Notes from Asian Telecentre Forum 2009 / eAsia 2009 held in the BMICH, Colombo, Sri Lanka, on December 2-4th, 2009. More notes on this event: easia2009.
Closing Session of the Telecentre Forum
Chairs: Sriyan de Silva Wijeratne, Microsoft Sri Lanka
Florencio Ceballos, telecentre.org, International Development Research Centre
One of the convictions behind telecentre.org was that telecentre operators should be trained as social entrepreneurs, instead of hiring people to perform especific tasks.
Providing services – like Drishtee does – was another of the main things that became clear from the very beginning. Knowing, thus, that many countries were approaching last mile issues with public access to the Internet, based on entrepreneurs and services addressed to the comunity, fostered the creation of a global network where all these initiatives could be shared and learn one from another one.
The UNDP began a telecentre network with 3 telecentres in Egypt. A thing that has been learnt since is that telecentres cannot survive outside of a network. A network makes possible sharing services amongts member telecentres of the network or even amongst networks; share strategies and policies, etc. On the other hand, the addition of new telecentres is easy, as they benefit from the experience of the already established telecentres.
But telecentre sustainability does not only rely on sharing services, but in creating new ones. Amongst these services, e-Government services are, arguably, the best option nowadays.
Lessons & good practices learnt from the Philippines Telecentre Experience
Tess Camba, National Computing Centre, Philippines
- Institutionalizing a national policy: it is worth expliciting and embedding a telecentre policy in the general policy of the government.
- Organizing one network: the network, a multistakeholder one, is useful to raise awareness, to represent the different interests of the stakeholders.
- Pursuing a shared vision: to have a community e-Center in everty municipality
- Employing a multi-stakeholder partnership: engaging the government, the private sector, NGOs, academia, etc.
- Training compentent Community e-Center managers
- Promoting knowledge sharing: through the online platform, knowledge exchange conference, Community e-Centre managers exchange programme
- Putting premium on content & services
- Harnessing leaders & champions
Ravi Gupta, CSDMS
CSDMS publishes Telecentre Magazine.
There is a major challenge that telecentres face. Their portfolio of services is growing in width and complexity. But they will not survive if the do not have a social part. Telecentres have to connect the dots.
But the added problem to this is: if the governments are not e-ready, telecentres cannot supply e-government services; if the educational system is not e-ready, telecentres cannot supply digital learning services; if the health system is not e-ready, telecentres cannot supply e-health services; and so on with resellers, banks, etc.
The need for knowledge sharing will increase, not decresase, and more as connectivity raises (especially in developing countries).
- The importance to document everything you do, with a writing, with a photograph, with a video… Testimonials have a strong power and, besides, they help you in keeping track of what you’ve done
- The importance to recognise your failures… and learn from them, of course