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Telecentre Sustainability

Information

Telecentre Sustainability

This group serves as the resource base on telecentre sustainability in addition to providing a platform to discuss various sustainability issues and challenges affecting the world wide telecentre movement.  

Website: http://www.telecentre.org/notes/Telecentre_Sustainability
Location: Global
Members: 60
Latest Activity: Apr 1

Telecentre Sustainability Literature Review: Executive Summary, Shipra Sharma

The literature review has revealed that the issue of sustainability is so central to the telecentre domain that it is not possible to segregate the telecentre sustainability literature completely from the mainstream telecentre literature consisting of case studies, telecentre typology and usage pattern, telecentre cookbooks, impact evaluation and other kinds of telecentre project monitoring and evaluation studies. Still, there is no widely accepted definition of telecentre sustainability. It generally refers to various challenges characteristic of the telecentre enterprise as well as a number of external factors.

The lack of sustainability in the telecentre enterprise could be attributed to some of the key challenges specific to the telecentre field, like the dilemma of balancing between profit making and community development; the challenge of selling a unique genre of services and products, like ‘information’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘skills’ to the rural and poor communities; and struggling with technical and infrastructure issues.   

More often, financial sustainability has been defined as a telecentre’s ability to cover its operating costs. This definition traces its legacy to the donor funded pilot telecentre projects implemented in the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. After the exit of the donors, financially, ‘breaking even’ and being able to pay for all the expenses incurred in running the telecentre and maintaining the infrastructure available at the telecentre was their main pursuit in terms of sustainability.  In the researcher’s view, it is a narrow definition, especially when telecentres are projected as social enterprises run by social entrepreneurs, who would like to generate surplus revenue to support themselves and their families too in addition to covering the operating costs.

Community acceptance and participation are also crucial for long term telecentre sustainability. Studies have suggested various means to achieve it, like community ownership; bottom up planning and establishment of telecentres; considering the telecentres as ‘Commons’, more specifically as the ‘physical commons’, which are traditionally maintained and looked after by the community.

From governance and operational point of view, a number of researchers have highlighted the role of ‘telecentre leader’, ‘champion’ and ‘entrepreneur’ in making the telecentre a sustainable enterprise. The missionary zeal of such individuals can help in translating and demonstrating the relevance and application of ICTs and telecentres to the realities of the community and generating a demand for them. Case studies have also revealed that generally, the most successful and sustainable telecentres are run by business driven social entrepreneurs, who can innovate and think out of the box.

Since the telecentres need a conducive policy environment to grow, the studies have indicated that the government, especially in the developing countries, should come forward to take the initial steps, like providing state subsidies, to help them fulfil their development objectives. The government can also support the telecentres by framing a national policy that can give visibility and help mobilise resources for building the infrastructure and programmes that promote telecentres. In many countries e- Governance is also emerging as an important service that also provides respectability to the telecentres.  

In view of the multi-stakeholder nature of the telecentre enterprise, partnerships and networking play vital roles in making the telecentres sustainable. This is the way forward for developing a nurturing telecentre ecosystem that can ensure sustainability for telecentres.

Discussion Forum

Telecentres and Sustainability, 23-25 May, 2011, Bangkok, Thailand, Day I 2 Replies

The sustainability concern reigns supreme in the telecentre domain. It has become so important that in the telecentre context, Bill Gates’ statement, ‘Content is King’ can be easily modified as ‘Sustainability is King’. If telecentres are not…Continue

Tags: sustainability, telecentre networks, telecentre sustainability, telecentros, telecentres.

Started by Shipra Sharma. Last reply by Shipra Sharma Jul 12, 2012.

Telecentres and Sustainability Training Workshop, 23-25 May, 2011, Bangkok, Thailand: A Report 2 Replies

1. IntroductionThe sustainability concern reigns…Continue

Tags: sustainability, itu, intel, telecentre, telecentre sustainability

Started by Shipra Sharma. Last reply by Shipra Sharma Jul 12, 2012.

Literary Resources on Telecentre Sustainability 7 (In chronological order with brief description) 2 Replies

31.    A discussion posted by Fatema Begum Labony on the www.telecentre.org website (dated July 2009). Social Sustainability vs. Financial sustainability, which one is appropriate for telecentre initiatives?…Continue

Tags: telecentre sustainability, telecentre, sustainability, social enterprise

Started by Shipra Sharma. Last reply by Shipra Sharma Apr 29, 2011.

Literary Resources on Telecentre Sustainability 8 (In chronological order with brief description)

36.    Wikipaedia article on telecentre in general, but also contains a small section on telecentre sustainability http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecentre. They contend that…Continue

Tags: telecentre sustainability, telecentre, sustainability, social enterprise

Started by Shipra Sharma Apr 26, 2011.

Literary Resources on Telecentre Sustainability 6 (In chronological order with brief description)

26.    Abbasi, Salma (2007) Role of Telecentres in Gender Empowerment: Do telecentres really work for women? Royal Holloway, University of London, 30th August 2007.…Continue

Tags: telecentre sustainability, telecentre, sustainability, social enterprise

Started by Shipra Sharma Apr 26, 2011.

Literary Resources on Telecentre Sustainability 5 (In chronological order with brief description)

21.    Bailur, Savitha (2006) Using stakeholder theory to analyse telecentre projects, 2007 The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Information Technologies and International Development, Volume 3, Number 3, Spring 2006, 61–80.…Continue

Tags: telecentre sustainability, telecentre, sustainability, social enterprise

Started by Shipra Sharma Apr 26, 2011.

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