ICTs GO RURAL
Extreme poverty in
many underdeveloped regions of the world, high costs of internet access
and social constraints continue to stifle creative expression
and socio-economic advancement. ICT access is
crucial in bridging the digital divide as a key
foundation of development, for rural
development in particular. Creating local
capacity, stimulating ingenuity and innovation and
boosting human skills and performance
are also critical factors in connecting rural
communities to the global information and
ICT stories from the field
Wi-Fi Pilot Development Projects- Latin America
The challenges faced by rural communities in Latin America include the lack of communication infrastructure and limited finances available to provide this infrastructure. With these as setbacks, there are little or no communication technologies to link the inhabitants to the city
The project brings Wi-Fi connectivity to these seemly unreachable areas in an inexpensive manner, thereby connecting remote areas to the internet.
The project is unique because of its use of Wi-Fi technology. It connects rural communities across Latin America and the Caribbean to the internet using a single antenna. The project has successfully been rolled out in the mountainous regions of the Amazon rainforest, Ecuador, Panama, Peru El Salvador Mexico and Argentina.
The Latin America School of Network Foundation in collaboration with the Institute for Connectivity in the Americas has launched a portal called WiLAC designed to support wireless connectivity implementation
The International Development Research Center,
Institute for Connectivity in the Americas
Partners: International Development and Research Center (IDRC), Institute for Connectivity in the Americas (ICA)
CELAC (Collecting & Exchange of Local Agricultural Content) - Uganda
Success Strategy: It is a common trend today within government and the farming community that in order to realize increasing and better farm outputs,
one needs to adopt use of modern farming methods. True as it may sound, its practicality among the grassroot farming communities is
doubtable. This is because its adoption comes along with the need to use modern farm inputs like hybrid seeds, fertilizers, pesticides,
herbicides and machinery which these farmers cannot afford. In Uganda, more than 70% of the farming community is composed of the women
folk. It is they that shoulder the burden of fending for their often polygamous and extended families while the men collect,
apportion and spend the incomes derived. It is on this foundation that the CELAC Project was laid.
The project targets improving particularly the rural women farmers’ livelihoods and food security through engaging the government and
civil society (women farmers inclusive) into a culture of knowledge sharing and information management of local content using ICT methods
that include weekly SMS; the annual Knowledge Fair; radio and informational brochures and newsletters; through radio cassette and DVDs
and the project website.
Partners: BROSDI, Hivos, FICOM (Farmers information Communication Management), ICTARD (Information Communication and Technologies for Africa Rural Development), Linux Solutions, VEDCO (Volunteer Efforts for Development Concerns), World Vision, NAADS (National Agricultural Advisory Services)
For more information: see the website of the activity
Information Centers on Water Hygiene
in Burkina Faso
Success Strategy: This project is for the communication of the hygienic use of water in the district of Bokin in Burkina Faso. This is carried out by the use of computers, solar powered internet connectivity, digital cameras and projectors, making it possible to communicate in audio-visuals to small villages.
There has been a lack of information dissemination on the use and management of water sites in villages, there is also no general information on water sanitation and hygiene.
With the use of ICTs the project aims at developing an innovative approach on awareness and capacity development for farmers on issues of water hygiene and sanitation.
The projects targets as beneficiaries, 10 villages in the district of Bokin with an approximate number of 20,000 people.
The project aims to provide the villagers with a better understanding of water hygiene, related problems and possible solutions. The consequence of which is a reduction in illnesses, a cost effective use of water and associated materials and the empowerment of the villagers.
As a follow-up to this project, Sahel Solidarite organized a multimedia presentation in the village of Guimba, Using multimedia devices such as PowerPoint, a video presentation. The presentation featured hygienist showing the good and bad practices of water use and the manpower for the project were locally sourced and trained in the use of ICTs.
This presentation left a lasting impression on the villagers many of whom had never seen the use of such technology.
Sahel Solidarite plans another of this presentation to involve more women participation.
Partners: Sahel Solidarite, International Institute for Communication and Development
The IICD website,
Amader Gram (Our
Villages) - Bangladesh
Amader Gram is a ICT4D project of integrated rural development through capacity
building of the disadvantaged community people, conservation of bio-diversity
and sustainable use & mobilization of natural resources and environmentally
sounds income generation activities. Since 1996, Amader Gram has helped to
improve the lives of the disadvantaged poor people and children in 20 villages
under 2 Upazila (Sub-District) of Bagerhat (Rampal) and Khulna (Paikgacha)
districts in Bangladesh.
The ongoing projects of Amader Gram are focusing on several key issues, which
would hopefully open new opportunities for community development on local and
regional level. One of the main activities is a formal set-up of collecting and preserving data
belonging to the village societyas an on-going process. This
initiative is particularly valuable since the national government lacks ICT
facilities as well as structured local communities related data keeping.
Throughout Amader Gram process, data is being collected and kept for future
generations. At one hand the collected data is documenting the day-to-day
changes in villagers' lives. On the other hand, the stored data will serve as
basis for further data structuring and use, hence contributing to the
acceleration of change in the living status of the villagers.
Village information, communication and knowledge centres have been created to
frame the process of data gathering and digital heritage building. Furthermore,
the centres disseminate knowledge and information providing to the villagers
valuable new opportunities. For example the data related to micro-credit
activities is providing information on potential Income Generating Activity (IGA)
sectors and on the ways of access to credit and other supports so that the
entrepreneurs can take quick and appropriate steps in local business management.
A database on credit provides information on the amount of credit installment,
rate of interest, sources of credit, recovery procedure etc.- all those can help
in breaking the deadlock and gain confidence towards micro-credit access for the
An important feature of Amader Gram’s Program is the linkages of
the information flow to local
government. A multi stakeholders’ partnership is deployed in order to support
capacity building and local governance efforts. The
awareness is urged of the need of a comprehensive ICTs strategy to blend all the
stakeholders and ensure their participation. A complementary target of the
project activities is the improvement of manpower professional & educational
potential as well as everyday-life knowledge about health and nutrition issues,
simple at first sight but crucial for further development
A special accent is given to long term overall development of the
local communities and a thematic record is set up for keeping track of best
practices and their context and thus establishing a kind of a catalogue for
replication for future project in the field of ICTs.
Taneda Fund, Japan Education Fund, Government of Japan, AusAid, Swiss Agency for
Development Cooperation, Ministry of Science & ICT, Government of Bangladesh,
Commonwealth Educational Media Center for Asia, UNESCO, DFID Imfundo Knowledge
Bank, Platform for Community Networks (GlobalCN), Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP)
WSIS Stocktaking Database and
the website of the activity
AKASHGANGA “ The Milky Way”
uses simple IT tools to facilitate milk collection and raise income for rural
Dairy Cooperative Society
members gathered twice a day to sell milk which often spoiled as they waited in
long queues and payment could take 10 days. This simple technology solves all of
those problems as it weighs the milk on electronic scales, electronically tests
the fat content publicly displays and prints the pay slips with all the data and
the amount owed along with useful message for the farming community.
Its usage at over 600 locations and daily, error-free
operation by millions of farmers shows that IT can benefit poor rural
communities which are open to new technologies that deliver tangible benefits.
makes producing milk a more viable and profitable venture for rural families.
Human resource development has also
been an important developmental benefit since they hire and train locally.
Unemployed youth have been able to earn livelihoods locally within their rural
community instead of migrating to the big cities. It currently employs 30
engineering, marketing and other professionals.
inititative, funded by Aavishkaar India Micro Venture Capital Fund
has been designated Best Practice by UNDP India and Good practice by UNHABITAT.
For more information:
Economic Advancement Project (REAP) - South Caucasus
REAP has worked on developing and promoting appropriate processing technologies,
that will enhance marketing opportunities for horticultural and poultry produce,
thus resulting in higher income for participating households. Also, the project
aims to improve access to technology and market information.
project is regional in scope with activities in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and
Georgia. The overall goal is to improve the household livelihood security of
smallholder farmers by improving agricultural production; income generation and
marketing; and developing business linkages between farmer organizations, the
private sector, and local institutions in order to promote sustainable
privatized agricultural production. The project targeted approximately 1,500
vulnerable households in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.
Armenia, the project targeted 480 farmers in the villages of Azatan, Akhuryan,
Beniamen, Karnut and Hatsik. The project had a specific gender objective and
anticipated that at least 60% of the beneficiaries would be women. The project
approach was to train and support community based facilitators (CFs) who in turn
would mobilize and train other farmers (Participatory Household Representatives
– PHRs) in new technologies and business development issues. The CFs would also
learn about and support PHRs in gaining improved access to local and distant
agricultural support services. It was also proposed to establish involvement of
the local government through the development of local coordination committees.
In addition to training, CFs and PHRs were to be provided with inputs in support
of new technology testing and adoption.
preliminary evaluation undertaken after 18 months of operation (in 2002)
indicated that this type of project, which assists small householders to learn
together, work together and market together, could have significant impact in a
very small period of time. REAP households experienced a 47% increase in gross
income from wheat and potato production from the baseline, compared to a 4%
increase for non-beneficiary households. In addition, REAP households increased
potato and wheat consumption from their own crops by 27% and 5%, respectively,
compared to non-beneficiary households. In addition, REAP households experienced
a 34% average increase in gross income from key dairy products (milk, cheese),
vs. a 27% decrease in gross income for non-beneficiary households. REAP
households also increased consumption of home produced milk by 26% and
consumption of raised eggs 26 by 17% compared to a reduction in family
consumption of non-beneficiary households of 27% and 30%, respectively. In a
country where potatoes and dairy products are staple foodstuffs, and where cash
is limited, the ability of households to increase consumption without increasing
their cash expenditures is a significant benefit that should not be discounted.
results captured by evaluation indicated that significant benefits could be
obtained with this approach. Accordingly, CARE and CIDA have invested income
from other sources to continue to support the farming groups in the project over
another harvesting cycle, in order to ensure sustainability of farmers’ gains.
Canadian International Development Agency - CIDA,
WSIS Stocktaking Database
Rural Telecommunication in Laos
Success Strategy :
The purpose of the project is to provide basic telecommunication infrastructure
in rural areas of Laos.
inadequate means of communication are a major obstacle to economic development
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.
Government of Lao, Lao Telecommunication Company Ltd, Germany - KfW
WSIS Stocktaking Database and
Wireless IP project for the area around Nakaseke Multipurpose Community
Telecentre - Uganda
Uganda has experienced some successes with new technology deployments,
specifically in the wireless arena, many rural Ugandans remain disconnected from
the global information network. However, collaborative efforts launched by
domestic private actors, NGOs and a variety of international organizations
promise to bring the information age to all Ugandans. A consortium of
international and domestic organizations teamed up to launch an MCT in a remote
village about 50 kilometers from Kampala, Uganda’s capital. Designed to
introduce ICTs to remote villagers, the Nakaseke MCT demonstrates the positive
impact that new technologies can have on marginalized societies.
In an effort to
demonstrate the impact that ICTs can have on the social and economic development
of rural areas, the Nakaseke MCT began as a three-year pilot project in 1999.
Realizing that the success of the project depended on buy in from the public,
the project organizers worked with local community members to assess the
information needs of Nakaseke’s 31,000 inhabitants. By engaging domestic
partners, specifically Uganda Telecom Ltd and the Uganda Public Library Board,
the international consortium was able to create a model that would help bridge
the rural-urban digital divide in Uganda by further bolstering the project’s
information resource base.
With its open door
policy, the Nakaseke MCT (the only ICT facility in the area) has become a centre
for telecommunications, computing and information sharing for the community.
While its target group includes small and medium sized businesses, farmers,
women’s organizations and NGOs, it also serves as a point of access to the
global information network for local schools and colleges. The local hospital
staff also uses the MCT to keep in contact with and consult colleagues in
Kampala, Uganda’s capital.
In a recent survey of
the Nakaseke user community, the project organizers found that usage among the
number of potential users remains below average at 44.2 per cent. However, over
60 per cent of respondents from the most rural parts of Nakaseke are using the
MCT. Compared to MCTs in surrounding areas, the Nakaseke MCT is the most heavily
used, largely because users are taking advantage of the library services
accompanying the MCT. During 1999, MCTs were also launched in Nabweru and
Bunyoro, two other periphery villages in Uganda which can also play a key role
in narrowing the digital divide. As the Ugandan MCT has proven, to be effective
however, MCT deployments must be sponsored, implemented and managed by a bi- or
multilateral consortium that engages indigenous peoples at the community and/or
Government of Uganda, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United
Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO), International
Development Research Center (IDRC), the British Council, Uganda Telecom Ltd and
the Uganda Public Library Board
WSIS Stocktaking Database
ITU Uganda Case Study,
ITU News – Nakaseke MCT
Fencepost - New Zealand
Fonterra’s supplier website,
Fencepost.com is a unique community & business channel used
by Fonterra dairy farmers throughout New Zealand to monitor
their business performance and stay in touch with the
company and each other. Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd is a
leading multinational dairy company investing in organic
dairy industries and products, owned by 12,000 New Zealand
dairy farmers. This is the world's largest exporter of dairy
products, exporting 95 percent of their production.
is an Internet e-cooperative & e-agricultural portal,
focused on farmers' needs. Fencepost.com provides its users
with specific industry and personal output information,
market and commodity updates, free weather updates,
industry-related news, expert advice, discussion groups,
sporting news and email as well as special deals on farm
goods. Fencepost.com provides expert knowledge base
articles, up to the minute awareness of environmental issues
and solutions, sharing of information amongst suppliers
through online discussion groups, and up to the minute
communications with Fonterra.
The first channel developed as part of
the portal has been for the dairy industry. Over time it
will be joined by others, such as wool, meat and
horticulture. In the past year Fencepost.com has
been refined to enhance the communication channel with
Fonterra suppliers around the country to create a nationwide
rural community of the future - online. Fencepost.com is
also an important business tool providing Fonterra suppliers
with up to the minute milk production and quality
information giving farmers fast access to information that
allows them to make decisions to better manage their farms.
One example of the portal
functionality is how farmers can view the volume of milk a
tanker has just picked up from their farm vat - within
minutes of the tanker leaving the farm! Milk quality and
component results are available the minute tests are
finalised. This daily monitoring of production gives
valuable insight into the effects and timing of on-farm
inputs designed to enhance production or maintain milk
quality throughout the season. The ability for farmers to select
their first and last collection of milk online has also been
added, reducing administrative costs for the company and
providing more accurate information for farmers and for
scheduling of Fonterra's 450-strong tanker fleet, that is
responsible for collecting over 14 billion litres of milk
has an ongoing aim to leverage the power of the internet to
ensure best farming practises and productivity tools can be
shared across the supplier base to ensure Fonterra suppliers
remain as world leaders in milk production and milk quality.
Online voting in elections,
calculations affecting capital expenditure for farmers in
maintaining their co-operative memberships, forecasting of
annual supply trends and payout predictors, livestock
trading and classifieds advertising are other services
provided by Fencepost.com while its Rural jobs database is
hugely successful both within New Zealand and
internationally. Today more than 70% of Fonterra’s
11,500 farms are registered to utilise the site - these
farms account for more than 80% of the company’s national
milk production. A wide range of communication tools,
productivity tools and interfaces with company systems are
used on a daily basis by farmers spread throughout rural New
Zealand. Although in its early days,
Fencepost.com has succeed in establishing a truly national
community and a truly national business tool. Supporting and
optimizing business practices for the farming and rural
sector right across New Zealand, the platform is favouring
the creation of new business models, based on a set of
interactive tools, is developing the ability to spread best
practice among farmers nationwide.
Kiwi Co-operative Dairies Ltd; Jade Systems
Awards: Winner of
the national contest Best Digital Content and Applications -
New Zealand 2005, Category e-Business Nominee for the WSIS-Award
2005, Category e-Business
WSIS-Award - New Zealand and
Jade Systems website
For more information:
Note: Screen shots have
been used as viewers are unable to access this site for
detailed viewing due to security and privacy issues.
to ICTs in Africa (CATIA) - Africa
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
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
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
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
United Kingdom - Department for International Development,
OneWorld network, Amarc Africa, Panos Institute, DFID, ATOS
KPMG Consulting - South Africa.
Stocktaking Database, the
Communication Initiative website and the
CATIA PDF file
Enabling Rural Computer Centers in Ghana
communication centre developed for rural and pre-urban communities, under an ICT
project dubbed eCARE has been envisaged to revolutionarise communications in
Ghana's rural areas. Initially, the centers will offer telephony and fax
services with computers and internet access following shortly.
eCARE is an acronym for e-commerce and renewable energy in rural
and peri-urban areas of Ghana. eCARE has been a community phone project by Ghana
Telecom and multiple international partners since February 2005.
Sadly, these rural communication centres will only be available
in areas where GT has ONEtouch GSM coverage. The Chief Executive Officer of GT,
Mr. Oystein Bjorge, noted that even though communication could be a vehicle for
development in the rural areas, it is not effective there, thus the need to
embrace UNF's eCARE idea.
"Communication is not a game but a
vehicle to bring development. Therefore services by entrepreneurs must be
relevant to communities."
According to the project Manager, Anita Skagnaes, local Ghanaian
entrepreneurs will be identified, screened and recruited to operate the rural
business centres offering ICT service and value added services enabled by
"The eCARE project will offer
streamlined support package to qualified rural entrepreneurs, training,
pre-produced eCARE centre, follow up financial support, bulk airtime at
affordable prices and discounted equipment with service agreement through
project", she stated.
Rural participants will be required to certify under eCARE
training programme, provide equity and suitable location for placement of eCARE,
provide equity and suitable location for placement of eCARE centre, offer rural
telephony and other approved services at reasonable rates, as well as cover all
operating expenses and amortisation.
Currently, the first eCARE demonstrating centre is completed
while a pilot project is scheduled to start at the end of May with the
establishment of three eCARE Rural Business Centres at Nkurakan, Sege and
Sogakope in the Accra, Eastern and Volta Regions respectively.
Rural entrepreneurs, youth, rural
communities as a whole
Ghana Telecom (GT), United Nations
Foundations, (UNF), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), ARB Apex Bank,
Kumasi Institute for Technology and Environment (KITE), Telenor Management
World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT)
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and its Member
Nations highlight information as one of the priority areas in achieving
agricultural development and food security. FAO established the World
Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT) as a corporate framework for
agricultural information management and dissemination. This is a strategic
effort to fight hunger with information. The WAICENT framework integrates and
harmonizes standards, tools and procedures for the efficient and effective
management and dissemination of high-quality technical information, including
relevant and reliable statistics, texts, maps, and multimedia resources.
WAICENT was established in response to the high priority accorded by FAO to the
enhancement of access to timely and relevant technical information by FAO Member
Nations and the general public as well as to the encouragement of FAO Member
Nations to utilize information as a key resource for development. Since the creation of WAICENT in 1989, there have been enormous advances in
information technology and the task of managing and disseminating information in
a digital environment has become increasingly complex. Two tasks in particular
are assuming greater importance: first to enable better access to FAO
information resources and to promote partnerships with other agricultural
information networks; and, second to assist FAO Member Nations to build their
own capacity to manage and utilize food and agricultural information.
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)
WSIS Stocktaking Database
the website of the activity
Rickshaws Connect India's Poor
But still only around 23
million people have access to mobiles out of a population of 1.1 billion. A
regional mobile phone company in India is taking a novel approach to drive up
business and help the poor at the same time. Shyam Telecom operating in the
state of Rajasthan has equipped a fleet of rickshaws with one or a couple of
mobile phones. Drivers pedal these mobile payphones throughout the state
capital, Jaipur, and the surrounding countryside providing exclusive opportunity
for disadvantaged rural community members to make a call or send sms. The hand-pedalled
rickshaws are equipped with a battery, a billing machine and a printer.
The rickshaw drivers,
numbering around 200, are largely drawn from those at the margins of society -
the disabled and women. The telecom company charges nothing for the initial
set-up costs despite the 75,000 rupee ($1,641) price of the tricycle and
equipment. The drivers take a 20% on every call, earning between 6,000 (US$131)
to 9,000 ($197) rupees per month. Through these mobile payphones, some drivers
are now able to be entirely self-reliant and even support a family of five
people, says the company.
"The operator gets traffic on its network, the driver
gets a commission and the consumers get access to affordable calling",
she told BBC News Online, saying many companies could learn from Shyam's focus
on customer service.
But Shyam is not limiting its
novel interpretation of mobility just to voice services nor to tricycles. The
company's latest innovation is a camel equipped with a wirelessly connected
computer, for use in the desert, though just two animals are currently in
commission at present.
And after discussion with the
drivers, Shyam is also planning to add internet-ready laptops to the rickshaws.
Target group: Rural
communities, disabled, women
BBC News website
Bridging the Divide - China
Isolated physically and symbolically by the Great Wall, rural communities in
Northern China have not been able to benefit much from the country’s burgeoning
IT industry. Most of the huge rural population have never seen a telephone, let
alone used the internet. Out of the
country’s 800 million peasants, 30 million still live below the national poverty
line, surviving on less than US$0.70 per day (Common Country Assessment, UN
Country Team in China, 2003). A key strategy to stem the flow of migration
is to create a stable, sustainable economy in rural areas, and to do this it is
necessary to open up access to the rest of the world.
In December 2001, the China
International Center for Economic & Technological Exchange (CICETE) and China
Rural Technology Development Center (CRTDC) co-launched ‘Poverty Alleviation
through Science & Technology in China’ with the aid of UNDP. Over a period of
three years, five regions have been benefiting from the project deployment.
Telecentres were established and made operational in which training was
delivered at several levels to build staff capacity to operate the centres
effectively. Village staff, including women, undertook training in Bejiing in
awareness raising, how use information effectively, and telecentre management
and equipment operation. Newsletters and other materials were published to
promote the centres.
Increased access and more various and rich knowledge opportunities through ICTs
could have a direct positive impact on people’s livelihoods. For example,
producers often receive only a tiny percentage of the final value of the
product. Access to market information will allow them to: sell goods at a
correct market value; understand the chain in which products are sold and
therefore sell more directly; monitor trends, assess demand and plan
accordingly, diversifying products and applying best practice techniques where
project has successfully connected rural poor in China to the wider world. It
has exposed them to an information intensive society where they have been
trained to use information to their advantage and improve the overall quality of
life. It shows how ICTs can play a vital role in supporting economies in rural
areas and hopefully stem a global problem of migration from rural to urban
areas. The information gap between women and men has narrowed at the households
and community levels within the pilot counties and it has informed China’s
national strategy for poverty alleviation. Sustainable knowledge networks will
play a growing part in providing appropriate information to meet needs of
communities all over China.Target group:
the Chinese Government Ministry of Science and Technology
(MOST), the China International Center for Economic & Technological Exchange (CICETE)
China Rural Technology Development Centre (CRTDC),
UNDP and the counties beneficiariesSource:
China's Rural internet Information Centers: A Project to Reduce Poverty through
Access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Rural Areas
UNDP Project Brief
Wireless for Connected Rural Communities – India
A project connecting numerous villages in southern India to the internet has
thrust the population into the technology age and is an
outstanding example of how, when
implemented from the bottom up, information and communication technologies (ICTs)
can truly meet the needs of the community.
Swaminathan Research Foundation chose Pondicherry in southern India as the
location for a new project in 1998, as part of its programme to take the
benefits of emerging and frontier technologies to the rural poor. Out of a
population of 22,000, around 4500 or approximately 20 per cent of the rural
families in the area are officially classified as living below the poverty line,
and half the population has a total family income equivalent to less than US$25
per month. Before the project began, the villagers shared 12 public telephones
and 27 private telephones - less than one phone per 500 people.
Foundation provided the villagers with computers, a printer, a wireless device,
and a solar panel, specially designed websites in the local language and
training programmes for the villagers. The Local Area Network (LAN) hub of the
wireless system was installed in Villianur. The hub connects to the internet
through dial-up telephone lines. Additional villages have now joined the
network, but the hub was originally connected to four shops set up in different
villages around Villianur, all within 15 kilometres - Kizhur, Embalam,
Veerampattinamand Poornakuppam - using a mixture of wired and wireless
technology to facilitates both voice and data transfer. Using wireless technology has
saved substantial costs, as there was no existing tele infrastructure in the
villages and it would have been very expensive to lay down copper or fibre optic
cables to the villages. Power is supplied through a combination of solar
photovoltaic panels and batteries. The batteries need to be continually topped
up with water, but require no other maintenance.
project aimed quite explicitly to engender collective ownership and equitable
use in all sectors of the local community. Caste-based divisions are still a
major problem in southern India, and the lower castes, particularly the Dalit
population - known as ‘untouchables’, often do not benefit from new
developments. The status of the women is similar and very often they are not
allowed by the community to have access to ICTs facilities. In order to overcome
these inequalities and give a chance to everybody to benefit from the centres,
the villagers were actively involved in their establishment and management.
Paramount to the project's success is the information villagers can access. Once
connected, users need to be able to find useful, relevant information. Of all
internet hosts, 97 per cent are in developed nations and most of the information
available on the internet is in English. The services provided by the Indian
government, both in terms of technology and content, are wholly inadequate. To
be of use to farm families, the generic information should be selectively
compiled, edited, and integrated with local knowledge to make it relevant or
useful in the local context. This model was adopted for implementation in
Pondicherry and would be replicated in other Indian provinces.
overwhelming positive impact of the project implemented in Pondicherry can be
attributed to the design and manner in which it was implemented. Notably, the
Foundation worked in partnership with the villagers right from the beginning,
developing content that is relevant to the people and that takes into account
their daily needs, their culture and their language. From this, farmers get the
right price for their farm produce and wage-labourers get the right wages from
their employers. The success of this project clearly demonstrates how, once
given the opportunity, people can use ICTs to their advantage, building their
knowledge and skills to improve their lives.
communities, vulnerable and marginalized social groups
M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Canadian
UNDP - The Equator Initiative
OKN in Nepal Raises
Hopes Among Rural Women
Jhuwani Community Library
For more than a decade, READ - Rural Education And
Development, Nepal - has been building community libraries.
These libraries are run with the active participation of the
community and have their own income generating scheme for
meeting operating costs and financial sustainability. Over
time they have organically expanded into community centres,
dynamically involved in the overall development activities
of the community. The community libraries are contributing in diverse fields,
such as education, health, empowerment, childhood
development and cultural promotion. They provide knowledge,
information, inspiration, support and above all motivation
to drive the community into shaping its own future. The
establishment of libraries spurs progress and development in
the area, and this in turn creates positive changes and
growth opportunities for the library itself.
Launching of OKN in Nepal
July, 2005, a new component was added to the myriad
activities at Jhuwani Library - the Open Knowledge Network (OKN)
project was launched. This project includes the installation
of computers in the library and provision of training to the
community on the use of computers for addressing issues in
the community. This could be possible by making the people more informed
about more societies, by bridging the technological divide
between men and women & rural and urban families. It is
expected that they can also voice their concerns and share
Women are looking forward to working on raising the status
of rural women and creating space for their own identity.
They are also hoping to use ICT tools to get united for
their progress and achievement. The formation of women’s
groups within the community centres has helped the women to
gain self-confidence through increased interaction,
encouraged their journey into the public sphere and honed
them for participation in decision-making roles. Jhuwani
Community Library and OKN are planning to continue
organizing frequent awareness raising programs for women,
and organizes interaction programs promoting dialogue and
discussion around women's rights. This platform has helped
them to identify problems within their areas and to seek
solutions through dialogues with concerned parties.
Jhuwani Community Library and the Open Knowledge Net (OKN)
TOCO - Trinidad and Tobago
Radio Toco 106.7 FM, the first and only community-based radio station in
Trinidad and Tobago was established in 1997 under the UNESCO
Women-speaking-to-Women Programme in collaboration with the local NGO, T&T/CAN
Citizens' Agenda. It has blossomed into a veritable laboratory for community
mobilization and community broadcasat training in the fight against poverty and
promotion of sustainable human development.
Radio Toco is fully recognized as an outstanding FM medium for information
sharing and exchange amongst the rural communities of North-Eastern Trinidad.
Radio Toco informs and educates the community through news and interviews,
promotes community development, motivates women to become more proactive and
supports sustainable development. It has given rise to social awareness and has
engaged in the training of young people from the communities in radio
broadcasting. To date, the station services a listenership of 80,000, including
the sister island of Tobago.Partners:
UNESCO, T&T/CAN Citizens' Agenda
Winner of the 2003 IPDC-UNESCO Rural Communication Prize
ACI Child Labour Project - Latin America and Caribbean
The Canadian International Development Agency supports the
IACI Child Labour Project, in its goal to advance children's
rights in the Latin America and Caribbean regions, by
strengthening institutional capacity and developing a
Partners: Canadian International Development Agency - CIDA
Project (Appui au DEsenclavement Numerique)
ADEN aims to democratize the use of ICTs through the creation of some sixty
public internet access points located in previously underserved sub-Saharan
African areas. The ADEN centers will be places where everyone can access and
learn to use the internet. The telecenters will be managed by associations,
local authorities or educational institutions. They will be adapted to local
specific needs and constraints and benefit to a wide audience with focus on
civil society entities and local community members.
Nevertheless, the development of
internet access is worthwhile only if an
increasing number of users master that tool. Relying on African expertise, ADEN
will set up forty train the trainer courses in the fields of network
administration, organization and mediation in a public internet access point as
well as in their proper management.
Today, less than 1% of the content on the web is African and practically all of
the software is produced in northern countries. ADEN will make it possible to
finance the development of computer applications suited to the African
situation, install hosting servers in the South and publish original web
contents providing users with real added value.
Increased access to Information and Communications Technologies call for the
deployment of considerable efforts in training and initiation to the tools. This
competence already exists in Africa, but now it is time to share this knowledge,
held by few, with as many as possible. This is the reason why ADEN anticipates
organizing training sessions, intended for managers of collective internet
access points, so that they may in turn plan training sessions for the public at
large. ADEN has been deploying activities in thirteen countries of Sub-Saharan Africa –
Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Mozambique,
Nigeria, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Tanzania.
Remote communities in Sub-Saharan Region
French Ministry of Foreign Affaires
WSIS Stocktaking Database
website of the activity
Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System for Asia - (Asia
Asia FIVIMS Project has been developed in support of the Global Key Indicators
Data System (KIDS) and the National FIVIMSs in Asia. It
stirs and coordinates efforts to identify the most food insecure and vulnerable
populations at sub-national level so that the countries can take appropriate
actions and formulate targeted policies and programmes to improve the food
security and nutritional status of affected population and livelihood groups. The programme focuses primarily on capacity building of national FIVIMS units
and is aimed to operationalise FIVIMS in the context of national development and
poverty alleviation strategies by providing support to building technical
capacity in specific fields, including vulnerability assessments. It also helps
build web-based dynamic data management, dissemination and mapping systems in
the countries concerned.
Dynamic mapping modules for Regional, Philippine and Thai FIVIMS applications
are currently available.
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)
WSIS Stocktaking Database and
thewebsite of the activity
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.
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.
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)
Stocktaking Database and
website of the activity
Galileo - European Union
GALILEO is a satellite radio navigation system. It was launched as an initiative
by the European Union and the European Space Agency. In a few years time, this
worldwide system will ascertain the users’ precise position in space and time in
a very precise manner, in complementarity with the current GPS system.
GALILEO is based on a constellation of 30 satellites and ground stations
providing information concerning the positioning of users in many sectors such
as transport (vehicle location, route searching, speed control, guidance
systems, etc.), social services (e.g. aid for the disabled or elderly), the
justice system and customs services (location of suspects, border controls),
public works (geo-graphical information systems), search and rescue systems, or
leisure (direction-finding at sea or in the mountains, etc.).
GALILEO will offer everybody everywhere satellite-positioning
services with guaranteed reliability. Individuals, companies and administrations
will all be able to benefit, whether on the roads, railways, in the skies or at
sea: hikers will be able to find their way, and tourists will be able to find
the museum or restaurant they are looking for, and taxi drivers will arrive at
the right destination. However, this new global public service also has many
professional applications, for instance in transport sector (road, rail,
aviation, maritime and public transport), energy and telecom sector,
agriculture, environment protection and support to people with disabilities. The
universality of the service allow to benefit to a very wide spectrum of
activities, from leisure to science and military work.
Here above we highlight tree ongoing projects started in 2002 and
deployed under Galileo.
GADEROS - Galileo
Demonstrator for Railway Operation Systems
GADEROS demonstrates the use of GNSS safety-of-life features for
defining a satellite-based system to perform train location for safe railway
applications that have been integrated into the European Rail Traffic Management
System (ERTMS) / European Train Control System (ETCS). The system offers another
technological approach for train location , mainly for conventional and
low-density traffic lines.
For more information: GALILEO Pilot Project Sheet:
GADEROS Project Website
Infomobility services for safety-critical applications
INSTANT addresses sustainable mobility and intermodality and
focuses on the management of large-scale events and emergency situations. In
particular, it proposes safety-of-life applications in two different
environments (sea and land) and in different land surroundings (urban,
semi-urban). The 2004 Olympic Games were used as a case-study in order to
witness the potential of INSTANT services for managing similar situations.
Applications will make extensive use of up-to-date GNSS receivers
in close integration with other emerging technologies such as geo-information,
mobile satellite communications, personal digital assistants, and mobile mapping
For more information:
GALILEO Pilot Project Sheet:
INSTANT Project Website
Improving safety in maritime navigation
The project demonstrates the added value of the GALILEO
positioning and SAR services for commercial shipping. It will make use of the
EGNOS Test Bed and six vessels equipped with autonomous terminals - an EGNOS
receiver, a satellite telecom link and an Automatic Identification System (AIS).
NAUPLIOS Control Centres monitor results, which will be adapted in a
geographical information system and formatted prior to being transmitted to
several kinds of end users.
NAUPLIOS will demonstrate how monitoring and surveillance of
European waters can be improved such that risks can be identified at an early
stage and measures can be taken to avoid major pollution incidents.
European Commission, DG Information Society
WSIS Stocktaking Database and
the website of the activity
Building Project - Canada
The purpose of the District Building Project (DISCAP) is to
strengthen the capacities of local government bodies to
manage, in collaboration with NGOs and other stakeholders,
portable water and sanitation resources. The IT aspects of
the project include: increasing connectivity within and
across the three project regions and providing ICT support
to their 24 Districts. The offices have been provided with
computing and internet communication facilities.
Canadian International Development Agency - CIDA
Success Strategy: The global telecommunications sector is in the process of continual change
brought about by technological innovation and convergence, liberalization and
dynamic private sector participation. These trends have contributed to economic
growth and improved sector governance, while also producing an increasing number
and variety of disputes that call for better, faster and more cost-effective
The ITU and the World
Bank are currently working together on a project to make available a
multi-lingual database of global regulatory decisions.
The purpose of this database is to facilitate the interchange of
ideas, experience and precedents among interested stakeholders around the world
in order to promote a better application of effective dispute identification and
dispute resolution techniques.
ITU (International Telecommunication Union), World Bank
WSIS Stocktaking Database
the website of the activity
Land Information Management
The partners together have implemented a land information
system (LIS) and a parallel training program in Geographic
Information Systems (GIS) for Hanoi, in order to improve the
city's land management and urban planning practices. This
geomatic system in Hanoi has it provided transparent access
for citizens, achieved a high level of district integration,
and also simplified GIS, thanks to the J-Map software which
is a web-based GIS solution.
Citizens of Hanoi, public administrations
Canadian International Development Agency – CIDA, the
University of Montreal, the City of Montreal and the City of
SPU New Initiatives Programme
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