Information seeking patterns and telecentre operations: a case of selected rural communities in Tanzania.
Chilimo, Wanyenda Leonard.
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Information needs assessment is critical in developing and running relevant information services. This article explores the information needs and information- seeking patterns of the people living in communities surrounding telecentres. The research was based in four rural districts in Tanzania which have telecentres. These were Sengerema, Magu, Karagwe and Ngara districts. The research was done utilising the Critical Incident Technique (CIT) to determine how people or communities seek information concerning problem-solving, decision-making or question- answering situations. CIT was also used to determine the extent to which ICTs were used in seeking information. It was found that business and agricultural related information were the main information needs of the people in the communities involved in this study, however this information was rarely provided by the telecentres. The study further found out that face-to-face communication and the radio were the major sources of information that the respondents used. This study recommends that management of the telecentres should regularly assess user information needs in order for telecentres to have an impact on rural communities.