Telephone, fax, email, Internet; telemedicine, distance education, news distribution, telecommuting: these are some of the services offered by the community telecentre. But do telecentres truly respond to the communication and information needs of the communities they are intended to serve? What impact do they have on social equity and economic development? As community telecentres become more commonplace across Africa and in other developing regions of the world, these questions take on an increasing urgency.
This guidebook will assist researchers as they assess and evaluate the role and impact of community telecentres. It provides an introduction to some of the key research issues, a framework for telecentre evaluation, and an impetus for research teams to share ideas, instruments, and methods. Assessing Community Telecentres will interest researchers, practitioners, and academics in information science, communications, international development, and evaluation, including telecentre operators, telecentre managers, and community leaders.
Anne Whyte is a principal partner for Mestor Associates, a Canadian consulting firm specializing in international development, particularly environmental policy, international law, information and communication, and institutional innovation. Dr Whyte holds a PhD in geography and environmental engineering from the Johns Hopkins University and is a former Director General at IDRC. Dr Whyte is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Board member of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), and Governor of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. She sits on numerous international scientific boards and committees and has authored, coauthored, and edited of over 50 books and articles, including Building a New South Africa and A Decade of Reform.