|SPORE Bulletin of the CTA No. 40 (CTA Spore, 1992, 16 p.)|
APICA (Association pour la Promotion des Initiatives Communautaires Africaines) is an organization that supports home-grown development activities or Local Development Initiatives - LDls. This support is offered through national and international NGOs and technical services which are known as LDI Support Bodies - LDISB. APICA seeks to improve the support LDISBs give to LDIs, with which they are involved, by helping to resolve their technical, leadership, funding and administrative problems.
Apart from training-related activities, APICA also carries out research and studies on development issues, and, in the technological field, develops equipment prototypes.
In the field of information and exchange, APICA has two main instruments:
- the magazine African Communities, which comes out three times a year. This is an essential means of communication for APICA, containing as it does sections on development activities; technologies; job creation schemes; health issues past and present; recipes; and practical hints. APICA's priority now is to make sure this interesting magazine gets distributed in rural areas.
- the Douala Documentation Centre in Cameroon, which could be called a sort of "information processing plant", turning theoretical knowledge into practical help for potential users. Many books are registered there, and the Centre acquires new ones each year for the "bookshop" and prepares the files called "experience storage rooms", which are records on how certain experiments or projects were carried out. The Documentation Service, whose mission is to disseminate information, replies to questions, receives visitors, and arranges the sale of books on a sale or return basis in various regions of Cameroon.
One of the Centre's current activities is research on the use of national languages in extension work for development.
APICA, 8P 5946
Douala Akwa - CAMEROON
IRED (Innovations et Reseaux pour le Developpement) is an international network of more than 1000 partners in Africa, Latin America and Asia, who mainly belong to associations of small farmers, pastoralists, those working in small-scale crafts and industry, NGOs, and training, study and activity centres. IRED aims to support these, its local partners in developing countries; in turn they can meet the needs of the people they serve, and be informed more swiftly of any decisions taken at a higher level which affect them.
IRED organizes seminars, workshops and symposia and offers developing countries' institutions an alternative source of funding.
The support IRED gives an association or group will be judged by the way the development organizations can access and assimilate information. This information transfer is one of IRED's main strategies through which it hopes to carry out its objectives. One of the ways in which this is being done is by helping the Southern partners to share and to exploit to the full their own experience, which is one of their main assets. IRED also tries to process information from elsewhere, particularly from the North, which might have a bearing on the activities of the Southern groups.
IRED feels that information exchange is best carried out by visits from groups or individuals, as these are more conducive to transferring a technology or starting a business, or to acquiring better processing and management techniques. People working on the ground, who may never encounter classic training techniques, can often come up with alternative training methods of their own.
IRED-FORUM is published three times a year in French, English and Spanish, and is the main organ of communication within the network. It includes information on the activities of the network, specialist articles and practical notes.
The practical management handbook, Towards greater financial self-sufficiency, and Making the rural voice heard are three of IRED's most successful titles. Course reports, guidelines for exchanges and personal thoughts and accounts also find a ready readership among the members of the network. Network partners frequently consult the Resource and Documentation Centres in the three Southern continents and in Geneva, when they need a management model or background information on an appropriate technology or advice on financial or other matters.
International Development Support
Service, 3 rue de Varembe
Case 116, 1211 Geneva 20