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ICT Success Stories

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Community Development through ICTs


As globalization gains momentum, and boundaries, geographical or mental, are becoming increasingly irrelevant, communities face the challenge of maintaining their identity and improving the condition of their members in a changing world. Meanwhile, many functions and responsibilities are being devolved to the local level, as part of moves towards decentralisation and delocalisation. In this context, the power of ICTs can be fully exploited to promote local development. For many remote communities, ICTs are a means for communicating with the outside world and getting in touch with news from outside, but also for letting the world know about these communities and their people. 

ICT stories from the field


 eLangViet (e-Vietnamese Village)

 Success Strategy: Viet Nam is one of the Pacific Asian countries with a significant internal digital divide, as well as a wider development gap, compared to more economically advanced countries. The complex ethnic mosaic of Viet Nam, as well as large differences in income, has the potential for social fragmentation, with technological spin-offs. Disparities between rich and poor, between the rural and urban populations, as well as ethnic communities, are seen in income, education, access to resources, health status, job opportunities and quality of life.

It is against this background that eLangViet partners have taken on the challenge of addressing social development through the creation of an online network offering easy-to-understand Vietnamese-language know-how in health, education, agricultural production, crafts and trade. Information and knowledge can be accessed by the poorest sections of Vietnamese society through computers based in specially developed community telecentres. Local grassroot communities are given IT training to awaken their curiosity and enhance their creativity and skills. Project participants are urged to take full advantage of the IT facilities on offer, while making them aware of the value of the skills learned, to enable them to take their own choices and decisions about their future personal and professional development. This approach ensures a sustainable and fruitful outcome to the project activities.

eLangViet operates initially in eight pilot villages with population of about 70,000 people, spread across six provinces. This pilot stage will last for two years before the network is rolled out across the provinces and nationwide, building on the lessons learned. A further goal of the future deployment of the project on a national level is to strengthen Viet Nam's domestic market, contribute to the improvement of the general welfare and lead action for poverty reduction.

Target group: Grassroot communities in Vietnam

Partners: UNCTAD and UNDP under the Global Programme on Globalisation, Liberalisation and Sustainable Human Development.

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity.


 Wind-up Radios in Mozambique

Success Strategy: In response to the worst floods in recent memory, from January to April 2000, the Freeplay Foundation, a UK-based non-profit organisation, rapidly coordinated donations and worked with a United States supplier and local Mozambicans to deploy and distribute supplies throughout the communities affected by the floods.  The wind-up, environment-friendly radios relayed information to remote villages that helped ensure their safety and security.

For more information: see ITU's website.


 Matapihi - New Zealand

Success Strategy: Matapihi is a window onto the online collections of many New Zealand cultural organisations. Matapihi allows the public to search the digital collections of different New Zealand organisations from a single portal. On its launch, the service contained around 50,000 records. This number will increase as new partner organisations contribute.

Matapihi presents featuers about New Zealand, made in New Zealand, created by New Zealanders, and held in New Zealand collections. Geography, history, the natural environment, people and events are featured. It contains photographs, drawings, paintings, sculpture and some 3-D virtual museum objects, as well as a number of sound files and textual items. Moving images will be added in the future.

The portal also hosts features and highlights based on particular themes and drawn from the collections of all Matapihi contributors. Sophisticated search tools are available for targeted research.

An additional merit of the website is its bilingual resources, available in English and Maori. The project is an excellent example of the promotion of grassroot values and awareness of their importance for further development in the emerging Information Society.

Partners: New Zealand - National Digital Forum.

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity.


 Fantsuam – Nigeria

Success strategy:  This project seeks to empower women in rural areas of Nigeria to work their way out of poverty, promoting the use of ICTs to support traditional governance in rural development, education, rural-urban-rural and rural-rural connectivity, e-Commerce and access to ICTs, based on the manufacture of tropical solar-powered computers in rural areas.

The project’s overall goal is to alleviate poverty and mobilize human potential through many different bottom-up activities, including scholarships for ICT training and business incubation services and internet and web-based e-learning programmes for women and youths underpinned by microfinance. A parallel campaign to raise awareness about health issues and reproductive health, has been launched using local resources. A Mobile Rural Library and ICT Service (MRLIS) works with 40 communities to give them access to information from regional, national and international sources. Intensive e-learning possibilities are offered to local teachers, researchers and formal and informal community leaders. An important back-up to the project is the Nigeria’s first rural Cisco networking academy, Fantsuam Academy.

Target group:  Local rural communities

Partners:  Fantsuam Foundation, African Development Foundation, African Caucus, World Summit of the Information Society, African Stakeholders Network of the UN ICT Task Force, AMARC Africa, APC, Economic Commission for Africa, Free and Open Source Foundation for Africa, Global Knowledge, infoDev, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Winrock International, Kryss (interactive theatre for youth advocacy rights), Mountain Communities Forum, University of Jos, Youth Team Against AIDS and Sickle cell Disease.

Awards: Communications Prize for the Association for Progressive Communications (People-Centered ICT Policy in Africa award for 2001).

Source: Fantsuam's website.


Public Domain Information Centers

Success Strategy: The Public Domain Information Centers Programme (united and extended Public Legal Information Centers Programme and Public Business Information Centers Programme) is aimed to create the network of community centers for free public access to the different kind of public domain information, e.g. legal, consumer, business, ecological, educational, etc. across the Russia and CIS countries. The website of the programme has till now connected more than 1350 telecenters throughout the CIS region and provides useful information about ongoing and forthcoming initiatives related to the dissemination of legal information concerning all aspects of life.

Partners: UNESCO IFAP National Committee of Russia, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Russia, Ministry of Culture and Mass Media of Russia, Special Communications Service, Garant Co., Ltd, Kodeks Co., Ltd, Konsultant Plus Co., Ltd

For more information: see IFAP website and the website of the activity


 Multipurpose Community Telecenters (MCTs) in Uganda

 

Success Strategy: While it is still too early to gauge the effectiveness of MCTs for rural Ugandans, it is clear that they can play a key role in narrowing the digital divide. To be effective, they must be sponsored, implemented and managed by multi-stakeholder consortia that engage indigenous peoples at the community and/or village levels.  For example, Uganda’s first MCT,  launched in March 1999 in a remote village 50 kilometers from the capital city Kampala, was designed and funded by ITU, IDRC and UNESCO, with other international and domestic partners. The Nakaseke MCT offered users one TV, a VCR, five computers, a printer, two telephone lines, a scanner, fax machine and photocopier — the latter being the most popular among users. During 1999, MCTs were also launched in Nabweru and Bunyoro, two other remote villages in Uganda. As in other telecentres in other LDCs, Ugandans use fax, e-mail and the Internet to reduce transaction and transportation costs, retrieve information about farming, education and health techniques, and to stay in touch with family and friends abroad. 

 

For more information: see the ITU website.

 

Background materials: see the Wired in Uganda case study.

Winding Hope - Rwanda

Success Strategy: Project Radio Rwanda distributes radios that are powered without electricity or batteries, to provide vital education to children on practical issues such as healthcare, safe water, farming methods and many other important subjects.

Radios provide a lifeline to the isolated children of Rwanda, thousands of whom have been orphaned by the genocide, war and HIV and forced to take on the role of head of their family. One of the more devastating consequences of the war is a legacy of some 65,000 child-headed households, a situation compounded by many more children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. It is estimated that over 400,000 children live alone without an adult, with older children looking after three to five younger children. These families are extremely vulnerable, living in abject poverty (two thirds of the country lives below the poverty line) and traumatised by the past and acts of violence. They have little chance of accessing formal education or health services. The luckier families make enough money to send one child (usually a boy) to school. Without school and relatives, these children lack care and traditional sources of upbringing and information.

Adapted to the local context, the Lifeline radio does not need batteries or electricity (which are expensive and hardly available in rural areas) and can be taken into the field while children work, allowing them to listen throughout the day. The Lifeline radio uses state-of-the-art direct charge technology. Users wind a crank handle to transfer energy to an alternator, which produces an alternating current that is then rectified to direct current to charge an internal rechargeable battery. The transmission system has been designed to withstand harsh conditions and the radio is robustly engineered to be maintenance-free and ensure many years of reliable service. In testing, the Lifeline radio underwent 500,000 input crank cycles without failure. Similarly, the battery endured 10,000 usage cycles without failure.

A radio is donated to a household on the condition that it is shared with neighbouring children. Useful programmes with educational value are essential to connect the children to the outside world and improve their quality of life. Children asked for information on HIV/AIDS, malaria, stomach diseases, hygiene and nutrition. Heads of households also wanted important information on how to take care of younger siblings, as well as on farming and agricultural assistance, the market price of crops, the weather, and current events in Rwanda. Music was far down the list of priorities for most heads of households.

The Lifeline radio can access the BBC, Voice of America (VOA), Radio Rwanda, and Deutsche Welle providing a combination of programmes in the local Kinyarwanda dialect, English and French.

Currently, over 2,000 radios have been donated and distributed for the project. Thousands more are needed to provide 65,000 households with a radio, training and support along with support for radio programming. Each radio provides at least ten children with access to radio listening, providing up to 11,000 children with information and education that can dramatically improve their day-to-day lives. In surveys, the children responded that being able to listen to the radio helps to ease their sense of isolation. Daily newscasts help ensure that they know that the violence is over and Rwanda is now stable and they are safe in their homes.

Partners: Freeplay, War Child UK, RefugeeTrust, Radio Rwanda, The Communication Initiative, Radio for development, UK's Department for International Development (DFID), the European Commission (EC), the UN Foundation, UNDP Equator Initiative in collaboration with the Government of Canada, IDRC, BrasilConnects and the Nature Conservancy.


 Community Access to Broadband in Schools – Turkey

Success strategy: Turkish Ministry of Education has developed this project to provide fast, robust and continuous internet access to computer laboratories across 42,500 primary and secondary schools and Ministerial institutions.

Further efforts are underway to adapt and use this digital opportunity efficiently, which is often the only access available in many rural districts. Previously, rooms were not functional after school-hours. Now, arrangements have been introduced, including staff assignments and security measures, to allow local communities to enjoy broadband access. This will enable a broader range of people, including those who cannot afford a PC, to access to the Internet and help narrow the digital divide in Turkey.

Target group: Schools, pupils, youth and rural community members in Turkey.

Partners: The Turkish Ministry of Education and other partners.

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity.


 Reflect - Uganda

Success Strategy: This project seeks to establish a functional communication system using community ICTs to promote the freer flow of information and  satisfy the information needs of marginalized members in the community.

Reflect groups are involved in programmes creating and boosting ICT skills of community members. Broad use of the Internet helps enhance practical, as well as scientific, knowledge. Community members are urged to increase their awareness levels of critical health issues (such as HIV/SIDA, contraception, etc.)  to reduce harmful behaviour, as well as to enhance their artistic skills. Music, Dance and Drama through the Internet are expected to promote art and may even turn it into a professional and remunerated activity. Facilitators and groups are free to use and adapt participatory ICT tools as they see fit, as long as their activities link to the core values of  the project. The project now emphasizes networking and strengthening community development capacity.

Target group:  marginalized community members, youths.

Partners: ActionAid, DFID, local NGO Literacy and Empowerment.

Source: the project's website.


 Broadband 100% Installation Programme of Hyogo - Japan

Success Strategy: The Hyogo broadband initiative offers perspectives for the developing world with its best practices of a regional development programme that has promoted partnership between local government and business to build a broadband access network in rural areas.

Hyogo prefecture is located in the western part of Japan, an area of disaster recovery after the huge earthquake of Hanshin-Awaji in 1995. Despite Japan being a technologically advanced country, there are still large underserved areas with regards to broadband services. In these areas, dial-up using fixed telephone lines remains the only way of connecting to the Internet.

Rapid progress in broadband access technologies has been made in both wired and wireless technologies in Hyogo. Technologies such as ADSL and wireless LAN, which are becoming progressively less expensive, make it easier to extend the broadband access environment to rural areas. In 2004, the ADSL service coverage rate for households  in Hyogo prefecture reached 97.7%, while the overall average for Japan was 77.1%. This success has been achieved thanks to the local government programme entitled "Broadband 100% installation programme of Hyogo" and to cooperation with business, in order to bring efficient technological services to rural areas.

For the local community, this public-private partnership has resulted in improvements in the quality of life in the region and  the development of varied local digital content, including the expansion of administrative services over the web. All city and town administrations in Hyogo Prefecture (for 28 cities and 32 towns, as of 24 May 2005) have developed their own websites for better administrative services, including the dissemination and exchange of information among households, local industry and local administrations.

In the framework of the partnership, an initiative has been undertaken to connect all primary schools to the Internet. Thanks to the Harima Smart School Project, the majority of local schools have been already connected through volunteer organisations' activity. The Hyogo New Media Council is a forum for discussion among all the stakeholders in ICT development in Hyogo Prefecture for cooperative solutions.

100% connectivity of primary schools could be achieved with the active participation of people in the local community, a working partnership among stakeholders, as well as the strong leadership of local government authorities. While promoting broadband infrastructure , Hyogo Prefectural Government has endeavoured to attain the wider goal of supporting a multi-dimensional cultivation of local community, as well as information-sharing among stakeholders, to create a new style of local community participation, based on advanced ICTs.

Partners: Local Government, local NGOs, local business.

Source: “Bridging the Digital Divide through Partnerships between Local Government and Venture Business”, New Breeze, April 2005, The ITU Association of Japan and the Outlines of "Broadband 100% installation programme of Hyogo".

For more detailed information: see the Hyogo Prefectural Government website in Japanese http://web.pref.hyogo.jp/ and English http://web.pref.hyogo.jp/english/index.html.

Background materials:


For translation of the pages in Japanese:
recommended to use Altavista machine translation.


 E-Link Americas: Satellite Connectivity Project - Latin America and the Caribbean

Success strategy: E-Link Americas is a landmark project that seeks to connect remote and underserved areas in the Americas using low-cost high-speed Internet to develop tools for social and economic development. Satellite and terrestrial wireless technologies will be used to deliver affordable, financially viable Internet access to municipalities, universities, schools, hospitals, telecentres and other community-based organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Existing infrastructure will be leveraged using wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) technology, to extend access to businesses and homes.

E-Link Americas aggregates demand and creates regional infrastructure to offer efficient Internet services for social development. E-Link's services are delivered using a broadband VSAT satellite Ku-band hub, low-cost digital remote terminals and local terrestrial wireless links to provide uniform access to Internet telecommunications resources. E-Link's services are based on high-speed Internet access through VSAT terminals connected to a satellite gateway in Canada using the Ku band. Access points can be extended using Wi-Fi technology. When local organisations subscribe to E-Link's high-speed Internet service, E-Link provides all the necessary equipment, including small satellite dishes and high-speed access devices.

E-Link services are managed by in-country partners generating local employment. In order to provide low-cost services throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, E-Link Americas works with Local Service Partners in each country, including Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru.

The key differentiators that set E-Link apart from other service solutions are the concept of using open standards, such as DVB-RCS and Wi-Fi, and the focus on purchasing locally manufactured products and obtaining local support.

Partners: E-Link Americas supported by Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the World Bank, the OAS, the Institute for Connectivity in the Americas (ICA), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity.


 Te Ara -- The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand

Success Strategy: Te Ara is one of the world's first born-digital national encyclopaediae, and is a comprehensive guide to New Zealand's peoples, natural environment, history, culture, economy and institutions. This 9 year project was planned throughout 2004 and went 'live' in February 2005. While preserving and presenting cultural heritage in line with future challenges, Te Ara demonstrates valuable cultural assets clearly and informatively using state-of-the-art technology.

Te Ara offers many pathways to understanding New Zealand. In Māori, Te Ara means 'the pathway'. Using interlinking text and image trails, the Encyclopaedia takes you on a journey of discovery of the People of New Zealand, the first big theme developed through the Encyclopaedia.

Te Ara is highly innovative in its layering of content for multiple audiences, its design and information architecture and its use of multimedia content, including audio, video and innovative maps. The entire resource is available in both Māori and English.

Te Ara's first theme introduces New Zealanders to one another and to the world, and explores the origins of New Zealanders - the voyages, the stories of settlement, and their rich and diverse heritages. There is also a major section on the development of the New Zealanders as a people.

Te Ara also provides full encyclopaedic coverage of New Zealand through its inclusion of a series of overviews which present 'New Zealand In Brief', and a historical perspective through a digitized encyclopaedia from the 1960s. Te Ara involves ordinary New Zealanders in the preparation of their national encyclopaedia by inviting and including public contributions on specific topics. The project is rapidly expanding and gaining in popularity. When complete, beginning with the theme of Peoples, it will present a comprehensive guide to New Zealand - the country's peoples, natural environment, history, culture, economy, institutions and society.

Partners: The Ministry of Culture and Heritage for Te Ara - The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand.

Awards: Winner of the national contest Best Digital Content and Applications - New Zealand 2005, Category e-Culture Nominee for the WSIS-Award 2005, Category e-Culture.

Source: WSIS-Award - New Zealand and Te Ara's website.


 Terremoto El Salvador: Information in Times of Emergency

 

 

Success Strategy: The earthquake of 13 January  2001 was devastating for El Salvador. One month later, another powerful earthquake shook the central region of the country and caused even greater destruction. The final report of the Committee of National Emergencies (COEN) stated that 25.6 per cent of the population were affected - more than 1 million Salvadorians.

 

The international community was mobilized and multiple agencies raced to help. As is often the case in emergencies, information was erratic and unreliable, and coordination between multiple agencies was difficult, resulting in some duplication of efforts. Four days after the first earthquake, a group was formed to initiate the SIGCO project. SIGCO was created in response to the need for a tool for easy registration and tracking of relief contributions of the international community, diffusion of information and real-time tracking of the changing needs of the affected populations. The Internet was used to help achieve this, in the instant update and exchange of information and worldwide diffusion. In three days, with support from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) local office, the SIGCO web page went online with a database of the donors’ contributions and various status reports.

 

When the second earthquake hit El Salvador a month after the first one, the website received more than 5,000 visits, more than any other site dedicated to the emergency. Terremoto El Salvador has demonstrated that it is possible to create a useful webpage for a large number of users with a small working group at very low cost. It has also proved that close relations with all stakeholders are essential for effective information initiatives. The SIGCO project adopted the name of Terremoto El Salvador.

 

For more information: see Terremoto's website and iConnect online.


 Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative

Success strategy: The Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI) was established in recognition of the vital role that education can play in creating long-term, sustainable development and how ICT for Education (ICT4E) is a catalyst for improved education, community empowerment and socio-economic growth. GeSCI works actively to help achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals.

We believe that improving education is a cornerstone of sustainable socio-economic development and a key mechanism to enabling people to share in prosperity. Worldwide, there is an estimated 350 million school-aged children not attending school and more than 800 million illiterate adults, so the challenge is great and the stakes are high, says Stephen Nolan, Executive Director of GeSCI.

Developing regions can derive major benefits from the creation and implementation of rational, directed e-schools strategies. However, it is crucial that, from the beginning, these strategies are formulated using a complete and sustainable approach, so resulting systems can be deployed with maximum impact on education and community development.

GeSCI’s role is two-fold. Firstly, GeSCI concentrates on facilitating and supporting ICT4E initiatives by working with the local Ministries of Education and ICT in developing countries. Specifically, GeSCI provides assistance with planning of ICT4E initiatives, contributing knowledge and experience in the drafting of national plans so that each country can take ownership of a strategic and attainable plan.

GeSCI also convenes global partners, so needs can be successfully matched to resources, from donors or other private sector entities who provide expertise and technical, physical and financial support. GeSCI initially focused its work on four priority countries: Namibia, Ghana, Bolivia and India (the state of Andhra Pradesh). Work is progressing in each partner country with each working towards its own ICT4E strategy. GeSCI is also working  in Jordan with the Jordanian Education Initiative on a codification, analytical and problem-solving exercise and with SchoolNet Africa’s One Million PCs campaign.

Target group: Children, youth, communities in developing countries.

Partners: UN ICT Task Force, the Governments of Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and Ireland. (GeSCI)

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity.


 RANET - Global

Success Strategy: RANET is an international collaboration to make weather, climatic and related information more accessible to remote and resource-poor populations. The programme combines innovative technologies with appropriate applications and partnerships at the community level in order to ensure that the networks it creates serve all the community's information needs. Community ownership and partnership is the core principle of RANET's sustainability strategy.

RANET offers a range of activities including training, pilot activities to demonstrate various community technologies, and a network through partnership and platform development. It aims  to facilitate day-to-day resource decisions and help people prepare for, guard against and combat natural hazards.

RANET also works to build communication bridges between scientific databases and remote communities to exchange environmental information. RANET is a 2-tier system. The first tier carries the information necessary to improve meteorological services. Examples include satellite imagery, ocean temperature measurements, synoptic observations, and large-scale model runs. These products are taken from public domain websites. The second tier is designed to serve the communities and local populations by distributing locally/nationally produced information, such as forecasts, bulletins, and warnings. In several cases, communities have asked for additional information such as crop prices, which are then also placed on the network. In all cases, RANET strives to provide information in local languages and in a non-technical format.

The programme has developed specific technology-based platforms. For instance, in Africa, new and existing analogue (FM/AM) radio stations have been integrated with new digital radio satellite technologies. RANET's strategy seeks to ensure that the programme builds on existing capabilities and local knowledge, is community-owned and operated, and is locally relevant.

RANET also provides a web-hosting programme. In exchange for the opportunity to develop web skills and an online presence, national environmental services are asked to make operational products available over RANET's digital radio broadcast. The WorldSpace Foundation (renamed First Voice International, or FVI) developed and manages the satellite system through which RANET broadcasts multimedia (data) content to all of Africa and most of Asia, and hopefully soon in the Pacific.

Partners: International, regional, national, and local organisations from the public, non-profit, and commercial sector, including the Australian Government, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the African Center of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD). Support has been provided by the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the NOAA Office of Global Programs, and FVI.

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database, the Communication Initiative website and the website of the activity.


 Support Mine Action - Mozambique

Success Strategy: This project aims to support and strengthen demining action in Mozambique. CIDA provided equipment (e.g. computers, plotters, and technical advisors) to the Database Unit of the Institute for National Demining (IND) and the Accelerated Demining Program (ADO), and ensured the proper installation of a global landmine information management system, which is used worldwide to track the location of landmines in landmine-affected countries. CIDA also supported the Geomatic component of the project.

Partners: Canadian International Development Agency - CIDA.

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database.


 Conflict Prevention and Integration Program - Georgia

Success Strategy: The Conflict Prevention and Integration Program in Samtskhe-Javakheti, Georgia is designed to reduce tension and prevent conflict through activities related to language education, information flows and media development, legal assistance and legal information and management of inter-ethnic relations. The programme aims to strengthen public access to legal information and policy-makers' decisions on minority legal issues by improving the professionalism of journalism and the availability of Georgian news programmes in Samstkhe-Javakheti.

Partners: Canadian International Development Agency - CIDA.

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database.


 Caribbean Disaster Information Network (CARDIN)

Success Strategy: Over the last century, more than 475 disasters were recorded in the Central America and Caribbean region, making the Caribbean islands a disaster-prone area. A publication by the Centre of Research of the Epidemiology of Disasters concluded that the scale of the damage done by natural disasters has tended to increase during the course of the last 25 years. In the Caribbean, repeated disasters weaken key economic sectors, increasing the vulnerability of the affected countries and forcing them to become increasingly dependent internationally.

There have been many initiatives to fight natural disasters - local, regional and global- the Caribbean Disaster Information Network (CARDIN) seeks to combine these efforts and link Caribbean disaster organizations, widening the scope of the collection of disaster-related information.

CARDIN, established in 1999, provides a new and dynamic approach to accessing and disseminating disaster-related information to adequately prepare and minimize the effect of disasters in the Caribbean. This has been achieved through the collection, indexing and dissemination of disaster information to produce a comprehensive database encompassing the English, French, Spanish and Dutch-speaking Caribbean. The Library of the University of the West Indies at Mona (UWI)  has been selected as the focal point for disaster information in the Caribbean. The computer network and support services of the UWI are used to reduce overheads. Other institutions involved have basic computer services for day-to-day operations and  communicate with UWI via the Internet.

CARDIN has made linkages across a number of Caribbean countries and by June 2000, it had collected over 9,000 records from sources. However, reliance on members for the submission of records can be a problem, mainly due to the limited staff capacity within member agencies. Furthermore, communications in four languages has proved challenging.

CARDIN's activities include training for member institutes, managing information, publishing manuals, and holding seminars for organisations such as schools, the police, and disaster managements organisations. These seminars raise awareness of the project and alert the public as to how to  access disaster information, prevent further destruction of our environment and prepare for disaster-related emergencies.


 India’s Village Knowledge Centres

Success Strategy: Designed by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and funded by the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Village Knowledge Centres are an important source of information for rural villages throughout India. From healthcare to farming and transport information, these “information shops” are both sustainable and empowering. For example, a cadre of women volunteers between the ages of 21-27 run the shop in the village of Embalam, and women are given preference at each of the other sites in operation.

Village Knowledge Centres have improved access to markets, healthcare information and helped sensitize rural youth to computers. Access to agricultural information has proved to be one of the most popular uses of the Centres. In the village of Veerampattinam, the staff download maps and daily weather forecasts from the United States Navy website  every day. The staff then disseminates the information via loudspeakers to village fishermen to help them in their daily tasks. By offering practical, localized information that is immediately useful to the community, these information shops help keep villagers healthy and safe.

The government of Pondicherry has established Centres in four villages so far and intends to establish “onramps” to the information superhighway in 50 more villages in the near future. Each shop is equipped with a multimedia Pentium PC and a printer, linked to the MSSRF hub in Villianur through a Local Area Network based on Very High Frequency (VHF) radio. Despite the positive benefits the Centres have had since being implemented in 1998, many barriers remain. Poverty, illiteracy and linguistic hurdles must be overcome in order to extend the project to new villages throughout Pondicherry. Moreover, it is essential for project coordinators to educate local bureaucrats, who seek to control information flows, on the social and economic benefits of ICTs.

For more information: see ISOC's website.


 Indigenous Peoples Partnership Programme (IPPP) - Canada

Success Strategy: The Indigenous Peoples Partnership Program (IPPP), funded through the Americas Branch of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), was established to provide a dedicated instrument for Indigenous organizations (IOs) in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to form partnerships with Canadian Aboriginal organizations. Partnerships are a key means of helping improve the well-being of Indigenous peoples (IPs) in the LAC region through projects that enhance the capacity of local organizations and communities to become self-sufficient. They have integral intrinsic value for the social, cultural, and indigenous knowledge exchanges that take place and for the partnerships and friendships that are formed.

Where possible, IPPP uses modern telecommunication technology to enhance the programme's effectiveness and facilitate knowledge-sharing and dissemination in order to popularise the indigenous heritage and allow indigenous peoples to keep in touch with other communities and knowledge horizons, including those open by ICTs.

Partners: Canadian International Development Agency - CIDA.

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity.


 Creating an Innovative Community

Success Strategy: Similar to the way in which Thomas Cooke transformed the village in the 1840s, Market Harborough in the United Kingdom is undergoing another revolution.  While Cooke used the railroad network to launch his travel business, today’s innovators in this remote village are using the Internet to become active participants in the global Information Society.  One initiative created by the Market Harborough-based Mass Mitec company uses a variety of ICTs to connect the local community with the rest of the world.  Using a combination of Internet and radio, Mass Mitec brings together experts from around the world to discuss many issues relating to innovation and the Information Society.  The “Radio with Pictures Show,” which airs on 95.1FM, provides a forum for knowledge-sharing on subjects ranging from sustainability to youth and the media and gender.  While local in nature, the initiative is global in scope, as it is designed to cultivate the innovative capacities of the local community by using ICTs to promote international cross-cultural dialogue.  For instance, a recent broadcast brought together visitors from the United States, Belize and the United Kingdom to discuss the meaning and importance of innovation, and its influence on societies around the world. 

For more information: Mass Mitec's website.


 The Treaty of Waitangi - New Zealand

 

Success Strategy: The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of New Zealand, and part of the living history of the nation. This website, launched in 2003, is not an attempt to change public attitudes, nor to promote a particular view of the Treaty's significance, but rather to provide information and resources for a more informed understanding and greater public knowledge of the Treaty.

The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of New Zealand,  signed in 1840 between the British Crown and the Māori people (the indigenous people of New Zealand). As such, the Treaty is not only New Zealand's founding constitutional document, it is also part of the living history of the nation. Over time, the Treaty of Waitangi has had a profound impact on life, history and politics in New Zealand, especially over the last thirty years.

The Treaty of Waitangi Information Programme was established by the State Services Commission in 2004. The first project  was a website that presents an account of the interweaving of events, groups and individuals throughout New Zealand's history. The website also includes stories and case studies, animated maps, personal quotes and anecdotes, biographies on key people and a comprehensive section devoted to written, recorded and electronic resources on the Treaty of Waitangi. Responses from New Zealanders to the website have been very positive. Historians have also called it 'one of the most comprehensive resources on the Treaty of Waitangi'. Since New Zealand is a multi-cultural country, the Treaty has also been translated into several other languages, and is available on the website in Samoan, Tongan, Niuean, Tokelauan, Cook Island Māori, Korean and Chinese. Features for vision-impaired users are also available, providing a truly inclusive resource for all citizens.

The website hosts several related initiatives and features, in particular:

  • An E-learning initiative: An online seminar programme that is completely automated and customised by the visitor. The online seminar offers choices in topics, style of information, and frequency of information, commencement date, and a quiz at the end to test the user's knowledge on the subject.

  • Audio features: This is a joint project with Radio New Zealand whereby historical audio is researched and located in the archives and made easily accessible to the website viewer. On the website there will be over 100 pieces of audio related to the historical timeline and to several themes. Each piece of audio is connected via hyperlink to the relevant part of the timeline, allowing readers of the timeline to easily access audio that is relevant to that event. The audio includes interviews and feature programmes as well as radio news excerpts.

  • Community Discussions: This project includes the design and facilitation of community dialogue events, under the project leadership of the Information Unit. A contractor has been engaged to develop and produce the resources to support the community dialogue events.

  • Road Show: Te Papa Tongarewa, National Library and Archives New Zealand are combining with the Treaty of Waitangi Information Programme to develop a Treaty touring exhibition. This will involve a large truck and mobile display touring the country from the end of this year. The display will include both 2D and 3D exhibition elements. Thus, empowering citizens and providing a new generation of public services, the initiative is being fostering quality and efficiency of information exchange and communication services in governmental and public administrative processes, and strengthening participation of citizens in the information society decision-making.

Partners: the Treaty of Waitangi Information Unit at State Services Commission for The Treaty of Waitangi.

Awards: Winner of the national contest Best Digital Content and Applications - New Zealand 2005, Category e-Government Nominee for the WSIS-Award 2005, Category e-Government.

Source: WSIS-Award - New Zealand and the Treaty of Waitangi website in English and in Maori.


  Sharda – India

Success strategy: Sharda is an innovative approach to bring students to school by using ICTs for facilitating learning and increasing student's interest and motivation. The project is targeting urban poor children living in slums and LIG group community. By the end of 2006, under the project have been established 487 computer learning centres in municipal primary schools in Delhi and a number of students are now learning through computers. The network is made possible by the work of 500 education volunteers and 2'500 PCs working under Linux OS. The project aims to bridge the digital divide and build the confidence of the under-privileged communities by providing them with equal learning opportunities, in particular in math and languages.  

Partners: The project is being implemented by the Municipal departments of education in Delhi, HCL Infosystems, Azim Prem Ji Foundation and Red Hat.

Source: the NICT website and an online questionnaire sent by Hajela Mukesh in October 2006


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