was an outcry from most world regions. Appreciative and supportive messages flooded in from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, North

The World Bank, UNDP, the Canadian Government and other public and private agencies sponsored the GKD Conference in 1997 in Toronto.8 Its purpose was to establish an international benchmark for the role of information technologies in international development at the close of the twentieth century, and to document and exhibit best case examples. It constituted a natural opportunity to build on our UN system experience with virtual participation in both earlier conferences. UNDP thus supported EDC again in design and moderation of the GKD LISTSERV, which still continues as of this time, under World Bank sponsorship, as one of the most informative current sources for updates on ICTs and development.9 Not only was this Conference exclusively devoted to the impact of info-technologies on development (thus demanding more of the LISTSERV process both technically and substantively) but it was clear that these LISTSERV members, many of whom were from the private sector, would need clear evidence of influence and participatory engagement. Considerable effort was taken to broaden the scope of the discussion to accommodate different interests. The sponsors again agreed to offer a limited number of ‘scholarships’ to those LISTSERV members who were particularly articulate discussants, and who were able to physically participate onsite in Toronto. This experimental LISTSERV was ambitious, and was conspicuously effective, featuring prominently and favorably in independent evaluations of the Toronto meeting. As the official evaluation report states: ‘Many participants found the "virtual conference"in particular the GKD97 Discussion List- very useful for learning, sharing ideas, and networking. This may be the greatest legacy of the conference, and the vehicle through which the conference ulti-

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mately addresses its core objectives. Follow-up evaluations should explore this phenomenon in greater detail. The List ...contained meaningful discussions of real cases, practical aspects of implementing ICT, and identification of resources...involved considerable discussion of how and when ICT can enhance development and benefit the world's poor [and] involved people around the globe, including significant representation from developing countries. The virtual conference continues, with the potential to build upon the initiative of the conference started in Toronto.’10 By the end of the Conference, more than 2000 people from 90 countries (51 from the `developing’ world) had joined the LISTSERV. It was most encouraging to see virtual participation so vigorously endorsed, and so actively engaged in many aspects of the Conference, including online panels. But most of all, the forum proved sustainable, and so far has continued for almost four years. Furthermore, there were several instances where the Virtual Conference positively influenced the actual conference, and set the stage for much greater use of these methods and procedures in the future. For example, in reaction to publication of the provisional speaker list, members noted the lack of women speakers. Conference managers immediately rectified this. The LISTSERV provided an opportunity for a variety of shared experiences to be documented both online as they were posted, and in the archives for later study. Informative commentaries and many spin-off ideas resulted. Scholarship recipients from Peru (female) and Africa (male) were able to voice their concerns and suggestions on behalf of their communities. The continued sustainability, however, of the LISTSERV, and its extraordinarily comprehensive and contemporary knowledge base, are perhaps the best testimony to the legitimacy and credibility of this new vehicle for global communication around ICTs.

and its impact on education systems. The WEF, held in Dakar Senegal in April 2000,11 marked the end of the first decade following the Jomtien World Conference on Education for All. Over the intervening years, the HIV/AIDS epidemic reached disastrous proportions, particularly in southern Africa, where at least 860,000 elementary students in the region lost a teacher to the disease in 1999. UNDP decided to try an INTERNET-based LISTSERV as a vehicle for helping to break the policy silence around this disease, and open up regional discussion in ways that could usefully inform the WEF. This project initially presented several problems. As with the LISTSERV for WSSD, there was some opposition to employing the INTERNET as a device for communicating throughout this sub-region. Outside South Africa itself, there was thought to be little significant connectivity. Furthermore, even where access to the INTERNET existed, what was the likelihood that people would engage in abstract discussion of such a serious and personal matter? As reported in detail elsewhere,12, 13 these fears were largely ungrounded. The archives of this discussion14 show a highly substantive set of postings, containing astonishing breadth and scope of policy-relevant knowledge and experience across individuals, communities, and institutions. Even though the LISTSERV ran only for four months, there were 667 subscribers, representing 54 countries, of which 25 are in Sub-Saharan Africa. We are still sorting through these data, and encourage others to do the same. They were most informative in presentations to the WEF panel on the impact of HIV/AIDS in Dakar. The `scholarship’ idea was used again, and two representatives traveled from within the region to Senegal to participate. The policy significance of this kind of discussion is high. The fact that this kind of electronic window can be brought even into the world’s less developed regions, and provide a forum for informed, and high quality discussion on sensitive issues of public policy, is most encouraging. Negotiations are underway to continue this discussion forum, with a host server in the Sub-Saharan region.

This final example is different from the others in that it deals with a LISTSERV focusing on a specific (and very sensitive) substantive area of social development, namely HIV/AIDS

What do we conclude from these four cases? Our original purpose was to look at policy implications, but the focus broadens as evidence mounts that people respond so positively to having these technologies made available to them. If one objective of social development is to widen peoples’ choices, then ICTs and specifically, well-managed INTERNET LISTSERVs, are a crucial tool. The technology is moving so fast that these may be mechanically and technically outdated as new (hand held, wireless, satellite) and

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more personal tools are developed. But the principles are powerful. Anyone who has participated actively in global discussions can understand intimately the barriers to extending that participation. The potential humiliation lurking around opponents’ reactions, inarticulateness in the face of large groups, and intimidation felt in expressing deeply held positions in formal gatherings; all of these inhibitors are greatly reduced in e-fora. Entrepreneurial and courageous ideas can emerge and flourish in the relative anonymity of the virtual space. Governments are looking for ways to reach out to their constituencies, spreading responsibility, and engaging their communities. ICTs have already saved many lives during

disasters, as documented before the ECOSOC,15 and of course go far beyond just these kinds of interactive e-lists. However, the INTERNET specifically seems to provide a new dimension for democracy, and gives strength and direction to participatory energies. More needs to be done to engage policymakers themselves in the dialogue. Furthermore, the greatest challenge is the enormous and growing gap between those able to take advantage of ICTs, and those marginalized by them. Development agencies, governments, and people generally should apply one simple, single criterion to all activity in this area: do our actions reduce, or contribute to this divide?

Lawrence, J.E.S. and Brodman, J. "Linking Communities to Global policymaking: A New Electronic Window on the United Nations." In Community Informatics. Gurstein, M. (Ed). Idea Publishing, Hershey Pennsylvania. 2000. pp 470-493. See



Education Development Center. Newton, Massachusetts. The New Global Forum: Expanding Participation in UN Conferences via the Internet. Final Report to UNDP. 1996. Lawrence and Brodman. 2000. p 479. See See (para 5) See (para 15) See See archives at See Para 5 of Evaluation Report at See










Final Report. Global Forum on the Impact of HIV/AIDS on Education Systems: Focus on Africa Submitted to UNDP by Education Development Center, Inc. July 2000. see Lawrence, J.E.S. African voices on HIV/AIDS and education: an electronic forum for 2000. Paper for UK Department of International Development 2001 (in press). See UN Press Release ECOSOC/5898, 7 July, 2000.




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IT Brings Connectivity to North America’s Native Populations
In a move to help American Indians join the technology age, achieve economic independence and bridge the digital divide, the computer company Hewlett Packard announced a $US 5 million grant to the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association, an organization of 18 tribes in the San Diego, California, area. The flexible grant will allow the tribes to choose how they will spend the money. However, the main component will be a high-speed, broadband wireless network between the reservations. Connecting the tribes to the Internet and with each other will hopefully help them towards preserving their culture, educating their children (and adults!), building community, and providing new economic sustenance. This “Digital Village” will benefit at least 20,000 people, significantly more than the current 10% of tribal members that have had some exposure to technology. In one reservation where some changes are already taking place, library director Doretta Musick recounts that with the advance of a high-speed network, they are able to greatly expand their educational services to the local population. For example, the library now offers a greater number of computers for use, more classes in basic computing skills, Web research and Web design classes, web cameras for connecting kids and tutors, and the list goes on. Last, but not least, this technology will help preserve American Indian culture – the language, music, stories, and traditions – through audio, video, and the Internet. In a similar situation, Telesat Canada and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) signed an agreement in May, which would help get all First Nations communities in Canada connected by early 2004. Telesat Canada will provide expertise and technology, while the AFN will provide input on what applications and technology will be provided. Sources: Wired Magazine and NewsBytes,1383,43718,00.htm

All-Spanish Software Telecenter Impact


All-Spanish software that measures the impact of Telecenters debuted in May of this year in Bogota, Colombia. The software is developed by Colnodo, a Colombian communications network provider operated by the non-profit organization called Colombian Association of NonGovernmental Organizations for Email Communication (Asociación Colombiana de Organizaciones no Gubernamentales para la Comunicación Vía Correo Electrónico) and founded by a conglomeration of Colombian telecom and social advocacy companies. The software is a low-cost, easy-to-use, electronic registration system that allows the capture of qualitative and quantitative data, which can be applied in different impact evaluation methodologies. This is a break-through for telecenter owners, evaluators, donors, and researchers in Latin America. Colnodo hopes that with this information, telecenter administrators and workers will have new reasons to value the social contribution of their work. Written for LINUX, a non-proprietary operating system, the software also runs on windows. It’s user-friendly and offered for free. It’s expected that it will be translated into other languages soon. For more information see: Sources: Colnodo and APC e55cfcc785161ce99609edcc3bf5

National Science Foundation to Build Digital Library
Wired magazine online reported that the National Science Foundation in the U.S. announced it would be launching a “Digital Library” in the fall of 2002. The National Science Digital Library (NSCL) will be one library with many

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portals, where users will be able to browse digital collections in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education. The library is being developed by teams of computer scientists and librarians from Cornell, Columbia, the University of Missouri and other institutions in the United States. Source: Wired Magazine,1383,44554,00.html

than the overall market in 2000. The overall market grew 15% from $19.5 billion in 1999 to $22.4 billion in 2000 while the top 15 grew 20% from $3.6 billion to $4.3 billion. This information comes from IDC's recent bulletin The Top 15 Worldwide IT Training Providers in 2000. "2000 was a terrific year for the IT education and training market and for the top 15 vendors in particular," said Ellen Julian, director of IDC's Workforce Management Services research. "The momentum in the industry was generated by a number of factors, including increased spending on software, which heightened the need for training, a growing need for professionals with technology integration skills, and an effort to reskill existing employees to compensate for the continuing IT skills shortage." IDC ranks the top five vendors in the IT education and training market according to 2000 revenues as follows: 1. IBM Global Services 2. Oracle University 3. New Horizons Worldwide 4. Global Knowledge Network 5. SAP Education According to IDC, 12 of the 15 top vendors were also among last year's leaders. Newcomers include Gateway Learning, NIIT, and Siemens Business Services. Because the top 15 vendors control less than 20% of the market, IDC believes the IT education and training market offers lots of opportunity for all vendors in the industry. "IT training providers that demonstrate their ability to help companies improve employee productivity and meet their business goals more efficiently, by leveraging technology, will be the preferred providers of training services," said Cushing Anderson, manager of IDC's Learning Services research. IDC recently published The Top 15 Worldwide IT Training Providers in 2000 (IDC #B24970). The bulletin names the top 15 vendors in 2000 according to revenues and shows 1999-2000 growth rates. It also identifies up-and-coming IT education and training providers. To purchase this bulletin, contact Jim Nagle at IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Additional information can be found at IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company. “ Source: PR Newswire, Wednesday June 27, 2001

Verizon Introduces Suite of Software to Help Meet Security & Privacy Protection Rules
Verizon announced the introduction of a “comprehensive suite of data security products and related specialized professional services designed to enable schools and libraries around the country to improve the security of their networks and use the Internet as an effective and worry-free learning tool,” according to a Verizon press release dated June 27, 2001. The software, through virtual private networks (VPNs) and firewall routers, will address Federal Regulations stipulated in the Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000 (CIPA). The offering is targeted for educational institutions with students in K-12 grade. "Everybody is concerned about children being exposed to inappropriate materials over the Internet," said Edward McGuinness, senior vice president, marketing, Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group. "Verizon Circle of Trust(SM) Education Network provides schools and libraries around the country with the ability to offer children the full benefits of the Internet while shielding them from content considered to be harmful." Verizon Communications is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services. Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group manages the design, operation and maintenance of end-to-end total network integrated solutions for large business and government customers across the United States. Source: Verizon Press Release, June 27, 2001

Top 15 IT Education and Training Vendors Outgrow Rest of Market but Leave Plenty of Opportunity for Others, IDC Says “The top 15 IT education and training vendors grew faster

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A World Links Online Collaborative Project
Ann Klofkorn Bloome, World Links HIV/AIDS Consultant1

Can you catch AIDS from kissing? Why doesn’t saliva transmit HIV? Why do we care about HIV/AIDS anyway? These are the latest questions discussed by participants in the World Links HIV/AIDS Online Collaborative Project, an ongoing HIV prevention effort conducted mainly via email, using, as resources, the Internet and information downloaded onto a CD-ROM.

World Links,, established in 1997 within the World Bank, is now a program jointly coordinated by the World Bank’s World Links for Development Program (WorLD) and the World Links Organization, a non-profit based in Washington, D.C. This international program, currently in twentyseven developing countries around the world, works with Ministries of Education and secondary schools to promote the use of information and communications technologies (ICT) to enhance teaching and learning. With support from public and private sector partners, World Links has established over 700 school-based Internet Learning Centers. The World Links program focuses on professional development workshops for students and teachers on how computers and the Internet can be used as resources across the curriculum. As part of an ongoing series of workshops, schools participate in a number of online collaborative projects, on topics as diverse as border disputes, solid waste management, bullying, traditional medicine, and HIV/AIDS.

At the start of the year 2000, World Links took a look at the HIV/AIDS situation in Zimbabwe, Southern Africa, and Africa in general, and decided to sponsor a new collaborative project on the prevention of HIV. The World Links' Executive Director, Mr. Sam Carlson, and the regional coordinator living in Zimbabwe, Mr. Anthony Bloome, saw how the AIDS epidemic is affecting Africans, their children, their economies and their way of life, and wanted to explore how the program could help. Financial support for the project came partly from an online auction on the program’s behalf by Wired magazine. Students and teachers from fifteen schools in four African countries -- Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe – signed up to learn more about HIV/AIDS through the project's educational activities. Over one in four Zimbabwean adults between the ages of fifteen and forty-nine are infected with HIV, and over half a million orphaned children struggle to survive in a deteriorating economy. In South Africa, adult HIV prevalence rose from 2% at the start of the 1990s to nearly 20% by the end of the decade. The AIDS situation in both Ghana and Uganda contrasts with Zimbabwe and South Africa. Uganda used to be the most affected country in the world in the 1990s, but has since brought its adult HIV prevalence under 10%. This

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was done through sincere government interventions, public discussions, and the encouragement of condom use. Ghana has been fortunate enough to keep its adult HIV prevalence under 5%, partly because of its location in West Africa, where HIV is neither as prevalent or as virulent as in Southern Africa.

workers, traditional healers, and pastors. Participants also discussed whether the blood supply in their country is safe -for the most part, it is. The topic of culture and its influence on HIV prevention prompted many contributions to the project LISTSERV. These discussions and interviews led to the last activity, Social Action.

A typical World Links school, Mpophomeni is in a township in the Midlands of KwaZulu/Natal, in the east of South Africa. AIDS is a huge killer in the township. Seven hundred and fifty students and eighteen teachers work at the school every weekday. One teacher, Pam Robertson, and her students have been participating in the HIV/AIDS Collaborative Project for over a year. The teacher continues to participate despite her busy schedule and problems with connectivity, because, "even though there is a lot of information about [HIV/AIDS], we don't seem to be winning the battle…Each year we have girls who fall pregnant. This shows that our students are sexually active at a young age and that they are engaging in unprotected sex. My hope is that through projects like this one our students will think more seriously about the risk that AIDS poses to their lives."

The HIV/AIDS Collaborative Project challenged each school to design an HIV/AIDS Action Plan, through which the students could attempt to make an impact on their community. Most schools planned to prevent the further spread of HIV or to alleviate the effects of HIV/ AIDS on the infected or affected, for example, the many orphans not attending school. One school moved from plan to action. The West Africa Secondary School (WASS), in Ghana, under the leadership of Mr. Chris Kwei, worked with AIDS Action Ghana (AAG), a local non-governmental organization (NGO), to train student peer educators. WASS and AAG held a workshop at the school to train students to help their peers learn correct information about HIV/AIDS. Peer education is an important tool for HIV prevention, because knowing the facts is the first step towards safe sexual behavior among youth.

With the help of the World Bank’s AIDS Campaign Team for Africa (ACTAfrica), World Links designed a five-month collaborative project on HIV/AIDS. First, students and teachers introduced themselves via a questionnaire, then went to work on four educational goal activities, one each month. The teachers and students explored the myths often associated with HIV and AIDS, conducted individual and team research to separate these from the facts about the disease, and discussed how they could prevent HIV in their own communities. Working in World Links computer laboratories in schools or community centers, participants responded to the questions raised by posting their replies on a private, moderated LISTSERV. The first HIV/AIDS educational activity made sure that participants knew the basic facts of HIV/AIDS – what HIV and AIDS are, how they differ, and some statistics for each country. Participants confronted common myths, such as the belief that mosquitoes or sharing eating utensils or toilets can transmit the virus. Students and their teachers also discussed controversial issues, such as the kissing questions above, or the effectiveness of condoms. The second activity explored why the issue of HIV/AIDS is important to the participants, their school, community and country. Activity three had the students out in their community interviewing authorities such as clinic

The 2000 World Links HIV/AIDS Collaborative Project culminated in the 13th International AIDS Conference, held for the first time in Africa. One teacher and student from each of the four countries attended the weeklong conference, held in Durban, South Africa, in July 2000. The students and teachers were thrilled by the dramatic Opening Ceremony, learned a lot of new facts about HIV/AIDS at the conference sessions, and joined thousands of conference delegates to hear Nelson Mandela close the conference by calling on everyone around the world to break the silence surrounding HIV and AIDS.

Because of student enthusiasm and the continuing epidemic, World Links decided to sponsor the HIV/AIDS Collaborative Project for a second year. Twenty-five schools are participating this year and the activities have been stretched over six months to promote even more discussion in each activity. New this year are more partners and enhanced discussion. With the help of the United Negro College Fund and Metro Teen AIDS, a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., high schools in the United States capital are joining the project. The DC students seem to have very similar information needs as their peers in Africa, as many do not know the percentage of adults infected in their own country (less than 1%

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overall, but increasing), let alone the impact of the epidemic around the world. In addition, World Links' Alliance for Global Learning partner organization, the International Education and Resource Network (I@EARN), wrote a successful proposal to the US State Department for an expansion of the project. In the second half of 2001, three more African countries will join the project -- Botswana, Nigeria and Zambia.

D.C. to visit their counterparts' schools, as well as youth centers run by Metro Teen AIDS.

World Links and its partners hope that the HIV/AIDS collaborative project will be only the start of activities in school communities in the US and Africa. The project also aims to link each school with a local HIV/AIDS organization. World Links envisions this as a "win-win" situation. The schools would help the HIV/AIDS groups learn how to use e-mail, the Internet, and computers in general to enhance their HIV/AIDS interventions. The HIV/AIDS experts in turn would assist with HIV prevention and lessening the impact of AIDS by training students to be peer educators and homebased volunteers for AIDS sufferers. The World Links project has already proven that such joint activities are possible through the work of West Africa Secondary School and AIDS Action Ghana, and hopes to have a collaboration of this sort in each school's community by the end of 2002. As for the discussion questions about kissing, participants rightly agreed that kissing is much less risky than sex. As well, World Links and project participants agree that the project is a small but important contribution to HIV/AIDS work in Africa, at least in the lives of the participating students and teachers.

The funding from the State Department will also parallel World Link’s additional efforts to get HIV/AIDS materials into schools: in print, on CD-ROM, and over the Internet. As of now, schools have few comprehensive HIV/AIDS materials available to them in any medium. I@EARN and World Links plan to remedy this by gathering for review HIV/AIDS materials from the US, Africa -- and Russia, where Metro Teen AIDS has worked. Materials will be reviewed with teachers, representatives from HIV/AIDS NGOs, and other affected individuals at a pre-workshop to the Africa Connects/I@EARN Conference held in Cape Town, South Africa, this July. The goal of the workshop will be to start the production process for needed materials, and ultimately to make resources available to answer any question on HIV/AIDS, even in remote areas. The State Department funding also enables teachers from the seven African countries to visit the United States. In early 2002, about two dozen of the teachers who have been working with the collaborative project will meet in Washington,


Ms. Klofkorn lived in Zimbabwe from 1998 to 2000, and while there served as Programme Officer for a network of Zimbabwean HIV/AIDS groups. .

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Nashe Maalo:
Preven Kids’ TV in Macedonia for Violence Prevention

Lisa Shochat Media Project Manager, Common Ground Productions1

"Our Neighborhood"
A consortium of television and conflict-resolution experts recently debuted an educational project that encourages intercultural respect and understanding among the children of Macedonia. After only one brief season, research shows that a children’s television series has begun to make real inroads into overcoming deep-seated prejudices and stereotypes. Developed for kids ages 7-12, Nashe Maalo (“Our Neighborhood” in Macedonian) is a dramatic TV series first produced during the Kosovo crisis in 1999, and broadcast as eight half-hour episodes starting in October 1999. Now in its third production season, Nashe Maalo’s creators are striving to balance clearly researched curricular goals with the elements that make a children’s TV series successful: that it grabs kids’ imaginations, is entertaining, and makes the kids want to see more. Co-produced by Search for Common Ground in Macedonia (SCGM)2 and Common Ground Productions (CGP),3 and developed in association with Sesame Workshop,4 the series is the product of a collaboration between experts in children’s television production and a team of research and content specialists with extensive experience in the Balkan region.5 Conflicts such as the recent war over Kosovo have dealt a hard blow to Macedonia’s economy and its internal interethnic relations. Two-thirds of Macedonia's population is ethnic Macedonian, with the remainder comprising ethnic Albanians (23%), Turks (4%), and several smaller groups, including Roma, at 2% each. They tend to lead lives rigidly, if voluntarily, segregated by language, residence, and education, and interact with each other only on a superficial level. Nashe Maalo is a central element of SCGM’s systematic approach to building tolerance and understanding across these barriers in this emerging democracy.

The Show – Grounded in Research
The show features children of Albanian, Macedonian, Roma and Turkish backgrounds who live in an imaginary apartment building in Skopje. These kids share a secret that binds them together – the building they live in is alive! Her name is Karmen and, in addition to being the kids’ confidante and friend, she possesses a power: She can magically transport them into their neighbors’ cultural and psychological milieus. These scenes open the eyes of our characters to other people’s ways of thinking and living. While this is one of the first enterprises of its kind – a television series for children aged 7-12 designed specifically to promote tolerance among children in a multi ethnic society – it is based on Sesame Workshop’s experience in creating children’s programming during the past 30 years. Measurable research of the series’ impact is central to the project design. In formative stages of the series, researchers and conflictresolution experts outlined desired outcomes for the series. A curriculum emerged that was used for both pre-broadcast base-line research and for summative research documenting children’s responses to the pilot season of the series.

Children’s Responses
A pilot study of one episode of the series showed that children demonstrated a high level of engagement with the program (Najchevska & Hall, 1999). A viewership survey during the first broadcast season of Nashe Maalo showed that the program was very popular among children, both with respect to the viewership rate (75 percent of all children in the country) and positive response rates: the overwhelming majority of children watching rated it as good or excellent (Najchevska & Cole, 2000).

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To examine the impact of the series over the course of several months, researchers interviewed 240 children at eight schools in the Skopje region – sixty 10-year-olds from each of the four ethnic groups – before and after viewing videotaped versions of the series. This study began before the TV series went on the air. Prior to viewing, many children demonstrated negative, stereotyped perceptions of members of other ethnic groups than their own. After viewing, more children showed positive perceptions. For example, there was a significant increase among ethnic Macedonian children who after viewing said they were willing to invite a child from the ethnic Albanian, Roma, and Turkish groups to their home. Another finding was that after

viewing, recognition of minority languages had improved across all ethnic groups, and most dramatically among ethnic Macedonian children (the ethnic majority group) (Najchevska & Cole, 2000).

Wider Implications
The implications of the series go far beyond the borders of Macedonia as a potential tool to complement violenceprevention efforts by international peace negotiators. Common Ground Productions is now investigating ways in which the model can be used in other parts of the world as well.

Mirjana Najchevska & Eve Hall (1999) Pilot Summative Study. Common Ground Productions, Search for Common Ground in Macedonia, Sesame Workshop, University of Skopje. Mirjana Najchevska & Charlotte Cole (2000) Lessons from Nashe Maalo. A Research Report on What Ethnic Albanian, Macedonian, Roma, and Turkish Youth Learned from Watching Nashe Maalo. Common Ground Productions, Search for Common Ground in Macedonia, Sesame Workshop, University of Skopje. (Summary)

Common Ground Productions is located in Washington, DC, USA. Lisa Shochat can be reached at: Fax: +1 202 232 6718; E-mail: Web: Search for Common Ground in Macedonia, based in Skopje since 1994, works to promote multi-ethnic dialogue and aims to prevent violence through a broad set of programs involving Macedonian television, newspapers, and schools (web site:



Common Ground Productions, the media-production division of Search for Common Ground, aims at creating television, radio, and Internet programming for the reduction or prevention of conflict (web site: Search for Common Ground, based in Washington, DC, USA, and the European Centre for Common Ground, based in Brussels, Belgium, established in 1982 and 1995 respectively, are partner NGOs that work together to prevent violence and transform conflict in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and the USA (web site: Sesame Workshop (formerly known as Children’s Television Workshop, CTW) is a non-profit production organization that uses media as an educational force in the lives of children. Its products include television, online, CD-ROMs, magazines, books, film, community outreach, and licensing. Best known as the creators of Sesame Street, the Workshop produces programming that has been broadcast in 148 countries, including 20 co-productions reflecting local languages, customs, and educational needs (web site: Nashe Maalo has been financially supported by the United States Agency for International Development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the British Department for International Development, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Swedish International Development Agency, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United States Institute of Peace, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
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Com BIG BLUE’s Coming to Town:
Zimbabwe’s Mobile Computer Lab
Anthony Bloome, World Links*

A wash of “blue” is not a typical sight on the dusty streets of Binga Township in northwest Zimbabwe. But today there is a splash of it as “Big Blue,” a brightly colored mobile computer lab, is in place and providing Internet access and computer literacy training to schools and community clients in this rural community. “Big Blue is a converted Renault truck sponsored by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Education and the World Links Big Blue” Program, an international program designed to promote the use of information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance teaching and learning in developing countries. As most rural schools in Zimbabwe cannot afford the capital outlay to purchase hardware and software, the van provides an ideal opportunity for introducing this technology and instruction to first-time computer learners around the country.

“Big Blue” was born in 1999 when the Ministry of Education and World Links decided to rebuild an accidentdamaged truck to serve as a mobile computer lab. With World Links' financial assistance, the body was repaired and painted and a local architectural design company was contracted to develop foldable computer stations to secure the desktop computers in stationary use – and on the road. As infrequent guests for consistent -- and often bumpy -road-trips, the computer stations needed to be robust to keep the computer innards in a happy and healthy state after a long trip. This was no easy task – one which required much backand-forth late night creative discussion and design developments between the Zimbabwe-World national program coordinator, Mr. Eliada Gudza, the Director of the Ministry’s Audio-Visual Services (AVS), Mr. Ted Sells, and the designer before agreeing upon one prototype. With the computer stations in place, Big Blue’s interior was painted and wired by the hard-working AVS staff who also provided the trunking and networking of the computers.

The van can accommodate ten adult (read “large”) or fifteen student (read “not-so-large”) clients and holds eleven computers – ten computers and a server. Initially, World Links donated a printer, modem, ten refurbished workstation computers and a new Pentium III server running Windows/Office 98 and browser software. Recently, Compaq’s Southern Africa office donated five new Pentium class computers to the van -- and Big Blue’s owners are looking for donations to replace the other five workstations. The van has its own generator which allows for one week of running time between charges and is wired to connect to the Internet and e-mail through dial-up connections where available. Through support from Ecoweb, a national cellular provider, it will receive equipment for wireless access to allow Internet and e-mail access over a wider national area.

The van has a small, but growing, educational software library which includes Microsoft’s Encyclopedia Encarta, World Book’s World Atlas, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing and Plato, a comprehensive educational software set. It will

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also carry automated software to offer training and testing packages for the International Computing Driving License. In addition to computer hardware and software, the van also comes equipped with a rear screen projection unit that can be used at night for large community viewing. Recently, the van received educational videos and a large video playback system donated by Discovery Channel’s Global Education Fund. By showing these and other educational videos, the lab can showcase programming on virtually any subject. For example, a recent showing in Murerwa district was “Yellow Card” an award-winning local production by Zimbabwe’s Center for Media Development which deals with teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and cross-cultural relationships.

counting software to assist rural and growth point storekeepers in doing their books. The van’s colorfully dominating presence on any Zimbabwe road also offers terrific public relations opportunities for public and private sector supporters. This moving billboard prominently features the logos of its program’s partners on its exterior as well as the World Links’ mantra of “…Opening a World of Learning” in Zimbabwe’s three main languages -- English, Shona and Ndbele.

The Ministry of Education employs Big Blue’s driver and teaching staff. When the van arrives in a new region, arrangements are made for a nearby World Links-program trained teacher to join for the duration of the van’s stay. These teachers have been introduced to the package of World Links professional development material and workshops on how to use computers and the Internet for enhancing teaching and learning across the curriculum.

Operating Costs
The Ministry of Education and the schools that are served currently underwrite the van’s operating costs. Nevertheless, Mr. Sells has ambitious plans for using the van to help recoup these and future costs through its use as a mobile community telecenter -- providing a variety of services to academic and professional clients. For example, the van could be used as a mobile communication center providing e-mail message servicing (synchronous or asynchronous), press reporting, and the training of branch staff in computer skill development. Also it could be hired out for use at conventions and conferences during school holidays. A variety of software packages and training opportunities could be offered to suit the needs of various stakeholders, including ac-

National Network
The van complements an already impressive national network of school-based telecenters established through partnerships between World Links and the Ministry of Education. Before the end of 2001, there will be at least 58 sites geographically disbursed around the country, each serving a surrounding cluster of schools during the day and providing community access in the after-school hours. As a demonstration of its commitment, the Ministry had employed twenty teachers to work in the twelve initial pilot World Links sites and has agreed to underwrite the staffing costs of at least one full-time teacher at each of the new centers, including a teacher who will be assigned full-time with the van in a few weeks’ time. All of these teachers will participate in professional development workshops. The project’s rapid expansion also highlights the catalyzing impact of a successful program: hardware and software for thirty new school labs have been donated by the California-based non-profit Schools Online (one of World Links’ strategic partners), and an additional fifteen sites will be developed with hardware contributions raised from public and private sector stakeholders internationally. In this last grouping, a “champion” contributor has been Mr. Andrew Gulland creator of the London-based NGO Computers for African Schools.

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Two Other Examples of Impact
The van’s presence in communities has also yielded other unintended consequences. In the first instance, the Tonga project, an Austrian-supported NGO arranged for a two-week use of Big Blue to serve students and teachers for a few weeks in the economically poor Tonga language region. In exchange for that, the project agreed to establish a computer lab at Binga High School. This partnership not only shows how donor projects can work together, but also will hopefully pave the way for other donor-supported “adopt-a-school-lab” partnerships. The van also had a modest impact on the country’s telecommunications infrastructure! During a recent school visit in the Murerwa district, the van’s driver knocked over a telephone pole which in classic domino fashion then knocked over five other poles. The driver was intensely apologetic, but the school’s headmaster was somewhat more philosophical about the whole event saying that the phones hadn’t really worked anyway “so maybe this would get the PTC (the national phone operator) out here sooner to finally fix it.”

over the country eagerly seek after the van. Its typical tour of duty is from one to three weeks at a single location serving a surrounding cluster of schools before moving on to another site. Mr. Sells estimates that outside of maintenance visits to Harare and some weeks during school holidays that the van will be “on the road” for approximately 45 weeks of the year.

“Big Blue” be Can “Big Blue” and “Big Yellow” bemo get other mobile vans?
With such a large mandate, it is no surprise that there are plans for a second van to join the first. “Big Yellow” is a Renault van donated by the Ministry of Education to the project. AVS hopes to raise resources for its refurbishment and have it up and running before year’s end. World Links, spun off from the World Bank Institute in 1999 and recently ranked the “number one” international digital divide project by the Davos World Economic Forum’s Digital Divide Task Force, hopes that “Big Blue” will serve as an innovative example of how ICTs can reach rural communities. As for the Zimbabwe-World Links program and Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Education, there are still grander hopes yet for raising additional support from the public and private sector for a fleet of mobile computer labs crisscrossing the country. And while it might give local wildlife a fright, there’s still no word yet on when students in a rural Zimbabwean town will be visited by “Big Magenta.”

A Lot of Traveling
Mr. Sells describes the van as instrumental in “plowing the land with resources … by offering computer skills, Internet connectivity, and content to people who have never seen a computer before.” As such, schools in rural communities all

Anthony Bloome is the Eastern and Southern Africa Coordinator for the World Links Program and lived in Zimbabwe from 1998-2000. He can be reached at The World Links Program spun off from the World Bank Institute in 1999 and recently ranked the “number one” international digital divide project by the Davos World Economic Forum’s Digital Divide Task Force. For more information, see

…“plowing the land with resources … by offering computer skills, Internet connectivity, and content to people who have never seen a computer before.”

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Inter net Lear ning in Unlikely Places: Supporting Education in Nations with Crises
Maureen W. McClure1, Frank Method2 and Margherita Amodeo3 Innovations in technology and learning are making fundamental changes in the way education professionals work in nations with crises. Global telecommunications greatly reduce problems created by distance and by time zones. Telecommunications reduce the costs of international communications, providing greater opportunities for interaction across donors, relief workers and disaster victims. On-line peer learning networks help offset the loss of professional coaching and mentoring created by shifts to short-term contract work. New forms of Internet multi-media help close the growing gaps across the experiences of donors, aid workers and beneficiaries. The role of crisis education professionals is also being shaped by new understandings of learning as more than a private activity with a book. Learning is also socially situated, shaping communities and being shaped by them. Learning research is recasting the role of educators as mediators of learning in context This constructivist view shifts thinking about education in nations with crises beyond short-term emergency responses Rebuilding, reinventing and reinvigorating education and learning systems are also opportunities to renew and rebuild civil society commitments through generational and peer learning networks.5 The planning underway in Sierra Leone provides a good example of the rapid convergence of technology and learning.

Communications for Complex Conditions
Educational crises requiring international responses occur under extraordinarily complex conditions. The normal routines of civil life often have disappeared. Security is a defining problem. Natural or man-made disasters often have damaged some or all of a country’s educational delivery systems. Consequently, responses often need to be multiple, simultaneous, rapid and large scale. Problems are often transnational. For example, refugees may flee to neighboring countries too poor to adequately host them. Finally, rarely is there a single national or international entity able to take responsibility for all aspects. Coordination, decision support and sharing of information are essential strategic concerns. During the early stages of an emergency, both time and bandwidth are at a premium.6 Those who have access to the Internet need to move as quickly and efficiently as possible.7 The Internet can provide rapid access to high quality knowledge and expertise in ‘digestible’ formats at relatively low costs. Many development workers in poor countries with crises do not place a high priority on local Internet development. Comments heard include, “There is no electricity.” “These people don’t have enough to eat.” “How can you be so insensitive to other local needs?” “You are forcing English on people.” “There are many problems in the field [bandwidth, cost, politics of ownership, maintenance and upgrades, etc.” Nevertheless, the Internet is making a significant contribution to four critical areas of education for humanitarian assistance:

• • • •

information management and decision support; professional development; external mobilization and coordinated responses; and integration of technologies and basic services.

Information Management and Decision Support
International crises are increasingly media events. Both public and private resources flow according to the level of general public interest, often within a narrow time frame. There is fierce competition for media attention. Consequently, many international crises languish in the dark with no camera lights, while others struggle to coordinate the competing voices and images. The Internet helps to offset the problem of insufficient media space. Relief organizations develop websites that let others, especially donors, partners and the press, know about their activities in the field. Within days of a major international disaster, hundreds of related web pages spring up within institutional websites. Here are a few: ! CARE - notes from the field ! GINIE - countries, materials, guides ! ICRC - Red Cross operations in 50 countries ! InterAction - US non-profits ! ReliefWeb - relief coordination

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! Save the Children US children in war ! UNESCO - education ! UNICEF - focus on children ! USAID - US government relief efforts

them updated. For example, see Digital Photography and Rapid Publication In Sierra Leone in June 1999, a rapid teacher training team of Plan International, UNESCO and MOYES (Ministry of Youth, Education and Sports) professionals rapidly assembled a manual by downloading GINIE materials and combining them with local ones. The team also produced a report that was published in GINIE within one day. It not only was more rapid than hardcopy publication; it also increased donor accessibility. The team leader, Gonzalo Retamal of UNESCO, purchased a digital camera and took pictures of the educational conditions and child soldiers of Sierra Leone. These digital photographs were added to the team’s report, giving headquarters and donors rapid visual access to the context in which they worked. Video Clips By September 2000, digital camcorders were drawing donors in even closer to the experience of children, communities and field personnel in nations with crises. UNICEF included powerful video clips of the experience of children in Sierra Leone and elsewhere at the Conference for War-Affected Children in Winnipeg GIS for Interagency Coordination Donor coordination can now benefit from innovative systems of geographic information systems (GIS) during crises. For example, the UN’s primary humanitarian assistance coordinating website, ReliefWeb, provides detailed maps of crisis countries including location of refugee camps, IDP movements, etc. Under highly fluid conditions, these maps can be rapidly updated and globally distributed. In May 2001, ReliefWeb published a series of maps showing the geographic distribution of activities in Sierra Leone by non-governmental organizations such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee. DFC1D05B85256A47007626A3?Opendocument. These maps can be enormously helpful in determining the coverage of areas with mobile populations of refugee and internally displaced persons. Donors can clearly see where they are and aren’t in comparison with others.

Professional Development
Educators (and other field workers) in crisis and post-crisis contexts, both international and local personnel, often are working in unfamiliar contexts and roles, in ad-hoc organizations and without much institutional support. Providing reliable information, coaching and professional support is essential to short-term success. Sustaining the learning and documentation of field experience and bringing this forward into ongoing systems of support and training can help move the situation from ad-hoc ‘temp agency’ responses to sustainable professional systems.8 These learning networks can provide peer coaching and online mentoring, helping to offset both an increasing use of contract workers and shrinking professional development budgets.9

External Mobilization and Coordinated Responses
The Interagency Network on Education in Emergencies (INEE) led by UNESCO, UNHCR and UNICEF has expanded opportunities for external mobilization and coordinated responses in three ways. First, it shares materials created by professional colleagues (emergency education guidelines, landmine awareness, psycho-social trauma, etc.).10 See, for example Second, it supports an e-mail list that helps reduce the professional isolation of a far-flung global community of emergency educators.11 Third, it supports the development of more efficient technological coordinating systems for information. Micro-Searches Donor agencies often have little time to check with each other, even when their reports are available on their websites. Why? Commercial search engines don’t read agency databases. In response, the GINIE (the Global Information Networks in Education) project, in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences, under the direction of Marut Buranarach, developed country-level micro-searches of key development agency databases.12 This distributed model also allows the GINIE country-level archives to stay current because the agencies themselves keep

Integration of Technologies and Basic Services
As an example of what a fully realized integration of the best available media and communications technologies could be in a post-crisis context, Linda Hawkin-Israel and colleagues

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are working to develop and implement the MAMAS' Crisis Communication Network in Sierra Leone. The MAMAS’ [originally, Mothers Against Military Aggression in Sierra Leone] network is designed to break down the barriers to maternal/child health and other basic services as well as to reduce the isolation of villagers, focusing particularly on women in the displaced persons camps and resettlement areas. The strategy is to integrate the best of available technologies and media including Web-based multi-media, broadcast talk radio, satellite communications and a highly interactive network of community-based health workers linked by a matrix of wireless technologies with shared access linking isolated communities and refugee camps with a network for support, GIS mapping of needed services and links to health clinics, schools and local relief and development services. MAMAS' Crisis Communication Network is a partnershipbased program, a project of Digital Partners, and a member of Seattle-based Alliance for Integrated Development of Communities (AIDC) in cooperation with the University of Washington, the University of Sierra Leone and an expanding network of organizational partners and sponsors. Corporate partners such as Greenstar combine renewable energy with innovative models for connecting small villages to services and to the global community, The MAMAS’ experimental site also provides a communications link from the villages to the outside. Digital camcorders spotlight African mothers who converse directly with viewers about their experience These clips are linked to background maps with overlays of refugee camp locations. The site pulls in the viewer by creating a place where donors can learn from refugees.

the country, regional and HQ levels before reaching key audiences. The “hands-on” information loses some of its “live” quality, and thus its effectiveness, as it passes through links in the communication chain. Even though this welltried system does deliver information relatively rapidly, it does not carry the “bite” of a live exchange of facts and ideas. This can now be realized with the introduction of a series of IT developments, especially videoconferencing, which can be assimilated and internalized into the standard “modus operandi” for field strategy – initially, in emergency situations and, later, in a more generalized fashion. The comparative advantage of video-conferencing lies in its wide variety of management and programmatic applications: In areas where the appropriate technology is available, it can be used as a social mobilization, social marketing and community awareness-building tool. In the world of education, it can fulfill the dual function of educating while bringing information technology skills to the widest possible audience. Audio/visual data transmission links (telephone line, satellite, etc.), allow media/donors to experience program interventions and to talk to the implementers in real time. This interactive communication can be done in many ways, such as: conversing with representative/program officers and members of vulnerable populations in a fixed location (viz. office) against a backdrop of recently shot footage filmed at crisis locations, or viewing a live voice-over of digital footage that has just been filmed.13 Eventually, one could also examine the possibility of providing a regular (twice daily, daily, weekly, depending on the need) on-line update to the website about the situation on the ground, backed by footage of the ongoing crisis. Statistical information would be complemented by short, regularly updated “human interest” filmed stories – short, topical, possibly semi-professional but, nonetheless, effective.14 This type of service would become an invaluable resource both for donors in their fund-raising activities and for the media.15

Next Steps: Video-Conferencing
Margherita Amodeo is pushing the interactive technology and learning envelope even further by designing IS systems that place education and communications specialists into the same rowboat. Together they function as a team to engage donors not as silent witnesses to tragic events, but as active partners working collegially with field staff and local communities. The team helps to raise donor, media and public awareness by bringing them into the heart of field activities in real time almost anywhere around the globe – thus making live inter-active documentation a reality. Although some of the equipment involved is rather costly, its cost-effectiveness far outweighs the initial outlay. Today, field information in the form of situation reports, updates, media releases, audio-visuals, for both donors and media is channeled and filtered through a number of players at

Educational strategies in crisis contexts need to be framed not only as media events to be managed or systems to be fixed, but also as sustainable communication networks within and across generations. Crisis education is moving from its focus on short-term emergency responses to disrupted schools and literacy programs to more complex thinking about learning as meaningful communications that help form new communities within the context of crises. Professional networks developed during crises can help reconstruct a national infrastructure in post-crisis transitions. Grassroots professional networks can be extended to link

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local communities across donor and crisis nations. These new global learning communities can then begin to work on the problems of education and globalization that face them simultaneously -- education for civil economies, public health, labor mobility, trade, etc. Most important, the hardlearned lessons of countries emerging from crisis can now be made available to others faster, with less cost and with the specificity and practical knowledge exchanges that can only come from peer-mediated networks.










Maureen W. McClure is the Director of the Global Information Networks in Education (GINIE) project, a long-term research effort dedicated to the support of education in nations with crises and transitions. She is also an associate professor in the Department of Administrative and Policy Studies, and a senior research associate in the Institute for International Studies in Education in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh, US. Frank J. Method,, is an education policy specialist, formerly with UNESCO and USAID, currently focused on issues of conflict prevention and the roles of education in shaping civil societies. Margherita Amodeo is currently the Director of Communications for UNICEF in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. See Principles of Learning and Technology in Teaching and Learning Learning research and technologies are shifting the roles of education professionals from arbiters of classroom teaching toward mediators of learning within actual and virtual communities in and out of schools. The development of transnational peer networks for professional improvement creates important new tools for managing education in nations with crises as well as for facilitating the learning and professional development of the educators themselves. Too often, field-related decision support in crisis and post-crisis contexts is sporadic at best. Decisions are made on the basis of personal experience and professional relationships, and not necessarily informed either by data or by the actions of others. Telephone calls are limited by time zones and fax quality can often be poor. The addition of wireless email to the telecommunications options has allowed field communications to become somewhat more reliable. Email has reduced the time zone problem and improved the visual quality of information transfer. Education-specific sites such as GINIE (the Global Information Networks in Education) project focus their attention narrowly on education-related sectors in countries with crises like Ethiopia, Kosovo or East Timor. The GINIE project provides access to distributed documents as well as crisis-related links The ‘temp agency’ problem reduces informal incentives for organizational workers to mentor the next generation of professionals. This loss is being somewhat offset by the development of Intranets that create greater access to organizational expertise for professionals at institutions like USAID and UNICEF. On-line global peer learning networks can now structure multimedia materials on websites through more exploratory formats than traditional, sequential forms of text-based learning.

The INEE collects and shares field-based resources created in different countries and posts them on its website for global use. UNESCO and UNICEF, two of the founders of INEE asked GINIE to collect locally produced land mine awareness education materials for global distribution and review. The purpose of the site was to archive gray materials that would help reduce field time spent re-inventing the wheel. In addition, contributors were asked to provide not only the materials, but also a narrative that explained the context in which the materials were developed. Users were invited both to contribute to and to comment on the materials. This discussion eventually morphed with others into the emer-edu email list, creating a virtual learning community. 11 E-lists have been used as inquiry management systems to link donors and field professionals. The Sierra Leone rapid education teacher training team decided that they needed information about tools to assess psycho-social trauma and cognitive functioning separately. They used the emer-edu listserv managed by InterWorks to forward their request. Many list members were from donor agencies. Over fifteen people responded within three days. Most were not members of the emer-edu list. They were instead eminent clinical psychologists and researchers with expertise in the area of children and violence. Donors had generously shared their knowledge and their own personal networks with people in the field they did not know. 12 The GINIE project is a long-term research project centered in the Institute for International Studies in Education at the University of Pittsburgh. It focuses on education in nations with crises and transitions. 13 The hardware required to make this possible includes: mobile and/or office-based video-conferencing equipment, webconferencing equipment, digital cameras, digital video camcorders, etc. This should initially be a regional “hub” operation. The hub would stream the material onto a public or Intranet website for use by donors. It could also be transmitted as an email attachment, recorded on a videocassette, archived on a website and/or burned onto a CD. As the technology, added value and funding becomes clearer, this could be expanded to other offices. (IT expertise and advice required for information and modalities regarding in-country capacity, feasibility, cost, etc.) Transmission of data presupposes the availability of compatible equipment at the receiving end. Therefore, at the outset, it may be necessary to foresee a strong involvement of local institutions, as well as national and regional offices in donor organizations where meetings/press briefings could be held with a direct link to the field. As best as possible, the field team will direct a live, inter-active “program” that provides regular data on the crisis. By interviewing program officers and vulnerable populations, the field team can elaborate on the emergency at hand, while documenting their organizations’ implemented and planned involvement. Imagine the impact of staffers and teachers speaking to a camera against a backdrop of an ongoing program… 14 Relevant reliable data and statistics would be mapped onto overlying satellite and district maps of the affected country/region/area using developing GIS (Geographical Information Systems). 15 Focal points would act as gatekeepers for material to be posted on the website.

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Sonia Jurich
Throughout history volunteers have provided valuable service to needy individuals and communities. Many times they filled up gaps left by uncaring government policies or brought a personal touch to situations that large bureaucracies were unable to handle adequately. Religious groups have traditionally been a major source of volunteerism, but more recently private, nonreligious, and public organizations have entered the field and expanded its scope. With the incorporation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) into most sectors of life, the use of technology as a tool and focus of volunteer actions should not come as a surprise. PEACE CORPS ( was established in 1961 by President John Kennedy as an instrument for world peace and friendship between the United States and developing countries. The organization recruits and trains volunteers who are sent to two-year field duties in developing countries. Peace Corps volunteers are involved in projects that must (1) respond to defined local needs, (2) be owned by local communities, (3) focus on poverty reduction and development, and (4) involve sustainable transfer of knowledge. In the past 40 years, more than 160,000 Peace Corps volunteers have worked in 135 different countries to develop projects on education (mostly), health, environmental protection, agriculture, small business, and municipal development. In the year 2000 alone, 7,300 volunteers of all ages served in 78 countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Central Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands. For many years Peace Corps volunteers had used information and communication technologies to contact families and friends in the U.S., obtain information, or communicate with experts in relation to their different projects. However, in recent times, volunteers were being requested to expand their original projects and help schools to set up and run computer labs or teach small business owners how to use computers. Volunteers were returning from the field with a message that people in developing countries were ready to adopt information technologies as a tool for socio-economic development, but needed help to obtain hardware/software and receive training. In response to this demand, Peace Corps launched its e-initiative in June 2000. The e-initiative has a twofold approach. It challenges information technology corporations to contribute funds, hardware, software and teaching modules to the Peace Corps ePartnership Funds, and recruits Information Technology (IT) generalists and specialists to work in developing countries. The IT volunteers receive training on teaching skills before they are sent to the field. Projects under this initiative focus on building school and community computer literacy centers and teaching micro and small business owners how to design and maintain web pages to expand their markets. The first e-initiative project, the National Computer Literacy Project, reflects a partnership between Peace Corps and the Belize government, with the objective of bringing computers to all primary schools in Belize by the year 2005. The first IT Peace Corps volunteers traveled to Belize this past summer. They are working with school district offices to prepare teachers in basic computer literacy and the integration of computers into the school curricula. The volunteers are also involved in a number of other technology-related projects, including developing an environmental resources database for the Ministry of Natural Resources, implementing vocational training in computer repairs to disadvantaged youth, and helping in the design of business plans for citrus growers and community-based eco-tourism enterprises.1 Similar to the Peace Corps, NETCORPS CANADA INTERNATIONAL ( is a government-funded volunteer organization launched in 1998 by the Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. NetCorps has two main goals: (1) share the country’s experience in using information technology for social and economic development with developing nations and (2) create opportunities for personal and professional growth among Canadian youth. The three-year program represents a $14 million investment under the Youth Employment Strategy and is run by a coalition of volunteer placement and international development agencies in partnership with Industry Canada. The program provides internships of approximately six months to volunteers between the ages of 19 and 30 to teach computer literacy in developing countries. The youth receive training in computer systems and applications before going to the field. International partners, such as the Trust for the Americas, the United Nations Volunteers, and the International Telecommunication Union, sponsor some NetCorps projects. Ongoing projects include SchoolNet South Africa, where 18 interns are helping to connect schools and libraries to the Internet and training staff. In Jamaica, interns are training students in software installation, Web page design and maintenance, and the development of public Cybercenters. In Chile, NetCorps interns developed workshops in computer applications and website development. In Vietnam, they set up an intranet system to improve communica-

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tion between the headquarters of an agricultural organization and its regional offices, and developed training programs for the staff. “The Vietnamese weren’t the only ones who learned something that day. I learned that although there may be many obstacles in our path, with some hard work and determination we can overcome them. My co-workers had overcome enormous hardships during their lives to get where they were and still had many hurdles ahead. The best resource I could possibly give them was knowledge so that they could help themselves and other Vietnamese.” PAULINE TWEEDIE, NETCORPS CANADA INT’L INTERN The potential of information and communication technologies to expand volunteerism was an essential component of the MILLENNIUM EXPERIENCE in the United Kingdom. As part of the Experience, the U.K. government launched a nationwide effort over the Internet to involve individuals in community-based projects. Communities were encouraged to nominate, and then vote on, their preferred businesses, that is, businesses that had provided high quality services for their communities. The voting process occurred over the Internet or by using forms printed in local newspapers. Individuals used the Internet to donate the value of their earnings in the final hours of the millennium to raise money for children’s charities. More than £18 million were raised. Youth games, music and storytelling were other projects that used information technologies to mobilize communities in preparation for the new millennium.2 In Canada, the government developed the VOLUNTARY SECTOR NETWORK SUPPORT PROGRAM (VOLNET) to help voluntary organizations to access the latest Internet technology. The initiative provides the organizations with affordable computers, one year of free Internet access, and technology training. The Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Moncton used the Internet access provided through VolNet to research new funding options. Toronto’s Street Helpline Hostel/Shelter Bed Registry, staffed with homeless volunteers, received VolNet training to update the organization databases and use the Internet to facilitate their communication with Toronto’s shelters ( Not only large governmental organizations are using techTECH CORPS nology to promote volunteerism. ( is a not-for-profit organization in the U.S. sponsored by some of the computer industry giants, such as Compaq Computer Corporation, Intel Corporation and Cisco Systems, Inc. TECH CORPS recruits and trains technology professionals who will advise and assist school personnel in the integration of modern technologies in the educational system, provides new technology to schools, and

establishes a linkage between schools and industry leaders. TECH CORPS volunteers have trained student technology assistants in Ohio to help teachers enhance their curriculum with technology tools and develop Web sites. In Washington, D.C., they held weekly workshops on Internet and networking for teachers, while in Wisconsin and Georgia, volunteers refurbished donated equipment and delivered them to schools, while training the teachers on how to use the equipment. NETCORPS (, based in Eugene, Oregon (U.S.A.), is another not-for-profit organization that provides information technology training and technical assistance to grassroots groups. NetCorps trains college students to work with community-based organizations in different projects, such as designing and implementing websites, creating local area network (LAN) systems, conducting technology assessment, researching hardware and software upgrades, providing technical assistance and training, and rebuilding computer systems from donated and recycled components. 3 As these examples show, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have the potential to expand and improve social action in different ways. They can help with recruiting volunteers, maintaining contact and support while they are in the field, organize databases and administrative tasks in cost effective ways, research new funding sources, disseminate ideas and accomplishments, and expand their network. “All in all, I believe that computer technology is a powerful tool that will help provide easy, rapid and nationwide access to information in developing countries." STEVE BUJOLD, NETCORPS CANADA INT’L INTERN


See also, Peace Corps Moves into Information Technology, in TechKnowLogia, July/August 2000, p. 64, and Globalization, Information Technology, and the Peace Corps in the 21st Century, Remarks by Mark Schneider, Director, Peace Corps, Woodrow Wilson international Center for Scholars, June 7, 2000, at: 2 Technology and the Internet help UK’s biggest ever social action programme touch the lives of millions, NME779 issues on August 9, 2000, at: 0904.htm (note: the program closed with the end of the millennium and the URLs cited in the article are no longer functioning). 3 On the topic of refurnishing old computers for new applications, see Jurich, S., Recycling Computers: A Simple Solution for a Complex Problem. TechKnowLogia, May/June 2000.

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Opportunities and Challenges for Indigenous Peoples
Bjorn-Soren Gigler, The World Bank

From March 28-31, 2001, indigenous leaders from South, Central and North America gathered in Ottawa, Canada for the First Indigenous Peoples Summit of the Americas ( rica.htm). During the Summit it became apparent how indigenous leaders throughout the Hemisphere are using the Internet to successfully establish effective linkages to further indigenous peoples development and promote indigenous rights. While indigenous leaders addressed key issues, such as the OAS Draft Declaration of Indigenous Rights, the challenge of "Connecting Indigenous Peoples to the World" and the "Digital Divide" were items high on their agenda and were discussed with passion, and great concern during several panels, workshops and side-conversations in the corridors. At the same time, it was astonishing to see how many indigenous leaders are already making active use of the Internet for their own work, and are connected with their own communities and other partners from around the world. My conversations with Eduardo—an indigenous lawyer from Argentina, for example were several times interrupted as he politely apologized: "Please excuse me now, however I have to check my e-mails, in order to see what is happening in Jujuy!" Having participated in several international fora of indigenous peoples, this phenomenon intrigued me and showed that they are already using the Internet effectively to communicate with each other and the rest of the world. However, at the same time, this raises several key questions and concerns: Can the Internet really empower indigenous peoples to effectively influence international policy debates and promote their rights? Does the Internet provide indigenous communities with a medium to share information among one another? To what extent can this new medium strengthen indigenous

organizations—or is it a threat to their traditional cultures and identities? This article will provide, based on several case studies, a brief overview of Internet use by indigenous peoples; highlight key challenges; and give several policy recommendations on how to ensure that they can participate in and benefit from the new information economy, while maintaining their cultural values and identities.

1. Case Studies of Effective Use of the Internet to Promote Indigenous Peoples Development
1. 1. The Asháninka Community from Peru
Throughout the world an increasing number of indigenous peoples are effectively using the Internet to promote indigenous peoples development and indigenous rights. An example of this success has been illustrated by the Asháninka (, one of the largest indigenous groups of the Central Amazon Region of Peru. With the support of the Red Cíentifica Peruana and IDRC-Canada, the Ashaninka have created a communications network among 43 indigenous communities, as well as between several regional organizations and the Conferencia Permanente de los Pueblos Indígenas (COPPIP) (– a national indigenous organization representing the indigenous peoples of the Amazon region. Mino Eusebio Castro, the Asháninka leader spearheading this project sees the Internet as "an unique opportunity to share the richness of our cultural tradition, while strengthening our social, cultural and linguistic capacities."1 He stresses that "if indigenous peoples themselves are learning how to make use of the Internet, this new medium can become a very important tool for strengthening indigenous communities and cultures rather than undermining them." In an interview in Washington, he emphasized that "through the help of the Internet for the first time, indigenous peoples, who have

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been traditionally excluded from many services within their nation-states, have the opportunities for improved access to education, political participation and can directly contact international donor agencies, such as the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank to present their opinions in policy debates and directly negotiate funding proposals without any intermediation."2 In the latest political discussions in Peru about the constitutional rights of indigenous peoples, the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, led by the Asháninka had significant influence on the debates. On the other hand, the "pueblos originarios" of the highlands did not succeed in making their voices heard. Certainly, in addition to the much stronger organizational capacity of the Amazonian peoples, the effective use of e-mail campaigns has contributed to their success.

would send a guitar and mouth organ in the mail. The boy received the present and continued the relationship with his new friend via the Internet.

1.3 UNUMA- Bilingual and Inter-Cultural Education Project from Venezuela
In Venezuela, the indigenous peoples program of the World Bank’s Latin American and Caribbean Region has supported a bilingual inter-cultural education project of indigenous teachers from the Wayuu, Kariña, Pemón and other communities. The program executed by UNUMA, a local nongovernmental organization, has focused on strengthening the capacity of indigenous teachers in rural areas by providing training in linguistics, production of books in indigenous languages (wood prints), mathematics and the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The key role

"If indigenous peoples themselves are learning how to make use of the Internet, this new medium can become a very important tool for strengthening indigenous communities and cultures rather than undermining them."
the training in ICT played was to reinforce the other training modules, rather than focusing exclusively on the IT field. This experience has demonstrated the high value of combining a bilingual and inter-cultural training program with computer courses. While visiting the project, I had the chance to attend a computer-training workshop with the Kariña community. The Kariña live in the surroundings of El-Tigre, a city that has been for the past 30 years a major area of oil exploration in Venezuela. This resulted in serious tensions, played out between the subsistence economy of indigenous peoples and the market forces. For instance, many oil explorations take place on Kariña territory and a number of Kariña have been forced to change their traditional life style by migrating to the city, where they work as wage-laborers in the oil industry. Many Kariña communities are today facing a situation of severe poverty, struggling to make ends meet and attempting to preserve their cultural identity. In this context, this project is working to strengthen the capacity of indigenous teachers combining training in the production of books in indigenous languages with computer courses. Most indigenous teachers had never used a computer before the training and were enthusiastic about exploring an entirely new world. One of the most fascinating moments took place when one indigenous leader showed me his computer graphics—all of which were based on traditional Kariña cultural and spiritual motifs. The story did not end here, as he then took his computer graphics and reproduced them on T-shirts and other prints selling them for a profit. This clearly demonstrates that computers and the Internet can

1. 2. The Mirror Art Group from Thailand
The Mirror Art Group from Thailand is another illustrative case on how powerful the Internet can be in raising awareness about the challenges these highland peoples face in their daily lives and in promoting indigenous peoples development. Since 1991, this small NGO composed of young people committed to social change has supported the Akbar hill tribe in the Highlands of Thailand. The Group’s website has had 300,000 hits a month, making it one of the most popular sites in Thailand. At the same time, it has successfully promoted indigenous peoples’ rights and carried out many campaigns to support the Akbar people through the recruitment of volunteers and solicitation of financial and in-kind donations. Furthermore, the Akbar peoples have begun trading their arts and crafts through this site. Sombat Boongamanong, the founder of the Mirror Art Group, underlines that "the Internet enabled them to build and manage a global network of supporters and volunteers to support a remote tribe which previously was hardly known to outsiders." He stressed that he is convinced that the Internet can be utilized for social change and can become a powerful tool to improve the livelihoods of poor, marginalized peoples."3 A concrete example on how the Internet can be used to support the lives of children can be told through the story of a blind boy who complained that he had nothing to do all day long and expressed the wish of owning a musical instrument. This request was posted at this groups’ website and two days later a Thai person from Japan responded that he

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reinforce indigenous cultures and values, when these technologies are being managed by the indigenous, themselves, without undermining their cultural survival. In addition, this example highlights that computers can be used by indigenous artisans to generate income and in this way improve their livelihoods.

1.4. Electronic Communication Network for Indigenous Communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon
The emphasis of this project is to improve the horizontal information exchanges among indigenous peoples in the Ecuadorian Amazon. One important aspect of this project is that it is based on the existing organizational indigenous structures and is using e-mail as the main communication tool. Most indigenous peoples do not have access to the World Wide Web. However, they do have access to e-mail. With the support of International Development Research Center ( (IDRC Canada) and The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) (, the project established community information centers equipped with several computers and radio stations, providing access to isolated Shuar villages in northeastern Ecuador. This project has shown that effective e-mail networking promotes communication and better coordination among indigenous peoples. CONAIE (, the major national indigenous organization in Ecuador has effectively used e-mail to influence national policies such as land rights and structural adjustment programs.

( in facilitating a dialogue between governments, indigenous peoples civil society, and international donors. In order to accomplish this goal, the partnership is developing an Indigenous Peoples Community Portal. One of the sections of this community site is being dedicated to indigenous rights. This section is being managed jointly by the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights ( and the Central America Office of the International Labor Office. ( In order to better understand the information needs of indigenous peoples, the Development Gateway carried out needs assessments in rural areas of Costa Rica, Venezuela and Guatemala. From these, we found that there is a high demand among indigenous communities to have access to the Internet, specifically high interest was expressed in: (i) training on using the Internet and building their own websites; (ii) increased access to information on best practices from other community development projects; (iii) more information on funding opportunities and technical assistance from international organizations; and (iv) more knowledge on the available e-commerce tools for marketing their arts, crafts and products through the Internet. The main objective is for indigenous leaders themselves to design and develop this community site—which is in itself the greatest challenge. Considering the lack of access to computers, telephone lines, Internet connectivity and resources, many indigenous peoples are de-facto excluded. Furthermore, developing content that is relevant to the local needs of communities is quite a challenge—beginning with the language, for instance, Bolivia has 46 different indigenous groups and the local information needs vary tremendously. Currently, the Gateway has partnered with the University of the Autonomous Regions of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua (URACCAN) in order to pilot a project which attempts to deal with some of these tough issues. URACCAN is a university located on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, one of the poorest regions of one of the most impoverished countries in Latin America—where it offers education opportunities to primarily Miskito and Garifuna peoples. This pilot is trying to address the issue of content development by supporting indigenous professionals to develop the Gateway’s section on indigenous health and by training indigenous leaders in using the Internet. The pilot is also providing technical support and free technology packages for interactive web design (including such tools as a discussion forum, calendar of events, directories, chat-rooms, etc.)

1. 5. Development Gateway-Indigenous Peoples Community Portal
The Development Gateway—a World Bank initiated project that aims to make use of the Internet to support sustainable development, is currently working together with indigenous organizations from Latin America to develop an Indigenous Peoples Community Page. ( The key objectives of this program are to support indigenous peoples to participate in the digital revolution; to provide improved access to information, capacity-building tools and resources; to offer new economic opportunities through Ecommerce; and to support indigenous peoples participation in international policy debates. The Development Gateway is currently working in partnership with the Fondo-Indígena - an international indigenous organization (, the Universidad de las Regiones Autónomas de la Costa Caribe Nicaraguense (URACCAN) ( and the Inter-American Development Bank

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2. Key Challenges
While the case studies from above show that the Internet can empower local communities and indigenous peoples to make their voices heard and get connected with each other, at the same time, indigenous communities and poor peoples in general are facing tremendous challenges making use of ICTs to improve their living conditions. Some of the key challenges are the following:

2.3 Education and the Internet
A large number of indigenous peoples only speak and write their own indigenous language. In particular, indigenous women have frequently very limited access to formal education and thus are monolingual. Consequently, they have great difficulties interacting with the world outside of their own communities. Low literacy levels represent a major challenge in increasing the use of ICTs in indigenous communities around the world. The high correlation between being indigenous and poor is based to a large extent on the lack of equal access to education by indigenous communities.6 The above case study from Venezuela demonstrates how effective it is to integrate ICT training into a general bilingual and inter-cultural education program. This experience has shown the high value of integrating an ICT component into an education project, considering that literacy is a key requirement for using the Internet effectively. At the same time, experiences from India and Brazil have shown that even street children with very low literacy levels can benefit from ICTs. In India, the NIIT ( - a fast growing software and education company in cooperation with the government of New Delhi and the World Bank is experimenting with the so-called "Hole in the Wall" project,7 where computer kiosks are being placed in the slums of New Delhi and street children with almost no education are teaching each other the use of computers.8 In Brazil, the Comitê para Democratização da Informática (, a non-governmental organization that promotes educational and vocational training programs through Schools of Information Technology and Citizenship (EICs), is training Guarani indigenous peoples from the Amazon area in how to use computers. Many indigenous peoples of the communities are monolingual and neither read nor write Portuguese or Spanish. Nevertheless, the large majority of indigenous peoples is keen on exploring the new technologies and are "learning by doing." It seems that while education is key for using the Internet as a tool for development, illiteracy does not prevent people, particularly youth, from being fascinated by the new technologies and using them.

2.1 Generation of Local and Relevant Content
Local and indigenous communities all produce their own information and knowledge. ICT can play a key role in promoting local content and indigenous knowledge to be much more broadly disseminated. At the same time, the Internet can provide a "voice" to indigenous peoples making their views known in international policy debates. One of the key challenges, however, is that the large majority of information found on the Internet is about indigenous peoples and provided by outsiders, rather than generated by indigenous peoples themselves. An evaluation of 170 websites from Latin America has shown that approximately 70 percent of the sites are being produced by people working with indigenous peoples—mostly authored by international nongovernmental organizations or members of academia—rather than by indigenous peoples themselves.4 This trend reflects the lack of local content on the Internet in general where at least three-fourths of all sites are in English.

2.2 Social Dimension of ICTs
Another key challenge of using ICTs to support indigenous peoples development is to base the technology on existing social and organizational structures. One key issue is that frequently in debates about the benefits of ICTs, too much emphasis is being put on issues related to the technology, connectivity and infrastructure itself, rather than on the use of ICTs and how they can strengthen existing social capital and contribute to the economic and social development of poor peoples. The emphasis of using new technologies has to be based on using the technologies as a means of improving the living conditions of the communities, rather than becoming an end in themselves. Another key social dimension of ICTs is that their use can transform the local power structures within communities and disrupt the community life. For instance, in Guyana5 indigenous women were so successful trading their hammocks on the web, that the power structures were transformed providing women economic independence from their husbands. The impact on the community was so strong that the indigenous women were forced by the male community members to end the trading of hammocks through the web. This case demonstrates clearly that ICTs also can have negative impacts on communities, if their use is not being managed properly and the key stakeholders are not supporting their use.

2.4. Ownership and Trust
Many indigenous leaders have expressed suspicion about the use by outsiders of information from their communities. Particularly sensitive are the issues of indigenous knowledge and intellectual property rights, which need to be addressed. The benefits of ICTs for indigenous communities can only be fully realized if indigenous peoples themselves are acquiring the necessary skills to manage and "own" the technology, or are working closely together with "community representatives/intermediaries" whom they trust to manage the information on their behalf.

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2.5. Use of ICTs to Improve the Livelihoods of Communities
A key challenge of ICTs and the Internet is to apply the new technologies as a tool to improve the daily lives of communities. It is key to focus on the question on how ICTs can be successfully used in providing concrete services, such as egovernment services to local communities or can be deployed to generate income. Indigenous leaders have stressed that while information and knowledge sharing among indigenous communities and with international donors is extremely valuable, the use of the Internet to improve the governments’ service deliveries, as well as to facilitate economic transactions are key. For instance, the Art Mirror Group has demonstrated that the Internet can be successfully used to channel funds through online donations to indigenous communities, directly improving their living conditions. The increasing number of e-commerce sites trading indigenous arts and crafts show the potential of using the Internet for income generation. In India, for example, the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) - a membership organization of 250,000 self-employed women, with approximately 35,000 members from scheduled tribes, has successfully started trading their arts and crafts on the web. SEWA is demonstrating that in cases where local communities are being represented through an effective community-based membership organization, and the technology is being owned by the groups themselves, the Internet can make an important contribution in improving the livelihoods of local communities.9

ties. Anecdotal evidence and case studies exist making the case that the Internet is a powerful tool to improve their livelihoods and to provide new economic and social opportunities, particularly for young peoples, in poor communities directly getting connected with the rest of the world and overcoming social exclusion providing a "digital bridge" out of poverty. While in developing countries most people suffer of an "information overflow," in rural and isolated areas, the Internet can provide a powerful equalizing tool allowing people to receive direct access to key information and to directly connect with each other, overcoming social and geographical boundaries. At the same time, the evidence shows that local and indigenous communities face tremendous challenges in overcoming the "digital divide" and in using ICTs as a tool for economic and social development and improving their living conditions. There is a risk that ICTs are reinforcing existing social and economic inequalities and that people who are being left behind are being excluded even further. This highlights the importance of integrating the use of ICTs into economic and social development projects of international donors, the government and social entrepreneurs. In particular, it will be important to integrate IT capacity-building programs into rural development, sustainable livelihoods and education projects. Furthermore, creative solutions are needed combining traditional media such as printing and community radios with the Internet to broaden the reach of the new technologies. A collaborative effort between governments, donor agencies, the private sector and civil society is needed to ensure that poor communities, including indigenous peoples can take advantage of the benefits provided by the new technologies and are not further falling behind.

3. Conclusions
The analysis above has shown that ICTs have tremendous potentials to benefit indigenous peoples and poor communi-

Shore, Keane. (2000) Asháninka@the Peruvian Amazon, Reports Science from the Developing World, IDRC, Ottawa. 2 Interview conducted by the author, May 2001 in Washington, DC. 3 Interview conducted by the author at the “Local-Global Connectivity for Voices of the Poor Workshop,”, December 11-13 2000, Washington, DC. 4 Research done by the author in the context of the Indigenous Peoples community site of the Development Gateway. 5 New York Times Article 6 Psacharopoulos, G. and H. A. Patrinos (eds.) (September 1, 1994) Indigenous People and Poverty in Latin America: An Empirical Analysis, The World Bank Group, Washington, DC. 7 Judge, P. (ed.) (March 2000) The Hole in the Wall Project, Businessweek Online Daily Briefing. 8 See also India: How NIIT Brings People and Computers Together…Successfully! in TechKnowLogia, May/June 2001. 9 Ghatate, V. (September 2000) Information Technology and Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), SEWA, Ahmedabad, Gujarat.


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Civic Education in 28 Countries
An IEA Cross-National Study
University of Maryland, USA
A report entitled "Citizenship and Education in Twenty-eight Countries: Civic Knowledge and Engagement at Age Fourteen," by Judith Torney-Purta (Professor of Human Development at the University of Maryland), Rainer Lehmann, Hans Oswald, and Wolfram Schulz (of the Humboldt University of Berlin and Potsdam University) was released by IEA (the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement) at simultaneous press conferences in Washington, D.C. and Berlin, Germany on March 15, 2001. the study is The web site for

Judith Torney-Purta

Two-Phase Study
The IEA, headquartered in Amsterdam, is an independent cooperative consortium of research institutes and agencies in more than 50 countries. Funding for international costs for the Civic Education Study came from the German Science Association, the William T. Grant Foundation, and IEA participating countries. The 1999 IEA Civic Education Study was an ambitious one. Nearly 90,000 14-year-old students in 28 countries as well as thousands of their teachers and school principals were surveyed. In the first phase of this two-phase study, researchers conducted qualitative case studies that examined the contexts and meaning of civic education, published in 1999 in “Civic Education across Countries: Twenty-four National Case Studies from the IEA Civic Education Project.” This first phase demonstrated that there is a core set of expectations across democratic societies about what 14-year-olds should know about democratic institutions. This allowed the building of a meaningful, reliable, and valid international test and survey.

In the second phase, nationally representative samples of 14year-olds in 28 countries were tested on their civic knowledge and skills, and were also surveyed on their attitudes, concepts, and willingness to participate in civic activities. The results were just published in "Citizenship and Education in Twenty-eight Countries: Civic Knowledge and Engagement at Age Fourteen." The countries participating in the test and survey of 14-yearolds included Australia, Belgium (French), Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Canada and the Netherlands participated only in the case study phase; Israel tested and surveyed an older population of students.

Results Democratic Ideals and Processes
The test and survey data were collected in 1999 by research teams in each country. Students were assessed on their knowledge of civic content, their skills in interpreting political information, their understanding of the strengths and

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weaknesses of democracy, and their concepts of the role of citizens and government. In addition, students also were asked about their attitudes toward democratic institutions, political rights for women, their attitudes toward immigrants, and their intentions to become involved in civic activities, such as voting, when they become adults. Related to civic knowledge, the study found that 14-year-old students in most of the 28 countries understand fundamental democratic ideals and processes. For example, three-quarters of the students in the international sample were able to identify a reason for having more than one political party. Most students also were able to answer questions dealing with laws and political rights, and most recognized the importance of basic democratic institutions such as free elections. Students demonstrated moderate skill in interpreting political materials. For example, 65 percent of the respondents were able to identify the position of a party that had issued an election leaflet, but a substantial 35 percent could not do so.

institutions, positive attitudes toward immigrants, and support for women’s political rights. The United States is one of several countries in which students who experience an open climate for classroom discussion have higher civic knowledge and engagement. Also of interest is the fact that Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Slovak Republic scored significantly higher than the international mean in civic knowledge. Students in Poland, and Romania showed relatively high levels of civic engagement. As a group, the post-Communist countries showed low levels of trust in governmental institutions.

Use of Technology
The period during which the study was planned and conducted (beginning in 1993) was one of enormous growth in the Web and interactive technologies. The survey itself included one technology-related question as an option chosen by only a few countries, in part because IEA is conducting another study of technology in education (SITES). However, during the pilot phase the ICONS computer-assisted international simulation at the University of Maryland’s Department of Government and Politics was used for two purposes. First, secondary school students in five countries conducted on-line discussions of topics such as what makes a good national leader, what role the media play in democracy, and what role symbols play in national identity development (especially in post-Communist countries where many such symbols have been discredited). The transcripts from these on-line exchanges were used in developing questions sensitive to student interests and misconceptions for the IEA instrument. Second, ICONS on-line conferencing was used by members of the IEA Steering Committee to debate the theories of democracy that were to be covered in the section of the instrument dealing with concepts of democracy, resulting in a quite innovative measure.

Civic Participation
The survey also examined students’ plans for civic participation. Fourteen-year-olds in these countries agreed that good citizenship includes not only the obligation to obey the law, but also to vote. In fact, 80 percent of respondents across countries indicated that they expect to vote as adults. Some other types of civic participation, such as collecting money for charities, were also relatively popular. Curricular priorities within schools seem to play an important role in shaping expected civic behavior. When students perceive that their schools teach the importance of voting, they are also more likely to say that they will vote. Further, data from all participating countries show that the more students know about fundamental democratic processes and institutions, the more likely they are to expect to vote when they become adults. The development of civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes is embedded in a complex system that includes parents, peers, civic organizations and the media, but schools do have an important role to play.

More Information
The findings reported here reflect a small part of this massive study. More information on the study (including the Press Release, a 16-page Executive Summary, some item texts, and updates on national reports as they become available) may be found at The 2001 report, "Citizenship and Education in Twenty-eight Countries…" (237 pages) may be obtained from IEA (Herengrach 487, 1017BT, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Fax 31 20 420 7136) for $55 plus $18 postage and handling (airmail delivery). Negotiations are in progress for a North American distributor; when finalized this will be reflected in the order blank on the Web. Further information about the process of instrument development may be obtained from

Comparative Country Performance
Comparatively, respondents from the United States did well on the IEA assessment. Students scored significantly higher than the international mean in civic knowledge. They also scored above the international mean with respect to measures of civic engagement such as expected participation in political activities including voting. This raises an important question for future research regarding what happens between age 14 and 18, since the actual voting rate for young adults is much lower. In addition, students in the United States scored significantly higher than the international mean with regard to measures of civic attitudes such as trust in government

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: A Collective Endeavor En
In Search of the Social Impact of ICTs in Latin America and the Caribbean
Luis Barnola (
Research Associate; PAN Global Networking, IDRC/CRDI (Canada)

Daniel Pimienta (
Executive Director; FUNREDES (Dominican Republic)

What is the contribution and significance of virtual communities in the collective assessment of the social impact of ICTs in Latin America and the Caribbean? This article briefly describes the scope and lessons Technolo learned in MISTICA1, the Methodology and Social Impact of Information and Communication Technologies in the Americas. MISTICA’s innovative methodological tools and deep values built up a collaborative con framework based upon effective on-line communication and active transparency, key elements in the construction of social capital in virtual environments.

A networked environment is fertile ground for community bonding and building up of social capital. Enough ethnographic research suggests that social networks, more than physical location, are key to understanding how communities organize around issues of common interest. At the same time, Internet-related communication technologies make it relatively simple to communicate with each other at reasonable costs. So one could expect the blossoming of interactive networks that, acting synergistically, give voice to civil society organizations and individuals in the search for a more equitable social agenda at global, regional, national and local levels. However, reality is quite different. The “black holes” of the information society described by Castells2 are quickly dispersing all around the world, regardless of the corresponding North/South coordinates. While much emphasis is put on connectivity to solve the “digital divide”, much more attention is required to address the issues of equitable access, meaningful use and social appropriation that would make Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) useful tools for people to solve their concrete problems. This discussion was common ground for more than 200 social activists and researchers who, since the end of 1998, have gathered in MISTICA to interact in many different ways around the social impact of ICTs in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

Coordinated by FUNREDES3 (Dominican Republic) and supported by PAN Global Networking4 (International Development Research Centre,5 Canada) and Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer pour le Progrés de l’Humanité6 (France), MISTICA’s major goal was: To experiment with novel methodologies for virtual communities that fully integrate information and communication tools in order to overcome linguistic barriers (offering simultaneous translation in 4 major languages: English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish) and reduce information overload while accommodating on-line distance participation in face-to face meetings. The project has been officially concluded but far from becoming extinct, a vibrant community of multiple voices is now consolidated and is ready to articulate the project OLISTICA,7 a regional observatory for the social impact of ICT.8 The strengthening of a social group was implicit in the project’s vision and therefore it was articulated in the methodological objectives. As a consequence, the following set of values and ethical considerations were paramount to MISTICA since they are fundamental for collaboration, solidarity, diversity and gender balance in virtual environments:

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Participation and active transparency. Basic to the emergent network culture, enthusiastic participation and active retribution are considered key for a fully democratic and transparent communication environment. Proactive animation. Sustained and proactive animation is fundamental to the process and richness of the interaction. Common platform of action and understanding. There are some principles and common understandings that hold the group together. Rather than a coercive measure, this common ground is necessary for synergistic work that takes advantage of complementary forces. Network culture. Aimed at promoting a network culture, the following elements are considered key for an appropriate communication environment: (a) fast and fluent use of e-mail, (b) respect for intellectual property and confidentiality, (c) a friendly environment for constructive criticism and collective discussion, (d) strong emphasis on solidarity, and (e) autonomy and selfmanagement. Clear and democratic criteria for selecting people for face-to-face meetings. Since a couple of face-to-face (f2f) meetings were part of MISTICA’s agenda, the project relied on democratic criteria to secure an equitable representation in terms of plurality, regional & topic diversity, gender balance, and active participation.

Mistica’s Virtual Community (VC) : the Means and the End of this Experience
Mistica’s VC is the most important component of the project since it does not only justify the process but keeps continuously reshaping it. This discussion list is open and moderated and by August 2000, 215 people9 had subscribed to it, increasing at a slow but steady pace since then. More than half of the participants is male (65%), which follows the trend of sex-aggregated data of Internet usage worldwide. The majority of the participants are young people (more than 50% below 38 years of age and more than 25% below 30 years) which is quite remarkable considering that many of the participants are actually ICT experts. MISTICA is a moderately active list. Since it started, the list receives on average about 2 messages a day with the characteristic peaks of activity (flames) followed by periods of relative calm. All messages are stored in MISTICA’s virtual memory10 that can be sorted by author, date or subject.




The Ingredients of MISTICA: Communication, Information and Action
The COMMUNICATION component of MISTICA is characteristically democratic, respectful, and focused on some issues of common interest for the group. A strong emphasis was made at the beginning of the experience on the protocols or “netiquette” necessary to achieve this remarkable on-line communication environment that resulted in a very cohesive and disciplined VC. Also aware that virtual communities do not replace but complement f2f communication, the coordination scheduled a couple of small meetings in Dominican Republic that served as the opening and closing of the project and took place in 199911 and 200112, respectively. The first of these meetings was of paramount importance to consolidate the e-discussion about the different topics of general interest for the whole group. A very comprehensive document (Doc-Sam13), written in a pedagogic style that resembles a hypothetical letter sent to a friend, tells the story of this rather complex process. The second of these meetings aimed at creating a friendlier environment for the transition between MISTICA and OLISTICA, the regional observatory. MISTICA is much more than just a virtual community. Central to the project is the structuring of INFORMATION relevant to the social impact of ICT in the region. So the project’s website offers more than 70Mb of information in 4 languages available in more than 700 pages stored in FUNREDES’ Internet public site. Statistics14 from this site indicate that until August 2000, MISTICA had been hit more than 1,000,000 times (currently, the site receives more than 8,000 hits a day). In addition to individual contributions and collective documents, MISTICA has also designed a database or clearinghouse (Metasitio15) with information about the social impact of ICT that includes a list of researchers,


The figure below schematically illustrates the main components of MISTICA.


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activists and organizations interested in this topic, related projects, a calendar of events, etc. ACTION was the third and perhaps the most ambitious ingredient of MISTICA. The strengthening of a human network that has been since the very beginning in permanent dialogue is in fact a powerful form of action. In addition to this, the personal bonding that has occurred during the implementation of this project has also contributed to the creation of social capital outside the VC. Furthermore, Yanapanako16 (also called pilot applications) was conceived as a novel small grant funding modality supportive of actionresearch projects. The VC evaluated 9 projects and funded 7 of them (about $10,000 each). Thus, pilot applications in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela had the opportunity to explore a very rich thematic diversity related to the social impact of ICTs in the LAC region: children’s rights, indigenous communities, public health, e-governance, development issues and telecenter activity. Yanapanako, which in Quechua means “helping each other,” was envisioned as a truly collaborative process. Communication among these applications was facilitated in order to encourage horizontal interchange, but without much success. Being a key aspect of the envisioned collaborative work platform, the project OLISTICA will focus more on this important component, proposing and testing more appropriate mechanisms that invite collective virtual action.

and directs it to the e-conference) and the PAD-in (the human interface that receives the information from those in remote locations and passes it to the f2f group). Focused interaction, size of the interacting groups and clarity of the outputs expected from the process are some of the issues that should be taken into consideration when implementing the PAD. Two pilot tests performed by MISTICA were not sufficient to achieve the desired level of interaction.

Self-evaluation is a key aspect of MISTICA’s idiosyncrasy. A series of open-ended questionnaires19 were distributed electronically throughout the whole process in order to gather people’s opinions, who therefore had the opportunity to have a direct influence on the coordination and directionality of the project. In many cases the response level was not very high so the coordination is seeking more direct evaluation mechanisms. MISTICA was thus categorized as an original, creative and ethical process but rather theoretical, and a bit messy. In a first evaluation, both the decentralization of the coordination and a more pedagogic style were suggested in order to increase the value added to the social interaction. Respondents highlighted that the information component was a major contribution of MISTICA while the action ingredient required further attention in order to (a) enhance a more active participation of a large group of subscribers and (b) have a more effective incidence in concrete social processes. In the closing evaluation, it also became clear that the impact of this project extends beyond the dynamics of the VC, suggesting that an ethnographic approach (based upon in-depth interviews) would uncover the more subtle individual and organizational impact of MISTICA in both pro-active and passive participants.

…And the Meta-Ingredients: EMEC and PAD
EMEC,17 or the methodology for Effective Management of Multilingual Electronic Conferences, was first conceived by FUNREDES and ENDA-CARIBE back in 1997 and fully tested in MISTICA. It aims to reduce the information overload by providing subscribers with syntheses of their original contributions translated into the 4 working languages of the electronic conference. The original messages are automatically translated and posted on the web while the summaries are translated manually for higher quality. The human component is key to this methodology since the better the accuracy of the synthesis the higher the resulting performance, especially when these syntheses are translated into different languages. As a result, the cost is considerably high but the automation of some mechanical processes related to the flow of information within EMEC resulted in about a 50% decrease of the original costs. The lessons learned brought about an updated version of EMEC that can now be tailored to each user according to his/her personal needs and preferences. The Participation at a Distance (PAD18) is a methodology that uses e-mail to fully articulate a traditional f2f meeting with an electronic conference, allowing those in a remote location to engage synchronously in the process. The main components of this methodology are the PAD-out (the human interface that gathers the information in the f2f meeting

ICTs are not neutral. If left alone, they will not solve but aggravate existing social problems. There is also clear consensus in MISTICA about the importance and relationship between globalization forces and the social impact of ICTs in the region. Understood as an irreversible phenomenon, globalization not only poses serious threats to developing countries (where dominant political and cultural models can wipe out local cultures and political systems) but also opens up many opportunities for less advanced societies -- if they develop effective empowerment strategies to adopt these technologies and use them in a meaningful way.

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Whose interests do ICTs serve? How can popular sectors in the LAC region effectively use ICTs to engage in more equitable development? In order to answer these questions, MISTICA debated20 and categorized the following topics that served as a main axis for the discussion: ! Education. Basic to this discussion was to comprehend whether ICTs support new and alternative education paradigms or just reinforce, and even worsen (“cut and paste” syndrome) the repetitive and memory-based traditional models. Many more questions that require further attention were as follows: Are teachers prepared to challenge their authoritative styles? Should virtual education replace f2f interaction? How can rural populations be reached? In virtual environments, how can students be enthusiastically engaged in the education process? How can the threat of treating culture or education as a commodity be avoided? Democracy, governance and public participation. The democratization of communication is fundamental for political stability in the region. The democratization of Internet access was also highlighted as a key element to properly address the issue of public participation and governance. New and creative forms of incidence in public spaces (real and virtual) are paramount to achieving truly democratic and inclusive societies in the region. Economic development and productivity. It was suggested that more competitive organizations would rely on less hierarchical structures that develop very flexible learning abilities. More attention should also be given to alternatives that focus on small and middle businesses, as well as cooperatives that can effectively share ICT resources and learn together. Health. Using ICTs to create and strengthen networks that focus on public health as a process, which includes self-care, preventive health and traditional (and alternative) medicine, was a key aspect of the discussion. “Just-in-time” training and tele-medicine in rural and isolated areas was also considered an important issue brought up during the discussion. Language and culture. The gender aspect of language usage was first tackled as a major issue for MISTICA. Further discussion brought up the importance of developing ICT technologies (and mixed use of different media) that can integrate many different aboriginal non-

written languages. Respect for local communication rhythms was also a major issue. In addition to these major themes, the following transversal discussion axes were managed in a fully integrated way: (a) gender, (b) natural environment, and (c) socially marginalized sectors. All this effort can be synthesized by the following quote that points out to alternative development models where ICTs can subscribe to “…improve people’s life conditions, encouraging alternative development models that respect diversity, promote equity, are in harmony with the environment and support human sustainable development.”21

In his elaborated vision of social networks, Melluci22 refers to a meta-communication process that, embedded in the ethics and politics of knowledge creation and distribution, is an effective practice for freedom. The production and appropriation of non-manipulated knowledge (analytical skills, self-reflectivity, and awareness) thus become the main opposition tools for crucial social struggles played in the cultural arena. Rethinking objective truth and reconstructing reality from multiple perspectives, on the other hand, also provide an accountable and collective version of historical subjectivity, as suggested by Haraway.23 In a networked society, situated knowledges resist the imposition of global truths, normalizing behaviors and a monolithic culture imposed by globalizing forces and an ethnocentric development mode. What has this to do with MISTICA? These profound reflections underlie the collective hopes of MISTICA, OLISTICA, and all networked utopias where people gather and engage in positive and transformative social action. However, we still need an answer to the following question: What are people who do not say anything in a virtual discussion really saying? A large proportion of people who subscribed to MISTICA is passive participants. This draws the line between those who voluntarily contribute with their time and commitment to the process and those who simply profit from the richness of the open discussion without giving anything in return. Who owns the ideas that emerge from such a collective process? What really motivates people to participate in a virtual discussion? And how, in the absence of visual markers, are reciprocity norms built to consolidate social (virtual) capital? In networks, how one interprets and transcends virtual reality brings up a better understanding of the power that one has to transform the reality one experiences.






Methodology and Social Impacts of Information and Communication Technologies in the Americas (

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The “black holes” are the systematic exclusion of large segments of economies and societies from information networks. Those who are in a marginal position become structurally irrelevant for the dominant system from where, statistically speaking, there is no escape from abrupt misery (Castells, Manuel. The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture. Vol. I, The Rise of the Network Society. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers Inc., 1996).







Also supported by PAN and coordinated by FUNREDES, OLISTICA will build upon an alternative vision for ICTs and social development to conceptualize and test different tools to systematically and collectively assess the social impact of ICT in Latin American and the Caribbean. OLISTICA will target civil society organizations in order to strengthen their capacity to effect policy environments conducive to more responsible uses of ICT for social development.














Comunidad Virtual MISTICA (prepared by Nora Galeano and Luis Rodríguez) “Documento de Síntesis de lo Tratado por la Comunidad Virtual”, 1999;

Melluci, Alberto. “Challenging Codes: Collective Action in the Information Age.” Cambridge: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 1996. Haraway, Donna. “Situated Knowledges: the Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective.” Feminist Studies, 14(3): 575-599, 1988.


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A TV Miniseries for Teaching Values in Bogotá
By Clemencia Chiappe1

We must change the old ways for conducting learning processes in acquiring sets of values …
Pedagogy teaches us that we must find adequate methodologies and technology for the purpose of each particular learning process. When we want the student to memorize, we use methodology in order to help that process to occur. When we want to develop a skill, we usually select a strategy involving the student in practicing once and again until he/she performs adequately. When we want a student to learn to solve problems we present the problem and provide some tools and concepts, and encourage him/her to find the solution to the problem, as in the case of natural science and mathematics education. However, these types of problems already have answers. I will call them "closed problems." When we teach students how to solve "closed problems," we want the them to reconstruct or rebuild the inquiry about the variables involved and the ways they interact -- an inquiry already made by scientists and academics, and by other students during their education. If we succeed in teaching students how to go about solving those "closed problems," we are helping them develop in their minds a scientific approach and the basis for research skills. This constitutes a difficult and fascinating task for the teachers. However, it is a small challenge when compared with the one of teaching values. When we talk about teaching values, although we are in the realm of teaching how to solve problems, we are not talking about "closed problems." When we talk about teaching values, or ethics or moral behavior, we are facing the challenging task of helping the student to learn how to solve what I will call "open problems." In this case, the intervening variables are difficult to tackle and define, their relationship is even more difficult to establish, and the outcome is usually unknown. Here, relativity is almost the only constant companion. It is worth mentioning here that obviously there are also "open problems" in science, but we do not use them very frequently at the school level as ways to conduct the learning

processes. Let’s go back to the teaching of values, such as prohibition and rejection of killing, polygamy, incest or stealing. They have gained the status of solutions to problems related to the growth and well being of social groups, but the degree of gain or loss depends on many specific circumstances. And here I am only talking about values that have a universal validity. The process of teaching values has always been a paramount concern in societies. Usually the teaching involves a simple strategy. In the first place, someone in the name of society, be it the family, the church or the state, preaches the goodness of a particular set of norms and behaviors and builds a set of sanctions to secure the right behavior. The methodologies and technologies, widely known and proved to conduct this process with children and young people, have been: the recognition of national heroes and saints, stories, novels, parables, all of which present adequate behavior of someone in daily life. But today, we have to follow a more complex approach. We must stress the convenience, for the person and his/her immediate group, of certain behavior rather than to call for a general good. This is truer in societies where for many different reasons the state or the religious beliefs have lost credibility to act as ultimate depositories of a given truth regarding what constitutes good behavior. In these particular cases, we must present the child and the adolescent with a strategy for him or her to build, by oneself, and validate the convenience of a certain belief, attitude and behavior.

And we must seek technologies that can help this process to occur…
In terms of technology, we could stick to the old ways, that is, continuing with the written word, which value we cannot deny. We can refer the student to the abstract codes inscribed in our laws or to the sacred books of our different religious beliefs. They have also done well to the functioning of social groups. But we can also add to that and even transform the way to convey them. The visual language has been with us for 100 years, and only recently are we opening the door of the school and the learning process to understand it

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and use it. There is a difference between using the media to reach distant populations with educational messages, which we have done with our education at-a-distance programs, and using the audio-visual language to conduct learning processes. The school, like any other institution, has stated the formal rational language as the only way to acquire education, mostly because education has been mainly about acquiring knowledge, again defined as rational knowledge only.

20 episodes presented, through the stories of a few teachers and students of a public school situated in Bogotá, problematic situations related to violence inside the family, drugs, sexuality, discrimination and image and role of the teacher. The objective was not to present models of behavior but rather to present ways of dealing with those issues. It showed a down to earth image of the teachers and the interplay between their private and professional lives, aiming at leading them to identify themselves by affinity or opposition to the characters. It also showed the students and their issues with the same approach. The program was an immediate success in terms of rating and had an audience of some 12 million. After being broadcasted weekly for over one year, it became a daily program.

And we sent a selection of the Miniseries episodes to schools through a "Kit of Tools for Education in Values"…
A few months after the Miniseries were being broadcasted, we developed a pedagogical handbook for the teacher on how to use each one of the selected episodes to pose a moral dilemma and encourage the discussion among a group of students. We packed 10 videotapes of the selected episodes, and the handbook, in a little bag called "Kit of tools for education in values" and began offering a workshop to train teachers on how to use the handbook and the tapes. Teachers of 1,000 schools have attended the workshops.

The teaching of sciences and professions has already embraced the options and opportunities provided by the developments of the communication technologies, but the teaching of values has not yet moved in that direction. But even the good examples of the use of TV or audiovisuals in general to teach subjects in science or the professions have neglected a deep reflection on the relation between pedagogy and media. Pedagogy and media have evolved by separate roads, and have different languages.

The first evaluation conducted is definitely encouraging and challenging ….
A research team contracted by IDEP conducted a review of the reception of the "Kit of tools for education in values." They began with a review of the training workshops for teachers and moved afterwards to the schools to inquire about the uses given to the Kits in the daily life of the designated schools (30 observations at schools and 17 reports from schools without direct observation). They also interviewed parents and children outside the schools and gathered ideas from well-known academic authorities in the area of communication. There is a wide agreement among the people involved in the evaluation, whether teachers, principals or academic experts, that just the presence of such a powerful tool in the middle of the schools is producing a highly productive debate and questioning how to use audiovisuals and openly broadcasted TV as a tool for educational purposes, and especially for teaching values. Although the evaluation focuses on the Kit, evaluators also gathered comments about the Miniseries. The comments follow the same pattern, that is, that the Miniseries made the audience think about what is going on in the

That is why we produced the Miniseries "Francisco el Matemático"…
With the Miniseries "Francisco el Matemático," we at IDEP2 have developed a concrete example of how to modify the strategy for conducting learning processes of values, presenting the adolescent with a strategy for him or her to build, by oneself, and validate, the convenience of certain attitude and behavior. It uses the best tool available to present daily life events where moral dilemmas emerge, which is TV in the form of a Miniseries. In addition, our purpose was not to force the structure of the format to accommodate educational purposes, but to be open to receive what the new format can add to the traditional pedagogical language. "Francisco el Matemático" was aired to the public through the private channel RCN on May 22, 1999, at 8:00 p.m. Based on previous research as a point of departure, its first

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school, helped parents talk with their kids, and made the kids identify with characters in the show.

The evaluation highlights the process by which a Research Center dares to move with such an innovative proposal calling the attention of the universities, schools and policy makers to the need to build a bridge between the school and the media. It also praises IDEP for putting together a public institution and a private TV channel to develop a project and, by that, giving all of us an opportunity to learn from experience. The evaluation documented, by specific request from IDEP, the conflicts that arose in the process. Indeed, although we wanted to give freedom to the scriptwriters and the director in the developing of a general concept, we came to them with a strong request to present the educational message in a strong and explicit way. They on the other hand, were defending the need for giving prevalence to drama and conflict. I think those debates were healthy for the Miniseries and for all of us in the learning process. Moving back to the Kit, there is also agreement about the enthusiasm that the Kit arouses in students. An interesting observation frequently made is that the videos allow the students and teachers to discuss problems existing in the school without forcing them to talk about the specific situations in their schools, since they talk about the characters and situations of particular episodes in the Miniseries.

“The process of teaching values has always been a paramount concern in societies…. We must stress the convenience … of certain behavior rather than call for a general good.”

of the way the Miniseries presents the realities of the school and the teachers.

It must also be said that several principals and teachers reacted against the Kit on the grounds that it does not teach in a straightforward way a set of desirable values. They strongly opposed the Miniseries on the grounds that it presents a violent reality and questionable teachers. Several teachers would simply say: "we are not like that." There is also a wide distance between how students and teachers read the program. And in this case we are not talking about pedagogical messages, but just about the ways they relate to the audiovisual material. Often, the students would immediately engage with interest and enthusiasm with the segments presented in the workshops at the school, but find it difficult to go back to analytical exercises conducted by the teachers. But there were also success stories of this process being conducted in a smooth way. Thus, if evaluators called IDEP's joint work with the private channel RCN "the encounter of two icebergs," I would use the same expression to name what is happening through the Miniseries "Francisco el Matemático" and the "Kit of tools for education in values." We are putting together the narrative, the story telling, and the emotional unfolding of events, to work hand in hand with logical argumentation and analysis. As a final word, the evaluation showed that 70% of the schools interviewed were using the Kit and that "Francisco el Matemático" has been seen by 12 million Colombians and won the award of best Miniseries by popular vote in a contest sponsored by the first newspaper in the country.

According to the teachers interviewed, the workshops allow a climate of respect and freedom for exchanging opinions and defending positions about the moral dilemma in a debate. They also stated that the workshops and the tools allowed them to get to know better their students. Teachers noted how very little capacity they had to understand the world of adolescents and how very little they knew about their capacity to state their positions. And they were in favor

1 2

General Director of IDEP. IDEP -Instituto para la Investigación Educativa y el Desarrollo Pedagógico- is a public institution from the municipal administration of Bogotá, Colombia, devoted to the develop of educational research and innovation, mostly dealing with pedagogical matters.

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IT and Education for the Poorest of the Poor:
Constraints, Possibilities, and Principles
Daniel A. Wagner1

Long before the term "Digital Divide" became a common term to describe gaps between the rich and poor in the effective access and use of information technology (IT), most policy makers, researchers and practitioners could at least agree on one thing: Reaching the poorest of the poor was going to be the most difficult of challenges. Even reaching the so-called 'ordinary' poor would entail challenges of electrical power, telecommunications connectivity, human resources infrastructure, and the like. Reaching the 'poorest' would be even more difficult due to wider gaps in those parameters just mentioned (DotForce, 2001). But, in addition, there would be the parameter of limitations in the human skill competencies of this target population (OECD/Statistics Canada, 1997). By human competencies, we refer here to a broad range of skills that often fall into the general catch-all term 'literacy,' but in fact include a wide variety of discrete skills ranging from reading and math, linguistic and multi-linguistic fluency, content knowledge in specific domains, eye-hand coordination, typing (and 'mousing') skills, and so forth. This list is, in reality, relatively long when operationally specified. Limitations of human skill competencies -- some acquired in schools, others in other formal (work) or informal settings -are a major barrier to the use of IT tools today. When added to problems of power and connectivity, mentioned earlier, the challenge becomes: you can't have IT ubiquity without literacy, nor literacy ubiquity without IT. This seeming conundrum has been difficult to address in the reality of development projects in poor countries (Perraton, 2000). There are issues, of course, concerning the overall scale of the target population. It is commonly said that there are over 100 million school-aged children out of school, and about one billion adult illiterates, the majority of whom reside in South Asia and Africa (Unicef, 2000). Even these large (and growing per annum) numbers are likely to be a serious underestimation of literacy needs in the digital age. Indeed, if the larger set of skill competencies mentioned above were employed, along with the limited efficiency of adult literacy and second chance education programs, and the very low quality of many poor rural schools in developing countries, it would probably be more accurate to say that those in need of improved basic skills today represent between 2-3 billion indi-

viduals (Wagner, et al. 1999; Wagner, 2000). Of these individuals, we might estimate that at least half are among the 'poorest of the poor', as they will undoubtedly be overrepresented by ethno-linguistic groups for whom access in the 'metropolitan' languages of the digital world (i.e. English, French, Spanish) is quite limited. This situation, when considered in its entirety, and over decades of promises and goals unmet -- both within and across countries-- would lead the rational observer to have serious doubts that anything, and perhaps especially (relatively expensive) IT would be a foolish enterprise. Indeed, over nearly a decade of discussion, the most usual response from both international and national policy makers, as well as those practitioners 'on the ground' has often been: "Are you crazy?"

Perhaps… But let us reconsider the situation in the year 2001. In many developing countries, the atmospherics concerning IT applications have undergone a dramatic change: from 'are you crazy?' to 'well, let's see what might work for us.' Even for the poorest population sectors, the benefits of IT seem well suited for coping with the problems of basic literacy and technological literacy, and enhancing the socio-economic consequences for the lives of the users. Why is this so? First, poor people in developing countries (and many in industrialized countries as well) tend to live in dispersed geographical contexts and are comprised of diverse populations of youth and adult learners, where distance education can be an effective tool. Second, there is limited and thinly distributed professional expertise in terms of teachers, which can be enhanced by IT-supplemented training. Third, because many in the target population are unable to sit in classrooms (and are too old for the formal school system), the interactive and asynchronous nature of IT can provide useful solutions. Finally, the diversity of the population of poor people (by ethnicity, language, gender, etc.) requires the kind of customer focus that, when properly employed, is potentially far more effective within the IT realm than by individual teachers. For example, even teachers that are quite skilled may lack the language skills necessary to be effective with poor, minoritylanguage learners. Another typical question when IT is mentioned as a 'solution' among the very poor is: How can you give every poor person

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a computer, or access to the Internet? Quite right, of course. These questions are difficult to answer for development among the very poor. But they are probably the wrong initial questions. A more pertinent question is simply: What IT solutions should we consider in the near, medium and long-term with respect to poor populations with very diverse demographic characteristics? One answer in education is to focus on the professional development and training of teachers, since the quality of teachers is known in virtually all countries (rich and poor) to be a key predictor of student learning. And, as almost any observer will relate, in poor parts of poor countries, many if not most teachers usually lack adequate training for the job they are doing. Thus, teacher training provides a relevant locus for this kind of effort, assuming the cost constraints can be met. This is so not only because training a teacher can leverage impact on many more beneficiaries, but also because it is not so difficult, even in poor countries, to bring most or all teachers to IT, rather than having to take IT out to all the teachers. Furthermore, teachers can become “intermediaries” for bridging the digital divide for the tens of millions of lowliterate or illiterate youth and young adults who are in school or are in non-formal education programs in developing countries, but have had little prior access to IT.

effective for the poor than for the rich. It was often thought that old IT (e.g. radio) was necessarily the best route to reaching poor people, while advanced ITs were only cost-effective for the rich. The example of the cellular phone has dispelled that thought. The Grameen Bank effort in South Asia has shown that even the poorest people can find value and resources to support a system of cellular communications. Paradoxically, in wealthier countries, one could easily argue that cell phones have relatively less value than in poor countries precisely because wealthier people have ubiquitous access to wired phones, while the cellular network is more of simple convenience than necessity. 3. Learning technologies must have learning and content at their core (Wagner, 2000). Many of the most egregious mistakes in the digital divide era concern an overly narrow focus on IT, without commensurate focus on learning and content. Projects within the digital divide must first and foremost be about learning, and about culturally appropriate content. No amount of hardware and access can be a substitute, and significant losses of costly infrastructure have been wasted when this principle has been ignored. 4. IT tools must be consumer-oriented and context/culture sensitive. Consumer sensitivity is a longstanding buzzword of marketing in the private sector, yet it seems to be sometimes forgotten in 'supply-side' projects that try to marry IT and education. Especially when focussed on the poor, it is critical to pay very close attention to consumer interests and values, which also means ethnic, language, gender, and other cultural dimensions. The poorest people in most countries have an over-representation of people from ethno-linguistic minorities. Thus, development of materials designed specifically for these people is essential, even if the startup costs are greater on a per capita basis. 5. Literacy and technology are becoming interdependent. Literacy and technology are "tools" that have much in common. Neither is an end to itself, but each can amplify human intelligence and human capability. In addition, both are rapidly becoming inter-dependent. New literacy programs need to take advantage of the power of IT, but IT work will require an ever more skilled population of workers and consumers (OECD, 2000). Societies that do not work on both of these dimensions together and with some degree of synergy will fall further behind in the digital divide. 6. In present day economics, the J.I.T. (just-in-time) concept has taken on great saliency, some of which has direct merit to projects like the BFI, for poor people. In addition, we must keep in mind an equivalent J.E.H. (just-enough-help) concept, which will provide IT-based

Teacher training resources can be delivered through existing training institutions, and would comprise CD-ROM based materials, collaboration technology for sharing materials, pupil training resources, and culturally appropriate and multilingual content. Such a collaborative program has recently been launched as the Bridges to the Future Initiative (BFI), -see -- which will begin soon in India, followed downstream by additional partner countries. The main overarching goal of the BFI is to try to answer the basic question posed in this short article: namely, in what ways can IT-based learning and information resources be put to service to assist the poorest sectors of populations in diverse cultural settings?

Core Principles
While the BFI partnership has some ideas on a set of specific goals (see the website above), what is most important in such initiatives is the set of core principles that will guide the project, and these we list as follows: 1. Even in poorest sectors, IT is now too cheap to ignore. While once it could be said that IT would take money away from other lower technologies (such as chalk and blackboards), new approaches can show cost-effective benefits when properly employed. 2. Advanced IT tools may be relatively more cost-

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resources when and where needed for those who do not already possess IT skills and basic skills needed for ready access and use. 7. Collaboration is not just lip service in addressing digital divide problems for the poorest sectors. There are many ways to begin projects, to pilot-test them, and so forth, but programs with staying power are likely to have to reinforce existing government structures (rather than replace them), and enhance as a priority mainly those areas of public education that are most in need of assistance (e.g., teacher training). NGOs can and will be crucial in the organizational mix, but are unlikely, alone, to make a substantial difference in most countries today. 8. Furthermore, private sector involvement in Digital Divide efforts is essential in order to take advantage of latest IT tools, and more so than in other educational projects. The private sector can offer advanced knowledge concerning IT tools which will be coming down the road, and which will be able to 'pass down' large numbers of newly-obsolete PCs which can be quite serviceable among the poor. Similarly, educators (including social scientists) may have access (or can gain access) to knowledge about what is needed from the IT community in order to achieve effective educational consequences. Again, collaboration is critical. 9. In development circles, broadly defined, and especially in the Digital Divide domain, there is much talk about 'sustainability,' which usually refers to how will recurrent costs be covered (for example, by government, external agencies, user fees, etc.). In today's environment, and especially when dealing with the very poor, the concern with sustainability can bias projects in directions that are not necessarily most effective for the end users. There is no single answer to this question, but there is little doubt that the poorest of the poor are unlikely to be able to pay user fees in the same way that the Grameen Bank model of cell phones was able to achieve over the past decade. Commercially viable IT-based projects -such as fee-driven Internet kiosks -- will have some benefits in very poor sectors, but it is unclear whether the poorest people (without both literacy and IT) will derive much benefit in the near-term. This is an area ripe for more research. Finally, to achieve impact using IT for the poorest 10. will require a real focus on the bottom half of the digital divide population (the top half will take care of itself!). As we enter the first decade of the twenty-first century, it is not unusual to find digital divide initiatives that provide more access to universities, secondary school, and primary schools. However, in a great many (perhaps well more than the majority) of these cases, the

recipients are those who are already in the middle or upper classes of their respective societies -- this is especially true in developing countries where it is assumed that only middle class communities can make appropriate use of IT. The challenge, of course, is to stay focused on the poor -- otherwise the digital gap will simply increase further. ********************** In sum, working on IT to enhance the education and livelihood of poor people is a tremendously challenging area of development work today. To be effective in this complex and ever-changing domain is more difficult than meets the eye. Yet, with a set of good principles, and a reasonable level of support, a great deal can be achieved -- indeed more than has ever been thought possible before.

DOTForce (2001). Digital Opportunities for All: Meeting the Challenge Report of the Digital Opportunity Task Force. Washington: World Bank/UNDP. NTIA (1999). Falling Through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide. Washington: U.S. Department of Commerce. OECD/Statistics Canada (1997). Literacy skills for the knowledge society: Further results from the International Adult Literacy Survey. Paris: OECD. OECD. (2000). Learning to Bridge the Digital Divide. Paris: OECD. Based on 1999 roundtable held at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Perraton, H. (2000). Applying new technologies and costeffective delivery systems in basic education. UNESCO, Paris: World Education Forum, Dakar, Senegal. Unicef. (2000). The state of the world's children. New York: Unicef. Wagner, D. A. (2000). Global thematic study on literacy and adult education. UNESCO, Paris: World Education Forum, Dakar, Senegal. Wagner, D. A., Venezky, R. L., & Street, B. V. (Eds.) (1999). Literacy: An International Handbook. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Daniel A. Wagner is Professor and Director of the International Literacy Institute (ILI) at the University of Pennsylvania – UNESCO, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3111. The ILI website is Dr. Wagner can be reached at

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Computer Mediated Communication and WWW:
Delivery Modes and Implementation Variables
The case of the University of South Africa
Japie Heydenrych Bureau for University Teaching, University of South Africa Faculty of Education, Deakin University

Various institutions of higher education are facing the challenge and the choice of employing Computer Mediated Communication and the World Wide Web to deliver distance education in a multitude of ways. The reasons may be to reach a wider audience, to improve current distance education practice, or simply to be seen working with these novel technologies – ‘whether justified or not, we cannot afford not to use it as we will appear to lag behind.’ The resulting flurry of activity by academic, educational technologists and educational developers can be characterized as a combination of laissez-faire institutional planning and lone ranger activity. This translates into the institution allowing all efforts, no matter how multitudinous they are, by lone rangers in their closed offices feeling proud of their technological achievements, while back at the ranch nobody else is benefiting as part of a structured effort. The problem is such that those educators who are waiting for direction from central management will be ‘waiting for Godot,’ as no coordinated planning effort is forthcoming to assist needy innovators. In the long term, human resource needs for effective teaching with new technologies become a threat and economies of scale are affected by a system that does not allow the needed flexibility and variability through timely visionary planning. The University of South Africa (Unisa), a mass-education correspondence institution, is on the verge of justifying and regulating its efforts to use Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) and the World Wide Web (WWW) to assist correspondence-based distance education efforts or to institute these technologies as a second mode of delivery. This article aims at identifying four modes of delivery employing CMC and the WWW to varying degrees, while highlighting the abovementioned variables as important facets of correspondence mass-education existence in need of attention. In such attention may be conditional for success in the long run.

The correspondence-based delivery mode is Unisa’s main delivery mode aiming at reaching all our students in every remote corner of the country where there may be little facilities. It is characterized by the independence of the learner in terms of time and place. It lends itself towards masseducation and economies of scale by aiming to present the perfect Distance Education package with as little intervention as possible. By its current nature it is not a very interactive delivery mode and it concentrates on independence of learning stakeholders. Delivery system: Current print-/correspondence-based organizational system with low product innovation, low process variability and low labor responsibility. Materials are carried by post only. Primary delivery technology: Print (guides, tutorial letters and prescribed books) with occasional use of audiocassettes, videocassettes and videoconferencing. The usage of Internet technologies is extremely limited and is mainly about providing calendar information and marketing on the WWW (merely information on the course content and what learners can expect). Course sites contain nothing that can really enhance the learning experience or that could form part of assessment. Very little system resistance is expected regarding the implementation of CMC/WWW in this case. Primary media: Mainly text and graphics, and in few cases it is supplemented by video and audio. Labor/facilitation: A very low level of facilitation (teaching and support) – mainly through tutorial letters and in a few cases some short face-to-face contact sessions. The telephone acts as emergency contact technology.

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Cost implications: Economies of scale implying that thousands of students can be served by the prepackaged materials with low levels of intervention.

stakeholders in a print-based learning experience. The telephone and e-mail act as emergency contact technology. Cost implications: Economies of scale – thousands of students are served by prepackaged materials. Central server capacity and technical know-how is used to upload materials and to create communication facilities on the Students Online system. In the long run, costs can be reduced if the technology functions at its maximum, e.g., pre-structuring course components, and uploading and creation of facilities with the click of a button.

Adjunct mode use allows students to communicate with instructors and other students outside the normal print-based ‘course environment’ for purposes of extending opportunities for discussion, increasing access to instructors, submitting assignments, and extending the resource base by including the vast resources of the WWW. The use of Internet technologies in adjunct mode is typically an optional activity for students. Adjunct mode approaches can be a valuable enhancement to traditionally delivered courses and a good way for instructors to begin to explore the use of CMC (Harasim. 1995: 78). Delivery system: Current print-/correspondence-based organizational system with some product innovation, some process variability and low labor responsibility. Materials are carried by post and by the Internet technologies (CMC/WWW). Primary delivery technology: Print (guides, tutorial letters and prescribed books) with occasional use of audiocassettes, videocassettes and videoconferencing. Internet technologies (CMC/WWW) are used to enhance communication and to store materials digitally for quick access to address the shortcomings of the mail system. The usage of Internet technologies for quick access is extensive: calendar and marketing information, as well as all print-based course materials are provided in pdf and html format in the WWW. CMC is used to provide general opportunities for communication with teaching and administrative staff. Course support sites (containing all printed study materials, links, resources, discussion facilities and contact facilities), and full dumping online using pdf or html formats, are created. Materials are downloadable instantly upon registration. Not much system resistance is expected as the implementation of CMC/WWW is supporting the current system and does not demand much change. Primary media: Mainly text and graphics, and in a few cases it is supplemented by video and audio. Facilitation: A very low level of facilitation (teaching and support) – mainly through tutorial letters and in a few cases sessions of face-to-face contact. Discussion forums and email is used to facilitate communication between

In mixed mode delivery, elements of CMC and the WWW are fully integrated into the curriculum, and constitute part of the course grade. Asynchronous discussions enable students to compose contributions, refer to resources and reflect on their work. The reason for integration is to introduce students to the use of information communication technologies within the subject field of the course (e.g., Computer Science, Internet Law, and Research Information Skills). A medium level of human resource input is required in the form of facilitation of those parts of the course that have to be mediated online. This kind of delivery demands some basic Internet technology usage skills from both lecturer and students as a prerequisite unless training is provided in the course. Delivery system: Current print-/correspondence-based organizational system with medium product innovation, medium process variability and low labor responsibility. Materials are carried by post and by the Internet alternatively. Primary delivery technology: Same as in Level 2. In addition, the nature of the subject field demands Internet (CMC and WWW usage) experience as an integral part of the course. In such courses, learners will study normal print materials from where they are directed to activities or units that are presented online. These experiences are part of formal assessment for the course – students will not be able to register for these courses without some Internet access and won’t complete these courses successfully without the necessary online experience. Primary media: Mainly text and graphics, and in a few cases it is supplemented by video and audio. Facilitation: A medium level of facilitation (teaching and support) – mainly through tutorial letters and in few cases sessions of face-to-face contact. Discussion forums and email is used to facilitate communication between stakeholders in a mixed mode learning experience. The telephone and e-mail act as emergency contact technology. In

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addition lecturers have to monitor and support online activities related to the relevant parts of these courses. Cost implications: Economies of scale - thousands of students can be served by the prepackaged materials - although a higher level (medium) of human resource input is required for delivery and maintenance. Central server capacity and technical know-how is used to upload materials and to create communication facilities on the Student Online system. Additional technical support is needed for the provision and maintenance of the online parts of these courses which increases human resource costs.

Cost implications: No economies of scale – groups of students from 9 to a maximum of 25 are accepted as international standard for such courses although there can be several groups, each with a facilitator per delivery. Central server capacity and technical know-how is used to upload materials and to create communication facilities, although this is not sufficient and demands dedicated hardware, software and technical support in the long run. Facilitation costs are therefore very expensive as pointed out above (the labor input during delivery is high).


Online courses use CMC and the WWW as the primary environment for facilitation. Course activities like presentation of information, class interaction and discussion, and group work are effectively undertaken online using a CMC system (email and discussion forums/conferences). Opportunities should be provided for self-introduction, setting personal goals and class learning objectives, and engaging in debates. Students are exposed to multiple perspectives on a particular topic as well as to being challenged by a question or expansion of their own ideas – this is a valuable opportunity for knowledge building and developing critical thinking skills (Harasim, 1995: 80). A maximum level of facilitation is demanded from tutoring staff. Also, full Internet access is required, as well as prior knowledge of its use, and word processing capacity. Delivery system: A new organizational system with high product innovation, high process variability and high labor responsibility is demanded. Materials and facilitation are carried by the Internet only. Students have to be able to register and pay online. Primary delivery technology: CMC/WWW is used to facilitate tutor to learner communication, learner to learner communication, and group communication, as well as to expand the resource base for the course. All facilitation is done through CMC (with the telephone as an emergency technology) and constructivist pedagogy is supported with a high level of collaborative knowledge generation. Primary media: Mainly text and graphics, and in a few cases it is supplemented by video and audio. Facilitation: A high level of facilitation (teaching and support) is demanded on a daily basis as a sense of community is to be established within each group in order to enhance the learning experience to the maximum. The telephone acts as emergency contact technology.


Systems variability: The Unisa correspondence system was designed and developed to handle its specific product in a highly efficient way. This enabled the organization to bring higher education to the masses. However, the implementation of CMC/WWW demands a different organizational system. CMC by its very nature facilitates faster communication at all levels, which demands faster responses from administrative systems and staff. Introducing another mode of delivery also upsets the machine bureaucracy that churns out the perfect package to masses of students. Staff will have to be multi-skilled to accommodate different products with their demands within the same system. The need for such a flexible and accommodating central delivery system increases as CMC/WWW is implemented for the different modes:
4 3 2 1 0 Print mode Adjunct mode Mixed mode Online mode System variability

Labor Input and Economies of Scale: As the level of CMC/WWW employment increases with the different delivery modes, and specifically with online mode, the teacherstudent ratio has to decrease significantly. Currently there are correspondence courses with a teacher-student ratio of 1:750. Internationally accepted standards put the facilitator-student ratio at a maximum of 1:25 for full online delivery. This seriously challenges the human resource or labor input accepted in the correspondence environment, and implies that major cost implications will have to be accepted with the online mode. The "economies of scale" notion is therefore not an attractive characteristic of the online mode of delivery, while it is the driving force behind traditional correspondence delivery at Unisa.

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The following diagram illustrates that the labor input needs (due to increased facilitation) and economies of scale are inversely related as CMC/WWW technologies are implemented to establish more delivery options.
4 3 2 1 0 Print mode Adjunct mode Mixed mode Online mode Labour implications Economies of scale

Summary Diagram CMC/WWW implementation levels and variables Mode Print Adjunct Mixed Online Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level of implementation Low Low Medium High System variability need Low Low Medium High Labor need High High Medium Low Economies of scale

Evans, T. & Nation, D. (1989a). Dialogue in practice, research and theory in distance education. Open Learning, 4(2): 37-42. Evans, T. & Nation, D. (1989b). Critical reflections on distance education. In T. Evans and D. Nation (eds), Critical reflections on distance education (pp. 237-263). London: Falmer. Harasim, L.; Hiltz, S. R.; Teles, L. and Turoff, M. (1995.) Learning networks: A field guide to teaching and learning online. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. Holmberg, B. (1995) Theory and practice of distance education. London: Routledge. Laurillard, D. (1993). Rethinking university teaching: A framework for the effective use of educational technology. London: Routledge. Simpson, O. (2000). Supporting students in open and distance learning. London: Kogan Page.

It is clear from the suggested levels of CMC/WWW integration for delivery that the system may reject some initiatives at all levels, although it will be easy to introduce the first two levels without much resistance. Some trouble can be expected with the third level (mixed mode) where the printbased and CMC/WWW delivery systems alternate in one course to create the desired learning experience. More tutoring input (medium level) is however the most troublesome variable as lecturers will have to realize that this delivery mode will demand more of their attention while the system may not reward them sufficiently for their efforts. The fourth level, online mode, demands the most time of all the modes. Delivered in conjunction with print as a choice, it reduces student-teacher ratios drastically. Eventually the system will have to give this ‘new product’ full recognition, reward these motivated staff members and address the variable of economies of scale which will eventually resist the long term and wider implementation of full online CMC/WWW courses. This recognition will also support the dual mode delivery of courses.


Japie Heydenrych is a teaching advisor at the Bureau for University Teaching at Unisa. He is currently pursuing a PhD at Deakin University in Australia.

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Editorial Staff Remember Audrey? No, not the actress Hepburn. Audrey was 3Com’s vanguard product that was supposed to secure the role of Internet appliances (a.k.a. Internet devices, web appliances or connected devices) in the rapidly expanding Internet connectivity market. With its uncomplicated design, user-friendly interface and reasonable sticker price, Audrey was prepped to revolutionize home computing and multimedia entertainment by bringing simplified, low-cost Internet access to all. At the same time, many industry analysts were hailing the arrival of a crop of sleek TV-top appliances designed to synthesize television and the Internet into one seamless multimedia experience. As recently as November 2000, top companies like Compaq, Gateway, AOL, Microsoft, Netpliance and Virgin all had introduced or had plans to introduce Internet appliances or companion services. There was so much buzz at the time, that Internet appliances had editors of PC World magazine asking: “Are PC’s toast?” But that was then, this is now. Since April 2000, the world has witnessed a general economic slowdown that has tempered some of the excitement for the entire information technology industry and products like Audrey. Sales of many Internet appliances have been so sluggish, in fact, that companies like 3Com have been forced to do away with their Internet appliance divisions -- and Audrey -- entirely. But despite the initial failure to create a lasting market, Internet appliances merit examination because they brought a new dimension to home computing by specifically availing the Internet to people who might not otherwise use it, either out of sheer technophobia or due to the cost of a high-end PC system with Internet service. Although products like Audrey never translated into dollars, they have served as an important lesson for companies and customers alike in the critical elements of fast, cheap Internet connectivity. digital assistants (PDAs). Most notably, Internet appliances are designed expressly to connect a user to the Internet, not to do word processing, crunch data or perform the high-end functions of a PC. Although they are increasingly incorporating Internet connectivity as standard features, devices like PDAs are really fancy personal organizers and Internet-ready phones are, first and foremost, phones, and technically do not qualify as Internet appliances. Internet appliances are also supposed to save time, space and money. Take Sony’s eVilla, for example. Retailing at about $500, Evilla has a narrow, 14” viewable screen, sleek design, a small keyboard and mouse (sometimes embedded) like a computer, but no bulky CPU. It allows a user to retrieve email, surf the web, listen to live radio broadcasts, download and play MP3s and store and share videos, pictures and text from compatible cameras, camcorders, computers and handheld devices. It is small enough to fit atop the kitchen counter or on a coffee table. It is also equipped with instant boot-up time unlike a PC, which must load a complex series of programs before a user can access the Internet. Another key element of Internet appliances is their simplicity. They are designed for use by people with little computer experience. Compaq boasts its iPAQ product is so easy to use that no computer experience is necessary. The iPAQ, eVilla and others come with preset icons, links and step-bystep instructions for nearly all functions available on the appliance. Many models, like Gateway’s Connected Touch Pad, also have the capacity to network to other computer systems in the home to share music files and email. TV-top Internet appliances strut similar features of low-cost, user-friendliness and compactness, but these devices are designed to bring Internet use to the television only, usually through a cable connection port. AOL TV is one example. With AOL’s specially-designed box, a user can access an electronic program guide that facilitates channel surfing by topic (sports, news, weather, etc.) through the use of icons and graphics. There is also access to email, chatrooms and instant messaging, which can be placed discreetly in the corner so a viewer can continue watching TV. TV-top boxes

Internet appliances possess unique features that distinguish them from other small Internetconnected devices like cell phones and personal

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like AOL TV are equipped with a wireless keyboard/mouse unit that operates using infrared signals. Naturally, there are technical drawbacks to Internet appliances. Many people complain that there are “hidden” charges because users must subscribe to certain services like AOL or Microsoft to get Internet access. These charges include monthly access fees and Internet services on top of the basic equipment. In addition, users of the TV-top models may experience some difficulty scrolling or clicking remotely on a large TV screen that, depending on the model, may be limited by greater granularity found in TV screens that are not equipped with sharper liquid crystal displays. Some users of the Audrey-style Internet appliances have also experienced modem timeouts and unexplained connection terminations.

management, word processing, advanced computer games, etc. Third, companies may have overestimated the extent to which people want to be “connected.” How often are people hit with the undying urge to access email in kitchen or upstairs hallway? Does the average person watching the local news really need email and chatrooms in addition? For most people, the answer is no. In the end, it appears the Internet appliance craze was launched without much grounding in practical customer needs.

Despite a shaky start, the market for Internet appliances is not entirely defunct. These devices, particularly the TV-top boxes, may take some time to become accepted in the home, businesses or schools, but are generally following the trend of convergence of PCs, voice and television into a singular multimedia experience. Further refinement of this concept could make Internet appliances a more convincing product, especially if a wireless version were introduced to allow greater mobility. However, companies should be wary that many people feel the trend will be towards assimilation of computing and multimedia services into a single device (not supplemental devices as many Internet appliance designers had thought), so Internet appliance designers may need to rethink their approach. Most analysts agree that Internet appliances have served as an important lesson for the Internet product market. Their generally poor sales have reinforced the notion that instant and direct connectivity to the Internet is indeed the common goal for most PCs and integrated multimedia products, but that making a convincing and cohesive argument for that connectivity is critical, especially in countries like the U.S. where Internet access and choice is growing. Even though Internet appliances like Audrey may have fallen short, the notion of low-cost, simplified singular Internet connection will be one that endures in the near future, but in other packaging and under different circumstances.

Unfortunately, it seems as though highly coveted assets like cheap, user-friendly, compact and speedy weren’t enough to salvage many companies from their own publicity of Internet appliances. A number of factors coalesced to make Internet appliances less successful than originally intended. First, with the economic slowdown, there was a general contraction in the personal computing market that prompted companies to trim their product range. Internet appliances were some of the first to be cut. Simultaneously, companies like Gateway were forced to reduce the price of PCs by hundreds of dollars in order to boost sagging sales and reduce inventory. Reduced prices for PCs thus made the “cheap” argument less compelling as a selling point for Internet appliances. Second, from the start, Internet appliances failed to define a convincing market niche. They look like miniature PCs, but their simplicity limits them in function. With an increasingly sophisticated public, this is often seen as a drawback, not as asset. For an equal or slightly higher price, a family could buy a fully loaded PC with Internet connection that performs all of the functions of Internet appliances plus home office

Mainelli, Tom. 12 April, 2001. “What happened to Internet appliances?”,aid,47184,00.asp Hill, Alice. 3 April, 2001. “Commentary: Why Internet appliances failed,” ZDNet News.,5859,2703985,00.html Arar, Yardena. 25 November, 2000. “It’s raining net appliances, but where?”,aid,35524,00.asp Olafson, Peter. 5 October, 2000. “Are PCs toast? Internet appliances arrive,”,aid,18598,00.asp Company sites:,,

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Below is a selection of websites of organizations that are in the business of social action, but more importantly, use ICTs as an integral part of doing this business. The selection includes organizations involved in social advocacy, or in providing support for others. Selected by Anthony Lizardi* United Nations Development Program The UNDP is the UN's principal provider of development advice, advocacy and grant support. It currently focuses on fostering democracy, pro-poor policies, energy and environment, peace building, disaster mitigation, HIV/AIDS, and information and communication technologies.

Development Gateway The Development Gateway is designed to help communities, organizations, and individuals assess information, build partnerships, share ideas, and work together to reduce poverty. There are also individual Country Gateways.

Norwegian Refugee Council The Norwegian Refugee Council is a voluntary organization involved in refugee questions and international refugee work. The site’s “External Links” are to many other refugee aid organizations throughout the world.

International Labor Organization This UN agency promotes social justice and internationally recognized human and labor rights. It formulates international standards of basic labor rights: freedom of association, right to organize, collective bargaining, abolition of forced labor, and equality of opportunity and treatment. is a network of centers around the world that provide Internet journalism and services inspired by a vision of a world where resources are shared fairly and sustainably, where human rights are nurtured and protected, and where democratic governance structures enable people to shape their own lives.

Think Tank: Knowledge Sharing in Sustainable Development Think Tank focuses on the information dimensions of international development cooperation, illustrating how investments in ‘knowledge’ can strengthen the capacities of organizations.

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The Benton Foundation’s Communications Capacity Building program The Benton Foundation seeks to expand the frontiers of nonprofit and noncommercial use of new media. The program in Communications Capacity Building (CCB) focuses on helping nonprofits enhance the impact of their work through more effective use of communications technologies and digital media.

GreenNet GreenNet is a not-for-profit collective dedicated to supporting and promoting groups and individuals working for peace, human rights and the environment, through the use of information and communication technology.

The Association for Progressive Communications The Association for Progressive Communications provides NGOs with resources, tool kits, and training on how to use the Internet in their daily work.

iEARN Founded in 1988, iEARN is a non-profit organization that empowers teachers and young people (K12) to work together on line, via a global telecommunications network. iEARN has pioneered online school linkages to enable students to engage in meaningful educational projects--with peers around the corner and throughout the world.

World Links The World Links for Development (WorLD) program provides Internet connectivity and training for teachers, teacher trainers and students in developing countries in the use of technology in education. WorLD then links students and teachers in secondary schools in developing countries with schools in industrialized countries for collaborative learning via the Internet.

World Resources Institute Education Center World Resources Institute provides information, ideas, and solutions to global environmental problems. This portal contains many useful online resources to support environmental education in the classroom.

A Force More Powerful (non-violent protest) This PBS web site is inspired by the “A FORCE MORE POWERFUL” television series. This portal contains information and links related to popular movements that successfully engaged in non-violent conflict against oppressive regimes. * Anthory Lizardi is a graduate student in the International Education Program at The George Washington University

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The Internet times a thousand

By now, most of us realize that the only stable thing about technology is its constant rate of change. People have come to accept that this year’s Palm Pilot is next year’s old news, and that the hippest cell phone will be usurped by something flashier in a matter of months. But how often do you think about someone coming out with a better Internet? We’ve all heard of DSL, ISDN, T-1 lines and other ways to make the Internet connection faster, but there is far less talk about making the Internet fundamentally and structurally better. Right now, a consortium of over 170 leading U.S. universities is working to do just that. The project, although largely unknown to the average Internet user, is called Internet2, and its goal is no less than transforming the current Internet into a bigger, better and leaner incarnation of its former self. MAXIMUM CAPACITY Started in 1996, Internet2’s developmental process is not unlike that of the original Internet, which was designed to facilitate data sharing among defense organizations, universities and laboratories. Similarly, Internet2 is being pioneered by research centers at U.S. universities and by a governmentled project called Next Generation Internet (NGI). Financing comes from private sector companies such as Cisco, WorldCom and Qwest and through grants from governmental organizations such as the National Science Foundation. Internet2 was originally conceived as a new way to manage the frenetic expansion of the current Internet, which like any two-lane highway system sometimes becomes overloaded with traffic, leading to inefficiencies and delays. Connected by a unique backbone called Abilene (also known as very high-performance backbone network service, or vBNS), Internet2 has now begun testing its middleware software that will support a seamless transfer of large amounts of data across lines. Internet2 is all about capacity. It wants to dispense with the less efficient two-lane model and become a six-lane highway with room for expansion on either side. In fact, Internet2 is designed to make today’s Internet 100x – 1,000x faster.

Internet2 speeds are measured in gbps, which stands for billions of bits (gigabits) per second. The current Internet is usually measured in mbps, millions of bits (megabits) per second, and kbps, thousands of bits (kilobits) per second. Just how fast is a gigabit? The 2000 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica is 4.5 gigabytes, which would take about eight days to download using a 56-kilobit connection. Using Internet2’s 1000x web speeds, the entire Encyclopedia Britannica collection could be downloaded in about 15 seconds! REAL-WORLD APPLICATIONS, VIRTUALLY Speed is not the only advantage to Internet2. It also has the capacity to expand research, education and business using applications plucked directly from a science fiction novel. Although many of the possibilities for Internet2 applications have yet to be conceived, the system is essentially designed to support the following core categories of use: • Collaborative technologies allow researchers, students and businesspeople to multicast many types of data and media at the same time for purposes of long-distance partnerships on projects. Internet2 is specifically designed to allow for “many-to-many” real-time use, enabling multiple interactions at one time between a group of users. For example, a person in Bangkok can simultaneously interact with and send information in real-time to people in ten cities around the world, and they can respond. In a way, the many-to-many capability creates a third dimension to virtual human interaction that current Internet is unable to support. The most promising of these collaborative applications is something called tele-immersion, which allows users at geographically disparate locations to be in two places at once, one virtual and the other real. Tele-immersion assimilates 3-D environment scanning, projective and display technologies, tracking and audio technologies, robotics and haptics (a field of engineering that designs computers with a sense of touch and kinesthesia) into a

“Using Internet2’s 1000x web speeds, the entire Encyclopedia Britannica collection could be downloaded in about 15 seconds!”

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single virtual experience. The tele-immersion environment is created to recognize movements of people in both the real and physical world and project them into simulated computer environments. The idea is not unlike the hologrammatic 3-D images used in Star Wars films. For example, a doctor could perform emergency medical diagnostics on the 3-D image of a patient located on a research lab in Antarctica without ever having to see that person in the flesh. • Remote access to instruments has long been a goal of scientists and technicians, but Internet2 now has the capacity to allow for precise real-time movements from a remote control center. For example, not only could students in Switzerland have access to the scientific instruments at an observatory in Hawaii or an electron microscope in New Mexico, they could also perform experiments, manipulate equipment and process data without ever leaving their university. A doctor in a rural area of Canada could also send and compare data with a mammogram database to maximize diagnostic and treatment options for her patients. Data mining, which is the collection and analysis of vast amounts of complex data, can reach new levels with Internet2’s enhanced capacity. For example, an Internet2 connection could allow supercomputers to “partner” in ways that facilitate unprecedented data sharing and coprocessing that would take days or even weeks using today’s Internet parameters.

there is slower progress in fighting inequity, poverty, geographic isolation and illiteracy. Naturally, cost is also a principal concern. Hookup fees for Internet2 can run well over $1 million a year for major U.S. universities that have special endowments for experimental work. Such fees would be prohibitively expensive for many schools, municipalities, small businesses and local governments who stand to profit most from Internet2 capabilities. But like the trend towards low-cost access with the current Internet, fees for Internet2 are expected to dwindle as more universities, schools, businesses and governments begin to connect to its network. Over the next two years, the Internet2 consortium plans to expand connections to thousands of K-12 schools and to parts of Central and South America and the Caribbean to encourage lower fees and greater interconnectivity. Although Internet2 can perform amazing feats of high-speed data processing, there are still a few technical obstacles that need to be solved. For instance, consortium members are currently working to reduce inconsistencies in cross-network transfers that can prevent priority transmissions, such as delicate medical procedures, from achieving errorless delivery of information packets. Access to Internet2 also requires a user to have high-grade computer equipment and the ability to log into the Internet2 network, which is distinct from the current Internet system. THE FUTURE OF THE FUTURE Despite the problems associated with the development of any network, Internet2 is being hailed as the next generation of super-Internet computing, yielding crystal-clear convergence of voice, video, audio and 3-D media and assimilating incredible amounts of data in a matter of seconds. It was not that long ago that the Internet as we know it was just a philosophical concept. Today, it has fundamentally changed the way many people live their lives, do business and access information. Internet2 promises to enhance all those remarkable advancements to create the next best thing in Internet capabilities – times a thousand. Sources: Dean, Katie. 21 March, 2001. “Internet2 crosses the border,” Wirednews.,1283,42507,00.html Stapleton, Richard M. 31 August, 2000. “Bigger better faster: Here comes Internet2,” ZDNet, Interactive Week section.,4164,26201 19,00.html Wendland, Mike. 10 May, 2001. “Speedy Internet2 makes wildest dreams tame,” The Detroit Free Press, Freep section. Internet2 Website

Although largely confined to the U.S., international applications of the core Internet2 categories are already underway. The United States and Mexico recently established a highspeed, high-bandwidth network (separate from the traditional Internet) that connects Mexico’s educational/research network with Internet2 at universities in California. In March, California Governor Gray Davis and Mexican President Vincente Fox attended an inaugural ceremony for the new connection, which allows for researchers in both countries to share large amounts of information on everything from water management techniques to polymer experiments. REALITY BYTES Even with promising collaborations like the MexicoCalifornia project, some analysts are concerned that such bilateral ventures are one-sided because many developing countries have significantly less computational power than the U.S. and, consequently, will be unable to take full advantage of the resources afforded by Internet2. This is a legitimate concern because achieving distributed connectivity in developing countries is still one of the central problems of the current Internet. It is likely that similar issues will plague Internet2 because despite stellar technological advances,

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Kurt D. Moses, Vice President Academy for Educational Development


Community Youth Mapping (see uses teams of youth who survey selected parts of a neighborhood or city to determine what facilities and services are available for them. Using pencil and paper, computers, and Maptitude (a Geographic Information Software), communities can create maps of services and facilities for youth. These then become accessible via the Web, in public kiosks, through brochures, and other means to both youth and city planners. The program, conducted in 34 urban sites in the U.S., has helped city officials to better match needs for youth services and supplies of such services. In Indianapolis, the city identified areas with high incidence of juvenile crime and pregnancy and focussed community leaders (United Way, Community Foundation, City government and other NGOs) on making services available. The program, using its geographic location codes, helped change transit routes to allow access to sites where youth could participate. It has been used with similar effect in cities like Denver, Colorado; St. Louis, Missouri; Syracuse and Albany, New York; and Los Angeles

and San Francisco, California. Willie Brown, mayor of San Francisco, said…”community youth mapping showed me where the gap is between the city’s needs, and its services.” Reality Check. AED created, with extensive community involvement, a radio soap opera called Reality Check, for The Centers for Disease Control funded Prevention Marketing Initiative, (see, for use in five cities. Cited as a “model for reaching the target audience and changing risk behavior,” this approach used existing, proven, accessible technology (radio) to reach teens in order to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS. In this case, radio (rather than TV) was an ideal vehicle, reaching teens in places and times when they were receptive to the prevention message.

⇒ Recently, AED introduced one of the first major uses in
the non-profit world of on-line data capture in connection with the Grammy Foun-

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dation. In order to make more available and easier the application for Grammy Signature Schools, AED hosts a Web site, which, automatically, accepts a 15-20 minute qualification form, provides proof of receipt, and then provides a readily accessible database of information on recipient schools within hours after processing. The process, now being more broadly studied, dramatically reduces the time required for schools to know if they qualify. It has dramatically improved speed, saved on communication costs, and reduced the multiple points of handling. More schools, as a result, have entered this program.

⇒ Through the USAID funded LearnLink project, AED has brought new technology applications to a variety of international users. Built around inexpensive features already available through the Web, LTNet (see is providing links between Brazilian primary school teachers and schools and U.S. teachers and schools. In part using Live Chat Rooms, schools such as the Oakton Elementary School in Virginia (USA) has been linked to primary schools in Rio de Janeiro. Since the children do not speak English or Portuguese in common, the sessions use “Lernout & Hauspie” online translation software to allow these groups to communicate. For those with a common language, such as Morocco or Egypt, Hear ME (IP Telephone) provides inexpensive connections over great distances. Low connectivity locations such as Morocco, Egypt, Uganda or Guatemala (see and their teachers are being provided teacher training and upgrading through a combination of limited Web Access and CD-ROM based interactive instruction. Teacher commitment and enthusiasm runs extremely high whenever openings for these sessions are available. ⇒
Telecenters that provide the basic part of EGovernment are now available in countries such as Peru and Guatemala. Many just provide information from the government that is not easily available and a range of services, like copies, fax machines and computers, but others offer the chance to conduct government related business all at once, right at the center.

based exchange of software, and other techniques, education data is now making it easier to reassign teachers, identify textbook shortages, arrange to deliver furniture to schools, and monitor the performance of every school in a country through its test results. Linked to Geographic Information Systems, countries such as Nicaragua, Zambia, Lesotho, and Uganda now have information for budget, construction, and operating decisions within months instead of years. Those responsible for education, including parent committees within communities, now know how their schools are doing compared to others, have often developed new political constituencies to effect change, and keep children in school. In the next two years, several countries will begin using wireless devices (linked to existing cell phone systems in their countries) to exchange raw data and compiled reports throughout the country. (see

Increasing applications and content material are now being tested by AED in conjunction with Satellite for delivery of health messages to remote African countries via the WorldSpace digital satellite service. At present only a one way medium, both text and voice content can be provided to even the most remote villages with only minimal investment in radios that can be solar or handpowered, and can accept material in multiple languages over multiple channels. Of considerable advantage is the fact that radios are accepted and known the world over—no special training is needed to access what they provide. The many years of adapting and using technologies have taught us three lessons: • • HOW technology is used is more important than WHAT is used. Technologies do not make change, people do. Technology need not be prohibitively expensive if creative use is made of commercially developed and sustainable products, then adapted for use. A classic example is all the new conceivable uses that will be found for cell phone services and infrastructure, that have become so ubiquitous and comparatively inexpensive around the world. When people get connected, change occurs.

⇒ In various forms, AED is using newer technologies for
its ED*ASSIST education software to provide education information more quickly and easily accessible to students, parents, officials, and other stakeholders. Using commercial database software, extensive training, Web•

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