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UNESCO Installs First CMCs in Mali Scale-up Initiative

24-06-2005 (Paris)
UNESCO Installs First CMCs in Mali Scale-up Initiative
UNESCO this week installed the first of the new community multimedia centres it is establishing in Mali as part of a scale-up initiative also involving Mozambique and Senegal. The first of the new centres were installed in Niéna and San, respectively 300 and some 400 kilometres east of the capital Bamako. Within the next two weeks, CMCs will also be installed in Goundam, Banamba and Yelimane.
"Everyone here is extremely pleased with the speed of the dial-up connection to the internet", noted project officer Birama Diallo in San. There has been strong mobilization in the local community, which has contributed to the installation by renovating the premises housing the new telecentre, setting up a local steering committee and generally preparing for the new facility.

CMCs combine local radio and community telecentre facilities. As San has several radio stations, Radio Santoro was chosen to house the telecentre but all the local stations will be full partners and benefit from equal access to the telecentre to enrich their programmes with digital information.

The scale-up of CMCs in Mali is not without some specific challenges. Although the dial-up connection is good in San, the national telephone company has technical problems in distinguishing, for billing purposes, between an Internet connection and a telephone call and some of the existing pilot CMCs have faced steep telephone bills. The government has pledged to help solve these problems as part of its commitment to champion the scale-up initiative.

UNESCO plans to establish 20 CMCs in each of the three scale-up countries in this first project phase, with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The ultimate goal is to support the emergence of national networks of such centres, to ensure that no communities are out of reach of participatory communication and information facilities for development.
Related themes/countries

      · News Archives 2005
      · Mali: News Archive
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