Open Society Initiative releases ICT programme guidelines

By   |  October 19, 2003

The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) recently launched its new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) program guidelines and is inviting organisations to engage with OSISA on developing effective proposal for ICT\’s and Development in Southern Africa:

VISION
A region whereby citizens live equitably, free from poverty and the suffocating grip of underdevelopment and the control of information. A region where adequate access to information for development is secured by ensuring appropriate access for civil society to effectively participates in the Global Information Society (GIS).

MISSION
To contribute towards an environment whereby the free and equitable flow of information and the deployment of appropriate technologies, systems and knowledge networks are applied to enhance and deepen citizen?s rights, access, usage and participation towards an open society.

PURPOSE OF THE PROGRAMME
OSISA believes that the free flow of information is essential for the development of open society. Rapid developments in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have changed the flow of information in the global society. While information is more available on the Internet, it is not accessible to those without the skills and infrastructure to access it. Information technology can be harnessed to contribute to development but can also lead to digital exclusion, particularly of vulnerable groups.

GOAL
– To support the strengthening of ordinary citizen?s participation and social networks in, and influence of the ICT policy and regulation processes;
– To support initiatives that aim to further local development goals through effective and innovative application of ICTs;
– To ensure that the southern African region is not marginalised but fully equipped and ready to effectively participate and advocate in all aspects of the global Information Society.

SUB PROGRAMS
The sub-program areas are:
– Advocacy Initiatives in the ICT area for Policy and Regulation
– Consortia Development in Knowledge Applications and New Content
– Civic Networking and Community Information Systems
– Electronic Governance, E Democracy and Cyber Liberties

GUIDING PRINCIPLES
OSISA\’s ICT Program will support interventions based on:

1 – Digital Inclusion and Opportunity
Programmes aimed at giving civil society formations an equitable opportunity to be included in the Information Society and Community.

2 – Affordable Access and Equity
Ensuring the principle of affordable access to all forms of ICT?s in all projects is factored into and catered for.

3 – Alternative ICT Technology and Delivery Systems for civil society
One of the unique aspects of new ICT\’s in the African context is that it presents interesting opportunities and options to experiment with new technologies and leapfrog many old and outdated technologies. The program seeks to support innovative and unique approaches to new technology application;

4 – Application for Social Action
Ensure that all ICT applications lead to organic social action that empowers civil society formations, NGO?s and civic networks;

5 – Networking and Knowledge sharing

Ensure that networking, information sharing and idea generation takes place to develop indigenous knowledge systems and avoid duplication;

6 – Effective Use and Social Appropriation
Ensure that the principle of effective use of all types of ICT\’s is secured in all projects and localized at organizational, civic, regional and continental levels.

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