|Home||Who we are||What we do||Where we work||News, events & media||Contact us|
Impact Assessment Results
Inspired by the success of their local library’s service for farmers, villagers from Glavinci in central Serbia organized a petition to demand high-speed Internet for the whole village. It worked – and now over 4,500 people from Glavinci and two nearby villages have access to high speed wireless Internet in their homes and in their village library.
'What amazed us was that the villagers brought their petition to the village library, and asked the librarians to contact the town library,' said Ms Suzana Tanasijević, a librarian at Public Library Radislav Nikčević in Jagodina. 'It means that the villagers now see the library as an initiator of change in the community.'
Glavinci village library is part of the EIFL-PLIP supported AgroLib-Ja service for farmers. Coordinated by Public Library Radislav Nikčević, the AgroLib-Ja service provides free access to computers and the Internet in four village libraries. The service includes an information sharing website for farmers, and librarians train farmers to use the Internet to find information about modern farming methods, government grants and other opportunities online. The farmers used their new computer skills to develop a lively online farm produce market – AgroLib – and are now selling fruit, dairy produce, vegetables, honey and handicrafts over the Internet.
AgroLib-Ja became extremely popular, with growing numbers of farmers and their families using the Internet in their local libraries. But in Glavinci there was a problem – the Internet connection was too slow to meet farmers needs.
Glavinci is located in a valley, and wireless signals – even for mobile phones – were unreliable and slow. At first, Glavinci library used a mobile 3G Internet connection for AgroLib-Ja, and for a while, this slow connection was the only Internet access in the village. When they realized the value of the Internet, some villagers bought personal computers and installed 3G connections at home. But they wanted a better quality connection, both in the library and at home.
A high-speed wireless connection seemed to be a solution, but this required antennae in an elevated position. The villagers identified a tank at a local factory as the best place for the antennae, but the factory management did not see the point, and refused to allow the installation.
The villagers did not give up. They launched a petition for high-speed Internet, collected signatures and handed the petition to the librarian in Glavinci. They asked her to take the petition to Public Library Radislav Nikčević in Jagodina.
‘When the librarian from Glavinci brought us the petition with signatures, the director of the library addressed the Management Board of the factory in writing, explaining how important high-speed Internet was for the development of both the village library and the village,’ said Ms Tanasijević.
‘The director also addressed the local self-government, asking them to use their authority and legitimacy to explain to the Management Board in the factory the significance of placing the antenna on the tank – and the possibility that the signal would reach people from Glavinci and the villages of Bresje and Kolare,’ she said.
The factory Management Board took these appeals seriously. ‘They understood the value of the Internet to rural development, and agreed to allow installation of the antennae,’ said Ms Tanasijević.
The wireless signal covers a radius of about 20km around Glavinci, reaching 4,500 people.
According to the local computer and Internet service provider, villagers are now rushing to connect. In just one month, about 30 households from Glavinci have applied for Internet connections, and the numbers of households from Bresje and Kolare is steadily increasing.
‘We are really impressed by the understanding the villagers now have about the value of new information technology – especially the Internet – for developing the village and for farming. Three years ago, before AgroLib-Ja, no-one from the three villages intended to use computers and the Internet,’ said Ms Tanasijević.
Previous project update:
The local self-government of Jagodina, where the Public Library Radislav Nikčević is located, are seeking ways of modernizing farming methods and increasing farmers’ income. They are receiving support from four rural libraries, in Glavinci, Glogovac, Bagrdan and Bunar. Led by Public Library Radislav Nikčević the libraries have launched an innovative project to keep farmers informed about government subsidies and credit, new farming methods, marketing of local agricultural products and rural tourism.
At the start of the project, Public Library Radislav Nikčević conducted a needs assessment to establish farmers’ communications and information needs. They found that many people in the villages are poor and need new models to modernize agricultural production. There are some successful, innovative farmers, but the library found that there was no organized way to exchange information and experience, and to share knowledge.
Technology and activities
With EIFL support, the Public Library Radislav Nikčević has created an AgroLib web-portal (www.agrolib.rs) that brings together farmers, associations and scientific organizations. The library and the four rural libraries have installed computers and Internet connections, and created training space. The libraries now provide free Information Technology (IT) training to farmers, and lectures and courses aimed at developing greater in cooperation with the Rural Development Support Network of the Ministry of Agriculture of Serbia.
The local self-government of Jagodina provides technical and administrative support to help rural libraries to adapt their space to accommodate information technology and training. The Rural Development Support Network is helping allocate subsidies provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, and is providing communications training. The Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises and Registered Agricultural Households is registering households and supporting education of farmers.
To learn more about the project, contact:
Public Library Jagodina
Kneginje Milice 2-4
Tel.: +381 648 197 910