Colle-Innovations in Development Communication

ICT not just for commercial gain but for social communication. Using older, low-cost tech not just new, exciting tech that is more expensive and harder to implement with populations with lower literacy. Older and easier tech often makes development/production by users more possible. Author’s experience is with audio cassette development. He also mentions radio as tech that has wide reach in rural areas without problem of cabling and wind-up radios bypass electricity issues.

Another point is local-level private sector development of ICT infrastructure–TV run by small bus battery and community video stations. On that last, I liked the idea of programming by NGOs but funding by commercial ventures and inclusion of commercials/marketing makes me nervous–without any media literacy that could spell commercial indoctrination. The idea of TV/video as communal activity–place where people come together not just to view received content but to meet other community members is great. In there, the idea that tech should bring communities together and make social spaces more possible and useful, educational, entertaining. Completely different cultural context-TV as individual activity (maybe family) here in US and because of video and DVRs, even less communal experience of shows in the actual watching (community more on the Internet in message boards, LiveJournal, websites about shows and a bit in water-cooler/happy hour chat about popular entertainment).

Colle points out that goverment is investing less in public ICT and ICT is privatizing for sustainability. Model of privately-funded ICT used to market and reach a broad public sector in a financially-sustainable way.

Rest of article devoted to community-based communication centres (CCCs). Contain books but more than that–variety of audiovisual media, photocopying and computer-based activities such as e-mail, access to databases, desktop publishing. Besides actual libraries–government or NGO-funded–others are private commercial ventures based on community demand (and payment). Also include local participation and services for low-income segments of community. 1996 World Bank summit on CCCs-ICT beyond infrastructure, how to create locally-based and managed, self-sustaining centres. Main points:

No “one size fits all” model, depends on equipment and services available and needed in each community

Physical facility as hub–“incubator for small organization, meeting place for various groups, public room for teleconferences, a training facility, a resource site” I thought–public library!

Not just ICT but lending library, reference point, info clearinghouse, training site

Self-sustainability is key–just government funding won’t do, must be based on needs community will invest in or won’t survive, esp. after gov’t funding discontinued. Maybe public finding for marketing/feasibility studies and start-up and then private, community funding for continuation or mix of services–ones community values enough to pay for and ones that gov’t or NGO agrees are important enough to subsidize. Colle offered intersting list of possible services (many of which ar epublic library-like but others not and interesting comment on conditions of places–some need phone service, letter writing, photo servies and battery-recharging.

CCCs as part of larger organizational structure–association, network–to pool support, knowledge, training, consortial brokerering power while still responding to local needs

Need for well-qualified info managers—just having ICTs is not enough

Recognition of obstacles–politics, ignorance of importance and limited vision by gov’t/admin and also community (marketing and long-term commitment in admin and funding support), importance of proceeding in stages-first available resources and immediate needs then longer-term planning

Need for more empirical data and collection of knowledge

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