[SPAM] - RE: [Telecentres] Going forward - Email found in subject

Hannah Beardon HannahB at actionaid.org
Mon Sep 27 15:32:07 BST 2004

I remember her!  I agree that we should each play to our strengths and
it would be inappropriate to have a handful of village level telecentre
managers or volunteers formulating policy.  However, your last sentence
holds the key... "All we can hope is that these non-grassroots people
understand the needs of the grassroots people and their communities!"
Do we just have to hope, or can we put some structures and systems in
place to ensure accountabiltiy to the poor/ marginalised and good
communications to really listen to what they need, want and what works
for them, rather than making assumptions on their behalf.  

From: telecentres-bounces at wsis-cs.org
[mailto:telecentres-bounces at wsis-cs.org] On Behalf Of Subbiah
Sent: 27 September 2004 14:47
To: Don Cameron; 'Andy Carvin'; telecentres at wsis-cs.org
Subject: [SPAM] - RE: [Telecentres] Going forward - Email found in

Arun calling from MSSRF, Chennai, India. Last year when we decided to
take part in the WSIS and ICT4D events in Geneva we included one of our
villaghe volunteers, Ms Usharani, in our team, and a number of people
met and spoke to her and she demonstrated her skills in handling
computers - typing in Tamil which has an alphabet of 247 characters
using the regular QWERTY English keyboard, and answered a variety of
questions on her work in the village knowledge centre. My colleague Mr
Rajamohan and Shaddy of OneWorld South Asia helped her navigate through
the maze, but within a day she was on her own! While the presence of
people like Usharani can facilitate reality check, policy formulation,
drafting, negotiating, etc. certainly would need people who are not from
the true grassroots. All we can hope is that these non-grassroots people
understand the needs of the grassroots people and their communities!

-----Original Message----- 
From: Don Cameron [mailto:donc at internode.on.net] 
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 4:01 PM 
To: 'Andy Carvin'; telecentres at wsis-cs.org 
Subject: RE: [Telecentres] Going forward 

Thanks for your thoughts Andy. 

The invitation for Telecentre's (as representatives of civil society) to

participate in WSIS has been a long and hard-fought battle since our
representations prior to Prepcom1, and it's terrific to now have this 
opportunity, and I (amongst others) thank you for it - providing 
Telecentre's are not again marginalized by WSIS or cited as being "too 
narrow a focus for a thematic group" 
(http://wsis.ecommons.ca/node/view/457). This shows a distinct lack of 
understanding about the role of Telecentre's in today's society. 

Most critics of WSIS, many of whom are practitioners and other regular 
participants on Telecentre forums, cite the major issue as being a lack
civil engagement compounded by the fact that what engagement there is
far short of true civil representation: "Civil society needs to claim
role in WSIS and demand that information should be for the good of
A pro-development stamp is needed on the WSIS process" (South Asia 
Partnership Summary Report: Communication for Social Change Forum" 

The views of many Telecentre practitioners about WSIS are well
summarized by 
the following extract: 

"During a conversation with Sarah Parkinson of IDRC I re-affirmed my 
thinking, that what we call the 'Civil Society' is in fact a collection
middle-class researchers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) workers
the like. People with the time and money to spend far too much time on
internet, these people feel strongly about injustice and try to rectify
But are not the people suffering the injustice of poverty and isolation.

Then is it true that Civil Society does not even come from the
population we 
claim to represent." (Community Information Network for Southern Africa 

I am not suggesting that we do not participate in WSIS, to the contrary.
am suggesting it is our responsibility as community representatives to 
require that WSIS extends itself beyond a closed-door conference venue
incorporates true civil representation - these are not new issues having

been raised many times within and external to the WSIS process, and WSIS

itself has now had more than two years to develop processes for civil 

The Telecentre movement can help WSIS by offering a tremendous
for delegates to engage with society - if this is what WSIS delegates
want to do. However if WSIS stands aloof and only accepts input by 
invitation there is probably little we can offer in the way of help. 
Anything we do contribute would be subject to the determinations of
inherently lacking in experience and exposure. 

If I can presume to ask a question of the list in turn... What can the 
Telecentre movement offer to help WSIS achieve civil engagement thereby 
fostering the development of the information society? - Answers to this 
question may well offer insight into how best the movement is
represented at 
WSIS, whether by select individuals or the method of a unified 

Rgds, Don 

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