PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, 12 July 2005
Cambodia’s Community Information Center web portal — www.cambodiacic.org — is currently the only large web portal available in the Khmer language. Content is fed daily to this web portal, with an average of 15 articles coming in from media and non-media news sources.
For this Southeast Asian kingdom of 13 million, there’s a new source of information, with a lot of it coming in the local language. Cambodia, whose citizens are called Khmer, now offers a broad range of locally-relevant information via cyberspace.
Topics published are many, with the aim of sharing knowledge to contribute to the development of Cambodian society. Articles available online via this venture touch on subjects like democracy, human rights, gender, the economy, health, education, agriculture, environment, tourism, history, culture, geography, and information technology.
There is also information about the government and its institutions; special pages presenting governmental and non-governmental organizations and their activities; job and scholarship announcements; currency exchange and river water levels; draft and enacted legislation; and goods market price information.
Visitors to the web portal can write emails, join the discussion mailing lists, send in their feedback about the web portal to the team working on it, and join in a poll.
Behind this portal are some key goals. Primary is providing access for Cambodians nationwide — especially those in the provinces — to news and information on a wide range of democracy and development-related topics.
This initiative also aims at allowing NGOs, government institutions, development-related organizations and political parties to provide
information to people throughout Cambodia, and share information between their offices throughout the country and between organizations.
Its goals also include promoting the use of information and communication technologies for these target users — specially for the purposes of research, networking and information exchange.
This web portal provides access to information on a wide variety of topics. The portal is accessible over the internet and in 22 community information centers (CICs) around Cambodia. These CICs, in turn, provide wider access to the internet, CD-ROMs, a library of hardcopy resources, and training on how to use these resources.
Content for the web portal is collected and managed by the CIC Web Portal Team at Open Forum of Cambodia, a Cambodian NGO and APC partner, which specializes in information technology issues, and has been promoting an information exchange since 1994.
The CIC Web Portal Team at the Open Forum of Cambodia works with media organizations, NGOs, and other development-related organizations, as well as Government institutions, to collect, organize and post the information they provide.
"The portal is continuously being expanded, with new information being added every day. As more information is added, the number of categories and sub-categories will increase," promises the team behind this venture.
Information on the CIC web portal comes in various formats. These include: newspaper, news agency and magazine articles; bulletins and press releases; information about institutions and their activities; articles on specific development issues; annual and other periodic reports of institutions; research reports; training material; laws, decrees and regulations; advocacy and educational material like flyers and brochures; small photographs; small diagrams; and announcements.
"Regular updates to the CIC Web portal are needed in order to keep it interesting and relevant to users, so good collaboration between the CIC Web Portal Team and all organizations contributing content is very important. We welcome and invite your contributions," says the portal team, which can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org
It is also being seen as a tool for increasing communication among people and organisations around Cambodia and Cambodian people living abroad — including communicating via email, in Khmer or in English.