||There are growing numbers of grass-root communication and information service providers in the developing countries today. They are operating community radio stations, multipurpose telecentres, information centres, community learning centres and – in a few cases – community multimedia centres (CMCs) that already combine both radio and telecentre facilities. This book (available initially in English with other language versions planned) is intended to be of use to all those wanting to become involved or already involved in such initiatives – staff and managers, community groups, NGOs working for community empowerment, communication planners supporting development activities, trainers and project partners. It will obviously be of particular interest to those operating or considering starting a CMC as it covers the full range of topics linked to community broadcasting and to telecentre operations.
When UNESCO launched its programme for Community Multimedia Centres (CMCs) at a seminar in Kothmale, Sri Lanka in January 2001, Kothmale Community Radio was a unique prototype: the only existing example of a CMC. Two years earlier, this rural radio station had added a small walk-in telecentre where local people could use the Internet and get computer training. Daily “radio browsing” programmes brought on-line information directly into people’s homes in their own languages. This ensured that the whole community became familiar with cyberspace and aware of the usefulness of ICT.
(....) UNESCO is leading a group of stakeholders in preparing a comprehensive suite of workshop-ready, open-access training materials called the Multimedia Training Kit. The first modules and the curriculum of this kit are available on www.itrainonline.org. As the kit continues to grow, this handbook is designed to be a complementary tool – giving an overview of all the different aspects of setting up and operating a CMC. Many of the same partners who are involved in the Multimedia Training Kit have also authored chapters in this book.(....)
(Excerpt from Preface, by W. Jayaweera, Director, Communication Development Division, UNESCO)