Nº 4 2013 > WSIS Forum 2013
On 13 May 2013, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré announced the 18 winners of a global contest that recognized outstanding efforts and achievements in the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The 18 categories of the WSIS Project Prizes 2013 are linked to the WSIS Action Lines outlined in the Geneva Plan of Action.
The WSIS Project Prizes contest responds to requests from WSIS stakeholders for an effective mechanism to recognize outstanding success by individuals, governments and civil society, including local, regional and international agencies, research institutions and private-sector companies, in implementing development-oriented strategies that leverage the power of information and communication technologies (ICT). The WSIS Project Prizes are an integral part of the WSIS stocktaking process established in 2004 (www.wsis.org/stocktaking/prizes).
The prize-winning projects in 2013, by category and WSIS Action Line, are described briefly here.
Role of public governance authorities and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICT for development (Action Line C1)
The Safeer project from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Higher Education is an integrated online scholarship programme to advance the educational level, research capabilities, and openness to the world of Saudi Arabian citizens. It gives priority to students with disabilities. A number of governmental agencies — such as the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Civil Services — collaborated in developing, implementing and operating the Safeer project to promote an information society. The project reflects the country’s commitment to gender equality, social justice, and the education and empowerment of citizens.
Information and communication infrastructure (Action Line C2)
The Schools Connectivity project from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education aims to connect more than 3000 remote schools (currently unserved by the Internet) via satellite using very small aperture terminal (VSAT) technology. The project will also upgrade connectivity in more than 19 000 schools. All schools in Saudi Arabia will be linked to the Ministry of Education via the Internet, enabling schools to use major centralized services. The Schools Connectivity project is a part of a larger nationwide connectivity project being undertaken by the Ministry of Education.
Access to information and knowledge (Action Line C3)
The Agricultural Libraries in Jagodina project from Serbia’s Radislav Nikcevic Public Library targets rural communities, transforming village libraries into communication, information and educational hubs. The project also facilitates the sharing of information among farmers. There are now five rural library branches offering Internet access, ICT training, agricultural lectures, and online access to agricultural journals and literature.
Capacity building (Action Line C4)
The Electronic Information for Libraries Public Library Innovation Programme from Italy is building community ICT skills in 23 developing countries and countries in transition. More than 7500 people in 23 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe have already benefited from ICT training provided in local libraries. Since 2010, the project has been supporting sustainable information access and learning opportunities, enabling disadvantaged people to improve their lives.
Building confidence and security in the use of ICT (Action Line C5)
The Digital Training through Mobile Classrooms project from Ecuador’s Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society uses buses equipped with state-of-the-art technology to provide all citizens with access to ICT. The buses circulate throughout Ecuador, promoting the use of technological tools and offering training — in particular to children — on the proper use of ICT. This builds confidence and security in the use of ICT. The project is part of a strategy, launched in November 2011, to provide everyone with access to the Internet. By 2015, the project is expected to reach 350 000 citizens.
Enabling environment (Action Line C6)
The Club Digital project from Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation promotes entrepreneurship among youth to foster the development of technological innovation. The project offers open online ICT courses free of charge. Cutting-edge content is provided by the Ministry of Communications and Transport and its ICT partners, as well as by entrepreneurship specialists.
E‑government (Action Line C7.1)
The SAKSHAM project from the Network for Information and Computer Technology (India), in conjunction with the Indore Municipal Corporation and the Bank of India, provides ICT-enabled direct distribution of old age pensions. The system comprises ICT-enabled pension distribution centres in the form of kiosk banks. So far, the project has created a network of kiosk banks at 15 different locations, and trained social entrepreneurs to run the kiosks. This has enabled 13 000 elderly citizens to get their pensions locally, without having to travel far. The project was enabled by new government policies on information technology and banking.
E‑business (Action Line C7.2)
The E‑licence Information System project from Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Transport and Communications, National Information Technologies, and Ministry of Regional Development allows licences and permits to be obtained online. The project simplifies the process for obtaining licences and permits by automatically requesting the necessary data from the information systems of State agencies, which are integrated with the project’s information system. Thanks to the single registry of electronic licences, users can obtain information about the status and authenticity of companies’ licences and permits. Since 2012, all electronic licences in Kazakhstan have been issued via the E‑licence Information System.
E‑learning (Action Line C7.3)
The Training and Connecting Rural People project from the African Forum for the Promotion of New Information and Communication Technologies (Republic of the Congo) is working to connect the villages of sub-Saharan Africa and to train villagers to use ICT. The project is driven by the need to promote a culture of peace through using ICT as a way towards harmonious social integration. The project educates people on the positive impact of ICT in improving the conditions of life in towns and villages.
E‑health (Action Line C7.4)
The Reduction of Childhood Mortality Rates project, from Oman’s Ministry of Health, provides holistic primary care for pregnant women and young children in order to reduce maternal mortality rates and childhood mortality rates among infants and children under five years of age. Prenatal and postnatal care is available at all medical centres, and mothers give birth at a tertiary hospital. Medical records tracing the patient histories of mothers and children are made available throughout pregnancy, and are integrated into the Childhood Illnesses System. Through this project, Oman has succeeded in reducing the maternal mortality rate from 22 (per 100 000 live births) in 1995 to 13.4 in 2009, and the infant mortality rate from 20 (per 1000 live births) in 1995 to 9.6 in 2009.
E‑employment (Action Line C7.5)
The E‑Employment system project from Kuwait’s Civil Service Commission facilitates the process of applying for a job in the governmental sector. This government-to-citizen (G2C) e service allows for the online submission of job applications, the online tracking of applications, and an online SMS notification of the progress of the application through the system.
E‑environment (Action Line C7.6)
The Zero Balance project from Argentina’s University of La Punta involves primary school students in collaborative digital environmental activities to reduce global warming. Children visit every house in their hometowns to find out how much energy is consumed. With the support of their laptop and the application “Efficient House” (www.chicos.edu.ar), they calculate the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. The information is uploaded to the website and the children are able to determine the number and type of trees that need to be planted to capture the equivalent balance of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
E‑agriculture (Action Line C7.7)
The Web 2.0 and Social Media Learning Opportunities project from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (the Netherlands) provides five-day training events designed to raise awareness and stimulate adoption of Web 2.0 and social media in the context of development work. The events are held in partnership with national and international development agencies, on a cost-sharing basis. By the end of 2012, approximately 1500 people (of whom 31 per cent were women) had been trained in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, St Lucia, Tanzania, Gambia, Senegal, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uganda.
E‑science (Action Line C7.8)
The Abu Dhabi Science Festival project from the Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee (United Arab Emirates) is a strategic initiative to engage and inspire the nation’s youth with exciting science-related hands-on activities. It is part of a wider plan geared towards building a talent base in science, technology and innovation. The 11-day Festival held in 2012 attracted more than 120 000 visitors, an increase of 20 per cent as compared with 2011. Over 20 000 students from 224 schools attended the festival. Collaboration with some of the leading universities in the country, and the recruitment and training of 800 university students as science communicators, were key factors in the festival’s success.
Cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content (Action Line C8)
The En mi idioma (In my language) project from Colombia’s Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications, in cooperation with Colnodo (an association of non-profit non-governmental organizations), pursues the inclusion of indigenous communities in the technology and knowledge society through the use of ICT. The primary aim of the project is to preserve and promote the dissemination of indigenous Colombian languages and knowledge. Multiple international stakeholders support training in the use of ICT, content generation and information publishing. The active participation and empowerment of indigenous communities is a crucial aspect of the project. This is achieved through universal and equitable access, capacity building and knowledge sharing. The project is currently being implemented in seven indigenous communities in Colombia.
Media (Action Line C9)
The Africa Digital Media Academy project from Rwanda’s Ministry of Youth and ICT and Workforce Development Authority is a vocational training programme initiated in March 2012 by the Workforce Development Authority and Pixel Corps Ltd. It provides Rwandan students with the skills necessary to work in all areas of the digital media industry. Through live, hands-on learning in the computer lab and production studio, with distance learning from television experts in the United States, the project prepares students for work in the digital media. The emphasis is on student collaboration with the community as the foundation for effective learning.
Ethical dimensions of the Information Society (Action Line C10)
The Mujermigrante.mx project from Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation promotes human rights for migrant women. Mujermigrante.mx uses ICT to help migrant women, who represent 50 per cent of all migrants in Mexico. Through web-enabled online easy-to-understand applications, videos, learning tools, chats and tutorials, the project empowers women by offering them access to information about human rights, health services, immigration support and government programmes. The platform was created with the participation of more than 30 government and civil society organizations. The next phase of the project will add support for mobile devices.
International and regional cooperation (Action Line C11)
The Child Helplines and Telecoms project from Child Helpline International (the Netherlands) has produced a toolkit to promote cooperation between child helplines and the telecommunication sector in different countries. The toolkit suggests various techniques that child helplines can adopt to obtain telephone numbers that are easy to remember and that can be used free of charge. It provides information on basic telecommunication terms and processes, regulatory aspects and number implementation. The toolkit also highlights case studies and good practices that can be replicated and shared internationally.
The goal of the project is to increase toll free access for children and young people to child helpline services. Currently, child helplines are operational in 142 countries. Since 2006, when Child Helpline International and ITU joined forces to encourage national telecom regulators to provide toll free numbers for child helpline services, child helplines in 46 countries have been assigned toll free numbers.
The WSIS Stocktaking: Success Stories 2013 report provides detailed descriptions of these projects and is available at http://www.itu.int/wsis/stocktaking/docs/reports/WSIS_Stocktaking_Success_Stories_2013.pdf