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GP Community Information Center: Helping the poor through technology.
Sultana Reza,

Deputy General Manager,  Community Information Center, Grameenphone Ltd.,

Dhaka, Bangladesh

sreza@grameenphone.com 
Deputy General Manager

Bangladesh - a highly populated country with more than 140 million people with about eighty percent of the people living in rural areas, which is digitally divided. Due to the poor literacy and education, people often find it difficult to get the information on their own. They have to travel a long distance to get certain information and services that cost them time, money and risk.

Grameenphone, being the largest mobile phone operator covering most of the geographical area has enabled the poor rural people to access the ICT. In 2005 it introduced the Enhanced GPRS popularly known as EDGE in its GSM network. Later in early 2006 it took a pilot project called “ Community Information Center” under which 16 such centers were established. The center included a computer; a printer, a scanner and a web cam with Internet connectivity through the EDGE enabled modem. With an investment of USD 700 through micro-financing rural entrepreneurs ran the centers

The case study shows that, the cheaper technology and addition of value added services have significant impact for the people at BoP. Now, poor people come to the centers for information related to market price, health, education and forms. They are using Internet to talk to their near and dear ones at lower cost through video messenger services. They are able to look for overseas jobs and local jobs now easily.
It is observed that the establishment of such centers around the country has generated enthusiasm in the rural community and has narrowed down the so called digital divide

 

All Submissions
8:00 AM-8:00 PM, Friday, June 15, 2007, Oral

The Ontario, Canada 2007 Meeting