Wednesday, September 06, 2006

UNESCO's International Community Telecenter Resource Site

Mrs. Maniko reads her email at
a telecenter in Mali
Photo: Serge Daniel, copyright: UNESCO

UNESCO provides the International Community Telecenter Resource Site. The site is addressed to community telecenter developers, practitioners, and researchers. It contains an annotated and classified inventory of resources on local information and informatics initiatives such as community multimedia and multipurpose telecentres. There are four major sections in this site:
* Projects and Initiatives
* Research
* Resource Organizations and
* Telecentre Technology

Each section covers an aspect of the process of engendering and appropriating ICTs for community development around the world.

Thomas Bekkers has contributed a highlight on telecenters today to the Development Gateway Information and Communication Technology for Development Community portal. He writes:
"Every ICT4D actor knows reducing the digital divide is primarily a question of physical access to a computer necessarily connected to the Internet. We are not speaking here of infrastructure and bandwidth problems but only basic prime level connection. According to the Panos Institute: “More than two-thirds of the world’s population still don’t have access to computers, the internet and other sophisticated new communication technologies”. Solving this problem can be done by implementing community based access points, also known as telecenters, particularly well adapted to the context of southern developing countries. As a matter of fact, we all feel concerned by innovative ways to implement successful telecenters. Sustainability of such telecenters is an important problem to deal with. Sharing related knowledge and experiences could have a direct impact on reducing the digital divide. This highlight is focusing on existing resources that could help developing relevant models regarding telecenters."

Your editor has also been collecting materials related to the evaluation of telecenters on the Development Gateway's Monitoring and Evaluation of ICT Projects topic page. There are currently 43 resources on the topic.

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