IDEA: Bringing Free Information Access and Computer Training to Russia
The Information Dissemination and Equal Access (IDEA) Project has been implemented throughout the Russian Federation since 2006 by PH International (Project Harmony, Inc), in cooperation with the Microsoft Unlimited Potential - Community Technology Skills Program.
The Goal of the IDEA Project
The IDEA Project provides training in basic and job-related computer skills and maintains the goal of increasing employability and marketability among underserved and disadvantaged populations in Russia. E-skills and the advantages technology knowledge provides in competing for jobs and work-place advancement are particularly valuable assets for those who want and need to improve their economic prospects in our increasingly knowledge-based economy.
Knowledge and skills acquired during the training and their practical application help IDEA Project trainees not only transform their lives but also contribute to the well-being and development of local communities.
The IDEA Project strives to expand access to ICTs and e-skills training for underserved populations such as low-income groups, unemployed or underemployed youth, people with disabilities, senior citizens, and people at risk of unemployement.
The Project’s Implementation
For participation in the IDEA project, Project Harmony and Microsoft select Internet access center locations, mainly public libraries, based on their willingness to participate, accessibility to visitors, geographical location, and availability of necessary financial and technical resources on the part of partner organizations that would allow the centers to join the IDEA Project and successfully hold the Project’s program events.
The choice of particular target groups is made by regional partner organizations in view of each center’s specific situation and experience, as well as the social and economic characteristics of each region.
Every IDEA Center receives Microsoft Unlimited Potential teaching materials and the Microsoft Encyclopedia Encarta for use in training of local residents.
IDEA Educational Centers
Upon successful completion of computer courses, trainees receive personal Microsoft Unlimited Potential certificates, the authenticity of which can be checked by any employer on the IDEA Project’s web-site.
In 2008 financing is provided for thirty IDEA Centers. The IDEA Project has also been joined by volunteer centers financed by partner organizations, which demonstrates the growing awareness of the need for ICT skills training for all population groups.
The Project’s DevelopmentIn 2009 the IDEA Project will be developing in the following areas:
The IDEA Project will continue promoting comprehensive partnership in the field of ICT training in various regions of the Russian Federation and the establishment of an efficient system for training local residents in basic ICT skills.
IDEA Project’s main criteria for success lay not so much in providing free ICT training and free Internet access to local populations as in the quality of knowledge and skills acquired by trainees which allow them to increase their ability to find skilled and better paid work, thus putting them in a better social and economic position.
Projected outcomes of the IDEA Projects lie in personal achievements of every alumnus and alumna and his or her personal contribution into the development of local communities and solving social problems of each particular region.It is expected that in three years of the Project’s work:
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