NETWORKS & DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION - FUNREDES

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What's EVEN MORE RECENT at Funredes?

(November 1998 - July 1999)


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FUNREDES web site

The Funredes web site has a long history: since the beginning of "What's new at Funredes", every single update has tackled the issue. In last October, we introduced you to our new plan of action... that didn't keep all of its promises. It is necessary to accept that the unpredictable circumstances, deriving from the realities of human and financial resources, have always prevented us from finishing this project that we consider very important. Therefore, the ancient history of our site is still a reality.

This time, we will stick as much as possible to the facts. However, we can not avoid ending up evoking quickly our perspectives on the level of aesthetics and content as well as on the technical level.

Reminder of facts

Until last October, our work had been progressing according to the free time we could get; the result is mentionned in the last "what's new?". Since then, we have tried to hold to our commitments, but unpredicted events, linked to human and technical resources, have slowed down our work.

However, we started, and sometimes even finalized, several projects:

Web Design Contest

To improve the appearance of its web site, Funredes decided by the end of December to launch a contest designed to collect some aesthetic proposals for a revision of the page design. From December 23, 1998 to January 31, 1999, 11 candidates sent their works. The results, ratified on April 1st, 1999, allow Funredes to have a graphic chart from which it can now start to recast its site. at least as far as the appearance of its pages is concerned.

Present Situation

Much remains to be done to fill the gaps and to answer the paradoxes of the Funredes presence on the Web: the content of the site tends to become old, new components have not been sufficiently integrated, the modernity of methods sometimes collides with technical resources, etc.

However, visitors continue to come, as shown by the statistics: our server's pages receive currently more than 3000 "hits" per day and this figure is in constant increase.

Perspectives

It becomes imperative to improve radically the whole funredes.org in order to answer to the expectations of both new and old visitors. Moreover, we want to offer a harmonious picture between the projects we are able to realize externally and our own server.

Perspectives are not bad, especially as the recruitment process we have been leading for several months (see human ressources) is bearing fruits:

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Human ressources

New commitments (see section projects) have led us to increase needs in staff, an issue that was solved thanks to the arrival of corresponding new budgets. The Funredes recruiting process started by the end of November 1998 is now in its last phase. Of course, the integration of all newcomers is not yet finished -it will continue during the following months. We expect that the new team will be fully integrated before the end of the present year.

Expansion

The recruiting process had lasted from November 24 to December 14 1998 (except for the position of network administrator, that was closing later), and took the form of classifieds published on the Funredes web site. The underlying "philosophy" of that effort was to look for "young professionals" that would be interested an experience on the field. We were looking for professionals either from Latin America (Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico...), or from an industrialized country. Initially, it was planned to have every new "international" employee work along with one young Dominican having the incentive and faculties to receive a complementary training.

The job offers were as follows:

We have eventually received more than 150 answers and selected a third for a second stage of selection. The quasi-totality of the exchanges has been achieved by electronic mail, and apart from some telephone conversations and some pictures available on the Web, we didn't know anything about the physical characteristics of newcomers -however, these have been easily identified on their arrival at the airport :-)

Finally, a dozen of active youngsters (of 21 at 35 years, average of age 26) has been selected. The details concerning the new staff are presented in the following point.

New arrivals - departures

It is important to specify that the Internet hiring process makes the trial period particularly important. We are now mentioning the newcomers who remained beyond the three initial months of the trial period.

Point and perspectives

On July 30th people working for Funredes, and their main assignments, are:

In the following months Juan Miguel Fach and Benoît Lamey should arrive. Juan Miguel is Cuban and should become our network administrator. Benoît is French and will come to serve his military service in an NGO through DCC (Catholic Delegation for Cooperation). As far as departures are concerned, Catherine Dhaussy is supposed to leave the Dominican Republic by September 20th. She will go on working for Funredes from France.

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Projects

CARIBCAD

CARIBCAD is a project that has begun in September 1997. The general presentation in English is available at http://funredes.org/caribcad.

Since October 1998, we have brought some important graphic improvements to the web site. Moreover, Funredes organizes regularly coordination meetings with the Dominican partners (University PUCMM and CAO-DAO TecAm office). Finally, we have offered a framework to the technical meetings that took place between the Dominican team and the Technical University of Delft in April.

In this project Funredes is on the one hand in charge of the communication between partners and of the local coordination of the project. On the other hand, it is also in charge of the diffusion of results and the setting up of a web site that should permit subcontracting of CAD jobs. We have already produced:

The following weeks and months will be dedicated to the setting up of a web site model aiming to present offers for subcontracting. Moreover, it will develop an adequate model through which the CAD suppliers will be able to answer these calls.

MISTICA

MISTICA (Methodology and Social Impact of Information and Communication Technologies in America) is a FUNREDES project financed by the International Development Research Center (IDRC) and the Foundation for the Human Progress (FPH). Intended to last for two years, the project revolves around two axes: around the reinforcing of actors who deal with the NICT in Latin America and the Caribbean, and around the experimentation of a methodology designed for the communication inside virtual communities.

The public part began in February 1999, by the creation of a discussion list; since then, we have organized an international meeting at Samaná and improved in the development of the project. We have the following aims by the end of the summer: finishing the complete renovation of the web site project, opening of a "clearinghouse" (site of reference concerning the available resources on the topic) and introduction of the EMEC methodology (multilingual electronic conference management, see the presentation) in the diffusion list. Moreover, we have launched a call for proposals in order to fund some pilot applications.

Expansion

In October, once the last members will be integrated within the team, Funredes should be complete. Therefore, the internal "expansion" project is not in an active phase. However, spontaneous candidacies (especially from Portuguese-speaking people :-) !) are welcome, and are to be sent to expansion@funredes.org.

CARITIC

Status: project accepted, but not yet begun. The title of the project means "Caribbean: Integration, Technologies of Information and Cooperation". This project aims to manage actions in the field of ICT for the Caribbean integration in the context of cooperation. A first presentation will be available soon at http://funredes.org/caritic. Forums will be opened, as well as a reference site on the Caribbean cooperation.

Formulated projects

PREDESTICAR la salud: project on the prevention of natural disasters in the Caribbean area.

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Services

Funredes is a non-profit association. However, as there is no philanthropic support that would help its actions, money for the stationary expenses (i.e. office rent) and wages come from contracts. Our principle is to maintain "mutual profit relationships" with enterprises and therefore we do not compete with them on their market. However, we propose our services (mainly web site construction and hosting, and seminaries on the information society) to non-profit entities: other NGO, cooperation agencies, etc.

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Research and publications

We have translated into English the latest edition of the study dedicated to the place of the Latin languages and cultures on the Internet.

Funredes presented three abstracts to answer the call for papers launched by the Internet Society for its INET'99 conference. Two of them were presented as articles ("Users Training: A Crucial but Ignored Issue in Remote Collaborative Environments", by Daniel Pimienta and Catherine Dhaussy, and "Web Conferencing Systems Are Not Providing Virtual Communities with Proactivity: Some Methodology Is Required!", by the same authors in cooperation with Franck Fourmental, Ricardo Gómez, Senaida Jansen and Marina Urquidi), while the last one remained at the stage of abstract ("Measuring Languages in the Internet: A Methodology Based on Counting Word Occurrences With Search Engines", by Daniel Pimienta and Daniel Prado). However, none of these papers has been chosen for INET sessions.

Daniel Pimienta participated in the writing of a document expressing a common position of several networks in Latin America and in the Caribbean on the NCDNHC ("Non-Commercial Domain Name Holders Constituency").

In addition to MISTICA, Funredes members actively participate in various electronic conferences.

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Media

A flyer has been published in Spanish, completing the presentation already available in French.

The written press mentioned Funredes on various occasions: the MISTICA project (specifically the Dominican national press), the study on "languages and cultures" (French, Spanish press, etc.)

Several Dominican TV channels reported on the Samaná meeting organized in the framework of the MISTICA project.

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Conferences

On the occasion of the fortnight of the French speaking countries AUF-REHRED in Haiti, Daniel Pimienta intervened at the French institute of Port-Au-Prince on the opening day (March 15th) on the theme "A Space in the Internet for non-US languages and cultures? The case of the Latin World".

Amauris Espinal went to Panamá from the January 12th to 15th on the first Central American conference on network security. The objective of this seminar was to offer Central America and Caribbean system administrators an intensive -theoretical as well as practical- teaching in the field of computer network security.

Keysi Guerrero participated in Merida (Venezuela) on a training seminar organized by the Internet Society from June 14th to June 19th, to deepen her competencies in HTML edition and programming.

The RDDH has organized a meeting in Port-Au-Prince (Haiti) on June 2nd 1999, in order to attempt to solve the situation provoked by mistakes of the IANA in 1997 in the Top Level Domain (TLD) .ht. Daniel Pimienta participated to this meeting; its results are available at: http://funredes.org/funredes/ht-tld.html.

From June 21st to 25th Catherine Dhaussy attended at San Jose (United States) the Internet Society INET'99 conference. A partial account (in French) can be read on the ISOC-France site, at http://www.isoc.asso.fr/serv/inet/inet1999.htm. It is also possible to download a full version at http://funredes.org/catherine/inet99/CRinet99.rtf (95K).

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Various Perspectives

Various objectives lay in front of Funredes in the following months: the end of the recruitment, the restructuring and the aesthetic improvements of the web site, the beginning of the CARITIC project, the continuation of MISTICA with its clearinghouse, the beginning of the EMEC methodology, etc.

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Practical information - Coordinates

Hence, work will go on in our offices (we have also expanded from a geographical perspective, with the opening of a second office):

Otherwise, the postal address of FUNREDES remains the same: P.O. Box 2972 - Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic).

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What's new from October 1998
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Copyright © 1995-1999 FUNREDES  Created: August, 5th, 1999 Latest modified: August, 9th, 1999
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