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Universal Access - Telecentres

Partnerships and Participation in Telecommunications for Rural Development

Exploring What Works and Why

A Conference at the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, October 26 & 27, 1998




by Johan Ernberg, ITU

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Most of the populations of developing countries live in rural and often isolated areas. This is also where most of the resources are located. Access to information and telecommunications is essential for development of such areas but is still inadequate or non-existing.

The overall objective of the BAAP Programme No. 9 (VAP Programme 3) is to develop best-practice, sustainable and replicable models of ways to provide access to modern telecommunication facilities and information services, particularly to people in rural and remote areas. To this end pilot projects are implemented in a number of countries in different regions, at different stages of development and with different geographical, social, economic and cultural conditions.

One objective of the programme is to evaluate the social, economic and cultural impact of providing access to such facilities and services and thereby sensitize policy makers to the needs and cost-effectiveness of providing such tools for development.

Another objective is to assess the needs and demand for ICT in rural and remote areas.

Provision of telecommunications and IT facilities is not a goal in itself. To have a real impact on development, the introduction of such facilities and services must be done as an integral part of a cross-sectoral, multi-disciplinary effort of community development. Thus, many specialized UN agencies and NGOs have an important role in capacity building for the development and adaptation to the local context of applications and "content" relevant to their field of activity. The Multipurpose Community Telecentre (MCT), introduced in the pilot projects will provide facilities and support for a wide range of services and applications responding the needs of the community. By sharing the cost of the telecom infrastructure, IT facilities and support, the MCTs are expected to provide both public and private ICT-based services at more affordable cost and still become commercially viable.

The set up and applications supported by so called telecentres varies considerably. In its simplest form the Telecentre may be limited to providing public telephone and fax services and be run, for example, by a local shopkeeper. However, such "telecentres", sometimes called Public Call Offices (PCO) or quot;telekiosks" are usually established in more densely populated or urban areas and would not qualify as "multipurpose" centres. Such telecentres have in recent years mushroomed in many developing countries. Recent studies indicate that such telecentres are commercially attractive both for the franchisee and the telecom operator and that they generate a considerable number of jobs (at least in densely populated areas).

Policies, tariffs, mode of operation, that has spurred the phenomenal growth of such telecentres and the impact of these telecentres should also be studied as these too contribute to improve Universal Access to ICT and there are important lessons to be learned.

At the other end of the scale there are telecentres with (shared) offices for local small business and "teleworkers" and equipped with computers, printer, photocopier, etc. Such MCTs would provide access to data networks (e.g. Internet) for e-mail, file transfer, access to electronic libraries and databases, government and community information, systems, market and price information, environment watch, etc. In addition they may well contain facilities and equipment for teletraining and telemedicine. Some may also provide facilities, equipment and training for local production and reception of radio and TV broadcasting programmes, so as to offer information relevant to the local population and to promote local culture.

The BAAP programme 9 focus on the latter type and on reaching out to rural and remote areas. The "Multipurpose" and "Community" aspects of the telecentres are essential in the pilot projects. As well as providing a community owned, shared information and communication facility for people living in rural and isolated areas, each MCT offers user support and training so that the community can gain the maximum benefit from these facilities and services.

Within the BAAP Programme 9, pilot projects are currently being negotiated and implemented in Benin, Bhutan, Honduras, India, Mali, Mozambique, Suriname, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam. Feasibility studies have also been made for pilot projects in Haiti, the Maldives, and Romania. Other proposals have been received from a number of developing countries and may be implemented at a later stage. The pilot projects in Benin, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda are implemented within the framework of the UN-System-wide Special Initiative for Africa. More information about the status of these projects is given in Annex 1.

All pilot projects are implemented in partnership with concerned national and international organizations, including, in some cases, the private sector.

Evaluation of Multipurpose Community Telecentre Pilot Projects

A common framework for evaluation of these pilot projects including research questions to be answered, indicators and tools is now being collaboratively developed among the partners. This will provide a broader research base, enable cross-cultural comparisons and facilitate the identification of "best practice" and sustainable and replicable models among the increasing number of pilot projects implemented under various development programmes.

The international community and social researchers have for some time been working on the development of indicators to measure the impact of ICT on social, economic and cultural development at a macro level.

Following a session on this theme at the Global Knowledge Conference (Toronto 97), the ITU initiated a computer mediated discussion focussed on the development of a common framework for evaluation of the MCT pilot projects [1]. This also involves development of indicators at institution and community levels and of methods for disaggregated information and data collection at micro level.

It was felt that the development of the evaluation framework should be done collaboratively by partners in the pilot projects and others who implement similar pilot projects and that this continuous process requires field testing of tentatively proposed the methodology and indicators. In May-June 1998 the first field test was carried out by the ITU in an evaluation of the ITU MCT pilot project implemented in 1996 in Suriname [2].

Simultaneously, an initial study carried out within the framework of the Evaluation and Learning Systems for Acacia (ELSA) of the IDRC's Acacia program proposed a Telecentre Research Framework, which provided additional inputs to the development of a common framework [3]. Staff members of UNESCO [4]and the Pact Institute [5], as well as the consultant [2], who carried out the evaluation in Suriname and his research group also contributed with inputs. Other members of the evaluation discussion group submitted valuable comments and suggestions.

In accordance with the objectives of the programme outlined above, the proposed framework will focus on the following broad research questions:

  • Does access to ICTs in rural areas contribute to social, economic and cultural development and, if so, how and what are the benefits?
  • Are there any adverse effects and, if so, which?
  • Do MCTs provide a sustainable way of providing universal access to ICTs and what are the conditions which must be met to make them economically viable and replicable? If not will they ever be and under which conditions? Are there other better ways?
  • What are the best practices for the set up, organization, management and operation of MCTs, including policies and regulations to promote the replication of such centres at the national scale based on private sector investment?

To answer these questions one needs to define and agree with stakeholders at all levels what is meant by "development" and identify observable indicators that will measure as many dimensions as possible of development at the following levels:

  • user level
  • MCT level
  • community level
  • project level
  • institutional level
  • national level
  • International level

The programme especially aims at enhancing participation of rural populations, particularly women and youth in democratic processes and to generate contribution to "development" in terms of transfer of "indigenous knowledge" from the local community to all other levels, including exchange of knowledge and experience among MCT projects in different countries.

Thus, indicators also need to be developed to measure:

  • local capacity for informed decision-making to enhance personal, institutional and community development in the areas of health, education, economy and general development;
  • the production of local information and knowledge to improve local knowledge structures and, at the same time, contribute to a better understanding at local, regional, national and international level of the specific needs of communities.

The proposed framework includes:

  • formative evaluation, which refers to continuously monitoring, with a view to identifying problems and opportunities, so as to remedy shortcomings and improve strategies, work plans and/or resource allocations, during the project , and
  • summative evaluation, which refers to an end-of-project assessment of achievement, cost-benefit and impact of the project, including lessons learned and guidelines for the establishment of MCTs.

Each of these will include:

  • product evaluation, which refers to the expected outputs of the project, i.e. to what degree have they (or other unintended outputs) been produced and what are the use, benefits and impacts of these products, with reference to the project objectives;
  • process evaluation, which refers to how the project was implemented, i.e. an attempt to assess to what degree the strategy and work plan were implemented, as planned, why changes were made and lessons learned for the establishment and operation of MCTs.

The methodology calls for a combination of participatory case-studies, focus groups and data collection across projects, before (base-line study), during and by the end of the pilot projects. It will involve all stakeholders and will rely heavily on nationals in the participating countries for the continuous data, and information collection and monitoring of the projects. It therefore includes the development and implementation of a stakeholders' learning system, to enable them to fully participate in and contribute to the evaluation.

The base-line study aims to get an overall picture of the specific characteristics, needs, resources and limitations of the community and the potential users/user groups and to establish the value of selected indicators before the MCT is starts to operate.

Thus, the base-line results will provide an input to:

  • formulate specific interventions to be designed around the MCT to stimulate learning for development, based on the identified needs for ICT and availability of transferable indigenous knowledge;
  • evaluate the project's impact on development and other outcomes (products and processes).

The evaluation involves also gathering information about expected and unexpected (side-) effects, generated by the project, in particular about any kind of community development activity, involving people at the community level, policy development at the national level, establishment of support structures at the national and community levels, private sector participation, effects of tariff changes, if any, synergy created by coordination with development agencies, NGOs and private sector funded projects or activities.

Comparative studies of similar communities which do not have MCTs is, at present, ruled out in the ITU programme due to limited resources for the evaluation. However, such comparisons are foreseen in the Acacia evaluation of the South African MCT pilot projects. Data collected in the South African evaluation exercise can also be used in the evaluation of the ITU programme to facilitate the difficult task of isolating impact attributed to the MCTs from other factors contributing to change.

Data and information will be collected at national, institutional, project and community level and it is recognized that stakeholder may emphasize different aspects of the evaluation and propose different indicators to measure aspects of particular interest to them.

It was agreed that two sets of measurable (qualitative and quantitative) indicators would be needed:

  • standard "core" indicators relevant to all pilot projects, to generate cross-project comparable data for the evaluation of project sustainability, effectiveness and impact, which will facilitate identification of best practice, replicable models; and
  • project specific indicators defined by local stakeholders to assess the sustainability and impact of an MCT within the specific context of the community and to meet the national and local stakeholders specific needs for information about the project. [4]

A large number of quantitative and qualitative indicators at national, institutional and community levels have been proposed (see Annex 2). It is expected that, by trial and error, some of this initial set of indicators will need to be specified further and that some of them will turn out to be too difficult or impossible to measure and monitor.

One aspect of the cost-benefit analysis, of particular interest to the ITU, is the costs of building and operating the MCT and the associated telecommunication network, in relation to the revenues generated for the MCT operator and the Telecom operator (the business case).

For this purpose, it is propose that the following information be collected:

  • costs, separated in:
  • investment costs (telecom) and investment costs (MCT facilities), including installation and initial training of operators and maintenance staff, as required, and indicating also No. of additional subscribers, served by the network built for the MCT community and possible discounts offered by suppliers for the pilot project only;
  • Administration, Operation and Maintenance (AO&M) costs (for telecom and MCT), including interconnection fees, etc.;
  • debt servicing and other finance costs;
  • tariffs for the various services offered by the MCT (and to individual subscribers serviced by the telecom network built for the MCT)
  • revenues for each of the services (monthly and annual);
  • forecast of future revenues;
  • technology used, including No. of voice and data channels, bandwidth, frequency bands, etc.
  • quality and grade of service, including fault rate, time to repair, time to access specified Internet sites, and other quality criteria to be determined;
  • Number and duration of incoming and outgoing calls (daily, monthly, annually);
  • Traffic data;
  • sources of finance, (including loans, equity participation, partnership arrangements, government subsidies, etc.).

From the above the sustainability of the MCT can be assessed and the commercial viability of the project can be calculated (including financial break-even year, Internal Rate of Return for the life of the MCT and the network, etc.)

Some questionnaires to map current information and communication processes and needs, and to collect the some information with reference to the proposed indicators have been drafted by the ITU and is now being collaboratively refined by the international and national partners involved (see Annex 3).

Pilot projects are by definition of a 'discovery' nature. It is therefore understood that the proposed evaluation framework model will develop and evolve considerably during implementation.

A rapidly increasing number of development agencies have now realized the potential of of MCTs or Community Information Centres as tools for development and are now either joining the ITU programme of MCT pilot as partners or starting similar pilot projects themselves. Sharing of information and lessons learned among all these initiatives is envisaged within the framework of Partnership for ICT in Africa (PICTA) and the Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP). This will also contribute to the development of the evaluation framework.

To meet growing demand for more information about Multipurpose Community Telecentres and to stimulate sharing of experience and resources developed in the MCT pilot projects, ITU/BDT will organize a series of five regional seminars/workshops on the subject in the coming year (1998-1999). Subject to availability of funds, these workshops are tentatively planned for Eastern Europe, The Arab States, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The objectives of these seminars are to:

  • raise awareness amongst decision and policy makers about the potential of MCTs to promote economic and social evelopment in rural and remote areas and "best practice" policies for promotion and replication of the MCT models.
  • provide participants with the information they need to develop business plans and options for financial strategies;
  • bring together nationals involved in MCT pilot projects partners to share information, experiences and best practices;

Concerned international organizations are invited to partner with the ITU in these seminars.

In particular they are invited to contribute speakers to highlight the ways that ICTs can foster development and participative democracy through applications in the fields of health, education, agriculture and trade, government-on-line, etc. and to sponsor participation of nationals from their respective sector or projects.

Some preliminary conclusions from the evaluation of the Suriname MCT pilot project.


Two basic telecentres, each comprising public phones, a fax and a computer were established in 1996 and 1997 respectively in the interior of Suriname where there were no communication facilities, nor any continuos electrical power supply before the establishment of the telecentres and the associated infrastructure. The telecom technology used is inexpensive a fixed cellular communication system, linked to the the national network by a digital microwave link built by the project. The equipment is solar powered, with batteries and a generator, which works during evening hours or in case of cloudy weather.

The The Brownsweg "MCT" is located in a rural community of scattered villages in the jungle in the Brokopondo district at a distance of some 160 Km. from the capital Paramaribo. The centre occupies some 20 m2. of the ground floor in a small building shared with other local government offices, in particular a primary health centre on the first floor. The facilities were clean and the equipment in good working order at the time of the evaluation. On the front there is a sign saying "Telephone-Facsimile-Data Communications-Paging", yet the latter two services are not effectively delivered on a regular basis at the time of the evaluation.

The Gujaba MCT is located in the heart of a Bushnegro community in the upper Suriname River, some 240 Km. from Paramaribo. Access to the village of Gujaba is by river, only by canoes or small motorboats), since there are no roads. The surface of Gujaba MCT is slightly bigger than the Brownsweg MCT but it has only one telephone line to serve the facilities which is often out of order due to power problems (fuel for the diesel does not always come in time).

Also some individual subscribers (village chiefs, etc.) in both regions have been provided with cell-phones using the same cellsites.

Preliminary findings and lessons learned

The pilot project was to include also the development and testing of a range of public and private information and communication services, relevant to the needs of the people in the interior. Therefore, at an early stage other potential partners and stakeholders, including the Ministries of Education and Health; UNESCO, WHO/PAHO and a number of national and international NGOs, as well as the local authorities in the concerned villages were invited to participate in, and to contribute to the project. Most of these organizations and government agencies expressed their interest and intention to participate in the pilot project. Regrettably, this has not materialized yet.

It was initially planned to upgrade the two basic telecentres to fully-fledged MCTs with several multimedia stations for user training in computer and communication skills and to test applications such as tele-education, telemedicine, videoconferencing, and also to provide facilities for community radio and video production. In subsequent phases of the project, a number of additional telecentres and network access points were to be implemented in other regions of the interior. Once fully accomplished, the plan claimed it would provide access to telecommunications for some 80% of the rural population in the interior.

However, funding for the subsequent phases could not be mobilized. Hence, at present, neither the infrastructure, nor the services originally envisaged are implemented. Naturally, this adversely affected the proposed outcomes; the telecentres at Brownsweg and Gujaba are presently limited to only public telephony, a little fax usage and some occasional work in the single PC units, still in place at each location.

Critical aspects, such as marketing, promotion, introduction and development of new services, partnership enlargement, customer training and service, etc. have been almost entirely disregarded. As a result of the lack of market research and follow-up information systems including customer surveys, little data is currently available to support planning and decisions influencing subsequent phases of the project.

Information was generally not available or hard to get by. For example, there are no official, desegregated data from the villages of Brownsweg and Gujaba available at the village level. It is estimated that there are roughly 3'000 inhabitants (600-800 households) in Brownsweg and neighboring villages and some 1000 inhabitants (300 households) in Gujaba. There are several small primary schools and health centres in both areas. Economic activities, besides subsistence forming, include forestry and gold mining. A number small NGOs are active in the areas.

A short-term target of 10% users among the population, based on experiences elsewhere, would yield 300 prospective customers for Brownsweg and 100 for Gujaba. However, in fact there are 3 to 5 times less customers at present. PCs usage is very scarce and there are no training or educational services. Nevertheless, a survey found that over 96% of the locals are willing to attend any kind of training courses on a 2 to 6 hours a week basis, if these are offered free of charge at the MCT locations. Subjects like "Food Preparation", "Fishing", "First-aid and other health care matters", and "Woodcarving and other works in soft wood" were among the courses demanded. Experiences from the "Cybercafé" inaugurated in 1998 in the capital, Paramaribo and currently run by entrepreneurs also indicates that the demand and business opportunities do exist.

From a baseline customer survey carried out at Gujaba, it appears that about 43% had an income of less than US$33 per month. Only two respondents earned more than US$ 222/month.

Preliminary findings indicate that the lower income group is prepared to spend more than 3% of their available income, as compared with a word average of about 1.5%, reflecting the lack of alternatives for communication and the high opportunity cost (long and cumbersome travel).

With this small customer base, limited service offerings and relatively high operational costs, the telecentres are currently not commercially viable and the project has not achieved the objectives.

Some of the reasons the failure (besides those indicated above) to achieve the project objectives are:

  • lack of marketing, awareness building and user training
  • raise of tariffs in 1998 (the tariffs more than doubled to rebalance reduction in international tariffs, forced by competition)
  • competition from individual subscribers who resell communication services at lower price
  • Technical problems and limitations, e.g. the inexpensive fixed cellular technology used is not suitable for applications requiring higher bandwidth than 9.6 kbs, the solar panels did not generate enough power as cloudy periods were more than predicted, equipment out of order, due to maintenance problems and/or lack of power, etc.;
  • short opening time (government office hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.);
  • congestion at the Internet gateway in Paramaribo (adversely affecting access to emailing and Internet in the MCTs).

Web Site - Universal Access and Rural Development

A web site for sharing information and resources about pilot projects has been set up. A significant amount of information related to Universal Access, telecentres and rural telecom development, as well as information pertaining to regional seminars, is now available. (See


  • Some preliminary ideas regarding MCT Pilot project Evaluation, by Johan Ernberg, ITU (email to the discussion group, April 1998)
  • Preliminary report on the MCT project evaluation - Republic of Suriname, by Darío M. Goussal, Universidad Nacional del Nordeste (UNNE), Argentina, June 1998
  • Telecentre research framework for Acacia by Anne Whyte, Mestor Associates, Canada, June 1998 Evaluation of the Multipurpose Community Telecentre (MCT) Pilot Projects by Jeanette Vogelaar. UNESCO (email to the discussion group, June 1998)
  • Evaluation of the Multipurpose Community Telecentre (MCT) Pilot Projects by Jeanette Vogelaar. UNESCO (email to the discussion group, June 1998) Proposal to Collect Baseline Data for the Multipurpose Community Telecentre (MCT) projects and to Establish a Participatory Results-Oriented Learning System for MCT Operations submitted by Pact Institute to the discussion group, August 1998
  • Proposal to Collect Baseline Data for the Multipurpose Community Telecentre (MCT) projects and to Establish a Participatory Results-Oriented Learning System for MCT Operations submitted by Pact Institute to the discussion group, August 1998

Annex 1

Update on Multipurpose Community Telecentre Pilot Projects

A summary of the situation regarding MCT pilot projects as of October 1998 is given below.


BDT has pledged a total contribution of some US$ 500'000 for 5 MCT pilot projects in Benin, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda. This programme is to be implemented within the BAAP P9 and the framework of the UN Special Initiative for Africa, in partnership with national partners, UNESCO and IDRC, each of whom have pledged matching contributions to this programme. Other agencies are now joining. Typically, national partners, in particular the national Telecommunication operator, contribute with some 50% of the total project cost.


Project site: Malanville. Duration: 3 years. Starting date: End 1998 (to be confirmed)

International partners: ITU, UNESCO/DANIDA, IDRC and possibly CIDA. UNDP/SDNP has developed a complementary proposal for a project in Benin and expressed the intention to participate in the pilot project (not yet defined).

National partners: OPT plus concerned Ministries and local authorities

Status: Project Document not yet finalized. Draft proposal, including preliminary business plan, received in 1997, following ITU missions (preparatory assistance). A joint ITU/UNESCO/IDRC/UNDP (SDNP) mission together with representatives of potential local partners visited Malanville in April 98 and reported that local authorities and user groups are very enthusiastic. A local project committee has been established and local authorities have offered to contribute to the project by providing land and building.

A joint IDRC/UNESCO mission was also undertaken to Cotonou and Malanville in August 98 to assist in finalizing the project document (report not yet available).

An ITU consultant carried out a mission to Benin in September/October 98 with the task of assisting in the planning and specification of the VSAT system for the MCT in Malanville (preparatory assistance funded by BAAP P9).


Project site: Timbuktu, Duration: 3 years. Starting date: 1 December. 97 (delayed to January 98).

International partners: ITU, UNESCO/DANIDA, IDRC, FAO, WHO

National partners: SOTELMA, National Commission for UNESCO, Ministère de la Culture et du Tourism

Status: Project Document signed (by all the above partners, except WHO and local authorities) in December97/January 98. Since then FAO has joined the project. FAO has a community radio project which may be complementary to the MCT pilot project. WHO has expressed the intention to join.

National executing agency: SOTELMA. SOTELMA will initially be responsible for the operation of the MCT. By the end of the pilot project, the intention is to hand it over to the local authority/association and/or that it be operated by a franchisee.


The National and local steering committees have been established. A national project co-ordinator was appointed in October. As part of the start up activities, a workshop was organized in Timbuktu in May 1998 to develop training plans for the various user groups. Some 40 representatives, consisting of local Malian partners and user groups, participated in the workshop.

The MCT is now operating in temporary premises in an underused wing of the local hospital, while awaiting the construction of a building, provided by the local community, to be located in an attractive setting in the centre of Timbuktu. The existing Domsat link Timbuktu - Bamako will be upgraded to handle a leased 64 kbs line to the MCT.

Short-term international volunteers have been active in helping to install PCs and to establish the network. They are also providing the local community with training and on how to use personal computers and Internet applications such as e-mail and the WWW. A Web site has been established for the Timbuktu project (hosted on a server in Bamako).  


Project site: Mahnica and Namaacha, Duration: 4 years. Starting date: end 1998
International partners: ITU, UNESCO/DANIDA, IDRC

National partners: Eduardo Mondlane University Informatics Centre (CIUEM)

Status: Feasibility study and development of project proposal with tentative business plan done by national team with members from CIUEM, TDM (Mozambique Telecommunication Company) and social sciences, funded by IDRC and with support of the Mozambique Acacia Advisory Committee Secretariat (MAACS). Project approved by IDRC (?) will be revised after planned round-table meeting with partners.


The ITU is currently studying a proposal to set up a series of Multipurpose Community Telecentres in small towns and rural areas in Senegal. Other agencies like CIDA and the World Bank have expressed interest.


Project site: Sengerema, Duration: 3 years. Starting date: 1999.

International partners: ITU, UNESCO/DANIDA, IDRC (and possibly CIDA)

National partners (proposed) Tanzania Telecom Company Ltd., Ministry of Health, Ministry of Science, Technology & Environment (COSTECH), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Peoples Communities, local Government, Open University in Tanzania, Hospital and Health organizations in provinces/area, Local industries and/or sales offices in Tanzania, DATEL

Status: Project Document still to be finalized. Initial proposal received 1996. Revised draft proposal received in 1997 following joint ITU/UNESCO mission (preparatory assistance). A joint ITU/UNESCO/IDRC mission together with representatives of potential local partners visited Tanzania to assist in finalizing project document in September 98.


Project site: Nakaseke, Duration: 3 years. Starting date: 1 Oct. 97 (delayed to January 98).

International partners: ITU, UNESCO/DANIDA, IDRC, British Council

National partners: Uganda Telecom Ltd. (UTL), Uganda Public Library Board and Uganda National Commission for UNESCO

Status: Project document signed (by all the above partners) in December97/January 98.

National executing agency: National UNESCO Commission in collaboration with other national partners. However the telecom infrastructure required to link the Nakaseke MCT with Kampala will be executed by Uganda Telecom Ltd. (UTL former UPTC) and a separate agreement with ITU is being developed which will stipulate how they will use the ITU contribution allocated for this purpose.


National and local steering committees have been established. A national co-ordinator has been appointed. The Nakaseke sub-county council will initially own the MCT.  After three years, transfer of ownership to a private entrepreneur is envisaged.

The Uganda Telecom Ltd. (UTL) is providing the telecommunication link to Nakaseke, waiving the justification in terms of economic potential and financial viability normally required. The cost of this link will be partly covered by the ITU contribution allocated for this purpose. The link is expected to be in operation by December 1998.

The local council provides the building for the MCT, currently being refurbished and secured.  The council will also be responsible for providing local assistants and ensuring maintenance. A small branch library based in the Telecentre is already stocked with donated books and the IDRC, within the framework of its Acacia programme, will fund the implementation of 4 additional MCTs in Uganda that will be linked to Nakaseke pilot project.

The Nakaseke Multipurpose Community Telecentre is expected to start operating by the end of 1998.




Project site: Valle de Angeles Duration: 3 years (approx.) Starting date: End 1998

International Partners: ITU, UNESCO, and UNDP/SDNP

National partners: Hondutel and local authorities

National Executing Agency: Hondutel

Status: Draft project document prepared and reviewed by Hondutel (now being revised)

ITU has funded a study of the network for MCTs in Honduras and the preparation of a prototype web page for the MCT. Round table meeting with potential partners held in June 98. (preparatory assistance)



Site, duration and starting dates not yet defined

Feasibility study for an MCT pilot project, funded by ITU being carried out in August 1998 (report will be available in October).



Project site: Brownsweg and Gujaba Duration: 1 year. Starting date: January 1996

International partners: ITU, Dutch Government, Berocan International, Canada Northern Telecom (in kind), UNESCO (complementary project), WHO (to be defined)

National partners: Telesur, concerned Ministries and NGOs

Status: First phase, including the base line evaluation May 98 (report pending).




Project site: Jakar Duration: 3 years. Starting date: October 1997.

International partners: ITU, UNESCO, FAO, WHO and bilateral agencies (Danida and Dutch) have expressed their intention to participate. Telemedicine equipment (X-ray scanner and software) offered by Japanese supplier. IDRC is implementing a complementary project aiming at the establishment of an Intranet in Bhutan and will collaborate in capacity building.

National partners: Division of Telecom, Bhutan. Other proposed partners include the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and the hospitals in Jakar.

National executing agency: Telecom Division, Royal Government of Bhutan. National Co-ordinator appointed.

Status: Feasibility study carried out with ITU assistance in 1996. Project document signed by RGoB in May 98. The project started in 1997 on the basis of exchange of correspondence between the BDT and the Division of Telecom, implying mutual acceptance of the project.


Equipment has been purchased and will be installed in November/December 98. Mission to identify telemedicine applications carried out in 1997. The MCT building is being refurbished. Training will start at this time and the MCT will be connected to the Intranet to be implemented with assistance from the IDRC.


Project site: 12 MCTs in rural villages in the Rajkot, State of Gujarat. Duration: 3 approximately years Starting date: End 1998 (tentatively).

International partners: ITU, UNESCO. Other international partners who have indicated intention to participate include FAO, WHO and CIDA

National partners (to be confirmed): Department of Telecommunications (DOT), India: and State Government of Gujarat: other proposed partners include National Diary Development Board, Worldtel, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Health and the hospitals in Rajkot.

National executing agency: DOT or State Government of Gujarat (to be defined)

Status: Feasibility studies and business plan, including project proposal was prepared with minimum ITU support and submitted in 1997. Following a roundtable meeting with potential partners in May 1998, the project document now being revised. A draft MOU has also been prepared and now awaiting comments national partners.


Feasibility study and preliminary project proposal carried out in January 98 under BAAP P9. Four islands tentatively short listed.



Project site: Two MCTs in villages in the Dac Lac province, two MCTs in villages in the Ha Bac province. Duration: 3 years. Starting date: March 1998.

International partners: ITU, Sida, Sweden, Ericsson, Siemens, Sagem. UNESCO, FAO, WHO, UNIDO and International Red Cross/Red Crescent have expressed their intention to participate.

National partners: DGPT/VNPT and local partners. Other proposed partners include Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and hospitals in the concerned regions and Ministry of Science and Technology.

National executing agency: VNPT

Status: Agreements with Sida signed in 1995 (for preparatory assistance) and 1997. Project Document signed by ITU and DGPT, Vietnam in February 98. National project coordinator appointed.


Networks for the two regions are being planned in collaboration with suppliers (private sector partners). Preliminary plans for development of services and applications have been prepared with assistance from international partners. Mission to identify telemedicine applications undertaken in 1997. Mission of 3 ITU experts (review of work plan, project planning and telemedicine applications) will take place in October 1998. Vietnam plans to convert post offices throughout the country to become MCTs in a longer perspective.



Project site: Balotesti. Duration: 3 years? Starting date: 99?

International partners(proposed): ITU, UNDP

National partners (proposed): ROM Telecom, Prisma supermarket

National executing agency: ROM Telecom (to be confirmed)


Status: Feasibility study and business plan, including project proposal was prepared by ITU consultant under BAAP P9 in November 1996.

* * *

Annex 2: Preliminary proposal for indicators

  1. General information about the community

- population (age and gender distribution)

- type of settlement (isolated, scattered, along road, river, in the jungle, in the mountains, on an island, etc.)

- role of NGOs and other development agencies

(descriptive information about projects and programmes and their effectiveness

· income

- primary and secondary sources of income

- height of income

- income distribution

- employment rate

· services and other businesses

- non-formal vs formal sector

- type of services

- local businesses

- in-come generating activities/programmes

2. Communication means and information resources

· physical infrastructure

- road network

- road conditions

- transport availability and accessibility

- % households with electricity/water/

· communication means (telephone/fax/radio/meetings)

- access and availability ( % households with telephone/fax/computers)

- public phones/fax

- costs

- reliability

· media (newspapers, radio, television)

- access and availability ( % households with radio/TV/newspapers)

- other access points to TV/radio

- costs

- production

· libraries

- access

- available resources

- usage

- costs

3. Local government

· structure and organization

- specific responsibilities

- budget and expenditures

- existing processing of dissemination of government and community information

· community participation (per gender and age groups)

- voting percentage

- community representation at district and national level

4. Education (formal and non-formal)

· access and participation (by gender)

- enrolment

- attendance

  • human, material and financial inputs

- public and individual expenditure

- number of primary and secondary schools

- % of qualified teachers

- staff development programmes

- physical conditions (safe drinking water, electricity, sanitation)

- furniture, chalkboards, and other basic teaching aids

- % of books per student

- resource centre/library

· community involvement and participation

- parents/community association

- community activities

· specific characteristics of education

- language of instruction

- curriculum

- diversity of teaching methods

· achievements/outcomes (by gender)

- completion rates

- repetition rates

- drop-out rates

- passing marks final examinations

- literacy rates

5. Health

· basic data

- maternity mortality

- population growth

- life expectation

· nutrition

- breastfeeding

- underweight, wasting or stunting

- average calorie intake

- vitamin deficiencies

· sanitation

- access to safe drinking water

- access to adequate sanitation

· health care and predominant illnesses

- access to hospital or health clinic and equipment/resources of these

- doctor/population ratio

- basic health programmes

- vaccinations

- costs of health services

- traditional healers

- prevalence of predominant illnesses (AIDS, malaria, etc.)

6. Agriculture, forestry and fishery

· production

- primary crops

- derived crops

- primary livestock

- processed products

- primary fishery products

- processed products

- fuel wood

- wood for furniture

- pulp, paper and paperboard

- fruits and vegetable

- flowers

· trade:

- in the above products

· prices:

- production costs

- consumer prices

· land:

- ownership

- land use

- irrigation

· means of production:

- agricultural machinery

- fertilizers

- pesticides

· food aid:

- quantity

- type

7. Services and other businesses (SMEs)

- productivity/profitability

- prices

- volume of trade

8. Culture

To be developed

9. Environment

To be developed

ANNEX 3 - MCT Evaluation

ID No.

Questionnaire No 1 - (Potential) User Profile

(please use block letters)

This information should be captured before the MCT is implemented from a representative sample of inhabitants in the community. The persons interviewed could then be revisited periodically and any changes recorded as part of the impact evaluation. Each person should be given an id-number which can be used every time he/she uses the MCT facilities (if they do), when information about usage will be recorded (see Questionnaire No. 2- usage).

1. Name(optional):

2. Residence: town rural village outside town/village other what?

Homeless? Yes NO

Name of commune/village/town

3. Age: less than 10 years 10-20 21-30 31- 40 41-50 51-60 over 60 years

4. Sex: Masculine Feminine

5. Family status: Are you: single married divorced other

6. Functionally literate (can you read and write) Yes No a little

7.Education: None 1-3 years primary 4-6 years primary 1-2 years secondary

completed secondary 1-2 years post-secondary university degree other what?

8. Languages: English French Spanish Other (indicate mother tongue):

9. Employment status: unemployed employed by: community government

non-governmental organization cooperative private company self-employed retired

If employed, in which sector? agriculture husbandry commerce tourism handicraft fishing services (garage, repair shop gas station, plumber, electrician, etc.) student other What?

Name of organization where you are employed (if applicable)

State your Profession (if any):

10. Income level: None less than minimum wage 1-2 m. w. 3-4 m. w. 5-6 m. w. 7-8 m.w. 9-10 m. w. 11-15 m. w. 16-20 m. w. More than 20 m.w.

11. Availability of, and Exposure to ICT

Tick the box for each of the following items that you have used in your home, in your job or in some other place (in a friends house, a public phone, a Telecentre, etc.).

At home At your job Elsewhere If elsewhere, Where?
Telephone telephone telephone  
fax fax fax  
computer computer computer  
modem modem modem  
printer printer printer  
email email email  
Internet Internet Internet  
typewriter typewriter typewriter  
radio photocopier photocopier  

12. What kind of information do you need? Information about:

Where, and how I can get education or learn new skills health care Welfare programmes How to improve my/our business Who wants my/our products and where Current prices of my/our products Things I need to buy Available jobs Social/cultural events

books and research studies Weather How to improve my crops Taxes

Other matters What?

13. What kind of information do you need most?

14. If you can't read or write, would you like to learn to do this? Yes No Don't know

15. Would you like to learn another language? Yes No Don't know

If yes, which language?

16. What else would you like to learn?

17. What kind of information would you like to give to people outside your community?

Information about: what I am doing what I am selling what I can do (I look for a job)

our culture our social events other What?

18. Do you do business (sell or by products or services) with people in:

your community neighboring villages town(s) the capital other countries

19. Do you have friends or relatives in:

your community neighboring villages town(s) the capital other countries

20. Needs for information and communication tools

In the table below indicate tools you need by marking the appropriate boxes (for what purpose and how often)

Tool For what purpose (s)? How often?*
equipment social education health business security other


Daily weekly monthly occas.
Computer for office                    
Computer for email                    
Computer for Internet                    

21. Would you be interested in renting an office with all the above facilities on an hourly basis if the price was right? Yes No Don't know If yes, How often?

22. If you don't have a telephone is this because it is: too expensive

difficult/impossible to get one No need other reason What?

  1. Do you read books? frequently sometimes never

24. If you read books, what do you like most to read?

25. If you don't, why?

I am not interested no time Books are not available I can't afford them can't read

26. Do you read newspapers or magazines? frequently sometimes never

27. If you do, what do you like most to read?

28. If you don't, why?

I am not interested no time they are not available I can't afford them can't read

29. Do you listen to radio? frequently sometimes never

30. If you do, What do you like most to listen to?

31. If you don't, why? I am not interested no time can't afford to buy radio don't know anybody with radio no radio broadcast where I live no electricity (battery)

32. Do you watch TV? frequently sometimes never

33. If you do, what do you like most to watch?

34. If you don't, why? I am not interested no time can't afford TV There is there is no other place to watch TV no TV broadcast where I live no electricity

35. Do you go to the movies or other shows? frequently sometimes No

36. If you do, what type of films/shows do you like most?

37. If you don't, why?

I am not interested no time there are no films/shows where I live

37. Do you watch video tapes? Yes, frequently Yes, sometimes No

38. If you do, what types of video tapes do you like most?

39. If you don't, why? I am not interested no time can't afford the equipment

There is no place I have not access to video tape player or video tapes no electricity

40. If you had access to a computer what would you use it for?

Word processing spreadsheet graphics other what: Don't know

41. What other sources of information do you use?

42. Which type of social cultural and religious events do you attend?


43. Perception of Public services

Indicate your level of satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the following public services in your community (if available) or wherever else they are available:

Service very dissatisfied rather dissatisfied rather satisfied very satisfied Explain
Government information          
Community information          

44. TRAVEL How often do you visit the following, and for what purpose?

How often:

for travel
Neighboring villages            
Neighboring town(s)            
Distant town(s)            
The capital            
Other places
in your country
Other countries            

45. To which place outside your village do you go most often?

46. Name of village/town/city: 47.Distance (km):

48. Means of transport: 49. Time required one way: 50.Cost of transport:

51. Average time spent away from home on these trips:(hours/days/months)

52. Why do you go there?

53. Would you travel less if you had access in your community to the communication and information technology tools described in Question 11 above? Yes No Don't know

55. Would you travel less if you had access to video and or TV in your community?

Yes No Don't know


MCT evaluation ID No.

Questionnaire No 2 - Usage

The information gathered by means of Questionnaire 1 should ideally be recorded in a "profile" database, indexed by the ID No., so that usage can easily be related to user and all the data more easily analyzed. Using the ID No. to identify the user only the following information of his/her usage needs to be recorded at each visit to the MCT (and preferably entered in "usage" database, linked to the profiles database). Some of this could be automatically recorded with appropriate software (e.g. what is used, how computers, email and Internet is used (software used, destination of email and URLs visited).

1. Indicate which facilities/services you have used during your visit to the MCT and for what purpose (by crossing the appropriate box) as well as for how long time and at what cost.

Facilities Purpose? time/cost
Service Social Educ. Health Business Security Other Time



Books, papers Magazines
(library service)
(stand alone)
Office facilities                
Secretarial work done for you
by MCT staff
Other facilities or services
provided by MCT, what?
TOTAL amount charged by the MCT      

2. The time spent in the MCT was: wasted of a little value to me of some value to me

of great value to me

3. How did you (will you) benefit from using the MCT (if you did benefit)?



4. What would you have done if the MCT didn't exist? Nothing/Don't know Used the facility of somebody else in my community gone to the nearest place with the facility/service I needed

5. If you would have used the facility of somebody else in your community, how much would it cost (in local currency)?

6. I you had gone somewhere else (outside your village), where would you go?

Name of village/town/city: Distance (km):

Means of transport: Time required one way: Cost of transport (round trip):

Average time spent away from home on these trips:(hours/days/months)

7. How much is your time worth to you in terms of money?

8. How much did you save by using the MCT?

9. In what way will the fact that you have access to an MCT change your life (if at all)

10. Were the services provided: poor adequate good very good

11. Proposals for improvement of the MCT services




Thank you.

MCT evaluation

ID no.

Questionnaire No. 3 - user perception of impact

Changes in people's profiles (needs, occupation, education, perception of public services, etc.) collected periodically (yearly?) by means of Questionnaire No. 1 will tell something about the impact.

What people use in the MTC and for what purpose, what they learn, perceived benefits, savings, etc., and how this change over time, can be assessed by analyzing the data collected by means of Questionnaire No. 2 each time a user visits the MCT. This provides further inputs to the impact evaluation.

Longitudinal studies of statistics on education, health care, commercial activities, taxes, etc. as well as interviews with stakeholders, national and local institutions and authorities, focus groups, etc. will provide additional inputs.

This questionnaire could be used to find out how users in a community feel that the availability of the MCT has impacted their lives (through periodic interviews with a representative sample of both users and non users).

  1. Have you used the MCT Yes No If "No" go to question N. 6
  2. If yes, have this helped you to: learn to read and write find the information you need find the books and documents you want to read improve your results in school acquire a diploma get a job sell more of your products services improve the productivity of your business reduced your travelling acquire a diploma communicate more with friends and relatives participate more in social and political life of your community or country Other


  1. What have you valued most in the MCT?


  1. What do you miss most in the MCT?


  1. In what way has the MCT changed your life (if any)?


  1. If you haven't used the MCT, why not?




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