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Evaluation and utilization of traditional methods of communication in Cameroon's central, southern, eastern and extreme northern regions : case study 20

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION (FAO). Communication for Development Group
August 2003

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This study's main objectives are to evaluate traditional means of communication; to note their constraints; to select the traditional methods which can best be used for the diffusion of information and to devise a strategy for implementing the selected method of traditional communication. The methodology of this survey is based on the Active Method of Participative Research.
The study illustrates that the traditional media for communication in Cameroon are: the gong and songs accompanied by dances (in all of the surveyed provinces); the xylophone (in the center and south); griot [travelling poet] and balafon (in the east); colleagues of the traditional chiefs (Lawanes, Djaoros); and messengers of traditional chiefs or muezzins (extreme north).There are numerous constraints to using individuals in devising communications strategies: a lack of trained musicians, the lack of initiative on the part of the village elders, the disinterest of the youth, conflict among the different generations, the proliferation of modern communications technologies, the complexity of training in various methods, the possible alteration of messages, a lack of motivation and the slow speed of transmission. The study notes that the best methods for the diffusion of information in the regions surveyed in Cameroon are: the gong, the colleagues and messengers of traditional chiefs to organize village meetings in which reproductive health issues could be raised, singing and dancing, travelling poets and xylophones.
In order to devise effective strategies for conveying messages about reproductive health through these traditional methods of communication, traditional authorities must be engaged early on in the process and informed of the importance of these means of communication; qualified individuals must be identified as resources and others trained; and a training of trainers must be conducted

Revisiting the "magic box" : case studies in local appropriation of information and communication technologies (ICTs)

BATCHELOR, Simon
O’FARRELL, Clare
2003

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This book looks at the way communities and groups in developing countries are appropriating information and communication technologies (ICTs) to address their needs. It finds that ICTs are being integrated into wider community-based activities and adapted to fit different contexts. It follows on from the paper "Discovering the Magic Box". It finds that there are still few examples of community-driven and locally appropriated ICT initiatives and an absence of standards or guidelines to evaluate ICT-based projects. The book includes some analytical frameworks and indicators to identify good practice and evidence of impact A significant development has been in the growth of telecommunications, in particular mobile phones, that are relatively cheap and powerful tools for poor communities, even in remote areas. The book concludes that the power of oral communication through telephones and radio cannot be underestimated. The book proposes that the main challenge is to adapt the new, usually computer-based ICTs to the needs of poor, predominantly oral-based communities so that they can be appropriated effectively and quickly

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