On 15 October 2010, Computer Aid launched its first solar powered internet cafe in Kenya, with partner and local NGO Computers for Schools Kenya. Computer Aid has built three solar internet cafes which are being piloted in Zambia and Kenya. In Zambia, two are located in rural areas as a part of an exciting rural connectivity programme. The system, which can work off-grid anywhere in the world, is “an exciting new project for Computer Aid that enables us to reach even the most isolated rural communities. We are planning to set up several more solar Internet cafes in sub-Saharan Africa over the coming year, and we’re keen for sponsors to get involved and help us expand this solution that illustrates commitment to social development and the environment,” says Computer Aid CEO Tony Roberts. Photo by “Computer Aid”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyroberts/4603407785/in/set-72157624096227436/lightbox/
In San Ignacio de Moxos, an area located in the Beni region of northern Bolivia, the only internet connection available was an expensive and intermittent telephone connection. Since March 2006, thanks to the local campesino centre and wireless internet, the main institutions in the area have been interconnected, so that the inhabitants can access the internet at a quarter of the price it used to cost them, connecting them to each other, the rest of the nation and the world.
APC member, Fantsuam Foundation established the first rural community wireless internet service provider (ISP) in Nigeria in 2006. On Tuesday April 21 the ISP took a huge blow as the central communication tower was destroyed in a storm. Several buildings including the old network operation centre, a Cisco Laboratory and a neighbouring building were seriously damaged. No people were hurt. This is the second major natural disaster that Fantsuam has suffered in a few months. In August 2008, a lighting strike destroyed a large part of their power and wireless infrastructure. APC is waiting for news of how you can help Fantsuam rebuild. For now visit the IT46 site for more details.
Legal information is a very important for almost all the segments of a society. However, there is a dearth of Law portals and web sites in India.
The rationale for the report is featured in an APCNews article Rural communication: Is there still a need for telecentres now that there are mobile phones? which is also available in French and Spanish.
Following the initial rush of Information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) projects in rural Africa, many did not yield the anticipated outcomes, and interest has been dying down. People then began talking about “sustainable ICT” projects, in which it was understood that projects would become self-sufficient after their initial donor-led investment and set-up period. But with the use of mobile phones gaining in popularity, popular rhetoric has begun to question the need of ICTs beyond the mobiles phone. While mobile phones certainly have had a great impact in rural areas, a new study by Ian Howard, commissioned by APC, through the analysis of two case studies he argues that the need for telecentres and affordable internet connections exists, as such centres cater to rural and niche markets the way larger companies cannot.
“The principles that I learned in the APC workshop helped me work in resource-constrained environments,” says Alex Gondwe, techie at the Baobab Health Partnership in Malawi. Alex is setting up wireless internet connections between health institutions to improve patient care and HIV/AIDS data collection and he shares his tips here.
Last year APC and partners trained local technicians, community leaders and telecentre operators from the Andes on the basic principles of setting up wireless internet access in their communities. Now the participants report on the impact once they went back home.