THE COMMUNITY MULTIMEDIA CENTRE
SCALE-UP INITIATIVE IN MOZAMBIQUE
What is a CMC?
A community multimedia centre takes advantage of synergies between radio and ICT
tools to contribute to rural development, improving access to information and education
and providing opportunities for communications, information production and exchange
and networking among communities.
Community Radio + Telecentre = CMC
A CMC is a cross-cutting service delivery platform for all institutions and
agencies operating in the field of local development, both reaching specific
target groups and responding to the needs and demands of the whole
community through its mix of technologies and people-oriented services.
The computers with Internet, e-mail and CD-ROM offer access to national and
international news, educational material, advice on agriculture and health issues,
weather forecasts, market prices, games and entertainment and much more. CMC
volunteers and visitors can access the information directly via computer - or the
information can be selected, edited, translated into local languages and broadcasted to
a much wider public through the community radio.
The radio becomes a bridge between the information sources and those members of the
community who will never think of using a computer - especially those with low literacy
levels, the poor, or those living in remote areas. Low-cost and easy to operate, the
radio both informs, educates and entertains, and empowers the community by giving a
strong public voice to the voiceless, encouraging greater accountability in public affairs.
Information gathered by the radio can be adapted for dissemination via Internet.
The CMC also generates income from computer training and services such as fax,
telephone, printing, photocopying, production of invitations, pamphlets, business cards,
radio publicity, etc.
What is the CMC Scale-up Initiative?
To establish a sustainable national network of CMCs in rural areas
To provide communities with information and services adapted to their
To enhance the production of local content, in local languages and in
various formats: on-line, off-line, audio, video, electronic and print
To establish a support centre serving all community ICT and radio
initiatives through a ”help desk”, network building, training and
promoting information flows
Long term national goal: An ICT access point in every district of the
Immediate goal: To create up to 20 CMCs in Mozambique by November
2006 (six CMCs were established by June 2005)
1. Focus on rural districts: Select sites that would otherwise be less likely to
get access to ICT in the near future.
Chiúre is a large rural district in northern Mozambique with 225000 inhabitants. Its
community radio and TV has now added a telecentre component, but like many other
districts the town has no electricity and the CMC is dependent on a generator. Local
institutions often contribute with diesel so that it can continue to function regularly –
the national grid is expected to arrive in 2006.
2. A flexible and not ”one-fits-all” solutions: Build on existing initiatives
and management structures, work with local partners and coordinate nationally. The
project converts radios and telecentres into full CMCs, and encourage local institutions
such as libraries, community centres and community based organisations to establish
their own CMCs.
From radio to CMC: Moamba district already had a radio station established in 1998
by ICS, the Mass Media Institute. The CMC scale-up initiative supported the conversion
to CMC by adding on a telecentre. On inauguration day people in the community were
able to see CD-Roms for the first time, including one on the history of Mozambique.
From telecentre to CMC: In Chókwè there was originally a telecentre, with only four
computers in one small room. The popularity of the centre was growing, and it was no
longer able to meet the demands of the community. With support from the CMC scale-
up initiative the telecentre moved to new and bigger installations and a low cost radio
station was added on (the “suitcase radio”), turning it into a full CMC. President
Guebuza cut the ribbon and was the first person to give a live interview on the new
From scratch: The CMC in Xinavane is run by a youth association, AJUCOM, which was
already well organized and active in community affairs before being involved with the
CMC. AJUCOM was among others building houses for flood victims, organising a library,
cleaning up the market, and is now focussing on HIV/Aids awareness. The CMC was
established from scratch within the compound of the local secondary school, in a small
cabin originally built to house migrant workers. A coalition of local organisations
assisted in setting up the CMC, and the local sugar company contributed to the building
3. Start small: To ensure sustainability each CMC should start modestly and grow
with abilities and demand; they are encouraged seek new partners and sponsors for
expansion, and continuously assess the needs of the community.
Ribauè CMC started small, with 4 computers, basic ICT accessories, a photocopier,
telephone and fax added on to the existing community radio and TV station. When the
staff needed to learn basic computer skills a trainer had to travel 200 kms to get there,
taking computers with him. Now those staff are able to run training courses for others.
The CMC is aiming to grow bigger and improve its services.
4. Producing useful content: The key to success for the CMCs is to go beyond
the simple provision of technical equipment. Even more important in a development
context is the generation of useful content – information of importance to the
community in languages they understand – disseminated through different means of
communication: digital (Internet and CD-ROM), radio, video, posters, flyers,
By the community and for the community were key words when Manhiça CMC made a
CD-ROM about Malaria. For the first time in Mozambique digital content was produced
in the local Shangaan language (and later in a Macua version), as well as in Portuguese.
With participation of the whole community, the content was tailored to the needs of the
audience. The CD-ROM explains how malaria is transmitted and how to prevent it
through sound, pictures, text, games and video sequences filmed in the community. In
August 2005 the CD-ROM won first prize for production of digital content about health,
awarded by a national jury under the auspices of the National ICT Policy Commission.
5. Training: High priority is given to the training of CMC staff and volunteers,
seeking to build capacity in content production, technical maintenance and
Staff and volunteers from CMCs in the south (Chókwè, Moamba, Manhiça, Xinavane and
Namaacha) attended a two week training course at the pilot CMC in Naamacha to learn
ICT skills such as word processing, Internet browsing, desk top publishing,
troubleshooting, digital photo editing, digital radio editing and basic radio journalism.
The participants are now in charge of basic ICT training and training of radio volunteers
in their communities.
6. Engaging local volunteers and activists: A CMC depends on local
people who are willing to learn and dedicate time and effort to the benefit of the
community, without getting paid. The CMC volunteers are encouraged to network with
each other by mail, phones and visits, to give each other mutual support and share
volunteers and activists are engaged on a regular basis. Some of the volunteers gather
information - in the community and on the Internet - to produce radio programs and
make a wall newspaper. Others work as ICT trainers and radio hosts, while others again
help clients to use the computers, type letters and documents, take copies, make
invitations and so on – everybody is taking their share in the challenging task of
running the CMC.
7. Coordination and collaboration with other ICT initiatives: The
UNESCO CMC Scale-up Initiative in Mozambique works closely with the government and
aims to collaborate with other organisations in order to avoid duplication of efforts and
ensure a rational use of Mozambique’s scarce resources in the field of ICT for
development. It likewise welcomes partners in developing, expanding and consolidating
the CMC network.
8. Scale-up synergies: As the CMC network develops, economies of scale will
become apparent in such areas as the production and use of information resources,
training strategies, developing local capacities, mobilising new partners, joint
purchasing and advocacy.
Mozambique was selected as one of three partner countries in an initiative launched by
UNESCO and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation during the World Summit
on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva in December 2003. The idea of the CMC
scale-up initiative is to move beyond isolated pilot projects to lay the basis for national
networks of community-based centres.
Mozambique has significant experience in the field of rural community radio and
telecentre projects, and valuable lessons have been learned from the establishment of
three CMC pilots in Mozambique. This new programme started up in November 2004,
with funds from the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation for a first phase ending
in November 2006.
National ownership + partnerships
The CMC Scale-up initiative is integrated into the Mozambican government’s national
ICT strategy, which aims to use ICT tools in the fight against poverty in line with the
national anti-poverty plan (PARPA) and the Millennium Development Goals.
The project team is embedded in the Eduardo Mondlane University Informatics Centre
(CIUEM) in Maputo, which is the national implementing partner. A Steering Committee
brings together key actors in community ICTs, such as the Community Radios Forum
(FORCOM), the Ministry of Science and Technology, the National ICT Policy
Implementation Technical Unit (UTICT), the Mass Media Institute (ICS), the UNESCO
Media Project and the existing telecentres network coordinated by the CIUEM, as well
as the main international partners – currently UNESCO, UNDP and the Swiss Agency for
Development Cooperation. International partners in Mozambique include telecentre.org
Open Knowledge Network, Microsoft and IDRC. It is hoped that other agencies will
participate in developing the initiative at various levels.
At community level the CMCs are collaborating with more than 30 local, national and
international organizations, governmental directorates, educational institutions,
workers’ associations and private enterprises.
Facts about Mozambique
Population: 19,4 million
Size: 799,390 sq km
Rural population: 69 %
GNI per capita: 250 USD
Human Development Index ranking: 168 (out of 177 countries)
Official language: Portuguese
Main local languages: 11
4 out of 1000 have a telephone landline
55 out of 1000 have a cellular phone
Less than 3 out of 1000 have access to Internet
Less than half (46,5%) of adults know how to read and write
Mozambique has 33 community radios, 2 telecentres and 12 CMCs –
combined radio and telecentre (Sept 2005)
(source: UNDP Human Development Report 2005, World Development Indicators
database, UNESCO, INE-IAF 2004, INE We Page TDM report 2004 UNESCO))
The CMC Scale Up team UNESCO Maputo
CIUEM Av. Friedrich Engels 515
Eduardo Mondlane University P.O. Box 1397
P.O. Box 257 Maputo
Tel: (+258) 21492601 Tel: (+258) 21493434
Fax: (+258) 21494755 Fax: (+258) 21493431
E-mail: email@example.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project coordinator: Communications Officer:
Polly Gaster Nina Bull Jørgensen
Cel: (+258) 823264540 Tel: (+258) 823393990