April 2004

OneWorld South Asia resolves to achieve

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We believe that Information and Communication Tools (ICTs) are a powerful tool to help NGOs achieve this goal at the grassroots, particularly by allowing local communities to have a voice in their own development. OneWorld wants to catalyze the use of these tools by our partners in collaborative ways that are really effective. The response at the meeting was very positive with a number of practical strategic alliances emerging out of the discussions,” commented Basheerhamad Shadrach, Director, OneWorld South Asia. He was speaking at the closing session of the two day “3rd Annual Meeting of OneWorld South Asia Partners’, organized in New Delhi, India from 11-12 February, 2004.

 

The theme of the meeting was ‘Working Together to Achieve Millennium Development Goals’.  The representatives of over 100 NGOs from the sub-continent that are partners of OneWorld South Asia attended the meeting. The director of One World International Foundation, Anuradha Vittachi, while speaking in the inaugural session said, ” I believe that Media for All should be included as another MDG”. This statement is an indication of the critical role media can play in achieving the MDGs. She further said that communication tools are being made available in the local language with local content to reach out to the grassroots. “Mobiles, for example, are becoming the new medium for reaching out to people”, she added. The President NASSCOM mentioned how ” ICTs  instead of being thought of as a tool in the hands of the oppressor could be used to empower the oppressed”, said Kiran Karnik, President of the National Association of the Software Companies, India. He cited the example of the Bhoomi project in the state of Karnataka where land records have been computerised and farmers do need not to grease palms anymore to get a copy of their land record.

In his speech on the first day of the meeting, Mr. Peter Armstrong, Co-Founder of OneWorld International spoke about the aim and purpose of Open Knowledge Network (OKN) project. He also briefly mentioned about its operation at the grassroots level. Recognising the diversity and richness of initiatives to collect and disseminate local content which already exist in many parts of the South, the OKN represents an attempt to ‘join up the dots’, in order to increase their capacity and impact. It is best thought of as a flexible framework or dynamic to link and support information initiatives among poor and marginalized communities though shared standards and values: local content, local people, and local languages.Among the other eminent speakers at the meeting were Mr. Shankar Ghose, President, Charkha Development Communication Network, Mr. Dileep Ranjekar, Chief Executive Officer, Azim Premji Foundation, Dr. Dennis Pain, Senior Social Development Advisor, Department for International Development, India and Mr. Sanjay Trehan, Chief Executive Officer, Internet, Hindustan Times It was suggested by the participants that the OneWorld South Asia was the appropriate platform to carry on the advocacy work. At the same time more partners were to be roped in. This would not only broaden the reach but also provide strength to the voices from the ground.

The meeting saw OneWorld South Asia and its partners coming out with an agenda that will help in the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a series of measures that the United Nation has mandated for a better world. The MDGs, aim at the elimination or substantial reduction of poverty by 2015, by focusing on issues related to health, hunger, education, gender, environment and partnerships with the private sector. OneWorld South Asia http://southasia.oneworld.net/ based in New Delhi is a part of the OneWorld Network www.oneworld.net, an international non-profit network that aims to use ICTs for promoting sustainable development and human rights and is the world’s first online platform solely devoted to human rights and social justice worldwide.

With a strong network of 260 non-governmental organizations as its partners,
OneWorld South Asia works symbiotically to achieve its goals. Its key activities are
Development Communications, Grassroots Communication, Capacity Building,
ICT Advocacy and Partnership with civil society. To know more about partnership with OneWorld South Asia, contact jaba.menon@oneworld.net

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