Telecentre ecology 101

December 4, 2006 § Leave a comment

Porto Novo, Benin – November 26, 2006: Rich was right: Centre Songhai in Porto Novo was the perfect place to hold last week’s African Telecentre Leaders Forum.


Of course, I’d heard about Songhai before. Yet it was only when Father Nzamujo walked us around his sixteen acre demonstration farm that I really got the picture. I saw a fish farm. A turkey farm. A chicken farm. Plants for export. Fruit for eating. A bio-gas facility. Solar power. A restaurant. A store. And, of course, a thriving telecentre. Nazmujo has built this and three larger farms to show that ecosystem thinking is essential if we want to make a leap forward for development. We must accept that everything connects to everything else.


As 80 telecentre leaders from 25 African countries arrived at Songhai last Monday, their eyes lit up. They saw a model of development that embraced computers and the Internet, but only as a part of a larger whole. They also saw an inspiring social enterprise that is at once provides significant social benefit and finances most of its efforts independently. There is no doubt that the Songhai experience provided tremendous fuel for a week where discussions where interconnectedness, social impact and social enterprise came up again and again.

The only sad bit from this very intense week was that there was no time to blog, at least for me. I will spend the next couple of days catching up and reflecting.

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