Access to (better) education and information have proven to aid in breaking out of the vicious cycle of poverty. The role of the internet in that respect is recognized, giving rise to the term ICT4D: ICT for Development. The term is easily applied to mean very different things.
Internet access is quickly improving everywhere in the world, even in remote and poor areas. But internet access alone does not automatically give access to information, let alone empower people. For those last things, the internet user needs to know his way in using ICT and around the internet. For many people from developed countries this is no problem. But for new users from developing countries and rural areas especially, this can be more difficult.
Ruralweb.info was initiated to provide a starting-place for people from rural and developing areas, who are relatively new to using ICT and the internet and who do not have others around to help them master it. The site offers:
- A database with tutorials for basic skills in using computers and the internet
- links for e-learning: websites where you can learn math, biology etc. from primary school to academic level
- Development resources: links to websites with useful information for people from developing and poor communities.
- Communities: links to social websites and online communities relevant to people from developing and poor communities.
Because users of Rural Web are envisioned to often be mobile users with limited band-width and data, the landing page is optimized for these mobile users. It uses a minimum of code on purpose. A full-fledged desktop-site is also available, as well as a mobile site in French. It's also worth noting that the community aspects of Rural Web are accessible through Facebook (which is free in certain developing countries).