on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 16:00. Posted in News from the region

The Pakistan Centre for Development Communication (PCDC) has developed an evaluative and formative self-assessment tool to measure communication capacity through the "Communication Capacity Scorecard" (CCSc). Intended primarily for nongovernment organizations (NGOs), the CSSc provides a measure for an organization's communication policies and practices in the following areas: Governance; Efficiency & Effectiveness; Human Resource; Tools; Integration; Media Relations; and Technology Environment.

Moreover, the CCSc may also be used in assessing an organization's communication environment, particularly in the following aspects: Consensus building; Understanding and alignment with organization’s goals; Communication barriers; Communication between leaders and managers; Culture of openness; and Staff’s performance. PCDC said that organizations who have used the CCSc "found it useful for enhancing motivation, commitment, and efficiency within the organization".

For more information, visit PCDC.

The Pakistan Centre for Development Communication (PCSC) provides communication-related information, training and technical support to civil society organizations, women groups, welfare associations, NGOs networks, local and international donors, media professionals, development communicators, and public and corporate sector organizations in Pakistan.

ICT for agriculture and risk management in India

on Friday, 10 August 2012 16:00. Posted in News from the region

Farmers' exposure to risk and uncertainty is often aggravated by lack of information about weather, inputs, farm management practices or market prices, and this lack of information has an adverse impact on crop production and income. The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) just published a scoping study on Modern ICT for Agricultural Development and Risk Management in Smallholder Agriculture in India whose main objectives are:

1) analyze the scope and potential of the use of ICT, especially mobile phones, for farmers and the agricultural sector
2) identify farmers’ present sources of information and information networks, and to identify the information needs that help them to mitigate production and market risks
3) identify existing ICT-based innovations in the agricultural sector, the key players, and the institutional arrangements for the dissemination of information
4) highlight selected models and innovations in the form of case studies
5) identify the constraints and challenges and suggest key questions that should be taken up for research based on this scoping study

Evidence suggests that among modern ICTs, mobile telephony has been the most recent and widely-accepted mode of delivering information, not only in India but also in other South Asian and African countries. Increasing mobile phone-based services enhances the availability of content-specific information and helps to improve awareness, education, adoption of technology, reduced transaction costs, market efficiency and climate-linked risk management. These in turn catalyze rural-sector development and economic growth.

The study was funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

See the full report here

CIMMYT is an international not-for-profit research and training organization. With partners in over 100 countries, the center works to sustainably increase the productivity of maize and wheat systems to ensure global food security and reduce poverty.


on Saturday, 04 August 2012 05:07. Posted in News from the region

The Indian media recently reported about their Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s (MOCIT) decision to “waive” the spectrum fee hike for community radio stations in the country. The Asia-Pacific Board of World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), however, hopes that the Government will consider a roll back of the entire amount as this will substantially enhance the sustainability of the sector.

As a global network committed to media democratization and strengthening the voices of the excluded through community radio, AMARC underscores the importance of the Principles of Broadcasting Diversity as articulated by the UN Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression: Community broadcasting should be explicitly recognized in law as a distinct form of broadcasting (and) should benefit from fair and simple licensing procedures…(and) should benefit from concessionary license fees…”.

AMARC congratulates the entire community radio sector in India for their concerted efforts to reverse the hike. While it is not, as yet, clear if the roll back implies a complete waiver or a roll back to the earlier amount of Rs 19,700/- , an official announcement is expected shortly to clarify the decision.

For more information, visit AMARC Asia-Pacific or contact the regional coordinator at


on Saturday, 28 July 2012 16:00. Posted in Opportunities

The Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF) Asia program is accepting applications for grants and awards in line with its mission to help advance local and regional projects aimed at introducing, improving, and applying Internet technology for the benefit of Asia-Pacific users and communities.

For ISIF grants, financial support of up to AUD 30,000 is given to Asia Pacific initiatives via a competitive process. Project proposals should have innovation and development as an integral part, and be aligned with the current funding categories that include: innovation on access provision, innovation on learning and localization, code for the common good, rights. For detailed information, please check ISIF Asia grants page.

The ISIF awards, on the other hand, seek to acknowledge the important contributions ICT innovators have made with creative solutions to the social and economic development of the Asia Pacific region. Financial support for up to AUD 3,000 is allocated also via a competitive process. In addition to selecting a winner per category, there will be a Community Choice Award category for the best social media campaign (the project with the highest number of votes from the community). Find out more on the awards here.

Deadline for applications is 10 August 2012.

The Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF) is a grants and awards program aimed at stimulating creative solutions to ICT development needs in the Asia Pacific region, placing particular emphasis on the role of the Internet in social and economic development.