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Statement on Cybervolunteering

GK3, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 13 December 2007
13 December 2007

We, participants of the GK3, held in Kuala Lumpur from 11 to 13 December 2007, representing organizations from many countries around the world declare the following:

We met throughout this Conference, within the framework of two roundtables and informal discussions.

We conclude that cybervolunteering is a critical element for an inclusive knowledge society.

Cybervolunteers play a critical role in the creation of new software applications, contents generation and knowledge sharing and dissemination both online and onsite.

As recognized during the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), we would also like to recall that volunteers have actively participated in the creation of what we call today the information and shared knowledge society. They wrote some of the first Internet protocols, are at the origin of many application of open source and free software and participate as trainers and disseminators of information. Volunteers also contribute to cultural and linguistic diversity in cyberspace.

We would like to recall here, that volunteers, if all put into one nation, would represent the 5th most powerful economy of the world. However, volunteers often operate in the shade and are generally little represented in important decision-making processes.

Volunteers are both creators and users in the information society. We would like to highlight the following points related to both sides of the ICT-Volunteering relationship.

Firstly, on how cybervolunteering can help expand the use of ICT for Human Development.

At the operational level, we propose:

  • Support and promotion of the role of cybervolunteers for local content generation;
  • Mechanisms to make free/open source software -itself a product of volunteer workapplicable to development needs where suitable;
  • Widespread involvement of cybervolunteers in community telecenters, both locally and internationally;
  • Support for national and international university volunteer networks in ICT for Development;
  • ICT Volunteering contributions to programmes that combat HIV/AIDS;
  • ICT Volunteering initiatives for digital inclusion of people with disabilities and homebound people;
  • ICT support for volunteers in natural disaster situations;
  • Volunteer involvement in ICT initiatives aimed at creating opportunities and at providing information in refugee camps.

As policy issues, we have identified the need to:

  • Establish and promote national and international online volunteering services;
  • Raise awareness of the contributions that ICT volunteering brings to development;
  • Support diaspora volunteer networks in ICT for development;
  • Promote corporate volunteering initiatives in ICT for development;
  • Recognize cybervolunteering as one factor in mainstreaming ICT in development processes;
  • Strengthen the collaboration between the private sector and cybervolunteer networks;
  • Implement a calendar of events and meetings to extend collaboration among organizations working with cybervolunteers and other actors both from the public and private sectors.

Secondly, on how ICT can be used by the volunteer sector:

  • Define and promote groupware systems and tools that will help volunteers and volunteer organizations to access valuable information resources and better communicate;
  • Create a "map" or catalog of ICT Volunteering and cybervolunteer involvement;
  • Harness the power of ICT for marketing, awareness raising and advocacy purposes;
  • Adapt the accessibility of ICT to facilitate the involvement of people with disabilities to volunteer.
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