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"Partnerships and Participation in Telecommunications for Rural
Development: Exploring What Works and Why"
A Conference at the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
October 26 & 27, 1998
Online Pre-Conference: October 1 - 21 (dates to be confirmed)
The Don Snowden Program for Development Communication at the University of
Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, is planning a conference for mid-October,
1998. Our working title is "Partnerships and Participation in
Telecommunications for Rural Development: Exploring What Works and Why".
The conference will focus on telecommunication technology for
participatory rural development in the Canadian context, but also with an
eye to seeing how lessons-learned in Canada might be applied by people in
This venture is sponsored by the University of Guelph, Industry Canada,
Foundation for International Training, Telecommons Development Group and
the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Inquiries about
further sponsorship are most welcome.
There will be a 3 week online pre-conference from October 1 to 21 followed
by 2 days at the University of Guelph on October 26 and 27.
The late Don Snowden played a critical role in the development of the
participatory video process through his experiences, first in Fogo Island,
Newfoundland, and then the Arctic, India and Africa. This movement spawned
many other participatory uses of technology in rural development in Canada
and around the world. In our attempts to answer the needs of vast rural
areas, Canadians have developed some innovative and enduring approaches to
using technology for rural development. Many of the Canadian successes
have been transferred successfully to developing country scenarios.
The online pre-conference will provide opportunities to review these past
efforts and present some uses of communication technology in rural areas.
We envision it covering three main areas.
1) Lessons Learned from Past and Present Participatory Rural Development
Strategies - Through the online pre-conference, we will set the Don
Snowden legacy into the modern Canadian context of telecommunications.
This will involve revisiting some of what we've learned from the past -
the Fogo Island experiences, the Challenge for Change program, Farm Radio
Forum, etc. - and finding ways to integrate what works with the new
potentials offered by rural telecommunications.
2) Current Rural Development Activities Involving Telecommunications &
Internet - This will include topics such as Community Access "Telecentres"
and Community Media Centres in Canada, Africa, Asia and Latin America;
current rural telecommunication improvement initiatives in Canada and
developing countries; new ICTs for learning and service (Distance
Education, Telemedicine, Professional Development, etc.).
3) Future Activities: Building on Lessons Learned - This is our forum for
applying lessons learned to new telecommunications and Internet
technologies for rural development.
The face-to-face conference on October 26 and 27 will address some
of the potentials of rural telecommunications. It will focus discussion on
concerns such as improving rural telecommunications policy to realize
"universal service", improving rural telecommunications and internet
project planning, and identifying opportunities for collaboration among
A wide variety of people with "hands-on" experience in Canada and overseas
will be attending to make presentations and participate in the workshops.
Conference cost is $349 (Cdn). Registration information will be made
available to interested participants in late May, 1998. Participation in
the on-line pre-conference will be free.
The call for participation will be sent out in early May; you are
encouraged to request a copy via email or post from Wendelin Galatianos,
conference administrative officer, at [log in to unmask] For more
information on the conference, contact Susan Rimkus, conference
co-coordinator, at [log in to unmask]