UNITeS, UN Volunteers and the WSIS
- January 2004
UNV staff and volunteers were in high profile at the World Summit on the Information
Society (WSIS) in Geneva in December, creating one of the busiest and most-talked
about booths in the exhibit area, hosting live onsite and online events, speaking
at the official plenary, and working to contribute to the WSIS Declaration of
Principles and Action Plan.
- January 2004
UNV was in high profile last month in Geneva, where
we created a mock telecenter at the "ICT4D Platform" exhibition
area to demonstrate how community technology centers operate in the developing
Volunteers from the field helped staff this center, along with staff
from UNV headquarters, to help give visitors an idea of what helping
people in the developing world is like and why collaboration among different
groups is so important. UNV also hosted online events for the summit.
In conjunction with the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS),
UNITeS is gathering and posting examples of ICT volunteering -- stories
about volunteers who are are building the capacity of people in the
developing world to use and apply ICTs (computers, the Internet, handhelds,
cell phones, radio, etc.) or are using ICTs to help people in the developing
world regarding health, education, the environment, to prevent HIV/AIDS
or to help those affected by such, agriculture, human rights, gender,
and other areas of human development.
UN Volunteers and UNITeS are taking an active role in prepatory meetings
for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), to take place
December 10 - 12 in Geneva, Switzerland and again in 2005 in Tunis,
Tunisia. The contribution of UN Volunteers to the WSIS prepatory meetings
centers around promoting the involvement of volunteers as essential
to the successful achievement of fair and inclusive information societies.
The UN Volunteers program is preparing
for its participation at the World Summit on the Information Society,
with a mock telecenter and
live online events in the works, in addition to contributions to the
WSIS Declaration of Principles and Action Plan.
Information technology should be used to improve the quality of life
in developing countries, thus helping to achieve the ambitious goals
set by the United Nations Millennium Summit of 2000, Secretary-General
Kofi Annan said to the fifth meeting of the UN Information and Communications
Technology Task Force in Geneva.
This paper discusses ICT Volunteering and capacity building, volunteers
inputs in mainstreaming ICT into development organizations. Also, it
outlines major ICT Volunteering contributions to specific development
This paper discusses UNV's views about the role of volunteering in the
Information Society. It outlines how (1) volunteers can contribute to
the emergence and functioning of a more inclusive and fair Information
Society, and (2) how the new context of the Information Society affects
volunteering and volunteer action.
UN Volunteers/UNITeS presentation made at the Community Technology Center's
national conference in Austin, Texas, detailing why volunteers are an
part of the sustainability and success of ICT projects, particularly
those with a CTC component, with suggestions for better involving volunteers
in these projects.
UN Volunteers/UNITeS was the guest columnist for the Digital Opportunity
Channel, a joint initiative of OneWorld and the Digital Divide Network.
details on why volunteers are essential to ICT projects in developing
Volunteer managers already have phones and email to work with offsite volunteers.
What is the advantage of using Instant Messaging (IM) with these volunteers as
well? UNITeS has created this resource, based on feedback from various online
discussion groups, from our own staff experiences, and other resources, to help
illustrate the advantages for using IM to work with volunteers.
Resources researched and summarized by UNITeS. Examples of volunteers/citizens/grass
roots advocates using handheld computer/personal digital assistants (PDAs)
or phone devices as part of community service/volunteering/advocacy, or examples
that could be applied to volunteer settings. Also included is a section on
Advocacy, and a listing of Online Software Directories for Handhelds.
UNDP CHOICES magazine: special issues on ICT4D
, paper by Mark
paper by Ian Smillie
A paper by Ian Smillie noting that, while new technologies facilitate
the acquisition and absorption of information and offer developing countries
unprecedented opportunities to enhance educational systems, improve policy
formation and execution, and so forth, there is, however, a danger that the
world will be divided into the 'information rich' and the 'information poor',
with the gap between developed and developing countries widening rather than
narrowing. "One of the greatest dangers in the promotion of ICTs is that Southern
organizations will be drawn too quickly into the purchase of expensive and
sophisticated technology that they can neither afford nor sustain, beguiled
by the hope that it will solve problems that it cannot." The paper also notes
that the rapid onset of new ICTs offers growing opportunities for volunteer-sending
This resource has been prepared specifically to help ICT Volunteers
working in developing countries, including those working under the
UNITeS umbrella; and online volunteers currently serving development-related
projects, particularly those staffed by UNITeS onsite volunteers. We
hope that it will help in any ICT or online volunteering experience
supporting international development. The material is based on feedback
and contributions from many online volunteers and organizations, and
new suggestions are always welcomed.