Interview

Telecentre sustainability requires a balanced approach of both financial and developmental goals : Mark Surman, Telecentre Support Network, telecentre.org

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msuman@idrc.ca

Which countries are in the focus of your work in the initial years?
At this stage, we know that we will be supporting networks in Chile, India, Mozambique, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Uganda. We’ll also be supporting regional networking across the Americas. These are all places where there is tremendous energy and potential in the telecentre movement, and networks can help amplify this. Of course, we’ll also be working globally at the same time, which mostly happens through events and websites that connect the different networks we are working with at national and
regional levels.

How do you foresee the role of a facilitating and supporting agency such as telecentre.org becoming relevant?
Our relevance comes through support for the work of people who are making stuff happen on the ground, people running telecentre networks that are working at the grassroots. We want these people to thrive in their work. From there, we also interconnect and cross-pollinate between these networks. That’s our facilitating role, and it has the potential to really accelerate the kind of movement building needed to scale up and evolve the telecentre concept.

A good example of this is our work with Mission 2007 in India. In that case, we are providing resources that will help the Indian telecentre movement to dramatically improve its capacity building programmes. The result will be an ability to train the tens of thousands

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