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Vol. VI No. 8

August 2008

The first monthly magazine on ICT4D

Development 2.0 to catch up with web 2.0 Web 2.0

Information for development

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A new media platform for education Wiki Education Project, CoL

Computer games and developing countries

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New Media for Development

A Research Agenda

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August 2008

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Features 5



Web 2.0 Development 2.0 to catch up with web 2.0 Nalaka Gunawardene


Wiki Educator Project, CoL


A research agenda


A new media platform for education Steve Foerster

Justice by any name Malkia Cryil

17 20 37

Rendezvous 39

Computer games and developing countries Richard Heeks

Youth Media Council (2005), California, USA

Appalachian Media Institute (AMI), Texas, USA

eINDIA2008 Conference and Exhibition, 29th-31st July 2008, India e-Agriculture: Some perspectives Subir Dey and Rajat Banerjee

Columns 44

Books received

Science Dissemination using Open Access

New media, youth and cultural exchange Ginger Moored

Adverising, Promotion and New Media

Cuny, Newyork, USA

The Handbook of New Media

Competing with the political documentary Lyell Davies

P2P Foundation, Thailand Online presence through Wiki and blog Michel Bauwens


What’s on


In Fact Converging into new media

28 m-Connectivity Mobile to link farmers and 23

Climate Change News


India’s future climate: No cause for alarm Madhav L Khandekar

supermarkets Donald M Taylor

Gender and ICTs: Latin 34 Youth, America Constructing an information society Gloria Bonder

News 27

e-Agriculture News


India News

netgov Speak: Researcher and Coordinator, Sulakshana Bhattacharya, CSDMS




Opening up new dimensions


Part III: Internet Governance issues – Cybercrime in India

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Global Knowledge Conference (GK3) Special


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Internet Governance i4d | August 2008

Editorial Opening up new dimensions ADVISORY BOARD M P Narayanan, Chairman, i4d Chin Saik Yoon Southbound Publications, Malaysia Karl Harmsen United Nations University Kenneth Keniston Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA Mohammed Yunus Grameen Bank, Bangladesh Nagy Hanna e-Leadership Academy, University of Maryland, USA Richard Fuchs IDRC, Singapore Rinalia Abdul Rahim Global Knowledge Partnership, Malaysia Walter Fust Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Switzerland Wijayananda Jayaweera UNESCO, France EDITORIAL BOARD Akhtar Badshah, Frederick Noronha

With the advent of Web 2.0 technology and technology-enabled services, the entire world of media has undergone substantial transformation. This has primarily happened because the ownership has shifted from one to many. Web 2.0 technology, which gives the power of creation of content to every user of the Internet, has changed the dynamics of content and outreach dramatically. But ‘New Media’ is not just about the use of Internet to create or publish content. ‘New Media’ uses a comprehensive set of tools that are used to disseminate information, foster access and build knowledge networks and Communities of Practice (CoP). Old media such as radio, video and imagery have also found a new life with ‘New Media’ tools like podcasts, blogs, and video casts. The term ‘New Media’ is (sometimes) analogous to digital media. According to Wikipedia, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) defines new media as, “Any digital media production that is interactive and digitally distributed.” This is because much of the existence of ‘New Media’ tools is largely dependent upon digital transmission of data.

GROUP DIRECTORS Maneesh Prasad, Sanjay Kumar EDITORIAL TEAM Editor-in-Chief Ravi Gupta Programme Co-ordinator Jayalakshmi Chittoor Content Editor Rajat Banerjee Sr. Research Associates Ritu Srivastava, Ajitha Saravanan Sr. Graphic Designer Bishwajeet Kumar Singh

The new form of media is a powerful tool that helps to revamp community cultures, re-identify lost ownerships and redefine the process of content generation, content integration and content management. We see a lot of websites, blogsites, wikipedias that not only support integration of diverse content (many a times in local languages) but also provide for a public domain of interaction which expedites vivid forms of information interchange and knowledge-sharing.

Graphic Designers Om Prakash Thakur, Shyam Kishore, Chandrakesh Bihari Lal (James) Web Programmer Zia Salahuddin i4d G-4 Sector 39, NOIDA, UP, 201 301, India Phone +91 120 250 2181-85 Fax +91 120 250 0060 Email Web Printed at R P Printers, Noida, India i4d is a monthly publication. It is intended for those interested and involved in the use of Information and Commnication Technologies for development of underserved communities. It is hoped that it will serve to foster a growing network by keeping the community up to date on many activities in this wide and exciting field. i4d does not necessarily subscribe to the views expressed in this publication. All views expressed in this magazine are those of the contributors. i4d is not responsible or accountable for any loss incurred directly or indirectly as a result of the information provided.

The present issue, ‘New Media for Development’ focuses on the ‘New Media tools’ and their effectiveness to address development issues like human rights, social inclusion through Internet, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), etc. The issue is replete with articles, anecdotes and essays on community communication, mediawiki and Internet blogging, Web 2.0 technology, video and Internet games, new media platforms, etc. We are very grateful to HIVOS and especially to Monique Doppert and Paul Maassen who have supported and guided us throughout the issue. We hope that the August 2008 issue of i4d will help readers understand the complexities associated with new media, the role of ICTs in buttressing development of this media and the shift in the process of content generation and content management.

Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies, 2008 Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License

Ravi Gupta

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August 2008 |


WEB 2.0

Development 2.0 to catch up with web 2.0 Second generation web technologies open up new opportunities for the development and humanitarian communities to reach out to millions of people

Did anybody hear of the senior UN official who finally started blogging? He wrote perceptively and expressively – with some help from his speech writers – but a vital element was missing in his blog: no one could comment on his posts as he completely disabled that function. Then there is the Red Cross chief who started her own Facebook but remained completely ‘friendless’ for months – because she didn’t accept anyone seeking to join her social networking effort! These are just two among many examples I have come across in recent months. They are all symptoms of a major challenge that development and humanitarian communities are grappling with: how to engage the latest wave of Information and Communication Technologies, or ICTs. We have been here before. In the early to mid 1990s, as Internet access started spreading, and as telecom and broadcast liberalisation rolled out, we discovered new communication platforms and opportunities. Many of us who took our first tentative steps on a myriad of

electronic shores soon found ourselves riding the first wave of new ICTs.

web 2.0 Although that was less than half a generation ago, it’s eons in the ICT field. Then, just when everyone thought things were settling down, the next wave emerged around 2004/05. Collectively known as web 2.0, this second generation of web technologies and platforms enhance information sharing, content generation and, most notably, collaboration among users. The web 2.0 technologies include blogs, wikis, social networking sites (e.g. MySpace, Facebook), social bookmarking services (e.g., video exchange platforms (e.g. YouTube) and online video games. Web 2.0 offers much higher levels of interactivity than the mostly passive websites or web portals. Meanwhile, accessing these web 2.0 enabled sites has now spilled over from personal computers to mobile, hand-held devices as well. All this opens up new opportunities for us in the development and humanitarian

Nalaka Gunawardene Director & CEO, TVE Asia Pacific


i4d | August 2008

communities to reach out and engage millions of people especially the youth who make up the majority in most developing countries of Asia. But it also challenges us as never before.

‘Other Digital Divide’ This time around, it’s much more demanding than simply engaging the original web. It involves crossing what I call the ‘Other Digital Divide’, one that separates (most members of ) the development community from ‘Digital Natives’- younger people who have grown up taking the digital media and tools completely for granted. We’re not just talking about kids here. While precise demarcations are not possible, it’s a safe guess that in most societies, a majority under 30 are digital natives. Most members of development and humanitarian communities are on the other side of 30 - making them, at best, digital immigrants. To engage the natives, they all must cross the ‘Other Digital Divide’. This requires fundamental changes of attitude among digital immigrants, which may be summed up as four key challenges.

Challenges (i) Leave the comfort zone of paper: Old habits die very hard. There is still great attachment to paper in the development and humanitarian sectors. From field data gathering and documentation to various beneficiary communications, everybody is pushing paper – truckloads and planeloads of it! The undisputed leader is the United Nations, a formidable ‘paper factory’ churning out millions of documents every year (over 700 million printed pages in 2005). They spend over 250 million dollars a year printing documents in New York and Geneva. The World Bank and European Union are not far behind. What happened to the ‘paperless society’ that ICTs were going to usher in? A basic challenge is to reduce the addiction to endless bits of paper lying and flying around. Just imagine all the trees it can save, and all the planet-warming carbon emissions it will help avoid! (ii) Let go of control: The development community - ranging from UN agencies and researchers to NGOs large and small - keeps talking about the value of participatory, two-way communication. Yet when it comes to actually practising communication, many are obsessed with retaining complete control. They edit text endlessly, fine-tune their messages to the last letter or soundbyte, and tightly regulate how and where the materials are disseminated. So imagine how hard it would be for such organisations to let go their Complete Control over communications. But that’s just what the new media, especially web 2.0, demand. It’s not a choice but an imperative. Engaging new media is not just setting up a Facebook account, taking a YouTube channel or opening a blog. All that’s useful, but they represent only the first steps to the wide and varied new media world. As with the more established print and broadcast media, development organisations need a strategy and a plan based on adequate research, analysis and reflection. A core value in new media is User-Generated Content (UGC). With the rolling out of broadband Internet and mobile phones, more people are beginning to create content of their own. These range from comments on blogs and home-made videos August 2008 |

uploaded to YouTube to whole virtual lives or worlds created on platforms like Second Life. They may not always be as coherent or articulate as content generated by professional journalists, advertising agencies or public relations companies. But this is the long-cherished two-way communication, so let’s celebrate it…and join the fun! (iii) Invest less money but more time: Anybody with connectivity and basic computer skills can start a blog these days, but as everyone who has tried it knows, it takes a great deal of time to stay on in this game. Because of their high level of interactivity, the new media requires a lot more time and effort to engage an audience. This can stretch capacity within development organisations - and it is not always wise to outsource web 2.0 applications to PR companies. But here again, the alternative is far worse. The million global conservations will continue and expand with or without us. Our choice: join them purposefully, or be sidelined by other, louder voices. (iv) Recognise information needs and wants: Both development and humanitarian communities talk passionately about the information needs of their beneficiaries, usually defined in terms of survival, sustenance or relief. I find it hugely condescending. It is as if people in poverty or crisis situations are a sub-human species with a simpler set of information needs, but none of the information ‘wants’ that we, the more privileged, have in abundance. This serious fallacy has distorted development communication for decades. I have argued that everyone - irrespective of social class or economic status - has not only information needs, but also information ‘wants’. Development interventions and emergency relief would become meaningful only when both are addressed. The information needs and wants of the poor can be as diverse as everybody else’s. For example, a Sri Lankan survey of information needs of rural poor some years ago found a demand for information on health and nutrition, bank loans, foreign jobs and insurance policies. There was also interest in world affairs, national politics, as well as in newly released books, songs and movies. So our challenge is to find out not only what beneficiaries or stakeholders need, but also what they want in information terms... and enable them to access and generate both.

Using new media opportunities Rapid advances in ICTs - including, but not limited to the rise of web 2.0 - have left the development and humanitarian communities lagging behind. Having passed the denial and dismissal phases vis-à-vis new media, they are now struggling to catch up. Some players have done better than the rest. There are inspiring examples of how some are seizing new media opportunities: • Some humanitarian groups now use Google Earth online satellite maps for their information management and advocacy work, for example in Darfur, Sudan, and the Central African Republic. • In an attempt to name and shame offenders, human rights activists are using YouTube to post incriminating video evidence of human rights abuses worldwide. The influential


Foreign Affairs journal in the United States recently called this the YouTube Effect Some conservation groups have started ‘colonising’ Second Life, an online virtual reality environment - a 3D digital world imagined and created by its residents, currently numbering more than 10 million, and counting. They have taken out ‘islands’ of their own, showcasing their content and messages.

Need of the hour We need much more experimentation, taking chances and learning by doing. No one has yet fully figured out what exactly the Digital Natives want and how to engage them on (and in) their own terms. Meanwhile, the social and humanitarian applications of new media are only limited by our imagination and courage. There are no authorities on this fast-changing subject: everyone is learning, some faster than others. Neither is there a road map to the new media world. From Rupert Murdoch and Steve Jobs downwards, every media mogul is working on this challenge.

For those who get it right, there is potential to make corporate fortunes, and also to serve the public interest in innovative, effective ways. The new media’s reach is not limited to their most visible users, the Digital Natives. Especially with the phenomenal spread of mobile phones, new media platforms are increasingly coming within reach of the poor, displaced, disabled and other disadvantaged groups. Charity and relief workers arriving in some of the poorest corners of the planet have been surprised to find communities swapping information with mobile phones. In some cases, early warnings of disease, drought or conflict are now spread not by radio or TV, but by SMS text messages. The new media are changing the information and communication landscape beyond recognition. To remain relevant and effective, those in development and humanitarian sectors must let go of old habits and reorient themselves and how they practise their noble professions. “To face challenges of web 2.0, we need to come up with development 2.0!” „

Web2.0: Opening up a new development paradigm Web2.0 is an integrated technology that makes global information available to local social contexts. Web 2.0 offers flexibility to people in finding, organising, sharing and creating information, which is globally accessible. It is about new network structure that emerges out of global and local structures. Web2.0 not only allows users to retrieve information but it also allows users to run software-applications through a browser. The term Web2.0 became notable after the first O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004. According to Tim O’Reilly: “ Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform.” The Web 2.0 technology includes server-software, contentsyndication, messaging-protocols, standards-oriented browsers with plugins and extensions, and various client-applications. Web2.0 generally uses following techniques/ features: 1. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS): CSS is a stylesheet language which is designed primarily to ensure the demarcation between document content and document presentation. Using CSS, users can define the colors, fonts, layout etc. and can thus redesign and style the HTML (Hyper Text Markup language) or XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language) application. A single programme or multiple programmes executed in CSS language may either be embeded in an HTML/XHTML application or may be used separately. 2. Folksonomy: In Web 2.0, Folksonomy is a method using which the user can categorise and tag content. The method is also known as collaborative tagging, social classification, social indexing, and social tagging. Folksonomy gives the user the chance to access and modify content in certain web sites that support tagging. The metadata generated by the user to make a body of information easy to search, discover, and navigate over time. 3. Rich Internet Applications (RIAs): RIAs form an integral part of Web 2.0 technology. RIAs are typical web applications that are






client-based and support the user to retrieve information whenever necessary. RIAs run on an environment called sandbox and do not require software installation. A RIA carries an intermediate layer called the client engine which intefaces with the application server. While a RIA is executed in a client terminal, the client engine keeps a bulk of the data back on the application server. Mashup: Mashup is an application that integrates data collected from multiple sources to create a unique service that combines the data and structures it. Integration of content is initiated through web feeds like RSS (Really Simple Syndication) or ATOM and Application Programming Interface (API). The Mashup framework consists of content provider, content manager and the client web browser. Mashups are generally available in three different formats: consumer mashups, data mashups, and business mashups. Blog: One of the major interactive tools of Web 2.0 technology is blog. In a blog site, an individual user can can create and update content and can maintain regular entries of commentary, events, or news. Blog sites may be maintained by a single individual, a group of individuals, a corporate body, an institution, social networking organisations etc. In most of the blog sites, users (also known as a bloggers) share a lot of common information disseminated through audio, animated graphics and video files. WiKi: Wiki is a tool that ensures better forms of public domain interaction and community involvement. Wiki, a collection of web pages, is developed so as to accommodate a wide array and content and accesses. Anybody can contribute or modify contents in a Wiki. Wikipedia, a web encyclopedia is one of the best known Wikis RSS: RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a unique ways of aggregating content. RSS is a feed format that republishes content in a structured format. RSS uses a reader software (sometimes called a feed reader/aggregator) to read the updated content from other sites.

i4d | August 2008


A new media platform for education WikiEducator is fast becoming a premiere ‘New Media platform for education for development’, striving to fulfil its mission to turn the digital divide into digital dividends using free content and open networks

Imagine a vast collection of pages of free educational content, consisting of tutorials, textbooks, lectures, lecture notes, and training guides. Imagine that this collection covers all levels of education, from primary, to secondary, and even tertiary, and that there is material available for every discipline from A to Z and everything in between. This repository is the goal of the WikiEducator project, found at

WikiEducator project

Steve Foerster Director e-Learning Services, Marymount University Washington, USA


Project WikiEducator (http://wikieducator. org) is an example of New Media, in that it is a special kind of web site called a ‘wiki’ that allows anyone to edit its pages. The largest and best known wiki is Wikipedia, and while not associated with that project, WikiEducator uses the same interface, which means that anyone from Wikipedia’s large community can participate in WikiEducator without any difficulty. In this way, the repository of educational materials is built one piece at a time by a community, and because all are allowed to contribute, those many hands make for light work. WikiEducator is designed to be a work bench not just for building educational

resources, but specifically for building Open Educational Resources, also known as OERs. These materials are released under a permissive license, that allows anyone to use, copy, modify, adapt, or translate them as long as any derivative work is released under the same permissive license. OERs are a reaction to the development of content that is closed off by copyright from free use. The project relies on individual contributions from educators to move forward. It also receives sponsorship of the Commonwealth of Learning (CoL), an international NGO funded by member states of the Commonwealth of Nations. This broad support is shown not only in the resources that the Commonwealth of Learning provides, but goes further in that WikiEducator’s Patron is Sir John Daniel, current president and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning. It is from this that WikiEducator gains its focus on education specifically for development, as the Commonwealth of Learning is foremost a development agency. The project does not simply stand alone, however. It is meant to serve as an umbrella resource that various content development initiatives can use of. Building community is an important part of the WikiEducator concept, and in furtherance of that, it is not only initiatives sponsored by the Commonwealth of Learning that may use WikiEducator, but indeed any project with complementary goals is welcome to use WikiEducator as their platform for developing and distributing free educational content.

VUSSC & XXI Texts Virtual University of Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC) is one among the several initiatives that is using i4d | August 2008

WikiEducator. VUSSC is not actually a university itself, but rather a consortium of universities in small states, such as the University of the West Indies and the University of Mauritius. For example, VUSSC is using WikiEducator to build an undergraduate curriculum in travel and tourism that is specifically designed to address the sustainable development needs of small economies- a curriculum unavailable from large countries whose experience with economic development is contextually very different. XXI Texts project is yet another initiative that is using WikiEducator. It seeks to find text books that have fallen into the public domain, whether from having been published sufficiently long enough ago or having not had its copyright renewed, then got revised them to be useful for twenty-first century students. It may come as a surprise how often textbooks that were published decades ago can still be sufficiently useful such that it would be much easier to adapt it for today’s students than to write a new one from the start. The project starts each textbook simply by moving those old textbooks onto WikiEducator pages as they are, then participants revise them over time so that they become more and more updated and relevant. The end result is a textbook that both has a long history yet is ready to be used, and which is free from copyright for any who might wish to use it.

From inception till now WikiEducator was introduced in early 2006 by Wayne Mackintosh, an Education Specialist with the Commonwealth of Learning, with a three phase timeline. In the first phase, from inception to the end of last year, the focus was on establishing a democratic governance model and setting up the resources necessary so that new participants can have all of the tutorials and similar materials they need to become productive within the WikiEducator environment. While some governance issues are still being finalised by the community, this phase has been largely successful. At its inception decisions were made for WikiEducator by Wayne Mackintosh. However, now an Interim International Advisory Board has been appointed to reflect the wishes of its growing community, and once the project has 2,500 registered users, elections will be held so that from that point a properly elected International Advisory Board is in place. Meanwhile, a selection of tutorial and style guides have been added, so that those participants who start with us during the content phase will have ready guideline on how to proceed. At this point the second phase is in full swing. This phase is scheduled from the start to end of this year, and consists of a focus on developing as much content as possible so that there will be a strong core of free materials available on which to build on. The third phase will be starting from 2009 onwards, and will consist of sustainability; continuing to bring in educators to add to the collection and as importantly, to begin using those resources that are already available. The ultimate goal is to have a complete set of curricula in every discipline at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels by 2015. Clearly, this is an ambition goal, but it’s one that the project believes it reach. August 2008 |

Multilingual and open access interfaces It is often asked whether sponsorship by the Commonwealth of Learning means that WikiEducator is only meant for English language materials. The answer is no, not at all! As a Commonwealth of Learning sponsored resource, English was the starting point for the project, but there is now a French-language track of WikiEducator, and the project’s leaders are in dialogue with a number of Spanish speakers about a track for that language as well. The purpose of the project is to empower educators and students with as many additional choices as possible, not just ones in English. As stated before, the educational resources that are developed on WikiEducator are called ‘open’ because they’re released under a permissive license. An early question is often specifically which license is used. Our community has developed around the Definition of Free Cultural Works as found at As such, all resources build on WikiEducator are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license or later (BY-SA). There has been discussion amongst some participants to change that so that initiatives working through WikiEducator would be able to release their materials in a manner compatible with BY-SA, which essentially means the less restrictive Attribution license or public domain dedication, but no formal agreement on that proposal has been reached. A final frequent question concerns use of material from Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites. Unfortunately, because of the incompatibility between the copyleft provisions of the BY-SA license and the GNU Free Document License used by Wikipedia, we are as yet not able to use material from Wikipedia when building open educational resources on WikiEducator. However, this is a matter of great concern to both organisations, and indeed the entire open education movement, and finding a solution to allow cross-use of material is being worked on by all those concerned.

Conclusion As with all such projects, its success can only come from participation from educators who wish to see that free educational materials become available to foster development now and in the years to come. There are a number of means by which the project seeks to attract participation from educators and to help those educators who are interested to become more familiar with the technical aspects of the platform. To do this, WikiEducator offers free online courses that teach wiki skills to educators regardless of their previous experience with technology. It also sponsors live training in locations around the world where the cost of admission to training sessions is simply an agreement to use those new skills to develop free content for all to use and share. WikiEducator is fast becoming the premiere ‘New Media platform for education for development’, ever striving to fulfill its mission to turn the digital divide into digital dividends using free content and open networks. „ Call for Papers/Articles/Essays/Case Studies/Anecdotes for September 2008 issue - i4d magazine ( Submissions are encouraged for i4d’s Sepmber issue on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and ICTs. Submission deadline - 25th August. email all submissions to



Computer games and developing countries Research is needed into the relation between computer games and development as educational use, play and production grow

Introduction Tens of millions of people in developing countries play computer games on a regular basis. Computer games companies in developing countries employ tens of thousands and earn tens of millions of US dollars annually. Yet you would hardly know it from the research literature, which seems to have almost wilfully ignored this area. We can characterise the relation between games and development through the following diagram. Each element will be discussed in turn, covering key background, questions, and frameworks for research:

A: Learning through games

Richard Heeks Lead-Development Informatics Group IDPM, SED, University of Manchester, UK


As the ICT infrastructure in developing countries grows, and as exposure to and engagement with leisure gaming grows, then so too will the use of computer games for educational purposes. We see this most obviously in schools for teaching basic literacy/numeracy skills (e.g. Pawar et al 2006) and for knowledge-building in other areas (e.g. biology – IES 2006). There is no sharp line to divide educational from leisure use. Thus development actors are seeking to utilise ‘fun’ games to deliver development outcomes. For example, games on mobiles are being used in Asia and Africa to raise awareness among young people about positive and negative HIV/ AIDS-related behaviours (Changemakers. net 2007). There is a small body of work on the use of games in both formal educational and informal social welfare contexts, but

nothing systematic. In particular, research is needed on the educational impact of games, partly with a view to the different forces at play in a developing country setting compared to a Western setting. Research is also needed on the comparative impact of different interventions, building on Linden et al’s (2003) finding that those using games showed better maths test improvements than those who did not, but that spending money instead on additional face-to-face instruction was more costeffective than using a computer game. Potential frameworks for research include cost-effectiveness analysis, looking at the costs of different ways to improve the development of particular measurable skills. As a general framework, one can also adapt the communications-fordevelopment model in order to assess the impact of games on behaviour (adapted from Bertrand et al 2006):

B: Games playing Though constrained by factors such as game availability and awareness, time, income and bandwidth, those who access telecentre/cybercafe facilities and those who access mobile phones increasingly use that access to play games. Thus, for instance, unless blocked, games playing seems to always appear in the top three uses of telecentre and cyberkiosk facilities (e.g. Kiri and Menon 2006; Huerta and Sandoval-Almazin 2007). Yet there appears to be very little data, let alone direct research, about this activity. We can break down the need for data and research into a fairly basic set of questions: • Who is playing? • When and where are they playing? • Why are they playing? • What are they playing? i4d | August 2008

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How and with whom are they playing? What impact does their play have? Different frameworks can be used for different questions. To address the question of motivation for play, for example, one could use Yee’s (2005) model of achievement, social and immersion motivations; perhaps coated with a layer of institutional theory to better understand the specific forces that shape behaviour of developing country players in differing contexts. To address the question of the impact of play, one could make use of Sen’s (1999) capability framework. This could be a useful way to consider the balance between the perceived negative (time-wasting, addiction) and positive (capacity-building, relationship-forming) aspects of games play. Alternatively, one could look at the broader impact of games; for example, using economic and social impact assessment to judge the effect of access to games-playing on telecentre sustainability.

been very little systematic research. We know most playbourers are based in China but they are also reported working in other East and South-East Asian nations, and in Central America (Jin 2006). A flow of good survey data is needed although a best guess is that some 400,000 playbourers work to feed a market of millions of consumers worth at least US$500m per year (Heeks 2008). There is some limited sense of the earnings and working conditions of gamer-workers from basic field work undertaken in 2005 but this needs to be updated and expanded. Research is also needed on the broader impacts of playbouring, including the career and enterprise progression curves of those involved. A good framework for assessing the impact on individual developing country workers would be the livelihoods framework; for example a modified assets pentagon (see below – from Heeks 2006). We can also better track the connections from developing country worker to (typically) industrialised country consumer using value chain analysis.

D: The games industry

C: ‘Playbouring’ In a number of MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online roleplaying games, such as World of Warcraft and Lineage II), the distinction between consumption and production is blurred. One aspect has been the emergence of ‘playbourers’: tens of thousands of gamer-workers based in developing countries who are paid to play the game. They may play to produce special in-game items (e.g. a powerful potion or armour), or to produce in-game currency (hence the widely-used term ‘gold farmers’ to describe this group), which are then sold for real-money to ‘regular’ players. Or they may take over another player’s character and work to increase its power (its ‘levels’) within the game; again for money. Despite a rash of interest in this activity, especially in 2005 when gold-farming stories were carried by most Western media, there has

August 2008 |

The activities of the IT industry overall in developing countries are well-known; from hardware production in Malaysia and Taiwan to software production in India and China to IT services in Brazil and South Africa. But on this broad stage, the spotlight has rarely fallen on one sub-sector – the games industry. In toto, that industry covers goods (hardware such as games consoles), services (such as the playbouring just described) and plenty in-between such as the software of the games themselves. Global sales of hardware and software alone were US$33bn in 2006 (Datamonitor 2007; Nasscom 2007). Developing countries appear to have a hand in all these elements. Perhaps best known is the East Asian games industry covering games developers, and also distributors publishing games from foreign firms. There is also outsourcing of game development. Global games outsourcing was estimated at US$1.1bn in 2006, with 60 percent of Western game studios involved (MacQueen and Gibson 2006). Work is undertaken in locations such as India, China, and the Philippines, each earning some tens of millions of US dollarsworth of export work. Because developing countries are only recently coming into an outsourcing business previously small and previously dominated by Eastern Europe, little research has been undertaken. Obvious research questions will relate to: • Policy: what government needs to do to support games industry growth. • Strategy: what local games firms need to do to gain business, to stay competitive, and to move up the value chain. • Tactics: identifying good practice in games development and outsourcing. • Impact: assessing the developmental impact of the games industry. Each of these research issues could draw on different frameworks. For example, research on policy and strategy could use Porter’s (1990) ‘diamond’ model (see below). Alternatively, Gereffi’s commodity chain model could be used to help understand aspects of strategy, tactics and impact (e.g. Grantham & Kaplinksy 2005). „


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References •

Bertrand, J.T., O’Reilly, K., Denison, J., Anhang, R. & Sweat, M. (2006) Systematic review of the effectiveness of mass communication programs to change HIV/AIDS-related behaviors in developing countries, Health Education Research, 21(4), 567-597 http:// (2007) Freedom HIV/AIDS: Mobile Phone Games to Create HIV/ AIDS Awareness in Asia and Africa,, Arlington, VA http://www. Datamonitor (2007) Games Consoles: Global Industry Guide, Datamonitor, London Grantham, A. & Kaplinsky, R. (2005) Getting the measure of the electronic games industry: developers and the management of innovation, International Journal of Innovation Management, 9(2), 183-213 Heeks, R. (2006) Social outsourcing: creating livelihoods, i4D, IV(9) - September, 17-

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19 Heeks, R. (2008) “Gold Farming”: Current Analysis and Future Research on RealWorld Production in Developing Countries for the Virtual Economies of Online Games, Development Informatics Working Paper, IDPM, University of Manchester, UK http:// Huerta, E. & Sandoval-Almazin, R. (2007) Digital literacy: problems faced by telecenter users in Mexico, Information Technology for Development, 13(3), 217-222 IES (2006) Producing Learning Gains in One-Computer Classrooms in India, International Education Systems, EDC, Washington, DC php?id=210 Jin, G. (2006) Chinese gold farmers in the game world, Consumers, Commodities & Consumption, 7(2)/May htm Kiri, K. & Menon, D. (2006) For profit rural kiosks in India: achievements and challenges, i4d, June &typ=Features Linden, L., Banerjee, A. & Duflo, E. (2003) Computer-Assisted Learning: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment, Poverty Action Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA linden.pdf MacQueen, D. & Gibson, R. (2006) Outsourcing in Next Generation Games Development, Screen Digest, London Nasscom (2007) Animation and Gaming India 2007 Overview, Nasscom, New Delhi Pawar, U.S., Pal, J. & Toyama, K. (2006) Multiple mice for computers in education in developing countries, in: Proceedings of the 1st IEEE/ACM ICTD Conference, 64-71 Porter, M.E. (1990) The Competitive Advantage of Nations, Macmillan Press, London Sen, A. (1999) Development as Freedom. New York, Knopf Yee, N. (2005) Motivations of play in MMORPGs, Daedalus, 3(2) http://www.nickyee. com/daedalus/archives/pdf/3-2.pdf

Towards a sustainable partnership i4d team is happy to have BELIEF-II (Bringing Europe’s eLectronic Infrastructures to Expanding Frontiers - Phase II) as its media partner. i4d believes that this partnership will lead to long-term benefits in terms of knowledge sharing and capacity building. BELIEF II, an extension of BELIEF I (2005-2007), is a European Union FP7 project that started on 1st April 2008. BELIEF II aims to support the goals of e-Infrastructure projects to maximise synergies in specific application areas between research, scientific and industrial communities. BELIEF II also supports the spread of good practices and provides encouragement to the use of e-Infrastructures to attain a more equitable development and distribution of knowledge. The project buttresses the dissemination and promotion of research and development activities on e-Infrastructures. The project, spanning across two years (2008-2010), plans to maintain a comprehensive Digital Library. BELIEF II is scheduled to organise important events like two eConcertation meetings in Europe, two Brainstorming events and three International Symposia in Brazil, India and South Africa. During these future events, i4d will play a lead partner role by publishing a banner link (with a hyperlink) to the BELIEF events website in the i4d online portal. This apart, i4d will organise interviews with highlights of key issues addressed at the conferences in its print magazine and will also publish articles


(on agreed dates) online and in i4d’s printed journal, featuring the scope and accomplished steps of the whole project, each product to be delivered & delivered and each event (pre-during

and post event articles, matching with the event deadlines for eg. opening & closing of registrations and early birds, Call for Papers, Final Programme etc…). i4d will also provide an update of the BELIEF II events in its events calender. As a part of the partnership, BELIEF II will recognise i4d as one of the Official Media Partners of BELIEF-II, post i4d’s logo in BELIEF’s portal (under sub-section ‘Media Partners) and all print materials like flyers, brochures, handouts etc., maintain a brief description of i4d and will provide access to promotional material such as Publications, News Magazine, Final Events Programmes…, for distribution to i4d members and publication in i4d’s print and online editions. BELIEF will also invite one of i4d’s team members as participant of its events. Both i4d and BELIEF are presently engaging themselves in promoting shared interests and values. i4d has started providing events update in its print journal and plans to organise some articles on BEFIEF II projects in the forthcoming issues. The time for building sustainable partnerships has begun. i4d | August 2008


Justice by any name From alternative media and public television to cable access, ethnic press, and low-power FM, marginalised communities are demanding e-Communications/ media policies to seek protection against elite rule

Introduction Popular funk musician George Clinton said, “Whoever controls the news, determines our destiny.” Most of us agree that a fight to determine the destiny of this country is rooted, in part, in who owns the media and who makes the rules. The question for some of us is how do we surface the historical context of communications and shift the current power relations of the media system? The answer involves building a coordinated movement for media reform that becomes a bridge between policy change and structural transformation. I was born in New York into a childhood marked by the language of super predators and welfare moms, lies about a steadily growing crime rate, and a consistent invisibility about the relationship between the social conditions of my community and the policy decisions of this nation’s leaders. This distorted and biased media content told the public a story about the content of my character, a story that built public acceptance for a political war on crime and drugs that led to the incarceration and death of millions, including many I knew and loved.

Fight for civil rights

Malkia Cyril Director The Center for Media Justice Oakland, Califorina, USA

August 2008 |

For many of us, media reform is more than a fight for our media, it is a fight for our lives. Today, we face a Bush-led war on the world and even more dangerous times. Our media system represents a crisis of democracy for the vast majority of the population. Our communication rights are one among the many civil rights being rolled back, but not without a fight. From state to state, communities refuse to give up their right to equal media access; fair, accurate, and balanced content; and the power to own and control media infrastructure. From alternative media and public television, to cable access, ethnic press, and lowpower FM, marginalised communities are demanding telecommunications policies in our interests.

When we speak of media reform, the intentions of the ‘framers’ and constitutional interpretations offer incomplete answers to the questions: What is a free press and how is it guaranteed? We’ve heard that Jefferson and Madison understood the importance of an astute press in creating the foundation for a strong democracy and protection against elite rule. What remains both invisible and undeniable in the debate about U.S. media is the colonial context of its birth. As the ‘founding fathers’ were documenting their concept of a free press, they were also building a slaveholding capitalist economy and a white nationalist politic that would entrench media policies and practices for centuries to come. Our current media system reproduces and maintains the colonial power relationships of its beginnings. Understanding the role media plays in creating and perpetuating structural racism and class oppression is not a secondary issue. It’s central to building an effective and relevant movement for media reform that fundamentally transforms the U.S. system of communications.

Ensuring media justice By adopting a raced, classed and gendered lens to examine issues of media content, access and infrastructure, we can dispel three dangerous myths. The first myth is that the U.S. media used to be more democratic and has become less so over time. The fact is the U.S. media system was born of colonial conquest and imperial intrusion, calling the democratic foundations of this press into direct question. For people of color, women, queer people and young folks, there has never been a free press, and without racial, economic and gender justice, there never will be. The second myth is that communication rights are inherently individual civil rights guaranteed by citizenship. What of the millions of undocumented people forced by economic and political conditions to emigrate to this country? What of the millions


of incarcerated men, women, and children whose citizenship rights are severed by confinement? What of the black, brown, female, queer and young people whose basic civil rights require ongoing movements to secure and even then are always in question. Where there is no real mechanism to guarantee civil rights, citizenship offers no protection or guarantee of communication rights. The third and final myth we must dismantle is that we can achieve a free press without also working to end racism, sexism and class oppression. Nothing could be further from the truth. Before the current trends of consolidation, reregulation in the corporate interest and corporate control, the media was simultaneously a tool for civic engagement and a threat to the life and liberty of marginalised communities. In a free-market society organised by class, race and gender, no press can be truly free unless the people who use it and are impacted by it are also free. If we want to bring about real change, the media reform movement must adopt a movement-building analysis, change model and vision that centres racial, economic and gender justice. Media Justice is a framework for media policy change that seeks to expose structural racism and class oppression in our media system, use local organising campaigns to root our victories, develop marginalised communities as media activists and leaders, and build an expansive movement for communication rights. We want accountability, alternatives and a media reform movement that spins on an axis of self determination and strategic alliance. As a member of the growing media justice movement, we at the Youth Media Council believe that there are 5 strategic steps we can and must take to build a strategic and effective movement for media justice: (i) Connect media policy to racial justice. Social justice groups must recognise media policy as a sister to their central bread and butter issues, while media policy groups must take up the fight for racial and economic justice. We cannot win one without fighting for the other. (ii) Use content battles, access fights and media accountability campaigns to engage new constituencies in the fight for progressive media policy. Marginalised communities are tired of corporations using stereotypes to make products sexy, using crime to sell news, using our bodies to build media infrastructure, and our money to get rich. We are key stakeholders in this fight. Our experiences with content, access and accountability must help to guide the analysis; our vision for broad social justice must help to determine the victories. (iii) Organise and coordinate from the ground up. Alliance building between national media policy groups and local grassroots organising groups is a necessary component of our change model. Nothing roots change like a campaign. Legal remedies alone can be overturned. The courage of communities demanding what’s ours is the only way the momentous victories we have won can be sustained. (iv) Use key political moments as strategic opportunities to advance our media policy agenda. Like many of you, we at the YMC are working to build infrastructure, base and leaders


at the local level to challenge the Bush Administration’s imminent overhaul of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. In partnership with Media Alliance and others, we are using the upcoming broadcast license renewal process to challenge corporate control of our airwaves, increase accountability in local radio stations, confront structural racism in the licensing process, and lay the foundation for national opposition to Bush’s plan. The strategy of using timely policy debates to advance long-term goals is an important one that the Right has used very well. It’s our turn now. It’s our time. (v) Marginalised communities care about media reform because our lives and our freedom are at stake. We care because from hip-hop to advertising, media corporations exploit the culture of youth and people of color for profit, while those same corporations use our families to create and assemble the technology that makes them rich. We care because our communities remain producers and consumers of a media system over which they have little to no control. But powerlessness is another dangerous myth we must challenge. Together, we have the combined strategy and skill to dismantle and rebuild this media system. Where the U.S. has used our media to export racism, sell war, and destructively declare itself a singular superpower, the problem of the U.S. media is a problem for the whole world. We can and must use media reform as a bridge to inch closer and closer to justice. Did I say that victory is imminent? I meant, it is everywhere. From the accountability campaign against Hot 97 in NY, to the Florida-based Immokalee workers’ fight for low power-fm, marginalized communities are here as stakeholders, as organisers and as visionaries. A truly free press is our right, and we’re damn sure gonna fight for it. „ NB: Youth Media Council has been renamed as ‘The Center for Media Justice’ Citation: Malkia Cyril, ‘Justice By Any Name.’ Free Press and Media Reform Conference Opening Plenary Speech, May 13, 2005. http://www. i4d | August 2008


New media, youth and cultural exchange Appalshop uses documentary films and radio pieces to address issues important to Appalachiansthings like mining, education, and preserving the region’s unique culture

Ginger Moored Appalachian Media Institute’s External Relations Coordinator (2006 – 2007)

August 2008 |

Sitting in the Courthouse Café, one of two sit-down restaurants on Whitesburg, Kentucky’s three-block main street, Eva Taibe thought she’d found the perfect dinner- chicken cordon bleu. But when Eva cut into the breaded crust, she was disappointed at the sight of ham, which she doesn’t eat since she is Muslim. “Everything here has pork – even when it’s called ‘chicken’,” she said laughing, as she cut out the ham and ate the chicken and cheese around it. To Marcela Morán, it wasn’t the pork that was weird. It was the hummus. “This town seems so fancy to me,” she said. “There’s a café with hummus and salads, you’ve got a pharmacy, Curves gym, and two grocery stores- not one, but two!” Eva is from Indonesia. Marcela is from a tiny Texas town near the U.S.-Mexican border. They both were in Whitesburg, Kentucky for several weeks in June to take part in an exchange programme with Appalshop, a cultural and multimedia arts centre located in the Appalachian coal fields of Kentucky. Appalshop media makers were in Indonesia and Texas earlier this year, so now it was Eva and Marcela’s turn to make a trip to Kentucky.

Appalshop: Integrating voices and concerns Eva came to Appalshop with 15 other Indonesian media makers as a part of a multi-phase exchange funded by the U.S. State Department that will take place over three years. She and the other exchange participants work at communitybased media groups across Indonesia as filmmakers, radio and television producers, and community organisers. They came to Kentucky to learn how Appalshop uses documentary films and radio pieces to address issues important to Appalachiansthings like mining, education, and preserving the region’s unique culture. By working together, the Appalshop and Indonesian exchange participants hope to discover new ways of capturing the voices of everyday Appalachians and Indonesiansvoices often not found in the mainstream media. Marcela came to Whitesburg with colleagues from Hecho en Encinal, a community arts organisation in rural southern Texas. She and the others from Hecho en Encinal wanted to learn more about Appalshop’s Appalachian Media Institute (AMI), a media production programme for teens who live near Whitesburg. Hecho en Encinal is launching a similar programme for youth in southern Texas. It might be difficult to imagine that Kentuckians, Texans, and Indonesians have much in common. And in the beginning of the exchange, the groups did spend a lot


of time simply learning about each other. There was of course the square dance held in Appalshop’s parking lot, where the Texans practiced their two-step dance moves and the Indonesians learned to swing their partners. The Indonesians taught Appalshop filmmakers how to say ‘cool’ in Bahasa Indonesia (it’s ‘keren’), and the rural Texans convinced AMI youth that Whitesburg is bigger than they thought (“After all, it does have a Wal-Mart!” the Texans pointed out.)

Sharing community experiences On a rainy day during the exchange, Appalshop filmmakers and youth from AMI gathered with the Indonesians and Texans to watch videos each group had produced about their communities. Marcela was excited to show her video about the lucha libre (Spanish for ‘free fight’), a sort of Mexican version of American WWF fighting that takes place in Texas border towns. To her, the video showed an interesting Mexican custom. After the video, though, Eva raised her hand to ask if the violence of lucha libre shows some sort of problem in Mexican culture. Several similar questions followed from Eva’s Indonesian peers. Marcela, at first puzzled, then got it: “I’m getting that in your culture, there’s not a lot of violence in your media.” As the groups continued to screen videos, however, the similarities between these seemingly disparate regions- Indonesia, Appalachian Kentucky, and southern Texas- became more clear. Marcela’s group, Hecho en Encinal, showed a video that Texas youth made with students from Appalshop’s AMI programme.


The video features several generations of Texans talking about how important it is that their ranch land gets passed from one generation to the next. Machlyn Blair, a 21 year-old who works with AMI and helped produce the ranching video, says the video reminds him of his home in Kentucky. “My families lived on land near Blair Branch creek for generations. Right now I live right next door to two uncles, an aunt, and my grandma’s house is a mile down the road. This land means a lot to me,” he says. The problem is these Texan families’ ranches are under threateveryone from oil to coal companies wants a piece of this land. Same thing goes for land in Kentucky. Young people in Kentucky are facing the reality that their families’ land may no longer be theirs- or even be inhabitable after the land is mined and logged. After the ranching video screening, AMI youth screened their own video on the threat of losing their local water supply to a coal mining project in their community. Appalachian Media Institute youth are so used to their land being destroyed- the top of nearby Black Mountain, Kentucky’s tallest, is currently being flattened by strip mining- that when the Indonesians screened their video on the deforestation in Indonesia, they asked questions as if they were environmental experts: “Does the logging hurt the water supply?” one 16 year-old girl asked. Another AMI student wanted to know: “How are the indigenous communities resisting these logging efforts?” An audience member from New York then asked the Indonesians about the illegal logging in their communities. “Don’t the authorities notice when huge barges of logs are floating down a river?” he wanted to know. This was a legitimate question for someone who is not from Appalachia or Indonesia or southern Texas to ask. But Rebecca O’Doherty, the AMI’s director, knew the answer before the Indonesians even answered. “Corruption,” she whispered. “Sort of like in Appalachia.” i4d | August 2008

Machlyn, who worked closely with the exchange participants as a member of AMI, thinks he learned a lot about Texas and Indonesia from these screenings. But through the exchange he’s learned about his own home too. One particular moment stands out in Machlyn’s mind. It’s is when he took Rizal Mahfud, one of the Indonesian media makers, to the top of Whitesburg’s Pine Mountain. As they were tramping on a trail through the blooming mountain laurels, he turned around to find Rizal drinking from a stream. “Rizal and the other Indonesians and Texans have such a respect for the mountains and for nature itself- it reminds me of people here,” Machlyn says. But then Rizal looked up at Machlyn, and asked, “How can you let people destroy your forests and water and this beautiful area?” “I didn’t know what to say to him,” says Machlyn. “But seeing someone not from here care so much about this land, made me care more and fight harder to keep it from being destroyed” Machlyn adds. When it came time to produce videos in collaboration with the Indonesians, Machlyn and other AMI youth wanted to base some of the videos on Rizal’s call to action. “We should listen to the Indonesians when they say we need to preserve the beauty here in Kentucky,” says Tommy Anderson, an 18 year-old AMI participant. “They know what it’s like for your land to be completely destroyed because they have similar problems but more extreme - illegal tree cutting, slash and burn, gold and silver mining.”

The making of a video The collaboration resulted in the production of a video that opened with faces of the producers- Indonesian media makers and AMI August 2008 |

youth- flashing on the screen. In the background was a BBC-like radio voice saying “Indonesians know too well the role of climate change…” followed by the voice of an American commentator discussing the problems of ‘white, poor, uneducated’ Kentuckians. In the final scene, the Indonesians and Appalachian Media Institute youth work together to reach the peak of a steep, rocky hill. “The point of the video,” Tommy says, “is that we can’t let the media decide who we are or what’s going to become of us. We want to reach a higher ground and find solutions ourselves, and we’re working together to get there.” Tommy also noted that the video’s lack of dialogue was intentional. “That way anybody-Americans, Indonesians, whoever- can watch the video and understand what we’re trying to say.” The efforts of Tommy, Machlyn, and the other AMI youth impressed Eva. She says that once she gets back to Indonesia she wants to do more to build the critical thinking of youth, just like Appalshop’s AMI programme.“Something like this is important because in our country our youth are kind of ignored,” explains Eva’s colleague, Amin Shabana. Machlyn thinks working with Indonesian youth would be exciting, since the exchange taught him that their communities have more in common than he thought. He’s also eager to continue working with Texas youth from Hecho en Encinal. In fact, he already has some ideas about how he can collaborate with them.“I noticed that down there, in south Texas, there’s lots of talk about building prisons for economic development. That happens here in Kentucky too. I’d love to talk to the Hecho en Encinal kids more about that, get their opinions.” Marcela’s even ahead of Machlyn. As soon as she returned to Texas she found herself corresponding with one of the Indonesian filmmakers. “I had given him an autographed copy of my documentary video,” she explains, “and now I just received an eMail from him, asking me for feedback on his new film.” For Marcela, this was one of the best parts of the exchange.“I now have new friends – who are colleagues in a way, too – on the other side of the world,” she says. „ For more information on the Appalshop-Indonesia exchange please visit: For more information on the Appalachian Media Institute’s exchange with Hecho en Encinal please visit:



Competing with the political documentary Like documentary films, games can serve an educational function and impart information about real world events or processes

Alternative reality gaming Alternative reality gaming have the ability to mix fact and fiction and can engage large number of interactive communicators who collaborate and interface to solve real-time puzzles and challenges. In this growing era of digital media, video and Internet games play a major role in integrating content, building interactive communication networks and disseminating contextual information. In fact, the mass popularity and appeal of games have led individuals and organisations formerly dedicated to the making and airing of documentary films to begin to consider how games can be used to meet similar ends. The author notes: “advocates for the use of ‘games for change’ argue that games can create new ways of looking at, and solving, the systemic environmental, economic and global problems we face in the world today.”

‘World Without Oil’: The real online gaming experience

What would happen if the demand for oil exceeded production and the people of planet earth found themselves in the midst of a global oil crisis? On April 30, 2007, the Internet-based Alternative Reality Game (ARG) ‘World Without Oil’ was launched to imagine just such a scenario. Illustrating the growing interest in games as a tool of education and social activism, the game was sponsored by American public television, an institution more used to broadcasting educational documentary films than hosting video games. As a game, World Without Oil involved thirty-two days of online gameplay, with each real-world 24-hour period counting for one-week in the game’s imagined oil crisis. Over its thirty-two game weeks, 1,900 players logged on to contribute content in the form of Internet blogs, videos, voicemails, images, and self authored news reports describing what was occurring is their region as the imagined oil crisis unfolded. The game’s

Lyell Davies Documentary filmmaker and Assistant Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice The City University of New York (CUNY)


i4d | August 2008

creative designer Ken Eklund commented: “We provided the narrative skeleton, the players fleshed out the story of this alternate reality game.” The players of the game, through their efforts, created a rich reality-based account of what could happen in a global oil crisis. By week ten of the game, the harsh tangible realities of an oil shortage were visible: millions were out of work; others reported being unable to travel to work from their suburban homes; while internationally, the military had been deployed to protect Canada’s oil fields, Australia faced a constitutional crisis as the nation’s western province threatened to secede because of a dispute over the allocation of energy resources, and oil tankers were being attacked as militants tried to deepen the crisis and ferment revolution. By week twenty, gasoline prices surpassed $7 per gallon, airlines were struggling to survive, and fuel riots were breaking out as oil companies reported massive profits for a second consecutive quarter. By the game’s termination in its thirty-second game week, things looked up: gasoline prices stabilised at $5.60 a gallon; people who lost their jobs found new work as businesses re-start; and cities began to clean up the mess caused by civil disorder. Over 60,000 visitors from around the world viewed the game as it progressed; and on its completion, the game was archived and packaged for educational use.

World Without Oil: Gaining advocacy and support Behind the public presentation of World Without Oil were two funding partners: the Independent Television Service (ITVS), an organisation designed to foster plurality and diversity in American public television, and the television series Independent Lens. ITVS’s stock and trade activity is providing funding for documentary films intended for conventional television airings, while the Independent Lens series is a respected broadcast showcase for documentary films addressing social themes. Support for World Without Oil by these two organisations seems to illustrate their recognition that games may have advantages over conventional non-fiction linear media when it comes to exploring certain kinds of political processes, and a tacit acknowledgment that games are now more popular-and for the corporate game industry more profitable—than film. Another recent instance of a game taking on the kind of role that in the past was the preserve of documentary film is offered by filmmaker Steve York, who has directed feature length documentary films depicting nonviolent struggles in the Ukraine, India and elsewhere, but who in 2006 partnered with the International Center For Nonviolent Conflict to produce ‘A August 2008 |

Force More Powerful’, a game that challenges players to negotiate the scenarios they are likely to face as real-world activists seeking to bring about nonviolent change. Games are also being embraced by practitioners within the ever growing participatory youth media field: youth media projects provide youth with both educational opportunities and opportunities for social involvement and activism through the making and distribution of media. In the past, youth media programmes have typically focused on video making, youth journalism, and radio production. However, at a recent ‘games festival’ organised in New York City by the games advocacy organisation Games For Change, one of the most visible presences were games created by youth. These games included: (ICED) I Can End Deportation (2008), created by youth at the international human rights organisation Breakthrough. In ICED the gameplay focuses on the experiences of five young people who fall foul of the U.S. immigration system. The play charactersamong them an undocumented Mexican named Javier, and India born Ayesha, who faces harassment post-9/11 because of her Muslim faith, are based on the lives of real people. Speaking at the festival Mallika Dutt from Breakthrough argued, “ICED was created to “reframe the immigration debate, and to create an immigration policy that respects due process.” Costing in the region of $50,000 to develop- a figure similar to the production cost of a low-budget broadcast documentary, ICED can now be downloaded free on the Internet. In the three months since the game’s release, said Dutt, it has been downloaded 100,000 times, and a study of the game’s effectiveness among teenagers showed a 56 percent of players changed their attitudes about the treatment of immigrants by authorities.

Real-time gaming: A designers perspective A year after its release, as we all feel the impact of a massive real-world jump in oil prices, World Without Oil has turned out to be more immediately prophetic than its designers had expected. For game designers committed to using games for social change, the attraction of ARGs like World Without Oil is their


ability to mix fact and fiction, while engaging large numbers of players in collaborative efforts to study and solve difficult puzzles and challenges. Like documentary films, games can serve an educational function and impart information about real world events or processes. But advocates for games of this type argue that games can do more than simply provide information, they can also foster agency on the part of players. Unlike linear media where the audience is essentially passive and follows a pre-determined narrative as it is presented to them on screen, when playing a game such as World Without Oil players must actively seek solutions to the game’s challenges and flexibly respond to events as they unfold in unscripted ways. Speaking recently in New York City, Eric Zimmerman, of the game design company GameLab, argued, “new kinds of literacy are going to be needed if we are to overcome the systemic challenges posed by environmental or global economic crises. Zimmerman added, “this is why games are important… compared with other forms of media, games are intrinsically systemic, games are systems.” World Without Oil designer Eklund proposed, “Our game structure gives people ‘permission’ to think seriously about a future they might otherwise avoid thinking about at all… as a result of the game, people are thinking about their neighbours and communities in new ways, and planting gardens, going to farmer’s markets, using bicycles and transit and otherwise questioning their dependence on cheap, plentiful oil.” A game like World Without Oil offers some immediate benefits where compared to conventional linear media forms such as the stand-alone documentary film. Games have the ability to represent processes that are multi-sited and geographically dispersed. One of

the challenges we face today in producing media that can address global crises, is that typically documentary films and sociological or ethnographic studies have focused on particular ‘places’. An entirely different representational vocabulary is needed if we are to depict global environmental, economic or geopolitical crises. As a multi-sited Internet based communication form, World Without Oil seems to offer one example of how this might be achieved. Advocates for World Without Oil also argue that the multi-player nature of the game will be key to its political effectiveness. Eklund stated, “the ‘wisdom of crowds’ mobilised during gameplay can outperform panels of experts when addressing certain kinds of problems.”

Conclusion Games such as World Without Oil and ICED offer new ways of exploring the social and political processes unfolding around us. Drawing on a factual base of real world conditions, these games allow players to engage in information gathering and interactive learning and systems analysis in ways not easily afforded by linear media forms. Although the games for change movement is still in its formative years-and the claims made on behalf of games have still to be fully tested- serious games seem to offer real possibilities for politically committed reality-based media making. Games are unlikely to replace prestige media forms like the politically committed documentary anytime soon, but they are already beginning to serve as a counterpart to linear media forms such as the documentary, and games may in some situations be equipped to bring about change of a kind impossible with other media forms. „

IPTV: A new definition of television The term, IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) was coined by the founders of Precept Software, Judith Estrin and Bill Carrico in 1995. IPTV is a system which is capable of receiving and displaying a video stream encoded as a series of Internet Protocol Packages. Generally, service provider supplies IPTV using a closed network infrastructure. In technical terminology, the conjunction of IPTV, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Internet access is referred as ‘Triple Play’ service and by adding mobility, it is called as ‘Quadruple Play’ service. IPTV is a set-top-box, which connects to the home DSL Line and is responsible for reassembling the packets into a coherent video stream and decoding the content. Videos enter into the service provider’s system, where network feeds are pulled from satellites and encoded. The video stream is broken up into IP packets and dumped. Video content is typically compressed either using a MPEG-2 (MPEG-2 is a the generic coding of moving pictures and associated audio information) or a MPEG-4 codec (MPEG-4 is a collection of methods defining compression of audio and visual digital data). After that, an MPEG transport stream is delivered through IP Multicast in a case of live TV or through IP Unicast in case of Video on Demand. Since IPTV requires a real-time data transmission and uses the Internet Protocol, it is sensitive to packet loss and delays


if the streamed data is unreliable. If the connection is not so fast, it also looses content. Improvements in wireless technology are now starting to provide equipment to solve the problem. IPTV covers both live TV (multicasting) as well as stored video (Video on Demand VoD). The IPTV offers significant advantages, including the ability to integrate television with other IP based services like high speed Internet access and VoIP. Some of the advantages are given below: • Interactivity: IPTV makes TV viewing experience more interactive and personalised by including an interactive program guide that viewers can use to search content by title or picture-to-picture functionality or surf the channel without leaving the programme they are watching. Viewers can also access photos or music from their PC on their television or they can use wireless phone to schedule their favorite programme. • Video on Demand (VoD): VoD allows users to browse online programme or film catalogue. • IPTV based Converged Services: These type of services imply interaction of existing services in uniform manner to create a new value added service. IP based services enable users to access content anywhere and anytime. i4d | August 2008

„ CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS GeSI on ICTs and climate change It is argued that usage and application of ICT tools produce two to three percent of global green house gas emissions thorgh at the same time provide solutions to tackle climate change. To address this mutually exclusive as well as antagonistic role of ICT tools, two ITU symposia on ICTs and climate change were held in recent months in Kyoto and London. In the symposia, participants representing ICT companies from around the world as well as the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, called on ITU to increase its activities in ICTs and climate change. After the recommendations of all participants, ITU decided to create the new Focus Group ‘Global e-Sustainability Initiative’ (GeSI)’ on ICTs and Climate Change, with an ambitious work plan to conclude by April 2009. The reports of the two symposia were submitted to the G8 Summit held in Hokkaido, Japan, on 7-9 July 2008. GeSI, which comprises of key technology companies and organisations including ITU, aims to develop internationally agreed methodologies to describe and estimate the impact of ICTs on climate change. The group focuses on the reduction of ICT emissions in major sectors like energy, transportation and buildings.

Wipro and WWF sign pact Wipro has signed a pact with World Wild Fund (WWF) – India to explore the use of IT for environmental sustainability. Under the pact, both organisations will directly deal with issues of climate change, water, waste management and energy and biodiversity conservation. The tie-up between Wipro and WWF is an attempt to develop ideas and actions for sustainable growth based on relevant dimensions of environmental sustainability. Both organisations will also work on IT solutions such as virtual meeting enablers, environment friendly ICT products, devices and systems that drive energy efficiency of a variety of economic assets and advocacy for ecologically sustainable standard practices in the IT industry. August 2008 |

IIM Ahmedabad (India) to launch carbon finance course Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad is planning to launch a programme on environmental management strategies, which will specifically focus on carbon markets in India. IIM-Ahmedabad is planning to introduce a carbon finance course this academic year. The course will focus on conceptual and practical understanding of the anthropogenic forces, which causes climate change. The course will develop a global legal framework and mechanism to deal with climate change issue. The course is divided into 14 sessions and will introduce the evolution of the global carbon market. The course will follow the international negotiations on climate change and development based on Kyoto Protocol. The course will introduce the three formal carbon finance instruments in Kyoto Protocol; the Joint implementation (JI Article 4), Clean Development Mechanism (CDM - Article 12) and Emissions Trading (ET - Article 17).

UN asks governments to take immediate action to tackle climate change Un i t e d Na t i o n s ( U N ) h a s a s k e d governments to take immediate action to protect those cities, which are situated near rivers or seas and already witnessed hazards of flooding. The report, ‘Climate Resilient Cities’, recently launched by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) offers suggestions to protect cities from the effects of the disasters. The report states that for every one metre rise in sea levels, there will be a corresponding two per cent drop in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to

the decrease in fresh water, damage to agriculture and fisheries, disrupted tourism and reduced energy security. The report also asks governments to take an immediate action for building strategies to combat climate change. The report also calls for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Some recommendations of the report are simple, such as raising awareness of global warming’s impact, promoting the use of bicycles and increasing the use of energy-efficient public transport vehicles. Other suggestions include entailing legislation and increasing investment, including providing fossil fuel alternatives and improving public infrastructure.

UK Government decides to reduce carbon footprint The British Government has become the first in the world to reduce the carbon footprint of its computer systems. Cabinet Office Minister, Tom Waston stated that the government is aiming to reduce energy consumption of ICT carbon within four years. According to the report published by Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), UK, ICT is responsible for up to 20 percent of carbon generated by Government offices, which is around 460,000 tonnes a year. The government has asked all departments to take 18 key steps like; (1) Automatically switching off desktop computer after working hours. (2) Reusing computer equipment (3) Auditing of data centres and server to make sure the maximum efficiency of their running time, etc. Copies of the full strategy and Tom Watson’s speech will be available for download from http://www.cabinetoffice. „



India’s future climate: No cause for alarm The topic of global warming & climate change is being debated intensely at present in the international scientific community as well as in the media

Madhav L Khandekar Climate Consultant, Markham, Ontario, Canada The most recent climate change documents of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations Body of scientists) project increasing frequency of extreme weather events like droughts/ floods, heat waves, escalating sea level rise etc. as the earth’s surface continues to warm due to increasing concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) resulting from world-wide human activity. This article summarises the present state of the global warming and climate change science and concludes that for India as a whole, climate change impacts in future would be minimal and can be sustained with suitable adaptation strategy. The article further suggests (as an adaptation strategy) more efforts to be directed towards development of operationally useful technique for seasonal prediction of monsoon rainfall which is the most important climate event for the country as a whole.


Dr Madhav L Khandekar is a former Research Scientist from Environment Canada and is presently on the editorial board of the international Journal Natural Hazards ( Kluwer Netherlands). Khandekar holds M.S. degree in Statistics from Pune University and M.S. and PH. D. degrees in Meteorology from the Florida State University, USA. Khandekar has been in the fields of weather and climate for over fifty years and has published over 125 papers, reports, scientific commentaries etc. While at Environment Canada, Khandekar wrote a book Operational Analysis and Prediction of Ocean Wind Waves which was published by Springer-Verlag in 1989. Khandekar is also an expert reviewer for the IPCC 2007 Climate Change Documents. Introduction and brief overview The topic of global warming and associated climate change is perhaps the most intensely debated issue in the history of weather and climate science. Hardly a day goes by when an article or an essay appears in news papers, popular magazines or in scientific literature. Among the various issues being debated are the adverse future climate change impact and the need to reduce future warming by enforcing world-wide GHG emission control. What is however not discussed is the present state of the science of global warming and climate change. There is a definite need to closely look at the present state of the science to determine what actions, if any, need be taken to adequately deal with future climate change and its impacts. The present global warming debate may have begun with a landmark paper by Revelle and Suess (1957) in which

the lead author late Roger Revelle (one of the most prominent geophysicists of USA) proposed that Humans are carrying out a large-scale geophysical experiment through world-wide industrial activity that could lead to build up of CO2 greater than the rate of CO2 production from volcanoes. Revelle was instrumental in establishing the first station for monitoring atmospheric carbon dioxide in 1956 at Mauna Loa in Hawaii. Another carbon dioxide monitoring station was soon established at the South Pole and later a global network of CO2 monitoring stations was created. It is now well established that the atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased its concentration from about 315 ppmv (parts per million, volume basis) in the 1950s to about 385 ppmv at present, an increase of 30 percent in the last 50 years or so. The mean temperature of the earth’s surface (land-ocean combined) and its variation from 1860 till present is shown i4d | August 2008

Figure1: Annual anomalies of global land surface air temperature, 1861-2005, relative to the 1961-1990 mean ( 0C).

in Figure 1 which is used by the IPCC as the benchmark for the present debate on global warming and climate change. Figure 1 shows how the mean temperature of the earth has varied rather irregularly in the last 140 years. Figure 1 also shows two distinct warming episodes, first from 1910 through 1945 and the second from about 1977 till present. The recent warming (about 0.50C since 1980) and its apparent link to the increasing concentration of atmospheric CO2 has led to the suggestion of human-induced warming and associated climate change. Computer climate models developed at several international climate research centres have simulated the link between humanadded CO2 and earth’s mean temperature increase of recent years. Further these climate models project future warming of 30 C and more over the next 100 years leading to catastrophic impacts on the earth’s climate and on world-wide human societies. In the last ten years, a number of scientists have questioned one or more assumptions used in the IPCC science and there is now an intense debate regarding many issues like impact of urbanisation on mean temperature calculation, changes in atmospheric circulation patterns due to natural climate variability and the role of carbon dioxide versus that of solar variability on the earth’s climate in historical as well as in geological times. For a discussion of some of the issues on the present debate, see Khandekar et al (2005). The present state of the climate change science is far from settled, as claimed by environmentalists and IPCC adherents.

an agricultural country where timely arrival of summer rainfall becomes critical for the monsoon crops (known as Kharif ), most important of which is rice, grown primarily in the Peninsular India. The four summer months provide an average of about 85 cm ( ~40 inches) of rainfall over most of India. (this is one of largest amount of seasonal rainfall anywhere in the world over a large area like India). Outside of summer monsoon, India does experience winter rains via the northeast monsoon season (December-February) which provides rains (albeit much smaller amount) to the southeast Peninsular region of India and parts of Sri Lanka. In the northwest parts of India, some winter rains are produced (~5 cm) in the wake of western disturbances which are part of mid-latitude weather systems making their way into northwest India through the western Himalayan passes. The southwest monsoon season is the most important rainy season for India’s agriculture and also for re-charging of water levels in a large number of reservoirs in and around big cities in the Peninsular India like Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore. This is also the season for many rivers to be recharged and distribute their water to a large number of villages and towns. The Indian Monsoon together with the south Asian monsoon is the largest seasonal abnormality in the global climate system and impacts about 60 percent of world humanity at present. In broader (simpler) terms, the Indian monsoon is often described as a large-scale sea-breeze circulation in response to ‘hot’ land surface and ‘cool’ oceans (Arabian Sea in the west and Bay of Bengal in the east) during the pre-monsoon months. In reality the Indian Monsoon is one of the most complex features of the earth’s climate which cannot be adequately simulated by climate models at present (Shukla 2007). In the last 25 years, hundreds of studies have been published on Indian/Asian monsoon and it is now widely accepted that the Indian monsoon onset and intensity are controlled by large-scale features of the atmosphere like the ENSO (El Nino-Southern Oscillation) cycle in the equatorial

Climate change over India: present and future India as a whole is dominated by the monsoonal climate where the summer rainfall (called the southwest monsoon, June-September) is the most important climate event. Traditionally, India has been August 2008 |

Figure2: Variability in the Indian summer monsoon rainfall,1844-2000, with seven major droughts and six major floods as shown.


Pacific, the Eurasian snow cover during the preceding winter and the equatorial stratospheric Quasi-Biennial wind Oscillation, known in scientific literature as the QBO. The local and regional topography ( ex. The Himalayas, Deccan Plateau and the Western Ghats) play an important role in producing large variations in rainfall amounts, especially in and around the Western Ghats. (ex. Pune receives just about 25 inches/62 cm of rains while the hill station Mahabaleshwar, only 100 km from Pune, receives about 200 inches/450 cm of rains during the four monsoon months). The IPCC science projects that the Indian/Asian monsoon will experience increased variability and intensity in a warmer world. In reality, the Indian monsoon has weakened in the last 25 to 30 years, while its variability is found to be governed more by decadal (~ 30 year) cycles than by year-to-year variations (Kriplani et al 2003). Kriplani et al find that the long-term behaviour of Indian monsoon, while showing no impact of recent global warming, reveals decadal variability with approximately 30-year cycles of above and below normal rainfall. Will the Indian monsoon be adversely affected by climate change in future? Recent studies do not suggest any adverse impact at this point in time. The Indian monsoon has always exhibited significant departures from normal from time to time as can be seen in Figure 2 which shows seven major droughts and six major floods in the 150-year instrumental record. These droughts and floods are part of natural climate variability and do not show any linkage to climate change, human-induced or otherwise. The IPCC 2007 climate change documents project a mean temperature increase of about 10C for India in the next thirty years, while projecting less than 5 percent increase in monsoon precipitation. Several recent studies have identified a number of uncertainties in these projections and the future warming of the earth’s surface is now projected to be only about 10C to 1.50C over the next 100 years. In any case, the revised projections suggest only marginal changes in India’s climate over the next thirty years or more. The possibility of catastrophic future climate change impacts for India (ex. escalated sea-level rise on east or west coast) appears to be small at this time.

Concluding remarks The present debate on the global warming and climate change science has brought out several uncertainties in future projection of climate change and its world-wide impact. For India as a whole, future climate change impacts appear to be minimal and pose no concern for alarm at this point in time. The Indian summer monsoon has been and will remain the most important climate event for India in the foreseeable future. Future climate change impacts can be adequately sustained using suitable adaptation strategy. A useful adaptation strategy would be to develop and improve the present skill in seasonal prediction of summer monsoon with a lead time of few weeks to a few months. Improved skill in seasonal prediction will enable appropriate measures to be implemented which could minimise impacts of future droughts and floods in the Indian monsoon. Acknowledgements: It is a pleasure to express my appreciation to the editorial committee members for inviting me to write this article for this magazine.I also like to express my gratitude to my wife Shalan for her help with the diagrams used in this article.


References: (i)

Khandekar M L, T S Murty & P Chittibabu 2005: The global warming debate: A review of the present state of science. Pure & Applied Geophysics 162 p. 1557-1586

(ii) Kriplanai R H, A Kulkarni, S Sabade & M Khandekar 2003: Indian Monsoon variability in a global warming scenario. Natural Hazards 29 p. 189-206 (iii) Revelle R & H E Suess 1957: Carbon dioxide exchange between atmosphere and ocean and the question of an increase of atmospheric CO2 during the past decades. Tellus 9 p.18-27 (iv) Shukla Jagadish 2007: Monsoon mysteries. Science 318 p. 204-205

Appendix: Table 1: All India summer monsoon rainfall (in mm) from 1844 to 2000 Decade Year

1 1844 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991


791 916 944 831 856 910 894 887 849 966 728 753 708 822 864 900 909 797 745 914 683 782 1021 824 924 667 887 773 874 822

3 805 901 789 827 902 831 803 845 996 866 892 850 938 941 897

4 744 939 701 944 954 924 739 900 876 888 921 903 926 747 840 950

5 746 726 838 937 836 801 715 814 825 827 918 914 717 965 830 845

6 924 827 841 778 863 858 847 949 862 889 900 955 751 871 752 875

7 853 768 841 621 904 854 800 995 816 863 922 755 875 932 701 870

8 756 756 700 917 833 866 884 669 743 860 854 907 766 910 966 890

9 857 848 860 918 908 635 902 891 792 778 917 908 834 720 856 810

0 796 836 884 811 867 916 887 749 806 838 878 850 976 887 914 800

Source: N.A. Sontakke, G.B. Pant, and Nityanand Singh, 1993, Construction of All-India Summer Monsoon Rainfall Series for the Period 1844–1991, Journal of Climate, pp. 1807–1811

Call for Papers/Articles for greenIT ( To address pertinent climate justice issues and concerns, i4d magazine has launched an exclusive section called greenIT from June 2008 onwards. greenIT will currently feature as a four-page climate supplement and will eventually be converted into a fullfledged print magazine. greenIT of i4d magazine encourages a wide range of submissions in the form of articles, review papers, anecdotes, success stories, case studies etc. from climatologists, decision-makers, climate scientists, environmentalists and community stakeholders. An ideal feature article should be between 1500 and 3000 words, lucidly written and wellsupported with data and current trends. Graphs and pictures should be sent in high-resolution (360 dpi) .jpeg, .gif, .tiff or .bmp formats. Case studies/review papers should be between 750-800 words and supported with relevant statistics. For further details on editorial guidelines kindly refer to : i4d | August 2008

PC to keep track of the consumption rate of animal feed, and is now able to create accurate records of sales. She appealed to ZARD to come up with another programme that would facilitate access to information (through the Internet) on cheese making.

Information for development

Zambia launches rural ICT programme

The Government of Zambia has released the details of their new rural ICT programme called Rural Energy Powered ICT Services (REPRISE) during an open-house event at the Zambia Association for Research and Development (ZARD). The details were made public during the event held in June by the Minister of Communications and Transport, Dora Siliya. The ZARD open-house showcased the work of the Women’s Development Network (WIDNet) project, one example of an effort that has tackled the issue of rural ICT deployment. WIDNet’s goal is to contribute to the livelihood of women and their dependants as well as to enhance socio-economic development through ICT, speakers said. The lack of understanding of long term benefits of ICT posed a big hurdle for WIDNet, ZARD Executive Director, Pezo Phiri said. Other problems include the need to digitise information for the programme’s data centre and the need for a bigger training room and computers to cater to the high demand for IT training. ZARD Board Chairperson, Kasote Singogo said access to information is key to reducing gender inequalities. He noted that WIDNet had 11 partners, including the Non Governmental Organization Coordinating Council, which provided funding for computers. Christine Nkhoma, a 62 year old farmer who is one of the beneficiaries from theWIDNet Project, said that after learning basic computer skills, she started using a August 2008 |

Be-Mobile connects farmers, herdsmen in Botswana Be-Mobile is expected to have a positive impact on cattle farming in Botswana as the cellular network becomes accessible in the remotest areas such as cattleposts. In this sense, communication between cattle farmers and their herdsmen will be improved resulting in better care and monitoring of livestock at cattleposts by farmers. Odirile Macha, Head of Information Technology, Be-Mobile, said this during the official launch of Be-Mobile cellular network at the Serowe, Botswana. Odirile also urged farmers to purchase Be-Mobile cellphones and SIM cards for their herdsmen and said that it would help herdsmen contact their employers from the cattleposts at any given point in time. Stating that Be-Mobile charge rates are lower than other cellular network providers, he said that the organisation has one rate for making calls nationally irrespective of the distance between the two points of communication. Bangwato’s Regent, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane acknowledged the introduction of Be-Mobile cellular network and the fact that it is accessible in remote areas such as cattleposts and farms. Kgamane also echoed Odirile’s words that with the accessibility of Be-Mobile in remote areas, agriculture is bound to flourish because communication is one of the basic factors towards sustainable agricultural development. Solomon Dikgang, Councilor for Tidimalo, in his vote of thanks, urged residents to save money in order to purchase shares from Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) when the time comes. Solomon also told potential buyers of BTC shares to market Be-Mobile stating that the more people register with Be-Mobile the more the shares grow.

GPS to offer a way to track assets and workforce

A San Jose, California, company has developed a way to track vehicles and their operators. The company, TeleNav, has introduced the Asset Tracker, a battery-powered Global Positioning System (GPS) that can be placed on a vehicle, trailer, tractor or other piece of heavy equipment to monitor its location. “Security is a big application for the Asset Tracker,” said Sal Dhanani, CoFounder and Senior Director (Marketing), TeleNav. The Asset Tracker is a small black box (2.36 inches by 1.8 inches by 0.8 inch) with an antenna. It weighs about 2.65 ounces and looks similar to a pager. The box contains a GPS receiver and a wireless modem. The receiver scans for satellite signals and then triangulates its location based upon which satellites it receives a signal from. The modem sends the information to the office computer. The Asset Tracker uses an internal rechargeable 1330-mAh Lithium-ion battery that lasts up to three weeks. The item can be stowed in a glove box, under a seat, or in a side pocket. It can also be hidden under the hood or somewhere in the vehicle’s frame. Using a personal computer and an Internet browser, the equipment owner can log into a passwordprotected website and view the exact position of the mobile asset. The site is updated hourly. The Asset Tracker can also serve as a ‘geo-fence.’ The customised Tracker sends an alert as soon as the asset moves from its assigned location. The TeleNav Asset Tracker is priced at $200, with a one-time setup fee of $20, and a monthly subscription cost of about $20.

Check out for daily news updates 27


Mobile to link farmers and supermarkets The utilisation of good quality fresh vegetables and fruit is a significant element in the current rapid growth of organised food retailing Donald Taylor is an independent consultant specialising in agribusiness and rural enterprise development. He has served in an advisory capacity to Asian Development Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development, World Bank, U.N. agencies and numerous corporate clients. Mr. Taylor has some 30 years international consulting and management experience in more than two dozen countries, primarily in East, Southeast and South Asia, which also includes experience in the Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East. In recent years, he has concentrated primarily on the improvement of agribusiness systems and the integration of small scale farmers into agribusiness value chains. Mr. Taylor serves as India country representative for ACDI/VOCA, a Washington, D.C. based international development consultancy firm. For the past four years, he has managed the U.S. Agency for International Development sponsored GMED and IGP Donald M. Taylor projects in India, aimed at promoting the growth of small-scale India Country Representative horticulture farmers and improving fresh produce supply chains. and Chief of Party, ACDI/VOCA Mr. Taylor is an American, resident in the Philippines. The quality of the fresh produce department is a critical element in drawing customers into supermarkets worldwide. In the case of India, however, modern fresh produce supply chains are almost completely absent; and the small-scale vegetable and fruit farmers that represent the major source of supply lack access to the appropriate production and postharvest technology needed for their products to meet buyer specifications. These gaps pose major constraints for organised retail food outlets attempting to attract consumers by offering premium quality fresh produce. A new programmes sponsored by Infosys and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), based on mobile


connectivity, is expected to provide solutions to these constraints.

The backdrop During the past decade, the Indian economy has undergone many significant changes, including the growth of the IT, specialty manufacturing, pharmaceutical and other high technology sectors. The rapid economic growth engendered by these changes has, however, bypassed much of the majority rural population of the country. An important phenomenon during the past five years that is directly linked to growth prospects for India’s rural economy, has been the continuing rapid growth of the organised food retail sector

constituted by modern supermarkets, hypermarkets, convenience outlets etc. The burgeoning consumer preference for the supermarket experience has its roots in the rise of the urban middle class, a growing number of whom are young, upwardly mobile and less wedded to tradition than their parents. GDP growth of eight to nine percent per annum is placing more disposable income in the hands of these urban middle class consumers.

The booming retail market According to the findings of a recent joint study conducted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and i4d | August 2008

Industry (FICCI) and Ernst and Young, organised retail will advance from the current five percent of total retail to 30 percent over the next 10 years. The same study forecasts a more than doubling of the organised retail market during the coming three years, from the present 14 billion dollars to 30 billion dollars. According to a more recent study by Deloitte, Haskins and Sells, organised retail grew at an unprecedented rate in 2007, accounting for eight percent of total retail sales compared with five percent in 2006. Food and groceries account for some 74 percent of total Indian retail sales with food accounting for some 44 percent of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sales, according to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation.

Elements in organised food retailing The utilisation of good quality fresh vegetables and fruit as a primary means of attracting customers to supermarkets is a significant element in the current rapid growth of organised food retailing. Compared to many other countries, fresh vegetables and fruit play a disproportionately important role in the Indian diet. The ‘supermarket revolution’ in other developing countries started with staple commodities and processed food and only later progressed to sales of fresh produce and other perishables. In marked contrast, however, Indian supermarkets have accorded prominence from the outset to vegetables and fruit. In addition to the impact of the rapid growth of the organised retail sector on market opportunities, there exists great potential for India to become an important exporter of fruit and vegetables. The country possesses a wide variety of agro-climatic zones, ranging from tropical to desert to higher elevation temperate climates. India has the highest proportion of arable land to total land area of any country in the world. The country’s location is favourable for trade with Europe, Southeast Asia and the Gulf states. Rising transportation costs to these markets from North and South America caused by skyrocketing oil prices are significantly increasing India’s comparative advantage in the export of fruit and vegetables.

Benefiting the small-scale farmers These favourable market prospects pose significant growth opportunities for small-scale farmers and the Indian rural economy. In 2001, the latest year for which figures are available, there were approximately 25.4 million Indian fruit and vegetable farmers. According to informed estimates, it requires an average of about 150 small-scale farmers to service a supermarket produce department year-round. Given the number of organised fresh produce outlets already on the ground (one firm alone has already opened between 500 and 600 stores and continues to open new outlets every week) and those on the drawing board, the organised retail food sector could conceivably involve several million smallscale vegetable and fruit farmers over the next few years. The almost complete absence of modern, coordinated supply chains for fresh vegetables and fruit in India represent possibly the most serious constraint to taking full advantage of these development opportunities. The lack of access by farmers to the techniques required to satisfy supermarket and export requirements constitutes a second major constraint. The growing demand for a August 2008 |

reliable supply of better quality fresh produce by the supermarket and export sectors combined with the ongoing amendment at the state level of the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act are creating favourable conditions for successfully addressing both of these constraints.

The ACDI/VOCA initiative The India Growth Oriented Micro-Enterprise Development (GMED) programme, managed by ACDI/VOCA, a Washington D.C. based international development consultancy, has conclusively proven over the past four years that, contrary to the common belief formerly held by organised retail buyers, smallscale Indian farmers can become reliable suppliers of quality fresh produce to organised retail as well as exporters. The programme, sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was established for the purpose of developing longterm supply partnerships between small-scale vegetable and fruit farmers, and supermarket and export buyers, and to help improve the capacity of the farmers to meet buyer requirements. The rationale for the programme was the perceived opportunity to increase farmer productivity and incomes while improving the quality of fresh produce available to the consumer. The GMED pilot programme GMED undertook an initial pilot project in three locations in India, in partnership with a major retailer, to validate the approach. Results have been positive for both the farmer and the organised retail buyer. The buyer/farmer partnership satisfies the need of the farmer for access to assured, higher value markets as well as enabling the farmer to acquire the technical skills required to satisfy the requirements of these markets. It also provides a solution to the supermarket buyer’s requirements—the ability to acquire a reliable supply of the proper quality fresh produce at the time it is needed. In the case of the GMED pilot programme, the farmers experienced reduced production costs, significant quality improvement, gains in productivity, and increases in net income that averaged more than 30 percent. The company gained the reputation, and the competitive advantage, of having the best quality fresh produce in the market. Two years after the pilot programme commenced, the company has embarked on a major expansion of its retail outlets and its small farmer production base. Partnering Infosys ACDI/VOCA in partnership with Infosys is currently involved in introducing ICT-enabled solutions to the problems of fresh produce supply chain management and farmer capacity- building, through a project that is also funded by USAID. Infosys in collaboration with GMED is designing an IT application comprised of farmer technical information and supply chain management components, based on mobile connectivity. USAID is providing the seed money for the initial application design and testing. Once the resulting programme is proven to be commercially viable, Infosys will utilise its own resources to further refine the application and take it to market. The key link in the programme will be field extension agents equipped with handheld communication devices (high-end


mobile phones or PDAs {Portable Digital Assistants}). The agents will maintain direct personal contact with the producers. They will be linked to a technical data base and to on-call experts in order to provide the farmer with real time technical information. On the market side, the extension agents will be linked to the retailer buyers in order to transmit information to the extension agents and farmers on cropping schedules, types and volume of products to be delivered at specific times, transport arrangements and other supply planning and logistics information, including scheduling of production input and of crop deliveries to the retailers. The programme will provide farmers with information on soil, water and crop management, pest and disease control measures, weather forecasts and other critical technical information. It will link retail outlets directly with farmers and with all other elements of the fresh produce supply chain, enabling the retailers and producers to jointly plan cropping schedules to meet retailer needs and facilitating control of the entire process from planting to placing products on retail shelves. It will provide the farmer with the means to produce for specific markets, rather than growing his crops and then hoping to find suitable markets at harvest time. GMED objectives The programme is expected to: • Improve farmers’ incomes by linking them to assured markets and providing the farmers with the capacity to adequately service these markets, thus greatly reducing market risk and uncertainty • Enable the introduction of traceability (here traceability refers to the ability to trace the origins and delivery path of a farm product from the retail shelf back to the farmer’s field in which it was grown) to facilitate quality control and food safety measures such as GlobalGAP • Provide incentives for the formation of ongoing, mutually beneficial relationships between organised retail corporations and small-scale farmers • Help create conditions favouring the development of modern fresh produce supply chains • Significantly reduce the costs and product waste and loss of value caused by excessive market intermediation

• •

and inadequate supply chain facilities and management Enable organised retailers and exporters to obtain an assured and reliable supply of fresh produce of the required quality Provide consumers with better quality and safer vegetables and fruit.

GMED’s present endeavours The programme is currently undergoing its first large-scale field verification involving a farmer cooperative in Maharashtra and a large wholesale and retail firm. This pilot operation is expected to be completed by the end of August, after which it is expected to be available for commercial use. Infosys will have sole commercial rights to the programme. Initial commercial support for the programme is expected to come from various major organised retail players, several of whom have already expressed interest. The programme is currently undergoing its first large-scale field verification involving a farmer cooperative in Maharashtra and a large wholesale and retail firm. This pilot operation is expected to be completed by the end of August, after which it is expected to be available for commercial use. Infosys will have sole commercial rights to the programme. Initial commercial support for the programme is expected to come from various major organised retail players, several of whom have already expressed interest.

Conclusion The majority of the players in the organised retail sector have come to realise that they have no choice but to develop ongoing sourcing relationships with small-scale vegetable and fruit farmers, or to find a qualified intermediary to do so in their behalf. This is the only means by which they can be assured of procuring reliable supplies of uniform quality vegetables and fruit. Fresh produce quality is becoming a critical competitive factor in the success of supermarket chains. Food safety considerations will also become increasingly important. Neither of these factors can be addressed adequately through procurement from the APMC mandi markets or through ad hoc purchases from traders or individual farmers. The new application is aimed at improving the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the direct supermarket buyer to farmer’ fresh produce procurement model. „

New initiatives in Supply Chain Management (SCM) Apart from the very grassroots approach of the FreshConnect initiative of ACDI/VOCA and InfoSys, there are more initiatives working to provide the Indian small farmers and agro-retailers with the ‘Supply Chain Management’ (SCM) systems. These initiatives will provide all players with updated information that is customised to their needs and is scaleable and replicable so as to benefit farmers across the length and breadth of the country. Some examples of this were deliberated upon during one of the e-Agriculture 2008 sessions focusing on the use of ICTs in SCM. Food Corporation of India (FCI), that has been instrumental in making sure that the nation is food secure at all times, faced the mammoth task of networking with the traditional wholesale markets around the nation and bringing the produce into their godowns since its inception in 1965. The academic circles are also doing their bit to create curriculum for teaching SCM in agriculture and agro-business as was demonstrated by a project undertaken by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. Taking SCM and yield estimation to a macro level, RMSI demonstrated how they use geospatial and information technology to develop solutions that integrate GIS with business applications like agriculture and natural resources. The use of GIS in agriculture was demonstrated by acreage and yield estimation of crops like Basmati rice, wheat and coffee. The involvement of stakeholders in SCM goes on to show that agri-business is getting ready for an information revolution in the coming years that has the potential to change the lives of the small and marginal farmers in a positive way.


i4d | August 2008

India News IGNOU plans to set up ITenabled nodal centre

Information for development

e-Governance egov Satellite-based surveillance system: A CIL initiative Central Mine Planning and Designing Institute (CMPDI), a subsidiary of Coal India Limited (CIL), will use a satellite-based s u r ve i l l a n c e s y s t e m t o monitor mining and land reclamation activities for all opencast mining projects under the CIL command area. Using the satellites, CMPDI will be mapping coal mines across the country. In the first phase, CMPDI is scheduled to take up 171 coalmining projects for satellite surveillance against their claims of land reclamation. This initiative will ensure proper vegetation in abandoned coalmines and enable assessment of backfill area and monitoring of social forestry plans across the CIL command zone. Singrauli, Talcher, Raniganj, Korba and Wardha valley coalfields are some of the areas where initial pilot studies were carried out. The institute is also planning to prepare a complete assessment of the entire project.

Health Delhi hospitals to go digital In order to take the e-Governance initiative at the forefront, the Government of Delhi has decided to digitalise all government hospitals across the state. Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit stated that this movement will help hospitals in handling their papers and hard copy of medical records. It will also help patients in taking admissions in hospitals. August 2008 |

In order to reach masses, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is planning to set up a nodal centre to expedite higher research in colleges and universities and establish R&D centres across the country. The centre called, Advanced Centre of Informatics and Innovative Learning (ACIL) will be established as a hub institute on the lines of National Education grid. ACIL will work as an autonomous inter-institutional centre of excellence under Open University Act. UGC governed ACIL will help in providing ICT-enabled teaching, training and in conducting capacity building exercises in collaboration with university, colleges and R&D organisations. ACIL will also conduct research programmes at post-graduate and PhD levels in areas like Information Science, Applied Computer Sciences, Scientific database management. Apart from web-resources, agriculture, health, education, community development, e-Governance and socioeconomic development, ACIL will also focus on new streams like community heritage, culture and environment.

Soon, all government hospitals will be online, so that availability of beds could be known to facilitate admissions of patients. While speaking at a function to felicitate doctors and paramedical staff, the Chief Minister said that Delhi is the health capital of the country and people from all other states come here for expert advice and treatment. She also gave the State Award to at least 69 doctors and paramedical staff.

Wireless BMC’s INR 5 billion plan to make Mumbai WiFi-enabled Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to make Mumbai Wi-Fi enabled. The INR five billion project is still in its nascent stage. The civic body, BMC will take ownership of building towers, while the service providers will pool in the funds. To get WiFi-enabled, towers will be erected throughout the city. While some will be in the city, others will be in the suburbs and the fringes. The pre-requisites such as roadmap detailing, licensing, positioning of hot spots, hardware and software requirements and survey of the city for setting up the towers will soon be spelled out. The integrated online and service delivery will reduce the cost of interacting with the city and in particular will reduce the paper burden on citizens, businesses and organisations,

including community organisations. The WiFi connectivity is aimed at improving services and speeding up the e-governance initiative. According to officials, in the process of e-transformation of the city, a ubiquitous WiFi network is the necessity to have a strong distribution network for both, inter and intra communication.

Telecommunications Paradigm shift in VoIP The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recently come up with a suggestion to permit unrestricted Internet telephony to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), without imposing any additional entry fee or licence charges on the operators. The recommendation, if ratified by the Department of Telecom (DoT), Government of India, can result in the reduction in tariff of domestic longdistance calls to about 50 paise/minute and international calls by a fifth. Currently, ISPs are allowed to offer VoIP services only between two computers. The new recommended policy document will allow a subscriber to call any fixed-line phone, mobile phone or a VoIP phone in the world from his computer or VoIP phone. This move has been criticised by mobile service providers as being unfair because it may result in a loss of revenue in their voice business.


netgov Speak: Lead up to IGF 2008

Part III: Internet Governance issues – Cybercrime in India

In Collaboration with:

do we deal with someone violating our private space in the online world? If someone burgles your home, the first reaction in an urban city like Delhi, would be to call the police emergency helpline ‘100’. Do we have a similar reaction to someone hacking our email address? To best explore this route, we tried our hands at some investigative research to determine where the path leads us to. First call was made to the emergency helpline. There were a few minutes of passing the buck at the call centre before anyone could determine who would be responsible for such a call. We were given the contact number of the ‘Cyber Cell’ which falls under the Economic Offences Wing of the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police. When we called at the ‘Cyber Cell’, we were told that the complaint needs to be lodged at the local police station. There is a large amount of ignorance within the police hierarchy about what cybercrime is and how to deal with cybercrime.

One’s home is meant to be safest place for them. When someone is burgled or attacked within their homes, it violates every sense of their security. If we believe that, how


Tangibles and Intangibles The police essentially respond to tangibles; physical damage or monetary loss. From the experience of the victims of cybercrime interviewed, it was felt that the loss of ideas, concepts, or information is still largely unrecognised as criminal in most cases. One such case was of particular interest to us. It involved an eminent Professor from a leading university based in Delhi. Her experiences are a stark reminder of how helpless even an erudite, independent professional can feel in the face of cybercrime. On June 5th 2007, she received a call from a close friend and colleague who was rather concerned by her email which said that she was stranded in Lagos, Nigeria, without any recourse to funds. She had pleaded her friends and relatives to send her some money to help her get back to India. Rather surprised, she tried to log into her Yahoo email account and was unable to do so. Her email had been hacked and password changed so that she had no access to her own account anymore. Emails to Yahoo India or U.S. did not get her any replies. She went to the local police station to lodge an FIR but they only agreed to take a complaint. The key issue i4d | August 2008

to the police was the lack of direct economic loss. The urgency to said Michael Mukasey, the US Attorney General. “Criminals can retrieve important documents or emails was not seen as a direct now operate from almost anywhere on the globe to steal personal loss since it could not be monetised. After a couple of days of information.” Cases such as these are becoming increasingly inaction, she requested a couple of her students to look into the common in the developed world with a large number of matter. The students traced the IP address to Lagos, Nigeria and e-Commerce transactions as well as an exponential rise in the use also discovered which service provider owned the IP address. When of credit and debit cards for over-the-counter transactions. this information was presented to the police, instead of taking The revolution in the information technologies in the field of action which would help prosecute the miscreants, they tried to commerce has changed society and crime fundamentally and will frame the students who had helped crack the case. probably continue to do so in the foreseeable future. While many Officials at the Economic Offences Wing confirmed that such tasks have become easier, many crimes have also become easier to cases are on the rise nowadays. This is an extension of the Nigerian commit and harder to trace to the perpetrator. Vast amounts of 419 scam. The 419 scam originated in data comprising of voice, text, music the early 1980s as the oil-based Nigerian Write to us and contribute to the and, static and moving pictures are economy declined. Several unemployed upcoming articles exchanged over the Internet which university students first used this scam • September – Privacy & Data Protection unlike traditional telephony does as a means of manipulating business not require a direct connection; it • October – IPv4 vs IPv6 visitors interested in shady deals in the suffices that data is entered into a Write to us at Nigerian oil sector before targeting network with a destination address or businessmen in the west, and later the is just made available for anyone who wider population. Scammers in the early-to-mid 1990’s targeted wants to access it. This freedom of the data from direct companies, sending scam messages via letter, fax, or Telex. The connectivity or in fact traceability makes it susceptible to attacks spread of email and easy access to email-harvesting software made from anyone, anywhere. the cost of sending scam letters through the Internet inexpensive. In the 2000’s, the 419 scam spurred imitations from other Denial of Service Attacks locations in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. Another dangerous and common attack against a larger entity like These personalised crimes are one face of the large scale an institution or government is called Denial of Service Attacks escalation in cybercrime. Spam, credit card frauds and identity (DoS). One common method of attack involves saturating the thefts are on an exponential rise. The issue with cybercrime as target (victim) machine with external communications requests, was discovered in the above case is the difficulty in prosecution. such that it cannot respond to legitimate traffic, or responds Firstly, there is an ambiguity of who is responsible for the crimes so slowly as to be rendered effectively unavailable. In general committed. Is it the service provider, or the hosting company terms, DoS attacks are implemented by either forcing the or the actual people committing the crime? This ambiguity is targeted computer(s) to reset, or consume its resources so that further exacerbated by the lack of comprehensive inter-country it can no longer provide its intended service or obstructing the partnerships in the execution of laws. One of the largest, communication media between the intended users and the victim international cybercrime stories is in the news nowadays. An so that they can no longer communicate adequately. This form excerpt from the story is shown here. “This case highlights our of attack can be seen as cyber terrorism since it can incapacitate increasing vulnerability to the theft of personal information,” the economy of a country. August 2008 |



Constructing an information society It is essential to create, together with young men and women, ways of inhabiting the information society

Gloria Bonder Coordinator, Regional UNESCO Chair, Women, Science and Technology in Latin America FLACSO Argentina


Introduction Since the early spread of ‘new’ information and communication technologies, it has become almost cliché to suggest that youth are key actors for the creation of the digital revolution. Youth are portrayed as the protagonist and the motivating force for ICTs promise: innovation, constant creativity, and ultimately, global economic and social progress. ‘Digital natives’i and the ‘e-generation’ii are both terms that create the perception that youth is a relatively homogeneous group and ignore the huge internal differences within the group. From the perspective of many older adults, youth are endowed with capacities that seem unattainable for most adults, today’s ‘digital immigrants,’iii who struggle to manage these tools. Several discourses attest to the strength of this social imaginary, from fictional and ‘futurist’ discourses, to the media, the academy, and even our daily language. If inclusion is the main goal, it is young men, and to a lesser degree young women, who are the target of policies and programmes. In Latin American, the gap among youth from different socioeconomic and geographical backgrounds have encouraged the development of a series of educational programmes. Formal and informal educational projects seek primarily --and in same cases, exclusively—to increase young people’s access to computers and connectivity, while providing basic capacities for ICTs use. Large economic and human/social resources investments have been made in the region to achieve this goal. However, there are few assessments describing how the projects were planned and what their impact was on the lives of Latin American youth in terms of better economic and employment opportunities, increased social capital, broadening of networks, and creation of knowledge.

By lacking appropriate tools to assess programmes’ success, we run the risk of wasting our resources, and potentially frustrating young people’s expectations and those of the institutions that address their concerns. This article aims to contribute to the analysis of youth & ICT programmes from the perspective of implicit representations and meanings, that have supported programmes implemented in four Latin American countries aimed at developing technological literacy for the underprivileged youth. The study set out to answer key questions like: What meanings, values, and impacts in youths’ lives do they attribute to ICTs? How do they imagine the actual lives, interests, pleasures, and expectations of the individuals for whom they design the programmes? What do they expect youths to achieve by using this technology? Do they perceive gender differences and inequalities as regards ICTs? If so, do they address them? What do they know, and what do they need to know in order to optimize the results and integrate equal gender opportunities in their programmes?

Gender Equity in Latin American Youth’s Access To and Use Of the Internet: Applied Research Focusing on the leaders of digital literacy programmes for youth, the main goal of the research study was to identify and analyse social representations and meanings in: Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina. Those meanings and representations referred to the social and economic impact of youth’s access to ICTs, especially among the underprivileged. They also included how educators and leaders perceived participants’ capacities and development possibilities, and the i4d | August 2008

educator’s level of perception and intervention on the digital gender gap. It also sought to compare educators’ representations with those of the youth who participate in the digital literacy programmes. It included the creation of a databaseiv on youth & ICT programmes in Latin America, and an in-depth study of 12 ongoing or recently completed programmes. The project included the creation of a databasev on youth & ICT programmes in Latin America, and an in-depth study of 12 ongoing or recently completed programmes. Based on the results, we designed a virtual teacher’s training programmevi, currently under way, including: Multimedia CD ROM “Creators in the Knowledge Society” Virtual Course, “Gender in Action. Youths & ICT Projects. Principles and Strategies for the Knowledge Society”

vulnerable and passive receptors of information and meek users of the acquired technologies. Foreseeing a future with better socio-economic opportunities ICTs main benefit was to enlarge their interaction Communicate and communication or networks. Also, ICTs disappear provided a new sense of belongingness to youth groups.

A passport

Subject of rights versus subject of needs How the educators characterised the potential benefits of youths’ access to ICTs? What were their representations of the social, subjective, and cultural backgrounds of the groups with which they work? The following typology characterize the main findings:

‘Savior’ Projects

This category includes most of the projects analysed. Youth were predominantly represented as a risk group that needs to be targeted to prevent or minimise their marginalisation. Access to ICTs was perceived as one of the best means to prevent exclusion. Assumptions were that ICTs use will increase youths’ possibilities of participating in productive activities and eventually advance in the social –economic scale.

Only a few of the programmes analysed belong to this category. Citizenship Digital literacy was part of a and Social larger educational plan providing Bonding youth an opportunity to Projects recognise themselves as subjects of rights and active members of their communities, encouraging them to organise and interact through technology.

‘Springboard’ Projects

Very few programmes belong to this category. ICTs were considered irreplaceable tools to encourage youth’s success, especially through the creation of productive ventures.

Although they differ in important ways, the three categories place an exaggerated value on the benefits of ICTs, even more so considering that the majority of young people participating in the programmes lack access to basic educational and social needs. The predominant social imaginary views youth as a subject of rights, capable of participating in their communities and in digital environments (a minority of the programmes under study). The opposite social imaginary views youth as subjects of needs, i.e., August 2008 |

Low-cost certification

For some, access to ICTs meant the possibility of better economic and employment opportunities and more autonomy. The programmes were a positive venue for acquiring knowledge and developing basic technological capacities. They also provided a school certificate with relevant social value.

Youth’s social imaginaries and expectations of ICTs differed from those of educators and leaders:

In the Name of Gender … The majority of youth & ICT programmes state that they ‘use’ a gender approach or perspective. However, when they were asked to enlarge on this statement, arguments differ and, in general, a wide range of ‘good’ intentions was exposed. The ‘gender approach’ function as a cliché, implying that the project will purposefully include women (although men are almost never implied in reference to their gender identity). However, respondents cannot specify why programmes should even do this, or for that matter, for what reason and how they would do it.vii According to the leaders interviewed, the indicators of using a ‘gender perspective’ were represented by: • Including women among the project’s target participants. • Equal number of male and female participants (in general, in the target group; less frequently, in the programme’s team) • One ‘gender specialist’ on the team • Among a minority of the programmes: approaching gender equity relations was seen a matter of human rights and citizenship. As the evidence shows, elementary actions are planned, and in some cases, carried out, ‘in the name of gender’ which have little power to transform inequalities. Is it due to lack of information, or to the pretence of politically correct actions? Or is it just about meeting the requirements of funding agencies without reflecting on what they really entail? Whatever the case, there is a need for new capacity-building programmes on youth & ICTs capable of opening cognitive and affective channels for a real appropriation of what gender


mainstreaming means to youth programmes, and how gender impacts on subjectivity and social life. This is the purpose of the virtual training course designed after the study’s results.

Questions and concerns Are the youth we have interviewed more realistic than adults as regards the power of inclusion and participation provided by ICTs? Or do they conform more and feel more pressured by consumer culture and instant culture? Do they actually perceive social, gender, and ethnic inequalities in a virtual, ‘disembodied’ environment that promotes the illusion of equality and freedom in the creation of identities? What messages about youth’s own cultures and their role in today’s society and in social change do digital literacy programmes convey? Even with the best intentions, do they contribute to expand the market of uncritical consumers of ICTs, or do they build channels and incentives so that youth may use them strategically and see themselves as co-builders of this environment? Surely, none of these questions has a simple answer, and they entail a set of problems that require new studies and actions. Encouraging the access to and use of ICTs should be linked to the knowledge and claim of citizenship rights, and an awareness of cultural diversity in the framework of social reciprocity and responsibility. These topics need to be addressed from the standpoint of youth’s voices and their own forms of participation.

Building paths: Creating future There is a need for new capacity-building programmes on youth & ICTs capable of opening cognitive and affective channels for a real appropriation of what gender mainstreaming means to youth programmes, and how gender impacts on subjectivity and social life. It is necessary to design actions that allow adults and

young people to reflect upon the potential risks, power struggles, and opportunities offered by ICTs. It is important to work with youth on the discursive ways that turn ICTs into a sign of inclusion in or exclusion from society’s present and future. In the words of Bourdieuviii, a sign distinguishes between two kinds of youth foci: On the one hand, those who are at risk of being irreparably excluded from the ‘new happy world.’ On the other, a youth subject that has digital capital that ensures economic and social success. Democratising the access to these ‘public goods’ to include society at large is a question of rights and justice. But that is not enough. It is essential to create, together with young men and women, ways of inhabiting the information society, and dream about what kind of information society we want and are able to build, incorporating social values like democracy, justice, diversity, and gender equity in original ways. „ References: i.

PISCITELLI, Alejandro (2005). “Inmigrantes digitales vs. nativos digitales,” www://ón-tics/archives/005652.php ii. CEREZO, José M. (2007). ¿JASP 2.0? Los jóvenes ante la SI. http://www.oei. es/noticias/spip.php?article573 iii. PISCITELLI, Alejandro (2005). Op. cit. iv. Including 118 projects from 17 LAC countries. v. Including 118 projects from 17 LAC countries. vi. This programme was designed as an environment that promotes analyzing, planning, and carrying out activities that aim at developing citizenship capacities, coexistence, and social inclusion combined with digital literacy. The Youth, Gender, & ICT Virtual Community of Practice was created. vii. There is a remarkable unawareness of the diversity of gender notions developed in over four decades of research, theory, and methodology, as well as very little information about the different modalities and strategies applied to social and educational programmes as regards gender. Terms like equal opportunity, empowerment, mainstreaming, gender parity, women’s development are used indiscriminately, without acknowledging that each is inscribed in a different theoretical, political, and methodological tradition. viii. BOURDIEU, Pierre (1998). La distinción. Criterio y bases sociales del gusto. Taurus. Madrid

Ensuring social justice: The SAW way The Institute of Hazrat Mohammad (SAW) was established on 23rd February 2003. It is a non-profit and non-political organisation and the first institutional set-up in the name of Prophet Mohammad (SAW). SAW wants to create an environment for peaceful coexistence in the society irrespective of caste, creed and class through correct interpretation and practice of the teachings of Islam and its propagation by establishing an Institutional process. The mission of SAW is to initiate institution-based approach for human development committed towards establishing social justice, human rights and respect for individual choice and dignity as promoted by Islam. SAW aims to disseminate the basic principles of Islam and teachings of Prophet Mohammad that emphasise peace and love for all Allah’s creations and education through implementation of different programmes that focus on literacy, poverty alleviation, research, basic rights and development of the individual and the community regardless of religious denominations. The Institute regularly organises seminars, conferences, work-shops, discussion sessions and


conducts research projects on matter of national interest, issues relating to economy, international and UN days and events, religious events etc. SAW also conducts regular programmes on child development, Arabic language course for women, Arabic language course for the visually impaired and English language course for the visually impaired and disabled. i4d | August 2008


Online presence through Wiki and blog A wiki is a very simple collaborative technology where a community collectively collaborate to work on pages and a blog is much more of a journal, as it publishes individual entries in a linear fashion

Introduction The Foundation for Peer to Peer Alternatives (P2P Foundation) is a global cyber-collective and advocacy group that researches, documents, and promotes peer to peer alternatives in all domains of social life. It believes that the emerging social forms of peer production, peer governance, and peer property, are a fundamental social advancement, that its weaknesses and pitfalls have to be studied with care, and that it may prove to a social logic that is superior to for-profit production. The story of setting up of an online presence to influence the emerging debate on peer production goes like this; “our technological tools were very simple, and had to be very cheap to maintain, and easy to use, as we are a community of volunteers with no organisational budget so far. The Wiki was set up in November 2005, the blog in February 2006, but the work on the wiki started about the same time, staying mostly empty for the 3 first months. This makes it easier to evaluate our achievement so far, after approximately two years of operation.

The use of MediaWiki

Michel Bauwens Founder, P2P Foundation

August 2008 |

A wiki is a very simple collaborative technology which allows a community to work together on the production of pages which can be changed by all its members. It’s use is very intuitive, at least for the basic functionalities of creating and organising pages. It was realised at the very start that total openness was counterproductive. Indeed, it was not used intensively for the first three months, the wiki was initially overwhelmed by spam, making it unusable. So, after three-months of passive existence, it was moved to active production, but also to a new principle of admission by cooptation.

This means that every existent member has the right to grant access to on getting request. This introduces a very simple measure of positive social control, as each member will naturally feel responsible for the new members which he has given access. While it makes for much slower growth of the number of contributors, it has also the effect of filtering for motivation. It’s a threshold that is very low, but still demands the effort to communicate one’s desire to participate. In turn, this creates an initial social contact which can be built on. Finally, it has the benefit of creating a social dynamic based on concentric circles of engagement. The principle that we use for content creation is called ‘opportunistic’ updating. This means that we do not necessarily create original content ourselves, but rather use a remix strategy of cutting and pasting significant external contributions in a new combined unity. This is based on the notion that the collective intelligence already exists on the subject, but that it needs a coherent framework so that it can be understood and shared more easily. It is this framework that our wiki provides. We follow the fair use principles and every citation is sourced to the original. The organisation of the wiki is quite simple. We use a three-column organisation on our main page. On the left hand side, we present ourselves, our aims, our associates, and the main material that we have produced ourselves on the topic. The right hand column is a directory of material per format. This means we have separate directories for individuals (a who’s who), for movements (association directory), for podcasts (online audio material), for webcasts (online video), etc.. Finally, in the middle column, we collate material per subject, as in peer to


peer learning, bottom-up forms of facilitation and governance, peer production as a business model, etc.. These directories are automatically produced by giving each new article a minimum of two tags. One is the format tag (is it an article, a biography, a book review, etc..), one a subject tag, which indicates the social field (education, business, policy, design, etc..). In this way, the above directories are automatically created. Our next step is to create contextual introductions to each of these sections, so that we do not have a mere list of encyclopedic entries, but a guided and curated introduction to the material, which can be approached in a more structural manner. Participation in the wiki is not massive in terms of production. As the founder, I do most of the work, probably around 85 percent, and a dozen or so additional collaborators create new pages or edit old ones to make them better. Nevertheless, despite this small base, we have created 6,000 pages of content. We consider our experience successful in terms of user base. The statistics page of the wiki informs us that there are 6,798 total pages in the database, 4,756 pages that are probably legitimate content pages. There have been a total of 2,721,151 page views. Given that the home page has received only 252,999 visitors, this means that we have an extremely long tail, i.e. many people, the overwhelming majority, finds us through referrals and through Google searches (more than 30,000 different keywords, according to Google analytics). It must be said however, that a wiki also has weaknesses; it’s a good tool to create collaborative content, it can generate a community that uses it as a reference, but it is not ideal for current affairs, and does not build community by itself. The talk pages of our wiki are not used very extensively, apart from the regular contributors themselves. However, it is a good object, around which to create a community of interest, provided this community has other tools.

The blog A blog is much more of a journal, as it publishes individual entries in a linear fashion, following a reverse chronological order. Unlike the wiki, these entries cannot be changed, but they can be commented upon. This makes the blog a good tool for current awareness, commentary, and forwarding items of interest with added commentary. The blog has had very different effects that the wiki. While the wiki is used extensively, it generates little overall communication: visitors use it, but do not communicate much about it. However, almost as soon as we started our blog, the level of eMail-based contacts shot up from 5 per day, to 25 per week.


What is particular also about the blogosphere is that it functions as an ecology, allowing blogs to cite each other with great ease. While our comment-sphere is very modest, we became a B-blog (the second category after the top of A-list blogs), after only one year of operation. According to Technorati we rank only 44,000th, which may not sound impressive unless you realize that there are many millions of blogs. At present we have about 600 readers per day, but in the context of the existence of many remote feed readers, this is likely to underestimate the range of our readership. From experience I can add that while prestigious newspaper editorials generate no communication whatsoever (Nation and Bangkok Post newspapers in Thailand), blog editorials do generate regular and immediate communication, not just through other blogs, but foremost to eMail. The weakness of blogs is that is little used as an archive, so that older material remains underused, though the exceptional article can be a much-cited classic.

Other electronic tools Neither a wiki nor a blog are sufficient by themselves to maintain and organise a community. Though we could use forums for discussion, we do not, using eMail lists itself. We essentially operate around three mailing lists, one for strategic discussions (where are and should we be going), one for practical issues (who writes what, technical problems encountered), and one for research (academic or not). However, each of our members are also in continued with other communities and their mailing lists. Finally, classic eMail, one to one, one to a few, is much used on a pragmatic basis, as it would be unwise to burden a whole communities with practical issues that can be solved by involving one or two other persons.

The physical and the virtual The issue I wanted to stress here is the power of the connection between the virtual and the physical. Meeting members of the cyber-collective, as well as other interested people, face to face, then continuing the conversation online, has provided an incredible glue for building awareness, community and a global brand, and visits are occasionally followed by local citizens organizing their own peer circle. This has become possible because the online presence has created a brand and global presence, leading to invitations for lectures, approximately 20 days every 2 months. Each lecture tour is the occasion to meet the people previously encountered online, or to continue an online relationship, after the initial physical encounter. As a rule, people you have met ‘in the flesh’, will respond more eagerly to invitations to contribute.

The license issue This is an important topic for us. The MediaWiki itself asks to refrain from inputting copyrighted material, an injunction that is widely ignored, including by us, as it does not take into account fair use. But remixing fair use material creates its own problem, as the CC licenses assume that the content is our own. But how can we extend rights to material that we are citing ourselves? The licenses are therefore in practical terms useless and misleading, and we just solve this on a pragmatic basis, by making sure that our own usage is exclusively for learning, not for any commercial purpose. „ For more information, consult at: wiki at i4d | August 2008


e-Agriculture: Some perspectives The eINDIA2008 Conference and Exhibition, a premier event on ICT4D (Information and Communication Technology for Development) in India, was held between the 29th - 31st July, 2008 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India. The event, organised annually by Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies (CSDMS) and the fourth event in a row, aimed to examine and deliberate upon the use and application of ICT tools in diverse spheres like Governance, Education, Healthcare, Agriculture etc. eINDIA2008 facilitated the interaction through active conferencing, networking and showcasing of cutting edge tools and ideas that will usher in a knowledge revolution in this steadily changing information society. The event focused on the issues relating to the application of ICT in various realms of life through its seven tracks viz., egov INDIA (e-Governance), Digital Learning INDIA (Education), Indian Telecentre Forum (Telecentres as nodes for knowledge sharing), eHealth INDIA (Healthcare), mServe INDIA (Mobile phone services as nodes for information-sharing), eAgriculture INDIA (Agriculture), and MunicipalIT (Municipal services). Apart from these, three special sessions were convened on Internet Governance, Climate Change and a workshop on the future of e-Government. Representatives from the ICT industry, government agencies, civil society organisations, academia and the public and private sector from across the globe congregated at the conference to share knowledge on best practices and digital opportunities for development, to reflect upon the current initiatives and to exchange notes on the ideas that will shape the future of global ICT development and application.

Climate Change Adaptation in Agriculture Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP), OneWorld South Asia (OWSA) and Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies jointly organised a panel discussion on, “Climate Change: Knowledge Pathways and Partnerships for Climate Change Adaptation Efforts in Agriculture.” The session - an extension of the recently concluded GKP Virtual Forum on ICT and Climate Change - aimed at (a) developing the dialogue into an inclusive engagement with a focus on exploring knowledge needs on climate change adaptation efforts in agriculture, (b) knowledge partnerships and channels for facilitating the knowledge flow, and; (c) to deliberate on the ICT-enabled interventions to provide an enabling framework for building these partnerships and knowledge channels. August 2008 |

Jayalakshmi Chittoor, Programme Coordinator, CSDMS, started the session with a welcome speech. Naimur Rahman, Director, OWSA, chaired the session and delivered the inaugural address. The other panelists in the session were, Namrata Bali, Director, SEWA Academy, Sanjay Tomar, Fellow, Center for Global Environment Research, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Srinivas Garudachar, Senior Advisor, Intel-Grameen JV, Frans Neuman, Executive Secretary, Global Mountain Forum. The Panelists discussed the ways in which climate change affects the most vulnerable sections of the society (like the workers in the informal sector) and deliberated on the ways and means to minimise the negative impact of climate change on the livelihoods of millions of people. The first panelist in the session was Namrata Bali. Namrata stated that climate change would have a massive impact on the livelihoods of the poor in developing countries by endangering food security caused by a fall in crop production and a decline in fish stocks worldwide because of water shortages and increased temperatures. Informing the participants about SEWA Academy’s work, Namrata said that SEWA has both environmental and sustainable development goals. According to Namrata, most poor women are dependent on agriculture, animal husbandry and dairy for their livelihoods and any major change in climate will have adverse effects in all these livelihood options and on the people dependent on them. SEWA has been promoting the use of alternative methods like solar energy, rain water harvesting, use of traditional knowledge for environmental conservation. Namrata opined that there is a need to prepare national communications, fortify planning and institutional framework as well as provision


population which thrives on a narrow livelihood base. Srinivas Garudachar talked about Intel’s Social Entrepreneurship Networks that calls for the setting up of low-cost broadband-enabled services, as the transport vehicle for providing information and knowledge to rural people through intermediaries. The focus of the network is on economic development. Some pilots are already running in India (NABARD) and Bangladesh (Grameen). Srinivas pointed out that the technology needed to create the entrepreneurship networks is present (Telecentres, GSM enabled communication etc.) but the business model is lacking.

In search of new dimensions for training and research to assist effective policy measures to combat the effects of climate change. She further stressed that there is need for capacity building of governments in strategic planning, disaster preparedness, vulnerability assessments and preparation of national communications by ‘Exposure Dialogue Programme’ (EDP). Sanjay Tomar held that knowledge about climate conditions is a vital factor that will enable farming communities to take early decisions to arrest decline in agricultural productivity. According to Sanjay, the use of ICTs is limited in this domain and most of the current information-sharing systems are market oriented. There is limited access to information on crop and weather information and a lack of integrated efforts to address this gap. Sanjay suggested that information centres should be established at the micro level in a participatory way and special attention should be given to develop local content and promote a network of organisations with similar interests. Frans Neuman brought out the stark realities of the effects of climate change on not just agriculture but also its overall impact on life and environment. Neuman pointed out that an increase in the average temperature around the globe will lead to glacial melting and collapse which will eventually result in widespread floods and landslides. He emphasised that climate change will have a more pronounced impact on mountainous regions around the world where slight changes in temperature and weather patterns adversely affect the

Recommendations At the end of the special session on ‘Climate Change Adaptation in Agriculture’, the speakers converged on certain key points and policy options. These are: • Awareness generation is the first and most important step towards all adaptation and mitigation strategies to combat the effects of climate change • Identification of the early warning systems, information about adapted crop varieties and breeds • Reduction of carbon emissions, subsequent storage of carbon in ecosystems and adoption of Clean Development Mechanism • Initiation of pro-poor climate change projects • Formulation of a comprehensive policy on climate change adaptation and mitigation


The 2nd eAgriculture India 2008 conference started on the 30th of July, 2008 with a session on ‘Policy Dimension: Initiatives in e-Agriculture’ in the presence of Madaswamy Moni, Deputy Director General, National Informatics Centre (NIC) and Dimple Verma, Director (IT), Department of Agriculture & Co-operation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. The session intended to highlight the developments in e-Agriculture since the last year’s conference and to provide the stakeholders with an outline of the policy initiatives being undertaken by the government in this domain. Moni started by informing the audience about the 11th Five Year Plan of the Government, its goals and the challenges that need to be overcome in order to achieve the goals. He emphasised that ‘Digital Inclusion’ is the key element of rural prosperity. He elaborated on the initiatives of the NIC in bringing relevant information to the rural masses of India through their various projects like the DISNIC, A G R I S N E T, A G M A R K E T, S e e d Ne t , H O RT N E T, FERTNET etc. Dimple Verma, informed the participants about the Agricultural Informatics and Communications Network (AGRISNET) which is a central sector scheme of the Department of Agriculture and Co-operation, Ministry of Agriculture. It is being implemented by State Agriculture Departments in project mode. The objectives of AGRISNET are to : (1) improve and provide advisory and extension services to farming community using ICT tools, (2) develop farmer-centric applications such as input availability, soil health and mapping etc., (3) improve tracking of weather situation, (4) improve dissemination of information on government programmes and services, (5) improve information exchange within the state and between the state and centre, and; (6) empower farming communities/stakeholders. By the end of the session, the speakers could identify some policy suggestions that are quintessential to the development of e-Agriculture in general and e-Farming initiatives in particular. These are: • Mapping of farmers and farmlands • Establishment Agriculture Polytechnics and Agricultural ITIs at the block level • Creation a single website for all information that a farmer needs • Strengthening agricultural marketing systems • Allocating 5% of agriculture budget to develop and strengthen ICT applications in agriculture • Initiation of a 24-hour agriculture channel on TV i4d | August 2008

Best Practices in e-Agriculture The next session of the conference focussed on the Best Practices in e-Agriculture and had representatives from Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), National Informatics Centre (NIC) and Agricultural Universities deliberating on and showcasing some of the best practices in e-Agriculture from across the country. T P Trivedi, Project Director, Agricultural Research Information System, Indian Council of Agricultural Research chaired the session and talked about the role that ICAR plays in Indian agriculture and e-Agriculture. Trivedi stated that the use of ICTs can reduce the cost of information-sharing between stakeholders by 90-95%. He talked about the interventions being made by ICAR to disseminate information through various means and showcased the ongoing transition of the ICAR’s Directorate of Information and Publications of Agriculture (DIPA) from publishing to e-publishing. The first Speaker of the session, A K Choubey, Senior Technical Director, National Informatics Centre, talked in greater detail about the various initiatives of NIC in the field of e-Agriculture and the best practices that have been adopted by NIC for information dissemination, usability, preservation and management of documents and content, network and information security, interoperability, standardisation of business processes and for localisation and internationalisation of content. Sapna A Narula, Assistant Professor at the College of Agribusiness Management, G B Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, deliberated upon the future of ICTs and Agribusiness in India. Sapna talked about the challenges that the sector is facing and suggested the implementation of the McKinsey 7S Framework to tackle the problems. According to her, strategies for revenue generation, alternative source of funds, involvement of public and private institutions, identification of needs, designing the right product-service mix, August 2008 |

and awareness generation, along with other factors etc., can create a successful business model. I Muthuvel, Assistant Professor (Horticulture), Department of Extension Education, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University presented a paper on a model of Market Linked Small Farmers Corporate – Tamil Nadu Precision Farming Project. Spelling out the objectives of the project, Muthuvel said that the project is aimed to prepare farmers for market-led horticulture. The project will also promote hi-tech horticulture inbuilt with precision farming elements. The project covering 400 farmers and 400 hectares of land will be the model for hi-tech production system for the rest of the area. S S Tomar, Principal Scientist, Division of Agricultural Engineering, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, presented a paper linking the Right to Information Act with Agricultural Education and ICTs. Tomar talked about tackling the lack of transparency in the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) with the use of the Right to Information Act and ICTs.

Building partnerships The next session was a lively discussion on “Making e-Agriculture Work through Public Private Partnership (PPP) in Asia” between Amit Dasgupta, General Manager, IBM Global Services, India, Manish Pandey, Deputy General Manager, Katalyst, Bangladesh, Naimur Rahman, Director, OneWorld South Asia, India and N T Yaduraju, National Co-ordinator, National Agricultural Innovation Project, India. The session, moderated by Michael Riggs, Information Management Specialist, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Thailand, fostered a very informative discussion among the panelists and the audience. Yaduraju stressed on the need to digitise agricultural resources and move to more software-efficient platforms. Manish identified the need to enhance proper service delivery mechanisms to ensure PPP. All the panelists converged on the importance of a collaboration between Public, Private and the NGO sector and the benefits each sector will derive out of the union while also helping the underprivileged.


Developing livestocks: Securing livelihood The final session of Day One focused on the role of ICT in the Livestock and Fishery sector, a sector that is an integral part of Indian Agriculture and is inherently gender sensitive, it can go a long way in securing the livelihood of the underprivileged sections of the rural society. Sajjad Akhtar, Principal Systems Analyst of the Fisheries Informatics Unit, National Informatics Centre, informed the audience about the Fisheries Information System Network (FISHNET) which is a comprehensive and continuously updated web-based computerised information system on various aspects of National Fisheries Development beneficial to all stakeholders. M Murugan, Assistant Professor, Department of Poultry Science, Madras Veterinary College, talked about the the scope of ICTs in a sector that contributes to 4.7% of the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Murugan proposed the establishment of a Digital Management Information System that will collate, validate, standardise and digitise the documentation of the best package of practices in Livestock and Poultry. The integrated information will be used to develop an updated, easily accessible and interactive knowledge and information portal. F R Sheriff, Professor and Head, Department of Poultry Science, Madras Veterinary College, informed the audience about an experiment on rural e-extension for technology transfer undertaken by Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. The primary aim of the experiment was to find out whether the rural people, who are the end users of this information, can access the required information electronically.

Office, the session explored the role of both formal and informal networks in the dissemination of information. The panelists, Gopi Ghosh, Assistant Country Representative, FAO; Alexander Flor, Dean and Professor, Faculty of Information and Communication Studies, University of the Philippines Open University; Michael Riggs, Co-ordinator, e-Agriculture. org, FAO, Thailand and Rikin Gandhi, Assistant Researcher, Microsoft Research India, deliberated in the role played by CoPs and the challenges faced by both formal and informal networks. The panelists also cited examples from the existing communities that they are associated with including but not limited to, Solutions Exchange,, Digital Green. Alexander also talked about how the mainstream social networking websites like myspace, facebook and friendster are being used for networking by various communities for knowledge sharing.

Managing the food chain Rakesh Garg, Executive Director, Food Corporation of India (FCI) chaired the next session that focused on the role of ICT in ‘Price Discovery Mechanism and Supply Chain Management’. Garg, while talking about the role of FCI in ensuring the nation’s food security talked about the importance of appropriate price discovery mechanisms and supply chain management systems with examples from the FCI’s operational systems. T N Balamohan, Professor and Head (Fruits), Horticultural College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, deliberated on the possibility of universities in supporting all stakeholders in Supply Chain Management (SCM) of fruit and vegetables with reference to a project undertaken in collaboration with Higher Education for Development (HED), USA, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Michigan State University (MSU) and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University

Communities of Practice The second day of the eAgriculture India 2008 conference started with a panel discussion on the role of Communities of Practice (CoP) and Networks in e-Agriculture. Chaired by Shalini Kala, Programme Co-ordinator, ENRAP, IDRC South Asia Regional


i4d | August 2008

Deputy Director General (Rural Business), Department of Posts, co-chaired the session. In their opening remarks, Samant and Haque informed about the initiatives of India Post to financially include the underprivileged. The participants, K K Gupta, General Manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Vibhu Arya, Manager, Citi Microfinance, CitiBank NA, I S Shenbagraman, Project Co-ordinator, Handin-Hand Microfinance, and Dinkar Joshi, Assistant Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Advisory Government, YES Bank, jointly spoke about the strategies and interventions undertaken by their institutions and also discussed the challenges faced, their solutions and the road ahead.


(TNAU). The project aimed to develop competency of faculties in SCM of fruit and vegetables, developing curriculum and learning opportunities in fruit and vegetable SCM and strengthening the partnership linkages among all stakeholders including farmers. K S Siva Subramanian, Assistant Vice President, Agriculture and Natural Resources, RMSI Private Ltd., talked about the creation of agriculture intelligence for SCM with the aid of geospatial solutions for market survey and assessment and also for agriculture and land resource mapping. Siva Subramanian supported his presentation with many case studies of acreage, yield estimation of various crop plants like, Basmati rice, wheat, coconut, safflower, tea, coffee etc.

Including the excluded The final session of the eAgriculture India 2008 conference was dedicated to deliberations to ensure ‘Financial Inclusion’ of the rural communities. S Samant, Member (Development), Postal Services Board chaired the session. Salim Haque,

eAgriculture India 2008 conference converged on certain key issues and concerns pertaining to e-Agriculture. All the participants and panelists unanimously agreed that there is an urgent need to foster capacity building in rural areas through PPP models and Communities of Practice. The panelists reaffirmed the instrumental role of ICTs to control, monitor and expedite eAgriculture initiatives, best practices, agricultural production, knowledge networks on e-agriculture, agricultural price discovery mechanism and supply chain management. The last session of eAgriculture India 2008 conference was followed by a valedictory session in which distinguished dignitaries like Mani Shankar Aiyar, Minister for Panchayati Raj & DONER, Government of India; R Chandrashekhar, Additional Secretary, Department of IT, Ministry of Communications and IT, Government of India; and Subhash C Khuntia, Joint Secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India were present and which marked the ending of eINDIA2008 Conference and Exhibition. Subir Dey,, Rajat Banerjee, Creating knowledge gateways is a global initiative to enhance sustainable agricultural development and food security by improving the use of information, communication, and associated technologies in the sector. The aim of is to enable members to exchange opinions, experiences and good practices in e-agriculture, and to ensure that the knowledge created is effectively shared and used worldwide. The website contains news and information on events from all over the world on not just agriculture but also on developments that can impact farmers across the world, using web 2.0 tools like podcasting to maximise information sharing. The website provides for networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities to the stakeholders and practitioners of e-Agriculture by hosting August 2008 |

discussion forums where members are encouraged to participate and share their knowledge about the domain. hosted a special online forum on the Role of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) which invited responses from members from all across Asia. Acknowledging the similarity of ideas between e-agriculture. org and eAgriculture India 2008 conference of the eINDIA2008 event, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN partnered with CSDMS to convene two panel discussions namely, ‘Making e-Agriculture Work through Public Private Partnership in Asia’, and ‘Role of Communities of Practice (CoP) and Networks in e-Agriculture Making Knowledge Truly Accessible to all’.


Books received Science Dissemination using Open Access Editors: E. Canessa and M. Zennaro Publisher: ICTP - The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics Pages: 195 ISBN: 92-95003-40-3 The ICTP Science Dissemination Unit (SDU), Italy has released a new free book entitled ‘Science Dissemination using Open Access’ a compendium of selected literature on Open Access, both on the technical and organisational levels, and was written in an effort to guide the scientific community on the requirements of Open Access, and the plethora of low-cost solutions available. The book also aims to encourage decision makers in academia and research centres to adopt institutional and regional open access journals and archives to make their own scientific results public and fully searchable on the Internet. Discussions on open publishing via Academic Webcasting were also included. The book is jointly collaborated by ICTP-SDU (Italy) with European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) (Switzerland) and enabled by the support of INASP (United Kingdom). By releasing this work under a Creative Commons license, the editors hope to disseminate it as widely as possible, bringing the information into the hands of people who need it most. The book is available for free download, or seen on-line at the website (

Advertising, Promotion and New Media Edited by: Marla R.Stafford and Ronald J.Faber Publisher: M.E. Sharpe Pages: 380 ISBN: 0765613158 New Media strengthened by Information and Communication technologies have invaded into lives much more faster than ever before. The book gives a comprehensive overview of the newest media technologies that has helped marketing communication to multiply faster to upkeep an effective advertising programme providing valuable insights for experts and students


in the fields of advertising and mass communications. It describes the relevance of cutting-edge techniques including 3D advertising, mobile advertising, advergames, interactivity, and netvertising images, as well as more familiar Internet advertising formats such as banner ads and pop-ups in today’s competitive world. It also discusses important topics such as how to select online affiliates, and how to assess the effectiveness of new media advertising and compare it with traditional formats. The book is divided into five parts and consists of 16 chapters. The five parts of the book are: ‘Defining, Understanding and Measuring New Media Advertising’, ‘Important elements of Internet Advertising’, ‘Banners, Pop- Ups and Online Sponsorship, ‘Other New Media Ad Forms and ‘Conclusion’.

The Handbook of New Media Edited by: Leah A. Lievrouw, Sonia Livingstone Publisher: Sage Pages: 475 ISBN:1412918731 The Handbook, the first of its kind, is meant mainly for students and new media enthusiasts. The book provides guidelines on how to apply Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and other interactive tools in the field of new media. The book showcases an essay on children and new media written by David Buckingham. The handbook holds a great degree of reference value and embodies diverse perspectives on new media platforms and technologies. The book also sets out boundaries of new media research and scholarship and provides a definitive statement of the current state-of-the-art of the field. The Handbook is divided into three parts and includes various essays and articles on new media tools and technologies and their roles in expediting the process of development. The first part focuses on the role of new media in the context of social and community culture. The second part is on new media technological systems and designs and the third part is on new media, institutions and governance. All the chapters in the three sections, written by an internationally renowned scholars, provide a review of the most significant social research findings and insights. The handbook provides updated chapters to combine classic studies and background material with latest developments in the field since the first edition appeared in 2002. It also offers a fresh introduction by the editors outlining the main themes in new media studies. „ i4d | August 2008

What’s on Africa 27-31 October 2008 Africa Media and Broadcasting Congress 2008 Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg

10-12 January 2009 6th Conference on e-Learning Applications Cairo, Egypt elearning/Pages/default.aspx

Australia 20-25 March 2010 World Congress of Internal Medicine Melbourne, VIC

5-7 November 2008 Broadband World Australia 2008 Sydney

China 20-22 August 2008 EINFRASTRUCTURES Dunhuang, Gansu

Europe 3-5 September 2008 3rd Law, Security and Privacy Issues in IT Conference (LSPI) Prague, Czech Republic

14-17 October 2008 10th Congress of International Mechanization and Energy in Agriculture Antalya, Turkey

26-27 November 2008 Internet Marketing Conference Stockholm, Sweden August 2008 |

13-15 March 2009 4th Global Conference: Cybercultures - Exploring Critical Issues Salzburg, Austria cybercultures/c4/cfp.htm

Environment 2008 (ICENV 2008) Penang

Pakistan 10-11 September 2008 E-Learning and Distance Education Conference (ELDEC) Islamabad conferences/20071003060317/

Singapore India 20-25 March 2009 Green Energy Summit 2008 Bangalore, Karnataka

15-17 October 2008 WEB 2.0 & Beyond Mumbai, Maharashtra d=conference&sub=program&ConfID=144

3-6 December 2008 Internet Governance Forum Hyderabad, Tamil Nadu

11-13 December 2008 Renewable Energy Asia 2008 New Delhi

Japan 24-28 August 2009 The 3rd International Symposium on the Environmental Physiology of Ectotherms and Plants Tsukuba index.html


16-18 February 2009 Open Source Singapore-Pacific-Asia Conference & Expo 2009 (OSSPAC)

7-10 October 2008 Solar Asia 2008 Grand Hyatt

Thailand 26-28 August 2008 Mobile VAS Summit 2008 Bangkok

20-23 May 2009 World Renewable Energy Congress 2009-Asia Region (WREC) Bankok

United Arab Emirates 9-10 November 2008 BankTech Middle East Congress Dubai

17-19 April 2009 3rd IEEE/ACM International Conference on ICTD2009 Doha, Qatar

10-11 September 2008 e-Learning Asia 2008 Seoul

29-31 March 2009 Governance of New Technologies: The Transformation of Medicine, IT and IP University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh

Malaysia 12-13 December 2008 2nd International Conference on Science and Technology (ICSTIE’O8) Permatang Pauh, Pulau Pinang

15-17 December 2008 International Conference on

United Kingdom

16 October 2008 World HIV/AIDS Conference Home | Find | Add a conference Johannesburg, South Africa



Converging into new media The concept of emerging new media defines the phenomenal growth of unique form of interactive and informative medium enabled by digital technologies allowing the previously separate traditional media to converge by the process of adopting and adapting to the new media technologies. „ What are new media? • The Internet • MP3 • Mobile phones • Games consoles • Digital TV • DVD • DV film making

The Internet • Central hub for a number of digital media • The Internet has been responsible for a change in the way different media are made and distributed • No other form of mass media has allowed such widespread participation before • Allows users to ‘become the media’, creating their own web site

MP3 • Alters the way music is produced and distributed • Developed as a way of exchanging music files via the Internet • Became popular due to the success of Napster • Popularity of format has led to hardware being produced to play files a way from computer • Becoming increasingly common and cheaper to buy than CDs • Offers new and unsigned artists the chance to reach a global audience • Format has the potential to empower an artist as record companies could become obsolete.

Mobile phones • Seventh of mass media • Voice function of a telephone, • SMS for text messaging, email, packet switching for access to the Internet, gaming, bluetooth, infrared, camera with video recorder • MMS for sending and receiving photos and video • Identified Alpha Users or Hubs, the most influential members of any social community

Games consoles • Huge growth area – generates more money than Hollywood • Crossover between film and computer games – spin off games and spin off films. • Convergence is increasingly common. • Involvement of huge multi-nationals e.g. Sony and Microsoft

Digital TV • Benefits of choice? • Interactivity • Development of digital hardware to replace VCR e.g. TIVO, Sky+ • ‘Walled Garden’ access to Internet

Audience response • The effect the media have on an audience • The way audiences use the media • The ways audiences read media texts

Audience (debates) • Hypodermic syringe model • Two step flow model • Uses and gratifications model • Reception theory – encoding/decoding • Audience research – quantitative/qualitative

Convergence • The coming together of two or more technologies into one device e.g. Playstation 2

Summary • Use correct terminology • Be aware of new developments • Aim to use two examples of new technology and try to link them

Source:, wikipedia


i4d | August 2008

Building Paths - Creating Future

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New Media For Development : August 2008 Issue  

i4d encompasses the role and relevance of ICT in various development sectors such as Rural Development, Gender, Governance, Micro-finance, E...

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