Open Access Week, Day 3

This is Day 3 of Open Access Week and today's blog is about an open access book on another favourite topic of mine - telecentres for development.

The book - Making the Connection: Scaling Telecenters for Development – identifies and discusses the most pressing issues facing the global telecenter movement, presents a condensed view of the current state of knowledge with regard to telecenters, and highlights possible paths forward.

The book was developed through a partnership between the Academy for Educational Development, Microsoft® and IDRC's telecenter.org. Two AED staff, Barbara Fillip and Dennis Foote, were the principal authors of the book.

As C.K. Prahalad says in the Forword -
"We know that the Internet has brought the potential for empowering even the most marginalized groups in our societies. We know that it will benefit all of us if we can unleash their entrepreneurial energy and creativity. Among the first steps is surely the challenge of how to achieve access to the Internet for the groups at the bottom of the pyramid, so they can participate fully in shaping their own future."

In developed countries we tend to think of "universal access" as meaning having Internet access in the home. But in so many developing c0untries we have to think differently about this concept. Instead, we need to think of strategies for providing universal communal access. Hence the need to "scale telecenters for development". The primary goal of this book is help people move forward, to inspire them and whenever possible, to guide the growth of this movement.

The book is in three main parts. Part 1 reviews the past and the evolving vision of telecenters for development. Part 2 seeks to identify appropriate organizational models and appropriate technologies for sustainability and scaling. Part 3 looks at scaling up at the national level.

The book uses case studies to illustrate the main themes. Many of these case studies are from projects that AED’s Information Technology Applications Center has carried out over the last two decades, some are from Microsoft® and some from IDRC’s telecentre.org program.

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