Internet Society Newspaper V2 N3, 1993 NETWORKS AND DEVELOPMENT
By Daniel Pimienta,
FUNREDES Head
[email protected]


"Networks and Development" is a new organization formed to help the way of the Internet in Developing Countries.

FUNREDES (from Spanish, Fundacion Redes y Desarrollo) takes over the team and activities of the former REDALC Office of Union Latina, and, below the lemma "Information without Barriers", is a systematization of something close to "the Internet Peace Corps", concept pointed out by Tony Rutkowsky, in ISOC V2N1.

FUNREDES is the result of a decision made by Union Latina in order to allow the creation of an autonomous and efficient structure for actions in the CMC field, which would not be limited by its own objectives (restricted to Latin derived speaking countries and more oriented toward languages and cultures).

STATUS: FUNREDES is an International Non-Governmental
Organization, receiving seed support from Union Latina and the Latin-American Science Academy (ACAL), with Head Offices in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

MISSION: It is a structure for thinking and acting on the impact
of networks upon scientific, economic, cultural and social matters, in Developing Countries (DC). FUNREDES will promote and facilitate the use of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) technologies.

OBJECTIVES:

1) Establish dissemination and systematization strategies for the

CMC in DC: networks, value-added networks, electronic libraries,
multimedia objects...

2) Promote the creation, structuring, preservation and dissemination of the Scientific and Technical Information (STI), within national and international frames, with emphasis in the regional and the south-south context.

3) Participate in the training of CMC end-users in order to allow their responsible control of the technology and their participation in the decision process concerning technological solutions.

  1. Participate in the creation and development of new networks, and organize technical assistance and added value services to existing networks.
  2. Participate in activities related to the development of the Science and Technology, Research, Higher Education and Telecommunications infrastructures, such as: -Bringing content to existing networks. -Systematically identifying the networks end-users. -Designing context-appropriate dissemination methodologies. -Organizing effective STI flows. -Improving the information and communication interfaces. -Providing assistance in negotiating special telecommunications tariffs.
    -Systematically developing and organizing electronic directories and conferences about researchers and STI. -Globalizing the concept of national research sector, integrating the researchers from abroad.
    -Promoting distance education.

PLANNED ACTIVITIES:
-Coordinating electronic conferences, libraries, and directories. -Maintaining technological watch on IT. -Editing newsletters about CMC themes. -Organizing training programs and packages for potential CMC users.
-Publishing pamphlets creating awareness and promoting CMC. -Conducting researchsm on the social and cultural impacts of CMC. -Creating appropriate methodologies for CMC in DC. -Designing systematic evaluation frameworks concerning CMC
products (networks, softwares, hardwares, protocoles,
services...).
-Defining, formulating and coordinating specific projects.

MAIN ORIENTATIONS:
-Easing the use of CMC services to its potential market. -Demythologizing the CMC associated technics. -Implementing the research-action concept. -Stressing the cultural and social components. -Inducing the participation of end-users during all phases of the CMC development within institutional, participative, open and pluralistic structures.

MAIN PRIORITIES:

The communication (specially inter-cultural and inter-regional) and Information (specially STI) above the technology: -The participation of CMC in the development of persons, countries and regions.
-The respect of the social-cultural environments as well as the individual and collective freedom. -The understanding of the sociological and human impacts of CMC. -The early consideration of the globalization of the information exchange patterns.
-The incentive for regional integration and sustainable economic development.
-The pursue of results likely to gain sustainable autonomy. -The adoption of a systemic and integral vision of the problems of development.
-Synergistic cooperation between the industries (in particular, the telecommunication) and the science and technology actors.

BACKGROUND: The main objective of FUNREDES is to extend and
expand the activities carried out by the REDALC Office of Union Latina (from January 1988 to August 1993), some of which have been supported by the EEC and executed in collaboration with UNESCO and ACAL (*), others with the participation of the UNDP (**):
-REDALC Project (LAyC Networking) * -MULBRI Project (PC based User Interface) -Listservs moderation (REDALC at FRMOP11.CNUSC.FR and SALSA, KISKEYA, HAITI-L at CONICIT.VE)
-Study of the networks potential impact in the French West Indies -REDALC Methodology (for launching networks in DC) -Peruvian National Network (RCP) -Dominican National Network (REDID) * and -Haitian National Network (REHRED) * -Training Workshops for the networks users * and -Participation in an ITU/Unesco study for recommendation of Telecommunication Tariff Policies for the research in DC, * -Study on Higher Education in the Dominican Republic, *

Note: As far as the follow-up of the REDALC regional project is
concerned (the feasibility study was ordered by EEC and carried out by UNION LATINA, together with UNESCO and the ACAL) and future launching thereof, Union Latina remains the institutional partner of EEC and any decision as to the future will be the sole and absolute responsibility of the EEC.

The author is open, on request, to: -send by e-mail the complete FUNREDES brochure, -provide more details or specific information, -consider offers of cooperation or sponsoring...