ICTs and sustainable development of remote, rural and marginalized communities
A regional workshop on ICT and Development - the second this year in the Caribbean - gathers community media practitioners from nine countries in the region in Paramaribo, Suriname, next week.
The event, that will be held from 12 to 14 October is organized by UNESCO in collaboration with the Government of Suriname and the Education and Communication Network Suriname (EDUCONS).
Specifically, by training of community media practitioners in the region, the workshop aims to contribute to achieving the objectives of the two cross-cutting themes namely, "Eradication of poverty, especially extreme poverty", and "The contribution of information and communication technologies to the development of education, science and culture, and the construction of a knowledge society."
A total of 25 participants representing 9 Caribbean countries/islands will participate in the workshop. These representatives are actively involved in the operations of their Community Multimedia Centres (CMCs), ranging from a variety of rural, inner-city and indigenous backgrounds.
The main goal of the workshop will be to give the beneficiaries of the CMC project the opportunity to share ideas, experiences and best practices, identify the strengths and weaknesses of their respective centres, thereby promoting creativity and intercultural dialogue and strengthening the Regional Network.
The participatory involvement of station managers as presenters/resource persons will permeate this workshop. Individual centres will present thematic case studies showcasing the impact the ICT use has on the eradication of poverty, democracy, peace and sustainable development of their communities. The thematic case studies will be in areas such as inner-city crime and violence, preservation of culture, health-HIV/AIDS, education and training, early childhood development etc.
The station managers and station practitioners will also be trained in community journalism and and long term sustainability of their CMCs.
During the workshop, a Roundtable of international, regional and national organizations will take place with a view to discussing the use of ICTs for the development of marginalised communities in the region and to promote further cooperation in ensuring continuous development and greater use of these Community Multimedia Centres by other development organisations.
UNESCO in collaboration with EDUCONS will also launch, during the workshop, the Suriname National CMC Network, comprising six CMCs strategically located in the Hinterlands of Suriname. This Network will serve as a model for ICTs and rural development in the Caribbean, with a focus on the production and dissemination of contents of all forms. The hub of this network will be a CMC totally dedicated to non-formal education, EDURADIO and is being established in the capital city, Paramaribo. Four of these six CMCs are being outfitted with VSAT technologies to facilitate connectivity and establish small ISPs; providing services for community members as well as tourists who visit these villages.