RUMNET is a non-profit, development communication organisation based in Tamale, in the Northern Region of Ghana. It was founded in 1996 to respond to the desire of communities for information, knowledge and skills to transform their lives and advocate against the injustice, marginalisation, discrimination, and exploitation inherent in mainstream development.
RUMNET was set up by Kassim PEREZ who, in the course assignments with other journalists in the Northern Region, was touched by the ignorance, disease and poverty that stared them in the face wherever they went. Kassim mobilized his colleagues in to action when matters, for them, got to a head in the wake of an ethnic conflict in the Northern Region in 1994.
The conflict brought to the fore, the combined effects of ignorance, lack of information and poverty. Disempowerment, marginalisation, discrimination, exclusion and “voicelessness” were visible and pervasive in most communities.
At that time, the mainstream media was not, and is still not, providing communities, the poor and the marginalized, with information that could transform their lives; neither did it provide space to communities to communicate their plight to decision-makers. Besides, communities were unable- as now -to participate fully in decision-making because of weak mechanisms in the interface with local government. These are some of the causes as well as results of poverty, conflicts and suffering in the north.
The Journalists believed that unless people are able to influence decisions that directly affect their lives, they would remain excluded from mainstream development.
RUMNET, therefore, deemed it imperative to support communities in deepening their understanding of the root causes of under-development and identifying their own solutions to overcome them, through participatory development communication and social change.