Networks are increasingly becoming important forms of communities of practice (COPs) where knowledge, information and resources are shared among members of the network. Through online or face- to- face meetings, networks are critical to mobilising knowledge resources through which members can use individually or at organisational level. During the past three years, national telecentre communitities in Africa and particulaly countries in Southern Africa are evolving to be national telecentre networks. Challenges facing telecentres could be partly resolved by existance of knowledge sharing where issues of innovation, technology and management skills could add value to the operations, development and sustanability of telecentres in Africa. National telecentre networks may also serve as capacity building support services for individual community telecentres which in many countries are affected by various operational challenges. Thus development of national networks in each of the countries could build a bottom-up institutional support system that could be a panacea for many challnges telecentres are facing.
The Malawi telecentre community attended the Knowledge management training for telecentre managers that was held in Lilongwe from 26th to 27th July 2012 at Liwonde Lodge.The purpose of the training was to enable telecentre managers be exposed to knowledge management skills and improve the activities of the telecentres in Malawi. The training workshop also provided managers wtih a platform to discuss issues related to the development pontetial of telecentres in Malawi. The training was facilitated by Southern Africa Telecentre Network (SATNET) in conjuction with Malawi Communication Authority (MACRA) and Information and Technology Association of Malawi (ICTAM).
At the workshop, participants resolved to establsh a national telecentre network. Mr. Richard Chisala, who is the MACRA Board member informed the participants that the network will have ponential to be a national knowledge network for Malawi. Participants established a taskforce or steering committee to oversee the development of a network. In order to mantain continuity and sustainability of activities. SATNET was given a responsibility to provide backstopping services to the newly created network. SATNET will help the task force to prepare a telecentre policy and operational guidelines and train the new network members. Mr. Dereck Lackudzala was the main SATNET facilitator at the workshop.
At the same function SATNET presented a paper entitled Knowledge Management Perspectives; The role of telecentres in national development. The presentation covered among others importance of harnessing local knowledge through the use of ICTs, value of networks and tools for knowledge exchange. The prensentation also informed the workshop that SATNET is slowly builiding national networks into a regional knowledge platform in Southern Africa through which telecentres and knowledge centres can have opportunities to share resources and information and development telecentres in the region. SATNET is currently supported by the Technical Centre for Agricultural Cooperation (CTA).
The workshop participants resolved to hold another training in October 2012 as a follow-up.