COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS OF TELECENTER MOVEMENT IN BANGLADESH
Keywords:Telecenter movement, Rural development, ICT for Development, Sustainable telecenter initiatives
The Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) is a technology that is rapidly being adopted for the poverty reduction strategies in developing countries. Different ICT initiatives including telecenters had remarkable
achievement for rural development in recent years. Most of the telecenters are established in urban or semi-urban areas. The telecenter initiatives were started in Bangladesh very recently, and are growing very fast. This emergence led to the
motivation of this study and the need to assess the cause behind the obstacles and opportunities. The study was supported by fieldwork during November 2006 to May 2007 on eight different models of telecenters in Bangladesh. A sample of 144 respondents was interviewed from all relevant groups. Three research methods were used for this study: survey interviews, focus group interviews, and an analysis of existing data. The aim of the study was to identify services provided by the telecenters, further the opportunities and cause behind the success or failure of the projects. The study was also intended to examine the issues affecting community uptake and appropriation of ICT services for livelihood development of rural communities, and reasons of lowadoption of ICT to the rural areas. This study was found five centers achieved their success by providing access to information to the rural communities, i.e. Village Information Center, ICT and Resource Centre for the Disabled, Amader Gram Giyan Kendra, Youth Community Multimedia Centre, and Amader Gram Health Center. The rest of centers were struggling for success and sustainability. This study found five centers achieved their success by providing access to information to the ruralcommunities. The major groups (36%) of the telecenter users were in the 20-30 years agegroup, 36% of the users were women, 40% of the respondents knew about the telecenterfrom friends and relatives while none got this information from government sources.40% of the respondents use the telecenters services at least once a weak and none foundthe services to be expensive. A significant number of users gained socially as well as ineducation from these services. The result of this study will be useful to decision makes inimproving the services further and in the planning of new telecenters in other localities.