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Information & Communications Technologies

EWV has been responding to the information needs of developing country individuals, institutions and community organizations since 1959. The majority of requesters that the organization has helped over the years represent the very groups identified by development agencies as priorities – the poor and disadvantaged, isolated rural populations, small and micro businesses, and women. Importantly, they include numerous schools, universities, and NGOs that have been responsible for disseminating the required technical information even further. Using experience gained responding to more than 300,000 inquiries for specific technical information, EWV has published more than 200 manuals and technical papers on specific technologies that have been used as definitive "how-to" guides by the developing community for close to six decades.

EWV has also played a leading role in using the Internet to develop "knowledge networks" that are bringing together international expertise around crucial development issues. The organization has hosted a number of electronic "Think Tank" TechNet conferences sponsored by the World Bank and designed to foster discussion on questions of science, technology and information for development. TechNet conference topics have included: innovative approaches to education through the use of information and communications technologies; strategies for building a Learning Society across a wide range of sectors; the role of intellectual property protection in economic development; legal and regulatory frameworks to encourage and facilitate the growth of the NGO sector; critical technologies for developing countries; the ability of communities to retrieve, generate, aggregate, and disseminate information; and the ways in which developing nations learn, absorb, and assimilate knowledge and put knowledge to productive use.

EWV’s technical capacity in the area of information dissemination includes wireless packet radio networks, electronic mail systems, bulletin board networks and even the design and use of low-earth orbiting satellite systems. As an acknowledged leader in radio satellite communications, in 1993 EWV received one of the first Pioneers’ Preference Awards from the Federal Communications Commission for its low earth orbiting satellite communications system – VITAsat. Over the years, EWV’s communications technologies were used in a number of settings and for a variety of purposes. They have provided effective communication links in critical health and disaster situations (connecting health outposts in hurricane-damaged Honduras, providing the first warnings of an Ebola outbreaks in Congo, etc.), for education (linking Cornell University with the Visayas State College of Agriculture in The Philippines), in support of remote development projects (Kibidula Farm Institute in rural Tanzania) and for environmental monitoring (monitoring of remote power systems in Indonesia and communications for a South Pole expedition).