Podcasting for development

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2223223306_87664986eb There seems to be a mania to take any new technology and apply it to the developing world, be it computers, solar panels, or, the next big thing, iPods. (Sorry, OLPC, you're no longer the cool new kid on the development block.) And the really next big thing is podcasting for the developing world. An article on scidev.net discusses one such initiative in Peru:

Practical Action has been working on podcasts for the Cajamarca region of northern Peru since 2006. A poor, rural area, most of the people there rely on agriculture for their livelihoods...Practical Action's local office in Peru surveyed local people about the type of information they needed to support their livelihoods - advice on grape cultivation or raising cattle for example. This information was then gathered from experts and recorded as digital audio files...

And Practical Action is not the only organization attempting to incorporate podcasting into existing communications and information strategies. The Kothmale Community Radio project, located in Sri Lanka, employs a range of technology in its communications program. They've developed what they call an "e-tuk tuk," which includes "a laptop computer, wireless Internet, generator, printer, camera, telephone and camera." The project coordinator notes that the initiative helps stimulate participation among those who wouldn't normally get involved with a radio station because of caste or gender. 

Of course, an "e-tuk tuk" isn't going to be possible in a lot of places. Electricity and battery power are serious constraints to more widespread adoption of this kind of technology. Want more information on the topic? Have a look at this Wiki devoted to podcasting in development.


Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

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