[Telecentres] Going forward

Andy Carvin acarvin at edc.org
Sun Sep 26 19:57:00 BST 2004

Don, the whole purpose of creating this group was to serve as a space 
for civil society representatives to offer input on how the telecentre 
movement can contribute to the wsis process, both through participation 
in the meetings themselves, and hopefully through coming up with some 
more concrete, longer term telecentre activities for which we can 
advocate and/or organize. We've been invited by the WSIS civil society 
plenary to form this group _specifically_ to participate in the WSIS 
process. If we say we don't want to participate in it, we invalidate the 
whole point of us coming together. It's like being asked by an 
organization to form a blue ribbon taskforce and then turning around and 
saying we'll organize ourselves for our own purposes, but not work for 
that organization anymore.

You're right that we should try to extend what we do beyond a few 
conference venues, but that's a longer term issue. First we need to form 
around the task at hand - an advisory group to help make sure that the 
interest of telecentres are represented in the WSIS process. That's the 
core of this group's mission, and all other activities we can do are 
icing on the cake.


Don Cameron wrote:
> By coordinating representation to WSIS do we potentially place ourselves 
> in danger of being perceived as just another extraneous group of service 
> providers of no real importance? – a group of fragmented individuals 
> offering nothing more than input to be evaluated by what is in truth a 
> rather insignificant and little known about process?
> My thoughts on this may not be shared by all, but to me Telecentre’s are 
> the Information Society – We are the ones at the fore of poverty 
> alleviation through ICT’s; we are the ones providing education, a voice 
> and opportunity to the worlds impoverished masses through access to 
> skills and ICT’s. We are also the providers most closely linked to 
> communities, business and governments through affiliation, the services 
> we offer and the very nature of thousands of physical points of access 
> dispersed throughout the globe. Many of us are funded by government, 
> industry and community. Our depth and spread far exceeds that of WSIS, 
> our voice extends well beyond the limited representation offered by WSIS.  
> Rather than focusing on a few individuals providing input into WSIS, 
> should we not be recommending en-masse that if WSIS truly intends to 
> achieve relevance, should it not extend itself beyond the anonymity of a 
> few physical conference venues by utilizing the Telecentre movement to 
> actually join the information society? We do not need to present to 
> WSIS, there is little to be gained… however WSIS does need us if it ever 
> intends to become more than just another closed-door bureaucratic 
> think-tank offering nothing of value.
> Perhaps we could discuss how we can best help WSIS – as a process it 
> does offer some value however it clearly needs to extend itself if the 
> desired outcomes are ever to be realized.
> Rgds, Don
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Andy Carvin
Program Director
EDC Center for Media & Community
acarvin @ edc . org

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