PILOT TELECENTRES FOR MANICA AND GAZA PROVINCES:
This report presents the results of a study carried out during 2000 in Manica and Gaza
provinces, which researched and verified the feasibility of going ahead with the
installation of telecentres in some districts of these provinces. The study was based on the
principles of action-oriented research, so in addition to presenting the results of the
research it also presents concrete proposals for action.
The telecentre concept is not totally new in Mozambique, with the first two pilot
telecentres having been inaugurated in Maputo province in 1999. The hope is that
telecentres, as public access points for the new information and communication
technologies (ICTs), can come to be important instruments in local development and in
promoting access to information, education and democracy. For this reason the National
Informatics Policy (PNI) approved by the Mozambican government in December 2000
places emphasis on the problematic of universal access to ICTs, and proposes as its
strategy the creation on a large scale of public access points. This strategy has its roots
not only in Mozambique’s existing experience but also in the recommendations contained
in the base document of the African Information Society Initiative (AISI), adopted by the
Economic Commission for Africa in May 1996. In addition, Mozambican research and
experiments naturally look for inputs from similar activities in other African countries
and the world, while at the same time making their own contribution to enriching the
common body of knowledge.
Given this perspective of moving towards large scale massification of public access
points to ICTs in the medium and long term, it is vitally necessary to carry out a range of
preliminary studies and practical experiments on the ground. The studies and projects
must have a socio-economic dimension and be firmly tied in to the development
problematic; they must not be reduced to mere technological exercises.
This study was funded by the Kellogg Foundation through a grant to the Eduardo
Mondlane University, within the context of the start up of activities in Mozambique that
will focus on rural development and education. The work was carried out by a multi-
disciplinary team coordinated by the Eduardo Mondlane University Informatics Centre
(CIUEM), involving social scientists and engineers from UEM and the Mozambique
Telecommunications Company (TDM).
The work was done over the year 2000. It was late in starting, largely due to the floods,
which required new emergency priorities to be set and complicated the logistics. Three
visits were made to Manica and three to Chókwè district in Gaza, in addition to the desk
research and contacts at central level.
1.1. Study objectives
The main study objective was to verify the conditions for establishing telecentres in two
provinces, namely Manica and Gaza. Concretely, the study should:
- evaluate the socio-economic conditions in each region and in the
- verify the state of technical infrastructure and the development perspectives;
- link the project to local development plans;
- evaluate the priority services to be offered by the telecentres;
- evaluate the target group;
- evaluate the sustainability problematic.
A detailed project for implementation should be prepared on the basis of the conclusions,
and presented separately, proposing the installation of telecentres in the two provinces
with the mission of:
- contributing towards extending access to information and its circulation from
and to the rural areas;
- contributing towards universal access to ICTs;
- contributing towards sustainable and balanced development as between rural
and urban areas and north and south.
1.2. Report structure
Following the Introduction, the report begins with chapters on the general socio-
economic context and current thinking about telecentres in Mozambique, seeking to
provide a framework for the practical research work. The next three chapters deal directly
with the research: a description of the methodology used; the activities related to the pre-
selection of telecentre sites in the two provinces; and the in-depth fieldwork carried out in
the selected sites and its results. The study ends with conclusions and proposals for
The projects which are the corollary of this study are presented so that they can be read
separately, which means there are some repetitions. The need to present independent
projects for each province also entailed some duplications. The projects cover strategy,
the technical project, the services, the work plan and a business plan.
Documents, tables and supplementary information are presented in annexes.
In the first place, the team’s thanks go to the Kellogg Foundation, which has given
support and constructive advice throughout the study, and facilitated useful contacts with
researchers, activists and institutions involved in its Integrated Rural Development
programmes in the Southern African region. It was also very understanding about the
delays in completing the work.
Kellogg’s other partners in Mozambique gave every help, facilitating access to their
documents and projects, and above all to their knowledge on the ground. The Community
Development Foundation (FDC), Technoserve, ORAM and ADPP were particularly
In the provinces and districts visited, the team benefited from the indispensable
collaboration of provincial and district governments, the municipalities, innumerable
local, national and international NGOs, and many individuals. The raison d’être of the
work was here, in the communities and with the people and bodies working to improve
A special recognition is due to TDM, which took an active part in the work at both
national and local level. The leaderships of the UEM and CIUEM always made time for
discussions. Last but not least, warm thanks to colleagues in the CIUEM, the Centre of
African Studies and other sectors of the university, who gave encouragement and freely
shared their knowledge.