WHAT DO WE
KNOW
ABOUT
DOUALA?
ACCESS TO INFORMATION IN AND ABOUT
THE LARGEST CAMEROONIAN CITY
IDIA Conference,
Bangkok, Th...
RESEARCH PURPOSE
Explore what “access to knowledge” means in the city of Douala, by framing
challenges and tendencies in t...
ACCESS TO..
INFORMATION OR KNOWLEDGE?
Knowledge is
contextualized, alive,
embedded in social
practices and
produced in
per...
ACCESS AS..
PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION OF:
• Human knowledge (education, skills, know-how and human
capital);
• Informati...
WARSCHAUER’S
MODEL:

PRINTED
&
DIGITAL
INFORMATION
WHY
DOUALA?

DOUALA
METHODOLOGY
1. Desk research (mainly scouting digital resources)
looking at information about the cultural and safety
cont...
KNOWLEDGE EMBEDDED
IN THE ORAL TRADITION
TOPONYMES
KNOWLEDGE
EMBEDDED IN
THE ORAL
TRADITION
RADIO PROGRAMS
TV SERIES

Produced and broadcasted in
Douala for a local audience
ACCESS TO WRITTEN
INFORMATION
Physical resources
Challenges

Tendencies

• No public library: students’
library of the Uni...
ACCESS TO WRITTEN
INFORMATION
ACCESS TO WRITTEN
INFORMATION
Physical resources: Challenges &
Tendences
Centre of Documentation and Information : the mun...
ACCESS TO WRITTEN
INFORMATION
Contents: Challenges
• Printed media
controlled by the state
• Rare and expensive
books
• “A...
ACCESS TO WRITTEN
INFORMATION
Contents: Tendencies
• Documentation on Douala
produced by foreigners
• Few private initiati...
ACCESS TO WRITTEN
INFORMATION
Human resource
• Deficit of 30.000 teachers  spread corruption

• Lack of meticulous archiv...
ACCESS TO WRITTEN
INFORMATION
Social resource
No public interest and initiative in providing access to information
• No po...
ACCESS TO DIGITAL
INFORMATION
Physical resources
Challenges
• No regular electricity
• High cost of computers and Internet...
ACCESS TO DIGITAL
INFORMATION
Physical resources: tendencies
ACCESS TO DIGITAL
INFORMATION
Physical resources: tendencies

Mobile
owners
ACCESS TO DIGITAL
INFORMATION
Physical resources: tendencies

Smartphone
owners

Mobile
owners
ACCESS TO DIGITAL
INFORMATION
Physical resources: tendencies

Accessing
Internet

Smartphone
owners

Mobile
owners
ACCESS TO DIGITAL
INFORMATION
Contents: challenges
Poor online information on Douala
• Wikipedia
• Public websites
• Touri...
ACCESS TO DIGITAL
INFORMATION
Human resources
Challenges
“(B)oth teacher trainers and in service teachers are computer
ill...
ACCESS TO DIGITAL
INFORMATION
Human resources
Tendencies
• Strategy for implementing the basic education sector ICT policy...
ACCESS TO DIGITAL
INFORMATION
Social resources
Challenges
• Bureaucracy, lack of communication between public departments
...
DISCUSSION &
CONCLUSION
• The predominance of orality and of the role of the civil society
as holder and custodian of city...
THANK YOU!
QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS?

Marta Pucciarelli
marta.pucciarelli@usi.ch
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What do we know about Douala? @ IDIA2013

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7th IDIA (International Development Informatics Association) Conference, on Public and private access to ICTs in developing regions.
Bangkok, Thailand.
1-3 November 2013

Published in: Education, Technology
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What do we know about Douala? @ IDIA2013

  1. 1. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT DOUALA? ACCESS TO INFORMATION IN AND ABOUT THE LARGEST CAMEROONIAN CITY IDIA Conference, Bangkok, Thailandia 1 November 2013 Marta Pucciarelli Amalia Sabiescu Lorenzo Cantoni New Media in Education Laboratory Faculty of Communication Sciences USI, Lugano, Switzerland
  2. 2. RESEARCH PURPOSE Explore what “access to knowledge” means in the city of Douala, by framing challenges and tendencies in the production and distribution of oral, printed and digital information.
  3. 3. ACCESS TO.. INFORMATION OR KNOWLEDGE? Knowledge is contextualized, alive, embedded in social practices and produced in performative settings, while information is a set of representations or abstractions of prior episodes of knowledge production (Christie, 2004)
  4. 4. ACCESS AS.. PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION OF: • Human knowledge (education, skills, know-how and human capital); • Information (including news, data, and information of public concern, such as data about government and its activities); • Knowledge-embedded goods (such as software); • Tools for producing knowledge and knowledge-embedded goods (e.g. communication technologies) (Shaver & Rizk, 2010)
  5. 5. WARSCHAUER’S MODEL: PRINTED & DIGITAL INFORMATION
  6. 6. WHY DOUALA? DOUALA
  7. 7. METHODOLOGY 1. Desk research (mainly scouting digital resources) looking at information about the cultural and safety context of the city 2. Ethnographic observation 3. Interviews (n. 40) 4. Questionnaires (n. 200) Two months fieldwork (Dec. 2012 – Jan. 2013)
  8. 8. KNOWLEDGE EMBEDDED IN THE ORAL TRADITION TOPONYMES
  9. 9. KNOWLEDGE EMBEDDED IN THE ORAL TRADITION RADIO PROGRAMS TV SERIES Produced and broadcasted in Douala for a local audience
  10. 10. ACCESS TO WRITTEN INFORMATION Physical resources Challenges Tendencies • No public library: students’ library of the University of Douala • Foreign and private libraries • Poor commerce of books in Douala. • Cameroonian publications in limited editions due to the high production costs • Three bookstores, expensive books, no academic bookshops • Only one Cameroonian publishing house
  11. 11. ACCESS TO WRITTEN INFORMATION
  12. 12. ACCESS TO WRITTEN INFORMATION Physical resources: Challenges & Tendences Centre of Documentation and Information : the municipal archive “(t)here is no standard of relevance in the research and selection of content: pieces of information are picked up from national journals and international magazines and added to the related shelf”
  13. 13. ACCESS TO WRITTEN INFORMATION Contents: Challenges • Printed media controlled by the state • Rare and expensive books • “Access to information for education in Cameroon is a personal affair”
  14. 14. ACCESS TO WRITTEN INFORMATION Contents: Tendencies • Documentation on Douala produced by foreigners • Few private initiatives  DOUALA VILLE D’ART ET D’HISTOIRE (doual’art)
  15. 15. ACCESS TO WRITTEN INFORMATION Human resource • Deficit of 30.000 teachers  spread corruption • Lack of meticulous archival work  problems of communication • Education Development Capacity Building project (World bank)  in 2013, government performance rated as MODERATELY UNSATISFACTORY
  16. 16. ACCESS TO WRITTEN INFORMATION Social resource No public interest and initiative in providing access to information • No policy, law or official text regulates the issue of libraries and books. • No public financial support to infrastructures, contents production and training Diffused private repetitions activities
  17. 17. ACCESS TO DIGITAL INFORMATION Physical resources Challenges • No regular electricity • High cost of computers and Internet fees • Lack of low-bandwidth of Internet connection Tendencies • Diffusion of telecenter and second-hand computers • Diffusion of Internet keys and 3G mobile solutions
  18. 18. ACCESS TO DIGITAL INFORMATION Physical resources: tendencies
  19. 19. ACCESS TO DIGITAL INFORMATION Physical resources: tendencies Mobile owners
  20. 20. ACCESS TO DIGITAL INFORMATION Physical resources: tendencies Smartphone owners Mobile owners
  21. 21. ACCESS TO DIGITAL INFORMATION Physical resources: tendencies Accessing Internet Smartphone owners Mobile owners
  22. 22. ACCESS TO DIGITAL INFORMATION Contents: challenges Poor online information on Douala • Wikipedia • Public websites • Tourism websites Tendencies • Private initiatives • Open Education Resources
  23. 23. ACCESS TO DIGITAL INFORMATION Human resources Challenges “(B)oth teacher trainers and in service teachers are computer illiterates; illiteracy at the school level (teachers and head teachers) was estimated at 96%. There is no public or private ICT pedagogic training centre within the national territory, conducting training for educators at various levels.” (Ndongfack, 2007, p. 10)
  24. 24. ACCESS TO DIGITAL INFORMATION Human resources Tendencies • Strategy for implementing the basic education sector ICT policy in Cameroon 2007-2012 • Programme officiel d’informatique pour le premier et le second cycle de l’enseignement général et les ENIEG (2010) Not implemented homogeneously in private and in public schools • National Program for Governance and Strategic Management (2011) WikiAfrica Cameroun and Wiki Love Monument training
  25. 25. ACCESS TO DIGITAL INFORMATION Social resources Challenges • Bureaucracy, lack of communication between public departments • Network connectivity (512 k/s) • Little motivation in the demand and production of information Tendencies • Free access to Wikipedia through mobile phones • Asian market of smartphones • Mobile for leisure • Telecenter for mobile services
  26. 26. DISCUSSION & CONCLUSION • The predominance of orality and of the role of the civil society as holder and custodian of city growth and knowledge • The interplay between information production and information access. Need to invest in documenting the city in parallel with efforts for improving access to information • From oral to digital and the written media gap • Potential of radio BUT limited scope of outreach • Investments in digital production of information; • Locals access digital content using private connections and telecentres; • Usage of mobile phones for accessing leisure content (video streaming and music) which once again suggests synergies with an oral culture. • Private vs. public access
  27. 27. THANK YOU! QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS? Marta Pucciarelli marta.pucciarelli@usi.ch
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