Making the connection

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Get Connected – South Africa

The digital divide is growing rapidly between the thriving information and communication technology sector of the developed world and that of countries such as South Africa where it is still at a very early stage of development. The Digital Partnership established its South African arm in 2002 to address this situation. There is now a network of regional resource and learning centres, as well as the more local e-learning centres. These are offering the deprived communities in South Africa an opportunity to benefit from active participation in the knowledge economy and information society.

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A Bhooming Success – India

Karnataka State has been dubbed the ‘Information Technology State’ of India. The state’s e-governance department has initiated a project of computerising all hand-written land documents, which has helped the state acquire its nickname. The so-called ‘Bhoomi Project’ was created to put an end to an outdated system of land records that was controlled by official Village Accountants, many of whom were corrupt. The system now helps farmers to gain faster access to secure and unadulterated legal records about their land.

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Txt 4 Health – Spain

Over the past decade, telemedicine has become an important part of medical development, with the potential to greatly improve the quality of health care in the future. People in rural areas are gaining instant access to quality of health care, which they would previously have travelled for hours to receive. ICTs and telemedicine are also benefiting vulnerable communities, such as those who need health monitoring and those who experience communication barriers. In Spain, two successful pilot projects have addressed this situation. Telemedicine is ensuring fast and efficient monitoring of heart conditions no matter where the patients may be, while developments in ICTs are opening doorways of communication for the deaf.

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Batteries Not Included – Sierra Leone

For marginalised people in Sierra Leone, a country emerging from the strife of civil war, information and communication technologies are few and far between. This has a profound social impact, as communication, interaction and participation are diminished. The efforts of BioDesign and Plan International are combating this problem by providing cheap and sustainable ways of communicating. BioDesign spreads the word on its do-it-yourself solar-powered radio, while Plan International has helped establish a radio station to encourage social engagement and education.

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Radio Power – Bolivia

Rural producers in Bolivia are becoming increasingly marginalised from the national society and economy. These producers are in great need of information, knowledge and skills to improve their decision-making, increase productivity, and survive in the new market conditions. Organisations such ACLO (Fundación Acción Cultural Loyola) and the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) are helping to bridge this information gap by effectively harnessing the benefits of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Information about agricultural markets is disseminated through community radio and information centres in Bolivia, which are able to reach those most in need of agricultural knowledge.

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