Learning New Skills on ICTs at UNESCO/OCHA's Communication and Cultural Centre in Banda Aceh
Communication Cultural Centre in Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province, was initiated and established by UNESCO Jakarta office, under the project funded by United Nation Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA).
"We thank UNESCO who pays attention to cultural aspects in the process of rebuilding Aceh from the damage caused by the tsunami. The reconstruction and rehabilitation of Aceh indeed needs an understanding of local wisdom, values, character and culture," said Sulaiman Tripa, one of the 20 participants who joined the training on the use of ICT (Information and Communucation Technology) at the Centre.
The centre that has been operational since late June 2006 is used by the communities to access and exchange information and also to preserve and develop Acehnese culture. The centre consists of an FM radio station which produces and broadcasts news, current affairs, information, talk shows, participatory programmes (phone-in) and entertainment programmes (music and songs), a place for art and culture activities, and also an internet café equipped with 10 computers, printer and scanner, where communities member can get free internet access and be invited to attend ICT training courses.
Through the training such as the one that was attended by Sulaiman Tripa members of communities in Banda Aceh in general, and those who live near the centre in particular, will be able to get new skills on how to use ICTs, especially the Internet. They learn how to use the search engine to get information from internet effectively.
During the training, the participants have created their email address which can be used to connect them to cyber communities through mailing list.
The participants of the training came from different backgrounds. Some of them are Nasyid's singers (a group of singers who sing religious songs), some are journalists from electronic and printed media, writers, and Acehnese traditional dancers. "They looked happy when each of them succeeded in creating their own website and weblog," said Alfi Rachman, coordinator of the centre. "Now, they can share their ideas and publish it on the Internet," he added.
Aceh was the closest point of land to the epicenter of the massive Indian Ocean earthquake that took place on 26 December 2004.
The earthquake had triggered tsunami that devastated much of the western coast of the region, including the capital city of Banda Aceh. Over 170,000 persons were listed as dead or missing, with a further 500,000 being made homeless.
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