Progress in todays digital era depends widely on the involvement of all individuals, including people with disability in the rural areas, in all activities of development. Internet has far-reaching implications for the availability of information for learning and sharing.
The need for the rural communities to be directly involved in every step to improve their quality of life and to build community-based platforms to address a variety of social issues, including urban growth, rural flight, economic growth sustainability, inequality, and public health to name but a few, is very key in development.
Rural Connect Networks main aim is to prove to the world that, this technological revolution can be more useful to the illiterate and the most disadvantaged for social and economical development, than it is with the elite. Mostly African women and people with disability, who surfers most out of the effects of poverty, human rights and climate change, will be the main actors in this project.
Furthermore, climate change and recurring global economic, political, food and energy crises can quickly weaken or reverse achievements made in poverty reduction and human development if only the most affected (The Rural Communities and mostly, women and people with disability) will not be directly involved. The unique part with our organization is the way we integrate all the relevant IT tools to solve this problem of inclusivity in development.
# We take the opportunity of existing time frame of the groups of Youths, Women, Men, People Living with Disabilities, Self help groups and Community Based Organizations, to empower them on how to use internet learn/share information among themselves.
# RCN has developed an online media center where all the above mentioned organized groups can chat way forward, based on what they share and learn offline. Our field coordinators will moderate the group members to produce pre-recorded Radio programs for the local Radio stations.
# We work with the rural communities to integrate the use of internet, Streamline Media and social networks in community education on civic and other developmental issues. We connect the local Journalists with the groups for news articles and pre-recorded educative programs for their media station to broadcast for free.
# RCN partners the rural public Schools, educational / information centers and other community institutions to be used as cyber centers for the Parents and the community around.
# We have plans to assist the local Radio Stations to access educative materials and News online through our media center and streamline their broadcast online to reach a wider coverage. We will also partner with educational institution to provide lectures to distant learners through online live conferencing.
# RCN has plans to create an avenue for the Rural Communities to demand Services from the Service providers and accountability leadership from their leaders, as well as connecting willing leaders to provide online connections to address their electorate live at the comfort of their offices.
# The Network provides access to live proceedings in the national and county assemblies where the electorate can follow up on matters affecting their lives.
The need for Rural Connect Network have the rural communities to be directly involved in every step to improve their quality of life is derived from the UN Mellennium Development Goals – MDGs.
The United Nations Millennium Development Goals are eight goals that all 191 UN member states have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015. The United Nations Millennium Declaration, signed in September 2000 commits world leaders to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women. The MDGs are derived from this Declaration, and all have specific targets and indicators.
The Eight Millennium Development Goals are:
The MDGs are inter-dependent; all the MDG influence health, and health influences all the MDGs. For example, better health enables children to learn and adults to earn.
Gender equality is essential to the achievement of better health. Reducing poverty, hunger and environmental degradation positively influences, but also depends on, better health.
However, climate change and recurring global economic, political, food and energy crises can quickly weaken or reverse achievements made in poverty reduction and human development if only the most affected (The Rural Communities and mostly, women and people with disability) will not be directly involved.
The unique part with our organization is the way we integrate all the relevant IT tools to solve this problem of inclusivity in development.
Progress in todays digital era depends widely on the involvement of all individuals, including people with disability and women in the rural areas, in all activities of development. Rural Connect Network is using all the relevant IT tools to achieve this inclusivity.
As Jeffrey Sachs pointed out in his address, one main cause of poverty is the isolation from the rest of the global community. Access to the internet and mobile networks can allow impoverished people around the world to access banking, medical services, and markets.
Remote weather stations can be set up in new locations and connected via mobile networks to allow researchers to better study the local and global impacts of climate change.
Providing laptops to students in the developing world like the One Laptop per Child program does, allows children in Uganda to communicate with children in the US and even to work on class projects together.
Learning to use technology to expand the reach of a child in a small village in Africa expands the horizons of their possibilities infinitely. The same technology can be used by farmers in the rural areas to learn and share their knowledge.
Due to the importance of the transfer of knowledge, we have decided to help reach the Millennium Development Goals through the use of Information, Communication, and Technology.
In just the last two decades most of Africa has leapfrogged the communication infrastructure divide from having no telephones to having widespread cellular networks, even those in rural areas. This has allowed the rapid spread of mobile banking services, allowing people to make secure transactions and secure small business loans.
Also being currently developed is a system that allows for minimally-trained local medical workers to easily diagnose malaria, obtain prescriptions, and register cases with mobile technology. But unfortunately, this has not yet reached the rural communities, who needs it most.
Mobile networks can also help disseminate information by allowing farmers access to best practices for irrigation and fertilization.
Unfortunately cost is still a major barrier to the effective use of mobile technology. As Columbia University professor Graciela Chichilnisky suggested, African countries should monetize their extremely valuable mobile communication spectrum to invest in major infrastructure improvements.