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Community Organisations and the Internet: Challenges and Opportunities Susan ODonnell Models Research, Ireland Connecting Communities 2002 NGfL Scotland.

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Presentation on theme: "Community Organisations and the Internet: Challenges and Opportunities Susan ODonnell Models Research, Ireland Connecting Communities 2002 NGfL Scotland."— Presentation transcript:

1 Community Organisations and the Internet: Challenges and Opportunities Susan ODonnell Models Research, Ireland Connecting Communities 2002 NGfL Scotland Dunfermline 14 May 2002

2 Challenge: An inclusive information society Will eGovernment services be used by citizens who need them? Will eBusiness be used widely by small businesses and consumers? Will all communities and community members benefit from the Internet?

3 A key opportunity: Role of community organisations Training and employment in the IS Increasing democratic participation Building social capital Supporting lifelong learning

4 Opportunity: Training and employment in the info society Community orgs important source of employment Community orgs can provide ICT training to staff, volunteers and clients People in communities can acquire ICT skills through voluntary activities

5 Challenges… Capacity to deliver ICT training varies considerably among community orgs Difficult to build ICT capacity within community orgs Difficulty obtaining core and project funding for community ICT training and employment projects

6 Opportunity: Increasing democratic participation Community orgs can mediate government information online Community orgs can expand online content and the public sphere

7 Challenges… Community orgs usually excluded from process of developing eGovernment Lack of financial resources to develop eDemocracy projects in communities Low levels of Internet use and democratic participation in disadvantaged communities

8 Opportunity: Building social capital Community orgs can increase local awareness of ICTs Community orgs can build trust in ICTs Community orgs can use ICTs to build online support networks

9 Challenges… Limited ICT capacity in many community orgs Difficult to build online support networks in communities with weak support structures

10 Opportunity: Supporting lifelong learning Community-based centres can provide a supportive learning environment Community orgs part of a spectrum of lifelong learning providers

11 Challenges… Lifelong learning role of community orgs not recognised by policy-makers Competition with more established providers of ICTs for LLL

12 Ways forward - Research Funding for research and evaluation of community-based ICT projects and processes Opportunities for researchers to share information Improving ways of sharing research ideas and results with community orgs

13 Ways forward - Policy Supporting innovative ICT use by community orgs Involving community orgs in developing ICT policies Involving community orgs in eGovernment and eDemocracy initiatives

14 Ways forward - Policy Developing mechanisms to increase ICT use by community orgs Irish policy initiative: CAIT – Community Application of Information Technology

15 URLs for follow-up Report on the role of voluntary organisations: CAIT Initiative in Ireland:

16 Contact: Susan ODonnell Models Research Abbey House Upper Abbey St. Dublin 1 Ireland Tel:


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