Readers of "Synaspe" will recognize APC as the organization that Bob Russell, board member of the Neahtawanta Center, has worked with at four previous United Nations conference and NGO Forums. At the most recent UN conference and Forum on Women, APC again provided important communication services for the NGO community. Bob didn't make this trip, so we have reprinted some of APC's press releases from the confernece to help highlight the important work of APC.
APC'S ALL-WOMEN TEAM ESTABLISHES INTERNET LINK BETWEEN HUAIROU AND THE REST OF THE WORLD
40 women from around the world have arrived in China to set up and maintain two APC (Association for Progressive Communications) networks for the participants of the NGO Forum in Huairou and the WCW in Beijing.
The APC networks in China will provide full Internet services to all participants and the press corps via two 64 Kilobyte lines. Women and men around the world can access information coming directly from the NGO Forum and the WCW via email, electronic conferences and 'world wide web' pages. APC expects that more than 30 million people world-wide will have access to information coming directly from China for the duration of the WCW.
APC has donated US $ 300,000 of staff, software, on-site and remote technical support, and dissemination of NGO Forum proceedings and information on the APC networks - which reaches 133 countries - as well as the Internet. An all-women technicial team from APC's Women's Networking Support Program has started working in Building 17 - the Business Centre on the NGO Forum compound - where it has configured two host computers which will handle 'gopher', 'world wide web', electronic mail, news and conferences. During the NGO Forum, these host computers will act as a full APC network; connecting the world-wide progressive community, including women who have no Internet connection but dial-up access in regions such as Africa and Asia.
The APC team will provide user support and training during the NGO Forum and WCW. The women have brought their unique experiences in women's networking from 25 different countries such as Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Senegal, Uruguay, Japan and Canada. They will be able to support the women participants in 18 languages. Beside the official conference languages they can offer such languages as Wolof, Sinhala, Hindi, Russian, Portuguese and Czech.
APC's staff is working from the experience gained during previous World Conferences and NGO Forums. APC networks have provided services during all UN World Conferences and parallel NGO Forums since the Earth Summit in 1992. As such, APC has been a leader in making UN information available to NGOs world-wide.
Press Release # 5
September 8, 1995
FULL HOUSE AT THE ON-LINE PAVILION
The use of computer network services provided by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) during the NGO Forum in Huairou have exceeded all expectations. The 56 computers dedicated to the NGO partici pants are occupied all day while waiting lists and time restrictions are imple mented to give all women a chance to find the information they need and to stay in touch with their families, friends and colleagues abroad.
New records are broken every day. "We are very very pleased with how well the services have helped people exchange information", says Edie Farwell, coordinator of the all-women APC Team at the WCW and NGO Forum, "we have created more accounts for email ac cess then ever before at an UN conference or NGO Forum." The number of email messages in and out from the APC Network Huairou is extraordinary: more than 39,000 (as of 6pm, September 7) were sent or received by NGO participants. For many women this was the first time they sent an email message. The women-friendly approach of the APC Team in user support and training is designed to encourage women to stay on the global on-line community after they return to their countries, so that they can continue working together.
"online.pavilion", the electronic confer ence where every participant can share her story or document is another success story. Hundreds of messages, personal stories, official documents are published and are accessible for all. "Today I sent and received my first e-mail message EVER! Imagine being initiated, so to speak, in China!", writes a participant with username "wcw33". The "Grandmothers for Peace" call for signatures on a petition to be presented to Mr. Gorbachev. A Dutch black woman describes how she feels much more at home now since she shares her appartment with her African sisters and "wcw2126" has posted a press release in Spanish about Nobel prize winner Rigoberto Menchu's visit to the Peace Tent.
More than 150 public conferences are available at the APC networks at the WCW and NGO Forum. Besides diary-like accounts of women's experiences during the NGO Forum, one can find the latest press releases, UN documents and speeches from the WCW. The plenary speeches delivered at the NGO Forum can now also be found at the APC network. Since the speeches were not distributed by the NGO Forum, APC volunteers have worked late into the night typing in the texts they had collected from the plenary sessions. APC's World-wide Web site has become one of the most popular sites on the Internet. So far it has been accessed locally 34,825 times. The page has direct links with electronic information re sources all over the world that are of interest to women. Daily updates are available at the APC networks in Huairou and Beijing on the Beijing'95: Women, Power and Change pages which are linked to the NGO Pavilion, the News Room, the Art Gallery and the Post Office.
World-Wide Web addresses relating to this article:
Original Beijing pages
Follow Up & Implementation
Return to the Index of Synapse 34, Winter Solstice 1995