|Sylvia Cadena has over 18 years working in ICTs for development|
Sylvia Cadena has extensive experience in supporting different organisations, initiatives and individuals to take advantage of information and communication technologies and use them strategically for their development objectives. She currently works with APNIC and is a jury member of the Centre's annual Communication for Social Change Award.
Read more about Sylvia here and about APNIC here.
Explain to us you area of expertise and why you love it?
I’ve been working on ICTs for development since 1993. Over these 18 years I’ve enjoyed many different roles and responsibilities. I’ve worked developing websites when the web just started; coordinating a telecenter project when there was no massive access to the Internet; running information portals; supporting wireless projects and lately coordinating a grants program that allows organisations in the Asia Pacific to apply for funds to support initiatives looking at innovative uses of Internet for development.
I’ve been able to see the technology evolve to serve offering new ways to connect to the network; new services to access information and share yours; better, faster and more efficient devices; simpler and smarter applications to help people every day. That has been truly fascinating. I’ve really enjoyed the endless learning opportunities, finding new ways to do the same things. Is never boring! I’ve been able to introduce technology to isolated communities, bringing opportunities and knowledge to people that feels left behind, to stay in their communities and make the most out of their environment without heading to the big cities and leaving the life they love, their traditions and their culture.
How do you see the relationship between communication and social change?
I think that communication mediated through technology act as a catalyst of social change. Before the Internet is was even harder for individuals to get their voices heard, their stories told. Now is easier to identify people that share your views about the world and fight for your rights with support from people you’ve never met before.
How does your role make change?
The project I’m coordinating now allows organisations to receive the funds they need to test their ideas, to try solutions, to understand processes. Although the funds are limited and we provide only small grants, recipients have been able to offer tangible benefits to their communities. I think our role is to facilitate the process so others can make the changes they need. We’ve are just there to support them along the way.
What’s your biggest challenge?
Understanding the Asian culture and the different ways to interact and communicate with people that like me, don’t communicate in English as a first language.
What are you most proud of?
I see my self as a pioneer, looking for ways to do things differently every time, listening to the needs of those that my work is supporting. I’m really proud to be seen as someone accessible, happy to assist individuals and organizations to get their ideas transformed into real initiatives, providing jobs and opportunities for others.
What are your top three favourite websites related to the field?
Who are your favourite characters of history?
I don’t have a specific one, but I’m always inspired by the stories of amazing women that contributed all aspects of life. There is always a lost character in history to discover through books and documentaries.
What do you think makes this moment in history unique?
I think that people all over the world are finally awaking, understanding that the power to change things is in their hands. I’ve just want to believe that there is still time to get everything they way it should, although the news everyday tells me that it might be too late.
What is the quality you most admire in a person?
Brutal honesty and commitment.
What is your motto?
Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today.