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Communication and Information Activities



The project ICTs for Intercultural Dialogue: Developing communication capacities of indigenous peoples (ICT4ID), approved by UNESCO’s General Conference in 2003 and extended to continue until 2007, aims at fostering the creation and dissemination of local content that reflects the values, the experience and insights of the world of indigenous peoples’ communities and cultures.
In 2004-2005, ICT4ID launched five pilot projects involving eleven indigenous communities: the Bakoyas, the San and the Himbas in Africa, and the Quechua, Lecos, Tsimanes, Esse Ejjas, Mosetenes, Tacanas, Baures and Aymaras in Latin America.

The main goals of these projects are to encourage the production of indigenous cultural content for the audiovisual and new media by providing training to community members on the use of ICTs for local cultural expression. They also aimed at giving international exposure to locally produced contents.

There is no universal and unambiguous definition of the concept of “indigenous peoples”, since no single accepted definition exists that captures the diversity of their cultures, histories and current circumstances. However, all attempts to define the concept recognize the linkages between people, their land and culture.

A widely used working definition of indigenous peoples, proposed by the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations, argues that indigenous populations are “…those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing in those territories, or parts of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal systems”.

It is estimated that indigenous peoples number some 350 million individuals (4% of humanity), representing over 5,000 languages and cultures in more than 70 countries all over the world. Today, many of them live on the fringes of society, in isolated rural communities and marginalized urban settings, deprived of basic human rights and without sufficient access to ICTs. They often lack the necessary communication skills and technologies to use their cultural resources as a factor for development and a way to facilitate their dialogue with other communities and cultures.

Nonetheless, indigenous peoples are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to the world and the future generations their insights of the world, and to cooperate in the worldwide production of media outputs, so crucial today for the preservation of all cultural identities.