GEMS Brazil Expands Rural Telecenter Network to 62 Communities

The Brazilian NGO Gems the Earth Rural Community Telecenter Network is expanding its services to reach 62 remote rural communities, mostly in the state of Minas Gerais. GEMS Brazil entered in an agreement with the Ministry of Agrarian Development, through its Digital Territories program, to participate in the TelecentrosBR program, funded by the Brazilian government.

The TelecentrosBR program provides broadband Internet access via satellite and a complete set of furniture and equipment to build the telecenters, including a server computer, 10 computing workstations, one multi-function laser printer, one video projector, one security camera, and a WiFi access point.

The government program also includes the training of up to four members of each community, and 2 out of the 4 receive a two-year salary to work in the managemetn of the telecenter. The community associations that host the telecenters provide the space and pay for the maintenance costs, such as electricity. The telecenter must offer free Internet access to the entire community.

GEMS Brazil is responsible for the coordination of the telecenter network such as providing a communication channel between the communities and the TelecentrosBR program, and promote meetings and conferences for its telecenter network. GEMS USA is collaborating closely with GEMS Brazil to implement the Community Communicators program in its rural telecenter network.