Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Gender and Telecentres: What Have We Learned? Eva M. Rathgeber Joint Chair of Womens Studies Université of Ottawa/Carleton University Ottawa, Canada March.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Gender and Telecentres: What Have We Learned? Eva M. Rathgeber Joint Chair of Womens Studies Université of Ottawa/Carleton University Ottawa, Canada March."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender and Telecentres: What Have We Learned? Eva M. Rathgeber Joint Chair of Womens Studies Université of Ottawa/Carleton University Ottawa, Canada March 2002

2 TELECENTRE BACKGROUND TCs began in Sweden -1980s Developing countries -1990s Strong donor interest potential to overcome North/South information chasms allow South to participate more equitably in global economy (open new market opportunities for business in the North)

3 Telecentres in the South In Africa there are now thousands, ranging from single purpose teleshops to multipurpose TCs, offering a full range of services But the emphasis has been on the provision of hardware and on solving the technical problems of connectivity So… like other technological innovations before them, TCs often were imposed w/out adequate attention to local needs, capacities and preferences

4 Telecentres in the South Little concrete knowledge about the information needs and preferences of local communities Little or no focus on content The technology itself was seductive Start-up costs are high – a South African estimate suggests it costs US$40,000

5 What about women? Preliminary evidence suggests that telecentres in developing countries are not particularly effective in helping women to gain access to better economic, educational and other opportunities Women use telecentres much less than men and when they do use them, it is usually for non-internet related purposes

6 Why? TCs have been set up in the same way as earlier technology-based innovations, i.e. with the expectation that the hardware will be used equally and in the same way by everyone But research has shown that boys and girls/ men and women do not approach technology in the same way nor with the same expectations

7 Machines for men TECHNOLOGY IS NOT NEUTRAL! Most often it is designed by men to meet their own needs and interests It assumes love of tinkering and learning by trial and error Most TCs have been set up in this model to meet the priorities and interests of male users The onus is on the user to come in and try the equipment and to find out for himself what it can do

8 Why are we seeing a difference between male and female users? Telecentres are set up on a fee-charging basis with mostly male technical management and support It is assumed that users have at least a little disposable income and that they themselves decide how it should be spent It is assumed that users will feel comfortable in a one-on-one technical assistance situation with a man Premises are usually cramped and there is little privacy (and no childcare facilities)

9 …differences… The TCs assume that users understand that information can be a valuable tool to help them solve their problems It is assumed that users are literate and able to communicate in a metropolitan language It is assumed that users will feel comfortable with computers and anonymous, gray-coloured equipment that works almost invisibly

10 Womens Situation None of these assumptions necessarily hold true for women Women usually have less access to financial resources, less time, and less education than men Even the physical site of the TC can become problematic if it means that they have to travel far from home or to interact closely with men

11 Donor Involvement IDRC,UNESCO, USAID, ITU and UNDP have been major actors in the establishment of telecentres but no one has successfully developed an effective methodology to address womens different priorities and constraints However, IDRC, USAID, and UNDP have all supported numerous studies that focus specifically on womens different needs and perspectives

12 THEREFORE The knowledge exists WHY IS IT NOT USED? As donors, we have not learned from our own experiences…

13 What is the evidence for this view? IDRC recently undertook an evaluation of telecentres in Uganda, South Africa, Senegal, Mozambique In every country, it was found that telecentres are used more often by men than by women - in Uganda women represented 29% of the users - in Mozambique they were 35% - in Mali they were 23%

14 Survey Results In Uganda, the evaluation focused on three donor-funded telecentres and two private cybercafes Two of the telecentres were in rural areas, one telecentre and two cybercafes were in urban/peri-urban area (Kampala)

15 Survey Results Ugandan sample included 217 women and 288 men living in the area Ugandan sample included 217 women and 288 men living in the area Only 41% had ever used a computer Only 41% had ever used a computer More than half were unaware of the telecentres or did not know where they were located More than half were unaware of the telecentres or did not know where they were located Biggest users were young people (71% were under 50 and 27% under 16) Biggest users were young people (71% were under 50 and 27% under 16)

16 Survey Results… Similar findings in other countries - in Mozambique only 15% of women in the sample had ever used a computer, compared with 21% of the women - in every country, the biggest users were young people

17 Women users… Older, rural-based women were the least likely telecentre users… But women in urban/ peri-urban areas were more likely to use the telecentres than women in rural areas

18 Communication Priorities Fax, internet and e-mail were the least used services in all cases (regarded to be for elite) Photocopying, document printing, reading of books and newspapers, telephone and video/tv were most used Multi-purpose telecentres had higher usage than single purpose ones Communication mostly for social/family purposes, not for educational/business purposes

19 Reasons for lack of female presence The Mali evaluation found that the cost of telecentre use was still too high for women Efforts had been made to include women on the TC management committee, to provide training specifically for women, to display photos of women using computers on training materials, to offer fee discounts, etc But women still are not coming so there must be other reasons…

20 Provision of Content The telecentres have tried to repackage some information to suit the local environment and to make it more user-friendly Focus mostly has been on agriculture and health But they have had problems with Lack of funds for repackaging activities Lack of requisite skills and expertise No cost recovery system in place

21 Content IS the issue Lack of local content was a major problem that was expressed by both men and women telecentre users…

22 How to grapple with the content issue? One approach is to work with a CD ROM modality Allows for multi-media approach combining pictures, comics, speech and written text in a user-friendly (woman- friendly) manner It does not require costly and unreliable internet connection

23 An example… IDRC funded a project with the New York- based IWTC to produce a CD ROM for rural Ugandan women entitled: Rural Women in Africa: Ideas for Earning Money. It was prepared in English and in Luganda and can be used by illiterate or semi-literate people Most importantly, it provides practical information that can be used immediately

24 Further Plans… We are now preparing a CD ROM for Berber women in Morocco who work in a cooperative producing argane oil The argane tree is almost unique to Morocco and women have been producing oil for alimentary and cosmetic uses for centuries But their harvesting and processing techniques are environmentally unfriendly and physically laborious

25 Women Breaking Argane Nuts

26 Berber women watching Uganda CDROM

27 Women learning to use the computer…

28 CD ROM for Berber Women… We have started a participatory process with the Berber women, discussing the storyline for the CD ROM and getting constant feedback The final product will focus on environmental degradation, on the properties of the argane tree, on the process of setting up a cooperative, and on ideas for the valorization of argane products It will be produced in French, Arabic and Berber


Download ppt "Gender and Telecentres: What Have We Learned? Eva M. Rathgeber Joint Chair of Womens Studies Université of Ottawa/Carleton University Ottawa, Canada March."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google