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Tic Pour Tous
TIC pour Tous operates as a legally registered charitable organization with headquarters in Kinshasa. Gabriel Bombambo, who managed the Front Line Defenders project from 2004-2007, serves as the organization's Executive Director.
As a result of the Second Congo War, human rights defenders (HRDs) working throughout eastern DRC have been systematically targeted by various armed factions seeking to prevent them from carrying out their legitimate human rights work. Many HRDs have been arbitrarily detained, tortured, forced to flee - and a number have been killed in their non-violent efforts to expand the space of open and just society throughout the region.
In 2004, in response to the acute needs of HRDs working in eastern DRC, Front Line Defenders developed and implemented a three-year pilot programme to provide IT and digital security assistance to at-risk human rights defenders. This project was chosen because many were obliged to routinely undertake extremely dangerous border crossings to Burundi to access IT centres or Internet cafes where they could then communicate electronically with other HRDs.
Front Line Defenders established a series of IT centres, training and mission activities throughout eastern DRC. The goal of the programme was and remains to increase IT capacity through the provision of IT access and technical support.
Specifically, this project was implemented to enable HRDs to effectively use information and communication technology that reinforced their security and enhanced their capacity to peacefully campaign for civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. The programme was also established to enable HRDs to collaborate more effectively via digital technology and to establish networks of communication to further their capacity as agents of legitimate and peaceful social change.
Through this project, Front Line Defenders established several IT resource centres and conducted training sessions in best uses of technology and concepts of IT security.
In 2008, Front Line Defenders re-launched the programme as an independent NGO called TIC pour Tous (Information and Communication Technology for Everyone). The reason for this change of management was Front Line Defenders’ recognition that the needs of HRDs working in DRC would be better served by local administration of the program rather than by remote oversight provided by Front Line Defenders.
Each IT centre includes three or four computer stations. The computers are HP Pentium IV connected to the Internet via LAN. Additionally, each centre is equipped with a laser printer, scanner and white board for the facilitation of small meetings and discussion.
Logistics in establishing these centres included the resolution of issues related to insecure power supplies, security and ongoing technical support. As part of their establishment, TIC pour TOUS Executive Director, Gabriel Bombambo worked with local HRDs to identify each centre’s location and requirements and worked with the local community to deliver the logistical requirements associated with the continued maintenance of each centre.
Today, TIC pour Tous maintains each of its centres through the ongoing collaboration of Mr. Bombambo, Front Line Defenders, and local IT consultants.