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.
As part of the TRICALCAR project a set of seven new training modules, which the WILAC network is pleased to share with its African counterpart, has been made available. The modules range from WiMax to energy for telecommunications systems, visiting VoIP, long distance wireless links and community, gender and technology on the way. There are even sustainability strategies and network planning modules.
This paper, published in the Gender and Media Diversity Journal, argues that while technology offers many opportunities, the push to bridging the digital divide and harnessing the power of ICT often n
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The wireless school connectivity project is an initiative that has connected a secondary school in a poor township of Harare to the internet, using wireless technologies. The genesis of this project was a result of the wireless skills training workshop, which took place in Pretoria, South Africa in 2005 and was facilitated by APC. Muroro Dziruni of Connect Africa in Zimbabwe tells the story of how wireless technology can work in Africa, when everyone joins in and cooperates.
APC-member SANGONeT and MobileActive.org invite you to contribute your expertise to MobileActive08 to take place from 13-15 October 2008 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Project Capacity Building for Community Wireless Connectivity in Africa was implemented over a period of just over two years (from the end of 2004 to late 2006). It started out primarily as an initiative to gather knowledge and resources on community wireless connectivity. But, working with a network of partners to design the project, its eventual goals were to pilot face-to-face workshops, develop and maintain a distributed knowledge base on wireless for ICT4D, and build partnerships and knowledge networks.
Perhaps one of the most significant outcomes of the project was the four regional training workshops. Initially conceived of workshops to pilot training materials, they achieved significant results in raising awareness of wireless, and positioning most of the 140 people trained in different parts of Africa to teach others, build wireless network, re-use and distribute the materials, and in some cases, link to the emerging African wireless network. Every workshop was over-subscribed, which proves that the demand of training remains enormous in Africa.
A survey of participants in these workshops completed in early 2007, to which 95 of the 140 people trained responded, indicates how they valued these workshops, and the extent to which skills gained have been shared and put into practice. The findings of the survey are summarized in this document.