[GKD] Alternate Connectivity Solution for Bangladesh

2002-11-21 Thread Shahid Uddin Akbar
Alternate Connectivity Solution : Critical Challenge for Developing
Countries

Bangladesh, like many other developing countries has the infrastructure
problem for promotion / utilization of ICT and related service for
education and information dissemination. The infrastructure problems
kept the major portion of population living in the rural areas far away
from the new revolution of Internet and ICT facilities, both educational
and Social / economic development perspective.

To reach the remote people, technological and development activists
along with govt. should come forward with workable and implementable
solution with new approach 'Alternate Connectivity'. The combination of
traditional and new technology, using existing telecom infrastructure
Alternate Connectivity can be ensured. For example, the rural people,
who don't have access to the net can be provided Personal Computers with
renewable energy support systems, if even electricity is not available.
Simultaneously, relevant content / educational materials of the net may
be made available in the form of CD / Floppy version with regular
updates can be provided. Locally published medical journals /
development issues can be easily collected and reproduced with prior
permission for distributing education and research purpose only.
Specifically, for the health professional and medical practitioner need
updated information of the modern medical science to keep themselves
updated and sharpen their knowledge. If the govt. / development partners
/ activist collect the educational programs like CME (Continued Medical
Education) / DL (Distance Learning) or health related information and
arrange distribution of the same through CD / Floppy and even through
print version to the target audience. Any other professional group /
community can also be served through the same approach.

ICT can open new channels that bring new knowledge and information
resources to rural communities. Traditional communication channels have
been used successfully but there have been monologic and have not
allowed for much interaction with users.

To ensure the connectivity, physical accessibility is a must and
Telecenter can be the role module and the need may be met as physical
access center. The educational institutes (Schools/Colleges)/ local
offices of the civil society (NGO) having minimum ICT facilities
(Computer and printer).

The Bangladesh model for disseminating information and education
materials, experiencing the pilot phase till now is a success with a
series of challenges. BDHealthInfo, a program of ICTDP (Information
Communication and Technology Development Program, Bangladesh) is
implementing MPTC (Multi Purpose Tele Center) at Sonagazi, Feni and
using Alternate Connectivity approach to bridge the the digital divide
gap. Local health professionals, women community and different
professional groups are sharing the benefits of ICT from the center.

As the connectivity and infrastructure is a long term issue and involved
huge investment, govt. and development partners should come forward and
support the Alternate Connectivity approach as a uplifting solution for
the developing countries like Bangladesh.

Please comment and join.

Best regards, 

Shahid Uddin Akbar
Coordinator
ICTDP'B
Bangladesh
Email : [EMAIL PROTECTED]





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Re: [GKD] Using Instant Messaging with Volunteers

2002-11-21 Thread Guido Sohne
Instant messaging does not have to solely be limited to use of widely
distributed chat clients. I wrote an application earlier this year that
utilized instant messaging technology but worked by embedding the
technology into the application itself.

The business case was to improve the situation of businesses trying to
source scarce foreign exchange in an economy where the telephone system
was quite bad, making it a pain to comb several commercial banks and
forex bureaux looking for foreign exchange. Calling eight banks could
easily take the whole afternoon, and foreign exchange, especially in
large quantities, can often take a long time to source.

The answer was to create an application that published foreign exchange
rates, allowing banks and forex bureaux to publish their own rates.
Users could click on a price and chat with the person who set the price.
In addition, due to the use of store and forward technology,
disconnecting from the network and later reconnecting to the network
resulted in all price updates being received in such a manner that each
party using the system would see up to date prices in all the major
currencies.

This may not necessarily be instant messaging work with volunteers, but
I think that it is interesting all the same and wanted to share it with
others, especially since I was the one who wrote the application, so it
was a labour of love.

I am considering rewriting this and generalizing the application to work
with multiple markets but this time based of a wireless handheld GPRS
device, or cheaper handheld device that can utilize the telephone
network.

Write to me in private email if you are interested in more details.


On Tue, Nov 12, 2002 at 01:42:56PM +0100, Jayne Cravens wrote:
 Volunteer managers already have phones and email to work with offsite
 volunteers. What is the advantage of using Instant Messaging (IM) with
 such volunteers as well? UNITeS http://www.unites.org, the ICT
 volunteering initiative of United Nations Volunteers
 http://www.unvolunteers.org, has created a new article to help
 illustrate the advantages for using IM to work with volunteers, based on
 feedback from various online discussion groups, from our own staff
 experiences, and other resources.
  
--
Guido Sohne[EMAIL PROTECTED]
203, BusyInternet http://sohne.net
--
Depart not from the path which fate has assigned you.
--



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Re: [GKD] Using Instant Messaging with Volunteers

2002-11-21 Thread Sam Lanfranco
I would like to follow up on Margaret Grieco's plea, which we hear from
multiple sources, for some way of taking stock of what we know and
what we have learned in the area of ICTs for Development. The uses of
SMS for development is - of course - just a subset of that larger body
of knowledge.

It is worth spending a few words reflecting on why we are a couple of
decades into using ICTs for development and still unable to draw lines
around what works where, what doesn't work, and what we have learned.
Part of that answer is - again of course - that project funding and
unfunded grassroots initiatives seldom have a budget to do a proper
assessment of lessons learned. We are left with good news and bad
news versions of what happened, and in some cases public relations
stories about things that actually didn't happen or didn't happen that
way. Is there any way forward here?

One way forward would be to actually have an inventory of those actually
involved in the ICT and development projects, and - based on that
involvement - have some expertise in the area.  Several projects
attempting to do this have stalled at the moment so I won't mention the
respectable agencies involved.

A collaborative multi-layer network-of-networks of regional and
area-specific inventories of expertise could support knowledge
networking and collaboration across projects. Much of that collaboration
would be virtual, using the tools themselves. The parts are there, but a
strategy for efficient and effective knitting together is lacking.

A second way forward would be for us to train ourselves to be more
careful when we talk about successess and failures. We need to describe
them in ways that lend the lessons learned to knowledge transfer. We all
know the unique properties of successful, and failed, projects: the role
of champions, and of stakeholder buy-in, the importance of attention to
context etc. We need to describe them as key parts of lessons learned.

All to often we point to the WHAT we achieved (or the technology used),
but not to the HOW we achieved it. We may waste a lot of words on the
WHY we did it when that was the obvious part. Of course, we still should
subject the WHY to ethical and strategic review and not just accept it
at face value. The three most dangerous words in the WHY of a project
proposal are don't you agree...

At a minimum we should be able to put the WHY of our successes and
failures into four categories:
1. Unique solutions to unique problems (context is everything)
2. Common solutions to unique problems (high diffusion potential)
3. Unique solutions to common problems (high diffusion potential)
4. Common solutions to common problems (why doesn't it diffuse?)

and go on with:
1. Unique failures to unique problems (low diffusion potential)
2. Common failures to unique problems (high diffusion potential)
3. Unique failures to common problems (high diffusion potential)
4. Common failures to common problems (what are we missing here?)

Just doing this on SMS would provide a start to a systematic approach
for gathering what we know, and who knows it, with regared to ICT.

Sam Lanfranco
***
   School of Analytic Studies and Information Technology
 http://www.atkinson.yorku.ca/frschasit.htm




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