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IT for Change Bulletin, February 2012

Greetings from IT for Change!

Research

CITIGEN network: Final meeting

Presentations

Paper presentation at EADI/ DSA conference

Presentation at Club De Madrid in New York

Presentation on 'The Role and Rationale of Public Software'

Presentation on 'Second Generation ICT Models in School Education'

Workshops

Workshop on Community Information and Service Centres

Study visit for Mongolian delegates on e-governance in India

CITIGEN workshop at the Asia Pacific Feminist Forum in Taiwan

Public Software in School Education

Public Software in Higher Education

Public Software for NGOs

Advocacy

IT for Change and IBSA Seminar on Global Internet Governance

IT for Change's participation in the Working Group on Improvements to the Internet Governance Forum

Annual meeting of Internet Governance Forum

Participation in the Government of India Task Force on Proactive Disclosure under Right to Information Act

Working at the policy level for public software in education

 

Publications

Article published in Society for International Development's publication

A contribution to the book 'Daughters of Fire'

From the Field

Digital storytelling workshops

MLA's visit to ITfC's community telecentre

Capacity building workshop for community radio

Kishoris' visit to the Panchayat- A new pedagogical approach for out-of-school adolescent girls

Research

CITIGEN network: Final meeting

IT for Change's research programme on Gender and Citizenship in the Information Society (CITIGEN) will conclude with a final meeting on 15-17 February 2012. The research aims to explore the notion of marginalised women's citizenship as a normative project. The final reports of the six projects along with a few think pieces, will be shared and discussed at this meeting. Feminist activists and scholars will also be present to engage with the findings. A policy brief by the Taiwan team - can be viewed here. More information is available on the CITIGEN website and in our CITIGEN bulletin.

 

Presentations

Paper presentation at EADI/ DSA conference

Anita Gurumurthy made a presentation at the EADI/ DSA Conference titled 'Bottom of the Pyramid and Other Development Delusions of the Information Age'. The conference, held at York in England, was a space to 'Rethink Development in an Age of Scarcity and Uncertainty'. Mike Powell, who was part of the IKM Emergent Project, UK, and Evangelia Berdou, from Institute of Development Studies, UK, were on a panel along with Anita. Individual papers that were presented can be found here. The disconnect between dominant ICTs for development initiatives and community-centric local development models that address topics from social capabilities, local autonomy and sustainable futures, were among the issues discussed by the panel.

Presentation at Club De Madrid in New York

In a presentation made at the 'Conference on Digital Technologies for 21st Century Democracy' by Club De Madrid in New York (USA), Anita Gurumurthy shared her perspectives, and the work done at IT for Change. The presentation attempted to bring insights from the Global South on empowerment and development through digital technologies. It also pointed to the need for democratising the global governance of digital technologies.

Presentation on 'The Role and Rationale of Public Software'

Gurumurthy K made a video presentation created through a simple public software tool (recordmydesktop) to the IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) Summit at Open World Forum on 'The Role and Rationale of Public Software for Public Institutions'. The presentation focused on the importance of recognising 'Public Software', 'Net Neutrality' and 'Open Access' as important principles in building digital architectures that are more egalitarian.

Presentation on 'Second Generation ICT Models in School Education'

Gurumurthy presented the need and conceptualisation of second generation ICT programs in schools, that focus on regular teachers using ICTs for teaching-learning of mainstream school subjects, replacing first generation programs that bypass the teacher and focus largely on computer literacy and pre-packaged content. Second generation programs are able to get the commitment and ownership of teachers and hence likely to succeed in positively impacting learning processes and outcomes. These presentations were made to Central Advisory Board of Education, SSA (Central Government programme for elementary education) and other departments of Ministry for Human Resource Development. Presentations are available on www.ITforChange.net/education

 

Workshops

Workshop on Community Information and Service Centres

A two-day national workshop on 'Community Information and Service Centres: A New Village Institution for Governance and Democracy' was organised by IT for Change, in collaboration with the Department of Information Technology, Government of India, and the Centre for Public Policy (CPP) of the Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru. The workshop examined the experiences of various initiatives that worked towards setting up village level information and service centres using ICTs, with a special focus on the government's Common Service Centres scheme. The workshop brought together a group of interested actors, both within government and civil society, to explore the potential of these telecentres along with providing an insight into the policies and institutional frameworks shaping these centres.

Study visit for Mongolian delegates on e-governance in India

IT for Change, in partnership with LoGin South Asia of SIDA, organised a study visit on e-governance for a 17 member delegation from Mongolia, led by the Deputy Chief of the Cabinet Secretariat Mr Nyamjav Darjaa, Government of Mongolia. The study visit aimed at exposing participants to good practices and policy frameworks in India with respect to single-window delivery of public services and e-governance. The study visit involved a combination of expert lectures, presentations by and interviews with government officials and field experts, as well as guided field visits to some e-governance initiatives in India.

CITIGEN workshop at the Asia Pacific Feminist Forum in Taiwan

At the Asia Pacific Feminist Forum in Taiwan, IT for Change coordinated a workshop on gender and ICTs, drawing from the CITIGEN programme. At the workshop, participants discussed how techno-social processes can politicise gender and enable women's empowerment. Participants examined different issues, ranging from how digital spaces are gendered, to what may be significant directions for feminist activism. The full workshop report can be found on the CITIGEN website.

Public Software in school education

IT for Change (ITfC) has been working to create and support Subject Teacher Forums for government high school teachers in Karnataka in collaboration with Rashtriya Madhyamik Shikshana Abhiyan (RMSA), a national body that aims to provide secondary education to all, and the Department of State Educational Research and Training (DSERT). The teachers are taught to integrate public software (a.k.a free and open source software) educational tools including educational software applications, web resources and web tools in their regular teaching processes. Resources prepared by these teachers with these tools are available at http://RMSA.KarnatakaEducation.org.in/. We are training resource persons, who will in turn train teachers in districts, in an attempt to improve the quality of the teaching-learning process in classrooms. Capacity building workshops have also been conducted for teacher educators and NGOs working in the area of education in Karnataka for supporting this programme. ITfC also conducted similar workshops for DIETs (teacher education institutions) in Uttara Kannada and Dharwad.

Public Software in higher education

ITfC is part of the Spoken Tutorial project of the National Mission on Education through ICT (NMEICT). We have developed several tutorials on educational tools and applications such as QCAD, NetBeans, Audacity, Inkscape, Drupal, Geogebra and Libre Office which are available here. A few capacity building workshops have been conducted and more are being planned for technical education colleges. In addition, we have organised workshops for students on software like Ubuntu, LaTeX and Scilab.

Public Software for NGOs

ITfC has been working on a 'Knowledge Management and Knowledge Networking” program with NGOs across Karnataka, to support their adoption of public software tools, starting with basic applications like operating system, office suite, mail client, to specialised software for website management, desktop publishing, video-editing etc. The goal is to help NGOs make use of a 'resource rich public digital environment' for effective and meaningful working. Organisations interested in joining this community can get in touch with us at kmkn@public-software.in

 

Advocacy

IT for Change and IBSA Seminar on Global Internet Governance

IT for Change was involved with initiating and organising the IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) Seminar on Global Internet Governance in Rio de Janeiro on 1-2 September 2011. This Seminar was attended by government and civil society participants from IBSA countries. IT for Change submitted a detailed background paper for the Rio Seminar, which summarised key global Internet Governance issues and the institutional options available for democratising global Internet Governance. At the end of the seminar, in what has been termed the Rio Recommendations, the government representatives of the three IBSA countries, for the first time, asked for creating a new UN agency for looking into global Internet governance issues. This has been considered a very significant geopolitical development. The Rio Seminar was taken note of by the Heads of States of IBSA through the Tshwane Summit Declaration which “resolved to jointly undertake necessary follow-up action”. The Summit Declaration also accepted a proposal to set up an IBSA Internet Governance and Development Observatory, (first proposed by IT for Change in the above mentioned paper).

IT for Change's participation at the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD)

IT for Change participated as one of the five civil society members of the CSTD's Working Group on Improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (WG-IIGF) in two meetings of the WG, in September 2011 and January 2012. We advocated our position (submitted earlier as two input papers) for strengthening the IGF, by developing processes for more concrete outcomes and connecting them to institutions that actually develop Internet related policies. We were also closely associated with developing India's official position in this matter. What came to be known as 'India's Proposal' has been perhaps the most concrete set of IGF reform proposals in shaping the discussions of the WGIIGF. The final meeting of the WGIIGF will be on 20-22 February which will finalise its report.

Annual meeting of Internet Governance Forum

IT for Change participated in the annual meeting of the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Nairobi on 27-30 September, 2011. On 26 September, we co-organised with the Association for Progressive Communications and others, a day-long side event on 'Development, Empowerment and Access to the Internet'. During the IGF, we co-organised with the Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus a workshop on 'A Possible Framework for Global Net Neutrality'. We also participated in many other workshops organised by different groups.

Participation in the Government of India Task Force on Proactive Disclosure under Right to Information Act

IT for Change was one of the five civil society members of the 'Task Force for the Effective Implementation of Section 4 (proactive disclosures) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act' constituted by the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. We led the sub group of the Task Force on digital means for proactive disclosure. We conducted a state level consultation in Bengaluru on 28 June, 2011 to get inputs for the report of the Task Force. IT for Change also organised the digital disclosures track of the national level consultation workshop on 16-18 July 2011, whose report was also submitted to the Task Force. Both the input reports can be read here. The Task Force has now compiled the final report and forwarded it to the government. Since the report contains exhaustive guidelines for proactive disclosure and also enforcement measures, it is expected that, if adopted, it can have far-reaching impact on actual access to public information available to the citizens.

Working at the policy level for public software in education

IT for Change has been actively engaging with policy makers at central and state government levels for adoption of public software in public education systems, including directly with the Joint Review Mission of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a government initiative to universalise elementary education. We have also been invited to participate in formal policy working groups like the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), Committee on Distance Education and use of ICT in Teacher Education, and Schools Committee, Department of State Educational Research and Training, Karnataka.

 

Publications

Article published in Society for International Development's publication

An article titled 'Feminist Visions of the Network Society' written by Anita Gurumurthy was published in the quarterly publication of Society for International Development called 'Development - Cosmovisions'. The article argues that the feminists must understand the dominant network paradigm, its potentials as well as its dangers. She also proposes that feminists develop the required theoretical formulations regarding the information society phenomena to help create alternate visions of the future.

A contribution to the book 'Daughters of Fire'

The 'India Court of Women on Dowry and Related Forms of Violence against Women' consists of public hearings of individual testimonies of women's survival and resistance. The court was organised by Vimochana and Asian Women’s Human Rights Council. In responding to women's testimonies of violence, the Court attempted to move away from a position of expertise to sharing and listening. The proceedings of the Court were recorded in a book called 'Daughters of Fire' to which Anita Gurumurthy contributed a chapter.

 

From the Field

Digital storytelling workshops

A training on digital storytelling was conducted for people living with HIV who are part of the Karnataka Network of Positive People (KNP+). The training is part of a collaborative project of Communication for Development and Learning (CDL), KNP+ and IT for Change. Digital storytelling (DST) can be learnt easily and is a powerful tool. The participants at the training were encouraged and guided to use DST skills to create gender sensitive and powerful digital stories. In an upcoming workshop, the participants will learn to script and edit their own digital stories.

MLA's visit to ITfC's community telecentre

During a visit to Hosavaranchi in Hunsur, a member of the state legislature announced funds of Rs 3 lakh for the IT for Change supported community telecentre (Namma Mahiti Kendra or NMK), in appreciation of the work done by the centre. The women's collective, which manages the NMK, had reason to be proud of their work as the funds and its reward, were originally meant for a community hall. The NMK has been instrumental in linking the village community with local public institutions.

Capacity building workshop for community radio

The Prakriye unit of IT for Change is supporting Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, a local NGO in Mysore which recently obtained a community radio licence, by conducting workshops on how to run a community radio station and designing a suitable strategy for programming. The training covers technical aspects, but is focused on shaping the community radio as a development tool for the organisation and the community.

Kishoris' visit to the Panchayat - A new pedagogical approach for out-of-school adolescent girls

As part of the Kishori Chitrapata project, kishoris (young adolescent girls) from Hosavaranchi village, who had dropped out of school, visited a few government departments and the Gram Panchayat (the village self governance body). The kishoris also interviewed the Panchayat Development Officer and some department officials. The idea was to expose the kishoris to their rights as citizens and help them engage with local governance processes, underpinning a new form of pedagogy deriving from the lived context of the individual and the community. Kishoris recorded the meeting on cameras and their effort was affirmed by officials who encouraged them to continue participating in political processes with enthusiasm.

 

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