TelecentresAfrica was an initiative launched by CTA (Wageningen) and InfoBridge Foundation in 2008 in support to rural community service delivery in Africa including telecentres, mobile services and community radio. The programe was open to all stakeholders interested in promoting and implementing ICT4D projects for the development of rural communities in Africa and was implemented between 2008 and 2012. Within the context of the global knowledge economy, ICT4D has an important role to play to contribute to social and economical changes consistent with the MDGs. The overall goal of the TelecentresAfrica Programme was to contribute to the sustainability of telecentres in Africa based on the following pillars: services, content and ICTs.
Activities carried out by InfoBridge Foundation within the framework of TelecentresAfrica:
- Preparation and facilitation of the TelecentresAfrica workshop in Lusaka, Zambia in 2008
- Support to Knowledge sharing and networking within TelecentresAfrica by setting up an ICT4D Knowledge Base
- Support to the regional Southern Africa Telecenter Network (SATNET)
- Support to the set-up of the Zambia Telecentre Network (ZTN)
- Co-preparation of the study tour to India .
Key activities of the TelecentresAfrica programme were implemented in three themes:
1. Increase awareness and networking through various channels
The TelecentresAfrica programme supported the global telecentre movement initiatives especially through Telecentre.org and others in promoting the empowerment of local communities to better use ICTs. The project contributed to identifying the key development agenda link to agricultural and rural development sector, and used the most appropriate platforms and tools to bring local community development issues to the debate. Choices for the policy agenda were made in dialogue with key partners and stakeholders. Policy support was provided through a conference bringing together thematic expertise at continental level in 2008, the collection of policy documents and the provision of information to support regional and national telecentre stakeholders.
2. Increased access to relevant content and appropriate channels
The programme extensively used the CTA publications programme to provide content to the telecentre movement through Telecentre.org and African regional platforms such as SATNET, UGABYTES etc. In addition and where necessary, CTA dedicated resources to develop new publications. The development of these publications benefitted from the full participation of African telecentre practitioners.
3. Strengthen institutional and staff capacities of Telecentre initiatives in Africa The selection of the centres and networks that received support considered several criteria amongst which their ability to integrate the sustainability factors identified during the inception phase of the programme. The organizations and networks supported were part of wider national or regional ICT 4 Development plans rather than experimenting once more pilot initiatives. This support was provided through the the provision of knowledge sharing activties, training in content management, technical maintenance, ICT use and social enterprise management.