Nepal’s Mahabir Pun talks about ICT as tool for education

Last April 28, I was invited by the people behind Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation for an afternoon of GOS Kapihan Session. It was held at the Asian Library of Ramon Magsaysay Center which was organized by the social media team of RMAF and was attended by the members of media and bloggers.

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With RMAF Director for Awardee Relations Unit Ma. Carmencita Toledo and the #gosambassadors (Photo credit: Jecel Censoro)

 

2007’s Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Community Leadership, Nepal’s father of Internet, Mr. Mahabir Pun as he talks about the importance of ICT as a tool for education.

In case you didn’t know, he was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in recognition of his work of bringing free Internet connection to the remote Himalayan villages of Nepal.  With his expertise, he already succesfully connected at least 170 villages by helping the community to learn advance education, livelihood, agriculture, and healthcare to benefit thousands of rural Nepalis.

Pun shared on how his work started. He said that he asked tourists to bring used computers and parts and indoor routers which was connected to the villages wirelessly to the Internet.

“There were many challenges in the beginning. But I like challenges. With challenges, we can learn. If there were no challenges, I could have done nothing,” Pun said.

When his efforts in connecting the community around the villages to the world of cyberspace, he was asked by other villages and seek assistance in getting wired to the Internet in which he eventually set up in Nepal’s mountains.

Pun currently working on two projects such as creation of community-based eco-tourism programs that will allow money from tourists to circulate and benefit in the rural villages’ local economy and the initiation of ICT-based innovation centers to develop and maximize local talent to benefit Nepal.

I was delighted to meet the Father of Philippine Internet, Dr. William Torres who also graces the event. “Internet is a means to many ends. It is the ends that dictate where/what you can do in the Nepal.”, he said. “Just imagine what you could not have done in the remote villages without the Internet?”, Torres added.

Finally met the Father of Philippine Internet, Dr. William Torres during the GOS Kapihan session.
Finally met the Father of Philippine Internet, Dr. William Torres during the GOS Kapihan session.

Before ending the kapihan session, Pun announced that he is willing to help set up Internet connections outside of Nepal. “I am open to go anywhere in the world,” he said. “I can help connect them to the Internet, especially if it’s in a remote area.”

His willingness to help out individuals and groups in the country who want to put up ICT in every barangays in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, RMAF Director for Awardee Relations Unit Ma. Carmencita Toledo said that there are three insights about ICT. It must be used as a tool for inclusivity wherein the people can access as a basic services such as healthy or information. ICT is not yet maximized which is to unlock the full potential of the technology. Lastly, ICT can be anything impossible can be possible.

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Get to know more about Magsaysay Institute of Transformative leadership, as Ramon Magsaysay awardees emerged by developing strategies in which focus on interacting through lectures, leadership trainings, conferences and online forums.