Exactly what’s needed

June 21, 2005 § Leave a comment

Cleveland, USA

It was great to see Bev Collins‘ eyes light up. “We need this,” she said over and over. “This is exactly what we need.”


Bev’s friend Karin Delgadillo was providing a demo of the Somos@Telecentros sustainability toolkit – a well produced CD filled with materials designed to help people who work in telecentres. The toolkit includes all the stuff you would expect, like examples of telecentre business plans and curriculum that telecentre operators can use to train local people. It also includes things you don’t see often: an easy to use interface with audio narration, information on how small produce produces can apply Excel to their work; plain language information on open source software.

The amazing bit in all of this was not the CD (although it really is great). Nope. The amazing bit was that a unilingual telecentre manager from Powell River, British Columbia (Bev) was totally lit up watching her Latin America friend (Karin) show off Spanish-language telecentre materials from Ecuador. “Sure, there is stuff we’d want to change and add if we were to translate Karin’s CD,” Bev said later. “But so much of this is exactly what we need in British Columbia.”


Huddled up around the laptop with Bev and Karin, the lessons for telecentre.org were clear. We need to help telecentre leaders from around the world get in the same room with each other so they can look into each other’s eyes (and laptops) to do this kind of sharing. Also, we need to help good ideas and materials like the Somos toolkit travel more widely by promoting them and helping with distribution.

Luckily, it’s exactly this kind of work that we want to do.

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