CTCNet Represents Disadvantaged USA Communities at WSIS in Switzerland

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Community technology center makes presentation to international community and launches Telecenters of the Americas Partnership with Videoconference from sites in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, the USA and Switzerland

After a week of deliberations on access to technology and information for underserved individuals, Kavita Singh, executive director of Community Technology Centers’ Network (CTCNet), addressed over 100 government representatives and NGO’s from across the globe at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held recently in Geneva, Switzerland. Unlimited Potential: Connecting Communities for Lifelong Learning, a session hosted by Microsoft, discussed innovative approaches being implemented by community technology centers to connect disadvantaged communities with access to information and lifelong learning by providing technology skills.

Singh told the audience, “Many people in lower income communities and people with disabilities still have very limited or no access to technology in the US.” Singh continued, “Countries around the world have serious infrastructure and resource issues that do not exist to the same extent in the US, so we must ensure that we do not leave whole populations behind in a country that has the resources to address these issues. With the advent of e-government in the US, access and training must be available for all people. My experience at the WSIS has only underscored the need to support community-based technology centers that provide this access and education.”

The panel explored best practices learned and challenges faced by community technology centers globally. Other speakers included representatives from the Committee for Democracy in Information Technology (Brazil), Drishtee (India), and the UNHCR ICT in Refugee Education.

Also during the summit CTCNet, in collaboration with four other community technology networks, launched the Telecenters of the Americas Partnership (TAP) with a videoconference from sites in San Juan, Mexico City, Vancouver, Washington, DC, and at the The World Bank in Geneva. TAP, an alliance between CTCNet, the Aspira Association, Pacific Community Networks Association, ChasquiNet, and Somos@Telecentros, represents over 4000 community technology and learning centers providing millions of low income and disadvantaged people access to learn and use new communication technologies throughout North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

Washington, DC based CTCNet is a membership network of more than 1,000 community-based technology centers, programs, and support organizations dedicated to the dissemination of digital technologies to lower income neighborhoods throughout the United States. Programs and activities of the organization include an Annual National Conference, Leadership Development Institutes, and the CTC VISTA Project, collaboration between CTCNet, AmeriCorps and the College of Public and Community Service at the University of Massachusetts. For more information visit ctcnet.org.

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