<<July 10, 2000>>

Motilal Sharma <msharma@mail.asiandevbank.org>

Christine Maxwell <maxwell@isoc.org>

John B. Rose <j.rose@unesco.org>

Marcos Costa <marcos_costa@agilent.com>

Mr. Carlos Alberto Primo Braga <cbraga@worldbank.org>

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

Dear Moti:

(1) Many thanks for your msg (ATTACHMENT I) with very impressive paper on
poverty reduction with information technology in developing countries.

Dear Christine:

(2) John Rose of UNESCO produced a similar paper on the community approach
for deploying Internet in developing countries which paper was
distributed at the International Consultation on TeleHealth and
TeleMedicine held at the World Health Organization in Geneva,
Switzerland from January 12 to 14, 2000.

You may request the paper from John.

Dear Marcos:

(3) During our workshop in Manaus, Amazona, Brazil from May 31 to June 2,
you presented a project of a kiosk in the middle of rain-forest in Costa
Rica which has 45 Mbps digital satellite linkage, and which was a joint
project of Hewlett-Packard (your parent company) and Massachusetts
Institute of Technology.

I would greatly appreciate it if you can get its configuration and cost
figures which you promised me at that time.

Dear Moti:

(4) Referring to a msg from Carlos to Peter (ATTACHMENT II), you may apply for a
grant to Carlos' InfoDev.

Best, Tak

From: eatangan@adb.org
To: utsumi@friends-partners.org
cc: msharma@adb.org
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 10:48:04 +0800
Subject: Information Technology for Poverty Reduction
To: utsumi@friends-partners.org
cc: Motilal Sharma/AWD/ADB@ADB

My dear Utsumi,

Attached is my paper on the subject for your perusal.

Best regards.

Motilal Sharma

Motilal Sharma
Senior Education Specialist
Asian Development Bank
Manila, Philippines


1. It has been estimated that over 900 million of the world are poor, i.e.,
those who earn $1 a day. They live mostly in the Asia-Pacific region. Nearly
one of three Asians is poor, although it appears that the incidence of poverty
(proportion of people below the poverty line) is slightly declining. Others
question this claim and argue that the term poor should cover all those who
cannot cope with survival, security, and enabling needs. If one were to apply
the comprehensive definition of poverty, the poor certainly account for more
than 900 million on this planet. South Asia alone is one of the poorest
subregions in the world and it already has more than half billion poor people.
The poor experience shortfalls in economic welfare; gaps in access to good
quality education and health care; deficiencies in the provision of physical
infrastructure; and political barriers that stifle personal initiative and
self-development. They are unable to participate in governance, which is
necessary for a healthy democracy and peaceful development. Morever, despite
the vast advances that are being made in the spheres of science and
technology, medicine, capital mobility, etc., income disparities are ever
widening, both within countries and between the world's rich and poor nations.
The process of lop-sided wealth accumulation in the hands of a few at the
level of individual countries is being repeated on a global scale. This poverty
encourages corruption, anti-social activities like drugs, smuggling,
prostitution, and all sorts of deviant behavior. Poverty is considered an
unacceptable human condition. The trends in poverty reduction have recently
worsened. The population growth in the developing countries is also adding to the
absolute number of the poor. Overcoming poverty therefore remains the single most
important challenge facing those involved in development activities.

2. It has been recognized by all multilateral and bilateral donors involved
in development assistance that expected outcomes could not be achieved in the
area of poverty reduction. As a result, the donors have renewed their
commitment to reducing poverty through improving economic and social
opportunities for the poor and the benefits of growth; providing security to
people unable to participate in mainstream economic activities; and empowering
people to lead a quality life, with involvement in decision-making, and
enjoying dignity, freedom, and self-respect. Poverty constrains implementation
of development initiatives because the poor (the beneficiaries) are not able
to participate and contribute effectively in development efforts. In the past
decade, efforts were made to encourage beneficiary participation through
nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs).
However, this could not be fully achieved because of many factors including
illiteracy, lack of access to educational opportunities, and limited access to
information and resources by the poor. Human development is a key ingredient
in economic and industrial development. Governments have a crucial role to
play in promoting human development. The Asian Development Bank has recently
adopted a poverty reduction strategy that has made poverty reduction its
overarching objective. The new poverty reduction framework has three key
elements namely pro-poor economic growth; social development; and good
governance. The strategy recognizes that lack of human capital is one of the
primary causes of poverty. Without access to basic services, such as primary
education and basic health care, the poor will have little opportunity to
improve their lives and will be unable to contribute to economic growth.

II. Need to Correct Imbalance

3. The GNPs and PCIs continue to grow everyday in the industrialized world,
and their stock exchanges and business cycles overflow with unequal
profitability and affluent recycling. They are at the cutting edge of all
technologies, and are breaking new paths in bioengineering, space exploration,
resources mining and operations, global trading and financing, modern living
and international travel and leisure. A virtual wall of isolation separates
them from the impoverished millions of the world who continue to flounder in
basic agricultural and extracting industries and the underground economies. It
is estimated that only 350 billionaires, most of whom come from the developed
economies, control resources equivalent to 45 percent of the world population.
This minority affluent (concentration of wealth in few hands) could contribute
to conversion of this severe poverty into weapons of violence against society,
subjecting civil society at large to constant threats of kidnapping,
blackmail, and physical harm resulting into increased social violence. Control
of IT power by minority affluent can further complicate the situation.
Globalization of market (which was conceptualized as a positive step toward
equalizing benefits of economic developments) is considered to be creating
imbalance between rich and the poor. Mr. Juan Somovia the ILO Chief, warned of
a popular revolt against globalization if it continued to benefit only the
rich. Opening UNCTAD in Thailand, Mr. Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General,
accused economic superpowers of standing in the way of poor nations as they
struggle to developing their economies. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir
Mohamad said, "I am frightened by preparations being made by certain
corporations to take advantage of liberalization and globallization". These
remarks become frightening when control of IT power in the hands of rich is
considered in this context. IT could be used to build an effective bridge between
rich and poor. Reduction of poverty will help in successful globalization and
development of old economies into new digital economies.

4. In the past decade, the technological advances particularly in the field
of information technology have been so rapid that it has changed the shape of
all economic activities in the world, and in pushing the world towards
globalization. However, there is no demonstrated effort on the parts of the
public or private sector to bring the benefits of IT to the poor in terms of
delivery of improved basic services like education, health care, and in
equipping the poor with necessary information and skills to bring them into
the mainstream of society so that they can be a productive partners of
globalization. In reality, the information gap is increasing between the
haves and have nots resulting in increased power flow towards the elite who
already possess the power and weakening those who are deprived of it, which can
result into increased poor populations, enlarged poverty, and potential social
disasters. These will further constrain optimization of development efforts by
multilateral and bilateral donors towards reduction of poverty and protection
of the environment. Globalization of markets might result in an increased gap
between the rich and poor countries and between rich and poor within developing
countries. There is therefore an urgent need to bring information technology
to the doorsteps of the poor.

5. Information technology is changing the world rapidly and dramatically.
If not used properly, the gap between rich and poor will increase. IT is
creating a distance-less world where communication is becoming instantaneous
and has placed immense power into the hands of, so far, the haves and the
elite. It is impacting on all dimensions of life: education, health, quality
of family, culture, leisure and arts, the scientific and technological world. The
way people do business globally will change beyond imagination. It is helping
economies expand at an unprecedented rate, and competitiveness has become the
motto of the day. Rich countries will continue to become richer and rich
people will become richer faster than ever before, resulting in a gargantuan
ocean of the world's poor. IT can introduce new ways of participation by the
poor men, women and young people in the global economy in cost-effective and
poor-friendly ways, thus creating opportunities to address the issue of poverty
reduction. IT can offer the most exciting possibilities for overcoming poverty.
This potential will vastly remain unexplored if we leave it to the market
forces. Therefore there is a need to create a regional mechanism such as an Asian
Institute of Information Technology for Poverty Reduction (AIITPR) which can
help in coordinating existing IT based systems and experiments, then
developing the grounds for replicating the strategies based on information
technology for poverty reduction.

6. The prime issue is the centrality of power in the hands of the affluent.
This power is further strengthened every day by the scope, reach and technology
of electronic communications and information. This will widen the gap between
the powerful and the powerless resulting in an increase in poverty and the
number of the poor. The 21st century may see the greatest paradox in history:
unprecedented science and technology growth in the hands of a minority urban
elite; but huge oceans of impoverished poor suffering from illiteracy,
ill health, malnutrition, overpopulation growth, etc. The creation of
knowledge is the basis for new prosperity. Access by the poor to high tech
opportunities is the issue, which requires immediate attention so that it can
be used for empowering the poor with knowledge and equip them with
productivity skills. This will directly help in poverty reduction.


7. Lesson after lesson of development projects demonstrate that the active
participation of stakeholders, particularly beneficiaries from impoverished
communities, is crucial to achievement of developmental intervention
objectives, in particular those relating to poverty reduction. However,
experience shows that most of the developmental interventions in socioeconomic
sectors have no built-in information strategy or a social marketing campaign.
The assumption is either that information is not important or that the
targeted beneficiaries will not understand the messages or process by which
they are conveyed. This is a very dismal weakness of design and implementation
of the development interventions. Informing the poor is the first step in the
implementation of any development intervention. All development efforts should
have a built-in effective information component to ensure sharing of
objectives and effective use of indigenous wisdom.

8. Our biggest challenge today is to maximize the power of information
technology in addressing the issues relating to rural development and poverty
reduction. The gap between rich and poor could further increase as a result of
modern advances in information technology which remains a powerful tool in the
hands of the urban elite. There is, therefore, a need to design, test, and
learn from innovative electronic media-based strategies, supported by
information technology in strategies and ways of increasing participation of
the poor in governance, to make use of market information, and increase their
access to a variety of resources to address the basic issue of poverty
reduction. We must bring down the ownership, use and control of selective and
digital technology from the elite and government regimes to the level of
communities and the poor that they serve. We must vitalize the community media
with the involvement of people. It is vital to bring information to the
doorsteps of the poor (the beneficiaries). Today's communications media are
excellent vehicles for conveying much-needed information. Hi-tech based
internet and digital technologies are not only becoming a lot smarter, they
are growing more user-friendly and can help communities in fighting poverty by
arming them with information, knowledge and technologies. On the one hand, the
affluent part of the world is hit by unprecedented overflow of information
which is fast increasing day by day. On the other hand, millions of people in
developing countries have absolutely no effective communication links to the
outside world. The implications of this situation are devastating if nothing
is done immediately. There is therefore an urgent need to ensure access to
modern information technology in rural areas or disadvantaged communities to
disseminate simple, practical knowledge which will save lives, increase
awareness and stimulate development. Properly used, media can help reduce the
conflict and strengthen local organization. It can help reduce poverty through
providing information on how people of their type somewhere else are handling
their situation. The poor have inadequate access to information, technology,
expertise, and resources. Communication is no longer limited to electric radio
or TV; digital technology based telecenters can provide access to the
disadvantaged in rural areas to telephone and fax service, email, Internet and
electronic networks, databases and libraries. This information should radiate
out so that the poor can learn from the poor.

9. It is estimated that there are about 880 million adult illiterates in
the developing countries, and well over 200 million functionally illiterate in
the industrial world. The illiterates are still in large numbers even after
550 years since Gothenburg invented the art of printing. If the current trend
continues, illiteracy will remain a major development issue well into the 21st
century. With this in mind, the dream of a harmonized world with equal
opportunities for all seems even more remote than before. And with the
communications revolution repeatedly transforming many countries into
knowledge-based societies, the developing countries will be left out of the
process, light years behind the rest of the world. The prospects for human
development which is basic to poverty reduction is not very encouraging in
countries suffering from illiteracy and lack of access to information and
resources. The elimination of corruption and reaching out and providing basic
services to the poor becomes the core of the future agenda of development, the
success of which again depends on the empowerment of the poor as well as
effective participation of the poor in governance to establish good governance
practices, as well as implementation of development programs addressing
poverty-reduction issues. Illiteracy combined with lack of information is a
barrier in the path to good governance and adds to corruption. IT-based Websites
can work wonders in the fight against corruption and improved transparency in
governance. In a recent development, the central vigilance commission of the
Government of India has established CVC website to fight corruption.
"Corruption is considered a low-risk, high profit business", however, Websites
can raise that risk and reduce the profit of corruption, thus resulting in good
governance and providing protection to the poor.

IV. Community-Based Information Technology

10. As a policy, all governments in the Asian region are investing more in
infrastructures and communications; as a result, more and more rural areas
being electrified. With the availability of energy in the villages, all types
of information technology could be brought without much additional costs.
There is no need to wait for roads and civil works; since the dissemination of
messages with the developments in satellite technologies, are not dependent on
these basic infrastructures. Rather, the availability of satellite facilities,
WAP and other mobile connections facilitates the expanded movement of
information to the most rural and remote villages. WAP phones (29 million)
would outpace PC production in 2000. The Yankee Group estimates more than 600
million internet enabled mobile phone users by 2003. At the same time, using
the community approach, the costs can be shared to ensure sustainability and
investments in IT based human development at the grassroots makes it viable
because the village makes its own workstations. The availability of these
concepts will help identify the constraints to be overcome and the effective
strategies which can help in the efficient implementation of the concept of
taking knowledge to the rural poor. With relevant technology, more than 75 per
cent of the rural populations can be reached which today are not served
efficiently with basic services including education, health, information,
skills, etc. In this context, IT can help to empower the rural poor through
equipping them with education, giving them information on market data anytime
and anywhere thus helping them to get the benefit to market changes; likewise,
health information can promote awareness about the importance of maintaining
health from the viewpoint of quality of life, financial well being of the
family, village productivity, and microenterprise development. Their
participation in governance can be improved and they can involve directly in
e-commerce for productions to be sold to outside customers, thereby
eliminating the need for expensive middlemen.

11. The major issues to be covered by community media may include the need
to manage the environment in a sustainable manner; exploding rate of
population and urbanization; food security; human needs with regard to health,
education and literacy; peace and democracy; and poverty reduction. All these
challenges require information, knowledge, supported by participatory process
of social change. Communication is an essential element in this process
because by establishing a dialogue with people it can empower people to take
decisions for their own development, increased participation, provide
information as a basis for change, and innovation, and help in sharing of
knowledge and development of skills in addressing their problems.

12. To ensure sustainability of IT at community level, there is a need for a
critical mass of communicators, resources and equipment to provide the
required results and impact. Over time, it will be possible to set up a huge
people's network with immense capability for sharing of information, knowledge
and learning of the poor by, for, among, and of the poor. Until development
communication is recognized as an essential component of sustainable
development strategies by policy and decision-makers there will be little hope
for use of information technology as resource for development interventions.
Community efforts should cover all multifaceted aspects of life of the rural poor.

13. The "Smart Village" (Rural Information Technology Center) concept being
tried in Malaysia to make access to the relevant information and education
based on cost efficient high-tech in rural areas is a relevant experiment in
this connection. Accessibility to information with quality - this is what
media should be doing. Ideally, poor should be an active participant in
designing of programs, implementation of programs, and Internet should feed
the community with all information. It would do well to set up communication
centers (telecenters) radio, TV, Internet as community devices requiring small
facilities. Transition to more democratic governments in many developing
countries will make it more feasible to promote participatory development
process which can be further strengthened through the use of modern media.
This will help the development agencies to play their catalytic role in
poverty reduction more effectively because this will be a platform for
directly working with the poor.

14. Another most recent example using IT for poverty reduction is the
experiment conducted in Mexico's Rio Favela community. A Committee to
Democratize Information Technology (CDI) project in Brazil in the heart of Rio
de Janeiro's infamous favelas or shanty towns and its pupils disenfranchised
by poverty and cultural stigma are learning to access more than just internet.
Armed with their new digital knowledge, they are finding paths that lead them
away from their communities' customary routes into the dark trade or
soul-destroying labor. They have found an electric bridge across the vast
social divide between the third world of their hillside homes and the first
world riches just a stone's throw below. The project has opened the doors of
the digital revolution to the country's poor. CDI tells favela community
leaders how to set up IT centers and train people to teach in them. Learning
takes place through exercises addressing local social issues. Most of the PCs
they use are worthless throwaways binned by upgrading companies. The CDI is
funded mainly by private business and philanthropic organizations. The CDI has
set up 110 IT centers throughout Brazil. Just as important are the less
tangible benefits raising the self-esteem and social awareness of students
which helps them to help communities. CDI has also set up a center in a
high-security prison in Rio which has almost eliminated illiteracy. CDI
graduates serving sentences for crimes such as kidnapping, murder and robbery,
are now giving IT courses to their guards. The students of these centers feel
that they now they have got the opportunity to participate in the new
millennium, and finally they can communicate with the whole world.

15. It is paramount to mobilize the media in awareness raising on poverty
issues in the developing countries and to go for a multimedia approach in
order to organize a maximum mobilization of the poor populations. Based on
experience, it will be appropriate to combine radio, TV, print and Internet,
by special designed radio programs (both national and regional), TV spots
which will be repeated several times during prime time and linked to popular
programs, and news (to cater for decision makers), print journalism to be
linked to the civic journalism concept by inviting a few selected journalists
who are motivated to launch a civic journalism group especially tailor made
for poverty reduction and interactive Internet pages dealing with poverty
issues on a national and international scale. The awareness campaign must also
mobilize commitment from decision-makers and elite and powerful including
military, religious groups and business houses.

16. For the above reasons, it is desirable to establish on a pilot basis a
multi-donor project for a timely and crucial intervention on strategies of
developing Information Communication capability in rural areas to empower and
enable the poor in participating in development activities and enable the
development agencies to play a more catalytic and responsive role in the
developing member countries to address the issues relating to poverty
reduction. This will require active participation among the participatory
agencies to carefully design a long-term and sustainable information
technology-based intervention to poverty. Based on the results of this pilot
experiment, large-scale initiatives could be designed to ensure access to
information technology to the poor. Such pilot experiment will encourage and
enable the staff of participatory agencies to apply new and innovative
approaches based on information technology to address the issue of poverty
reduction both through direct intervention and as support to poverty reduction
projects and programs supported by various agencies. These experiences will be
valuable opportunities for learning by doing in a short period, and developing
how-to-do methods and best practices for poverty reduction on a long-term
basis. These lessons will also help the donor agencies in improving their
operational strategies to effectively serve the developing member countries in
a timely and more suitable manner.

V. Asian Institute of Information Technology for Poverty Reduction: A Proposal

17. Realizing that the traditional methods of education have not been able
to cope up with the educational needs of growing populations, in particular in
disadvantaged areas Asian governments started exploring with the use of
educational technology to provide education services to disadvantaged areas.
In principle, the move was very appropriate. However, because of the less
risk-taking behavior of academics, this move remained limited in most of the
cases to urban areas. Traditional universities started setting up external
courses through correspondence, continuing education courses, continuation
education courses, lifelong education programs, etc. But all these activities
remained bound to the urban populations where media proliferated.
Subsequently, open universities were established which started using mass
media like radio and television for distance education. In Asia today there
are more than 20 major Open Universities enrolling millions of students; also
there are open schools providing secondary school education, and most recently
government and commercial TV channels have been providing education courses on
the air. Studies show that all these facilities still have not been able to
reach the real disadvantaged groups. The majority of students who enroll in
the courses provided by these institutions are either employed or urban-based
people who want to upgrade their skills and knowledge. These facilities and
programs have not reached out to the poor, disadvantaged, and marginalized who
live in the rural areas, and are living at subsistence standards.

18. The governments of developing countries have already made capital
investments into the setting up of Open Learning Systems and similar
alternative institutions with the potential to serve larger populations. The
need is to restructure the open learning systems so that these resources and
facilities, which are already in place, can dramatically contribute to poverty
reduction efforts. The restructuring should start with a change in the foci of
activities and a reshaping of the vision of the concepts and practices of
distance education as they impact into the lives of the poor. There is also
their inability to upgrade their own systems and capabilities to make full use
of the latest technological developments in the area of information technology
(including internet technology and digital technologies) already in widespread
application in the military and business sectors particularly in the developed
countries. A third aspect for restructuring is their financial aspect. All
these systems, even today, are dependent on governments for their capital and
recurrent expenditures. They have not been able to maximize the business
potentials of these areas. So even if they have the power of IT they have not
been able to use it in a productive and profitable way. Their programs have
not been able to reach the disadvantaged and the poor who provide larger
market. Open Learning systems are considered as second class by those who can
afford to traditional universities. If they are able to reach the poor they
can be considered first class. This is what they have to do.

19. There is, therefore, an urgent need for a catalytic agent, which can
stimulate these systems beyond their present situations to serve the poor,
which remain the largest markets for these universities. The poor are also
largest human resources in any developing countries. They can make or break
governments. But they are unable to organize and influence governance because
they are unable to harness the needed information, knowledge, and
organizational capability. They cannot lead; instead the urban elites take
advantage of the situation and govern them. Establishment of an Asian
Institute of Information Technology for Poverty Reduction (AIITPR) to help
developing countries energize the existing open learning systems, facilitate
their services to bring them to the community level so that the rural poor and
disadvantage can take advantage of the educational opportunity. This Institute
can provide expertise, and coordinate the infusion of IT in all these existing
institutions. This can initiate globalization movement of education in Asia as
the existing open learning systems can become a network work around this focal
point. They can improve equality and efficiency of delivery of education
services; and secondly, they can think together to reach the poor through
establishment of community information centers. Universities can be support
system to community information centers at the community level whereas AIITPR
can provide global support, design strategies, and network all the
institutions across Asia using IT including private sector channels and
internet and digital technologies. The setting up of community information
centers could start with the optimization of use of exiting hardware.
Thousands of computers in various government agencies in developing countries,
procured under various programs and projects, are lying underutilized or
unutilized. Purchased many years ago, these are old models and to urban
centers they are not of great use. Such equipment can be moved straight away
to rural areas to form the heart of community information technology centers.
Such centers can be set up in existing schools. In the beginning therefore
there is no need to spend large amounts on hardwares. Through distance
education local leaders can be provided training in the use of these basic
hardware, software, email and Internet access and other programs. Communities
can design their agenda in terms of what sort of information they want. Open
learning systems can play a part in facilitating setting up of such centers
with dual use. One for conducting open university coursers; and second for
utilizing the facilities for community information, global scanning of
appropriate technology, and market research on low prices so that middle man
will not be able to exploit the lack of information which hinders the growth
of poor populations. Thus setting global village IT centers.

20. In sum the proposed AIITPR will: (i) be a catalytic implementor of
prototypes and development of information systems focused at poverty
reduction; (ii) conduct requirement analysis for the creation of information
technology infrastructure in rural areas required for poverty reduction; (iii)
identify the interfaces between the information needs of the poor and IT
capabilities as well as identify the imperative for IT infrastructure of the
delivery of basic services including education and health for the poor in the
networked economy; (iv) be responsible for responding to the imperatives for
IT training for the rural poor and build information skills development
strategies for the poor youth to ensure that tomorrow's poor can compete
effectively in an integrated market especially for services; (v) take the lead
in ensuring that the capabilities of IT are fully utilized for the poor people
and poor countries in all spares of life; (vi) greatly facilitate poor women's
access to IT-enabled help (including legal services) in order to protect their
rights resulting in the empowerment of women which is urgently needed to
ensure their participation in democracy, governance, and fight against
poverty; and (vii) create subnetworks on the basis of geographic areas, causes
and correlates of poverty, and help the poor and indigenous people to
participate and play an active role in the democratic processes and
strengthening of peace through protection of human rights and reduction of poverty.

VI. Conclusion

21. There is a dramatic transition in the global economy taking place today.
The globalization movement, which involves new economic world order and trade
arrangements, has put developed and industrialized nations in the forefront of
commerce. Then there is the shift taking place from the oil-powered economy
to the technology-driven economy followed by digital economy. In both
movements, the wealthy economies and affluent sections of society in these
economies will control the origination, maintenance and continuous growth in
the decades ahead. The marginalized poor, caught in the web of these
activities, are not even aware of the subtle impact of information technology
and its advancement into the digital economy. What the poor understand is oil
as it influences their everyday life at home, at work, in the farm or
factory floor. They know it when lamps are lighted; when cooking stove heats
water; when their three-legged vehicles spurt in the street. But digital
economy, information technology is beyond their grasp. This is their
opportunity if we want to open up a corridor of empowerment for them.
Otherwise, the poor will suffer even worst, resulting in a potential hot lid
of social unrest. We have seen how desperate poor people can seek revenge on
their masters if the playing field is not leveled to give them opportunity.
If left to market forces of digital economy, the poor will be left behind in
light years, creating tension and potential disturbance to society.
Information technology can open corridor of opportunity it is the key to
empowering the poor and disadvantaged to gaining information to shape better
decisions to determine their own destiny. Information technology can empower
the poor like never before. Information technology for the empowerment of
people, people, people - this is the new economy of our new times. In
conclusion, the proposed Institute of Information technology for poverty
reduction can play a lead role in achieving this dream in our generation and
facilitate realization of the goal of empowerment of poor for their effective
participation in digital economy.

22. Internet will impact upon all forms of communications including
telephones. It is expected that millions of consumers will be using Internet
telephones this year. At the same time the dot.com economy is wildly
flourishing. In this scenario, poverty has become more and more a global
challenge and requires global communications strategies to address the same.
Through information technology, large numbers of people, wherever they are and
whatever the time can be provided much-needed educational services.
Similarly, the skills development programs, as per demands of new digital
economies, can be conducted to equip the poor to face these challenges and
seize opportunities for improvement. Information technology can also be used
to assist in strengthening good governance through increased participation by
the poor in key decision-making activities. IT can also be effectively used
in awareness raising of problems and risks relating to health and disease
which are spreading today such as AIDS. Latest developments in herbal
medicine and diet habits can be quickly conveyed to the poor to help them cope
with diseases within their means. Finally, IT can help develop a cohesive
global world where people with different religions, cultures, languages, and
sociocultural histories, can, attitudinal and behavioral changes can live in
peace and democracy.

From: capbraga@hotmail.com
Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 16:11:23 -0400
Cc: utsumi@friends-partners.org
Subject: Error Condition Re: Re: "Rescue Iridium" workshop and GSTF project


I read with interest the efforts toward the conference on Iridium. I am
currently in Brazil on my way to Europe. Concerning your comments about
the World Bank, let me assure you that it has nothing to do with 'the not
invented here' syndrome. In picking our priorities in this area we choose
those projects that we believe may have the greatest impact on poverty
reduction (not to mention chances of success for funding mobilization).

>From: PTKnight <ptknight@attglobal.net>
>To: gu-l@friends-partners.org
>CC: Frank Method <unesco1@cais.com>, Lane Smith <lasmith@usaid.gov>,
>Joe Pelton <ecjpelton@aol.com>, Kate Wild <wild@un.org>, Uri
>Bar-Zemer <uri@ids.net>, Janice Brodman <janiceb@edc.org>
>Subject: Re: "Rescue Iridium" workshop and GSTF project
>Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 06:03:58 -0300
>Dear Tak:
>Delighted to see the Rescue Irridium conference is going ahead and that the
>GSTF will be on the agenda as well. In my work here in
>Brazil I have become even more convinced that GSTF is a significant
>initiative, and we can't afford to drop the ball, or as the
>Brazilians say, "deixar a peteca cair".
>I fear the "not invented here" syndrome is affecting some international
>organizations such as the World Bank which should be
>interested. They have so many other initiatives, that this is getting lost
>in the dust. But it is very much in their interest and that
>of their clients that it go forward. The legal framework of a multi-donor
>grant making organization developed at such pains for infoDev
>(which as far as I can tell is having trouble mobilizing funding) could be
>used easily to set up GSTF, which would be larger than
>infoDev by many orders of magnitude (I hope we are talking about
>US$billions compared with millions for infoDev, which still has a
>considerable backlog of approved, but unfunded projects. In fact, many
>potential infoDev projects are never even presented because it
>is known the wait is so long and the funds so relatively small.
>My only problem with the proposed agenda is that it doesn't explicitly give
>enough attention to discussion of the GSTF. While Irridium
>is very sexy, I have, as you know, serious doubts about whether it will be
>possible to keep this high-priced system in orbit.
>Nevertheless, I am very happy to see the potential for doing so debated by
>real experts in satellite technology. I would hope someone
>from INTELSAT and say Uri Bar-Zemer would also attend. It is very good that
>Janice Brodman is going to participate. She is very
>knowledgeable and well plugged in to many other organizations.
>My own feeling is that GSTF is a much more workable proposition, since it
>would use existing, funded and functional satellites and
>fiber, and mobilize resources in kind from their owners, plus benefit the
>owners by purchasing additional broadband capacity using the
>financial resources on non-owners of broad bandwidth. I am thinking of
>corporations which indirectly benefit, e.g. CISCO, Sun
>Microsystems, Microsoft, etc. There are sources, such as the Gates
>Foundation (run by Bill Gates' father) that could contribute such
>$$$ resources.
>That is one of the many nice aspects of GSTF -- by giving some bandwidth
>away, the owners also get new business by selling some more
>bandwidth purchased by other non-owner donors.
>Another key element which should be attracting the major international
>organizations and the global telecom community is the policy
>conditionality, and the participatory form in which it would be established
>under the GSTF proposal -- i.e. the ITU, INTELSAT, UNESCO,
>WHO, and World Bank Group are being asked to CONVENE working groups,
>including private sector, NGO, foundation, national government
>agencies, and other stakeholders to work out the minimum requirements for
>access to the free bandwidth for educational and health projects.
>I will definitely be at the conference on June 20. Only problem is an
>apointment, long postponed, with peridontist at 11:00. If I can't
>change it, I will have to absent myself from about 10:30-12:15 (guessing
>times from Balston to downtown and back).
>With best regards,
List of Distribution

Motilal Sharma
Senior Education Specialist
Asian Development Bank
6 ADB Avenue
Mandaluyong City
0401 Metro Manila
P. O. Box 789
0980 Manila
+632-632-4444 (main)
Fax: +632-636-2310
+632-636-2444 (main)

Christine Maxwell
Vice Chairman
Internet Society
Tel: +33 4 42 66 80 30
French Portable No. +33 6 20 72 40 63
Wildfire Global Tracking Number: +1 415 732 6170
Fax: +33 4 42 66 81 07

John B. Rose
Information and Informatics Division
Division de l'Information et de l'Informatique
Communication Division
1 Rue Miollis
75732 PARIS Cedex 15
Tel: (33-1) 45 68 45 29
Fax: (33-1) 45 68 55 83

Marcos Costa
Agilent Technologies Brasil Ltda.
Alameda Araguaia, 1142 - 2 Andar
06455-000 - Barueri - SP - Brasil
Fax: +55-11-7297-3793

Mr. Carlos Alberto Primo Braga
Program Manager
Information for Development (InfoDev)
The World Bank
1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20433
Fax: (202) 522 3186

Peter T. Knight, Ph.D.
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)
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/ *

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