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Telecentre Sustainability in Developing Countries (Jul 1-30 2005)

06/29/2005
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Online Conference on: Telecenter Sustainability in Developing countries 1st - 30th July 2005
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Information and Communication Technologies have been accepted as key ingredients for poverty reduction and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is within this context that telecenters [to mean Community Technology Learning Centers (CTLCs) and Community Multi-media Centers (CMCs)] have become very important especially for rural access to and use of ICT.

One of the biggest challenges to using telecenters for rural access to connectivity has been sustainability of telecenters themselves. It has been argued that investing in telecenters is not worth it.. This is not to imply that there are no sustainable telecenters - to the centrally there are several telecenters that have proved sustainable. Unfortunately, such experiences have not been shared and replication and adaptation have been restricted too.

Indeed there are many questions practitioners, development partners and policy makers would ask with regard to telecenters, development and sustainability. Most prominent of which have been .what should be sustained; is it the internal environment?, the services?, content/people-centered community development?, or overall community development integration? And how will we know a Telecenter is sustainable? An informed position about the issues above and their relationship with each other is core for Telecenter sustainability, let alone achieving the MDGs.

This online conference is designed to provide a platform to address the above issues and more. In addition, the conference shall document sustainability issues concerning; dimension, indicators, factors and constraints, approaches and models, and the role of Networks in Telecenter sustainability. Over 50 participants from all over the world are expected to take part in the conference. Will make special arrangement to ensure practitioners from rural communities and telecenters participant in the conference.

The conference report shall be available in soft and hard copy versions and disseminated to all the participants and ICT4D proponents. Conference Program Breakdown

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Week one (1-8 July 2005) Theme I: Telecenter sustainability and its indicators Center of attention: What is a Telecenter? What is Telecenter sustainability? What are the dimensions of Telecenter sustainability? How do we know a Telecenter is sustainable?
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Week Two (8-15 July 2005) Theme II: Contributing factors, actors and constraints to Telecenter sustainability Center of attention: What factors should be in place for a Telecenter to be sustainable? Who should be involved for the Telecenters to be sustainable & why? What factors hinder Telecenter sustainability?
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Week Three (15- 22 July 2005) Theme III: Approaches and models to Telecenter sustainability Center of attention: What relationships exist between telecenters, social enterprises, business enterprises and community development? What models of Telecenters have proven sustainable? What approaches from social-economic enterprises can be scoped up to increase Telecenter sustainability? How have the private sector participated in telecenters? Which opportunities have not been tapped from the private sector?
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Week Three (22- 29 July 2005) Theme IV: The Role of Telecenter Networks in Telecenter sustainability Center of attention: What is a Telecenter Network? How does a typical Network operate? What role do Telecenter Networks play in Telecenter Sustainability? How best should Networks support telecenters to achieve sustainability?
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Conference Approach: The conference shall take an online email-based format hosted on UgaBYTES Initiative mailing list ugabytes@ugabytes.org . It will be based on the clustered weekly themes that will be distributed to the participants every Friday of the week, to allow preparation. Every week's theme shall have a facilitator (s) who will modulate that week's program and mandated with the following key activities:

1.Post the theme of the week
2.Post Keynote of the theme of the week to direct discussions
3.Be responsible for energizing the discussions throughout a particular week 3.Summarize the discussions at the end of each of the five days to focus proceeding day's dicussions as well as at the end of the week to focus the proceeding week's discussions.

The overall conference program shall be coordinated by UgaBYTES initiative, which will be responsible for the compilation of conference proceedings into a single report and the subsequent follow-up on the participants to clarify issues and build logical cases as well as disseminating the findings.

To allow for time differences, contributions of the day will be shared between 7:00am to 8: 00 pm East African standard time. A summary of the day's issues will be posted on the list not later than 10:00 pm with emerging issues highlighted to direct the discussion of the next day of the week. Equally a summary of the week's proceedings and theme of the coming week will be posted on the list not later than 10:00 pm of Friday.

Conference Participation:
Participation is Open to anybody with interest in ICT4D. However special contribution is called from NGOs, CBOs, Telecenter networks, Telecenter leaders, managers and practitioners across the world.

Conference language:
The primary language of the conference is English. However we are looking out for any volunteer who can summarize the weekly discussions and the final conference report into French and Portuguese

Conference Deliverables:
Weekly Summaries of the conference proceeding Final Report highlighting thematic best practices, challenges, opportunities and recommendation.

How to participate:
To register for participation, please send an e-mail to: secretariat@ugabytes.org with a subject "telecenter sustainability conference 2005"

We welcome anyone with a specific paper or case study on any of the themes or issues of the conference. Please send your case study at least 4 days before the theme you intend to share in starts. This will help us to summarize your experience and share it with participants. Case studies and papers will also be achieved at UgaBYTES Initiative website for future reference.
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