|Chapter 1: An Evolving Vision of Telecenters for Development
Pilot telecenters of the late 1990s typically involved donors working with local institutions to address all of the telecenters’ support needs, including start-up capital, training, defining the mix of services, and meeting electrical power and connectivity needs. We are now witnessing the emergence of more self-reliant networks of telecenters. These take the shape of formal and informal associations that enable individual operators to pool their expertise and resources, collaborate on training and procurement, and build partnerships to address common challenges. This evolution from single independent operators to associations and networks is essential for successfully scaling up telecenter initiatives. As the telecenter ecosystem evolves, so does our knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. This telecenter ecosystem and its emerging body of knowledge are very dynamic.
Many of you are already engaged in shaping this future within your own countries. For the greatest possible effect, don’t try to do this alone! Join a network or association if you haven’t already; if one does not exist, work with your peers to establish one.Table 1 illustrates the evolution of the telecenter movement and our
“vision” of the telecenter ecosystem(s) in 2020. It presents the evolution
of the telecenter movement as a global movement in aggregate; it is important to note that individual countries are at different stages in
this evolutionary process.
1.7. A Vision of the Future—Scaling Up Impacts
This is an opportune time to focus on the future of telecenters with an emphasis on different models and increased scale to achieve our vision of increased impacts. We emphasize this point because we believe that the telecenter movement is very near a tipping point, a turning point in its evolution whereby increased scale dramatically increases socioeconomic impacts.