ITU Home Page International Telecommunication Union Français | Español 
Print Version 
ITU Home Page
Home : ITU-D
United Nations  International Telecommunication Union  


ICT Success Stories

Main WSIS site |  UN Millennium Development Goals | Visions of the Information Society |




At the end of 2004, 875 million people (or 13.7 percent of the total population of the world) were Internet users with access to the Internet, according to ITU data. The majority of these live in the industrialized world, but even Internet users in the developing world are concentrated in a handful of countries. Globalization and ICT development are bringing new dimensions to global inequality.

The WSIS process established a shared vision of the information and communication infrastructure as an essential foundation for the Information Society, “enabling universal, sustainable, ubiquitous and affordable access to ICTs by all.” (WSIS Plan of Action) In this spirit of inclusiveness, alliances are being built at local, national, regional and global levels to combat all forms of exclusion, so that all citizens of the world can take advantage of the improved opportunities ICTs offer education, healthcare and better welfare.

ICT stories from the field

 A Voice for People with Disabilities- Nepal

Success strategy: People with disabilities now have the opportunity to voice their issues via the Community Multimedia Centres (CMCs) in Nepal. This came through a training workshop on audio production and new technologies. This training held at the Lumbini CMC in Manigram is part of the UNESCO CMC pilot project. The workshop aims that the voices of people with disabilities should be heard for social inclusion and integration. The workshop also focuses on how information and knowledge should be used as a tool to create awareness among people with disabilities.

At the end of the training there was the participants’ feedback through the production of two half hour audio programmes. At the end of the training, participants are expected to broadcast new audio programmes on radio in their various CMCs in the districts of Nepal. These programmes are to last for half an hour and be broadcast once a week. The programmes are produced by the people with disabilities with some assistance from other CMC workers.

The CMCs aims to bring ICTs within the reach of the people with disabilities. The CMC in Lumbini began a three months course in basic computing skills and internet training for physically challenged people.

Targeted Group: People with disabilities

Source: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

Organiser: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Awards Programme for Digital Cities- Latin America

Success strategy: The municipal areas of Latin America are often neglected in the government’s modernization efforts. This informed the award of digital cities to reward the development of E-government initiatives and stimulate the modernization of these municipalities in Latin America.

The awards are made in three categories, which are: metropolitan area, medium size city and small rural community. The basic criteria for the contest are that these areas should have incorporated ICTs in its modernization process; this can be done through culture economics or social and must demonstrate a significant progress in the transition to a digital city. Judgment criteria include existing accomplishments and the scope and quality of future plans and projects. Two additional prizes are granted one for E integration which emphasizes female labour contribution in the modernization process and secondly, the regional E cooperation award which recognizes technical contribution in E government based on knowledge and technology transfer.

The award has made more visible the applicability of ICTs to government, creating model cities for other cities to emulate.

Source: The International Development Research Center , Institute for Connectivity in the Americas.

Partners: Institute for Connectivity in the Americas (ICA), International Development Research Center (IDRC), Cisco systems, Microsoft

 HotCity Wireless – Philippines

Success strategy: The HotCity wireless initiative has deployed the use of ICTs in bridging the religious divide in the Philippines. The north of the country is predominantly Christian as opposed to the Islamized south. This is an example of the dichotomy which prevails in the country. The religious friction has been fueled by violence, hate and the Moro people clamoring for an independent Islamic state.

This initiative could not have come at a better time. The initiative brought about by a non-profit organization ‘HotCity wireless’ uses ICTs to spread a message of peace and mutual respect across the divided regions. This is done by educating children on ICT technologies and then allowing these children to interact and talk about peace. The use of children empowered with the ICT mechanism is grounded on the notion that with the youth there is hope and perhaps a solution to violence and hate, also given the resolute character of children they may be more resolved to end hate and violence The technology deployed is the use of line of sight wireless technology for internet connectivity.

HotCity focuses on using ICTs for global collaboration and knowledge exchange by providing the citizens with the opportunity to develop and upgrade their technology skills, share information resources and encourage youthful participation in positive global change. Through this initiative the children can see the good and beauty in other cultures.

Source:  HotCity wireless

 Audio Library in Arabic Literature for Palestine

Success Strategy: An audio library in Arabic literature and poetry has been launched for educational use in the West Bank and Gaza in Palestine. This audio library initiative seeks to preserve the culture and history of the Arabian people. It will also serve as education and entertainment to the radio listeners, illiterate persons, and blind persons and for educational purposes.

The recorded books which constitute the library are taken form both classical and contemporary literature. The choice of this audio format is for ease of recital and performance of new and old poetry. This is an important aspect of Arabic literature.

The library is produced in digital MP3 audio format. The initiative is seen as a promotion of the reading – listening tradition and an incentive to literary development. Already, 21 local radio stations will broadcast the library as part of their regular programming. The Palestine ministry of education is set to distribute to schools the audio literature materials which have been recorded as part of the schools curricular for educational uses.

Source: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Partners: Birzeit University Media Institute BZUMI, UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), United Kingdom, Finland

eTEN - European Union: Community Programme to help the roll-out of e-services for an inclusive information society

Success Strategy: eTEN is a European programme designed to help the deployment of public electronic services with a trans-European dimension. The programme aims to accelerate the take up of services to sustain the European social model of an inclusive, cohesive society. The programme is a key tool for the exploitation of successful research activities from technical development to the market at a Trans-European level.

Started in 1997 as a technical harmonisation as a platform for services, eTen's objectives today are at the very heart of the eEurope mission of "an information society for all". The programme’s goals are attuned to the e-Europe 2005 objectives by implementing public interest services which give every citizen, enterprise and administration full opportunity to gain from the e-Society, bridging the digital divide which threatens to create an information underclass in the areas of e-government, e-health, e-inclusion, e-learning, trust and Security services, and services for SMEs and Trust and Security services components.

eTEN has its legal basis in the Trans-European Networks (TEN) policy, established by the European Union and governments of the member states to remove the barriers to the movement of people, goods and services across Europe in the building of the common market. This has been an evolving effort over half a century, and one which remains of the highest priority to preserve Europe’s prosperity, stability and security in the face of global challenges.

The information society, based on network services which are of an increasingly commodity nature, presents many opportunities, but they are accompanied by almost as many threats. Sophisticated technology enables sophisticated services, but where the skills to access and exploit them are absent, exclusion results. The European Union is endowed with a rich heritage of nationalities, cultures and traditions. This is a great strength, but in the development of e-services, there is the danger of islands arising where language groups or national administrative borders interrupt the flow of services. It is with such challenges in mind that the Trans-European Telecommunications Networks policy has been set out.

eTEN has a budget of 289 mn EUR for the period 2003-2006. eTEN supports e-services which might not otherwise be set up, because of difficulties at the initial investment and launch stages. What distinguishes eTEN from other Information Society actions is its "preparation for a roll-out" approach. eTEN is there to help the partners overcome their project's initial investment and launch difficulties. This reduces the commercial risk during the project's early stages, and supports the transnational implementation costs. It also helps with any organizational problems related to public/private partnerships. eTEN emphasizes public-private partnerships, which can broaden access to, and use of information and communication technologies.

Partners: European Commission, DG Information Society

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity

Public Domain Information Centers

Success Strategy: The Public Domain Information Centers Programme (united and extended Public Legal Information Centers Programme and Public Business Information Centers Programme) is aimed to create the network of community centers for free public access to the different kind of public domain information, e.g. legal, consumer, business, ecological, educational, etc. across the Russia and CIS countries. The website of the programme has till now connected more than 1350 telecenters throughout the CIS region and provides useful information about ongoing and forthcoming initiatives related to the dissemination of legal information concerning all aspects of life.

Partners: UNESCO IFAP National Committee of Russia, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Russia, Ministry of Culture and Mass Media of Russia, Special Communications Service, Garant Co., Ltd, Kodeks Co., Ltd, Konsultant Plus Co., Ltd

For more information: see IFAP website and the website of the activity

 Catalysing Access to ICTs in Africa (CATIA) - Africa

Success Strategy: The Catalysing Access to ICTs in Africa (CATIA) programme aims to enable poor people in Africa to gain maximum benefit from the opportunities offered by ICTs) and to act as a strong catalyst for reform. The programme supports a package of strategic activities to improve affordable access to the full range of ICTs, from internet to community radio. This programme is focused on addressing the need for ICTs to address social and economic development issues. It has been working to help build capacity across Africa to achieve sustainable change.

CATIA is a three-year programme with overall budget is about £9 million. A large number of partners are involved. It will be implemented in close coordination with the Canadian government’s Connectivity Africa initiative. The programme will end in April 2006.

The programme is driven by two centres of expertise in ICT policy located in Africa. The centres were developed throughout the various activities under CATIA. One centre located in and working on behalf of stakeholders in East and Southern Africa and another centre located in and working on behalf of West and Central Africa.

The centres are expected to play a leading role in developing the capacity of African stakeholders to contribute effectively to international decision-making on ICT products and services, on the role of ICTs in development and in building multi-stakeholder national policy making capacity in African countries.

The programme aims at:

  • Low-cost satellite internet access widely available across Africa.

  • Robust African internet backbone with exchange points at the core and strong African ISP Associations

  • An African-led network of institutions, actively strengthening the African expertise involved in setting ICT related policy

  • Increased capacity for African developing countries to participate in international ICT decision-making

  • Low-cost computer and open source software being developed and tailored to the African market

  • Positive policy environments for radio broadcasting across Africa

  • Stronger network of community radio, FM and public service radio stations across Africa, offering good pro-poor radio programmes

  • A thriving African-based Open Knowledge Network (OKN), catalysing the creation and exchange of local content

Partners: United Kingdom - Department for International Development, OneWorld network, Amarc Africa, Panos Institute, DFID, ATOS KPMG Consulting - South Africa.

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database, the Communication Initiative website and the website of the activity

Background materials: a CATIA PDF filefrom 11/02/2005

 Spectrum Management, Implementation of Rural Telephony and National Information and Communication Programme (NICEP)

Success Strategy: The Federal Government of Nigeria, aware of the increasing communication needs of the Nigerian population in general as well as the particular needs of the rural population located in remote areas, is decided to implement the National Rural Telephony Programme. Through NRTP, the Government intends to implement an effective and affordable telecommunications system.

This project, inspired by the goal to bridge the digital divide within the county as well as against developed countries, is expected to carry out a backbone ICT deployment in the country. The outcomes of this large-scale enterprise would facilitate educational, health care and other value added services.

Concerned with the spectrum management specific problems, the Federal Government has also set up a specialised authority - National Frequency Management Council, in order to guarantee the performance of the national policy as well as of the implementation of the adopted overall telecommunication strategy.

Partners : Government of Nigeria

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database

 [Re]creation of social interconnectedness using ICT to reach out to families in extreme poverty

 Success Strategy: Joseph Wresinski Training Centre, around Kuyo Grande, Cusco in Peru started with the farmers’ communities. The training project concerns children and young people of farmers, enabling them to acquire knowledge through training without being forced to leave their farm and give up the farming work. The aim of the project is that these young people will be trained with modern technologies and in return will become trainers for their own neighbourhood and their own family. This project is also answering to the concern expressed by the Government so that the average technologies information reaches the rural areas and isolated communities

Target group: Disadvantaged families, farmers, young adult from rural communities

Partners: ATD Fourth World

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity

 PCs for Families Program

Success Strategy: In an effort to bolster the appeal of the internet in the country, the Hungarian Government has created a consortium of public and private actors to help provide PCs and internet to underprivileged families at a discounted rate.  The programme, which began in September 2000, is aimed at helping 1,400 families join the information society.  The pilot project is funded, inter alia, by Compaq, Matav and Postabank, and will allow these families to pay for the equipment in monthly installments of around USD 24 over three years.

Background materials: see

 Rural Telecommunication in Laos

Success Strategy : The purpose of the project is to provide basic telecommunication infrastructure in rural areas of Laos. The inadequate means of communication are a major obstacle to economic development there.

 Approximately 1000 connection points were completed in rural areas under the three initial phases of the project and 1500 additional connections have been financed during the current phases 4th and 5th in order to connect approx 75% of the Laos' rural districts to the telecommunication network.

The administration and small entrepreneurs are provided with individual telephone lines whereas the public is served via public call offices. Beside voice services users have access to fax, email and internet. Investments are accompanied by a technical assistance component to assist the Lao Government and the regulatory body to improve sector organisation and set-up.

Partners: Government of Lao, Lao Telecommunication Company Ltd, Germany - KfW Entwicklungsbank (funding)

Source:  WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of KfW Enticklungsbank

 Asia Broadband Programme - Japan

Success Strategy: On the basis of “Asia Broadband Program” from 2002, an action program of the Government of Japan, a wide range of measures have been deployed to bridge the digital divide, to bring the benefit of ICT to all the people in Asia and to seek further social, economical, cultural development of Asia. Setting 2010 as the target year, a common goal in Asia is to invigorate information flows within the region to make Asia as a whole a global information hub.

The Programme is aiming both at enhancing technical and infrastructural capacities and diversifying digital content. The goal of the joint efforts is to increase the volume of information flows between Asia and the rest of the world improving in parallel the quality of the information and knowledge shared. The ambition of the partners involved is manifest - make Asia a leading region in the field of ICTs, particularly in the development of next-generation mobile communications technology, paying special attention to strengthened security and other beneficial features.

A cultural & grassroots subset of specific goals is also developed to digitize and archive major cultural assets in Asian countries, to share them within the region and transmit them to the rest of the world via broadband. In order to facilitate the implementation and guarantee the success of this large-scale project, a number of human capacity building opportunities are created. E-learning projects as well as exchange of trainees and experts are conceived and  carried out.

Fostering the relationship among Asian countries, this Programme’s goals go further beyond the technical cooperation and the pure ICT benefit. In the concept of the project is reflected the awareness of the vital importance of building network infrastructure so as enabling all peoples in Asia to access broadband platforms at an affordable price level in the future. The partnerships formed including ten Asian countries (namely Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, Philippine, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos) are a catalyser of process of enabling all people in Asia to take advantage of the digital opportunities, paying special attention on developing countries needs.

Partners : Japanese Government

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity

 iBulgaria initiative

Success Strategy: iBulgaria initiative of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) was launched in 2004. MTC approach is based on two groups of actions, interacting with each other. The first phase of the initiative was focused on stimulation of services, applications and content, covering both online public services and e-business. The second phase is now underway to support further development of the underlying broadband infrastructure and security matters.

The modus operandi of the project is to assure basic state procurement and thus to build a basis on which each social partner has his own role and own action. All citizens, or at least those using internet, are supposed to be gradually integrated, trained and motivated as key players and not only as simple users. Business is expected to growingly deserve its vocation as a driving force and an example for the development of the Information Society. Meanwhile, Public Authorities through appropriate action, including online enhancement of their activities, are to facilitate and promote change, acting as both reference and guarantor for the necessary balance

Target group : Bulgarian citizens

Partners:   Bulgarian Ministry of Transport and Communications

Source:  WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity

 United Nations Health Internetwork

Success Strategy: Health internetwork is one of four major initiatives of the UN Millennium Action Plan. It aims to bridge the digital divide in health by providing access to high quality, timely information for health professionals, researchers and policy makers in developing countries, using the internet. The core components of this public-private partnership are content, connectivity, capacity building and policy.

In September 2000 the Secretary-General of the United Nations launched a public-private initiative to bridge the digital divide in health. Spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Health internetwork brings together international agencies, the private sector, foundations, non-governmental organizations and country partners under the principle of ensuring equitable access to health information. It aims to improve public health by facilitating the flow of health information, using the internet. The core elements of the project are content, internet connectivity and capacity building.

As a key component of the project, the Health internetwork portal provides a vast library of the latest and best information on public health. Users can access more than 1,000 scientific publications, as well as statistical data and information for health policy and practice - essential information for research, and health services delivery. The portal will also make available information technology health applications such as geographical information systems and epidemiological tools, plus courses and training offered through distance learning.

Several examples of pilot projects could be find on the website of the activity.

The Health internetwork was created with one single purpose: to bridge the digital divide in health. Towards that end, health information - relevant, timely and appropriate - must become unrestricted and affordable worldwide, so that all communities can benefit from this global public good.

Target group: Professionals in the field of Medical sciences, large audience

Partners: World Health Organization (WHO) and a large number of partners

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity

 Information Highway in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) - China, Myan-mar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand

Success Strategy: Over the last decade, the GMS has been one of the fastest growing regions in the world. However, poverty remains a major challenge in the GMS as about 50 million persons are still struggling at or below the poverty line.

In order to strengthen communications as well as economic and trading relations between the Southeast Asian countries and China, China Telecom has proposed to build an information highway by connecting some proposed fibre optic cables with some existing cables in the Mekong River Basin so as to provide all kinds of telecom services.

The funding requirements for this projects run in tens of billions of dollars and its long-term viability is not questionable.The pledge of the project is even bigger knowing that, according to Ministry of Information Industry figures from 2004, only China has recruited a total of 647.2 million telephone subscribers and 94 million internet users.

The implementation phase of the project is envisaged from 2005 to 2008 and we will be keeping an eye on its success.

Partners : China Telecom, Ministry of Information Industry (MII) of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) for the GMS, Governments of the 6 countries

Source:  WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity

 Computers in Homes - New Zealand

Success Strategy: Computers In Homes (CIH) was initiated by the 2020 Communications Trust to make recycled computers available to families unable to buy one themselves. Their mission statement is “to provide all New Zealand families who are socially and economically disadvantaged with a computer, an internet connection, relevant training and technical support.” The stated goals1 are to empower low socio-economic communities with the necessary tools and skills to become active participants in the online world, and to provide children from these communities with access to online educational resources from home. The project is likely to benefit to more than 100 000 families with children in low socio-economic areas.

Several projects are running in parallel targeting different vulnerable and disadvantages groups: illiterate adults, refugees and their families, students and ethnical groups. The concept of Computers In Homes is to offer students and family members access to computers set up to run word processing and provide access to the internet. The website of the project is providing also a Computer Use Manual (internet & Email) in English, Maori, Samoan, Tongan facilitating the understanding and learning process. The objective being to boost reading and proof reading skills as well as computer literacy involves also a step-by-step self-esteem process and urges young people to continue their studies. Efforts are made also to strengthen positive relationships inside the family, the local community groups as well as with virtual communities beyond the continent. Special attention is given to gender perspective for young girls and young female professionals.

For instance, for the Samoan community ICT access is useful for everyday communication with family members overseas. The majority of the Pasifika families on CIH are Samoan. Emailing has the advantage to be cheaper than telephoning and can be written at any time of day or night. Other benefits appreciated by the target groups were: accessing newspapers online in Samoa and Tonga, writing stories in their own Pacific languages, renewing connections with ancestral villages in the Island Nations, fill in forms for family members and help each other communication with local authorities and administrations. Though, family could also access church websites and make contributions as well as attend online church services in the Samoan language •

However, Maori community customized the Tuhoe project otherwise: the most developed ICT featured served to improve communication with groups of interest worldwide and thus contributed to the openness and knowledge sharing beneficial for the community. Sports, hobbies and fashion took an important place in cultural and miscellanous exchange with the external world. internet was asserted as a source of technical information on horticulture, farming, etc. Language and culture were valorized by means of showcasing prominent heritage places, events and achievements. e- Banking and e-shopping continue to gain more and more adepts every day.

Hence to stress once again the importance of learning basic skills to community members giving them the freedom to express themselves and make their life better in a way that they choose.

Partners: New Zealand Ministry of Education, Communications Trust and Computers In Homes, Government Ministries of Maori Development (Te Puni Kokiri), Pacific Affairs and NZ Housing Corporation

Awards: Winner - Computerworld excellence Award 2004 (Bang for the Bunk)

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity

 Asia Pacific Initiative

Success Strategy: The Asia Pacific Initiative (API) was launched in 2003 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg and is designed to promote collaborative research, online learning and capacity development.

The API is a knowledge-sharing project and its first objective was to support the development of a new Media Studio to promote online multi-media broadcasting at the UN University. The blended approach intends to use new technologies to enhance joint capacity development activities involving satellite technology and the internet to link field based studies to online learning, communication and real-time next generation broadcasting. This studio functions now as one node in a networked virtual organisation composed by a growing number of partner universities, research institutions, NGOs and businesses in the region.

Recent activities undertaken to date include multimedia-broadcasting experiments (Video over IP), case study development in Okinawa (Japan), the Bangkok (Thailand) and the Greater Mekong Sub-Region, as well as the development of courses on Asia Pacific Sustainability with support from FASID in Japan. Future pilot experiments will be undertaken in a range of areas including IP/internet broadcasting, video-on-demand, real-time streaming, e-learning and interactive communications, on various broadband infrastructure. Harnessing creative power through new technology is has become a vocation for the API network.

Partners: UNU (United Nations University), Keio University, CISCO Systems (Japan), LEAD (Japan) and Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development (FASID) in Japan, Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand), The Institute of Global Environmental Strategies (Japan), The University of Hawaii (USA), Tsinghua University (China) and TERI (India)

Source: WSIS Stocktaking Database and the website of the activity

 CyberEthiopia Initiative

Success Strategy: Africa’s oldest alphabet, the Ethiopian, used for written communication since 100 BC, has been facing the challenge of the digital multilingualism and the development of the local script for digital use. Moreover, the Ethiopians’ digital inclusion and full participation in the information society has been perceived as a major endeavour and targeted action has been undertaken through CyberEthiopia in order to assure it.

The CyberEthiopia initiative has the following objectives:

  • Information dissemination: the website of the organisation has the ambition to serve as a reference on the World Wide Web for timely, relevant and accurate information related to Ethiopia and the Ethiopians.

  • Technology boost: research, technology studies and applications are developed to advance the usage of the millenary Ethiopian alphabet on the Internet and encourage activities related to the usage of the new technologies by Ethiopians at large.

  • Communication upgrade: the organisation is intended to foster dialogue, collaboration and knowledge sharing among Ethiopians (both inside and outside the country), in particular by offering local content and appropriate e-forums in local Ethiopian languages in an open, free, and democratic spirit.

  • ICTs for Development: the aim of initiating a “cyberculture” among Ethiopians through ICTs in numerous domains with regards to the overall development of the country. In accordance with the objectives outlined above, the organization is engaged in the pursuit of the a variety of activities, from press releases and electronic services to e-forums on various socio-economic, cultural and other issues of interest in line with defined rules of conduct and hence enhance information exchange between various civic and professional networks.

The strategy of the initiative is working successfully and the number of visitors on the website is constantly growing. The resources provided not just serve as valuable input for professionals and wider public in various fields of expertise (health, engineering, economy, agronomy, journalism and media, business, decision-making, etc) to reflect and act on how to build a multi-level, fluid and efficient network, fully benefiting form the in-land and Diaspora potential of Ethiopia.


Source: website 

Background materials: Case study “Cultural Identity and Local Content Development on the World Wide Web: The CyberEthiopia Initiative”

go to the top

 success stories home page


| SPU Home | SPU Newslog | SPU New Initiatives Programme | Send a BDT Story e-card | WSIS Home | WSIS Stocktaking |
WSIS Outcome Documents |


Top -  Feedback -  Contact Us -  Copyright © ITU 2007 All Rights Reserved
Contact for this page : BDT Web Support
Updated : 2006-11-27