Georgia Technology Center Launches EcoCyberCenters Across Africa

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Centers to provide environmental education and establish Internet access for youth and local communities in Benin, Ghana, Senegal and South Africa Announcement made at the WSIS in Switzerland

The Benjamin E. Mays National Educational Resource Center recently launched the EcoCyberCenter Project, a community technology center initiative establishing Internet access and providing environmental training for youth and local communities in Benin, Ghana, Senegal and South Africa. The project, which launched during the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Switzerland, will link the African centers via the Internet to centers in Boston, New York, Washington, DC, and Atlanta.

“We were pleased to launch the EcoCyberCenter Project during the WSIS, where the world came together to ensure access to technology and information for all people,” said Ben Mays executive director Felicia Davis. “We must use technology to improve the lives of those lacking access to health care, education, and the quality of life that the developed nations take for granted,” Davis adds.

In addition to providing computers and connectivity, the project will focus on environmental education and advocacy. The goal is to empower women and youth to impact environmental policy at the local level and to inspire environmental stewardship.

Participants in the EcoCyberCenter Project will complete an online environmental curriculum that includes topics such as biodiversity, forests, land and food security, human health and environment, pollution, water and climate change. African NGO partners include ENDA (Environment et Developpment du Tiers Monde), Friends of the Earth-Ghana, Lamontville High School-Durban, South Africa and the Girls School-Cotonou, Benin. American partners include: Lowery Institute-Clark Atlanta University, MLK Center/Dubois Institute-Harvard University, Africa Futures Forum-Howard University, CTCNET, Friends of the Earth US, Redefining Progress and DogonVillage.com.

Initial funding has been provided by the US EPA in collaboration with the USAID/EDDI initiative. A second phase includes a student exchange that will enable American youth to visit Africa and African youth to visit the US to learn about environmental concerns and strengthen relationships between established community technology centers in the US and emerging centers in Africa. The project is aggressively seeking funding to support expansion and to help ensure sustainability.

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