15 November 2005

FAO website focuses on efforts to bridge the rural digital divide

According to FAO, the rural digital divide isolates almost one billion of the poorest people who are unable to participate in the global information society. In an effort to overcome this isolation, FAO today launched a new website on Bridging the Rural Digital Divide.

According to Anton Mangstl, Director of FAO’s Library and Documentation Systems Division, the "rural digital divide is the disparity of access to information and communication technologies between rural and urban people, depriving the rural world of essential information."

FAO’s Programme for Bridging the Rural Digital Divide addresses the first Millennium Development Goal of eradicating extreme hunger and poverty.

FAO has already helped a number of countries to ensure that rural people are in a better position to use technology to exchange information and to communicate more effectively:

  • In Africa, rural radio programmes targeting rural audiences, including women, have been able to upgrade their information on food and agriculture through training workshops organized by FAO.
  • In Asia, FAO has helped rural finance institutions to benefit from low-cost microfinance software, which enables them to lend money to small farmers.
  • In Latin America, the Government of El-Salvador has developed an Internet-based early warning system for natural disasters, which captures date from a range of local and national sources.

  • "Rural people and institutions need the opportunity to play a vital role in information sharing. These communities have a wealth of local agricultural knowledge to contribute," Mr. Mangstl noted.

    This is part of a series reporting on agricultural information and communication activities at the Tunis phase of the WSIS.




    Post a Comment

    << Home