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Empowering rural communities in Namibia through ICT

A UNESCO-sponsored workshop was held early October 2010 in Kamanjab (Namibia) to contribute to the development of youth in marginalised communities of the country. The five-day event focussed on new media and ICT literacy.

Information and communication technologies (ICT) have become, within a very short period of time, one of the basic building blocks of the modern society. In order for countries to benefit from technological developments, a cadre of professionals has to be educated in ICT, independent of specific computer platforms or software environments. The workshop in Kamanjab, organized by the Kunene Regional Youth Forum, aimed at providing practical experience to 20 young people from the Kunene region and at promoting media production outside of formal and informal education.

According to the UNESCO Guidelines for Broadcasters on Promoting User-Generated Content and Media and Information Literacy, the most successful projects in local communities are those which tap into the skills and experiences of local people. Hence, ICT volunteers from community multipurpose access centres were instructed on partnerships with community media and other local organizations in creating digital content, such as storytelling for the community.

Academic and specialised staff from the Media Technology Department at the Polytechnic of Namibia facilitated the media and ICT-literacy classes. The development of user-generated content gave specific attention to gender perspectives in line with the recommendations of a recent assessment report on community media in seven regions in Namibia, funded by the MDG-F Project, entitled “Setting things right towards gender equality and equity in Namibia”.

Similar training already took place at the Okangwati Multipurpose Community Centre. Volunteers that have been trained under the same project will now co-facilitate the workshop in the Kunene region, sharing their best practices in recording vital information for the community. The keynote address at the opening of the workshop was delivered by the Namibian Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Joel Kapanda.