SATNET (Southern Africa Telecentre Network) as a regional telecentre network is a great channel and fertile platform for the establishment of local content and services through coordinated efforts with national telecentre networks and individual telecentres. Telecentres have continued to play an important role in the realization of sustainable community development. However, the effective achievement of this, to a large extent depends on the appropriateness, dynamicity, relevance, and authenticity of content and services. “There is an increasing recognition that networks can leverage content and services development, including the creation, packaging, training and provision of support services. Those content and services activities can then be replicated and distributed at the local and international level (such as through other TCNs). Herein lies the power of a telecentre network.” States the Guidebook for Managing Telecentre Networks-Content and Services.
As telecentres transform into knowledge hubs, SATNET has embarked on rising to the challenge of supporting it’s national telecentre networks and subsequently individual telecentres in a transformation process that will ensure telecentres in Southern Africa becomes knowledge hubs. Individual telecentres can contribute to content development from telecentre networks by gathering information and knowledge from their communities. This may cover farming processes, trading opportunities, traditional herbal medicine, or local cultural practices for example. Telecentres have become a key source of data about local communities by development agencies and research organizations.
Many services will further empower rural people’s access to information and knowledge to improve livelihoods and attain sustainable development. Apart from new information sources, the revolution process will tolerate new partnerships, participation and innovation. These will in-turn capture slivered and inadequately utilised knowledge to strengthen knowledge networks in the region. Besides, this new plan will consider an inclusive approach that will involve the grassroot communities-the local people in the transformation process. In the October, 2012 workshop, participants emphasized on engaging local people in the development of local content as one key component as the network embarks on building sustainable knowledge hubs.