“I can’t believe I haven’t heard about telecentres before,” said Karen Pak Oppenheimer, Vice President of World Health Partners (WHP), when Telecentre.org Foundation (TCF) contacted WHP to promote telecentre networks as potential partners to support WHP’s expansion of innovative e-health services.
Last October 1-3, several TCF staff members participated in SOCAP12 in San Francisco, the largest conference on the crossroads of social innovation, social enterprise, and impact investment. TCF was at the event to promote telecentre networks as partners for social enterprises looking to scale up products and services for development in areas where telecentres operate. A common reaction received by TCF staff members among potential partners was surprise at the existence of telecentre networks, not unlike Karen’s own reaction.
The past decade has seen the rise of social enterprises creating an unprecedented number of innovative products and services to serve the needs of low-income communities, as well as many new companies that provide low-cost and more effective solutions for many industries. It has also been the decade where a large number of investors and donors have shifted gears—from exclusively financing nonprofit approaches to finance mission-driven, high-impact social enterprises.
While these innovative social impact ventures and investors remain unaware of the great opportunity to work with telecentre networks, for the most part, telecentre networks are also unaware of the products and services they can bring into the communities where they operate and of the large amount of funding opportunities that social and impact investing can provide to telecentres.
In this sense, we are all missing some pieces of what we could call the Technology, Innovation and Sustainability (TIS) Puzzle. A puzzle that, when completed, would not only bring new formulas, models, and procedures for technology, innovation, and sustainability in telecentre networks but just as importantly, mobilize actors and resources into bringing much needed services for community development.
In the coming TIS Talks webinars, TCF and its partners will introduce telecentre networks to World Health Partners and Enlace Hispano Americano de Salud, two organizations specializing in e-Health services. TIS Talks will present to participants key learnings and opportunities in the field of e-Health.
Among the different product and service opportunities, e-Health may be the one with the greatest potential for adding value to the communities that telecentres serve.
Join the conversation on October 17 and 18to meet potential partners and contribute to find the missing parts of the TIS Puzzle!