Island Connect in the Tuamotus: Satellite, Solar Power and Civil Society

Despite their isolation, technological developments allow residents of Katiu, a tiny coral atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia, to engage as global citizens. The atoll is only 10 square km, 27 km long and 12.5 km wide. Its 286 residents subsist on fishing, copra harvesting and pearl farming. There is no tourism trade, and anything beyond coconut palms, breadfruit, taro, fish, seafood and some fruit must be imported on infrequent cargo ships. Until recently, the atoll was inaccessible except by boat, and islanders had limited communications with the outside world. Continue reading

Digital Generation in Papua New Guinea Emerges

Memo #194 – Next month, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr will make his maiden visit to Papua New Guinea (PNG), Australia’s nearest neighbour and second largest recipient of Australian foreign aid. This visit comes 10 months after the then brand-new foreign minister threatened PNG with sanctions following suggestions from within the PNG government that national elections might be delayed. Not surprisingly, these threats did not go down well with Papua New Guineans. But ironically, Foreign Minister Carr can take partial responsibility for inspiring a new, digital generation of Papua New Guineans to engage in public discussion. Continue reading