We all are second generation telecentre activists - don't you know?

The first telecentres were founded 15 years ago in Centre Europe. Most of the founders play a significant role in the Centre European and worldwide telecentre movement up to this day.

Let's seek them to know who they are, what did they do for the telecentres in the past and what are they doing for us right now.

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Comment by Klara Nemeskeri on January 5, 2009 at 22:44
Thank you Marta. It is a very valuable history that can be a model for many national telecentre networks. I woud be interested more in details in it.
Marta, are you in connection with this entity: http://www.cibera.net/
I ask you because Hungarian Telecentre Organization has a commun project with them that starts this month.
Comment by Marta Mans on December 29, 2008 at 15:41
Well, I would like to provide some information on this issue and the reality of Spain.It's a litle bit long, :)

Most telecentres to be premiered in Spain was at the end of the 90s, and although they were financed by European donation and the main effort was concentrated in their opening (as it was moving towards the information society), there were very few indications of how running them, and less clues about the objectives. It was simply the beginning of access to computer centers, and most were expected to provide new employment possibilities to users, but without clear indications, nor resources to do so.

The first telecentre networks appeared in 2000, in Asturias and the Basque country (according to the book "The telecentre networks in Spain") and Omnia Network (network-Omnia) in Catalunya in 1999 was the first effort made thinking about the whole country and out of our frontiers.

I do not know deeply the other networks, but I know Omnia quite well because since its inception in Esplai Foundation, we are involved in the coordination of this network of telecentres. I think the key points of Omnia and the differences from other networks at that moment are as follows:

- From the beginning Omnia had a social mission clear: the inclusion of people.
- The vision of a necessary shared responsibility between public administration and the voluntary sector and social entities: while it was a project created from the administration of the government of Catalonia, was managed and executed from social organizations, and one of them was Esplai Foundation.
- That is why the telecentres were located in local social organizations, NGOs, and also in youth and social services administration located in towns and cities. We looked for a project that could work cross (transverse) the different activities or projects of the entity, and the action was divided in three lines: education, social-integration and community work. In addition ICT centers were located in some prisons.

Esplai Foundation began with the coordination of 15 telecenters (there were two social organizations involved also coordinating 30 other telecentres). During all these years we have generated a lot of resources and activities for people to activate the telecentres, there has been an important part of learning for all those involved in its development, have been trained, organized meetings, and promoting participatory activities, organizational network ... Foundation Esplai also boosted its own network of telecenters, Red conecta, in 2000, thus have been able to take advantage of synergies with Omnia.


There is still a long way to go but everything we have got as a very valuable experience that we like to share with everyone who works with the world of community telecentres...


Marta Mans
Comment by Klara Nemeskeri on December 23, 2008 at 16:15
In Hungary it is a bit different. The most telecottages (telecentre in Hungarian) are living centres of the local communities up to this day and their managers are well-known and respectable personalities. Naturally there are exeptions, but we have an integrated network of hundreds of telecottages.
Comment by Klara Nemeskeri on December 23, 2008 at 16:05
Yes, indeed! You describe the situation very well, Spass!
I remember to the Hungarian Telecottage study trip to Estonia this April 2008, where we were looking for the old teletubas (as they called telecentres there) and only found telecentres in libraries and schools. Nobody heard anything about those teletubas. At least near the capital we found a teletuba in an old wooden cottage with old computers and elderly but very kind and friendly people (personnel and customers). We felt there the air of the ordinary, real telecentres where every kind of people are welcome and everybody help them and treat them as old friends or even brothers or sisters.
Comment by Spass Kostov on December 22, 2008 at 8:58
Good idea! Actually, in Bulgaria there was an initiative by the USAID in 1999-2000 that created some 8-9 telecenters. It was well before our initiative which started in 2004 and we approached some of those telecenters - most of them are now small private enterpises trying to survive by selling internet access and some courses. We also did try to incorporate some of those that agreed in our network which is now more than a 100. It will be intersting to have their leaders in our community to tell us their stories of their survival and their visions of development.

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