Update: When cyberspace goes to Amazonia...
SANTARÉM, BRAZIL, 03 August 2005
From July 1 to 11, a RITS team was again in the interior of Pará, in order to install community internet access points.
What happens when wireless, Free Software and the internet reaches the Amazon? APC’s member in Brazil, RITS, gives an update of their project in Pará, a territory covered mostly by jungle, and the Amazon Rainforest. This is an update to the report titled The other side of the river: Cyberspace comes to the Amazon.
Two communities were selected in partnership with the Saúde e Alegria (Portuguese for Health and Happiness) Project. The Muratuba and Piquiatuba communities are both approximately 69 kilometres to the South-West of Santarém, and situated on opposite banks of the Tapajós River.
Santarém is a town in the state of Pará in Brazil. Pará has a territory covered mostly by jungle, covering a vast area of Amazon Rainforest. The state was place for several rebellions during colonial times
Each site received a laptop with Free Software, and had an antenna installed to capture radio signals that would enable internet browsing.
In all, six youths who had never used a computer before underwent quick courses to familiarise themselves with the new technology. They will be voluntary monitors, and their mission will be to teach more inhabitants.
In August, a team from the Saúde e Alegria Project will return to the communities to hold further classes.
The Paraense NGO could also shortly make use of the wireless network provided by the antennas installed in the communities. Its boat-hospital, which will become operational in the coming months, could be connected to the internet in the area between Maguari (where internet access has been possible since March), Muratuba and Piquiatuba, making a total of 100km2 of access in Tapajós.
This RITS initiative is counting on the support of the Fundação Avina (Avina Foundation) and the Instituto para a Conectividade das Américas (Institute for Connectivity in the Americas – ICA).