NBS Strategy and Information & Communication Technology Orientation
The Nile Basin Society is mainly a telecommunication initiative aiming at spreading awareness, access to information and real public participation in development projects (particularly the Nile Basin Initiative) through digital means, which we believe is the way to real sustainable development, including the essential social/democratic component.
A. Currently available free services:
Our services to Nile Basin NGOs and media in particular (as means of propagating the information to the public) and businesses include:
- Providing initially free hosting and web-design on our dedicated server. This is supplemented by free e-mail addresses, mailing lists, feed-back forms, etc. We aim to work with our partners to understand the value that these services have to their mission and to include it in their funding proposals at a highly competetive cost/effective price to ensure the sustainability of the service and to expand it to other organizations. Examples are:
- Provision of comprehensive and timely free information about conditions in the different Nile Basin countries. We try to provide the whole spectrum of opinions/views/news without dictating what the user should/should not believe. We largely depend on trust-worthy sources. We provide the information through our Discussion Forum. The discussion forum, in addition to sending posts by e-mail to registered users and accepting and publishing any response from them without the need to 'surf' to the site (which is impossible in some parts of the Nile Basin due to bandwidth restrictions), also feed some traditional mailing lists, e.g. Nile River , thus enhancing e-mail delivery of information.
- Provision of free mailing list servers Mojo that can be used by NGOs in many ways; notification (one-way) lists, Newsletter (both text and HTML), Discussion (two-way) lists, etc. We now also have Mailman mailing lists.
All the above services are currently available for free to interested Nile Basin NGOs, Media and businesses.
B. Services in various stages of development (work in progress):
There are other services that are in different stages of implementation:
Providing affordable hosting (free for NGOs) through capitalizing on the cheaper rates available to us in North America for domain registration, hosting costs, etc.
Entering into affiliation/partnerships with telecom businesses to provide quality services that enhance communications, e.g. VoIP (Voice over IP; Internet Telephony) and FoIP (Fax over IP; Internet faxing) between Nile Basin countries and the outside world.
We established and experimented with an Internet Radio station (Nile Radio) capable of live-broadcast. The intention is to link the Internet Radio, web sites and satellite transmission via World Space which covers all Africa, to local community radios and media. In this regard there have been serious contacts with the German Radio for training, with World Space to provide the bandwidth and with Farmers Radio to provide material that would be beneficial to Nile Basin farmers in addition to other programming for environmental, conflict resolution, water resources management and sanitation to be provided by our members in the different local languages in addition to English and French. The project is however currently is in the back-burner due to lack of funding and professional staff/volunteers needed for such a huge task if it is to be provided with any degree of dependability/consistency.
We are affiliated with and active member in many ICT initiatives, e.g. the Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) as well as accredited organization with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Geneva, Switzerland and share in their activities and consultations, e.g. World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) and
C. Future projects:
- Encourage the use of tele-printing servers by selected ISPs in the Nile Basin, so that the Nile Basin countries can enjoy free e-mail-to-fax services/coverage at least in capitols and major cities. Unfortunately, no country or even town in the Nile Basin is covered at all, though most developed and some developing countries are fully covered. Political well is badly needed as governments usually control/own ISP services. Such as service should boast communication through use of available technologies, i.e. fax machines, to deliver information to NGOs, media and businesses and foster relations with the Diaspora.
- Provide distance training programs through the use of compact disks and on-line courses (if feasible in receiving countries) in technological/telecommunications aspects as well as environmental and sustainable development ones.
- Provide on-line and digital material (including satellite radio and on CDs) in local languages of the Nile Basin.
- Act as consultants/trainers/suppliers (partly through donated services, software and hardware) to Nile Basin NGOs, media, businesses and educational institutions in areas of effective Internet use and information & communication technology (ICT) in general.
Though our web site(s) portals and the methodologies they use are a definite economical, if not technological, achievement, there is a need to reliably measure its success as compared to other similar fully funded initiatives.
The Nile Basin Society is always looking for new partnerships with international and local (Nile Basin) businesses and NGOs. If your organization is interested, please contact Nabil El-Khodari