ICVolunteers launches Cyber-Volunteers Program

12 January 2005

On 26 January 2005, ICVolunteers will officially launch their new Cyber-Volunteers Program. The program, which is under the patronage of UNESCO, is aimed at helping to reduce the digital divide between the industrialized world and developing countries. ICV has already been recruiting experts in information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the program. They will voluntarily join development projects in Mali and Cameroon that need IT-knowledge and skills but do not have the means to hire expensive IT-consultants. The volunteers will carry out internships of about six months that will give them the opportunity to give, but also to gain new knowledge and skills. 

ICVolunteers, an NGO with headquarters in Geneva, specializes in recruiting volunteers for international conferences both in Geneva and elsewhere. The volunteers help with welcoming & logistics, reporting and translating or interpreting at the conference or other event in question. However, in the run up to the World Summit on the Information Society (Geneva 2003 & Tunis 2005), in which ICV is still actively involved, ICV discovered that the need for volunteers with skills in ICTs is enormous. Therefore, it decided not only to commit to contributing to the make the 21st century information society accessible for all, but also to act and fill a gap. Hence the Cyber-Volunteers Program was born.

With contacts in place with NGO's in Mali, Cameroon, Uganda, the Republic of Congo, South Africa, Tanzania, India, and Switzerland (Informaticiens sans Frontières / CERN), ICV aims in the first phase at recruiting 45 cyber-volunteers per year, possibly more at a later stage. The first cyber-volunteers to be selected will contribute to helping local authorities set up their administration in digital form (Mali) and to teach school dropouts from poor neighborhoods develop interactive websites and other skills to give them more opportunities on the labor market (Cameroon).

The Cyber-Volunteer Program will be launched at a fundraising dinner for the Cyber-Volunteers at the International School of Geneva on 26 January 2005. Students of the school as well as volunteers of ICV will organize an evening of entertainment with internationally inspired music, drinks, food, film and a special tombola with prizes including services of volunteers. First prize: a flight for two over Geneva and surroundings. Mr. Alain Modoux, former Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, will propose the first toast of the dinner.

We have received many calls and emails from volunteers eager to lend assistance in any way they can in the tsunami disaster. ICVolunteers and the Cyber-Volunteers Program are looking into ways to help in South-East Asia (e.g. providing assistance with database updating, system administration, web development, translation and interpretation). 

For more information please contact:

International Conference Volunteers (ICV)
104, rue de Carouge, Case postale 755, 1211 Genève 4
Tél.: 022 800 14 36, Fax: 022 800 14 37, Email: info@icvolunteers.org, http://www.icvolunteers.org

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