Samedi 26 Février 2011 10:44
By Damas Ogwe. The Kenya Telecentre Link has just hosted a one week BPO 101 workshop for telecentre leaders from across Kenya. The Technical Centre for Agriculure and Rural Cooperation (CTA)sponsored workshop has been brought about by the realization that sustainability being an matter of great concern, and given that telecentres already have the basic infrastructural set-up and requirements, their entry into the BPO sector may just be a major solution to their sustainability. Damas Ogwe of i4dev Centre talked to some participants on their views on BPOs as a response to sustainability challenge. Below are some of the excerpts. According to Anthony Mugo, Programmes Manager – Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) “The future of telecentres is limitless especially when we look at the opportunities available yet the question of sustainability, of whether the centres will be there tomorrow and the day after is key. Embracing BPOs would be a good entry point that can help bring about sustainability for the telecentres as well as provide jobs for unemployed youth. These youth have been trained by the same telecentres and it is only fair if the skill gained can be translated into incomes. The entry of BPOs in the rural areas will also help stem the rural-urban migration and will also at the same time strengthen rural communities while at the same time tapping into the youthful energy.” Dan Ambetsa, Kimathi Information Centre, Nairobi is optimistic as he says “I see the BPO as an opportunity to create jobs and fight crime within the community where Kimathi Information Centre is located. We serve a low income and a segment of a lower middle class community. There is also the Kiambiyu slums near the centre. Crime rate is high in the area. Embracing BPO within KIC could help stem crime since the youth, a significant number of whom have basic ICT skills will be engaged positively” Abidha Desmond, Sauti ya Maendeleo Resource Centre states that “BPO can provide the much needed income for the telecentres. Telecentres in the rural areas have over the years trained hundreds of youth on basic ICT literacy and the begging question has been, What next? When the BPO takes off, the demand for ICT training will be higher also since youth will now see a real opportunity in ICT and employment. Joseph Walubengo – Project Cordinator Integrated Avenues for Compassion, Webuye says, “Sustainability of our centre is a key issue that we grapple with almost each day and any new idea that can ensure that we stand firmly is welcome. In my view, BPOs are a godsend and I don’t really understand why we did not think of this opportunity earlier. As telecentres, we seek to respond to community needs, and one major need in rural Kenya is need to improve livelihoods either. Embracing BPOs in our telecentres, most of which are already equipped with the basic technology capable of taking up small scale jobs will definitely help improve livelihoods especially for the youth as well as take our telecentres closer to the sustainability destination. The partcipants at the workshop are very optimistic and seem rejuvenized by the BPO training. To many, BPO has always seemed to be a very complex undertaking, whether it is in the field of data entry or other areas. But now, with BPO demysitifed, the telecentre practitioners say that there is at last "light at the end of the tunnel.