When the melody from my mobile woke me up one fine morning two years back, with a flashing number from a rural part of Andhra Pradesh, I had this unusual sense of excitement. I have always had this sense of premonition whenever something exciting is about to happen.
The call was from World Corps India, (WCI) office located in Kuppam, inviting me to participate in a pilot project establishing telecentres. I should admit that on my way to Kuppam, I was rather sceptical and not entirely convinced about IT being an answer to overcome some of the evils of inequality in our underserved communities.
Two years later, today, I look back with pride about the achievements of these telecentres known more popularly as Community Information Centres (CICs). And I also look forward to WCI replicating this success locally and globally.
I would like to share with you how this remarkable project has been conceived, designed and implemented, ensuring viability and sustainability.
Introduction to World Corps India
Deepa Anandakrishnan and Praveen Kumar Prithvi established World Corps India (WCI) in the year 2000. WCI is a branch of World Corps, Seattle, USA, and an international non-governmental and non-profit organisation.
The mission of WCI is to identify youth in the age group of 18 to 35, from rural areas and train them “to become effective business and social entrepreneurs, community leaders and global citizens that will help in poverty alleviation, environmental protection and global peace building”.
WCI adapted a two-pronged strategy, which provided information to the rural communities while providing gainful employment to rural unemployed youth who own, operate and manage the “Community Information Centres” (CICs)