Podcasting pilot project

Local Voices in Peru

In Peru, Practical Action is testing the potential of podcasting to disseminate knowledge and information for poverty reduction, using a mixture of new and old technology.

a user at Practical Action's internet cafe in Cajamarca is shown how to use the system

Radio has long been acknowledged as a media that reaches grassroots groups. Until recently, however, it has been relatively expensive to start-up and has various regulatory issues to overcome. Now, podcasting is believed to offer a low-cost way of broadcasting audio to defined groups of people.

Podcasting is a method of publishing audio files via the Internet, allowing users to subscribe to a feed to receive new files automatically. Any digital audio player or computer with audio-playing software can play podcasts, or burn them to CD. Local radio stations can then re-broadcast the podcast to traditional radio receivers, or computers at community infocentres can be used to create audio CDs of the podcasts.

Practical Action Latin America are conducting a pilot project in the rural region of Cajamarca, northern Peru, to analyse the viability of podcasting for the generation and diffusion of knowledge in poor areas of Peru.

The programme content is tailored to local needs and interests in the different areas of Cajamarca. In Chanta Alta, for instance, the programmes provide information about cattle raising and dairy production, while in Chiliete they concentrate on growing grapes and beans. The language is kept simple, to make the broadcasts more accessible than technical leaflets.

It is hoped that if the pilot project proves successful, the scheme could be replicated by Practical Action in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.

You can listen to the podcasts (in Spanish) via the SIRU website.

  • This pilot project was recently featured on the BBC's Go Digital programme, which itself is available as a podcast.
  • More from the BBC News website.

Further reading

In 2003, Practical Action initiated a research project in association with Cranfield School of Management, funded by the DTI's Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme, to research how ICTs can be used for knowledge sharing in development.

Connecting the First Mile

The final report from this research, Connecting the First Mile, outlines the challenges involved in sharing information with people who have little experience of ICTs, low levels of literacy, little time or money, and very specific knowledge and language requirements. It offers a detailed case study from an ICT project in Peru and  provides a best practice framework for practitioners.

The full report can be ordered from www.developmentbookshop.com

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