The overall objective of this commitment is to increase the ability of communities in Zimbabwe and Madagascar to access and build local capacity using technology as a key tool for community and economic development. Since 2000, Appleseeds Academy has developed over 300 training sessions for its programs in Africa. Appleseeds trains, consults, and supports self-sustained Technological-Vocational Educational Training Community Knowledge Centers (TVET CKCs); technological hubs that provide basic and advanced computer trainings, occupation trainings based on ICT skills, and internet access to local community members.
Appleseeds Academy, NIP, and local partners in Zimbabwe and Madagascar will establish and operate one TVET CKCs in each of these countries. The CKC's will offer services focusing on four main areas: 1) management and community development; 2i) entry level Technological-Vocational Educational Training (TVET); 3) advanced vocational trainings; and 4) technology and education.
Appleseeds Academy and NIP will install and equip the physical locations with the required technology; identify content, training demands, and needs; and train the CKC managers. Each manager will be equipped to manage the CKC ecosystem, ensuring its financial and social sustainability, and to train local organizations on ways to utilize technology for economic development by designing and delivering broadband-based services to the community.
Founded in 1994, NIP implements large-scale ICT projects in international markets, focusing particularly on the governmental and social sector. NIP's vast range of activities includes analysis, custom-tailoring, planning, development, implementation, and integration of social oriented technology and information software systems.
Together, NIP and Appleseeds are well-positioned to implement this commitment.
This commitment will be divided into three parts: 1) infrastructure; 2) skills development, trainings, and capacity building; and 3) monitoring and evaluation activities. Each part will be executed concurrently.
Implementation of the first stage of the commitment will begin in 2014. One location in Zimbabwe will be identified by NIP and Appleseeds, together with local partners, followed by a technological and infrastructure needs assessment, and capacity building and skills development trainings for CKC managers and ecosystem stakeholders. Milestones for 2014-2015 will include: Community-Level partners mapping site visits to locations, installations, CKC manager trainings, technological, vocational, educational trainings and capacity building workshops for ecosystem members.
In 2015-2016, an additional CKC location in Madagascar will be developed. Activities to be delivered in the second year of this commitment will include Community-Level partnership mapping, site visits to locations, installation, CKC manager training, technological, vocational, educational trainings, capacity building workshops for ecosystem members, delivery of onsite support visits and mentoring sessions, and the provision of offsite support for CKC managers
In 2017, NIP, Appleseeds, and its partners will continue to provide on and off site support for CKC managers, perform measurement and evaluation of the centers, and assess the triple-sustainability tracks of the CKCs.
Information and communication technology (ICT) has the power to help meet the world's most pressing social and economic challenges, as well as contribute to the social and economic growth of individuals, communities, cultures, and nations. For example, a recent study issued by Ericsson indicates that for every 1,000 new connections, 80 new jobs are created and for every 10% increase in penetration rate, GDP increases by 1%. However, the fields of ICT and infrastructure alone are not enough. Only when supplemented by complementary digital access initiatives, is the potential social return on investing in technology unlocked. For example, investing in technical vocational training and education (TVET) leads to the acquisition of skills that raise labor productivity and allows for the widespread, efficient use of existing technology.
Similarly, in the vast education sector, many initiatives aimed at using technology to improve teaching and learning experience have failed due to a lack of understanding of the significance of skills development and training for teachers. Educational practitioners must understand that this process is gradual, requiring initial investments in infrastructure, and even greater investment in training teachers and in preparing the educational institutions for the new technologies.
Initiatives that apply technology to tackle social and economic challenges contribute to a 'Triple Bottom Line Effect' in the promotion of positive economic, social, and environmental trajectories. As urban areas benefit from all of the capabilities that technology enables, better access to information, education, healthcare, and economic opportunity, rural areas in the developing world are increasingly left behind. There is a strong need to develop and demonstrate an approach that not only delivers rural broadband, but that also enables the local and surrounding communities to take advantage of it in a holistic and effective manner.