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 US.
I am working with a start up social enterprise called the oneVillage Foundation <http://www.onevillagefoundation.org>. 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 CBS.com 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... Jeff ------------ This DOT-COM Discussion is funded by USAID's dot-ORG Cooperative Agreement with AED, in partnership with World Resources Institute's Digital Dividend Project, and hosted by GKD. http://www.dot-com-alliance.org and http://www.digitaldividend.org provide more information. To post a message, send it to: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message to: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>. In the 1st line of the message type: subscribe gkd OR type: unsubscribe gkd Archives of previous GKD messages can be found at: <http://www.dot-com-alliance.org/archive.html>