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Resource Assessment of the Status of the Implementation and Use of ICT Access Points in Asia and the Pacific
Type Scoping study, Desk study, Survey
Last update: 24/12/2010
Type: Scoping study, Desk study, Survey
Language English
Year of publication: 2007
Authors: United Nations Development Account Project on Knowledge Networks through ICT Access Points for Disadvantage Communities
Download: 574kb
Summary This is a report of a study on the assessment of the implementation and use of ICT access points in Asia and the Pacific, conducted from October 2006 to January 2007. The project aims to empower poor and disadvantage communities, women in particular, through transforming selected existing ICT access points into knowledge hubs of global knowledge network to provide, develop, organize, share and disseminate knowledge pertinent to these communities. The major objective of the study was to identify areas of knowledge networks to be established under the project and possible initial members of the networks.

The report consists of two parts: 1) quantitative analysis of data regarding telecentres in the region; and 2) description of telecentre projects in selected countries. The quantitative
analysis is based on the data collected through the review of secondary information, including reports and websites. The descriptions of the telecentre projects are based on the outcome of other ESCAP projects related to telecentres in Bhutan, Malaysia and Nepal. The descriptions of the telecentre projects in India were based on the secondary resources.
The study identified 11,160 telecentres in 16 countries, most of them in India. According to the study, it is estimated that more than 400,000 new telecentres would be needed to extend the reach of the telecentres to the rural population of these countries.
The study also provided important information related to the sustainability of telecentres, type of services provided and nature of their location. The majority of telecentres are located in rural areas, even though the majority of telecentre projects have targeted semirural areas. Regarding the type of services provided by the telecentres, the study identified that most of them have the objective to provide ICT access and ICT training. In terms of sustainability, the study showed that half of the telecentres are in operation for more than three years, which is a good indicator of the sustainability of telecentres, given that the donor support is usually available for a shorter period of time.
The study made recommendations for further development of telecentres, topical areas and potential members for the establishment of knowledge networks of telecentres.

CONCLUSIONS
The finding of the study indicates that the establishment of telecentres in the Asian and Pacific region is not a homogenous phenomenon. India is home for almost all telecentres identified by the study, accounting for almost 20 times the number of all telecentres in the other countries combined. In the other countries, numerous initiatives have been taken place but almost all of them in a limited scale. Scalability seems to be the main issue that should be addressed to promote the establishment of telecentres and to provide the ICT access to the undeserved communities in the region.
The analysis of the gap in terms of the number of telecentres in the countries covered by this study shows that more than 14,000 telecentres are needed for the other countries to catch up with the number of the telecentres in India, and more than 400,000 telecentres are needed to extend the reach of the telecentres to each group of 5,000 people in rural areas in the covered countries. These numbers are immense compared with the total number of telecentres identified by this study (11,160).
Based on the history of the participation of the Government and the traditional donors (i.e. international organizations, foreign development assistance agencies, and development banks) in the telecentre projects identified by the study, this gap seems even wider. These stakeholders, in general, have not participated in scaled up telecentre projects, have not targeted exclusively the rural areas, and have not been particularly efficient in establish self sustainable telecentres.
The study also has indicated that, for the majority of the telecentre projects, remote rural areas are not the main target. This seems to contradict the anecdotal information of the successful cases of telecentre projects.
In terms of the impact of the telecentres on the MDGs, the study has indicated that most of the telecentres include, among their objectives, the poverty alleviation and the sustainable development. The study also indicated that there are still a lot of opportunities for the telecentres to improve their performance in terms of the other MDGs.
Regarding the service of the telecentres, there is a high percentage of agriculture related services, and, as already expected, ICT access services. The study also shows that the majority of the telecentres are providing ICT training. This indicates the important role of the telecentres in building the national ICT capacity and in creating the demand for the supply side of the ICT market.

RECOMMENDATIONS
The major strategic recommendation that result from the study is that key telecentre stakeholders, including the Government, international organizations, NGOs, and the private sector, should focus on the scalability of telecentre initiatives to make the benefits of these initiatives reach the remote rural communities.

Regarding the next activities of the project, the following actions are recommended:
1. Establish two regional knowledge networks in Asia-Pacific under this project: the first one on agricultural and rural related information, including information on crops and cultivation techniques, livestock management, water management, agricultural machinery, rural credit, and organic farming; and the second one on eliteracy initiatives including e-learning.

2. Establish the knowledge network of telecentres on agricultural information by networking and building capacity on knowledge management of the following telecentre projects:
• Agricultural Technology 110 (NJ110), China
• CIC of Syangja, Nepal
• Community Information Center (Tangmachu), Bhutan
• Cyber Extension, India
• e-Choupal, India
• Gyandoot, India
• iKisan, India
• IT Kiosks in Orissa, India
• Microsoft CIC Project, Bhutan
• Poverty Alleviation through Science & Technology, China
• Savordaya Telecentre & Distance e-Learning (DeL), Sri Lanka
• TARAhaat, India
• The Lighthouse Project, Thailand
• Village Knowledge Centres, India
• Virtual Village (based upon Savordaya Telecentre), Sri Lanka
• Warna Wired Villages, India

3. Establish the knowledge network of telecentres on e-literacy by networking and building the capacity on knowledge management of telecentre projects:
• Grameen Cyber Society (GCS), Bangladesh
• Amader Gram Knowledge Center - ICT initiative, Bangladesh
• Relief International - Schools Online (RI-SOL), Bangladesh
• Community Information Centers Project, Cambodia
• Coca-Cola e-Learning Centre, China
• CIC Project in the North Eastern States and J&K, India
• Akshaya - Community Technology Centres, India
• Gyandoot Shiksha, India
• TARAhaat, India
• Jhai Foundation's Internet Learning Centers, Lao People's Democratic
Republic
• e-Bario, Malaysia
• Coca-Cola E-learning for Life, Malaysia
• Jhuwani Library (OKN) project, Nepal
• ICT for Rural Dev. in Mountainous and Remote areas, Pakistan
• Technology Based Community Centers (PoP's), Pakistan
• Low Cost IT Centres: TESDA Lingayen IT center, TES, Philippines
• Coca-Cola ed.Venture Pilot, Philippines
• PFnet - People First Network & DLCP, Solomon Islands
• Virtual Village (based upon Savordaya Telecentre), Sri Lanka
• Mahavilachchiya - e-Village project by the Horizon, Sri Lanka
• Savordaya Telecentre & Distance e-Learning (DeL), Sri Lanka
• Coca-Cola Community Learning Program, Thailand
• Community Technology and Learning Centers (CTLCs), Thailand
• CTCs in rural Thailand
• Coca-Cola Learning Centres, Viet Nam
List Keywords
1.1 Socio- economic Sector (OECD) 311 Agriculture
160 Other social infrastructure and services  
1.2 Institutional dimension Knowledge Management & Communication  
1.4 Target group(s) 3. Intermediary organisations
5. Decision makers/Policymakers  
5.1 Sustainability Issues 4. Facilities
7. Content (Development)
1. Socio-economic Context
6. Services
2. Institutional Context
3. Financial Context