Tuesday, 24 July 2007
How did they impact up on Sarvodaya telecentre network?By the time NESsT was landing in Sri Lanka, telecentre network of Sarvodaya - Fusion was undergoing a tough challenge - the common one to many networks; how to sustain their growing telecentre network, under ever increasing management cost (utility bills, maintenance, staff, etc.).?
Out of 31 telecentre in operation, Fusion was planning to close down 10 of them. But NESsT capacity building workshop shifted the decision 180degrees! Just after 6 months, Fusion set an ambitious target of 10mil Rs annual turn over.
What was the trick?
NESsT's capacity building workshop provided the missing ingredients to the already entrepreneurial Fusion team. They had been running telecentres as decentralized operations for nearly 10 years. But, not as a properly coordinated, business operation.
What were the key decisions?
- a competent business manager was introduced to the central operation as an advisor (not as an overall manager)
- participatory planning were carried out to study the feasible services / products
- business plans were developed for each and every telecentre
- financial targets were set against each telecentre
- coordination systems were put in place to monitor the progress weekly basis
- help desks were rejuvenated
The operational progress reached by the overall network for first two months of operation reported to be nearly 50% (against the set targets). But financial recovery is still less than 15%.
At this moment of time, they are attending to 'mid course corrections' to fine tune the lose elements of the operation (for eg quick attendance to computer breakdowns at telecentres).
Small presence of NESsT did a magic..!
Monday, 23 July 2007
- Consistent demand at the rural communities
- Most of the telecentre operators are familiar with offering ICT courses (thus no need of additional capacity building)
- No initial investment required
- Required material (eg syllabuses) are easily accessible
- Standardization institutes are available in the near rural settings
- Required infrastructure facilities already available
Why not BPO (which had reached the second potential product in the list)..?
- Telecentre operators are not familiar
- Required lot of capacity building
- Required capital investments
- Absence of support services
- No supportive infrastructure
- Absence of enabling environment (legal setting, back up support services).
Economic sustainability needs the cultivation of entrepreneurial qualities. In simple terms - greed to make profits. For a Socially Driven community leader who thrive on altruistic motives - helping poor, offering volunteer spirit - this is an utterly bitter pill to swallow.
D.Net’s patient invesements over decade long journey since 1996, proving to be paying off. In addition to the Pollithtya Kendras, they are entering to the income generation of scale. Grameen CIC (http://www.grameenphone.com/), the giant telecom company who sets up a large scale telecentre network (500 Grameen CICs – country wide), is considering to build business partnerships with D.Net. The goal of the D.Net is to trade Local language capability, Research know-how & local need based knowledge products, in there negotiation tables.
'Though we have come long way developing our niche capacity on information informediary services, we are not comfortable about our present scale of revenue generation' - Dr Ananya Reihan, founding Director of D.Net.
In a country where empowerment of women is a big challenge for the development workers, mobile lady concept made herself a proud woman. ICT in empowerment..!