Recently, news about Malawi’s upcoming telecentres has been published on a number of websites . One of these sites, Bizcommunity.com, has reported that one pilot project currently running in the home district of Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika has proved a huge success. Based on this success, three other districts have been identified for main telecentres – Karonga in the north, Kasungu in the centre and Mwanza in the south. The cost for all three is estimated at MK150 million, but equipment will be donated by International Telecommunications Union (ITU). I guess the MK150 million will be given by the Malawi Government.
For those who are hearing the word telecentre for the very first time, telecentres are grassroots organizations that offer access to information and telecommunications technologies (ICTs) to improve their local communities.These centres also serve as places for education and e-governance in rural areas.
In the Malawian context, services at telecentres will include internet services, photo studio, video services, ID processing, computer lessons, fax, phone services, lamination photocopying etc. Although this is a wonderful development, I will reserve my joy for the time being. This kind of project requires commitment and financial resources. I, therefore, would like the Malawi Government to match their words with action, after all, action speaks louder than words. They must see to it that the development of telecentres across the country becomes a reality.
They must take a look at what other countries have done in order to establish and manage telecentres. Knowledge of the challenges that they faced would help Malawi to do a better job on the upcoming telecentres. Hungary is hosting the first World Telecentre conference . Malawi must send one or two people to this conference so that they can share the Malawian telecentre experience so far. While there, they will also learn what others are doing and consequently apply the concepts when they come back home. When I say one or two people must be sent to Hungary, I do not mean the fun loving bosses, who most of the times like attend