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Association for Progressive Communications (APC) To Hold ICT Policy Advocacy Workshop in Kenya

07/14/2004, APC:

NO EMBARGO

PRESS RELEASE


Association for Progressive Communications (APC) To Hold ICT Policy Advocacy Workshop in Kenya


NAIROBI, KENYA -- The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) will hold a five-day ICT (information and communication technology) policy advocacy workshop in Nairobi from July 19 to 23. The workshop goal is to help build better ICT policy environments through promoting inclusive policy processes in which civil society together with the media and the private sector are active participants.

The Nairobi workshop intends to galvanise the growing interest there is in ICT policy into a network of policy advocates working at national level in their home countries. It will be the first of two regional ICT policy advocacy workshops, the second being held in Dakar, Senegal later this year. "Through the workshop process, we hope to kick start concerted policy actions at the national level," says APC executive director, Anriette Esterhuysen. "There's a lot of interest and concern and a lot of expertise out there but not enough collaborative action. We want to do more than just build capacity."

It will be an key step forward in the work being carried out as part of the APC Africa ICT Policy Monitor project -supported by the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC/CRDI) and HIVOS- to build and support the engagement of civil society organisations in local, regional and international ICT policy initiatives and the Catalysing Access to ICTs in Africa (CATIA) initiative -a three-year project supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID)- to enable Africans to gain maximum benefits from the opportunity offered by ICTs and to act as catalysts for policy reform.

"The workshop will be used to identify national policy 'animators' -activists from civil society, the media or even government- with the skills and verve to lead locally-driven advocacy campaigns and to network and share strategy regionally," Alice Wanjira Munyua, APC's CATIA project coordinator explains. "It's also an opportunity for participants to start developing action plans for possible advocacy interventions at national level that can result in greater and more affordable access to ICTs in their countries." Information and resources generated now and in the future will be made available from the APC Africa ICT Policy Monitor website.

Workshop participants will come from Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania and South Africa. There are at least three participants from each country selected. Unusually, the workshop will bring together participants from three sectors who do not usually work together - the private sector, the media and civil society.

"The media is too often considered only as a tool to be taken advantage of by civil society and the private sector in advocacy work, but journalists are themselves vital actors in ICT policy," says Emmanuel Njenga Njuguna of APC. "They are impacted on by ICT policy like everyone else, but they are in a unique position to be able to influence public opinion and impact on ICT policy."

Tina James will be one of the advocacy trainers at the workshop. For her, the importance of the workshop is: "The chance to work with many different stakeholder groups, who may be coming from diverging points of view, and who will now explore common ground in finding joint solutions to developing ICT policy."

Heloise Emdon, Programme Officer of Acacia and Connectivity Africa at IDRC, adds: "Civil society, the media and well-informed consumers and service providers can liven up the policy environment and keep politicians on their toes. The knowledge society is global, and the strength of this society depends on dynamics between all of us. I have seen incredibly powerful civil movement and well-informed journalists achieve great gains in getting poor communities connected to the internet in Indonesia. I hope in Africa we are able to achieve the same voluntarism and ownership of our knowledge society."


Financial support

The workshop is supported by Catalysing Access to ICTs in Africa (CATIA), a programme of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) http://www.catia.ws and IDRC/CRDI (International Development Research Centre) http://www.idrc.ca.


ABOUT APC

The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is an international network of civil society organisations dedicated to empowering and supporting groups and individuals through the strategic use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), especially internet-related technologies. APC and its members in more than 30 countries pioneer practical and relevant uses of ICTs for civil society. APC is an international facilitator of civil society's engagement with ICTs and related concerns, in both policy and practice.
APC: http://www.apc.org.

APC and ICT Policy Advocacy in Africa

APC's Communications and Information Policy Programme aims to contribute to more enabling ICT policy environments through promoting inclusive policy processes. In Africa APC is doing this through the Africa ICT Policy Monitor project and the Catalysing Access to ICTs in Africa (CATIA) initiative. In Kenya, APC together with the CRIS Campaign has started working on a global governance and communications rights initiative.

The Africa ICT Policy Monitor project aims to enable civil society organisations to engage in ICT policy development to promote an information society based on social justice and human rights. These aims are achieved through:

* The development of an information resource for civil society organisations (CSOs) that wish to be active in ICT policy.
* Raising awareness in CSOs on ICT policy issues.
* Empowering CSOs to develop ICT policy that meets their needs, and to encourage them to lobby for an information society that builds social justice and human rights, at national, regional and global level.
APC's Africa ICT Policy Monitor: http://africa.rights.apc.org

APC is implementing CATIA's "policy advocacy" component, which aims to promote increased and more effective advocacy to speed up changes in the ICT policy and regulatory frameworks of African countries, thereby allowing cheaper and wider access to telecommunications and the internet. It will develop measures that will catalyse policy and regulatory reform, by supporting informed advocacy groups (and individuals) from the private sector, consumer groups and civil society, and the media.
CATIA: http://www.catia.ws

About APC and ICT policy internationally: http://rights.apc.org


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

Alice Wanjira Munyua
CATIA Project Coordinator
Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Email: alice@apc.org
Tel/fax: +254 020 4443424 (KENYA)
Cell: +254 733 731074

Emmanuel Njenga Njuguna
Africa Policy Monitor Project Coordinator
Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Email: Africa.rights@apc.org

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