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AsiaDHRRA, in partnership with Intel Technology, successfully concluded the three-day “Regional Workshop on Community-Based ICT Integration” last 14 March with thirty-one participants from six Asian countries attending. The workshop, held in Legend Hotel, Pasig City, aimed to have a full understanding of the past and current initiatives by civil society organizations in bridging the digital divide.

The participants mapped areas for cooperation which included, among others, the mapping of ICT capacities and needs assessment, regional portal development, customizing open source IT solutions, and greater synchronization of efforts in bridging the digital divide. These agreements for future cooperation were reached after thorough plenary discussions that followed each of the thirteen case presentations.

Ms. Marlene Ramirez, Secretary General of AsiaDHRRA, expressed appreciation for the generosity of participants from civil society organizations, government, and the private sector who had generously contributed to the dialogue. Noting this has been AsiaDHRRA’s first effort to work with a private sector, Ms. Ramirez thanked Intel Technology for its continuing optimism in the potentials of the partnership.

Ms. Yvonne Garcia-Flores, CSR Manager of Intel Philippines, said that the three-day interaction stressed the importance of sharing and working together. She was amazed at how far the idea of cooperation has gone since it was conceived a year ago in Samal Island through the “World Ahead Program.”

The “World Ahead Program” of Intel Technology aims to contribute to quality education, enlarge access and connectivity by communities, and develop content for knowledge building. Intel has approached AsiaDHRRA to look into the possibility of working together on the content development component of the World Ahead Program. A possible concrete starting point is a project that AsiaDHRRA has launched, the “Linking Small Farmers to Markets.” a regional marketing project with in-country piloting in three Southeast Asian countries.

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INPUT on ICT: ICT for Development

ICT Trends, Opportunities and Challenges in Asia
by Mr. Leighton Philips, Manager, Asia-Pacific World Ahead Program Officer, Intel Asia-Pacific

Mr. Leighton PhilipsThe challenge of bringing ICT to the next billion population in Asia is not just about not just about putting cable on the ground. More than infrastructure, it means getting communities to buy into it and having a community development-led USF policy. In terms of fiscal strategy to spectrum usage, it’s a choice between auction revenue and more entertainment based on handsets, and economic revenue from national connected businesses and knowledge economy. A case of putting it all together is one rural community in Vietnam that had a huge worlwide coverage from various media which featured six-day ultra-marathon featuring the villages where the project were undertaken. The project was based on the process of community validation, sustainability calibration, usage verification, and public and private promotion.
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INPUT on ICT: ICT for Development

by Emmanuel Lallana, PhD, Chief Executive of Ideacorp

Boying LallanaICT matters to the poor because it can be made to play a key role in improving resource allocation process and in meeting the information and communication needs of communities. However, some efforts fail because of the lack of thorough consideration of the context, community participation, and the aspect of sustainability. Sustainability, in particular, must be seen in financial, technological, social, institutional, and environmental terms. However, given that nothing has ever been sustainable, the only real option is to move from sustainability to bricolage. Bricolage means tinkering through the combination of resources at hand, making do with resources that are available, and leveraging the world as defined by the situation.

In the end, this means that ICT for development is not just a management issue but a political issue.ICT projects can have all the good intentions but could lead to negative consequences especially if not backed up with decision-making and support from the leadership.

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PANEL 1: GOOD PRACTICES ON ICT FOCUSING ON CONNECTIVITY AND ACCESSIBILITY

Empowering Cooperatives Through ICT
by Mr. Cresente Paez, CEO, NATCCO, Philippines

Cris PaezNATCCO’s electronic banking system, known as the eKoopBanker, has involved the purchase of a software company to undertake the first ever effort of such nature and scale by a cooperative to install a fully automated financial transactions and accounting system. This has involved the development of one standard accounting software for the network, currently installed in 96 cooperatives with 188 branches nationwide, and an on-going migration of the system to open source and web0based applications. This enabled full automation of loan portfolio, savings tracking, and general accounting system; on-line member transactions through ATM and Cash Cards, and website development (connecting co-ops throug virtual networking / linking of websites). Competitiveness was the key that drove NATCCO to go into ICT. In so doing, NATCCO had hoped to deliver more competitive products and services to cooperatives and its members.

A key learning is that owning and developing a technology, versus outsourcing, is a “business decision.” As well, the goal was not only to be ICT-enabled, but to also to have an ICT that is “innovation-driven.” The key is to “Do it Fast, Do it Right, and Do it Cheap.”

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PANEL 1: GOOD PRACTICES ON ICT FOCUSING ON CONNECTIVITY AND ACCESSIBILITY

Farmer’s Agro-Product, E-Commerce and Government Support
by Mr. Junghoon Moon, Assistant Professor, School of IT Business, South Korea

Mr. Junghoon MoonThe popularity fresh food e-commerce in Korea has tremendously increased in the past five years. Currently, about ten agro-product e-commerce sites have been founded and supported by Koreal central and local government. One such example is the Kgfarm in Kyogki province. Founded and supported by the local government since 2001, Kgfarm aimed to eliminate middlememen. However, since farmers are not adept in the use of computers, the government took responsibility for the technical aspects of the online shopping mall. This allowed the farmers to still focus on cultivation while getting full benefit from e-commerce. The e-mall Management Center provides system maintenance, mass marketing, mall and management. They also provided technology training for farmers to enable them to manage the bulletin board of his mall, customer relationship, and shipping and delivery. Key strategies to the success of e-commerce are: the nurturing of relationships based on trust, the provision of “Green Tour” to customers, the non-charging of commissions (against customers and farmers), and the reduction of trading costs.

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PANEL 2: GOOD PRACTICES ON ICT FOCUSING ON CAPACITY-BUILDING

Capacity-Building on IT@Coop Project
by Ms Kruewan Chonlanai, Project Manager, Credit Union Leagues of Thailand, Thailand

Ms Kruewan ChonlanaiThe Credit Union League of Thailand embarked on an ICT capacity-building initiative in cooperation with various partners lovally and internationally. The program involved training needs analysis, module designing, selection of pilot cooperatives, training and knowledge transfer, member services, and evaluation and monitoring. One challenge to the project involved the IT specialists as having to respond to a lot of other tasks aside from their IT-related tasks. The solutions proposed were to expand the pool of IT specialists and to enact an ICT policy that the credit unions should folllow. Another challenge encountered was how to encourage farmer members of the credit union to access information techology and to find the kinds of technologies that connect with their daily lives and work.The solution proposed was to use various media, such as radio and actual training, to encourage the farmers to make use of ICT.

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PANEL 2: GOOD PRACTICES ON ICT FOCUSING ON CAPACITY-BUILDING

Empowering the Community With ICT
By Mr. Y.B. Agusnugroho, IT Coordinator, FORMASI, Indonesia

Y.B. AgusnugrohoOnly 8.5% of the Indonesian population has acess to the internet. Indonesia with its 234 million population is a big market potential. In 2007, FORMASI worked with the Indonesian Minstry of Research and Techology to introduce F/OSS to several SMEs in Jakarta. Currently, there are alreadt 15 organizations that underwent 100-day ICT training on F/OSS, and 15 organizations that have developed new websites. A total of 1,343 people currently compose the pool of IT specialists and trainers. Five organizations have developed and maintained ICT-enabled business development centers. More than 2,500 farmers have been involved in this project, and 87 CTCs, each with three computers, internet connections, and training modules, have been operating. The methodologies have included, among others: training, trainor’s training, development of community-friendly ICT materials, virtual networking through emails, website and online fora, socialization on the use of F/OSS, and the provision of support to the government’s Indonesia Go Open Source (IGOS) program.

download the presentation here…