Telecom centre, Nicaragua: connect indigenous communities

Promoting computer courses in the area of Telpaneca

In cooperation with the PIT (the Association Indigenous Community of Telpaneca) and according to already identified needs in the area, two new computer training programs have been set up within Telpaneca telecom community centre from March 13th, 2012.

Telpaneca is a community which ranks 9th in the department regarding the acces to studies and which ranks 124th in the country. In Telpaneca, only 59% of young people regularly attend classes.




- Computer training for agricultural cooperatives around Telpaneca

Objectives: reinforce computer and management skills of cooperatives in the region.

24 employees from agricultural cooperatives attend computer classes in the telecom center once a week; these classes are conducted by the coordinator of the centre. The beneficiaries have access to all the IT equipment of the community centre.


- Free computer training for pupils of Telpaneca primary schools
Objectives: Favor the access to information through Internet among the young public.

In cooperation with the PIT and the delegation of the Ministry of Education, TSF has implemented two free computer training cycles of three months for 60 pupils in Telpaneca. The main objective is to disseminate to the young public the information necessary to pursue their studies or obtain subsidies.


Thanks to this new training program, TSF commits itself to participating in the increase of the literacy rate in the region of Telpaneca. 


IMG 0048Telpaneca community centre: connects the Indigenous community since 2008

The NGO-partners working locally to the direct benefit of the population are the local facilitators while benefiting also from the local connections set up by TSF. Those connections enable them to conduct their development projects with local associations more efficiently. The objective is that after 2 years TSF steps back from the projects and the local partner can take over. On an ongoing basis, however, TSF continues monitoring the centres, accompanying their management and providing an essential technical support to the personnel in the field. 


Today, our centres opened between 2007 and 2010 are managed by the NGO-partners and the local communities autonomously. Nevertheless, TSF continues to follow their evolution and give advice on their management when requested. Throughout the year 2011, TSF continued to give technical advice, to repair the defective equipment and reinforce connections.



Since January 2011, Telpaneca centre has been managed by the Indigenous Community of Telpaneca. Between October 27th and 31st 2011, a TSF team went to Telpaneca to provide the telecoms community centre with new ICT equipment. TSF also repaired and formatted the computers, set up office software, provided the administrator of the centre with technical advice and installed a new power generator, printer, and photocopier. TSF specialists also carried out ICT training workshops, tailored to the needs of the different beneficiaries.


DSC00105 - copia

The centre was set up within the framework of the National Program to Bridge the Digital Divide and for the local development of the region. The mastery of IT tools is an essential factor for the development of the area. The center provides invaluable assistance to the local community and provides a foundation for the different development programs carried out by the local associations. The implementation of concrete services dedicated to those in need boosts the local economy, enables the breakdown of community isolation and improves local living conditions. The Health Center and the Nicaraguan Red Cross are among some of the users of the Telecoms Center.

The Indigenous Community of Telpaneca was established in 1622 to help in the social and economic development of indigenous peoples by creating activities that generate income. Its main goal is to tackle extreme poverty which persists in the indigenous community.

Since the setting up of the Internet, the PIT has noticed a better exchange of information between the different programs and with the partners (sponsors, foundations, authorities…).

The association got in touch with other indigenous organsations from Guatemala, Salvador and Panama. It also obtained an aid grant and the opportunity to take training sessions on the rights of indigenous people with the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. Following the computer and Internet training received in the telecom community centre, the PIT created new communication tools such as a newsletter, a website (, and Excel’s data management tools.

Read the report here

Telpaneca, a land of indigenous people


Telpaneca, the 4th poorest city of the country, is a town of 19,000 inhabitants living at the heart of the indigenous territories in the North of Nicaragua, which is very frequently affected by floods and which, consequently, suffers from total isolation due to the roads covered by the river. Its economy is mainly based on the production of coffee and bananas. The Telecoms Center plays a major role in this very isolated and poor city. Telpaneca is now a region connected to the rest of the world. Thanks to the telecommunications services set up, their daily life has been changed for the better.

Before the installation of the centre, the first Internet access point was in Isteli (2 hours by car from Telpaneca)

TEP Serv utilisé FEV2014 ANGL


DSC00088The Telecoms Center now consists of 9 computers and provides various services to the indigenous community (Internet, printing, scanning, computer and Internet trainings adapted to the needs of the beneficiaries, cheap local and long-distance phone services and photo services).


The IT CUP Centre also offers a Wi-Fi connection so that a higher number of users have access to the Internet. Wi-Fi links have been set up in the City hall and PIT offices. In addition to the access to information, the telecom community centre enables people to strengthen their relationship with a widespread community; many calls are made every month using Skype to the USA, Panama, Brazil, Spain and Mexico.






- Improving the work conditions of the PIT and the local stakeholders
- Supporting farmers
- Strengthening connections with world’s indigenous communities
- Increasing access to higher education for students and helping them find a job

User distribution and testimonials

Every month, the local coordinators of the centers send reports containing data for our evaluation and follow‐up and statistical analysis. These reports highlight several important quantitative indicators: the number of organizations using the connections, the number of individual users, user distribution (percentages of students, teachers, local authorities and institutions, NGOs, stakeholders in the agricultural sector, entrepreneurs, etc.), NGO catchment, and the number of beneficiaries attending the free ICT training sessions. In addition, powerful testimonies are collected every month from the beneficiaries of the connections. Since the creation of the first ICT community center in March 2007, we have been collecting, gathering, and analyzing valuable data regarding the activity of the centers, to further provide the community with tailored services.


The average number of users per month is 80.


The beneficiaries are:

- Students: primary school, high school, university

- Professors

- Institutions/local authorities/NGOs: City hall,  National Police, Ministry of Health,  Ministry of Education, Red Cross, Child Protection Agency,  Fund for Social Economic and Rural Development,  FAMILSALUD, MI FAMILIA, MAGFOR, INTA, Association of Nicaraguan Resistance (ARDN), Disco Movil Local,

AVON, ANDEN, Christ Church.


- Stakeholders in agriculture: Cooperative UCCPCO, National Union of Agricultural Producers (UNAG SEGOVIA), CPC, Bono Productivo, Cooperative of Organic Coffee Producers (CPCO).




The telecom community centre plays a key role within the community. It’s not only a place to live, but also a place for sharing and learning.

Eliana (20), student, Telpaneca:
"I was very interested in the classes because I would like to work in business administration and I need to know how to use a computer. Before the classes, I did not have any computer skills but now I can use text processing software."


Jesus Seron, 33, farmer who took part in the classes:
"As soon as I heard about the classes, I became interested in participating because I think that it is important to know how to use a computer, and before that I had never had the chance to use one. I have learnt how to use the keyboard, browse the Internet, and master Windows software. Since, I've been using Word for work when I am at the cooperative."


Hugo Zelaya, 38, Inta (technological support company for farmers):
"I’ve been coming to the centre for the past two months, 5 days a week, mostly for work in order to reply to my emails, and search for information on the Internet. I have access to the Internet at home, but I’d rather come to the centre because it is closer to work and the connection is significantly quicker."

José Benito Bacilio Perez, CEO,  PIT
“Internet enables us to communicate more efficiently with our partners (institutions, national and international NGOs…) and to implement our programs.”

José Etrain Gonzalez Muñoz, Treasurer of the PIT’s Executive Council in Telpaneca

“Other countries are now aware of our territory and our organisation’s progress and consequently we are able to continue to manage our projects. Moreover, the telecentre enables the realisation of all types of researches and it can be used by the Town Council and the Red Cross.”


A Farmer in Telpaneca

“Agricultural workers need the Internet to know commodity prices on the global market, and the different distribution channels available, to be able to negotiate the best prices, to export goods and to expand their activities.”


Wilber Mejia Gutiérrez, Doctor from the Ministry of Health

“Medicine is a discipline in constant evolution. We work with statistics. The Internet helps us to be up-to-date. We also have access to knowledge on the new drug laws, we can participate in epidemiological research and follow medical advances at national and international levels.”

City hall of Telpaneca
“Before, it was necessary to send our reports by mail to the central government of Managua, but today we can do it simply with one click of the mouse.” explains a representive of Telpaneca’s Town Council.

Silva Salmeron Francis del Socorro, Accountant

“I work for the government. The Internet enables me to communicate with institutions outside of Telpaneca. I also use the Internet for personal research and help my daughter with her homework.”