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African Online Digital Library
Institution: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Theme: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Thematic Website, Knowledge Management in Government, Citizen Engagement
Implementation Date: Oct 07, 2006
Summary: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), through its Intergovernmental Information for All Programme, designed and implemented a project to disseminate information and knowledge residing in the public domain to underprivileged segments of 10 African countries. It worked with national and subregional government agencies, civil society and NGOs to collect local content in digital format and create CD-ROM anthologies containing educational and training documents relating to agriculture, history, science and technology, and government, among other subjects. 
The grass-roots programme was designed to raise awareness among Africans about the availability of public information that can be used to help them to better their socio-economic positions. Using Greenstone’s Digital Library software, the project organizers generated over 1,300 localized documents to be distributed throughout marginalized segments of society in the 10 participating countries. The project administrators, working with local distribution centres (i.e., libraries, telecentres) and grass-roots organizers, bundled 2,000 CD-ROMs with personal computers and printers to educate the public about how to use this newly created content to their advantage.


Impact: The digital libraries project in Africa proved that ICTs, specifically CD-ROMs, present a cost-effective method of sharing information in the public domain. As a result of keeping information channels open between all levels of society and making the content contextually and culturally relevant, more people will be able to participate in the global information society.
Moreover, given that the project relied on local content and basic digitization technologies, this pilot project is scalable and transferable to other marginalized groups around the world. It also creates a databank of African knowledge that could be easily transferred to other institutions and individuals.


Source: UNESCO
Project Home URL: http://www.africandl.org/
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