CONFERENCE: Harnessing the Web to speed rural development

[news release] An international conference on how to help rural communities harness new Internet technology for rural development and natural resource management opens on 25 September at FAO headquarters in Rome.The Web2forDev 2007 is the first international conference to discuss how new Internet tools commonly known as Web 2.0 can be used to the advantage of rural communities to more efficiently network, collaborate and exchange information.The conference (25-27 September 2007) will cover the latest evolution of the Web, offering free or very low-cost interactive Web tools to create, publish and share information. It will address three main topics:

  • the use and impact of shared virtual spaces for remote collaboration and knowledge sharing;
  • the use of appropriate technologies for online publishing;
  • and online information retrieval and access.

Issues to be covered vary from village-to-village knowledge sharing in Egypt and using Web 2.0 tools in a low bandwidth environment in sub-Saharan countries and other regions to overcoming cultural, linguistic and geographic barriers.

Key-note speakers

One of the key-note speakers of the conference is Ethan Zuckerman. Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society from the Harvard Law of School, Zuckerman is co-founder of Global Voices, the largest aggregator of developing world blogs and citizen media. He has been involved with the development of web tools and specifically technology for the developing world since 1994, when he helped co-found key-note speakers are Anriette Estherhuysen, founder of WomenNet in South Africa and CIRAD expert Thierry Helmer. CIRAD is a French agricultural research centre working for international development.

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