Participants and organizers about TECHCAMP in Moldova (VIDEO)
Chişinău / Moldova.ORG / -- TechCamp (TC) is a program under U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Civil Society (CS) 2.0 initiative – an effort to galvanize the technology community to assist nongovernmental organizations across the globe by providing capabilities, resources and assistance to enable Civil Society organizations (CSOs) to harness the latest ICT advances to build their digital capacity.
Its fourth session took place in ex-soviet Republic of Moldova on 15th and 16th of July and here’s what its participants and moderators think of the event (watch video below).
Arcadie Barbarosie, director of the Institute of Public Policy, noted that informational technology (IT) can do a lot and that it is a functional tool for public and private initiatives, allowing them to reach the goals certainly in a more dynamic pace.
"I was very glad to learn what IT has to offer us, especially to civic organizations, and that it can help us to fulfill our mission," said the participant of the seminar.
Responding about his expectations from TC, Mr. Barbarosie said that he "hopes to find new partners, to learn new ways to implement projects that we have, perhaps, to open new doors in new areas where our Institute will also be able to activate".
Mr. Barbarosie considers that all the projects, which were represented at the seminar, are interesting and important for Moldova to be used, ranging from online alerts from citizens about corruption ending alerts about crisis situations and disasters. In such projects, according to Barbarosie "any citizen can participate in an interactive exchange, firstly, to collect data, and secondly, to express their wishes and to get a response from the government, whether from local or central administration."
However, Mr. Barbarosie expressed his uncertainty about the effectiveness in comparison to other countries’ experience. He feels this way because according to his studies, only 25% of the local population uses the Internet relatively active. However, Arcadie Barbarosie finds Internet as a growing and a very serious informational resource.
Veronica Cretu, president of the “CMB” Training Center, NGO located in Chisinau, actively participated in organizing this seminar in Moldova. She has shared her thoughts on what the importance of the event for the country is. Mrs. Cretu believes that the gathering of the representatives of a wide range of areas, including public, private sector, NGOs and IT experts is very valuable. These experts met to discuss and solve significant problems, which are faced by civil society in Moldova.
"Everybody is very actively involved in discussions to identify constructive solutions to problems raised. Also, it [the event] is very important because something like this happens in the Republic of Moldova for the first time."
“The positive thing about this event (TC) is that participants can develop their own ideas, can come with their certain ideas. Thus, specific ideas, resources, people, experts is a network of approximately 100 participants, that will continue to stay in touch, and surely they will help each other, regardless of whether it is about - finding the financial resources or any or other initiatives. This is extremely valuable," said Mrs. Cretu.
In his turn, Noel Dickover, head of the eDiplomacy office's Civil Society 2.0 implementation effort, United States Department of State, said that this conference is so important for Moldova because TC is a great way to bring civil society, technologists and in this case government’s participants together to get everybody working around the same problems”.
"The TechCamp Model is a great way to bring everyone together to really start the engagement process and to develop some solutions to existing problems, some projects that people can work on long term”, said Dickover.
“The idea of how do You get the Government itself to open up – that is a big problem in the United States. So I would imagine that’s a big problem here too. The other one (idea) is developing trust between the government participants and citizens”, said Noel Dickover. Mr. Dickover sees a problem of the civil passivity and governmental responses to that.
Speaking about the future prospects, Noel Dickover believes that the next step will be to make connections between IT experts, government representatives and NGOs.
"The really nice part is about having people like the World Bank here and the US Aids [USAID] as they’ve got some funds to really work on this problems long term”, said Mr. Dickover.
“The hope is that we come up with some projects that people can work on over the next six months to get data from government and providing it in useful ways to citizens. And very important to me is citizens to start developing their own data and their own ways of bringing it. So there is this concept in the United States called ‘We Gov’ where it’s the citizens start pushing the government. It is not just the government providing things to the citizens”, notes Noel Dickover.
Mr. Dickover says that from his point of view, “the best idea is to find the technology that people are currently using and places the citizens are currently engaging in and get the government to participate in that conversation. So it’s very hard to get everybody to participate on government web sites. So, for instance, in the United States of America the Obama administration is having a very good Facebook page and stuff on Twitter. And I would like to see that over here as you [Moldova] move forward”.
"To me this works when you work with motivated people who are really looking to take a risk and to do things differently both in government and outside and to give them resources to succeed. That’s what the TechCamp is all about", concluded Noel Dikover.
After two days of the TC seminar and hands-on training, participants can see a new perspective of the usage of informational innovations that serve the civil society and government for their effective cooperation.
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