The e-Government paradox
The high-level e-Government conference titled ” Where we are, where we are going” took place in Vilnius, Lithuania last 14th November in the context of the Lithuanian presideny of the EU and saw Telecentre Europe Director, Chair and two members present their organisations and activities in the session “Inclusive e-Government”. The session was the most focused one on citizen access and adoption of e-Government services.
The first speaker, Mr. Gianluca Misuraca from IPTS (a research centre of the European Commission), called the attention of the audience to the “e-government paradox”: although the offer of e-Government services in Europe has reached saturation for most common online services, the users (citizens and to a lesser extent businesses) are still more likely to use traditional methods to interact with the government.
Inclusive e-Government was defined by TE’s Director Gabriel Rissola as including all category of citizens as e-Government users (paying particular attention to those harder to reach) and focusing online government services on citizens’ concrete and more demanded needs (e.g. access to jobs or other). Both speakers stressed the fact that e-Inclusion intermediaries, like telecentres, play a crucial role to create bridges with governments and facilitate adoption of e-Services. As can be seen from the recently published MIREIA survey
, telecentres and other e-inclusion intermediaries already play a significant role in approaching citizens to e-Government, specifically those that may be at risk of digital exclusion.
Some examples of existing services that were mentioned are:
- Access to e-Government information and services for those who can´t afford it
- Providing information in easy-to-understand language and with personal guidance with for example short videos on the use of e-Government services
- Specific information services for youth, unemployed and disadvantaged groups such as helping them find work
- Helping SMEs to use e-Government services
As a relevant country example, Denmark aspires to be digital by default which implies that an 80% of the communications between government and citizens should take place online by 2015. As a result, telecentres and libraries are increasingly supplying training in e-government, while a number of public and private eInclusion projects are now focused on the use of e-government services by SMEs, young people or senior citizens, to name a few.
The MIREIA survey also highlighted that more than 50% of e-inclusion intermediaries are run by public bodies (libraries, municipal centres) and that therein lies the opportunity to facilitate the e-participation of citizens especially those at risk. Another opportunity for joining efforts between e-inclusion intermediaries and government ca be found in the Local Coalitions for Digital Jobs, which are partnerships between governments, the ICT industry and the civil society and are promoted by telecentre networks across European Countries.
The other two speakers, Mara Jakobsone from LIKTA and Manus Hanratty from FIT illustrated how their organisations are promoting e-government and partnering with governments through the Local Coalitions they lead in Latvia and Ireland respectively. For conference presentations and videos, please go here.
The upcoming 4th Global Forum on Telecentres, also known as Spark, that will take place from May 28-29, 2013 in Granada, Spain.
Hosted by Telecentre.org Foundation, Telecentre-Europe, Comunidad de Redes de Telecentros, Red Guadalinfo, and the National Information Society Agency of Korea, Spark will bring together leading information and communication technology for development (ICT4D) and telecentre stakeholders to learn from each other, build strategic partnerships, explore opportunities, and develop solutions and services to extend the full benefits of ICT to underserved communities and individuals everywhere.
» Check out the Program
» Sign up at the registration page
» Find out more & flag your attendance at TE’s event page
On April 2, World Pulse is launching the fourth annual year of Voices of Our Future, an online training program in citizen journalism and digital empowerment for emerging grassroots women leaders.
After an initial screening during a month-long application process, selected applicants will enter a full five-month long program starting in June,where they will gain the tools and knowledge to vocalize and actualize their visions for themselves, their communities and the world.
» Sign up by April 2
» Read more on our community site
On March 21 a free webinar took place on MS Office 2013. The webinar was organized by Connecting Up & TechSoup Asia and sponsored by Microsoft Citizenship. The 1 hour recording is now available for anyone wishing to learn about what’s new in MS Office 2013.
The latest version of Microsoft Office is an overall improvement from previous versions, with new features and a refreshed user interface. The productivity suite has also been optimised for touchscreen devices, such as tablets and all-in-one PCs with touch monitors.
There are many new features sprinkled across the software within the Office suite, so watch this webinar for a live demonstration of the new Microsoft Office! It will address some of the key useful features and how eligible not-for-profits can access donated licenses from Microsoft.
On March 17, 2013 Commissioners gathered in Mexico City for the 7th meeting of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development. They have agreed an ambitious new target designed to spur female access to the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs).
The new target mandates “gender equality in broadband access by the year 2020″. At present, ITU figures confirm that in the developing world, women are much less likely to have access to technology than their male counterparts. While that disparity is lower in developed countries, a measureable gap nonetheless still exists, even in the rich world.