Impact of TEK

Since its first release in 2003, TEK has had a notable impact on several communities around the world.

One of the most successful applications of TEK is in the Solomon Islands, where it has been deployed by the People's First Network. This organization offers email-only access using a large HF radio network. As no interactive Internet content is available, TEK provides the only portal to Internet content.

As village kiosks aim to be self-sustaining, there is a US $0.65 fee for each TEK query (compare to $0.25 per email, and $0.65 to type one page). Users can also receive operator assistance when browsing results for $1.30. While the TEK Server returns results for free, the local charge for TEK contributes to kiosk sustainability. Also, the continued use of TEK indicates that the service is valuable to the villagers.

A recent case study from the People's First Network summarizes the impact of TEK on local farming practices:

Subsistence farmers on Rennell have obtained advice concerning taro diseases affecting their crop. Via the 'TEK-websearch' facility, one group of farmers was able to access detailed technical information about vanilla farming and to communicate with a specialist from the Kastom Gaden Association.

In addition to farmers, users of TEK in the local community include:

  • Teachers (environmental impact of local logging)
  • Pastors (downloading sermons)
  • Entrepreneurs (downloading and selling song lyrics)
  • General (health, education, sports, entertainment)

While there are also several individual users of TEK, we have found that the best way to foster adoption is to partner with agencies that work in rural communities. If you are associated with such an organization, we would love to hear from you! Please send email to Bill Thies with details.