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World Telecommunication & Information Society Day: What are the Priorities?

Today is World Telecommunication & Information Society Day with the theme “Better life in rural communities with ICTs”. Globally, the event is being celebrated in Geneva from 16th – 20 May 2011 with some of the several WSIS 2011 forum stakeholders and organizers being ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP and locally in Uganda, The 2011 World Telecommunications and Information Society day ICT Youth forum is being held at Ndejje University today 17th May 2011 and this initiative is led by Uganda Communications commission (UCC). 
Given the 2011 theme, “Better life in rural communities with ICTs” it’s important to enable access to appropriate information to rural communities through increasing access to ICTs/tools, making content of information and communication relevant,  tailoring programs to different audiences, strengthening & increasing links with new technologies and finally  exchanging information through a stronger and broader network.
What’s its purpose?
The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.
17 May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union.” 
What does ICT mean?
There is a misconception that ICTs mean “Computer” and or “Internet”. However, ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) cover a wide range of tools that enable information Sharing and Networking. These are categorized into: Traditional, Modern and Social/new Networks.  
The traditional ICTs include notice boards, drums, public address systems, posters, newsletters and the modern ones are made of radio, camera, phones, ipods and televisions. The social/New ICTs include networking sites like facebook, twitter, skype, ping etc. All these tools can act as platforms for advocacy and for facilitating networking activities.
Can we adapt traditional & New ICTs to rural Communities’ Actual Needs?
In an attempt to maximise the impact and potential of ICTs for rural communities, appropriate strategies must help integrate them into ongoing activities and programmes like setting up community radio stations in rural areas, exploring the potential of mobile phones and community multimedia/Telecentres to contribute to development action and training members of rural communities on the use of ICTs in addition to sharing best practices. We can adopt both traditional and modern ICTs to the actual needs of rural communities if they are put to best use.
What are the priorities this year’s World Telecommunication & Information Society Day?
Follow the event on tweeter @#WTISD
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