Introduction: Increasingly it is becoming evident that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have the potential to contribute to poverty reduction and inclusion of poor and currently marginalized and under-served areas and communities. Increases in access to information and services through affordable means of communications for the poor can facilitate improvements in productivity and efficiency of businesses and economic activities of the poor. It can contribute to improvements in their living standards as well as to their social and economic empowerment. The new ICTs present enormous opportunities to enhance communications provision and improve poor people’s lives through cost effective technologies and roll out as well as through allowing for network development to take place through the contribution of multiple actors. However, in spite of major advances there continue to be wide-spread disparities in access both within and across regions.
Workshop context:Governments, policy practitioners, civil society organisations (CSOs) and field level practitioners are developing various innovative ways of promoting affordable communications access. There are many new lessons, experiences and opportunities for improving pro-poor ICT access. However, at the moment, these innovations are not widely shared amongst three key stakeholder groups – non-ICT policy makers, including parliamentarians, ICT-for development practitioners and advocacy groups.
APC in partnership with the UNDP has drafted a resource toolkit on three important aspects in enhancing pro-poor access:
- policy and regulatory issues
- implementation of projects at the community level
- advocacy strategies and approaches.
This resource toolkit aims to:
- consolidate emerging ideas, experiences, lessons and opportunities in pro-poor access provision in developing societies.
- provide a resource and advocacy toolkit for the range of stakeholders (policy makers/regulators; practitioners; advocacy groups) seeking to boost pro-poor ICT access.
The results and recommendations of this work will be presented and discussed at this workshop. The workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to learn about and discuss some of the emerging and promising options for increasing pro-poor access to ICTs.