In collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Communications (MOIC) of the Government of Nepal, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) organized the National Stakeholders Consultation Workshop on “empowering rural areas through community e-centre” in the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu on 9 and 10 May 2007.
The opening session was attended by Mr. Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Honorable Minister for Information and Communications, Mr. Ramakanta Gauro, Honorable Member of the National Planning Commission, Mr. Saroj Devkota, Vice Chairman of the High Level Commission on Information Technology, Mr. Bal Krishna Prasai, Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology together with over 100 representatives of government agencies, NGOs, telecenters, private sector and international agencies.
The workshop aimed to raise awareness among various stakeholders on the crucial role Community e-Centers (CeCs) play in rural development, solicit their views and perspectives and come up with a set of recommendations for the implementation of the project.
During the opening session, Minister for Information and Communications, Mr. Mahara, reiterated the commitments of the Ministry to the successful rollout of telecenters throughout the country in general and the success of this project in particular.
Prior to the workshop, a national baseline study has been conducted. The study assessed the environment CeCs are placed, existing initiatives, good practices, challenges, key issues in establishing CeCs in Nepal as well as recommendations for a sustainable CeC model. The project in Nepal aims to establish about 5 CeCs in support of socio-economic development of rural areas of the country.
The workshop was instrumental in bringing a wide range of stakeholders together and discussing what could be done to ensure social, financial and technological sustainability of CeCs. Some of the recommendations address how to mobilize community members and integrate CeCs into the local context, while ensuring financial sustainability.
Mr. Tham Bahadur Pun, Chandrakot Telecenter Manager and Mr. Narayan Adhikari, Tolka Telecenter Manager commented on the workshop positively. “We telecenter managers had a chance to learn experience of other telecenter projects in the country. We feel that we are empowered. We hope that we have similar opportunities in the future.”
Ms. Ja-Kyung Yoo, Chief, Information and Communication Technology Applications Section of the Information, Communication and Space Technology Division of UNESCAP said, the workshop is “an important step forward in promoting the delivery of information and communication services to rural and remote communities and previously un-connected people in the country through the use of information, communication and space technology (ICST).” She further stated that, through the project, UNESCAP is aiming to achieve the digital inclusion of communities and people in Nepal.
The project is funded by the Japan Fund for Information and Communication Technology (JFICT) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and executed by ADB and UNESCAP. As part of the South Asian Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) programme with Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and India as the participating countries, this project aims to reduce poverty, empower communities and improve the quality of life in rural areas through providing communities with access to information and communication technology (ICT). CeC will provide shared facilities for the public to use basic telecommunications services, access to the Internet and various ICT applications for socio-economic activities.
Provisional agenda (PDF - 14.7 KB)
Opening remarks - Mr. Sivasankaran Thampi, Chief, Information, Communication and Space Technology Division (ICSTD), UNESCAP (PDF - 56.7 KB)
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