25 Aug 2014 Empowering e-Communities through Technology for Poverty Alleviation
Communication and Poverty
Created in 1990 as a response to increasing religious and racial strife, poverty and unemployment in Fiji, the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy (ECREA) has since then been advocating for a just society which is people-centered, inclusive and where the rights and dignity of all are respected and protected. Increasingly one of ECREA’s concerns has been the accessibility of new information and communication technologies to the people of Fiji, and in particular to people and communities living in poverty. With WACC’s support ECREA undertook a programme to provide training on and access to new technologies in rural and peri-urban areas as a way to combat poverty and support community poverty alleviation efforts and community development. As a result of the project 5 rural communities are now connected and incorporated to the People’s Community Network, an organization formed by a network of people living in informal settlements around Lami, Suva and Nausori. As well as receiving training in new technologies and learning how these can be used as a tool for initiatives on community development and poverty alleviation, beneficiaries become acquainted with the idea of a community telecentre. The different communities have now begun to identify how they can link telecenters (TC) with their own needs and crafts; how can TC help communities respond to their communal issues and needs; how can they help make their voices heard by service providers as well as government departments. The project holder evaluates that project will bring change in communities and people’s lives by getting the right information at the right time through the use of community telecentres.