24.04.2008 -

UNESCO/IPDC and the Container Project create the first Mobile CMC in the Caribbean

The Mobile CMC called iSt. Lab, which is abbreviation for "High Street Laboratory", is a mini high-tech mobile unit configured in a garbage disposal wheeled bin consisting of laptop computers, radio transmitter, electronic community newspaper, wireless Internet access and other peripherals.

The goal for the iSt. Lab is to move across the Island to inner-city, rural and otherwise marginalised communities delivering a myriad of creative multimedia workshops to people who have never used a computer before and also those who want to increase their skills in using ICT to support their personal and community development.


In Jamaica, many young people and adults "hang-out" on the streets as means of recreation. This is sometimes the only alternative. The streets, lanes and corners of inner-city communities have however taken on a negative connotation due to gang warfare and crime. UNESCO's vision for this project is to replicate this mobile CMC and use them to transform the street corners of Jamaica into learning spaces; a place where young marginalised youth can be engaged and find positive recreation and learning experiences.


As this mobile CMC evolves, it is anticipated inclusion of a mini "digital library" with learning resources such as educational videos, audio poems and digital stories which could be used to enrich the "corner".


UNESCO is presently in dialogue with the Jamaican Government to partner in this initiative and also invites other development partners and private sector to join this ambitious experiment.

The Container Project is an innovative, arts-driven engine for community empowerment through creativity. It is based in a bright yellow converted shipping container in the heart of Palmers Cross, a rural community noted for its poverty and associated social problems.


The project allows people from the local community to become sensitized to the use of traditional and new media and its relationship to their everyday lives. The Project is led by a resident of the community, a digital artist and Director of the Container Project, Mervin Jarman.


"In a bid to take the philosophy of creative computing outside the panels of the Container which is stationary, we wanted to have a mobile container; however this was not forthcoming so we decided to create a new initiative that would reach our primary target group - the many young men and women on the many street corners of Jamaica" - Mervin Jarman says.


Mervin continues: "Many of our youths feel unwanted and have often been described as fit only for dumping. The iStLab is a subsidiary of the Container Project and is aimed at the many disadvantaged young people on our street corners. The hope is to give these young people an opportunity to make a difference in their own lives, and by so doing help to make a difference in their communities."


He concludes: "UNESCO has brought a welcomed addition to the concept by recommending the inclusion of traditional media as a part of this unit. The Container Project is truly grateful for UNESCO's support over the years and this organization's commitment to make the project truly mobile".

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