Call for Participation
"Partnerships and Participation in Telecommunications for Rural
Development: Exploring What Works and Why"
October 26 & 27, 1998
University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Online pre-conference: October 1 - 21, 1998
This conference will focus on telecommunication technology for
participatory rural development in the Canadian context. It also looks at
how lessons learned in Canada might be applied by people in other
countries, and how lessons learned in other countries might be applied in
Keynote Speaker ---------------
Our keynote speaker will be Iqbal Quadir, a founder of Grameen Telecom.
Grameen Telecom is a company dedicated to bringing the information
revolution to the rural people of Bangladesh.
Grameen Telecom is providing GSM 900 cellular mobile phone service to 100
million rural inhabitants in 68,000 Bangladeshi villages by financing
50,000 members of the Grameen Bank (a cooperative bank owned by poor
Bangladeshi people) to provide pay phone service, and provide direct
phones to individual subscribers. Selected member-borrowers of the Grameen
Bank purchase a cellular phone with financing from the Bank, and make the
telephone available to all users in their village. As the project
develops, fax, email and Internet services will be added. The village pay
phone service is likely to become the largest wireless pay phone project
in the world.
Conference Design -------------
This conference has two components. The 3 week online pre-conference will
provide opportunities to discuss past, present and future uses of
communication technology in rural areas. Areas of interest identified
during the virtual discussions will be examined at the face-to-face event
within the contexts of Reviewing the Past, Generating Results, Future
Directions and Measuring Impact. The aim of the conference process is to
identify key recommendations for rural telecommunication development
THE ON-LINE PRE-CONFERENCE IS FREE AND IS OPEN TO EVERYONE.
The online pre-conference will include the following:
1. Lessons Learned from Past and Present Participatory Rural Development
Strategies - 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. It will include 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
Registration at the 2 day face-to-face conference is CDN$ 349 or US$ 300.
You may register online at http://www.snowden.org or email your postal
address to [log in to unmask] to receive a registration form via regular
The face-to-face conference on campus at the University of Guelph will
consist of four half-day workshops designed to generate specific
recommendations to enhance rural telecommunication project planning. Each
workshop will begin with a speaker or panel, and key case studies will
highlight experiences relevant to each workshop.
The workshops include:
a. Reviewing the Past: Communication for Development Lessons Learned
b. Telecommunications for Rural Development Today: Generating Results
c. Future Directions: Recommendations for Project Planning
d. Measuring Rural Development Impact: How and What to Measure?
You are invited to submit a discussion paper for the on-line
pre-conference. Papers will be used to focus on-line discussion. Such
papers may also be published in the conference proceedings. We especially
seek case studies that clearly demonstrate important learning in
telecommunications policy and practice for rural development as being
useful. Submissions can be made in any language, but the on-line
pre-conference web site will be designed in English.
Poster sessions, video screenings and other media presentations are
invited for display at the face-to-face conference. We are open to
innovative ideas; please contact us with your suggestions.
Interested participants should provide a 300-500 word summary of their
paper or presentation by mail or email. Email submissions should be
included in the body of the message instead of as attachments.
Summaries should include a full title, the author's name, author's
affiliated organization if applicable, email address, telephone, fax and
postal address. A brief biography of the author would be appreciated. All
presentations will be made in English.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS is June 26,1998.
By email: [log in to unmask] (Please put "Conference
submission" in the subject line.)
By mail: Don Snowden Program for Development Communication
co/ Telecommons Development Group
512 Woolwich Street, Suite 200
Guelph, Ontario N1H 3X7
Attn: conference committee
For more information on the conference contact Susan Rimkus, conference
coordinator, at [log in to unmask]
Conference sponsors: Bell Canada, Don Snowden Program for Development
Communication, Foundation for International Training, IDRC, Industry
Canada, OMAFRA, SR Telecomm, TeleCommons Development Group and the
University of Guelph.
Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact one of the
conference organizers at [log in to unmask] for additional information.