Establishment and Networking of Community Multimedia Centres in the East African Region
The convergence between radio and the Internet is providing new strength to community radio. Not only are community radios being empowered to reach new latitudes, but also Internet users are learning from a participatory experience that is expected to contribute much to social change. In this context, a need for Community Multimedia Centres (CMCs) in rural areas of East Africa has emerged. The establishment of CMCs in such areas envisages a combination of community radio with telecentre facilities, under community ownership. Telecentres provide numerous ICT services, such as access to the Internet, to computers and software capabilities, to electronic commerce applications, and to many other public information services. Community radio is a very effective tool to reach rural communities. The Internet has a better chance to succeed as a tool for development and participation if linked to existing communication or information experiences. In light of the above, this project proposes to combine the establishment of community radios and telecentres to form community multimedia centres (CMCs). Their main aim will be to respond to communication and information needs for the development agenda of the community concerned. This project will allow for appropriation of ICT tools by communities where people absorb, systematise and transform information into new knowledge that can be communicated to others and applied to solve their concrete needs. Support for CMC equipment (both transmission and telecentre), capacity building and training which goes beyond access and basic applications, and addresses personal, institutional and systemic barriers as well as content development, is critical. Bridging the digital divide will be the goal of this project. It will establish 4 community multimedia centres in 4 marginalised communities in East Africa (two in Kenya, one in Uganda and one in Tanzania) and thus empower them by enabling them to benefit from access to information and communication technologies.