|Chapter 1: An Evolving Vision of Telecenters for Development
1.1. Queries to the Telecenter Help Desk
We are conducting an annual review of our portfolio of ICT-related projects, and we have been asking ourselves a number of questions about telecenters and similar kiosks and community technology centers:
We are reviewing and updating our National ICT Strategy. We want to make sure that it is integrated into our national development goals and our broader strategies for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. We have identified telecenters as a key element of our revised ICT strategy, and we are looking for ways to ensure that telecenters become a development tool supporting a broad range of development goals, not just communication, games, and browsing. What are some best practices from other countries that we should study to help us develop a successful approach?
(National ICT policy advisor, Country A)
We launched 10 kiosks in one district a year ago. It’s been a steep learning curve. One closed its doors, and three are barely covering their costs after a year of operation. We’re working with all of the remaining kiosks to strengthen their operations and to develop a broader menu of services. However, we’re debating whether we should scale up at this point or wait until we have a clearer understanding of critical success factors for kiosks to be sustainable. Are there significant economies of scale? How will we know when we’re ready for a scale-up? Are there specific methods for going to scale?(Private entrepreneur, Country B)