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IDPM Working papers

This Working Paper is part of the Development Informatics series

Remoteness, Exclusion and Telecentres in Mountain Regions: Analysing ICT-Based "Information Chains" in Pazos, Peru

Richard Heeks & Laura León Kanashiro

Abstract

Communities in developing country mountain areas, in part due to their remoteness, find themselves excluded from social, political and economic systems; and excluded from access to resources.  This paper researches the impact on remoteness and exclusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs).  It utilises two models – the resource movement framework, and "information chains" – to analyse a telecentre in one district of mountainous Huancavelica, Peru's poorest region, set in the high Andes.

It finds ICTs enabling new and positive resource flows for the two key user groups: teenaged school students and young farmers.  These help to maintain social networks.  They also support information searches that have improved agricultural practice where other information chain resources have been available.  But non-use and ineffective use of the telecentre are found where information chain resources are lacking.  ICTs have some impact on intangible elements of remoteness.  In this particular example, they also offer access to some previously-excluded resources.  But they have not really addressed the systemic exclusions faced by mountain communities.  And they so far appear to be a technology of inequality; favouring those residents who begin with better resource endowments.

The paper concludes by offering some recommendations for mountain ICT project practice.

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