<<November 29, 2000>>
Archived distributions can be retrieved by clicking on the top lines of our home page at <http://www.friends-partners.org/GLOSAS/>.

Deborah K. Welsh <dkwelsh@dkw.baku.az>

Michel J. Menou, Ph.D. <Michel.Menou@wanadoo.fr>

Mr. Lane Smith <lasmith@usaid.gov>

Peter T. Knight, Ph.D. <ptknight@attglobal.net>

Dear Deborah:

(1) Many thanks for your msg (ATTACHMENT I).

Dear e-Colleagues:


Dear Michel:

(3) Many thanks for your msg (ATTACHMENT II).

(4) I agree with you 100%. Lane Smith of USAID, who is responsible on their
Leland Program, once said to me that there are many talkers, but a very few doers!!

As you aptly pointed out, there are many wonderful reports of the
talkers, e.g., the Millennium Report of the United Nations. Alas,
it does not say anything about how to proceed with their
recommendations and conclusions.

The most important and the most difficult thing is to find/locate an
appropriate individual with entrepreneurship who knows his/her local
needs and conditions well. This process alone is arduous and time
consuming which cannot be done with a simple, top-down, template type solicitation.

Your msg also says that "All other conditions being equal,
irrespective of the quality of information available, it is the
"quality" of people which makes the difference. Unprepared, unfit,
unwilling people cannot make effective use of the best information."

(5) As you (and Peter Knight) point out, though the proposal of the Global
Development Gateway (GDG) project is well written, it does not mention
anything the future of infrastructure which should go with content
development as the two wheels of a cart, especially when you think about
the rapid development of informatics in the coming decade or two.

When I attended a conference in Manila recently, I simply appalled
to hear that most of people in Indonesia are still using 28.8 Kbps dial-up modem.

The GDG is an ambitious project, indeed. I wonder if it can be
done without any consideration of technical infrastructure.

(6) Your impression says that "the GDG, at this stage, can be regarded as
the result of misconceptions and ill design trying to implement good
intentions" -- though Peter Knight once said to me that the GDG is a pet
project of James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank.

I agree with you 100%. Browsing its proposal, my impression was that
the proposal write-up is a dream paper of a bureaucrat who does not have
any hard track record of implementing Internet in developing countries.

For example, our technician had to spend 16 hours for 3 days to
have a reliable ISDN (384 Kbps) connection between Manaus, Brazil
and the University of Michigan for our telemedicine demonstration.
A videoconferencing with ISDN (128 Kbps) at a major conference in
Sao Paulo often dropped out the connection due to poor analog
telephone network -- even in the major city of Brazil.

(7) I also agree with you that "The entire approach [of GDG], of having
"experts" screen and select information is problematic."

My impression is that the GDG project is to re-establish an
information controlled totalitarian society. I simply wonder why
and how the World Bank, the champion of participatory democracy,
can come up such an idea/project.

(8) I completely agree what you say that "The value of information lies in
trust, and trust itself lies in direct acquaintance, actual application,
replicability and cultural acceptability."

Without this trust, any project will fail soon or later. Building
this trust also leads to world peace keeping.

This is why we have a series of workshops in localities and
regions for our establishing a Global University system which is a
community development approach -- which is similar to the GDG in some sense.

Your msg also says that "If one means to help 'the poor' let's
work with them rather than with those who take advantage of their
existence." Our workshops are to go down to their level to find
out their needs and conditions, and at the same time, to show them
what can be done with their current and future advanced informatics.

(9) I also agree with you that "The access and dissemination nodes, e.g.,
organizations of the civil society, should be guaranteed effective
connectivity at an affordable price, with the appropriate range of bandwidth."

For this general purpose, and thanks to the funds from the
InfoDev, the US National Science Foundation, Finnish Ministry of
Education, etc., we organized the international conference on the
"Emerging Global Electronic Distance Learning (EGEDL/99)," August
9th - 13th, 1999, University of Tampere, Finland. We initiated
the following three GLOSAS Projects to establish;

1. Global University System (GUS),

to produce content on e-learning and telehealthcare,

2. Global Broadband Internet (GBI),

to provide advanced informatics,

3. Global Service Trust Fund (GSTF),

to finance the above two activities.

(10) I am thus greatly appreciative to have your support statement to our
GSTF project by saying that "A number of situations do require high
bandwidth for effective knowledge sharing or application; GDG should
support a network of suitable access points, as suggested by proponents
of the Global Service Trust Fund (GSTF):

See also Reference Web Sites" at

I agree with you that "the World Bank and other international
development organizations should devote appropriate resources, both
investment and policy advice, to ensure fulfillment of the above requirements."

(11) Our approach of establish the GUS in each locality and region with the
series of workshops mentioned above is to cherish their autonomy and
"based on appropriate institutions and networks led by institutions from
the developing countries," as your msg pointed out.

(12) I agree with each of your items in the Section "On Developing and Providing Content."

I think then that the GDG's $US 75,000 offer is not enough at all
to develop each of those items, let alone their sustaining those activities in the future.

(13) I enjoyed reading your comments on the GDG, and I hope that our GUS, GBI
and GSTF projects will be of help to the GDG.

Best, Tak

From: "Deborah K. Welsh" <dkwelsh@dkw.baku.az>
To: "Tak Utsumi" <utsumi@friends-partners.org>
Subject: Fw: Call for Proposals
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2000 12:42:03 +0400

Tak, Tell me if this is of any interest to your group. Best, Deborah


The Information for Development (infoDev) Program is pleased to announce
a Call for Proposals for grants to plan for the creation of Country Gateways
in partnership with the Global Development Gateway Initiative.

Country Gateways are espected to bring the country's development
stakeholders together to build a strong online network of local, regional, and
global development communities on the web. Providing country views and
empowering local partners to use the Internet for collaboration, e-business,
e-government, knowledge sharing, matchmaking, benchmarking, and training,
Country Gateways will have a standard format and will draw information from
over 150 global and regional content aggregators and many local sources. More
information on the Country Gateway for Azerbaijan may be obtained from the
attached Information Memorandum.

The maximum size for a planning grant will be US$75,000. The proposal
should be presented in English, French, or Spanish and grant funded activities
should be completed within six to twelve months of the award. Proposals may be
submitted at any time until program funding is exhausted. Proposal outline,
deliverables and other details related to submitting the proposal may be found
at: http://www.infodev.org/gateway

Proponents for grants should be able to convene a Working Group
representing the for-profit private sector, the not-for-profit private sector
(civil society) and the Government. Before a grant is awarded, the approval of
the World Bank's counterpart Government Agency (normally a Ministry of
Planning or a Ministry of Finance) will be required. Some countries have
already started to prepare business plans for Country Gateways. infoDev grants
are not meant to retroactively fund work that has already been completed.

Award of a planning grant does not mean that the grantee, even on
completion of a successful effort, will be guaranteed a contract to manage the
Country Gateway. A separate process will be conducted to award such contracts.

Please submit your Proposal electronically in Word for Windows or Word
Perfect format by email to: gatewayinfodev@worldbank.org

Alternatively, submit the Proposal in either of the two above formats on
a 3.5 inch disk to:

The infoDev Program
The World Bank
1818 H St. NW
Room F5P - 156
Washington, DC 20433

Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2000 15:18:55 +0100
To: utsumi@friends-partners.org
From: "Michel J. Menou" <Michel.Menou@wanadoo.fr>
Subject: Fwd: [GKD] Re: GDG Content Issues

Dear Prof. Utsumi
Being more overwhelmed than usual, I omitted to copy you this message posted
in the electronic conference about the WB proposed Global Development Gateway.
Sorry. Needless to say there was little public reaction.
But repetition is one pillar of pedagogy, even at a distance, isn't it?
Best regards

>Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000 16:12:43 +0200
>To: gkd@phoenix.edc.org
>From: Michel Menou <Michel.Menou@wanadoo.fr>
>Subject: [GKD] Re: GDG Content Issues
>Sender: owner-gkd@phoenix.edc.org
>Reply-To: gkd@phoenix.edc.org
>I have been asked to write a "framing" message on GDG content, and to
>also introduce myself. I am a professor of information policy at the
>Department of Information Science, City University, London (U.K.) and
>a consultant in knowledge and information management. Since 1966, I
>have been working with international agencies in about 80 countries
>on information policies, national and international Scientific and
>Technical information systems and education for information work.
>This new electronic discussion is very interesting. It raises
>expectations and frustrations, enthusiasm and doubts. Let me stress
>that I don't question the individual goodwill of the sponsors and
>take their point that they are listening and intend to take into
>account the advice here expressed. Whether "the system" will let them
>do so to a significant extent remains to be seen.
>As I considered the issue of "content," I was struck by the fact that
>the discussion began with an examination of knowledge needs. With all
>due respect, I would suggest that the World Bank GDG team explains
>how it has used the outcomes of the previous electronic conferences
>especially this GKD List and some of its own "Think tank"
>conferences), held at the global or regional level, the many F2F
>conferences that have explored "information and knowledge needs" of
>the "developing countries" from one angle or the other (e.g., UNISIST
>1 and 2, IFSTD 1 and 2, NATIS, Global Knowledge 1 and 2, etc.) in the
>past 30 years or more, and a quite abundant literature. The same
>question applies to this topic on content, and those upcoming on
>governance and funding, and impact evaluation. I wonder if we are not
>witnessing in this "new information age" the rise of "CMPRW" (Computer
>Mediated Permanent Reinvention of the Wheel). I would therefore like
>to propose a ban on any additional electronic or face-to-face
>conferences aiming to discuss these issues in such general terms
>until the outcome of the above mentioned efforts has been
>consolidated and made available to all those concerned (however one may
>accept in the interim that the topic be considered in conjunction with
>specific problems and actual field work).
>Now, turning to the GDG and issues of content. Before going into
>specifics about content, I would like to present some overall views.
>Without intending any offense, I must confess that I am on the
>impression that the GDG, at this stage, can be regarded as the result
>of misconceptions and ill design trying to implement good intentions.
>A range of experience leads me to this conclusion.
>First, many participants in this GDG discussion have contributed
>unpaid "consulting" services to World Bank and other multilateral or
>national organisations, for quite a number of years now, in hopes
>that it will lead to worthwhile ICT and development projects. None of
>those needs assessments and recommendations came up, as far as one
>can see, with a suggestion for a "development super site."
>Second, as I was rechecking the prototype at 8 am GMT+2 before
>writing this note, the connection was cut, as is usual in my French
>village, though I have an ISDN line. I thought of the exciting time,
>and phone bill, an NGO based in, say, Dosso, Niger (a place I love),
>will have in order to access just one document from the GDG. The same
>is true for such "revolutionary breakthroughs" which make effective
>use of the latest multimedia capabilities of the Internet, as can be
>seen, for instance, in Fathom (http://www.fathom.com) which sells
>knowledge through streamed videos of distinguished specialists from
>the most industrialized countries.
>Third, access is not the only problem. The entire approach, of having
>"experts" screen and select information is problematic. For example,
>if I am not mistaken, the type of information GDG plans to offer lies
>in the so-called "best practices" which will be selected by
>"experts." This methodology is counter-productive in many ways. Best
>practice here today might well be inappropriate there and mispractice
>tomorrow everywhere. It fails to empower people, by removing their
>control over the information. Although the prototype notes that
>sources will eventually be "ranked" by users, nonetheless, the basic
>materials available will only be those selected by "experts." Also,
>it appears that the GDG will most benefit the "experts" rather than
>the ordinary people struggling with realities in the field. Finally,
>it is highly questionable whether "experts," even local experts, can
>identify all local needs accurately. I'll give an example.
>Many years ago a donor had designed a project to build a network of
>public libraries in small towns of a Sahelian country. The
>communities were to provide the building and staff, the donor was
>providing the reading materials and technical support. The donor
>created a core collection, based on "experts' advice". Because the
>communities had contributed to the library, they were invited to
>review the core collection and make suggestions. Much to the surprise
>of the donors and experts, those communities actually completely
>rebuilt the core collection, selecting materials which had been
>completely overlooked and proved far more appropriate to local needs.
>Based on these considerations, I would like to present some critical assumptions:
>a) People look for solutions to their problems, not for "information"
>b) Everyone's problems are a combination of issues and the context in
>which the person finds him/herself. They are not a series of
>specialized and self-contained questions
>c) The value of information lies in trust, and trust itself lies in
>direct acquaintance, actual application, replicability and cultural acceptability
>d) All other conditions being equal, irrespective of
>the quality of information available, it is the "quality" of people
>which makes the difference. Unprepared, unfit, unwilling people
>cannot make effective use of the best information.
>e) If one means to help "the poor" let's work with them rather than
>with those who take advantage of their existence.
>This electronic discussion has offered many valid suggestions, as
>witnessed in particular in the summaries of weeks 2-8 October and
>9-15 October. Not to mention those offered earlier in other fora.
>I'd like to highlight some key points and possibly add a few.
>On Making the GDG Knowledge and Information Accessible:
>a) The network of electronic resources assembled under GDG should be
>accessible through a variety of channels (digital and analog) and not
>exclusively Web based; these channels should include human
>intermediaries and local radio.
>b) The access and dissemination nodes, e.g., organizations of the
>civil society, should be guaranteed effective connectivity at an
>affordable price, with the appropriate range of bandwidth (see for
>instance the Papallacta Manifesto http://www.tele-centros.org )
>c) A number of situations do require high bandwidth for effective
>knowledge sharing or application; GDG should support a network of
>suitable access points, as suggested by proponents of the Global
>Service Trust Fund (GSTF):
>d) the World Bank and other international development organizations
>should devote appropriate resources, both investment and policy
>advice, to ensure fulfillment of the above requirements.
>On Developing and Providing Content:
>a) The GDG should focus primarily on funding the maintenance and
>improvement and accessibility of existing relevant resources, as
>identified and rated by the users. Secondarily, GDG should support
>development of new resources only when required; the latter should be
>based in appropriate institutions and networks led by institutions
>from the developing countries.
>b) The central facilities in the GDG should consist primarily of
>search engine(s) and directory (ies) to ease access to existing
>resources. They should include informative abstracts describing the
>content, usability and public of the resources.
>c) The guides (sic) and topic advisors should act in the same way as
>reference librarians or gatekeepers (as coined by Thomas J. Allen in
>the mid 60's; a knowledgeable and inspiring facilitator) to help
>users find the sources best suited to their needs. These persons
>should be selected primarily from experienced professionals among
>local, especially grass root organizations working in the developing
>world. One role of the GDG should be to facilitate the building of
>interactive networks among these professionals.
>d) The professional networks mentioned in item (c) should build
>FAQ-like resources, based on the feedback received from the users.
>GDG should provide funding for translating and adapting these
>resources for the needs of the various linguistic and cultural groups.
>e) Indigenous knowledge and lessons learned at the grass-root level
>from the implementation of development programs should get the
>highest priority in the strengthening of existing resources or
>building of new resources of all types. Support should be available
>to that end and special attention should be paid to the fair
>representation of women and minorities perspectives.
>f) The GDG program should include support for training of local
>partners in building appropriate resources, disseminating their
>content and empowering the users, so that they can ultimately build
>their own information and knowledge resources.
>g) Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure that a free and
>unbiased exchange of knowledge can take place within the broad GDG
>system. This encompasses personal safety of the contributors,
>protection of their moral rights and limitation of excessive copyrights.
>Although this anticipates next week's agenda I cannot miss a note on
>Governance and Evaluation:
>a) If GDG is meant to be participatory, it should be set up and
>managed as a consortium where all participants have their appropriate
>share of responsibilities and decision making power
>b) Monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment should be built into
>the GDG from its inception and conducted as a collective learning
>process along lines such as those suggested in the Global Knowledge
>Partnership Learning and Evaluation Action Program
>Best regards,
>Michel Menou
>Michel J. Menou, Ph.D., Professor of Information Policy
>Department of Information Science, School of Informatics
>City University
>Northampton Square, London EC1V OHB, U.K.
>Email: Michel.Menou@wanadoo.fr

>***GKD is an initiative of the Global Knowledge Partnership***
>The discussion on the Global Development Gateway has been sponsored
>by the World Bank. To post a message, send it to: <gkd@mail.edc.org>
>To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message to:
><majordomo@mail.edc.org>. In the 1st line of the message type:
>subscribe gkd OR type: unsubscribe gkd
>Archives of previous GKD messages can be found at:
List of Distribution

Deborah K. Welsh
South Caucasus Project Director
National Peace Foundation
Washington DC
Tel/Fax: 994-12-92-67-58

Michel J. Menou, Ph.D.
Professor of Information Policy
Department of Informatics
School of Informatics
City University
London, U.K.
B.P 15
49350 Les Rosiers sur Loire
Phone: +33 2 41 51 81 65
Fax: +33 2 41 51 10 43 (use only with advance notice please)

Mr. Lane Smith
Coordinator of the Leland Initiative
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), AFR/SD
Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington D.C. 20523-4600
Tel: +1-202-712 0826
Fax: +1-202-216-3373

Peter T. Knight, Ph.D.
Board member of GLOSAS/USA
Knight, Moore - Telematics for Education and Development
Communications Development Incorporated (CDI)
Strategy, Policy, Design, Implementation, Evaluation
1808 I Street, NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20006, USA
Tel: 1-202-775-2132 (secretary), 1-202-721-0348 (direct)
Fax: 1-202-775-2135 (office), 1-202-362-8482 (home)
Cel: 1-202-255-7215
IP for CU-SeeMe:
webmail: ptknight@netscape.net
http://www.knight-moore.com/partners/partnerindex.htm -- bio
http://www.knight-moore.com/projects/GSTF.html -- about GSTF
* Takeshi Utsumi, Ph.D., P.E., Chairman, GLOSAS/USA *
* (GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the U.S.A.) *
* Laureate of Lord Perry Award for Excellence in Distance Education *
* Founder of CAADE *
* (Consortium for Affordable and Accessible Distance Education) *
* President Emeritus and V.P. for Technology and Coordination of *
* Global University System (GUS) *
* 43-23 Colden Street, Flushing, NY 11355-3998, U.S.A. *
* Tel: 718-939-0928; Fax: 718-939-0656 (day time only--prefer email) *
* Email: utsumi@columbia.edu; Tax Exempt ID: 11-2999676 *
* http://www.friends-partners.org/GLOSAS/ *

Return to Global University System Mid-2000 Correspondence