NGOs Use Technology to Re-build Egypt
Under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Egypt Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Trust Fund and Microsoft Egypt jointly launched a conference entitled “Nebny Masr” on September 27th 2011.
Recent events in Egypt have raised expectations for the emergence of an increasingly well-informed and well-educated public that looks forward to a liberalized economic system, an improved job market and more opportunities to be part of the decision-making process. And it is becoming clear that Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are to play a crucial role alongside the state to meet such expectations. Furthermore, CSOs are capable of adding a new dimension to traditional politics-as-usual approach, and helping Egyptians find new ways of addressing the challenges of the transitional phase.
The two-day event aimed to engage local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in discussions on the potential positive impact of ICTs on socio-economic development during Egypt’s transition to democracy. In particular, the conference focused on raising NGOs’ awareness on: the ICT perspective of current national issues of importance, the use of ICT tools to improve the efficiency of NGOs, and the use of ICT tools for knowledge and experience sharing. Around 300 representatives from national NGOs participated in the conference which took place at the Sawy Culture Wheel in Zamalek, Cairo.
During the Opening Remarks, Engineer Hoda Dahroug, National Project Director at the ICT Trust Fund, highlighted the positive impact of ICTs in boosting the efficiency of national CSOs. Ms. Ghada Khalifa, Citizenship Lead Microsoft Egypt, added that ICTs positively contribute to the sustainable socioeconomic development in Egypt. According to Sherif El Tokali, Assistant Resident Representative UNDP Egypt, “national CSOs are to collaborate and coordinate their efforts to be able to contribute to such development”.
The workshop’s sessions covered a wide range of ICT-related topics, including the use of ICT in the areas of democracy, health, the environment, employability and education, community participation, in addition to providing the participants with trainings on online marketing and branding; communication skills; project management; business planning; proposal writing; and planning for ICT needs.
For the duration of the workshop, representatives from the NGOs had access to a resource booth, dedicated to helping them plan their projects and develop their organizations; connect with donors; meet with Microsoft employees and university students to find solutions for their technical issues; apply for software donations; and network with other NGOs for potential collaboration.