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Syrian Telecentre Project: A Model for Sustainable Development


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Community-led innovation is perhaps the best way to describe the Syrian Telecentre Project. This model of sustainability relies on users as the force driving innovation and sustainability by identifying and forging new projects and partnerships for community well-being.

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Syrian Telecentre Project: A Model for Sustainable Development

  1. 1. Welcome toTIS TalksWe believe that today’s ICT4D(information and communitytechnology for development)environment presents us with trendsand opportunities with greatpotential to generate gamechanging innovations to telecentresand their growing number of users.Join us and learn how!
  2. 2. Host and moderatorJimena BetancourtTELECENTE SUSTAINABILITY WEBINARCOORDINATORJimena Betancourt is an internationalconsultant with more than 10 years ofexperience in social innovation, strategy andmanagement for sustainable developmententerprises and social businesses in ICT4D.She has been involved with the telecentremovement since 2009. Jimena has anMaster’s in Business Administration fromSimmons College and a degree in Financeand International Relations from UniversidadExternado de Colombia.
  3. 3. Nabil EidExecutive Secretary of Knowledge Networksfor Disadvantaged Communities- WesternAsiaRegional Community Coordinator – Foundation in MENA RegionTeam Leader of Slamieh Telecentre at SyrianTelecentre Project
  4. 4. Syrian Telecentre ProjectA Model for Sustainable DevelopmentCapacityEmpowermentSustainabilitySelf-SufficiencyNabil Eid -
  5. 5. Contents Syrian Telecentre Project-Brief ICTs Roles and Objectives Project Services Provided and Beneficiaries Model – Planning The Community Portal- Reefnet Mobile Computer Training (E-BAG) in Rural Village Interactive Schools Project Empowering and Services for People with Disabilities through ICT Transformation from ICT Access Point to Knowledge Centre Challenges Ahead The Road Ahead
  6. 6. Syrian Telecentre Project-BriefThe First Phase, 2004Established telecentres all over the country, especially in the most remoteareas.The Ministry of Communications and Technology has launched this project incooperation with the (UNDP), as part of its Strategic Program "ICT4DevSYR/02/001.This project has so far established about 40 telecentres across the Syrianprovinces in rural areas, with the first telecentre inaugurated in April 2004.The Syrian Telecentre Project is one of the development projects aimed atproviding ICTs for local and rural communities.
  7. 7. Syrian Telecentre Project-BriefThe Second Phase, 2009The project has been turned over to and is currently being undertaken by theSyrian Computer Society (SCS) and the Syria Trust for Development since 2009.The new MoU between the Ministry of Communication and Technology, SyrianComputer Society, and the Syria Trust for Development plans to establish 45 newtelecentres between 2010-2013.Currently, 18 new telecentres have been established, bringing the totalnumber of telecentres established thus far by the project to 58 telecentres
  8. 8. 2004 2005 2006 2007 20082009201020111018263337405058Total number and names of telecentresestablished each year
  9. 9. Geographical Reach of the projectLocation Map of established telecentres over the past yearsItem Project TotalMobile Compute Training Reefnet-ICT4Dev4Telecentre Reefnet-ICT4Dev40New TelecentreImplementedSTP - SCS 18Interactive Schools Project Reefnet-ICT4Dev5Computer Training Center Reefnet-ICT4Dev4
  10. 10. ICTs Roles and objectives project•Bridging the digital divide between rural and urban areas,•Using the ICTs as a powerful instrument in the development of localcommunities,•Creating an enabling environment for the use of ICT in Syria,•Accelerating the development of information facilities and infrastructures aswell as to improve the capacity to benefit from ICT.The project has more dimensions in the development of the Syrian communityand bridging digital divide.Never doubt the ability of a small group of thoughtful and committed people to change theworld .Conventional WisdomTurning the Pyramid on its Head
  11. 11. Services providedThe program has provided training through telecentres to all people from various of segments(women, youth, children, adult and people with disabilities) on computer applications andvolunteers.ModelServices toofferTrainingICT forDevelopmentServicesAccess toCommunication Facilities
  12. 12. Beneficiaries and targeted groupThe program has trained more than 50,000 trainees from a variety of ruralareas.The program has also been implemented in urban areas through four CTCs(Computer Training Centres) to benefit more people in other states.StudentsTeachersLocal NGOsSmall businessentrepreneurGeneral population
  13. 13. Services provided and beneficiariesBasic services in firstphaseAdvanced services in secondphaseFree services•Internet and Telephoneservices.• sending and receivingfax messages.•Typing services,printing; scanning;photocopying•sending, receiving andtranslating e-mailmessages.•Providing meeting spacefor small groups.•Access to governmentforms and information.•Training in computer useand providing meetingand reading room.•Nursing and literacy•Training services on ICT skills.•ICDL certificate.•Developing local database.•Graphic Design.•Designing Web page.•Maintenance hardware.•Training Foreign Languages(English, French, Spanish,Germany).•Accounting programs•Small project management.•Free Law consultants, E-Health, Financial andAgriculture consultants•Free training and audiolibrary for blind and visuallyimpaired.•Free training for deaf-muteand motor rehabilitation.•Free cultural libraries andaudio national culture forstudents•Free government content(Financial, Agricultural,Tourism, Results of studentsexams in schools anduniversities).•Free job search
  14. 14. Model – PlanningThe model of the project is aimed at promoting disadvantaged and rural individuals toprovided ICT services through universal service and the creation of equal opportunitiesfor rural people to improve local content, skills, and enhance their livelihood.Expand and support the uses of ICT in social and economicdevelopment.Build an environment that can use those technologies, especially inisolated areas.Contribute to closing the digital gap between cities and rural areas.Contribute to the creation of job opportunities which depend on ICT.Assist small sized communities to use those technologies and empowerwomen in rural areas to benefit from them.Motivate Syrian citizens to use ICT in acquiring new skills.Participate actively in communities’ social and economic activities.
  15. 15. The Community Portal- ReefnetObjectivesThe use of the Internet in different activities aiming at promoting the social and economicdevelopmentThe Geographical allocation of the Portals Websites for 100 Syrian townsEach community portalis assigned a websiteand the telecentre’sstaff are responsible forits management
  16. 16. The main page contains information about topics of interestfor rural citizens, such as:A portal that includes:• valuable information for the communities members• Syrian laws, agriculture, education, health,government transactions• A huge agricultural content, Syrian Law, health awarenessleaflets, educational books (Arabic Grammar)• Syrian Heritage• Reefnet e-library• Service websites: medical consulting, education,legal consulting, educational consulting• General information: maps, currency exchange rates, phonesnumbers• Audio lessons, Specialized audio Lectures,reef e- library AchievementContent of Community Portal
  17. 17. Built to engage community members in developing and localization of localcontent, exploring local cultural and more localized relationship withheritage.Content of Community Portal
  18. 18. Achievements• The towns are benefiting from the websites to communicate & introducethemselves & their local activities and issues … some heads of councils arefollowing their towns‘ websites on a daily basis• Creating a network of contributing volunteers: more than 60 doctors, 30teacher, 10 attorneys & 10 agricultural engineers to answer all the enquiries ofthe websites• A dynamic Syria map in Arabic & world Atlas• Preparing to establish the encyclopedia of summarized encyclopedias• Applications to serve the communities (there are some local products can bemarketed online: Draikish silk, Efrin Soap, Bousra’s hey, Mesyaf’s figs• Linking the communities websites with the municipality services: differenttypes of licenses and documents (currently in progress)
  19. 19. Mobile Computer Training (E-BAG) in rural villageThe Reefnet project extended and spearedcomputer training in rural community toserving a large number of rural people whichlack ICTs services. And who don’t havecomputers in school or home.E-BAG Lab improve dtheir computer literacyand surf the internet through modem mobile.A computer laboratory in a mobile bag thataims to bring technology to even the remoterural areas in Syria.Mobile Computer Training (E-BAG)
  20. 20. Interactive Schools ProjectThe project was launched with corporate ministry of education in Syria to automatenetwork of schools and set of regulations that operate in an integrated manner to meetthe needs of automation teachers and students within schools.The ‘Interactive Schools’ project was implemented in 15 schools in Deir-Ezor, one of Syria’spoorest regions, providing each school with ten desktops to be used by students as aninformation hub, and five for the school’s administrative and managerial purposes.the Ministry of Education launched a further five schemes in Damascus in January 2011,and is considering introducing similar initiatives to all Syrian schools.Goal of the project:• Enhance the communication between the teachers and students in school and thefamilies of students.• Services provided by the Ministry of education regarding the formation of an electronicgathering of schools reflect the activities and events each school.AchievementsWork processes in the 20 schools became simplified and automated, eliminating all thepaperwork. Both teachers and parents have acquired valuable skills to use moderntechnology, through which they communicate and work more closely to manage the schoolsand share their views on the students’ progress.
  21. 21. Moving from Advocacy to Action from Exclusion to EqualityEmpowering and Services for People with Disabilities throughICTPrimary ObjectivesThe vision aims at achieving certain goals and focus on disabilities issues throughICTs.Promote the e-inclusion, e-learning of the PwDs and maximize the use of IT skills.Bridging the digital divide for PwDs especially within rural communities.Facilitate access to education, training, culture and remote services .Readiness for employing and creating job opportunities.Sharing knowledge and experiences.Eradicate extreme poverty for within disadvantaged communitiesBeneficiariesStudents with Physical DisabilitiesBlindness and Visual ImpairmentsHearing ImpairmentsIntellectual DisabilitiesLearning Disabilities.Reefnet project and multiple Partnerships with UNDP, UN-ICTDAR , UNESCOand NGO’s
  22. 22. ICTARB promote blind in their skills and rehabilitation and enablingthem to access e-Learning and new job opportunitiesEmpowering and Services for People with Disabilities throughICTSalamieh Telecentre equipped with:•Four IBSAR Arabic Screen Reader•Braille Printer•Broadband Internet Connection•Communication Facilities•Friendly EnvironmentStudents with Blind and Visually Impairment
  23. 23. Empowering and Services for People with Disabilities throughICTStudents with Physical Disabilities Students with intellectual DisabilitICT tools can offer supportthrough- Communication facilities.- Computer access devices.- Utilizing the specializedsoftware.- Maximizing the disabled inputs- Touch sensitive screens- The Internet-ICT4D PwDs can help in manyareas, including wordrecognition, math, spellingand even social skills.-Communication: E-mail,Internet, Mobile Phones, SMS-Compensation: Movies, Music,Games, Special Services.-Competence: E-LearningSystems, Special Training.-Cognition: RehabilitatingPrograms – IT Persons trainingof brain injured, Alarm systemStudents with Hearing DisabilitiesICT given Deaf and HearingDisability the opportunity toimprove their chances at findingemployment and also to enhancetheir current careersThe present indications are that an “Information Society forAll".
  24. 24. Three Syrian Telecentre (Salamieh, Zabadani and CTC Damascus )have been selected asaccess points in the project of Knowledge Networks Through ICT Access Points forDisadvantaged Communities, KN4DC Project –UN-ESCWAThe (KN4DC) is a project that was launched in late 2006 and funded by the UnitedNations Development Account. The five UN regional commissions ECA, ESCAP, ECE,ECLAC and ESCWA partnered to implement this project on a global levelObjective the projectThe main objective of the project is to empower disadvantaged communities bytransforming selected ICT access points/Telecentres into knowledge hubs that arenetworked at the regional and global levels.This objective will be reached by providing, developing, organizing, sharing anddisseminating knowledge pertinent to targeted communities in key areas of sustainabledevelopment such as employment, education, gender and health. the project will improvethe living standards of the targeted communities.Salamieh Telecentre Transformation to Knowledge Centre means: Force for Development of Disadvantaged Communities
  25. 25. Achievements of Salamieh knowledge hub in relation to the main objectives ofKN4DCSalamieh knowledge hub/center put two main objectives:The first accomplishment is specifically concerned with transforming Salamieh Telecentrefrom conventional to smart knowledge hubs. " Salamieh Knowledge Hub" Secondly, Salamieh Telecentre intended to empower the poor and disadvantagedcommunities in rural areas of Salamieh through further conversion of this knowledge hubintoregional/global knowledge networks.Salamieh Knowledge Hub organize and disseminate knowledge directly related to socio-economic development.The main successes of the projectPromoting sustainable Telecentres and Knowledge Center.Knowledge sharing - sharing experiences, skills and expertise.Implementation - lessons learnt and best practices, and sharing knowledge onmethodologies and tools used for telecentre assessment and evaluation.Work towards knowledge sharing and knowledge fusion.Work with local and national organization and NGOs to identify specific projects fordonor funding in partnership.
  26. 26. Rural Womens & Youth EmpowermentSalamieh Telecentre Transformation to Knowledge Centre
  27. 27. Childrens EmpowermentSalamieh Telecentre Transformation to Knowledge Centre
  28. 28. Empowerment of the ElderlySalamieh Telecentre Transformation to Knowledge Centre
  29. 29. Increasing Knowledge, and Raising Awareness of Local CommunitySalamieh Telecentre Transformation to Knowledge Centre
  30. 30. •Economies of scale and scope attracting more number of users and offeringwider range of services.•Keeping costs – capital as well recurrent, low is one of the keys to economicsustainability.•Generating revenue from diverse fees and services.•Revenue from core communication applications.•Gradual growth of other revenue sources.•Identification of information and communication needs of the users.•Guarding against potential negative externalities – making sure that everyTelecentre benefits from the development of such services.•Designing appropriate policies.•Building local capability – ensuring proper technical training of the operators.Challenges Ahead
  31. 31. The Syrian Telecentre Project is continuing with a new vision and new future plan to investin human development and infrastructure.The project is continuing in developing industrial development policies and promotingenvironmental sustainability and improving rural / urban areas through the use of ICTs.The mission of the Syrian Telecentre Project is to build sustainability not only in thetelecentres served, but also in the local communities served by telecentres and improve theway of life for people living in Syria.The Road Ahead
  32. 32. Next Steps:1.Complete TIS Talks evaluation form at: is a requisite to receive yourcertificate of attendance2. Join us on July 30 to learn about ATNfrom Brasil.• English : 9:00am GMT• Spanish: 4:00pm GMT