5 Multipurpose IT Community Centres

Rural and poor areas of many regions of the developing world are often prevented from benefiting fully from the many advantages offered by information and communication technologies (ICTs). In this sense, a community telecentre can be seen a crucial information and communication resource for the whole community, supporting the goal of universal access to the emerging Information Society.

Multi-purpose IT Community Centres (MICCs) are structures that encourage and support communities to manage their own development through access to appropriate facilities,resources, training and services. “Multi-purpose” means that a MICC is able to provide different user groups within a community, with a range of services relating to different domains (from education/training to business, from health to local governance), and it does so by offering several technologies. “Community” refers both to local community ownership and community access through the centre. MICCs rely on such resources as public and community libraries and local mass media in order to facilitate access to information services and to improve the dialogue between citizens and local/national institutions.

A crucial factor for the successful implementation of a community telecentre project is the involvement and cooperation of a wide range of local organizations, both in setting up the facilities and in contributing to the production of “content” and applications. The private sector can also intervene in the work of the MICC, in several ways, ranging from supply of equipment and services to operational responsibility under franchise, and in general supporting development-oriented community activities.