Sunday, June 06, 2004

initiatives aimed at overcoming the global digital divide

Geeking in the Third World by Richard Koman -- Geekcorps volunteers work in third world countries helping companies become technically competent IT businesses. Richard Koman interviews Geekcorps founder Ethan Zuckerman.

Making Room for the Third World in the Second Superpower According to Ethan Zuckerman of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, "the emergence of an Iranian blogger community is an encouraging example of bridge building."

Two years ago, Hossein Derakhshan (better known as "Hoder") posted a Web page with instructions on blogging in Farsi called "How to build a Persian weblog.” NITLE now reports 62,901 Farsi weblogs, making Farsi the third most popular weblog language. As the Iranian blogger community grew, Hoder and others, including Pedram Moallemian of The Eyeranian began blogging in Farsi and English, and encouraging others to do likewise, so that non -Farsi speakers could understand the current political and cultural situation in Iran. Sites like IranFilter now allow English speakers to understand the concerns of an Iranian community that's reaching out to the wider world.

BlogAfrica is one of several projects underway designed to build bridges between bloggers in Africa and the rest of the world. The BlogAfrica site hosts a catalog of blogs written by Africans or Afrophiles and aggregates these blogs into an African blog RSS feed. Working with volunteers working in Africa with Peace Corps or Geekcorps and visitors traveling to Africa, BlogAfrica is running public workshops in Internet cafes and universities to introduce weblogging to a new population. In future trips, BlogAfrica plans to bring prominent webloggers to Africa to teach workshops, encourage local bloggers and share their perceptions of Africa with their blog readers. Early participants in the workshops include Adam Chambas, whose Accra Crisis blog provides a first-person view of the 2004 Ghanaian presidential campaign.

No comments: