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March 10, 2006

WDI Internship Day 1

I spent most of today trying to plan my trips and talking to people on the phone. As per schedule, I am leaving to Delhi on May 1st and returning to Chennai on May 14th. I have tickets on Indian Airlines and Air Sahara - but thats about all :)

I still have to coordinate a lot of tasks before I can be ready for the visits. The contact persons at both Drishtee and n-logue are extremely helpful and seem very excited about this study. I have to put some more structure so that I can deliver something concrete at the end of the study.

After speaking to Arvindd, it appears that to really understand the Drishtee kiosk operations from a social and business performance stand point, I would have to visit the kiosks in Assam ! But luckily, there are people at Drishtee in Assam who might be able to accompany me to at least 2 of the 6 kiosks that I might visit. This is a big relief because it would have been very difficult to visit kiosks on my own without knowing any Assamese or Bengali. Hopefully my broken Hindi might be of some use!

I also spoke to Elizabeth (n-logue) to schedule a meeting with her tomorrow. The people at n-logue and Drishtee seem to be working some long hours. My original perception that you might have more control on your schedule in the citizen sector is vanishing. However, n-logue and Drishtee are not really citizen sector - both are for-profit companies so I guess they are just like any other company in the corporate sector except they are providing services to empower people. Anyways, from speaking to Elizabeth, it appears that the week from May 23rd might work well to visit the n-logue Telemedicine kiosks since the kiosks under this model would have been in operations for a full 2 months by that time. These kiosks might be in Sivaganga (???) district I think. I also readily agreed to these kiosks since they will mean less (or local) travelling and also I would not have the language problem. Hopefully I can provide some concrete schedules to her in tomorrow's meeting.

I also got an email from Vineeta Sinha about the World Links operations in Delhi. Again it was a very enthusiastic email offering all help that I would need to collect information from the kiosks. She had also asked for what information I was looking for ... if only I knew :)

Looks like the first phase of the study would really begin in Assam ...

Assam seems to be a beautiful place with lots of nature getaways but there is also poverty and unrest. I was able to find a Human Development Report (HDR) on Assam from the UNDP website. It appears that Assam is one of the poorest states in the country in spite of several efforts by the state and central government to improve the quality of life there. Also, an important statistic is that 7 out of 8 people in Assam live in rural areas. I could not have asked for a better place to study the socio-economic impact of telecenters on communities.

But of course, before Assam, there is an opportunity to visit the World Links telecenters in Delhi ...

So perhaps I should be starting to gather some data and readings on Delhi and the World Links operations there. The case study could come in handy but there is contextual information (like the SI 501 contextual information) about communities, income and poverty levels, general education levels for which I might be able to find data online.

I should also finish the research draft for Mike and start writing some outline for both Drishtee and n-logue. It would be easier to produce the reports if I started the study with a rough draft.

Posted by vdakshin at March 10, 2006 06:47 PM


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