The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific supported the regional consultation in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning. ICRISAT provided the technical and organization support to the consultation, which was held on its campus at Patancheru near Hyderabad, India from 16 to 19 December, 2002.
The four-day consultation programme included an opening session, special presentations, and technical sessions that included resource paper presentations and case studies focusing on ICTs-based rural development and distance education to provide livelihood and education opportunities for rural women, a closing session, and small group sessions. The complete programme for the consultation is included as Annexure 1.
The consultation brought together key actors from Asia, drawn from government agencies, private sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international agencies. They represented diverse areas of expertise from selected ICT4D projects, academia, agri-business, ICT companies, private foundations supporting rural education and ICT outreach, open/distance learning, agriculture extension, poverty alleviation programmes and rural womens programmes and womens studies. Their experiences spanned a wide range of activities and fields of studies, from training and information sciences and impact evaluation, to innovative ICT applications for rural development, and promoting ICTs and distance education for the advancement of rural communities in the national and global agenda. Observers from various national womens studies programmes, open universities and rural development projects for women with focus on ICTs were also present.
The participants represented the following countries and regions: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, China and Hong Kong SAR, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam and the United Kingdom. Among the participants, invited resource persons with specific thematic assignments were from Canada, China and Hong Kong SAR and the United Kingdom. Indian participants represented the private sector, and innovative academic and government programmes. Representatives of FAO, the Commonwealth of Learning and ICRISAT fully participated in the consultation. The list of 41 participants is included as Annexure 2.