A Guidebook for Managing Telecentre Networks/Introduction

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Introduction: A new publication about Telecentre Networks[edit]

Manuel Acevedo Ruiz

Community telecentres, or simply ‘telecentres’ as they are widely known, have existed since the mid 1980s in Scandinavia, Canada and the United States – for almost as long as the internet has been available to the general public. They became more widespread in the late 1990s with their deployment in developing countries, as the strategic importance for human development of universal access to information and communication services became more accepted by policy-makers around the world. In 1997, the United Nations called for universal access to ICT services:

We have concluded that the introduction and use of ICT and information management must become an integral element of the priority efforts by

the United Nations system to promote and secure sustainable human development for all; hence our decision to embrace the objective of establishing universal access to basic communication and information services for all (UN Administrative and Coordinating Committee).

In many countries in the world, the only viable way to reach universal access for the time being and in the mid-future is though shared access, particularly for people who are impoverished. As C.K. Prahalad notes[1]:

The search for a solution to this problem has focused on different forms of shared access, in which public computers are made available in

supportive environments, usually with the user paying only for the amount of time he or she uses it. The actual models under which this

approach is organized are as diverse as the bottom of the pyramid itself, but for the sake of simplicity, it is called telecentres (in Fillip & Foote, p. i).


Since the mid 2000s a new player for universal access has arrived on the scene: the mobile phone. And it is the only imaginable digital device connectable to the internet that can bring universal ICT access in the foreseeable future (individually or even at the family level). Yet, while their capabilities are growing by leaps and bounds, mobile phones still present significant limitations (small screens, restricted inputs, high costs for connectivity, etc.).

This points to a different, more integral understanding of the meaning of universal access. Just as the concept of ‘digital divide’ evolved from being strictly related to infrastructure to one combining infrastructure, capacity and content (Acevedo, 2005), we can talk of ‘effective universal access’ which isn’t just about devices; but rather integrates devices, goods, services and context to allow people to make effective use of ICTs. Telecentres continue to play a key role in allowing greater levels of connectivity, becoming even more important as the diversity and complexity of ICT goods and services grows. Telecentres help constituencies to gain ICT capacity, to find relevant content, to make use of a growing range of services and to connect with other users (across towns or across the world), all within the ‘supportive environment’ outlined earlier by Prahalad. Therefore, as telecentres are shifting to becoming community resources for human development, reaching beyond their initial recognition as technology access points, they will be increasingly recognized as fundamental actors in spreading the benefits and opportunities of ICT use[2].

Once the first telecentres were launched in a given country, particularly in developing nations during the mid-to-late 1990s[3], some practitioners and policy makers turned their attention to how to bring those telecentres together so they could share experiences, information, training materials, etc. Low performance caused many ‘early casualties’ among the first waves of telecentres. Telecentre networking became an important issue, at least on paper, even before large national scaling-up of telecentres started. But it wasn’t easy and it would take time.

Up until a few years ago, most telecentres were fairly isolated from one another. Even national initiatives that were born with the intention of being networked, such as in Jordan starting in 2000, essentially functioned as individual telecentres which only shared program managers and funding. Even discussions among national telecentre associations (mostly in Latin America) in December 2001 on the eve of a Global Citizens Networks Congress in Buenos Aires did not lead to any significant results or advances. However, this event probably did help to pave the way towards more extensive networking, a way that was significantly facilitated by the strings of meetings and contacts made possible by the process of the World Summit on the Information Society (2003 – 2005). It was really with the start of the

telecentre.org initiative (starting in 2006) that significant advances in telecentre networking were realized, via an open, organized and deliberate effort that was global in scope and reach.


How do we recognize a telecentre network when we see one?[edit]

Is it possible to provide a unified definition of a telecentre network (TCN)? Perhaps, but since the nature of this publication is more practical than academic, we prefer to characterize telecentre networks through the attributes that commonly appear. After all, telecentre networks can vary significantly from country to country: sometimes they are informal arrangements, linking a few dozens of telecentres, while others are highly structured national programs that include hundreds of individual telecentres.

Meddie Mayanja, from the telecentre.org program initiative, provides a description of some of the key attributes of a telecentre network:

  • An alliance of practitioners (who believe in the power of working together to learn and find solutions for their problems);
  • A forum for exchange of ideas and experiences; and
  • A platform for action to increase social and economic impact of grassroots telecentres (Mayanja, 2008).

In addition, we could say that a telecentre network fosters the collaboration of telecentres, helps to represent them and channels their voices, also serving as a dynamic repository of resources for its member telecentres. More broadly, networks strengthen the entire telecentre ecosystem — acting as connection points between key players and sustaining relationships between activists, researchers, and development partners.[4]

Some network parameters, applied to telecentre networks can help to characterize them, include the following characteristics:

  • Size: Networks can consist of up to 100 nodes, 100 – 500, over 500;
  • Regional coverage: Can be local, state/provincial, national, regional, global;
  • Maturity: Can describe stages from ‘infancy’ (up to 2 years),‘adolescence’ (2-4 yrs), and ‘adulthood’ (after 5 yrs)[5]
  • Institutionality: Can range from formal to semi-formal to informal.

Most telecentre network practitioners will find their network’s characteristics among the attributes mentioned. Other network characteristics and behaviours are described in more depth in Chapter 10.

But what exactly do you mean by a 'network'?[edit]

Networks are currently fashionable. Everyone is in a network (or sometimes in many), and all sorts of organizations describe themselves as ‘networked’. We may even take networks for granted, given their ubiquity. But as it happens with other all-too important concepts, such as ‘quality’ or ‘excellence’, the concept ends up devoid of meaning. As Kilduff and Tsai (2008) note:

Sometimes it appears that the network paradigm is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success – invoked by practically every organizational researcher, included in almost every analysis, and yet strangely absent as a distinctive set of ideas (p. 9).


It is thus appropriate to briefly pause in order to convey a common understanding of the concept of a network, without going into theoretical vagaries. If we are going to talk, analyze and make decisions about networks,t is worth thinking about what it actually means, even while recognizing that there are numerous interpretations of what a network entails. At its most basic level, a network can be understood as set of connected nodes. The nodes interact via some type of connection or channel: it could be an electronic link, or a ‘physical’ chat while having tea. Each node and connection can exhibit different characteristics. For example, nodes may vary in terms of

responsibility or influence, while connections may differ in intensity or in terms of the transactions they allow[6].

The ‘connected’ attribute is fundamental. A network exists as long as there is interaction among its nodes, be they persons, units or organizations. The interaction can take various forms: information sharing, transactions, projects, campaigns, etc. Just like a bicycle needs constant movement to stay upright, so does a set of nodes need to be actively connected in order to constitute a network. In other words, some nodes in a network will be acting together at any given time. Otherwise they simply make up what we can generally call a ‘group’, for reasons of identity, interests or affinities. We can express this as a simple formula: Network = Group + Joint Activities.

Networks do not particularly need a centre, though they often have one or more sets of concentrated nodes that can be called ‘hubs’. In comparison with more traditional or hierarchical organization structures, networks tend to be more flexible and modulable. They may also be more efficient, such as for the distribution of information.

As will be mentioned in the final chapter, there are various ways to describe or characterize networks, with associated techniques to analyze them. For now, it is helpful to distinguish between social networks (those between individuals) and organizational networks (those between or within entities, the latter when they are large). Organizational networks typically have one or more explicit purposes, while social networks chiefly serve to communicate between people. Additionally, an organizational network displays a productive nature; it produces something concrete (making it more than a set of contacts). Telecentre networks can, for these reasons, be described as organizational networks.

Telecentre networks, ecosystems, or what...?[edit]

For practical purposes, it is worthwhile to extend the view of a telecentre network to that of a telecentre ecosystem, a term coined by telecentre.org in 2006. A telecentre ecosystem recognizes actors both within and outside the telecentre network, as Figure 1.1 illustrates below.

Figure 4.1 Internal Communication Cycle

A narrow view of a telecentre network would only include telecentres, leaving out other relevant actors (like universities, or a municipal administration, for example). A more accurate, open view would include these outside actors as well, in an broader telecentre network. After all, network geometries are based more on collaboration than strictly on nodal identity: it is more important what do you do than who you are. It is this second, more open interpretation of telecentre networks that will be used in this Guidebook, recognizing non- telecentre actors as another type of node that can participate in network activities in various ways. This topic will be covered in greater detail in the next section under ‘Other actors in telecentre networks’.

If a telecentre network could be seen as a club, what is important here is not whether we would formally initiate non-telecentre actors as ‘full members with voting-rights’ or whether we grant them only with temporary passes to the club. What matters is to realize their potential for collaboration in order to achieve the objectives of our telecentre networks.

Currently, national governments, businesses, international organizations and civil society are the protagonists in the telecentre movement. Generally speaking, governments tend to lead the development and implementation of public policies in ICT, while the private sector enables and finances actions aligned with their corporate strategies. International organizations (as represented by UN agencies like the United Nations Development Programme, UNESCO or the International Telecommunications Union, development banks or by entities such as the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada bring resources and share knowledge for better management of telecentre networks. And in a growing number of cases, it is the responsibility of civil society to manage telecentre networks.

Others actors in telecentre networks[edit]

As mentioned before, telecentre ecosystems can include many different kinds of entities that can contribute to and become active within telecentre networks, acting as nodes in those networks. Let’s take a look at their possible roles now, while keeping in mind that networks can always benefit from the contributions of additional genuine supporters.

  • Universities: Universities provide the skills for future engineers, managers, doctors, sociologists and other professionals in a country. They also help to educate people to be citizens in a more harmonious society. Given this double motive, universities are well placed to be important partners for TCNs. A national collaborative arrangement would benefit from having students hone their ICT technical skills while supporting telecentres as a work placement (such as through a summer job, or an internship) or online, by providing help desk support, for example [7]Students and professors can also help to provide or adapt training content in thematic areas of interest to telecentres (relating to agriculture, health, trade, civil rights, etc.). Universities can also help conduct valuable research for telecentre networks, which few other institutions may be in a position to do.
  • Businesses: As part of their Corporate Social Responsibility programs, or even without them, companies can contribute to the operations of a telecentre network. They can provide technical/management expertise, equipment, connectivity and, very importantly, the collaboration of corporate volunteers. Companies can also facilitate the entry of TCNs into specific development projects they are involved with. ICT companies such as Microsoft, Telefónica or Cisco (or smaller ones) can play valuable roles.
  • Development agencies/ Development NGOs: Both multilateral entities (such as the UNDP, UNESCO, ITU, IDRC, Soros Foundation) and bilateral entities (the UK’s DFID, Swiss SDC, or Spain’s Intermon-Oxfam), have supported the telecentre movement for years, and continue to play significant roles. One good example was the ITU with their ‘Multipurpose Community Telecentres’[8]. These organizations are well placed to examine experiences around the world, and together with telecentre practitioners, distill knowledge that can be applied to advance the work and performance of these networks.
  • Media: With the advent of a web 2.0 internet environment, media channels have multiplied and extended their reach to new communities. The media can provide special types of contributions to telecentre networks: (i) increasing the visibility of telecentres for the general public and specialized audiences, (ii) strengthening the public communications capacity of TCNs, and (iii) enriching the role of telecentres as consumers/providers of news and information flowing through media change.
  • Governments: The myriad of possible contributions of public administration to telecentres and telecentre networks is well recognized. What is worth mentioning here is that their participation as (powerful) members of telecentre ecosystems can occur simultaneously atnational levels (i.e. with telecentre networks) or locally, with municipal administrations providing support to local telecentres. One particularly interesting area of government involvement in terms of content and services would be to impulse large-scale e-government service initiatives where telecentres are utilized as the main means of delivery.

As we will see in Chapter 10, effective telecentre network management can help to arrange and map the contributions of these non-telecentre actors to obtain joint virtuous network effects. For this, careful consideration needs to be exercised in relation to (i) each actor’s possible functions, (ii) TCN management aspects (as covered in Chapters 2-8) and (iii) the collaborative actions between them (such as between an ICT business consortium and a national university). The key aim is to derive added value from their participation, while avoiding a multiplicity of isolated contributions.

Why do telecentre networks matter?[edit]

Regardless of a telecentre network’s specific characteristics, most practitioners have an instinctive sense of its benefits for a given telecentre, as well as for the ‘community’, (i.e. the network entity itself), which will include some of the following:

  • Pooling of financial and technological resources – for example, being able to negotiate better connectivity costs;
  • Improved access to knowledge and information;
  • Wider distribution channels for content and services;
  • Enhanced collaboration – for exmple, in undertaking a joint project among a number of individual telecentres;
  • Decentralized orientation – such as implementing collective decisions through coordinated actions at the local level;
  • Mutual support and risk reduction – such as when facing financial blackouts from donors or unfriendly legislation;
  • Support for smaller players (not all telecentres have similar structures or ‘health’);
  • More flexibility, from the nature of functioning as a network (as opposed to a mere association of telecentres); and
  • More effective representation stemming from a stronger capacity to interact with higher order entities, like a government. For example, interacting with a government’s ministry to influence national ICTn policies with socially inclusive measures – which could never be achieved by a single telecentre or even a loose group of them.

From experience, practitioners know that participation in such networks involves a cost in terms of time, human resources and to some extent, money. The challenge lies in achieving the expected benefits from participation in a network in ways that outweigh the costs.

These benefits will not emerge spontaneously, and even if they did, they would be limited and ad-hoc. Networks are not self-managing; there is no kind of automatic pilot that keeps them going without intervention. Network management of any type (including for telecentres) is a relatively new style of management. Its added difficulty is that most of us were brought up in more hierarchical or traditional environments (whether in school, at work, in the family or in society at large). Most of the time we use ‘trial-and-error’ to come up with appropriate strategies and practices to help our networks reach the potential we intuitively think they have. These reasons lead us to try advancing our understanding of telecentre network management, the main theme of this document, with its specific issues and factors.

These benefits will not emerge spontaneously, and even if they did, they would be limited and ad-hoc. Networks are not self-managing; there is no kind of automatic pilot that keeps them going without intervention. Network management of any type (including for telecentres) is a relatively new style of management. Its added difficulty is that most of us were brought up in more hierarchical or traditional environments (whether in school, at work, in the family or in society at large). Most of the time we use ‘trial-and-error’ to come up with appropriate strategies and practices to help our networks reach the potential we intuitively think they have. These reasons lead us to try advancing our understanding of telecentre network management, the main theme of this document, with its specific issues and factors.

A brief story on telecentre.org[edit]

telecentre.org is a worldwide network of people and organizations committed to increasing the social and economic impact of tens of thousands of grassroots telecentres by making telecentres stronger, more vibrant, and better at what they do. It helps to fuel a global movement that helps people in communities in every corner of the world join the knowledge society on their own terms. By investing in the networks and organizations that work directly with telecentres, telecentre.org makes a difference around the world, helping to improve communities and empowering people.

The telecentre.org program initiative was launched in November 2005 at the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis. It is the product of a joint social investment program by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Microsoft and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The program provides grants and technical assistance to telecentre networks and organizations around the world. Currently housed at the IDRC in Ottawa, Canada, key functions of the social investment program are increasingly being carried out by partners around the world.

But telecentre.org is much more than a social investment program. It is a community that gathers people and organizations from around the world who believe that telecentres have an important role to play in development. This group is made up of telecentre managers, network leaders, nonprofit and civil society organizations; corporations, governments and international development agencies — all working together to increase the social and economic impact of grassroots telecentres around the world.

Telecentre networks are the nerve and connectors of these complex web of interdependent relationships aimed at helping telecentres to create stronger social and economic impacts in communities they serve. Partners share experiences, skills, innovations and resources.

telecentre.org: We are…

One global community of more than 200 networks and
organizations that work with 80,000 grassroots telecentres

Spread over 70 countries
reaching 40,000,000 telecentre users
One virtual community with 3000 + online members interacting in
English, Spanish, French and Arabic.

We Have…

Held 100 face-to-face events for people and organizations
involved in telecentres to share, learn, innovate and grow

Helped produce and share content and services that local communities
want for development and telecentres need for sustainability

Stocked our community websites with the
world’s largest collection of photos and videos and its
most complete resources on all things telecentre

Created the telecentre.org Academy to provide
professional development training that improves telecentre performance.

Worked in 20 developing countries to build research capacity
We put our research to work in the service of the telecentre movement

Influenced public policy and used our brand to leverage more than
$3 million to make telecentres stronger, more sustainable and more numerous.

We Will…

Train one million knowledge workers by the year 2015.

telecentre.org doubles as a development project on ICT4D and as a network in its own right. And for the purposes of this guidebook it has the advantage of being familiar to many people who form part of telecentre networks around the world.

telecentre.org implements its activities in four main programmatic pillars; namely, Research, telecentre.org Academy, Content and services and Networking. It considers capacity building and knowledge sharing to be crosscutting themes. telecentre.org deliberately exploits the virtuous network effects of these pillars, as in most cases they complement and fortify the others. Figure 1.2 illustrates the relationship among these program components, which can be described as ‘symbiotic’ (Mayanja, 2008).



Figure 1.2 Network strategies and other telecentre.org program pillars


The ‘Network’ pillar of telecentre.org is critical to the overall success of the program. The national and regional networks that it supports provide a trusted channel to grassroots telecentres, who are the ultimate beneficiaries and stakeholders of the telecentre.org program.

telecentre.org therefore takes a double-pronged approach to networking: on one hand, it tries to mainstream networking across all its program areas. On the other hand, it includes a specific networking component to stimulate and fine-tune networked operations.

Another book on telecentres...?[edit]

The telecentre.org program had in fact already previously made a strategic decision to throw its weight towards supporting TCNs[9]. Its ‘Network Development Support’ strategy is aimed at obtaining technical support for institutional development and sustainability planning of TCNs. This guidebook is one of the products of that strategy. This is coherent with the strategy shown by its parent organization, IDRC, in supporting development networks of many types.

A resource document providing systematized information and proven knowledge about networks is imperative to help us get the most out of telecentre networks, so that individual telecentres can better serve their users and communities. This is the primary reason that led the men and women who attended the Telecentre Leaders’ Forum in Kuala Lumpur in December 2007 to advocate for the publication of a document about effectively managing telecentre networks. Appropriately, these same individuals requested the networked organization of which they are now a part.

While there is already a sizable and substantive bibliography about telecentres[10](of which a selection is included in this publication), few works can be found that focus on telecentre networks. Of those, fewer still concentrate on managing those networks.

The guidebook is the first publication dedicated exclusively to telecentre network management. It is not just another publication about telecentres: it is about how effectively create and thrive in networks. We hope it will be a useful resource to better structure and handle telecentre networks for its target audience, which includes (i) people managing a telecentre network, (ii) managers and operators of telecentres that belong to a network; (iii) managers and operators of telecentres which do yet belong to a network; (iv) organizations that provide services to telecentres; and (v) ICT/information society policy makers. We’ll be glad as well if it provides food for thought to anyone interested in telecentres and development networks.

There are additional reasons for the creation of this guidebook that deserve mention here. First, it is the product of a collective undertaking in which the key authors are all telecentre network practitioners. These are highly experienced people who are presently running a telecentre network or are closely linked to them: in other words, these are people who – day in, day out – are solving problems and expanding opportunities for telecentre networks. It is a publication based entirely on on-the-ground experience.

Second, it represents an important opportunity to bring applicable knowledge from network theory to the development field; so that NGOs, aid agencies and other actors (such as individual telecentres) can start to apply it in their own operations to improve results and outcomes. This has rarely been done in the past, and it will be beneficial as we enrich and complement practice with useful theoretical aspects.

Finally, and more broadly, human development processes need to be coherent within the context of the ‘information society’, or as sociologist Manuel Castells terms it, the ‘network society’ (1998). If we are living in such a networked environment, it is essential to understand its structures, processes and power relations, so as to conduct our activities more effectively within it. Currently, emerging networked cooperation schemes are overcoming traditional North-South (one-way) cooperation flows; instead creating more South-South flows (as well as South-North ones).

What can i find in this guidebook?[edit]

This guidebook contains nine chapters, aside from the introduction, which are briefly described ahead. Chapters 2 – 8 each discuss a specific topic of interest relating to telecentre networks, while Chapters 9 and 10 provide a unifying glance at previous chapters, while suggesting ideas on moving forward.

The themes were chosen in consultation with telecentre network managers and staff. They focus on key relevant topics, providing a strong foundation (and expected guidance) to help those responsible or deeply involved with a telecentre network. More topics will be added in subsequent versions of the guidebook, particularly as it will provide the basis of a wikibook soon after its publication so that the telecentre.org community and others involved with telecentre networks can help to enrich and expand it.

Each of the seven thematic chapters are presented using the same structure; namely: (i) a descriptive section, where the main aspects of the topic in question are discussed; (ii) a case study, where some of those aspects are examined in a real life scenario; (iii) a list of quick tips, running down the key points to bear in mind about that theme; and (iv) a number of references to outstanding reports, web resources or organizations.

Network Governance (Chapter 2): Properly managing telecentre networks, as for any other organizational (or institutional) networks requires structuring and planning. Network management does not occur in a vacuum, and rarely yields good results if approached in ad-hoc or spontaneous manner. Core successful attributes and practices of TCN governance are discussed, while other aspects which could also be considered part of telecentre network governance such as participatory schemes and monitoring and evaluation, are covered in separate chapters for the sake of clarity.

Participatory Networks (Chapter 3): A fundamental pillar of telecentre network governance is participation, which should always relate to the network’s objectives. A healthy TCN should offer fertile ground for effective participation and networked collaboration. This implies the need for certain management practices, cultural factors as well as adequate tools. For instance, effective knowledge sharing depends on the level of participation and nature of the network itself.

Communication Strategies and Practices (Chapter 4): Telecentre network communication strategies should cover at least three domains. One is the wider public, which for telecentre networks often means the national level. Another refers to membership, where individual telecentres act as nodes of the network. Finally, and no less importantly, is the communication supporting the telecentres’ relationship with the communities they serve. Strategies and practices for this 3-D communication space are explained in this chapter.

Financial Sustainability (Chapter 5): One of the most recurring issues about telecentre networks is how to generate sufficient income to implement concrete activities. Various approaches to financial sustainability are discussed in this chapter, both with respect to telcentre networks as a whole, and for the ways in which TCNs can support individual telecentres to achieve sustainability. It is understood here that effective sustainability involves many dimensions beyond solely financial sustainability, including social and institutional sustainability too.

Content and Services for Digital Inclusion (Chapter 6): Telecentres are in the frontline of digital inclusion as community centers that serve people with low incomes or who cannot adequately access information and ICT-based content and services in other ways. The chapter discusses how telecentre networks can play a key role in supporting telecentres to deliver those content and services.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (Chapter 7): Monitoring and evaluation are important features of network governance: monitoring as a continuous process, and evaluation as time-bound intensive exercises are the main sources of institutional learning. This chapter deals with those aspects of monitoring and evaluation which telecentre network management can incorporate to know how the network is performing, and also where TCNs can strengthen the capacity of individual telecentres.

International Telecentre Network Collaboration (Chapter 8): One of the exciting new possibilities of advancing the goals and penetration of telecentres is via the collaboration of national or sub-national telecentre networks at the international level. The telecentre.org initiative is a living example, instrument and product of such collaboration. This chapter discusses tools and processes that can maximize such international collaboration via national or sub-national TCNs, with the end purpose of enabling and empowering individual telecentres.

The final two chapters focus on crosscutting telecentre network issues. Chapter 9 focuses on Integrated Network Management and distils the main messages from the guidebook, aiming to pull the topics from the thematic chapters into a recognizable and cohesive picture. Chapter 10 is about Empowering Networks and introduces elements of network theory and provide insights into the future of telecentres and telecentre networks, including possible lines of study and research.

There is an inevitable degree of overlap in the contents, since all these factors are interlinked and occur simultaneously in the daily operations of telecentre networks. How do you talk about participation without getting into communications issues? For the sake of clarity and brevity, efforts have been made to minimize such overlaps. We trust the reader will be understanding and patient with such occurrences.

A note about the future strategy of the guidebook: Once it has been translated into Spanish and French, it will be published in the web as a wikibook, to support its evolution into a living document as knowledge and experience about telecentre networks changes and evolves. This is based on IDRC’s philosophy on open content sharing, where the telecentre community can take the lead in enriching and expanding its contents. As such, the guidebook will grow in quality and quantity from the contributions of members of the telecentre.org community and other practitioners. Moreover, additional topics may presumably be added in the near-mid future, on topics such as (i) training for telecentre staff/volunteers, (ii) knowledge management, (iii) creation partnerships, (iv) telecentre networks and ICT policies, etc.

Enough for the introduction; let’s get into the real thing!

References and resources[edit]

Acevedo, M. (2005). Las TIC en la Cooperación al Desarrollo. In La Sociedad de la Información en el Siglo XXI: Un Requisito para el desarrollo – Vol II: reflexiones y conocimiento compartido (pp. 44-66). Madrid: State Secretariat for Telecommunications and the Information Society, Ministry of Industry, Spain.

Anheir, H., & Katz, H. (2005). Enfoques reticulares de la Sociedad Civil Global. In F. Holland, H. Anheir, M. Glasius, & M. Kaldor (Eds.), Sociedad Civil Global 2004/2005 (pp. 221-238). Translated by José Luis González (original title: Global Civil Society 2004-2005). Barcelona: Icaria Editorial. ISBN: 84-7426-823-0.

Anheir, H. & Katz, H. (2006). Global connectedness: the structure of transnational NGO networks. In F. Holland, H. Anheir, M. Glasius, & M. Kaldor (Eds.), Global Civil Society 2005/2006 (pp. 240-265). London: SAGE Publications Ltd. ISBN: 1-4129-1193-1.

Castells, M. (1998). The rise of the Network Society (The Information Age: Economy, society, culture; Vol. 1). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Delgadillo, K., Stoll, K., & Gómez, R. (2002); “Telecentros…¿para qué?: Lecciones sobre telecentros comunitarios en América Latina y el Caribe”, Chasquinet, Quito: IDRC, Canada. ISBN: 9978-42-665-5.

Fillip, B. & Foote, D. (2007). Making the Connection: Scaling Telecenters for Development. Information Technology Applications Center, Academy for Education Development: Washington, DC.

Heeks, R. (2008, June). ICT4D 2.0: The next phase of applying ICT for international development. IEEE Computer (pp.26-33), June 2008. IEEE Computer Society.

Jensen, M. (2001). Afriboxes, telecentres, cybercafes: ICT in Africa. Cooperation South. UNDP, Special Unit for Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC), pp. 97-109.

Kilduff, M., & Tsai, W. (2008). Social Networks and Organizations. London: SAGE Publications. (reprinted in 2008, first published in 2003). ISBN 978-07619-6957-0.

Myanja, M. (2008). Telecentre Network Strategy 2008-2009. Ottawa: IDRC.

Nath, V. (2001). Executive Summary of Evaluation Report: UNV TACCs project in Egypt. Bonn: UNV. Retrieved February 25, 2002, from www.unites.org/html/resource/knowledge/taccs.htm

Siochrú, S. Ó., & Girard, B. (2005). Community Based Networks and Innovative Technologies: New models to serve and empower the poor. New York: UNDP, ‘Making ICT Work for the Poor’ Series.

United Nations Administrative Committee on Coordination (1997). ACC Statement on Universal Access to Basic Communication and Information Services, New York. Retrieved October 1, 2003, from www.unites.org/html/resource/acc1997.htm

References[edit]

  1. C.K. Prahalad has become well known for his ideas about extending empowerment and consumption to poor individuals at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’, a term made popular in his book “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits” (2006, Wharton School Publishing).
  2. In fact, more advanced definitions of digital divide refer to the inequity in access to the benefits and opportunities make possible through ICTs.
  3. The first telecentres were often launched with the support of international cooperation agencies, in the context of ICT for Development programs.
  4. See www.telecentre.org/notes/Network_support for more information.
  5. The process of maturity may also include a period of decline, as observed in many networks. However, instead of leading to the ‘death’ of a network, this stage may often lead to transformation, critical re-shaping or inclusion into a larger network.
  6. There are many ways to characterize nodes and connections, such as indicated in Anheir & Katz (2005, 2006).
  7. This kind of exchange was done in Canada at the University of Cape Breton with one of the earlier telecentre programs in the province of Nova Scotia in the late 1990s.
  8. www.itu.int/ITU-D/univ_access/telecentres
  9. This is coherent with the strategy shown by its parent organization, IDRC, in supporting development networks of many types.
  10. See earlier work from IDRC’s Richard Fuchs (“If You Have a Lemon, Make Lemonade”), Mike Jensen in Africa (“Afriboxes, telecentres, cybercafes: ICT in Africa”), Chasquinet in Latin America (“Telecentros… ¿Para Qué?”) or wide-ranging research done by Colle and Roman at Cornell University, as well as other new, notable publications such as “Making the Connection: Scaling Telecenters for Development” (Filip & Foote, 2008) by AED (Academy for Educational Development), supported by telecentre.org.