[Telecentres] Re: telecentres Digest, Vol 1, Issue 43

Partha Pratim Sarker partha at bytesforall.org
Wed Sep 29 23:57:35 BST 2004

Dear All,

I think one of the wrong policies for the organizations to adopt 
tele-centers models is when they consider tele-center as a stand alone 
purpose, seemingly to develop tele-centers as access points only for 
various range of information. In many cases, I even found organizations 
that had already set-up tele-centers are now sweating hard to establish 
backward linkage with the community both in terms of its relevance, 
adaptability and acceptability. Reasonably many has failed, many has been 
silently shut down (leaving behind a mockery of promises to the poor) and 
some are still sustaining with funding from multiple sources. But I feel 
the growth pattern should be other way round. Tele-centers should rather 
emerge as a natural extension of other activities that grassroots 
organizations or local entrepreneurs are regularly doing in a particular 
community. For example in Bangladesh,  Grameen Bank runs a country-wide 
network of women self help groups for micro-finance activities. These women 
are already in a cooperative structure and if that can be supported by 
community ICT processes (apart from VPP project) to facilitate their 
micro-finance related activities or to arrange better livelihoods, then the 
system is more likely to sustain. Similarly even in the remotest rural 
corner of Bangladesh, you'll find local marketplace (bazaars) which are 
often run by Bazaar committee. These bazaar committees (often are elected 
bodies) are the already available best examples of local rural 
entrepreneurs and should be the mostly likely units to be supported by 
community ICTs (namely Tele-center). Often I found its the lack of vision 
and the lack of understanding to community development that have made a 
wrong leader to deal the issue of tele-center so badly.

Yes, I'm hopeful as someone pointed out we're really in a learning process 
and the concept itself is also going through a transition. Best wishes,


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