Access to dependable and quality internet connections is often hard to come by in Guinea-Bissau. Certainly there are cyber-cafes available for use by the general public in the capital city of Bissau, but the connection speeds and maintenance of the machines leave a lot to be desired. This same slow and expensive internet is what local organizations and institutions must also rely on to connect for their work. And the wifi offered by a handful of cafes and restaurants reserved for paying customers can often be out of reach for the average Bissau-Guinean pockets.
To help address this accessibility gap, a local NGO has stepped in to provide more affordable access and support to individuals and organizations interested in exploring how a better connection can benefit their work. This computer center called “CENATIC” located in the neighborhood of Missira is administered by the NGO Nadel, with support from the Spanish cooperation agency IEPALA. Even though the costs to support such a center are relatively high, all of the parties involved feel that it is an essential investment in ensuring that organizations and individuals are able to take advantage of these technologies to help craft their messages to reach a variety of audiences.
In February 2012, CENATIC opened its doors to Rising Voices for a partnership in a refresher workshop offered to local NGOs that previously participated in a training with Filipa Oliveira from the Portuguese NGO ACEP. These earlier training courses were part of the first activities provided by the Casa dos Direitos. Members of the Rising Voices grantee project “Youth Voices of Bandim and Enterramento” also took part in the workshops. In addition, one of the project's coordinator, Ector Diogenes Cassamá took an active role in providing some individual instruction to participants.
In this video, the center's coordinator Pascoal Nalanquite provides an overview of the center's services and their hopes for expansion. Pascoal has also taken an active interest in citizen media with his own personal Facebook account, as well as maintaining CENATIC's Facebook page and blog.
Several other participants talked about their emerging blogs and how becoming immersed in the world of citizen media can help further the mission of their organizations.
Bacar Fati, Founder and Vice-President of the NGO Senim Mira Nassequê:
Agostinho Dias, coordinator of the legal assistance project for mother and children, Guinean League of Human Rights:
Mamadu Ali Jalo, of the NGO AD – Development Accion:
As one of the fastest connections in the country, CENATIC is well positioned to become a supportive resource for individuals and organizations across the city, and as the center's coordinator Nalanquite continues to learn more through his own practice, he will develop into a citizen media trainer to help others.