Monday, 14 December 2009 22:38
There is an emerging new economic revolution and Ghana is determined to be part of it. Ghana is also determined that the benefits of the new economic revolution which requires the use of intensive and intelligent use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is not limited to the city and urban dwellers but to all corners of the country. This requires special government intervention for the underserved areas. The need to ensure that the rural dwellers and the underprivileged are not left out was a special demand of the declaration of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis (2005). Governments, particularly those in the developing world, are thus challenged to facilitate the provision of rural ICT access centres to become centres of learning and assist in bridging the digital divide between rural and urban communities. Ghana’s ICT for Accelerated Development Policy also proposes the deployment and spread of ICT in the community as a way to improve the economic base and further accelerate growth and development towards transforming Ghana into an information society. It is for the above mentioned reason that the Government of Ghana (GoG) adopted the CIC model to provide hybrid not-for-profit community resource centres and for-profit tele-centres.
The Community Information Centre (CIC) is an initiative by the government of Ghana to bring ICT close to especially those in remote parts of the country. The centres are designed to support socio-economic development in their catchment areas through the provision of access to information for increased production, productivity and improved livelihoods. According to the ‘Ghana Blue Print for Action’, the CIC will provide access to: Internet-enabled computers, software based on the local information needs, fax machines, printers, copiers, telephones, television and radios. In addition, there will be an adjoining daily library with books and daily newspapers and magazines. For Internet connectivity, the CICs will be connected at their remote locations via satellite or linked to the national glass fibre backbone.
To ensure that this laudable intervention of the GoG is achieved, collaboration between the Ministry of Communication and the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD), The Hague, Netherlands was established. IICD has supported seven of the CIC’s to build their capacity to operate, maintain and sustain themselves. These projects have been implemented by the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC). The impact of these activities was evaluated to learn for the future with the help of a questionnaire and a three day multi stakeholder Focus group meeting in 2008.
This initiative is in light with the CTA TelecentresAfrica project vision and objectives as it addresses the priority areas identified in this concept note viz: institutional and human capacity building, access to relevant content and services, and networking.
Therefore, the aim of the current project is to support 10 existing CICs in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West regions to build the necessary local capacity to operate, maintain and sustain themselves, under the supervision of the District Assemblies.
 See description of the process and some results in Annex