Empowering the communities through cyber cafes and tele-centres
September 2006; The day is not very far off when majority of rural people will have access to internet connections, with the development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT): a far-fetched dream for many rural boys and girls of Nepal.
Visitors are easily able to find Cyber Cafes in the district headquarters of Bardiya, Doti and Dhankuta and the Rural Tele Centres in the Rural Market Centres of Gorkha and Bardiya, established with the technical support of UNDP Rural Urban Partnership Programme (RUPP). The Rural Market Centres are basically community owned while the Cyber Cafes are owned by the private sector.
RUPP is working as a partner with the Nepal Telecommunication Authority, as a part of the Telecommunications Sector Reform Project (TRSO), a pilot project of the Government of Nepal, supported by the World Bank and commissioned by the Ministry of Information and Communication. The joint pilot project will also contribute to the implementation of 1500 Tele Centres currently under the National 10th Five Year Plan of the Government of Nepal.
At present work is underway to provide technical support to establish Tele Centres and Cyber Cafes in eight districts that RUPP is currently working in' Ilam, Dhankuta, Gorkha, Bardiya, Dang, Surkhet, Doti and Kanchanpur. RUPP also works to provide training to the operators, identify the area,mobilise communities, and coordinate the linkage between communities, Nepal Telecom Authority, Municipality and VDCs for effective implementation of the project.
Chairman of Nepal Telecommunications Authority, Mr. Suresh Kumar Pudasaini says 'We are very hopeful that the establishment of these centers will bridge the gap between information rich and poor by setting up two-way communications.'
At the moment, a month long training for the Tele-Centre Managers and Cyber Caf' Operators is ongoing, organized by RUPP and the Nepal Telecom Authority. The training package includes basic computer knowledge, use of internet and email, maintenance of software and hardware, social mobilization and information mobilization.
It is hoped that this rural connectivity will certainly empower communities and help reduce poverty by improving access to information vital for progress in sectors such as education, health care, agriculture, business and public administration.