ALIN is the winner of UNESCO International Programme for Development Communication (IPDC) Prize for Rural Communication 2012.
According to a statement released, UNESCO made the decision to award the IPDC Prize jointly to ALIN and Nepal-based Community Radio Support Centre (CRSC), a wing of Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ).
“The Director General of UNESCO, upon recommendation of the Bureau of the International Programme for Development Communication (IPDC), has decided to award the 2012 IPDC Prize for Rural Communication to CRSC/NEFEJ and Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN),” said the statement.
The award ceremony took place on 22 March at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris during the 28th session of the IPDC Council.
The Prize, which comes with a cash value of US$20,000 and a diploma, is awarded every two years. The two awardees for 2012 will receive US$10,000 each. The award was established in 1985 to recognise meritorious and innovative activities in improving communication in rural communities mainly in developing countries.
The accolade was given in recognition of ALIN Maarifa (Knowledge) centres concept which provide free access to the internet, computers, computer skills and public library services to communities residing is some of the remotest and driest parts of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
The Maarifa centre concept http://alin.net/Introduction was started in 2007 by ALIN to improve livelihoods among arid lands communities via ICTs. A Maarifa (Knowledge) centre is a room or fabricated shipping container equipped with ICTs: computers and internet and offering public library services through a field officer. Seven Kenya-based Maarifa centres are in: Homa Bay http://ndhiwamaarifacentre.blogspot.com/, Laikipia http://ngaruamaarifa.blogspot.com/, Baringo http://marigatmaarifa.blogspot.com/, Kitui http://kyusomaarifa.blogspot.com/, http://mutomomaarifa.blogspot.com/, and Kajiado http://isinyamaarifa.blogspot.com/, http://ngurumanmaarifa.blogspot.com/, counties; three in Northern Uganda, Gulu http://awachmaarifa.blogspot.com/, http://koromaarifa.blogspot.com/, http://metumaarifa.blogspot.com/ and; two in Tanzania at Shinyanga http://shinyangamaarifa.blogspot.com/ and in Karagwe district http://nyakasimbimaarifa.blogspot.com/ reaching over 6000 people daily and 1.2 million annually.