Frank Hartmann on 24 Jan 2001 21:32:23 -0000

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-bold] CCCameroon / Linux 4 Africa

[An exiting piece of international cooperation in the age of global
communication /FH]

Could you imagine paying two dollars for each email,
receiving it days later? Or wait one week to get access
to a computer to write one? But having no cheaper way
to communicate beyond your city? This was the situation
in Bamenda/Cameroon that Wendi Losha from a women
and youth organisation was complaining about at the NGO internet
fiesta in Vienna in 1999. Now, two years later, the
echo of her plea "We need computers to communicate"
has resulted in a rather unique project: The Global Village
Computer Centre in Bamenda, Cameroon.

Volunteers from Austria collected old IBM PS/2 machines,
reactivated them on the base of Linux OS and built an
email postoffice with a local network allowing substantial
improvement of communication between Bamenda and the rest of the
world. They even did a three weeks training workshop
there.  "It is an example how Civil Society and Open
Source Software can promote the creation of communi-
cation infrastructure beyond the digital divide", says
Franz Nahrada of the Global Village Network, an emerging
coalition of people supporting local development with
global communication. "Communication can dramatically
improve local abilities. We see a trend towards
this kind of grassroots globalisation, villages in Tyrol
cooperating with Madagaskar, Nepal and so on. It will
be exciting to see if the power of Open Source will
turn this initial experiment into a self-supporting
cycle of seeding and gaining new contributors."

Nahrada is convinced that this growth path of
increasing local autonomy with the help of intellectual
cooperation will get many more supporters in the
years to come. "We need to make it a movement
of construction and cooperation, one that turns every
village in a living laboratory". The next activity of
the Global Village Network is "plantingfield", an email
list about improving agriculture inspired heavily by
permaculture activists. "We need to invest a lot
of intellectual energy into what is possible with local
resources combined with knowledge, tools and the right
design. It is not about dealing with poverty, it is about
discovering  a potential of abundance".

Vum - Verein zur Unterstützung von Menschen
previous projects in Togo and Benin
a decription of the training in german at

Global Village Network

to get more information or to join the network write to:

a technical description of the email postoffice will be
available on

Nettime-bold mailing list