Dear GKD Members,

It is great to hear all the thoughtful ideas and I am encouraged by them
particularly as a nice counterpoint to the recent political setbacks in

I am working with a start up social enterprise called the oneVillage
Foundation <>. We are excited by this
conference and the potential of BOP. We currently are in the beginning
stages of developing what we call Unity Centers. I hope that our work on
this may have some relevance to this discussion.

> Most telecenters are not profitable or economically self-sustaining.

This would not be an issue so much if the telecenters were developing an
integrated program of development that incubated social enterprises in
the communities they operated out of. It is not so much an issue of
whether telecenters are directly profitable but whether they are
building economic value in the communities they are operating in.

Yet as Meddie Mayanja seems to imply, profit is essential not only for
successful "ICT Development" but for all things done in a civilized
society. If one is ideologically downed by the idea of profit then one
can use the term resources. To replicate sustainable communities-based
economies you need to have a return on the initial investment.

Here is one scenario we have looked at as we have worked to develop a
comprehensive plan for local community development around ICT centers:

ICT centers could be designed as money losers but the businesses and
other organizations they incubate or assist could pay a fund to keep the
operation going from their profits or "surplus revenues". At the same
time, the program could be designed to subsidize small groups doing
research and organizational work relevant to increasing the momentum of
local development.

People just wanting to see the Madonna website or find out if Bush won
the re-election on would have to pay to use the computers, as
would be the case in normal cyber-cafes where everyone has to pay. The
subsidy towards serious computer usage would discourage frivolous use of
what is still a very precious resource in non-affluent countries. I
think it is important to not only look at profit but how the profits are
spent. This is a real issue in non-affluent nations and also affluent
ones (probably more so as they are the 15% of the world's population
that unsustainably consumes 85% of the world's resources) as well.

More on this later...


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Agreement with AED, in partnership with World Resources Institute's
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