Public Access to Information and Communication Venues in Nepal

Ranging from direct and formal venues like public libraries, community libraries, telecenters and cybercafés to informal and indirect venues like community tea shops and community radios, different forms of public access venues are used by people to access different kinds of information in Nepal.

The research carried out by SAP International in 2008 as a part of global research led by Centre for Information and Society, University of Washington, Seattle, USA was  an attempt to examine different aspects pertaining to access, capacity and environment of public information and communication venues that are prominent in Nepal. The objective of the landscape research that led to production of comprehensive research report was to elicit success factors and scenarios to understand how diverse populations use public access venues along with the scenario and opportunity of ICT usage to improve people’s lives.

Quantitative and qualitative assessment of sample venues throughout the country supplemented by focus group discussions, expert interviews and general observation were used to come up with critical factors affecting public information access scenario in the country.

Research revealed that vast majority of underserved communities in the country are still facing with the challenge of accessing basic information on health, employment and education. Public access venues in this regard play vital role in empowering people with appropriate information. However, they still lack appropriate access to underserved communities in terms of unavailability of appropriate content and services. Similarly, public access to information and communication venues are not able to create visible and positive impact in the society primarily because of the lack of capacity among the operators to deliver critical information to the community.

In terms of environmental factors, Nepal has a fairly conducive policy environment but proper monitoring and implementation of the policies seem severely missing. With appropriate implementation mechanism and support from different segments of the society,  public access to information and communication venues with appropriate ICTs have vast potential to serve the information need of underserved communities in the country. The research report  presents different dynamics of  public access venues in the country along with key recommendation for successful implementation with underserved communities drawing maximum benefits.  

Comprehensive research report and othere documents can be accessed at www.cis.washington.edu/research/updates/landscape-study/