IFAP expands activities in Zambia
Dynamic steps are being taken to establish a new National Committee of UNESCO’s intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP) in Zambia. The initiative is being led by the Zambia National Commission for UNESCO with financial and technical support being provided through UNESCO’s Harare Office in Zimbabwe.
Once formed, Zambia will be the second country in the UNESCO Cluster, after Botswana, to establish a National IFAP Committee. The authorities in some other countries of the region have also expressed their intention to create National IFAP Committees.
From its inception, a decision was made by the Zambian National Commission for UNESCO to base activities of the National IFAP Committee on existing needs and to ensure that the Committee was representative and brought together the best national expertise in this field. A number of national consultation meetings with users of information drawn from a range of stake-holders, including media and broadcasting, libraries and archives, the private sector, education and agricultural sector amongst others, were held. These meetings have not been limited to urban centers but have also included rural provinces to obtain their inputs and see how best to prioritize and address their concerns.
The needs assessment report resulting from this extensive process is now being used to develop an action plan as well as to finalize the membership of the core group that will compose the National IFAP Committee. The launching of the Zambia National IFAP Committee is planned for late August 2011.
“While this preparatory process is a lengthy one, it will help to ensure that our National IFAP Committee is committed to its purpose and is sustainable,” says Ronald Kaulule, Secretary-General of the Zambia National Commission. “There is a lot of information and knowledge that needs to be shared to add value to our existing institutions, empower women and enhance national developmental activities, our National IFAP Committee must contribute to this process.”
IFAP is an intergovernmental body of UNESCO established in 2001 to provide a framework for international cooperation and partnership in building an information society for all. IFAP supports the dissemination of best practices and projects, and contributes to Member States’ needs by elaborating and implementing national information policy frameworks in its five priority areas: information accessibility, information for development, information preservation, information literacy, and information ethics.
National IFAP Committees play a key role in pursuing and realizing the goals of IFAP at the national level. They facilitate multi-stakeholder exchanges, can support capacity building and are an important avenue for the two-way transfer and dissemination of knowledge from the international to the national level.
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