UNESCO's Information for All Programme Grants Funding to 24 Information Society Projects
UNESCO's Information for All Programme (IFAP) will grant financial assistance to twenty-four projects related to information literacy, preservation of information, and ethical implications of information and communication technology (ICT). The allocations from IFAP's "Special Fund" of contributions from UNESCO Member States, were decided by the Bureau of IFAP's Intergovernmental Council, which met in Paris, April 4 - 6.
The Bureau, chaired by Daniel Malbert (France), approved US$758,000 in funding for projects that aim to, for example, provide training in information literacy to students and teachers in Ghana, to young women leaders in Uganda and librarians in several countries of the Commonwealth. Information Literacy research will be supported in China and Indonesia.
Regional projects to train experts in preserving libraries and archives materials, for example film and human rights archives, will be supported in South East Asia, the Mediterranean, Latin America/Caribbean and in Sahel countries in Africa.
The Bureau also decided to provide funding to help libraries and archives in Sri Lanka plan their reconstructions after the Tsunami disaster.
Support to promote a better understanding of the ethical, legal and societal implications of ICT will be extended through a variety of projects such as one for the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (workshops for libraries on copyright and related issues); and another providing information on legislation aiming to foster an enabling environment (Latin America and the Caribbean).
Eight of the projects approved concern Africa; five Asia and Latin America/Caribbean, respectively; two Eastern Europe and the Arab region, respectively. The Bureau also approved funding two international projects.
A total of 502 projects were submitted to the Bureau by organizations all over the world with a total of requested funds exceeding US$20 million.
Announcing the decision of the Bureau, Mr Malbert said "We are pleased by the high quality and number of the projects submitted. The great interest in the Information for All Programme clearly reflects the need to help countries grasp the benefits of using information and knowledge for development."
"The Bureau was able to grant funding to only a very small number of projects, because of the limited amount of funds available," he said. "I, therefore, urge Member States to continue providing voluntary contributions to IFAP's Special Fund, so that it can meet the countries' needs," he added.
The Bureau also organized a debate on "information literacy", a basic skill empowering people to benefit fully from the Information Society. The one-day event, held on April 5, provided a platform for discussion on UNESCO's role in promoting Information Literacy and future actions in this field. The funds granted by the Bureau include 13 projects in the area of information literacy.
The Information for All Programme (IFAP) provides a framework for international co-operation and international and regional partnerships. It supports the development of common strategies, methods and tools to build inclusive, open and pluralistic knowledge societies and to narrow the gap between the information rich and the information poor. IFAP contributes to the fulfillment of UNESCO's mandate to contribute to "education for all", to the free exchange of ideas and knowledge, and to improve the means of communication between peoples.
(UNESCO Press Release No.2005-40)
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