Information and communication needs expressed by communities in Senegal, Mozambique, South Africa and Uganda


  • government regulations, legislation, procedures, "how to do it guides"
  • up to date information on taxes, incentives, subsidies, quotas, tax changes
  • general public information about government
  • access to government "one stop government electronic service"


  • up-to-date information on markets and prices
  • data on pests, infestations, animal diseases and how to control them
  • improved (appropriate) technology for traditional crop cultivation and animal husbandry
  • "how to" information on new, more profitable, agricultural initiatives (e.g. mushroom growing, rabbit rearing, egg production for urban markets)
  • better information about improved animal breeds and veterinary information generally
  • telephone access to vets and artificial insemination services
  • communications to organise load sharing for truck transportation
  • listings of where seeds available of specific qualities and quantities
  • listings of spare parts availability for agricultural equipment
  • post harvest technology (cold storage etc.)

Small business

  • information on prices, demand and competition in different markets
  • computerised small business accounting systems: bookkeeping, profit and loss information
  • inventories, stock management
  • best practices, business management, start-up
  • information on credit, small loans, revolving funds: how and where to apply
  • opportunities for export; import/export procedures
  • electronic commerce

Health and environment

  • AIDS/HIV information
  • family planning information
  • health education, childcare
  • information on water and sanitation including water related diseases
  • appropriate technology for latrines, waste management (including night soil)
  • energy technology including biogas and solar driers
  • medicinal plants, traditional medicine, biodiversity
  • nutrition, recipes, new ways of cooking
  • telephone access to doctors, midwives, medical services

Public Organisations (hospitals, schools, local government, NGOs. CBOs)

  • creating and maintaining computerised databases (patients’ records, student enrolment)
  • reporting to headquarters; notifiable diseases, crime incidents, monitoring, routine requests for supplies etc.
  • local communications network (ambulance dispatching, linking schools, NGOs etc.
  • "how to" organise communities, establish new organisations, develop group dynamics
  • emergency response communications
  • access to drugs registries and medical expert systems
  • access to general reference libraries and on-line information


  • distance learning, especially for teachers, school students and unemployed youth
  • adult literacy
  • skills upgrading and certification
  • learning new, income generating crafts, especially for girls
  • general self-learning and self-improvement
  • group education sessions using audiovisual equipment


  • "only people armed with information have the power to do things"
  • "we’ll get more improvements if we have the communications to ask for them"
  • access to newspapers, magazines; what is going on in the capital city and the world
  • "find out what our government is doing"
  • teach young people about local cultures and traditions; instill pride in society

Family/personal/informal sector

  • communications with absent family members, overseas migrants
  • communication with family members caring for children
  • money transfers for family, business
  • information on jobs
  • employment applications

Found in: Telecentre research framework for ACACIA, IDRC Study/Acacia Initiative, Prepared for IDRC by Anne Whyte, Mestor Associates, Canada, June 1998.