[Telecentres] Introduction from the Solomon Islands

David Leeming PFnet leeming at pipolfastaem.gov.sb
Thu Sep 23 14:05:09 BST 2004

Dear All,

>From the South Pacific, I would like to introduce myself. I have been Technical Advisor of the People First Network (PFnet) project since it's formulation in 2001. In this small country suffering from after effects of ethnic strife, we have 85% of the 450,000 population living in poverty in rural areas, which means scattered in small isolated communities on islands over a huge area of ocean. The basic access problem is compounded by severe logistical problems and lack of opportunity to aggregate demand. PFnet is meeting this with it's model based on affordable radio email technology, community partnerships - and a range of partnerships with government, private sector and civil society. Although the operator-assisted community email stations are autonomous financially, we have a central revenue generating operation to support the networking and information management activities in which we are engaged, and are just about sustainable finally after 3 years, with initial funding from UNDP, Japan, Great Britain, NZAid, the EU and others.

The objectives of PFnet are to:
  a.. Facilitate affordable, community-based communications and then....
  b.. ...to use the communication network to facilitate information sharing and networking across all communities forming the Solomons and across all sectors (notably education);
  c.. To build capacity for rural networking;
We're also active on the policy level, helping to bring stakeholders together to develop a national ICT strategy, and have just completed a major research project (led by the University of the South Pacific, with partner UNDP and funded by JICA) into the social impacts and the factors affecting utilization/appropriation of the rural ICT.

Our brochure: http://www.peoplefirst.net.sb/downloads/pfnet_brochure.pdf
Research description (the full report will be released in October) http://www.peoplefirst.net.sb/research
ICT Strategy building: http://www.peoplefirst.net.sb/general/pfnet_stats.htm#WG
Main PFnet page with links to external evaluations, radio interviews, videos and usage statistics:
Our brochure: http://www.peoplefirst.net.sb/general/pfnet.htm

PFnet was initially established through the UNDP but is now operating as an activity of the Rural Development Volunteers Association (RDVA), an incorporated non-profit body that is a partner agency of the Ministry of Provincial Government.

We had a presence at the ICT4D Platform.

I hope this forum is going to be useful in sharing best practice and helping to keep the momentum achieved last year with the WSIS.

David Leeming
Technical Advisor
People First Network (PFnet)
P.O.Box 652, Honiara, Solomon Islands
Tel: (677) 26358 (w) 24419 (h)
leeming at pipolfastaem.gov.sb

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