Name Of Project

Main Country of Operation: Global
Other Countries of Operation: Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Georgia, Honudras, Indonesia, Kasakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Moldova, Mongolia, Namibia, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Uganda
Contact: Ricardo Gomez
Home page: http://faculty.washington.edu/rgomez/projects.html

What happens in places that offer public access to computers and the Internet in developing countries? How do these contribute to improving the quality of life of marginalized sectors of the population? This project is the result of a three-year research process, the results of which start to answer these questions. During the last few years, a group of researchers in the Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) at the University of Washington Information School studied libraries, telecenters, and cybercafés in 25 countries around the world. The results constitute the first attempt ever to systematically understand the phenomenon of public access computing across different types of venues and across multiple countries.
The results are promising: There is a vibrant ecosystem of organizations and initiatives that support public access computing in all the countries we studied. Libraries, telecenters, and cybercafés all play an important role in offering access to, and use of, computers and the Internet, especially to people for whom these resources would otherwise be difficult or impossible to reach. Each type of venue has something special to offer, and none of them is alone: working in closer collaboration with each other, libraries, telecenters, and cybercafés can make a huge difference to the well being of underserved populations.
We offer here a picture of public access to information and communication technologies (ICT) in each of the 25 countries studied, and a comparative analysis of ten topics across all 25 countries. These are conversation starters as well as pointers for further research informed by this broad-based study.