Nepal Wireless Networking Project: Building infrastructure in the mountains from ground up

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Communications of the Association for Information Systems, Vol: 34, Issue: 1

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Sæbø, Øystein; Sein, Maung K.; Thapa, Devinder
Association for Information Systems
Teaching case; ICT4D; Developing countries; Champions; Stakeholders; Mountain Communities
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article description
Teaching cases can be instrumental in developing skills of critical analysis, problem solving and strategic thinking in students, especially in specific contexts such as Information Systems (IS). While cases are widely used in the curricula of graduate and undergraduate programs in developed countries, there is a lack of teaching cases set in developing countries, particularly in the area of information and communication technology for development (ICT4D). In this paper, we address this gap by telling the story of the Nepal Wireless Networking Project (NWNP) and its effort to connect villages in remote areas of Nepal to the outside world. Despite lack of access to proper equipment, lack of technical competence and the difficult terrain in the Himalayan mountains, Mahabir Pun, the initiator of NWNP, succeeded in bringing Internet access to these villages, contributing to improvements in education, health services and income generating activities. The case describes the development of NWNP from inception until today, the stakeholders involved, services provided, current challenges and ideas for future improvements. Furthermore the case illustrates the importance of the champion, the process of getting commitment important stakeholders, the importance of contextual understanding, and the challenges while scaling up from pilot projects to wider implementations in the context of developing countries.