17 November 2005

IFAD project eradicates rural poverty by connecting rural communities in Tanzania

At the WSIS in Tunis this week, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) organised a panel discussion on the theme "Eradicating rural poverty by connecting rural communities". The discussion drew from the experiences and lessons learned of the First Mile Project in Tanzania (see also website). The project is tackling two challenges: access by rural poor people to information and knowledge, and to communication technologies such as mobile phones, the Internet and email; and how they can build relationships, communicate and negotiate with others along the market chain to improve their access to markets.

Phase one of the project - from May to July 2005 - assessed current access by local people to ICTs and explored their interest in working together to learn about market chains. The study found that ICTs such as email and the Internet are not beyond the reach of rural people. However, the quality of the information is crucial: People interviewed said they were not prepared to spend money on technology unless the information was very worthwhile. The study also underlined that effective communication is relies on creating networks of people with relevant information to share. In phase two some people will be trained in how to use an Internet-based learning support service called Linking Local Learners.

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




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