Re: [GKD-DOTCOM] Is Profitability Essential for Sustainability?

2004-11-26 Thread Shahid Uddin Akbar
Dear Colleagues,

Sustainabiliy is a very critical issue for any ICT for Development
project with the focus on rural areas. Still we didn't find any single
project which can claim itself as Sustainable in terms of being
financially viable and serving the local rural communities anywhere in
the world. And again, the Profitablity is another major issue that needs
to be addressed. Do all social initiatives need to be financially
viable? Is it something of a purely business nature? Why are the
organizations rushing for financial sustainability in the case of rural
ICT projects? It also must have some donor driven ideology to make the
development initiatives Commercially viable, which is not possible in a
realistic approach.

Experience of different successful Rural ICT initiatives categorically
shows that the social benefits of the rural ICT project is much more
valuable than financial viability. These projects are aimed towards
EMPOWERMENT of rural communities which can not be done through a
commercial venture.

So, can we put the idea aside to make all rural ICT for Development
projects commercially viable?

Best,
  
Shahid Uddin Akbar
ICT Consultant
SwissContact / KATALYST
BANGLADESH



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[GKD] Implementing WSIS Action Plan

2004-03-25 Thread Shahid Uddin Akbar
Dear Fellows,

The CTO has appointed AITEC to co-ordinate a major conference it is
holding in March with the theme Implementing the WSIS Action Plan. The
conference will be held in Nairobi over 25-26 March to coincide with the
Kenya National ICT Convention which AITEC is also organising on behalf
of the ICT Federation of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance. Over 300
high-level policy-makers, government officials and representatives of
ICT enterprises are expected to attend the CTO conference.

I will participate in the conference and will present a paper titled
WSIS Plan of Action vs the Role of Govt. in Developing Countries 
which will focus to extend the role of ITU / CTO and other leading
development partners to monitor the Implementation of the WSIS Action
Plan. The role may be as watchdog and workable in partnership with local
organizations who are involved in the WSIS process.

If anybody of this group is participating in the conference and
interested to share  participate in the process to implement the WSIS
Action Plan, please lets sit during the conference. I will stay at
Safari Park, the venue of the conference and we can meet at the hotel.

Any ideas  contributions are also most welcome towards implementation
of the WSIS Action Plan.

Best regards,

Md Shahid Uddin Akbar
Coordinator
ICTDP'B (ICT for Development Program, Bangladesh)
Room No. 107-108, Baitus Sharf Complex,
149/A Airport Road, Tejgaon
Dhaka 1215
BANGLADESH
Tel : 880 18 243935
www.ictdpb.org




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[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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