September 2011

Content is the King

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By Rita Soni,
CEO, Nasscomm FoundationThe role of telecentres is not new in our country now. Certain key features to keep in mind though can be looked into.

Firstly, involvement of intermediaries and opinion leaders of that community as part of the telecentre movement is critical to the success of the whole process. Only known people, whom the community has an amount of faith can develop a positive attitude towards the services that are being offered and people will not hesitate in using them.  Secondly, maintaining relevant content and information for the specific communities that are being addressed is crucial. For achieving positive results and reaching out to the community content needs to be developed accordingly. In one of NASSCOMM centres in Orissa, we have an initiative going on about mushroom cultivation training being done through computers. It has received a very positive response. The community should be able to relate with the content and thus be a part of the whole process of empowerment.

Next comes the most important feature, which is the person running the centre- entrepreneur and a lot depends on that stakeholder. The local person who is running the telecentre, the entrepreneur, must ensure that the centre runs as a useful community resource. For the successful functioning of the telecentre, the person running the centre should play the role of an infomediary- to provide information of immediate relevance to the community; being a social advocate- to proactively hunt for local social issues try to identify possible solutions and mobilize the community.

The centres can and already are playing a key role in imparting education and skills. Computer education is being provided in the centres; a key problem being faced with the adult literacy programme which is not attracting students, the reason for this is that there is a similar course being offered in the area which is recognized by the government and thus getting the students jobs. There are also other hurdles like the price not being all that affordable and location problem. This is where a proper informed VLE is needed.

The telecentre movement thus needs synergized efforts of all stakeholders and an informed, proactive entrepreneur to reap the fruits.

Digital Literacy for Women

Maria Theresa M Camba,

Director-Operations, Telecentre.org foundation

Telecentre.org foundation is the premier non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of telecentres and their usage for enhanced development of the whole society.

The latest initiative, launched in April 2011 in Chile, in association with the International Telecommunication Union is the Telecenter Digital Literacy Campaign. The campaign aims to strengthen and empower the marginalised women population by imparting digital literacy to make them more prepared to earn their living by training around one million unskilled women to use computers and modern information and communication technology (ICT) applications to improve their livelihoods.

The  new  Women’s  Digital  Literacy  Campaign  will  leverage  the  combined  reach  of telecentre.org Foundation’s global network of 100,000 telecentres worldwide and ITU’s 192 Member States and 700 Sector Members to deliver training in ICT use following a ‘train the trainer’ model.

Of the 1.7 billion people living in poverty, 70 percent are women. Of 867 million illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds are women. Thus the campaign is focussing on women who have little or no know-how of even day-to-day living and are isolated from the technology revolution that has swept the world. They don’t even know what a computer is, what is world wide web or what is internet. They don’t know that this kind of literacy can change their lives in ways unimaginable to them, that this will open up a new future for them about which they haven’t even dreamt.

The telecenter movement is over two decades old but now their importance and role in enhancing stakeholder competency is being realized at a greater level. In this particular initiative the telecentres can and will serve as classrooms for women to learn critical skills and improve their living conditions and overall socio-economic existence.

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