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Bridging the Rural Digital Divide Programme - Overview

Begun in 2003, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) implemented a strategic Programme entitled "Bridging the Rural Digital Divide". The programme highlighted innovative approaches to knowledge exchange that were taking advantage of new (at that time) digital technologies, and that were based on synergies between information management and communication for development. At the time this was referred to as "information and communication for development"(ICD).

The Programme sought to bring relevant expertise and resources across the international development community into a more coherent and systematic approach. Innovators in many parts of the world were already developing initiatives which, if brought together, were believed to have a greater potential than if they remained isolated or fragmented.
 
 Programme Objectives:
  • Increase the availability of information content related to rural areas in digital form.
  • Develop innovative mechanisms and processes for information exchange and communication.
  • Establish networks and communities of practice in information and communication for development and for exchange of information on agriculture and rural development.
The conceptual basis for the programme was devised through a range of background studies that drew particularly on concepts embodied in livelihoods approaches* to sustainable development. An important consideration of the programme was to support the links from macro level (policies and institutions) to micro level (communities and individuals).
 
 Outputs of the Programme: 

The programme had a dedicated website (fao.org/rdd), and served as a basis for FAO's role as a founding partner of the e-Agriculture Community. The content of that website has since been moved here to the e-Agriculture Community platform by FAO.

 
* For more on livelihoods approaches, visit Livelihoods Connect at http://www.eldis.org/go/livelihoods