3.7.1.5 Cultural Relevance

As has been mentioned, each ICT project is introduced in a particular context that must be taken into account from the moment the project is proposed. Cultural relevance of the project can only be achieved with the participation of the communities where it is inserted. The communities themselves must define the nature and the nuances that the access center is to have, along with the use that it is given, in order to adapt it to the relevant cultural context.

To defend our Life Plans, we have gone from the oral tradition to the modern media, without forgetting our principles as Peoples. We take advantage of the new technologies in communication to make ourselves visible and to empower our own media. This strategy stems from the need to make visible and publicize the importance of our culture and at the same time denounce the many abuses suffered by indigenous people of Cauca in every sense of the word. Indigenous National Council of Cauca http://www.cric-colombia.org

In this sense, it is of the utmost importance that the community's social structures, decision-making bodies and life plans are respected. On one occasion, a group of researchers working at an access center located at an Indigenous school agreed to produce an Internet portal about the Wixarica people in Mexico. They formed a group composed mainly of Maracames (traditional doctors) from the community. When the portal was completed it was submitted to the community assembly, which banned the portal because the project had never been approved by the community and the group had not been authorized to divulge information about its customs and rituals.

Indigenous communities have decision-making and information handling protocols. Knowing and following these are the first steps towards implementing a successful project.

Further Reading

The recommended literature shows us a program for the development of access centers based on a participatory model and a tele-center community adoption methodology.

Toolkit for Setting up Rural Knowledge Telecentres; M S Swaminathan Research Foundation http://www.mission2007.in/files/toolkit.pdf
• Medellín, S. Use of ICT for Local Development: Telecenters Community Appropriation Participatory Workshop Manual Mexico 2006 http://www.slideshare.net/diocesispopayan/manual-taller-participativo-telecentros-1