rural regions

Reaching the Unreached: Community based Village Knowledge Centres & Village Resource Centres

Title: Reaching the Unreached: Community based Village Knowledge Centres & Village Resource Centres
Authors/Editors: Suchit Nanda and Subbiah Arunachalam
Pages: 59 pp.
ISBN: 978-81-88355-15-0
Source: www.photonicyatra.com
Publisher: Jamsetji Tata National Virtual Academy (NVA) M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai
Date (published): 19/01/2010
Date (accessed): 29/01/2010
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
The power of ICT in the field of information, communication and technology empowerment in rural areas is now widely recognized. Reaching the unreached and voicing the voiceless are now achievable objectives in development programmes. To assess whether Village Knowledge Centres (VKCs) and Village Resource Centres (VRCs) are really making a difference in the lives and livelihoods of the socially and economically handicapped sections of the rural population, it is essential that continuous monitoring and evaluation, as well as documentation are undertaken.
In this publication guidance is given on the procedure to be adopted for setting up VKCs and VRCs (Village Resource centres which have satellite connection and telecommunication facilities). It was the hope of scientists of MSSRF in the year 2000 that by 2007, all our villages will have Knowledge Centres. The Government of India included Knowledge Connectivity under its Bharat Nirman programme (i.e., New Deal for Rural India), and provided funds for establishing 100,000 common service centres to service rural India. Private sector companies like ITC started expanding its e-chaupal programme.

Connecting the Unconnected – Technology Transfer to Rural Areas in Zambia

Title: Connecting the Unconnected – Technology Transfer to Rural Areas in Zambia
Source: eLearning Africa
Publisher: ICWE GmbH, Berlin
Date (published): 21/12/2009
Date (accessed): 21/01/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
In January 2010, in order to connect rural areas lacking any IT infrastructure to the Internet, the Fraunhofer FOKUS, a branch of Germany’s largest research organisation, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, will breathe life into the FOKUS NET4DC. Together with partners from target regions, this international centre for information and communication technologies in developing countries will develop and make available tailor-made IT infrastructures and communication networks. The robust technology is being developed in Germany, and a first successful pilot project was recently initiated in the Southern Province of Zambia.

Case study: Nokia Life Tools

Title: Case study: Nokia Life Tools
Author: y Damian Koh
Source: CNET Asia
Publisher: CBS Interactive Inc.
Date (published): 20/10/2009
Date (accessed): 27/12/2009
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Nokia may be a name most would associate with handsets and great user interfaces. But increasingly, the Fin is focusing on solutions and services. We take a look at the launch of Life Tools, which targets an interesting segment in the emerging market of India.

Following this, the service will be rolled out in Indonesia, which will make it the first country in Southeast Asia to get the Nokia solution. First talked about in November 2008, Life Tools is a service tailored for farmers and rural communities living in remote areas, providing them with information specific to their livelihood and personal enrichment."

Talking Book Pilot Results

Title: Talking Book Pilot Results
Pages: 10 pp.
Source: literacybridge.org
Publisher: Literacy Bridge
Date (published): 16/09/2009
Date (accessed): 09/12/2009
Type of information: research paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
The Talking Book is an affordable and durable audio computer that enables people to record, access, and share knowledge—regardless of poverty, illiteracy, and lack of electricity. The Talking Book was developed between 2007 and 2008 to increase literacy skills and to spread audio information of any kind. The portable, battery-powered device allows users to record and play 70 hours of audio messages, copy messages between devices, access recordings by customizable categories, and interact with learning applications.
This document reports on the results of an initial pilot that began in early 2009 and focused on spreading health and agriculture information in a remote village in Ghana.

See also:
The talking book of Literacy bridge
Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) Secretariat blog, 04/11/2009

A Gender Critique of Uganda’s Rural ICT Access Policy: Opportunities and Challenges

Title: A Gender Critique of Uganda’s Rural ICT Access Policy: Opportunities and Challenges
Authors: Aramanzan Madanda, Dorothy Okello, Grace Bantebya–Kyomuhendo
Pages: 11 pp.
ISBN: 1996-1065 (online)
ISBN 1818-1139 (print)
Source: International Journal of Computing and ICT Research, Special Issue Vol.3, No.1
pp. 42-52, October 2009
Publisher: Makerere University
Date (published): 04/11/2009
Date (accessed): 05/12/2009
Type of information: research paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
Rural access to ICT has been highlighted as key in driving development. It is argued that rural access to ICT boosts production, improves household income, reduces inequalities and widens market options. The Uganda government in 2001 put in place a rural ICT access policy named the Rural Communications Development Policy (RCDP) that provided for a Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF) through which government subsidises communication investment in areas that are considered unprofitable if left to free market forces to promote universal access. Since 2002 support has been provided to establish telephone points, computer training centres and Internet services. In 2006 a gender analysis of the Rural Communications Development Policy/Fund (RCDP/F) was conducted in 14 districts of Uganda. The objective was to find out the extent to which the initiatives supported under RCDP/F had provided universal access to rural communications by both women and men and whether the implementation process took into account gender considerations. The findings and subsequent follow-ups in two districts show contradictions and discrepancy between policy conception and implementation, pointing to failure to achieve intended objectives of reaching out especially to women. No women’s organisation had ever accessed support. Culture, attitudes and gender blind project selection criteria inhibited females’ access to funding. The policy and its implementation did not take into account women’s and gender needs. The paper suggests a review and re-conceptualisation of the RCDP/F to remove contradictions so that selected projects benefit women and men equitably.

Microloans in rural areas through mobile phones

Title: Microloans in rural areas through mobile phones
Author: Jorge L. Alonso G.
Source: FrontlineSMS:Credit
Date (published): 03/12/2009
Date (accessed): 04/12/2009
Type of information: blog post
Language: English, Spanish
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
Soon the rural populations of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) will have access to microloans, savings and insurance against the unexpected …… and all through their mobile phones. This is indicated by trends in microfinance institutions (MFIs), increasingly advanced mobile payment systems and the emergence of open source programs that serve as a bridge between the two.

This post will briefly explain how MFIs and mobile payments work, how open source software can facilitate financial inclusion and what challenges face this process.
(via http://twitter.com/e_agriculture )

Connected Agriculture Developing Smart, Connected Rural Communities

Title: Connected Agriculture Developing Smart, Connected Rural Communities
Author: Bharat Popat, Contributors: James Macauley, Gustavo Menendez-Bernales
Pages: 12 pp.
Publisher: Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)
Date (published): 17/07/2009
Date (accessed): 27/11/2009
Type of information: research paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
To escape poverty, smallholder farmers need to enhance their skills and knowledge, and the entire smallholder-dominant value chain needs to become more competitive. The combined effect of these two factors can improve agricultural productivity and raise the incomes of rural dwellers.
The Internet can play a pivotal role by providing a cost-effective way to deliver information services to a large, dispersed population. Internet technology can deliver knowledge to farmers and planning tools to agribusinesses, and connects the various players in the value chain so they can conduct commerce more efficiently.
Despite the challenges of providing and adopting information and communications technology (ICT), use of the Internet for rural development is about to reach an inflection point. Nations that lead in the deployment and use of Internet technology for agriculture will gain an economic and social advantage.

(via http://twitter.com/e_agriculture and www.e-agriculture.org/ )

Rural data collection boosted by mobile tech

Title: Rural data collection boosted by mobile tech
Author: Wagdy Sawahel
Source: SciDev.net
Date (published): 19/11/2009
Date (accessed): 19/11/2009
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
Scientists have harnessed a free operating system to turn a mobile phone into a device for collecting data in the developing world.

The Open Data Kit (ODK), developed by scientists at the University of Washington, United States, is a free set of tools that helps organisations collect information in areas with poor infrastructure.

It uses Android, an open-source mobile operating system launched two years ago by a number of companies including Google.

Give For-profit Rural Business Centers a Chance to Diversify Into Service-led Employment and Village BPOs

Title: Give For-profit Rural Business Centers a Chance to Diversify Into Service-led Employment and Village BPOs
Author: Robert Schware
Pages: 4 pp.
ISSN: 1544-7529
Source: Information Technologies & International Development, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 2009, 77–80
Publisher: USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Date (published): 10/07/2009
Date (accessed): 13/11/2009
Type of information: research paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
There are few examples of village kiosks or telecenters working well in terms of financial self-sufficiency and economic impact on citizens in rural areas in South Asia. Reaching these twin goals of commercial profitability and economic empowerment is complex in rural settings. Here, it costs more to extend access to public infrastructure (roads, telecom, and power) and to social services (health, education, and government services) for low-density population distributed over sometimes difficult terrain than it does for high-density urban area dwellers. Lower income levels also mean service providers must accept lower average revenue per user.

Indigenous Communications Program

Title: Indigenous Communications Program
Source: Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Australian Government
Date (published): 10/09/2009 (last modified)
Date (accessed): 11/11/2009
Type of information: government documents
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML and numerous pdfs)
Abstract:
The Indigenous Communications Program is a $30 million initiative to help improve communications services in remote Indigenous communities...will provide essential telephone services, basic public internet access facilities and computer training for many remote Indigenous communities. The program is part of the Australian Government's response package to the Regional Telecommunications Review.

Over four years commencing in 2009-10, the Indigenous Communications Program will deliver:

* a fixed or mobile satellite community telephone to around 300 remote Indigenous communities that do not currently have access to a public telephone;
* ongoing monitoring and maintenance of around 550 Indigenous community telephones, comprising around 300 new phones and 250 existing phones; and
* in collaboration with state and territory governments, expanded public internet access and delivery of computer training in up to 120 remote Indigenous communities that have limited or no public access internet facilities.

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