I was on the Digital Communities jury this year for Ars Electronica. Thanks to the two jury pre-selection and final jury process, we were able to spend a lot of time on the 60 or so entries that were selected from hundreds of submissions by the first jury. We had an awesome jury. The final jury was me, Andreas Hirsch, Shanthi Kalathil (co-author of Open Networks, Closed Regimes: The Impact of the Internet on Authoritarian Rule), Jane Metcalfe (co-founder of Wired), Dorothy Okello (Coordinator of the Women of Uganda Network), Howard Rheingold (the Smart Mobs guy ;-) ) and Oliviero Toscani (The guy who made the controversial Benetton ads). We gave our two Golden Nica cash prizes to Wikipedia and The World Starts With Me. I'm sure everyone knows Wikipedia. The World Starts With Me is a project from Uganda.
"The World Starts With Me" is a sex education and AIDS prevention project that simultaneously gives young Ugandans the opportunity to acquire Internet and computer skills. The program is aimed at school children and young adults. To reach this target group, 52 "Telecenters" (facilities equipped with IT infrastructure including PCs with Internet access) have been set up throughout Uganda. The program focuses particularly on 12- to 19-year-olds, with the objective of improving their understanding of sexuality. The website features a very attractive, inviting design and takes a playful approach to mediating complicated content, which is presented in a way that enables young people to recognize situations confronting them personally in their everyday lives. This program is very popular in Uganda and is being used in many schools and institutions.Now if only "The World Starts With Me" would make a wiki page...
Creative Commons won the Net Vision Golden Nica. Yay! (I wasn't involved in that jury and this was a pleasant surprise.)
Our honorary mentions were:
- Cabinas Publicas de Internet
- Children with Diabetes
- Daily Prophet - Very cool work based on childrens' derivative works based on Harry Potter
- DakNet: Store and Forward
- Telecentre Communautaire Polyvalent Tombouctou
- Wikitravel - I love their Creative Commons license which allows commercial use with attribution.