Jamaica Telecentre Wokshop (taller telecentros en Jamaica)

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20091014DSC01164 REPORT ON THE JAMAICA CAPS NETWORK (JACAN) NETWORKING WORKSHOP Kingston, Jamaica – July 30 2009. The workshop gathered There were 27 local participants from 17 telecenters/CAP sites across the island. The objective of the workshop was to strengthen the networking activity among the the CAP operators/managers, within the framework of the JACAN, in order to enable permanent peer to peer support, dissemination of best practices, tools and resources, to strengthen the sustainability and social impact of the CAPS in the communities. It was organised by JACAN and ICT4DJamaica  and Fundación Taigüey,  in the framework of the ACT!IVATE project This workshop was organised thanks to the financial support of  telecentre.org  a program is a joint-venture of the International Development Research Centre (Canada), the Swiss Development Corporation and the Microsoft Corporation.

The ACT!ivate Project which was launched in October 2008, and implemented by Fundación Taiguey, aims to establish and maintain the core mechanisms of the Alliance of Caribbean Telecentres (ACT!), a regional framework for sharing and collaboration among Caribbean telecentres. The project is intended to support telecentre leaders’ interaction via virtual space and face to face events, networking, sharing information (general and thematic), accessing resources, service and tools and collaboration on regional projects.

There are over 30 individual telecenters in Jamaica as well as 30 additional internet access points in public libraries across the island. In March 2008, a Conference supported by ICT4D Jamaica, Ministry of Energy, Mining and Telecommunications and UNESCO was held in Kingston which was geared toward exploring the possibility of establishing a Jamaica Community Access Point/Community Multimedia Center (CAP/CMC) Network and to provide the opportunity for local community–based ICTs projects to share their knowledge and experiences. One outcome of the conference was the establishment of the Jamaica Community Access Point Network (JACAN) which is geared toward representing the interests of telecenters/CAP across the island.

In March 2009, a meeting was held between JACAN, ICT4D Jamaica and the ACT!ivate Project which was represented  by Fundación Taiguey. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the ACT!ivate project and explore ways in which Jamaican telecenters could participate in it. By the end of the meeting, it was determined that a training workshop for representatives of Jamaican telecenters would be held in July. The workshop would be facilitated by JACAN together with the ACT!ivate  project and ICT4D Jamaica. Its costs would be supported by the ACT!ivate  project.

2          Objectives of the workshop

The objectives of the workshop were to:
The objective of the workshop was to strengthen the networking activity among the the CAP operators/managers, within the framework of the  JACAN, in order to enable permanent peer to peer support, dissemination of best practices, tools and resources, to strengthen the sustainability and social impact of the CAPS in the communities

For this agenda included

  • Sharing information on the Caribbean wide telecenter survey currently being undertaken
  • Demonstrate the ACT!ivate networking platforms
  • Identify challenges for sustainability and social impact , best practices, lessons learned and solutions that can be shared on the online platform

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3           The Participants

There were 27 local participants from 17 telecenters/CAP sites across the island. They are listed in Appendix 2: Workshop Participants List

4           The Agenda

The Workshop included both breakout groups and plenary sessions, in addition to hands on computer sessions. The agenda is appended (Appendix 3: Final Agenda). Because of time limitations the agenda was amended so that there were two breakout sessions instead of the three originally planned.

5          Presentations

The ACT!ivate Project-  Yacine Khelladi

The background to the Activate project and the objectives were outlined. The presentation is found at http://taiguey.org/activate/

Telecenters of the Caribbean – Valerie Gordon

The survey of telecenters currently being undertaken by the project was outlined. The survey undertaken in 2006 was described and a summary of results was presented. It was mentioned that the more detailed survey was intended to provide updated but more in depth information on the centres including the issues which affect them most.

Jamaica Community access Point Network (JACAN)- Zelris Lawrence

An overview of JACAN was provided and included how it started, the objectives, aims and some proposed activities. The presentation is found at http://www.caribbean-telecentres.net/group/JACAN

6          Working group outputs

The participants were divided into 2 groups, Group A and Group B.

In the first breakout session, Group A was introduced to the Caribbean Telecenters networking platform, www.caribbean-telecentres.net, and Group B was asked to consider: “Challenges facing Telecenters Best Practices and Lessons Learned”.

During the second sessions, while group B was introduced to the platform, the group A ‘” What can we do together; Next steps online; Tasks for JACAN “

6.1         Networking platform introduction sessions

Both group A and B participants were guided in the various features of the web site and instructed to join the group. They spent time learning all the platform features, adding their personal profile and /or that of their telecenter/CAP site; adding photos and finally locating their telecenter/CAP site on the map. There were some delays as the internet connection was very slow, however all participants were eventually signed in and set about sending sample messages.


6.2         Group B – Findings on “Challenges facing Telecenters Best Practices and Lessons Learned

The findings from the group were as follows:

.
Challenges

  1. Location and Security –  It is important for CAP sites to be in a location where the traffic is high i.e. many people can come to the centre easily, and which is also safe from break ins. This is to ensure that equipment (investment) is secure.
  2. Networks –  Computer networks need to be
  3. Low voltage – This is a problem for some locations and can cause damage to equipment
  4. Finances – The main cost is for internet access and this need to be available to centres at a more affordable cost; the cost of repairs is also an issue for centres
  5. Maintenance – Centres with inadequate maintenance suffer from viruses, breakdowns etc. In addition, its networking architecture in telecenters can cause problems. Some persons felt that individually connected computers were more effective and required less professional trouble shooting when things went wrong, while others felt that a single server connected to several clients was more efficient.

Best practices

  1. Maintaining good social relationships between the centre and the community which the centre is located is important for business, and also contributes to good security.
  2. Turning off equipment when not in use not only save on electricity cost but also protests the equipment form electric surges etc
  3. Good customer service is important to good business and also to maintaining good social relationships.
  4. JACAN as an initiative provides the opportunity for collective action, advocacy for the interests of telecenters, better prices for goods and services etc

Lessons learned

  1. Less expenditure where equipment is turned off
  2. Laptops are more convenient than desktops and centres should consider these for portability and taking less space.

In this session, Group B was introduced to the website, while Group A was

6.3         Group A Findings on: What can we do together; Next steps online; Tasks for JACAN

What can we do together?

  1. Register JACAN as an NGO so as to ensure that the entity can act on behalf of the telecenters including accessing funds
  2. Draft a business plan for JACAN – this will ensure that the entity can be sustainable
  3. Communication media

Next steps online and otherwise

  1. Develop a skills bank
  2. Develop a needs assessment of telecenters
  3. Establish online training  and resources using the website

Tasks for JACAN

  1. Capacity Building – on behalf of the members and telecenters based on identified needs
  2. Advocacy and lobbying- on behalf of the needs of centres

6.4         Plenary Discussions

Participant strongly felt that the way forward was to establish the JACAN group and the entity to represent the telecenters’ interests. It was felt that the website would be an important part of maintaining contact and collaboration among groups.

The original Steering Committee was recognised for the work they had already done and participants were urged to consider the documentation already available in moving to the next level.

The importance of selecting a Board was highlighted as a prerequisite to registration.

Board.

7          Follow up Commitments

Participants committed to the following.

Tasks

Who?

Workshop report preparation Valerie
Completion of Website; Help and Resources section Zelris and Yacine
JACAN Registration Joan, Marsha
Selection of board All participants
Personal profiles All participants
Donations for registration (J16,000) All organisations (J1000 each)
Collections/holding of funds for registration Valerie to ask ICT4D Jamaica
Technical help with troubleshooting Mervin

Appendix 1: Participants Workshop Evaluation

Participants were asked to rate the workshop. Twenty persons filled in the forms and their responses are shown below.

On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest  say whether this workshop added to your knowledge of :

Knowledge areas

Average Rating

Telecenters in the region

3.7

Telecenters in Jamaica

4.1

How to use online networking tools

3.4

Opportunities for sharing information, knowledge

4.2

Assess the following attributes on a scale of 1-5

Attributes

Average Rating

Workshop Methodology

4.4

Opportunities for participation

4.8

Opportunities for networking , knowledge sharing

4.8

Resource Materials

4.1

Workshop facilities

4.4

Participant / Group composition

4.4

On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest, rate the extent to which you think the workshop objectives were met

Workshop Objectives

Average Rating

Strengthen networking among telecenters

4.5

Demonstrate the ACTivate regional and national networking platforms

4.3

Discuss problems and challenges for sustainability and social impact

4.4

Share best practices, lessons learned and solutions on what we can do to support our telecenters

4.6

The thing participants liked best about the workshop were: the Information sharing, meeting new people and networking (95%); participants’ level of excitement (5%)

The thing participants liked least were; – the slow internet (80%), inadequate time for workshop (10%) the late start of the workshop (5%); not enough new information (5%)

Appendix 2: Workshop Participants List

Name Organization Parish
Mervin Jarman Container Project Clarendon
Andre Johnson Container Project Clarendon
Tyrone Smith Container Project Clarendon
Zelris Lawrence JACAN/ Liguanea Cybercenter Kingston
Viviana Hawking CCAM Clarendon
Michelle Desgouttes Spring Village Development Foundation Clarendon
Martin Morrison Liberty Hall Kingston
Kevonia Wedderburn Bluefields Peoples Community Association Westmoreland
Donna Moodie Bluefields Peoples Community Association Westmoreland
Sancia Stone Bluefields Peoples Community Association Westmoreland
Shaunette Senior Association of Clubs Westmoreland
Asa Wynter Association of Clubs Westmoreland
Teran Davis Hills United Development Organisation St Ann
Shanique Gaynor Hills United Development Organisation St Ann
Keisha Bhoorsingh Stella Maris Foundation Kingston
Joan Stephens Lucea Skills training Center Hanover
Dwight Grant Jamaica Library service Kingston
Erica Brown Jamaica Library service Kingston
Sherese Lindsay Sophie’s Place St Andrew
Norma Lindsay CINTAC May Pen
Nadine Williams JACAN/York Community Development Centre St Thomas
Sonia Richards Rainbow Kicks St Thomas
Marsha McPherson JACAN/ NE Manchester Constit Office Manchester
Floyd Moncrieffe Kingston and St Andrew Action Forum Kingston
Mark Myers Geddes Mountain Community Access Point St Mary
Samantha Harvey Kingston and St Andrew Action Forum Kingston
Valerie Gordon Fundación Taigüey /ICT4D Jamaica
Yacine Khelladi Fundación Taigüey


Appendix 3: Final Agenda

9:00 Registration

10:00 Opening and Welcome Valerie Gordon

Workshop Overview

10;15 Introductions Participants

10:30 The ACT!ivate Project                                                Yacine Khelladi

Telecenters of the Caribbean                        Valerie Gordon

JACAN                                                 Zelris Lawrence

11:00 COFFEE BREAK

11:30 Breakout Groups

Group 1:  Common challenges

Best practices, Lessons Learned

Group 2:    Introduction to the Platform – Yacine Khelladi

Hands on Exercise: – Participants enter their data, photos on platform; test etc

12:30 Plenary: Common challenges; Best practices

1:00 LUNCH

2:00 Working groups

  • What can we do together?
  • Tasks for JACAN
  • Next steps online

2:45 Plenary: Presentations from working groups

3:15 Wrap up discussions and Commitments

4:00 Workshop Close

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