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Brazil: community projects in Rio de Janeiro

Project at a glance

Dates and Place

18 September 2005 - 18 December 2006, Brazil

Project details

Project Summary

Sao Gonçalo, in the State of Rio de Janeiro has 1.2 million inhabitants and is one of the poorest cities in Brazil. Santa Tereza, a neighborhood located in the center of Rio which host 16 shanty towns. These are both places where Iko Poran, partner organization of the CyberVolunteers Program, is working with volunteers to help the poorest.

One such project is CEMINA, which is currently supporting the operation of a Radio-Telecentre in Sao Gonçalo called 'Novo Ar' ('Fresh Air'). A Radio-Telecenter is a unique concept which brings together: 1) local community radio and 2) ICT facilities. CEMINA currently helps to run 12 Radio TeleCentres across Brazil.

Novo Ar has been the flagship Radio Telecenter often involved in innovative work and piloting a variety of new facilities on a regular basis. Novo Ar was developed out of a demand from many local women in Sao Gonçalo for more facilities for women and more local skills development opportunities.

1) Local Community Radio: The Radio Station is used to highlight issues pertaining to women and seeks to highlight the valuable role that women play within the local community. The station seeks to empower them, providing women with a voice as well as the means to share information and where possible, come together within a forum. Radio program content includes music and entertainment, health awareness and topical discussions eg. domestic violence.

2) ICT Centre: Alongside the Radio Station (housed in the same building) is an ICT Centre. This Centre provides radio production and sound mixing support to the Radio Station but also acts as a free Internet and ICT training facility for the local community. The Novo Ar project has approximately 20 workstations and provides a range of training courses in Internet Use and Microsoft packages.

The Novo Ar Radio Telecentre is currently in its second year of operation and the main priority is to build on its capacity so that it can provide a more varied service to the local community and eventually become self sustaining.

Role of the Cyber-Volunteers:

Cyber Volunteers will assist 'Novo Ar' staff members to maintain the TeleCentre's facilities on a day to day basis so that all of the workstations are running efficiently and effectively. They will also be employed to deliver training courses in specific ICT software packages that local people are interested in, as well as supporting staff to deliver current training programmes. There will also be scope for Cyber Volunteers to be involved in bolstering/modifying the current ICT facilities that are available and be involved in the procurement of new equipment to benefit the Centre. There are also opportunities for Cyber Volunteers to become involved in some aspects of radio production using the ICT facilities available.

Specific ICT tasks:

  1. Web Design - Volunteers will be required to support the development and maintenance of the Radio TeleCentre's website and provide training courses in web design
  2. ICT Training Courses - Provision of training courses in a variety of software packages
  3. System Administration - Helping to maintain the current hardware and improve/streamline current ICT facilities
  4. Graphic Design - Provision of training in a variety of graphic design software packages
  5. Video/Sound Editing - Provision of training in ICT based radio production

Other skills required:

  1. A firm ability to communicate in Portuguese (verbal and written) is necessary.
  2. Volunteers must be ready to work as part of a team alongside both volunteers and staff.
  3. Volunteers must be ready to work with people who have very little or no ICT experience.
  4. Volunteers must be ready to use their own initiative in developing new training courses and supporting the overall development of the Radio Telecentre's facilities.
  5. Volunteers may be required to undertake other duties on behalf of the organization so a certain degree of flexibility is necessary.

In which way would the Cyber Volunteer contribute to the overall development of the project?

The Radio TeleCentre has proved extremely successful and it is currently proving difficult for the project to cope with the demand for its services. Cyber Volunteers will make a clear contribution to the project by providing an extra resource through which the project can ensure that all of it's ICT facilities are running efficiently (and to full capacity) whilst also alleviating some of the working pressures on staff. Cyber Volunteers will also be able to use their wider knowledge of ICT packages and software to improve and diversify the programme of training courses that are available to members of the local community and ensure that the project's current ICT strategy is both efficient and effective. Their input will ensure that the project continues to have a positive impact on the local community and, by working alongside staff, assist in making long term improvements and improving the long term ICT strategy of the organization.

Expected results

We expect that the volunteers are able to strength the capacity of the personnel of the projects by working close with them during the period. Their role will be much more to be to train the trainers.

Transfer of knowledge

Cyber Volunteers will be directly involved in transferring their skills and knowledge to the local community in several ways:

  • They will be working alongside paid staff who they will be able to share methods of best practice and their wider ICT knowledge with
  • They will be able to provide support in delivering training courses directly to local community users
  • They will have the opportunity to develop and deliver further training courses in other ICT packages directly to local community users
  • They will be able to become involved in developing a long term ICT strategy for the Radio TeleCentres

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