Partnership academy

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 2007: While the mainstage at last week’s Asian Telecentre Forum was interesting, there was also a great deal going on in the hallways and hotel rooms. Of particular note was collaboration amongst EUTA, the Philippines CECNet and others on the ‘world telecentre academy’ initiative. The idea behind the academy is to create an alliance of organizations working in the field of telcentre manager training. The alliance will provide a platform to share curriculum and develop a common quality seal amongst these programs. More Partnership academy

Where to from here?

On a train to Ottawa, Benin – December 10, 2006: Benin is far away now. If I close my eyes, I can still smell the flip chart markers. See all the smiling faces. Feel the passion. But, eyes wide open, staring at this computer screen, I know that we need more than memories. We need action. More Where to from here?

Partnership, from the ground up.

Porto Novo, Benin – November 27 – December 2, 2006. While the primary point of is promote grassroots networking, it is also a very interesting experiment in collaboration amongst social investors (aka ‘donors’). IDRC, SDC and Microsoft all take a slightly different angle on telecentres and community technology. Yet, we all believe that networks are key to the success of grassroots tech initiatives. We also think that other social investors should be thinking about networks, both as a way to increase the impact of their investments and to help to coordinate with their peers. More Partnership, from the ground up.

Content. Content. Content.

Porto Novo, Benin – November 27 – December 2, 2006. Content is one of those perennial issues. It’s important enough generate a great deal of conversation, and tough enough that these conversations rarely generate new ideas. Happily, this wasn’t the case at the Africa Telecentre Leaders Forum (although I was worried at certain point). A number of compelling networks + content ideas emerged from the discussion. More Content. Content. Content.

Feedback loops

Porto Novo, Benin – November 27 – December 2, 2006. It’s worth a small blog posting to note that last week’s Benin Forum included three sessions gathering feedback on the community web site. Led by Esther Nasikye from Ugabytes and Leonce Sessou from Songhai, these sessions let people know about the site and asked them how it could better meet their needs. Unsurprisingly, many people wanted to see more of a focus on e-mail and simple tools. There wasn’t much demand for fancy tools like podcasting, as far as I can tell. Esther and Leonce have now taken on roles as part time editors for the community. In these roles, they will be able to do something with the feedback they received … and also get other African telecentre leaders involved in bringing the online community to life. There seemed to be a fair bit of commitment and interest on this last count. More Feedback loops

Networks scale sideways

Porto Novo, Benin – November 27 – December 2, 2006. We often talk about scaling up. Yet, in many cases, the thing we’re really looking for is scaling sideways: the process of good ideas and practices spreading from place to place. This is sideways scaling is exactly what we are seeing with the idea of telecentre networks in Africa. More Networks scale sideways

Social enterprise: ready to go

Porto Novo, Benin – November 27 – December 1, 2006: The Benin workshop marked a departure point: ‘social enterprise’ became a central part of the conversation on sustaining the work of telecentres in Africa. The younger crowd in particular – people like Hilton Theunissen, Gbenga Sesan and Esther Nasikye – championed the idea. They were arguing that the way forward for African telecentres was a commitment to social change combined with an entrepreneurial spirit. More Social enterprise: ready to go