UNESCO is giving a high priority to the concept of providing and strengthening communication and information facilities in order to support sustainable development at the level of local communities. Several interrelated approaches and initiatives in this area share the idea that information and communication represent the basic and, in most cases, the more easily available tools for introducing and managing community-centred development and change.
Community telecentre users in Timbuctu, Mali
The Information for All Programme seeks to narrow the gap between the information rich and information poor, and so it is very concerned with access to information and ICTs at the community level, coordinating closely with UNESCO's community media activities.
UNESCO is working to network public and community libraries all over the world, turning them into gateways to information and facilities for open and flexible learning. The UNESCO Network of Associated Libraries (UNAL) aims at encouraging public libraries to conduct information dissemination at grass-roots level, making appropriate use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).
More recently, UNESCO has been working to address the digital divide in the poorest communities of the developing world and in countries in transition, by promoting the use of ICTs at the community level and combining their potential with “traditional” mass communication media and community information centres. UNESCO launched in 1996, in cooperation with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a programme supporting Multipurpose Community Telecentres (MCTs), community-owned platforms providing a wide range of information and informatics facilities and services for both commercial and development uses, building on the concepts of the community library and community learning centre. The MCT concept is compatible and complementary with the Community Multimedia Centre (CMC) model, which incorporates community radio, and, in many cases, UNESCO-supported telecentres are both CMCs and MCTs.
Local content is the expression and communication of a community’s knowledge that is relevant to the community’s situation and provides opportunities for the member of the community to interact and communicate with each other, expressing their own ideas, knowledge and culture in their own languages. UNESCO is thus supporting the development and production of Local ICT Applications such as multimedia learning applications and digital libraries.
I too have a story
06-06-2006 (Kathmandu) - Thanks to a recent training workshop held in Nepal on Digital Storytelling, the Tansen community media centre in the Palpa District of Western Nepal has a new segment in their local cable TV programme titled “I too have a story”.
UNESCO launches a sixth community telecentre in Ethiopia
25-08-2005 (Addis Ababa) - On Monday 22 August 2005, a dual ceremony was held at Rimbaud’s House in the historic Ethiopian city of Harar to mark the inauguration of a UNESCO sponsored community telecentre and to present certificates to the first batch of graduates from the telecentre’s basic ICT course.
UNESCO Releases New Publication on ICT Application to Fight Poverty
02-02-2005 (New Delhi) - 'Profiles and Experiences in ICT Innovation for Poverty Reduction' looks in detail at four innovative initiatives in South Asia that use information and communication technologies (ICTs) as part of efforts to reduce poverty. The initiatives were started as part of a UNESCO pilot project in the Asia-Pacific.