Senegal CMC scale-up project surpasses the goal of 20
With the set-up of 24 Community Multimedia Centres (CMCs), the training of over 400 people and the development of partnerships at national and local levels, the Senegal Community Multimedia Center scale-up project has reached and even exceeded its goals.
The vision has become a reality and the agreements made in Geneva by the President of the Republic of Senegal, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and UNESCO are already underway, having been translated into concrete projects taking place in the villages and the poor suburbs.
Thanks to the CMC project, hundreds of thousands of people living in isolated rural areas can now access community radio, computers connected to the Internet and digital devices. With the CMC project, "bridging the digital divide" is no longer a slogan. It has become effective and manifests itself in the lives of men, women, youth of villages and low-income parts of cities, those who have little or no education, and those who are often isolated and marginalized.
The convergence created between the radio and ICT, which are both indispensable entities of a CMC, confers a particular dimension to communication for development. The CMC enables people to locally access information on health, HIV/AIDS, agriculture, the environment, business and commerce, training, culture, local governance, etc. The CMC facility empowers people and allows them to enjoy one of their most basic rights: the right to self-expression.
Today, the CMCs, which are found in 11 regions of the country, constitute the most important network of community access to information and communication technology. This network needs to be expanded and consolidated in order to reach all of the country. Three fundamental reasons justify this. The first is the existence of a strong demand in CMCs that the project could not satisfy, at least in its first phase. The second is the necessity to reinforce the production of local content and to take advantage of all the potential tools available to the CMCs. Finally, the third reason is the demand to assure the financial and technical sustainability of the CMCs, which guarantee a controlled development and a long-term impact.