3.7 Participation

During all the topics covered in this chapter, it has been highlighted that participation is an essential element in all the phases that constitute the generation of an enabling environment for community access centers located in schools. Participation also is needed in all aspects of planning, installation and operational processes. We can say that participation is the axis that links all areas and environments with respect to access centers.25

This section contains the central aspect of all the work related to the installation of access centers in Indigenous communities and other remote communities. It also synthesizes participation in every phase of the process of installation and operation of access centers, all of which are aimed at achieving technological adoption in the community.

When participation at the community level is spoken about here, it refers to something that goes beyond the simple fact that the community is taken into account in the decision-making process. We refer to community adoption of ICT -- that is, the incorporation of such technologies into the life of the community. So the new facility cannot be understood as solely an access center, but as a tool, or a strategy at the service of the community's life plan.

“Social Adoption means that the resources of the Internet have helped to solve specific problems with respect to the transformation of the community´s reality. The evidence of adoption is not in the use of the ICT, but the changes that have occurred in the real world. Only when the resources of the Internet are useful tools with which to transform their reality and ITCs reveal their potential to contribute to development... The challenge is to go beyond connectivity, which by itself is insufficient, and include the dimension of equitable access, use with-sagacity and social appropriation of ICTs for development26

As such, programmes and projects that incorporate ICTs in Indigenous communities should promote and facilitate the adoption process, which is accomplished by encouraging community involvement in all phases of the process, strengthening local capacities and considering the specific contexts in which ICTs are inserted.


25 The principle ideas in this section are taken from an unpublished study carried out in 2006 under the supervision of Sofía Medellín y Diana Marenco entitled: Considerations about the Community of ITC s and Telecenters

26 Internet: What For? www.idrc.ca/pan/pppp in Rabadan, Silvia F and Bassi, Roxana, (2002).