UNESCO and Helen Keller International Join Forces to Support CMCs in Mali
The scale-up of Community Multimedia Centres in Mali has been given a boost by a new cooperation agreement between Helen Keller International Mali (HKI) and the UNESCO Bamako Office. "It makes great sense to join forces and I hope that we will be able to extend our cooperation to related activities, in particular those involving people with disabilities", commented HKI Mali director Lina Mahy.
CMCs combine community radio and telecentre facilities to offer a comprehensive communication and information platform for community development.
HKI is supporting the establishment of 20 CMCs in Mali, by adding computer equipment and Internet connectivity to existing radio stations, with funding from USAID. UNESCO's scale-up initiative in Mali, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, aims to establish at least 20 CMCs in a first phase. UNESCO's ultimate goal is to help Mali develop a nation-wide network of these community facilities within a broad multi-stakeholder partnership.
"Our organisations bring highly complementary inputs to CMC scale-up", noted Edouard Matoko, director of UNESCO Bamako office. "In the sites where we are working together, HKI is ensuring that the CMCs have reliable and affordable connectivity, while UNESCO focuses on capacity-building, services and content development".
UNESCO and HKI expect to work directly together in at least seven CMC sites and the cooperation will benefit all CMC activities. The mission of Helen Keller International, an international PVO (private volunteer organization), is to save the sight and lives of the most disadvantaged. UNESCO is currently piloting a training module on radio for the blind in Asian CMCs. The partners are now discussing how to build up activities and services for people with disabilities in Mali's CMCs.
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