Building Bridges: UNESCO project advances community development in Nepal
UNESCO Office in Kathmandu organized a consultation meeting entitled "Building Bridges: Creating Information Sharing and Expertise Networks among District-Based CLC/CMC", on 19 and 20 November in Kathmandu, Nepal. Members of local Community Learning Centres (CLC) and Community Multimedia Centres (CMC) met to discuss the feasibility, necessity and usefulness of Building Bridges.
Building Bridges is the UNESCO project that aims at creating communication, information sharing and expertise networks among district-based CLC and CMC of Rupandehi, Palpa, Newalaparasi and Kapilvastu. The purpose of the consultation meeting was to develop concrete proposals for CLC and CMC to work together, to link through information and educational networks, and to ensure that strategies are transformed into sustainable actions at community level.
It has been clearly demonstrated that using information and communication (ICT) tools, such as community radio, community television and community telecentres, is an effective way of disseminating information, delivering educational programmes and empowering marginalized people. Some CLC in Nepal have recently started using ICT tools. This clearly demonstrated that cooperation between CLC and CMC would enable both of them to reach more people, with a greater variety of high-quality information and educational programmes.
Building Bridges was started by UNESCO's Kathmandu Office two years ago through a preliminary stakeholder dialogue. Since then new partnerships have been built to increase community-driven development and change, and more and more representatives from all sectors of society are getting involved in community-centred development.
UNESCO, therefore, decided to re-propose Building Bridges as the platform for identifying new activities to be undertaken at community level.
The consultation meeting brought together representatives from both CLC and CMC of four chosen districts of Central Nepal that will be used as pilot districts for the project. During the two days of discussions, presentations and interactions the group tried to reach the following objectives:
- to identify activities that are being undertaken by community organizations like CLC, CMC, libraries and telecentres that are aiming at common development objectives;
- to identify how the linking of community organizations can expand the scale and scope of current and future programmes to better serve communities in Nepal;
- to review how CMC and CLC can help each other through knowledge, experience and skill sharing for sustainable development of the communities involved;
- to identify a common vision and a set of goals for using information and educational skills to meet community development objectives.
It is hoped that after this consultation meeting all stakeholders will have a common understanding of how community organizations can complement each other and increase their contribution to community development. Based on this understanding, clear strategies illustrated by activities should be put together and implemented in 2010-2011 with the support of UNESCO' Kathmandu Office.
Following the consultation meeting, a plan of action is to be developed through continued collaborative efforts of stakeholders, e.g. through the creation of a think tank or a task force and through field missions.