The USPF has been engaging Community Resource Centre (CRC) stakeholders in the respective geopolitical zones to improve local participation and engender sustainable management and usage of ICT facilities.  The workshop in the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria took place on 28th August, 2014 in Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State.

Previously, the CRC stakeholders’ engagement workshop had taken place in Gombe, Gombe State, North East of Nigeria on 13th February, 2014, and in Sokoto, Sokoto State, North West of Nigeria on 24th April, 2014 respectively.

At each of the workshops, a wide spectrum of stakeholders including the States Government, religious leaders, traditional rulers, local entrepreneurs, community-based organizations, and interest groups were represented and contributed actively to the deliberations.  Discussants at the events included partners such as Google Nigeria, Bandwidth Consortium, Nigeria ICT Forum of Partnership Institutions, Gilat-Satcom, and Telecenter.

The recurring consensus is highlighted below:

  • CRCs must strategize at evolving effective methods for communication with the community, options inclusive but  not limited to  conventional notice boards, town criers, multimedia;
  • There is need for the periodic expansion of CRCs infrastructure and equipment to meet with the growing demands of the community;
  • Power outage is a major impediment to the growth and sustainability of CRCs. Alternative power sources e.g. solar power combined with inverters can be a more reliable option than the petrol or diesel generators;
  • Must continuously engage local communities
  • Focus on solving community needs and desires;
  • Must have a strong focus on women and youth;
  • Be evaluated, on an ongoing basis, including ethnographic action research, community use needs and impacts;
  • Must deliver both economic and social benefits;
  • Should  have a commercial component, supporting the needs of local businesses especially agriculture;

As a result of the workshops, some state governments have begun to express keener interest in ICT inclusion programmes and started networking with the USPF on ways to advance ICT for development in their respective states.