IFAP contributes to improving livelihoods in rural China
Since 2003, some 700 persons in rural parts of China have been trained through initiatives undertaken in the framework of UNESCO’s intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP). The annual training events which focus on seven developing regions in China are being implemented by the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (ISTIC), acting in concert with the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO as well as various local governments. The training is having a multiplier effect, bringing significant and tangible improvements to the lives of communities.
The training has focused on addressing local demands and needs by providing skills and information relevant to the problems that citizens and institutions in China’s developing regions face. Consequently, the training initiatives have primarily addressed IFAP’s strategic priorities of information for development, information literacy and information accessibility. Trainees have been assisted in acquiring skills and information that directly impact their effectiveness, yields and livelihoods. Subsequent skill transfers to other community members have, in turn, served to foster wider social improvements.
For example, farmers involved in fruit and animal production have been able to gain practical knowledge to improve crop and livestock yields, and to identify new markets for their produce. Local doctors have also been able to benefit from opportunities to improve their clinical skills and to provide various types of new emergency interventions thereby enhancing the quality of health-care being delivered.
The growing awareness and impact of these training events has led to coverage by Chinese print and digital media, which, in turn, has generated a growth in the demand for this training. Preparations are currently underway to organize similar training events in Tibet during June 2012.
The Information for All Programme (IFAP) was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international policy discussions and guidelines for action in the area of access to information and knowledge, for the participation of all in the knowledge societies. National IFAP Committees and focal points, such as ISTIC, provide an important link in both delivering and shaping IFAP’s strategic orientation, actions, and ensuring local relevance and impact.
China has been a member of the IFAP Council since its establishment and, in addition to organizing national events, has been making voluntary annual contributions to UNESCO’s IFAP Special Account.