The mapping of telecentres in Colombia is one of the services that the National Network of Telecentres of Colombia (Red Nacional de Telecentros de Colombia) offers to centres of public access to ICT in the country at no cost. This is a system that allows people to recognise and identify existing places that promote the strategic use of the Internet, in order to quantify and have specific information about their target populations.
Before the mapping project, the country had very limited information in terms of location, activities, services, users, and contact data about places that offer access to ICTs for development. The mapping currently has 1,717 registered ICT centres in 28 of the 32 departments (states) of Colombia. However, it is known that there are more than 3,000 across the country.
By registering and updating information in the mentioned service, the Network, its allies, and those responsible for these kinds of centres are able to implement effective actions to expand the scope and coverage of high social impact projects like the National Academy for ICT’s Managers (Academia Nacional para Gestores de TIC) initiative, which offers free online courses in different areas of management for people who work in colombian ICT centres. Enrollment in the mapping provides the possibility to be visible for potential partners or donors nationwide or internationally.
The mapping provides a classification of telecentres by type, based on their origins and the institutions that installed them. It also allows its users to comunicate with the team that coordinates the system by different ways such as e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org, and a Skype account: soporte.redgestorestic.
Claudia Lorena Muñoz Gómez, who is in charge of the ICT centre located in the Maria Antonia Penagos Educational Institution in the city of Palmira, Valle, shared her views on how her perception on the ICT’s Centres Mapping changed after joining the initiative:
“I really think that being involved with an ICT centre helps the community to get updates in terms of current technology; when I knew about the ICT’s Centres Mapping, I thought it was just as any other map, but now I know all the benefits that my centre can have for being a part in this process; for example now anyone can identify my ICT centre and know everything about it. So this is really useful for everyone because people can know how many centres are out there and they realize about positive impact it generates. I can identify with the map how many centres exist and realize that some of them are in hidden and remote places of my country. I congratulate the team on this process, ICT centres are very important in order to be ahead with technology”.