I observed that the telecentre.org is gloriously accomplishing its plans for the global communities as a whole from the time the final version was released a year ago. It has laid a very strong foundation in terms of building networks, creating content and services, sharing knowledge and connecting networks.
To illustrate, telecentre.org had been like a mother to the telecentres. Its business plans were successfully delivered to its children or members.
As telecentre.org’s rainbow of strong investments continue to improve the capabilities and sustainability of telecentres around the world, the realistic path to sustainability remains a big challenge.
Like a mother who prepared for the birth of her baby, the focus is now on how to fully equip him and nurture him as if raise him up to be a sustainable global community.
For telecentre champions, sustaining them would mean sustaining their clients, too. We have here a relationship to the third degree. As one of telecentre.org's identified group, they are also a model to their clients. They have to persuade the community members of the benefits of the telecentre. Among others, it is essential to not only reach out to them but to actually make a big impact in their lives. With this accomplishment, the members of the community, through their personal testimony, would continue to influence other members. Based on my experiences in handling community outreaches, I realized that meeting their primary needs would enable them to appreciate the services offered by a program or center. Replicating the services offered by private cafes or internet centers would also be another good resource for sustainability. If people pay for such services, I assume that it would be the same in telecentres. As we shift our focus on client’s needs, I assume that our clients will also meet ours.
As the telecentre champions respond to the needs of its community, telecentre.org can continue to strengthen the needs of these champions. Relevant trainings, competency standards through assessment and certification programs, knowledge exchange conferences, “lakbay aral” or tour to other telecentres, scholarships, grants and other programs beneficial to this group would give them a sense of responsibility and belongingness. These competent leaders would be great assets to their telecentres.
While the saying goes: “two heads good, three better”, telecentre champions can later encourage young adult or out of school youths (OSY) to volunteer and be trained in the telecentre. These youth who use to hang out in telecentre to use its services would be grateful if they would be trained. By the time they would want to pursue to a more challenging career, training other OSYs during the time frame would answer the need for additional skilled telecentre champions. It takes about a year for us to train OSYs to be considered skilled in telecentre operations. As they took pleasure in working in the telecentre, they are able to recommend others who also become trainees. Training them “on-the-job” by equipping them with basic computer skills reap a great harvest. In fact, some of our OSYs decided to stay in our telecentre for good as both parties benefit from this strategy.
At the global level
As the telecentre.org continually contribute to improve, sustain and strengthen the telecentres, identifying levels or stages of existing telecentres would aid in coming up with customized solutions to common problems of its members at a certain level. Like a baby who goes through the stages of development, identifying these stages in terms of telecentre would tailor solutions to problems in each telecentre stage. From emerging telecentres to fully established ones, these centers have different concerns and capabilities. With this in mind, I believe that we will know where we are now, where we need to be going, and how we are to get there.
Submitted as an entry to the telecentre.org Blog Contest.
The result: This was chosen as one of the 5 winning blogs in the contest, Thank you po.