Frederick Noronha on 20 Sep 2000 19:00:57 -0000

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<nettime> bYtES For aLL: SEPTEMBER(II) 2000 EZINE

_/  B y t e s   F o r   A l l ---
_/  Making  Computing  Relevant to the  People of  South Asia


  n o n - p r o f i t s
  Benton Foundation is interested in providing nonprofits with
  practical guidance in helping evaluate the opportunities and
  risks of e-commerce in a thoughtful way.  Nonprofits should make
  e-commerce also work for philanthropic goals.

  FAHAMU is dedicated to the strengthening not-for-profit
  organisations  through the development of computer and internet-
  based learning materials.

  h e a l t h    i s s u e s
  UN ECONOMIC COMMISSION for Africa, as organiser of the African
  Development Forum 2000, is to hold a global online discussion on
  AIDS from July 2000 till before the forum meets in October.
  The African Development Forum (ADF) is an initiative to position
  an African-driven development agenda. In October 1999, the meet
  was on the theme "The Challenge to Africa of Globalisation and
  the Information Age".
  See the ADF web site at
  To join the list, please send a message to:
  Or view messages posted at

  e d u c a t i o n
  FOR EDUCATIONISTS wishing to join the 'Learning Communities'
  mailing list, just send an email to

  Check out
  Suggestions regarding content? Would you like to contribute
  something to this site? Email

  THE JULY-AUGUST 2000 ISSUE OF TechKnowLogia has been posted on
  the web. The thematic focus of this Issue is on Technology and
  Vocational & Technical Training.

  The GDLN is a telecommunications network that connects distance
  learning centers (DLC) in cities across the globe. It harnesses
  the latest learning tools -- interactive video, electronic
  classrooms, satellite communications and the Internet -- to help
  break down the digital divide.
  * It provides decision-makers and agents of change with access
  to partners who face similar challenges in other parts of the
  * It harnesses expertise in a wide variety of disciplines and
  connects knowledge centers around the world.
  * It enables people to learn in their home environments without
  costly travel or work disruptions.

  d e v e l o p m e n t
  GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE FOR DEVELOPMENT mailing list. To subscribe to
  GKD-Digest, send the command: subscribe gkd-digest
  in the body of a message to "".
  "The Global Knowledge Partnership" site offers interesting
  discussion on issues of people-before-profit uses of IT in South
  Asia and elsewhere.

  SOME SEATTLE-BASED techies are dreaming up an ambitious
  initiative to fight global poverty. And they plan to use the
  Internet to do it. Digital Partners  says it wants to  change
  the definition of philanthropy. The group will not give food,
  clothing, or shelter to the poor. It will offer them online
  content instead.
  One of the main reasons Digital Partners picked India as its
  first target country is the presence of a large Indian community
  in the United States. It's a community that is closely knit,
  highly skilled, and financially sound reports Lakshmi Chaudhary
  for WIRED.

  INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR Eradication of Poverty of Canada in
  cooperation with Africa Canada Development Initiative and other
  NGOs, will be observing the International Day For the
  Eradication of Povertyn on 17 and 18 of October 2000 at Metro-
  Toronto City Hall. Although poverty affects people from all over
  the world, its intensity and extensity is more pronounced in
  developing countries than others for variety of reasons. Chief
  among them is lack of human resources development as pointed out
  by Nobel Laureate Professor A.K. Sen. In order to speed up the
  process of their development, we have decided to hold a two day
  conference on lHow to integrate Information and Communication
  Technologies into Eradication of Poverty in Developing
  Programme includes: October 17, 2000 -- Morning:   Opening
  session, Topics for plenary session:  1) Overview of IT and
  poverty eradication in developing countries; 2) how to set up
  IT; what resources are required; how to obtain those resources;
  3) role of multi-lateral agencies and multinational
  corporations; 4)) role of local governments and local community
  groups; and 5) CIT and gender related issues.
  Afternoon:  Three sessions, either three workshops or three
  plenary sessions. Topics: 1) How to use IT for agriculture and
  rural development, 2) How to use IT for educational and skills
  development, and 3) How to use IT in the areas of health.
  Morning: Workshops--Case studies Use of IT in India (in
  agriculture, rural development, education & health); Use of IT
  in Africa (in agriculture, rural development, education &
  health) Use of IT in Latin America and Caribbean (in
  agriculture, rural development, education & health)
  Contact: Dr.Bhausaheb Ubale, Tel. 416 494 4763, Fax 416 494
  2185, E.Mail:

  a f r i c a
  is an obvious candidate to become a large internet market but
  barely seems to have started down this road. NEWS UPDATES
  focuses on issues such as this. If you want to subscribe to News
  Update, simply send a message saying I want to subscribe to

  INTERNET GROWTH IN AFRICA is rapid, but it's important to note
  that it starts from an "incredibly low baseline", says NEWS
  UPDATES. The cost of internet access remains a serious barrier,
  with charges ranging from $10 to $100 a month. The average
  monthly cost of using a dial-up account is $240 for 20 hours of
  access, compared with $29 or less in the US.

  THE TALKING Africa Open Directory is a useful source for African
  web sites. Talking Africa is a one hour radio programme
  broadcast from London.

              News Update is a free e-letter covering African
              internet content and infrastructure developments
              published by Balancing Act. The latest issue and all
              previous issues appear on the balancing Act web site
              ( To subscribe
              to this free e-letter, simply send a message saying
              subscribe to Future
              issues will cover: the internet in Namibia, South
              African telecommunications policy, an assessment of
              telecentres and the internet in Senegal. The
              Telematics for African Development Consortium is
              pleased to be working with Balancing Act, another
              initiative focusing on providing free information on
              Telematics and Development to e-mail subscribers.

  KENYA'S "POOR MAN'S" ISP (Courtesy News Update):
  named after the Swahili word for citizens is drawing attention
  with its low-price tariff. With internet connection fees usually
  costing about 10,000 Kenyan Shillings a month (more than $150) , offers full internet access for a tenth of the
  price at any time of day.

  A PROJECT IS UNDER WAY TO create maps that will help illustrate
  what's happening with national network development in several
  African countries. The link to the maps that have been done so
  far can be found at:

  KABISSA IS A SPACE on the Internet for the African non-profit
  sector. To learn more about Kabissa and to set up a free
  membership account for your organisation, please write to or visit

  - Akina Mama wa Afrika-Uganda (AMwA-U)
  - Association of Uganda Women Medical Doctors (AUWMD)
  - Council for Economic Empowerment for Women in Africa (CEEWA)
  - Eastern African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the
       Advancement of Women (EASSI)
  - Forum for African Women Educationalists-Uganda (FAWEU)
  - Hope After Rape (HAR)
  - Isis-Women's Int'l Cross-Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE)
  - National Association of Women Organisations in Uganda (NAWOU)
  - Safe Motherhood Initiative in Uganda (SMIU)
  - Uganda Gender Resource Center (UGRC)
  - Uganda Media Women's Association (UMWA)
  - Uganda Private Midwives Association (UPMA)
  - Uganda Women Tree Planting Movement (UWTPM)
  - Women and  Children's Crisis Center (WCC)

  a c c e s s   a t   s l o w  - s p e e d s
  INFO ON SURFING THE WEB VIA E-MAIL: When the telephone system is
  too slow or unreliable to allow you to surf the web directly,
  you can do so via e-mail. For full instructions for a searching
  the web tutorial page go to, but the
  essential information can be downloaded from

  WWW4MAIL -- Web Navigation and Database Search by E-Mail. The
  Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP)
  in Trieste, Italy www4mail software allows navigation and search
  of the entire Internet via e-mail, using any standard web
  browser and a MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Exchange)-aware
  e-mail program. At first glance, it may appear similar to one of
  the several web-to-mail software interfaces; but the www4mail
  program introduces new features not previously available. In
  short, e-mail messages containing filtered HTML pages are
  automatically passed to the www4mail server when links to other
  web sites are selected while browsing.
  Written in modular Perl, the program allows retrieval of web
  pages, searching of arbitrary databases, filling out of web
  forms (GET and POST conduct web database searches) and following
  of links (on-line browsing), all by e-mail. It is multi-lingual,
  easy to manage and supports current Internet standards (MIME,
  HTML 4.0, etc.).
  Developed from scratch on the Linux platform, www4mail has been
  used successfully on the BSD platform and contains some optional
  optimisations that are Linux-specific. For example, www4mail can
  monitor the system load average, directly from the Linux /proc
  file system and, at high load averages, queue requests for later
  Read complete article at:

  ROBERTO VERZOLA <> ON THE commonman's
  Internet (August 2, 2000):
  I thought I'd share how I use intermediate technology to have
  email access and join mailing lists:
  I have no Internet connection at home or work. In fact, Email
  Center, the server I run that provides email services (no Web)
  to NGOs, has no Internet connection either. The server uses an
  intermediate technology called uucp, one that precedes the
  Internet and is optimized for dial up connections instead of
  dedicated lines. When I occasionally want to do some Web
  searching (which *needs* Internet access), I go to a nearby
  Internet cafe. I find I can meet most of my information wants,
  including joining lists and accessing URLs, with uucp-based
  email, in a way consistent with my own principles.
  The best recent example of a successful uucp operation I know of
  is the SDN-Pakistan operation which boasted of some several
  thousand users.
  Uucp can provide universal email service at a much lower cost
  per mailbox than ISPs, because any uucp user can offer as many
  mailboxes (and email addresses) as will fit his/her machine.
  Probably for this reason, ISPs would rather sell POP instead of
  uucp accounts. In the Philippines, for instance, out of more
  than a hundred ISPs, only one supports uucp, and they are also
  phasing it out soon. That is Schumacher's "disappearing middle"
  in action.
  In fact, in villages where outgoing phone calls are possible,
  uucp-based email can be used to implement at very low cost what
  used to be known as telegraphic services, which would be a huge
  improvement to a village with no such previous service. Where no
  telephone facilities are even available, a government can
  quickly set up a network for universal access to telegraphic
  services with packet radio.
  Public libraries, low-power radio, public telephone stations,
  uucp-based email, packet radio -- these are some of the
  intermediate technologies which can be deployed at lower cost,
  are more affordable to the people, and can provide or
  approximate the services offered by much more expensive full
  Internet facilities.
  I am even inclined to argue that in our case, a fax-in-every-
  village is a more important immediate objective, because it can
  not only provide telegraphic services, but also serve as the
  backbone of a quick-report freeze-the-count system during
  elections, which is very important in the Philippine context.
  But this is another story.

  d i g i t a l - d i v i d e
  THE DIGITAL DIVIDE between rich and poor countries is readily
  apparent. Some 90 percent of Internet host computers are in
  high-income countries with 16 percent of the world's population.

  UN VOLUNTEERS TO BRING the world's poor on-line. The United
  Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS) website to aims
  mobilize volunteers around the world to help bridge the
  technological divide between developed and developing countries.
  United Nations Volunteer programme (UNV)

  The latest brief from The Century Foundation in its Ideas2000
  series offers an innovative plan to help close the digital
  See Century Foundations Idea Briefs
  direct link to *.pdf of entire report

  WHAT PRESIDENT THABO MBEKI of South Africa, President Ricardo
  Lagos of Chile and Prime Minister Goran Persson of Sweden have
  to say: "Until a decade ago, the three of us were partners in a
  struggle for freedom and democracy in Chile and South Affica.
  That victory was won in Chile in 1989 and in South Africa in
  1994. Today our countries are all led by social democratic
  governments. With the same spirit of solidarity and decisiveness
  as we struggled against and defeated dictatorships, we are now
  joining forces to enhance development and alleviate poverty. Our
  present challenge is the new economy of knowledge and
  information. With information technology, the concept of global
  solidarity has been given a new thrust..."

  help develop and disseminate a completely sustainable model of
  community-based technology access and education. It is a cross
  between a telecenter and small computer school, teaching
  marketable computer skills and civic education to poor urban
  youth in most cases. The centers are located, in most cases, in
  donated space in community centers, and are equipped with
  donated, used equipment and furniture.
  Contact: Max Savishinsky, Global Partnerships Seattle, WA

  LONE EAGLE CONSULTING has a new "Cross-cultural Self-directed
  Learner's Internet Guide". You can download and print it from a
  link at the top of the page at
  Also available is a new "Good Neighbor's Guide to Community
  Networking" at
  Lone Eagle's best listing of resources and articles for
  'Building Learning Communities" is listed at http://lone-
  Two online courses for educators are included, with all lessons
  freely accessible.
  Email Frank Odasz <>

  WEB PAGES BY LANGUAGE: English, the official language of nearly
  70 percent of the Web's pages, is still the most popular
  language of Web pages around the Net. Japanese runs a distant
  second, according to a study by Vilaweb.

OneWorld, the organisation behind the world's leading portal on
  the Web for human rights and sustainable development, has
  launched an online campaign on the global digital divide

  r e c y c l i n g - h a r d w a r e
  DON'T THROW OUT THAT old 486! It could be saving lives in a
  hard-up hospital half the world away. Four years ago at a
  medical ethics conference in Dallas, emergency room nurse from
  Chicago Zina Munoz thought: "Why shouldn't older-model computers
  that people throw away in America be shipped out to Third World
  hospitals to hook them up to the Internet? There's nothing wrong
  with the systems except they are slow, and the hospitals need
  access, not speed."
  In June 1998, and thanks to funding from the ISN, Munoz and a
  team of doctors arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal, along with eight
  second-hand computers donated by Toshiba Corp and upgraded and
  refurbished at home by her four cybernaut children and their
  friends. The team spent 2-1/2 weeks in Nepal, installing the
  computers and conducting training and clinical lectures with
  local renal specialists.
  Further small-scale projects followed in Nigeria and rural
  Argentina, and by this time the operation had been formalised as
  the Renal-Tech Donation Project, reports Reuter.

  COMPUTERS-FOR-STUDENTS is at Fairlington Presbyterian Church, at
  3846 King St., in Alexandria, Virginia.  Computers-for-Students
  is a Northern Virginia offshoot of Computer Reclamation and
  Training Center (headquartered in
  Beltsville, Maryland). It has a mission to get donated computers
  into the hands of students who don't have them. And it funds its
  mission by selling some of the donated computers it receives.

  e r r a t a

In the BytesForAll homepage (from BytesForAll June 2000 issue), the correct 
URL of the site below should read as corrected below:
"FROM NEPAL WRITES, MAHESH KUMAR MALLA who is Project  Coordinator/Research 
Assistant in Information Communication and  Outreach Division of the 
International Centre For Integrated Mountain  Development (ICIMOD), 
Kathmandu. He is involved in a team that is  preparing for E-conference on 
the Asia Pacific Mountain Network and also  trying to identify relevant 
information on ICTs with a special focus on  mountain development and help 
develop a focussed section on the Net.Please contact Mahesh Kumar Malla 
at "

           *  Roberto Verzola <> on
           *  improving access with low-cost Internet appliances
           *  (July 21, 2000):
           *  After reading about the Indian Simputer on GKD, I
           *  had a chance to browse around our local electronic
           *  shops once more. I found VCD players selling for as
           *  low as US$ 65 and saw at least one 12-volt
           *  monochrome TV receiver selling for $35.
           *  If the VCD player can be made to browse html files
           *  on CDROM, here's the possibility of a truly low-cost
           *  (sub-$100), stand-alone (no recurring connectivity
           *  charges) information appliance that can even run on
           *  12-volt car batteries. Any Taiwan, Indian, or Korean
           *  manufacturer listening?
           *  The Philippines has 40,000 villages (and 73 million
           *  people). Providing each village with this appliance,
           *  for a 100% reach, would cost US$4 million. Some of
           *  our past presidents have probably spent this much on
           *  a single junket abroad. We have spent many times
           *  this amount just to host one image-building APEC
           *  meeting, which is of course another junket.
           *  With such an appliance, all that would be needed are
           *  the VCDs and CDROMs. I have no doubt that these will
           *  simply materialize out of nowhere, as if by miracle.
           *  My worry is that, like "pirate" radio stations, such
           *  an appliance might be prevented from being fully
           *  deployed, and we will be pushed and pulled right
           *  back into the maw of the Internet.
           *  How come a high-cost medium like the Internet is
           *  foisted on us, but once truly low-cost approaches
           *  like low-power radio and CDs are discovered by the
           *  poor, they are hounded like pirates?
           *  My other worry is the law of unintended
           *  consequences: that our villages would be flooded
           *  with VCDs of Hollywood junk and few CDROMs, in which
           *  case this suggestion will come back to haunt me --
           *  unless the government, NGOs, and development
           *  agencies step in to provide the CDs with development
           *  info and educational content.

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