27 Aug Setting up of a Community Tele-centre Communication and Information from the grassroots
Recognizing and Building Communication Rights
New information and communication technologies are an essential tool in today’s world for grass root and marginalized groups in their pursuit of community development goals. In the Mexican state of Yucatan, ITC are controlled by private interests with alleged links to the government. For the majority of the population, and in particular the Maya population which lives in poverty and isolation, this represents a real barrier to access to the new technologies and information. The Mayan group ‘El Jornalero de Ticul’ saw the establishment of a community managed telecenter aimed at students, indigenous people and organized groups, as a way of generating a space of encounter and exchange of experiences to help solve the problems of the community and to make indigenous voices heard. The telecenter has become a central meeting point where the Maya community comes to learn and exchange ideas regarding issues affecting the development of the community. The telecenter has been successfully maintained by the community itself after the initial support from WACC and the beneficiary community are aware of and able to use the potential of the new information technologies for community development. The telecenter was used successfully by a group of Mayan young people to launch a campaign to advocate for better sports facility in the town. This campaign led not only to better facilities but also to collective discussions among users of the telecenter on issues of communication rights. Members of the telecenter’s management group are able to maintain the equipment themselves and the community is aware of concepts such as free software.
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