Beginning in Early 2013, we have been expanding our reach in Jharkhand through an exciting project supported by the Ford Foundation.
During the next 3 years, we will reach more than 90 villages in Jharkhand with broadband connectivity and related services.
Those working in rural deployment projects will be familiar with the feeling that what we learn in the field is not shared often enough and widely enough, while much of what IS being said about rural internet connectivity in public forums is often distant from the actual realities and, more importantly, from what needs to be done so that rural India can enjoy true broadband connectivity in the near future.
We were lucky enough to get a rare chance to conduct an “in vivo” (roughly translated “real life”) project where assumptions about improving Internet access to rural are tested through actual deployments in multiple locations.
This was made possible through a rural access initiative of the Ford Foundation, led by Dr. Ravina Agarwal.
From the outset, the foundation presented a flexible approach to the project: rather than sticking to beaten project tracks, the foundation allows us to essentially carry out our “normal” deployment work, but with the added freedom to experiment and test new approaches and possibilities that may be otherwise hard to carry out.
We view the Ford Foundation’s support to RBB as part of a much larger change process where so-called “development” work finds channels for expression that reside outside the traditional non-profit distribution and execution models. In other words, to paraphrase Albert Camus, one no longer needs to be a charity to dispense generosity. This shift brings back the (difficult to measure) yardstick of outputs and outcomes as indicators of “developmental benefit”.
We hope to be able to prove our ability to deliver such benefits in this project. We will try to share our findings and thoughts as we work through the obstacles, find oppurtunties and hopefully connect many clients in Jharkhand. We will post on this website, on our Facebook page, and will update you on public presentations of the project. . You are welcome to come and visit us in Jharkhand or contact us with questions and thoughts.