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‘Empower poor through IT access’ December 7, 2007

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, TECHNOLOGY.
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Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed yesterday called for empowering poor, disadvantaged and rural population through providing them with access to the information superhighway for building a prosperous Bangladesh.

He made the call while formally declaring open a two-day launching programme of Mission 2011, organised by Bangladesh Telecentre Network (BTN) at Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre.

The head of the caretaker government urged all to help make the Mission 2011 a success, which can usher in a new era in the country’s march towards progress.
The theme of the mission 2011 is “Building a Sustainable ICT-based Information and Knowledge System for the Poor and Marginalised”.

The aim of the mission is to set up 40,000 telecentres all over Bangladesh by 2011, raising the number from existing 800.

Telecentre is a public place where people can have access to computers, internet and other technologies.

Telecentre exists in almost every country although they sometimes go by different names like village knowledge centre, infocentre, community technology centre, community multimedia centre, information kiosk. In Bangladesh, telecentre are called Community Multimedia Centre, Community Information Centre, Rural Knowledge Centre and so on.

The telecentre helps community members in different ways–like learning and developing skill, creating local content and capturing local knowledge, creating economic activities, providing access to physicians and other distant professionals, overcoming isolation, bridging the digital divide and reaching out to the youth.

Addressing the function, the CA hoped that Mission 2011 would play a significant role in unleashing the immense power of ICT for the country’s national development and help achieve MDGs in the medium term and a poverty-free Bangladesh in the long run.

Highlighting immense prospects of knowledge economy, he mentioned that India currently earns more than $50 billion annually from their software services alone.

Besides, e-governance programmes have brought about dramatic improvements in many countries of South Asia and Southeast Asia as well as in transition economies.

The CA said export earning from knowledge economy of Bangladesh is also growing but it remains far behind its actual potential.

He said the poor have an additional entry now to their list of deprivation. The better-off urban people are benefiting from the ICT-based new economy, but the poor, disadvantaged and rural population do not have access to the information superhighway. “We need to remove this barrier and empower these people by providing them with access to new technologies.”

The CA said a solution to this problem lies in a network of telecentres, which will provide access and support to rural communities.

He expressed his confident that the telecneres will not only minimise the digital divide by improving access to technology but will also provide invaluable support through appropriate contents and advisory services in the livelihood struggle of large number of the country’s population.

He said ICT can undoubtedly play a vital role in the country’s development endeavours and a well-planned and well-laid-out ICT network all over the country will speed up development on many fronts.[Source:Daily Star]

An ordinary citizen

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