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UNESCO reviews progress of CMC scale-up initiatives in Africa
UNESCO concluded a review meeting of its Community Multimedia Centre scale-up initiative in Africa on 20 May in Bamako, Mali, to discuss progress and strategies for the future.

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UNESCO reviews progress of CMC scale-up initiatives in Africa

30-05-2006 (Bamako)
UNESCO reviews progress of CMC scale-up initiatives in Africa
UNESCO concluded a review meeting of its Community Multimedia Centre scale-up initiative in Africa on 20 May in Bamako, Mali, to discuss progress and strategies for the future.
The week-long meeting brought together coordinating teams from Mali, Mozambique and Senegal along with UNESCO programme specialists.

UNESCO’s Community Multimedia Centre (CMC) Scale-up Initiative in Africa, the first of its kind in the continent, was officially launched by the Presidents of the three countries, with Koichiro Maatsura, UNESCO Director General, and Walter Fust, Director of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Since October 2004, twenty-one CMCs have been established in Mali, Mozambique and Senegal and over 40 more are planned before the end of 2006. Networks of at least 50 CMCs will be established within national ICT frameworks in each country by the end of 2008.

Dynamic multi-stakeholder partnerships from the local to national level are in place in each country involving players from public and private sectors as well as civil society. In Mali and Mozambique national centres and helpdesks are being established to provide support to the emerging networks, including the development of appropriate information content and local applications and services.

Community multimedia centres combine traditional local media, like radio, TV and newspapers, with new technologies, such as computers, internet, photocopiers and digital devices like cameras and audio players. CMCs are a unique way for poor communities, often in remote rural areas, to overcome common obstacles to their full and profitable use of ICTs. By integrating traditional and new media, community multimedia centres link local and global networks and bring digital tools and new opportunities within the reach of millions, opening new gateways to information, communication and knowledge.

The Bamako review meeting also involved a visit to three CMCs in Mali’s Sikasso region in the southeast of the country. According to the Sub-prefect of Niéna, the commune in which the first CMC was established as part of the scale-up project: “There is no doubt of the impact in the area with the establishment of the CMC in June 2005. People no longer have to travel to the capital for basic services like printing and photocopying. Many people in the community have been trained to use computers and the internet has made a major difference for the radio. However much work remains.”

The CMC scale-up strategy is to build on already existing community facilities and organisations, to work with local partners, and to coordinate efforts nationally with other stakeholders. Project implementation is handled by national project teams in cooperation with a wide range of partners. The scale-up process has stretch targets: 20 CMCs are planned in the first phase (2005-6), but numbers will increase to 50 or more to reach whatever density of facilities is necessary and feasible to serve the development needs of each country.

Related themes/countries

  • This item can be found in the following topics:
          · 2006
          · Africa: News Archive 2006
          · Mali: News Archive 2006


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