|Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility|
Summary of Mini-Conference
"The Global-Digital Divide"
May 18, 2001, University of Minnesota
David Wortley and Tom Ruddy from the U.K. gave an overview of the local communities in setting up a community computer system Web sites. David says 3 key factors determine the digital community future:
1. Alignment of leadership and vision
2. Active community involvement in the process
3. Adequate funding, skills and communication infrastructure.
For instance, the village milkman was the web master in his village (He taught himself HTML!)- who of course knew everyone and how they could contribute to the success of the system.
It turns out that there is a lot of hidden talent in the village and by organizing this talent on the Web - many things become possible which would not have been consider before the Village organized the Web site. They developed an archive of this talent and then developed a plan to make use of it. The main idea was to enhance the local merchants rather than replace them by a Web site. The motto was "Customer Service Is the First Priority". and Link the local businesses in a supportive manner. This model empowers the local people rather than have the experts come in and do everything. By harnessing the local skills & talent this empowers the whole village.
Their secrets of success were - Build a system:
1. That Is accessable by all (even shared work stations in the local coffee shop)
2. That is affordable to all (Target 2005)
3. That it is attractive to use.
4. That it is a sustainable system, which will last over the long run.
The steps to accomplish this were:
1.Find the leadership to support it (local gov't, councils etc.)
2.Engage the community
3.Build Win/Win situations (Local merchants and local citizens)
4. Make people feel valued (Life long learning is a real commitment here.)
For a one day miniconference it helped to focus on the important issues - for more on the conference see below:
Created before October 2004