Where to from here?

December 12, 2006 § Leave a comment

On a train to Ottawa, Benin – December 10, 2006: Benin is far away now. If I close my eyes, I can still smell the flip chart markers. See all the smiling faces. Feel the passion. But, eyes wide open, staring at this computer screen, I know that we need more than memories. We need action.


Sylvia will be writing up a report soon summarizing all the concrete ideas and actions that were proposed at Songhai. In the meantime, I thought I should write down some of my own A-TLF action points before they are forgotten. Three things WE need to do include:

  • Follow up on the concrete project ideas that came out of the last two days of the event, especially ideas on social enterprise, training, wireless and content networks. The people championing these ideas should keep moving them forward and telecentre.org should put some modest resources behind at least a few of these ideas.
  • Continue to support emerging network leaders in Africa. As I wrote in another post, the number of telecentre networks in Africa is growing. I am really hoping that the friendships that emerged in Benin will provide major fuel for the leaders of these networks to help each move further faster. On the telecentre.org side, we need to do everything we can to keep these folks in touch and to facilitate their collaboration. We can find ways to do this through shared projects and smaller events.
  • Share the learning and (as Gunner would say) share the love. While the 80 people who cam to the Benin event are important leaders, they are only a tiny fraction of the overall African telecentre movement. Everyone who was there needs to take responsibility for sharing what they learned with dozens of others. We will do what we can on the IDRC to write up and share some of the best insights, but this only works if this is a collective task.

When I look at this list, it’s actually not that complex. We simply need to continue what we started at Songhai. We need to follow through and involve many others in this follow through. It can happen, if we all commit to doing just a little bit to take it forward. I can’t wait.

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