The preliminary suggestions for regional collaboration and regional activities focusing on gender-responsive ICTs for development and distance education for rural women and girls are presented in this section.
Gender-responsive ICTs for development
The Asia-Pacific regional experience in ICTs for development has been initiated by a diverse group of NGOs, the private sector as well as the public sector. Thus the development of the knowledge society is marked by diversity in programme and leadership. Such diversity in leadership in fostering knowledge society should be documented and analysed in terms of its relevance to sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and gender responsiveness. The evolutionary models and their outcomes, both positive and negative should provide guidelines for future interventions in fostering a gender-responsive knowledge society. The action can be undertaken by FAO with other UN bodies in the region in collaboration with national institutions in the region.
A clearinghouse of ICT projects should be created - with quality control and process documentation, and contact information for project leaders - based on close collaboration between agencies (UNDP, UNESCO, WB, private initiatives like Digital Dividend).
The modality adopted by countries in the region for ICTs-driven development is mostly a reaction to globalisation and aggressive initiatives by private sector, hence there may be no clearly articulated ICT policy. Therefore it would be crucial to target leadership in both government and private sector to ensure gender-responsive ICT policies and programmes.
It would be important to analyse the IT and CT policies in the region for gender responsiveness with the recognition that ministerial divisions could exist among the information and communication responsibilities at the national level.
A regional gender-sensitive ICT training module should be designed, taking into account contextual differences within the region.
A Rural ICT Initiative Handbook should be developed, which includes guidelines and recommendations for planning, implementing and evaluating rural ICT projects. The Handbook should be responsive to gender concerns.
Technology access policy at the national level should include a clear design on how to incorporate rural people and rural women in particular in the larger framework.
Distance education for rural women
The following resources should be developed within the region:
A resource database of gender-disaggregated data of the region.
A database of indigenous knowledge systems.
Resource mapping of existing programmes, innovative practices, projects, and case studies that focus on the situation of rural women and girls.
A database of existing partnerships among the stakeholders.
A consolidated publication of case studies will be prepared, to form an analytical work that will be distributed by global marketing agencies. For this purpose an editorial committee to review and edit the conference presentations before compilation has been constituted. In the meantime, these summary proceedings of the consultation shall be circulated widely among all stakeholders.
The proposed editorial review committee:
Mr V. Balaji, ICRISAT, Patancheru, India
Ms Eva Rathgerber, Joint Chair of Womens Studies, Universitè dOttawa/Carleton University, Ottawa
Ms Uma Coomaraswamy, Vice Chancellor, Open University of Sri Lanka
Ms Usha Reddi, COL, New Delhi, India
Ms Nazneen Sultana, Managing Director, Grameen Communications, Bangladesh
Ms Revathi Balakrishnan, FAO Regional Office for Asia and Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand
Editor: Ms Usha Raman, Hyderabad, India