Case Study IV. Guanabanet – The Taiguey Foundation in the Dominican Republic

Guanabanet is a multi-purpose community tele-center that was created in 2007 and is coordinated by a local NGO, Fundación Taigüey. A paid staff of young people from the community administers the telecenter. Guanabanet is the only collective ICT access point of La Ciénaga, a Dominican municipality characterized by high poverty rates.

Guanabanet provides Internet access and use of computers, scanners, digitization, photocopiers, and photograph printers. Microsoft provided initial funding, and the Dominican telecommunication regulator (Indotel) donated computers. Currently, the tele-center is partially funded by user fees, but it mainly relies on other resources to maintain its operations. Two different projects have directly impacted use of ICTs by women and girls: (1) a multimedia content production project and (2) the Transagro Ciénaga project, a cooperative administration promoted through ICTs.

Inputs

  • Guanabanet was created and is run by Fundación Taigüey, a non-profit NGO whose objectives include using technology for development, environment protection, and gender and citizen empowerment.
  • Microsoft donated initial funding of USD 40,000.
  • The Dominican telecommunication regulator donated 10 computers.
  • Persons from the community and local organizations (e.g., a board of neighbours) may become members of Guanabanet and receive its services at reduced fees.
  • Income received from the services offered by the tele-center is estimated to cover about 25 per cent of Guanabanet’s operating costs.
  • Guanabanet receives payments for other tele-center services (e.g. printing, photographs and using a meeting room), as well as from other projects (e.g. connectivity and meeting room for the multimedia content production project). Administrators also actively look for development projects that can provide funds for Guanabanet´s sustainability.
  • Guanabanet is administered by a team of local people in order to provide long-run sustainability.
  • Multimedia content production project.
    • This project receives financial support from UNESCO (the Fondo de Pequeños Proyectos Participativos).
    • The instructors are young people from the community who have been trained at Guanabanet.
  • Transagro Ciénaga.
    • Transagro Ciénaga is a cooperative of 72 members, of which 95 per cent are women seeking a market for local fruit production.
    • Contributions for this project have been received from GenARDIS (EUR 7,000), the Fundación Interamericana y del Programa de Pequeños Subsidios para el Medio Ambiente of PNUD (UNDP), and the French Embassy in the Dominican Republic (the latter is earmarked for a community ecotourism project).

Process

  • Provision of fee-based services such as computer use, Internet access, scanners, digitization, photocopies, and photograph printing.
  • Provision of free courses, including ICT education for teachers and students.
  • Multimedia content production project.
    • The program is designed for young people who have dropped out of school (or are at risk of doing so), that do not have a job or that are struggling with addictions.
    • Young adults receive training on how to use a camera, how to produce and edit a video, and how to produce content on the Web.
    • A female hip-hop group is being formed to compose lyrics and music using ICTs. The goal of this group is to produce content and to provide it to other organizations.
  • Transagro Ciénaga.
    • The 42-hour ICT training course was specifically designed for the cooperative, and includes instruction on use of the Internet and spreadsheets.
    • Once the cooperative finishes systematizing its policies and procedures, ICTs will be used to help manage the cooperative.

Outcomes

  • Statistics collected by tele-centers show that users are almost evenly distributed between women and men.
  • Multimedia content production project.
    • There has been increased access to multimedia by young people, and in particular by teenage girls. Those participating have been trained in the use of ICTs and informed about different risks and behaviours, such as violence against women, early pregnancy, and drugs.
  • Cooperative administration through ICT.
    • Members of the cooperative are starting to use email and spreadsheets to improve the efficiency of their businesses.

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