The ACP Street Libraries – Culture for All project was created to preserve and to promote, digitally, the local culture of ACP countries – Africa, Caribbean and Pacific. Coordinated by Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, the project was developed in four countries and reached 20.000 new children. The result of 30 months of work was presented on December 14, at the headquarters of Fraunhofer Portugal, in Porto. The closing event was attended by the international partners of the project.
Ghana, Liberia, Cameroon and Mozambique were the recipients of the ACP Street Libraries – Culture for All project, which contributed to the development of local culture through the use of new information technologies. Ten new street libraries, 150 new cultural artefacts and 1.000 ebooks are among the results obtained thanks to funding from the European Union in an amount of half a million euros.
The project came about with the aim of promoting the cultural heritage and the distinctive tradition from these countries. The sparse dissemination, due to the limited means of distribution, encouraged the creation and renovation of street libraries with new technologies, to fill the existing panorama. The significant increase in the penetration of mobile phones in these regions allowed not only the dissemination of digital products to the population, but also a greater participation of artists and local entrepreneurs, with interaction in forums and creation of individual blogs.
André Costa Lima, researcher at Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, also points out that this project, “through a strategic partnership, allowed the launch of a Windows Phone Mobile App developed in close cooperation with Microsoft. This app is available to the public since September and will allow the involvement of professionals of the cultural sector in ACP countries, with consumption and production of digital products and artefacts. More than 20.000 new users have benefited so far from this project, mostly children."
In the Final Event workshop, on December 14, the results and major achievements of the project implementation during the past three years were clearly presented to all the participants.
During the open debate discussion, it was acknowledged that the project was particularly successful in the establishment of New Street Libraries and reaching out for children in rural communities and schools in the implementation countries. With regards to the technology aspect, the participants recognized that, in order to unlock complete potential and draw the attention of an even broader audience, it is of utmost importance to carry on with the work to convert the Street Libraries App to Android and to further develop it in terms of its functionalities. A discussion on the possibility of considering and seeking a new funding opportunity in the short term future has already began.
The ACP Street Libraries – Culture for All had partners such as Microsoft, Ghana's VPWA (Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa), Cameroon's ASRAD (Appui Solidaire pour le Renforcement de l'Aide au developpement), YCWL (Youth Crime Watch of Liberia) from Liberia, PPortodosMuseus from Portugal and the ALVD (Associação dos Leigos Voluntários Dehonianos) from Mozambique.
The ACP Street Libraries – Culture for All project was funded by ACP-EU Support Programme to the ACP Cultural Sectors, ACPCultures+ (www.acpculturesplus.eu).