Towards a digital Quito

Original article: "E-government, access and transparency route: Towards a digital Quito,
06-11-2008 (Quito)"

E-government, access and transparency route: Towards a digital QuitoTraditional Ecuadorian chiva inviting citizens for a trip to a cybernarium.

All through this month, a local chiva, the traditional Ecuadorian bus, will be travelling to popular neighbourhoods of Quito and inviting citizens to get on for a trip to the closest cybernarium, the capital’s public Internet access centres. Once in the cybernariums, free training courses are to be provided on how to access local government information and use e-government services.

This activity is part of UNESCO’s IFAP project ‘E-Government Model for World Heritage Cities - Cartagena de Indias (Colombia), Quito (Ecuador) and Cusco (Peru)’, supported by the Spanish government and implemented in collaboration with the Municipality of the Metropolitan District of Quito.

In addition to the bus, radio and television spots will be broadcast daily in order to disseminate the information as widely as possible and invite citizens to participate. Local secondary schools will also be sending their students.

Target groups for this activity are secondary school students, neighbourhood leaders, social workers and organizations as well as house wives and elderly people. Each cybernarium will receive daily groups of 150 people, who will be divided into smaller groups of 25 for the training sessions. After each training course, the participants will receive a certificate as well as a set of information materials.

The main objective of this initiative is to sensitise citizens on the benefits of e-government services in a festive environment, motivating them to use information and communication technologies (ICT) without fear.

My comment: This top-down model of providing access to "local government information" and "e-government services" didn't work particularly well in Australia some years ago - thank goodness the government improved its approach later. We need to get away from using ICT to "deliver information" and embrace using ICTS to "communicate with one another".

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