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UNDP Brings Internet to Underprivileged

The United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) will open three technology access community centers (TACC) in the Governorate of Sharkeya, Egypt, on 14 March.

This is the first in a series of pilot digital projects in Egypt and other countries in the Arab States, Africa, Asia, and the Latin America and Caribbean regions.

The TACCs--also knwon as telecenters--represent a platform for providing Internet access to communities through electronic information and knowledge.

TACCs will also serve as training centers for civil society groups, the private sector, low-income groups and individuals to familiarize them with information technologies (IT) and to use IT for various development applications.

Such applications may encompass long-distance education, telemedicine, electronic commerce, assistance to small-businesses, new mechanisms for popular participation, environmental management and women and youth empowerment.

In addition, TACCs are also designed as hubs for electronic content creation, especially in Arabic, responding to community needs and interests.

"We must find ways to bring the information revolution to the underserviced and unconnected people of the developing world. The population must begin to enjoy the benefits, especially in remote and rural areas," said Hans d'Orville, director of UNDP's IT for Development Program.

Each TACC will be equipped with a server and some 10 Pentium PCs, backed up by the use of additional training computers in each location.