Islands, connected

March 1, 2006 § Leave a comment

Auckland, New Zealand – February 21, 2006

Pacific island nations like Nuie, Samoa and Vanuatu often fall off the development radar. Yet, these countries face significant poverty and struggle with democracy. They are also incredibly isolated and spread out.

The Pacific Telecentre Online Community (PacTOC) has come together to overcome some of this isolation, at least amongst people doing telecentre work. The network includes groups like: the People’s First Network (connecting island Solomon Islands telecentres with VHF radio e-mail), and FemLINK (community multimedia telecentre in Fiji) and HELP Resource Centre (rural telecentres in Papua New Guinea). Working with the Foundation for Development Cooperation and UNESCO New Zealand, PacTOC members have been working on a plan to create a web site and mailing list that will bring their efforts together for about 18 months now.


Last week in Auckland, PacTOC and joined hands make this web site a reality. It was the first of many web site barn raisings. Kate from TakingITGlobal showed up with an already customized PacTOC site based on the platform. This formed a foundation upon which telecentre leaders from across the pacific were able to quickly add content and shape their online community.


Unsurprisingly, this event helped Kate and I learn a ton about our web site model. Most important is that is needs a flexible ‘projects’ section – something like what TakingITGlobal has on its own site, but more wiki-ish. Also, we really need to think through better ways to bring the exciting stories coming out in blogs and other places up to the front page in a more effective way. The current front page doesn’t lend itself to this as well as it should.

PS. There is a press release on the UNESCO NZ site with more info.

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