By SANGONeT JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 28 April 2004
The Community Information Network for Southern Africa (CINSA) is a project supporting community ICT initiatives in the SADC region. The aim is to build a sustainable network of community ICT projects in the 14 SADC member states – Angola, Botswana, Democratic
Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
CINSA supports community ICT initiatives, including telecentres, community multimedia centres, community radio stations, community information resource and access centres and the like. Its mandate is to serve those initiatives located within the SADC region through research, networking, facilitating training, service brokerage and more.
CINSA has set up three nodal points in the SADC region, one in Zambia (hosted by the e-Brain Forum) and one in Tanzania (hosted by TANGO), in addition to the secretariat (hosted by APC member, SANGONeT, which is also the project-implementing organisation) in South Africa. The regional nodes focus on information gathering from a regional perspective, and on strengthening the network by building local capacity. They are a catalyst for spearheading local community ICT network activities and supporting ICT advocacy campaigns in the region.
Thus CINSA has provided and facilitated both technical and ICT-related policy advocacy training to managers and people involved with the initiatives; continues to provide space for members to publicize and network themselves; provides specialized project management (sustainability consultancy, project ideas, proposals developments and providing websites) and other brokerage services (discounted fees from suppliers and service providers including energy / equipment suppliers, internet service providers as well as training providers.
In the future CINSA intends to produce CD-roms as a flagship project to provide network members without internet access with resources and information. offline. Another service envisaged is the facilitation of donated websites to members. CINSA’s future focus will be to transform or incubate ‘member projects’ into technology skills pools, community telecommunications providers and resource / training centres.
CINSA is currently funded by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).