Conference in Uruguay discussed the role of CMC in the achievement of UN Millennium Goals
The first national meeting on Infocentres/Community Multimedia Centres (CMCs) in Uruguay, initiated by the Uruguayan Network of Community Infocentres (RUTELCO) and supported by UNESCO, IDRC and Microsoft, took place in Montevideo from 26 to 27 April 2007.
More than 200 practitioners of infocentres, educators and decision makers from Government and private sector in Uruguay participated in the event, which consisted of panels and workshops that focused on the following themes:
- types of software;
- management and sustainability of infocentres for community development;
- capacity building including distance education and community radio;
- cooperation between NGOs, companies, Government, universities, and international organizations;
- e-government, democratization and the role of infocentres;
- infocentres as tools for cooperation; and
- infocentres as tools for social inclusion of people with disabilities.
The results and recommendations of the workshops were discussed in the plenary and led to a two year action plan.
The meeting sought to spread the value of CMC activities and their direct effect on the achievement of the United Nations Millennium goals, such as eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, promotion of the equality, reduction of the infant mortality, fight against AIDS and other diseases, etc.
The Director of the UNESCO Regional Office of Science for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jorge Grandi, stated in his opening sppech that "the community media are catalysts of the development and social change. They are an important tool to address the needs for information and communication of isolated and poor communities, both in rural and urban zones. The work of UNESCO for CMC installations, which combines the community radio with online services, has offered a low cost model for community access to information, especially with free software."
The recently approved IPDC project of RUTELCO, aiming at the reduction of poverty through communication for development, will strengthen the net of community radios and CMCs in Uruguay in cooperation with the Regulatory Unit of Services of Communication (URSEC). To facilitate these tasks, UNESCO will support new forms of cooperation with universities. Through technical support and training in rural areas, students will contribute, on a daily basis, to the reduction of the digital divide. In addition, interdisciplinary research groups will be involved in the evaluation process.
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