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WITT in Macedonia: FP reports
Eleonora Delova | 9 February 2005

Periodic Narrative Report about the accomplished activities in Phase I (September - December 2004) of the WiTT project

Women’s Information Technology Transfer (WiTT) represents a regional initiative of IIAV from Netherlands in cooperation with women groups in Eastern Europe. Women from the region have developed a training programme to use Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) as a strategic tool for women’s activism. At the moment, WiTT is a virtual network with regional focal points. At this time there are two focal points countries: Bulgaria represented by IIRFB - Kristina Haralanova and, Macedonia, represented by the NGO Akcija Zdruzenska - Eleonora Delova. The whole initiative is conducted in coordination with Kristina Mihalec, Zagreb, Croatia and in cooperation with the already established WiTT "core group". Focal points which work as ICT trainers and activists represent the project in their country, within their local context and language. This regional project has a few goals: To strengthen civil society, the women’s movement, women’s originations, and those that work towards gender equality, through the use of ICTs. To increase the capacity of women’s organizations. To increase women’s access to ICT opportunities and provide network opportunities. To increase the capacity of ICT skills for women & girls. To raise awareness on the benefits of ICTs.

Key activities provided for Phase I of the project:

  • Capacity building of the Macedonian FP with SDP (Skills Development Programme)

    Within the framework of the Skills Development Programme training for Web Design was organized in September by Metamorphosis: ICT for better society, a NGO now independent of the SOROS foundation, in which Delova Eleonora Macedonian, the FP participated. A mini-report about the above mentioned, financial and narrative has already been submitted.

  • Review of work plan by WiTT team

    Together with the WiTT team, the ten-month work plan for FP Macedonia was reviewed and supplemented. One of the meetings was in Sofia, at the beginning of September 2004, with Kristina Haralanova, Bulgarian FP and Natasa Stevanic, Coordinator of WiTT’s SDP. The other consultations were mainly carried out with Kristina Mihalec, coordinator of WiTT, and with the WiTT Core Group. Several drafts were created, to which the final one was consunecusally agreed on by the core group and FPs. The main directions and activities (which in principle are similar for all FPs) were established depending on the needs of each FP country.

  • Developing Needs assessment programme

    One of the most important activities in the first phase of the project was the development of the Needs Assessment Programme (NAP). The goal of NAP was to determine the condition with the knowledge and skills, as well as the ways of using ICT by women’s NGOs in Macedonia, in order to develop further educational programmes and trainings. The preliminary discussions for NAP started at the beginning of October. First, there were discussions and consultations by two women from Macedonia, Dusica Dimitrovska Gajdoska from the Research Centre of Gender Studies, and Marija Savovska, coordinator of the women’s programme of FIIOM - Open Society Institute Macedonia. Both women have extensive experience with conducting research. Dusica Dimitroska has prepared several researches in WNGOs (Women’s Non Governmental Organizations) in Macedonia, and Marija Savovska has cooperated with a number of WNGOs. Due to this fact, they have knowledge about the problems of highest priority detected within the WNGOs, and taking into account the context of our living, as well as the mentality of our areas, their suggestion concerning the methodology was that the research should be mostly be conducted face-to-face, but also including some e-mail contact. Experience has shown that the WNGOs rarely communicate through e-mail, and in many instances when such kind of communication was needed it has been noted that they rarely answer through e-mail. This way of personal contact research also created an opportunity to promote WiTT "on the spot", i.e. locally in the whole country, as well as to answer any concerns the women many have regarding the questionnaire. Another suggestion, again based on the experience in working with WNGOs, was that the questions about women’s knowledge and skills concerning ICT should be at a more basic level. Various existing literature related to ICT and women was consulted. In addition different relevant researches were examined, in order to obtain useful information for the NAP. During the month of October and the middle of November the methodology (all the elements that are to be included in the research) and the questionnaire were being prepared. This process took longer than previously planned. One of the reasons was the fact that it was necessary to adjust the structuring of the questions to the level of knowledge the women in the NGOs had, and on the other hand the process of revision of the questionnaire by the Core Group of WiTT lasted longer, all in order to achieve a better structure of the questionnaire as well as to achieve complementarity questions and themes with the questionnaire conducted in Bulgaria by the Bulgarian FP. The research was conducted from the middle of November to the first week in December. A total of 15 towns in Macedonia were included: Kumanovo, Sveti Nikole, Stip, Strumica, Gevgelija, Kavadarci, Bitola, Struga, Gostivar, Kicevo, Debar, Negotino, Kriva Palanka, Kratovo and, Skopje - the capital city of Macedonia. Delova Eleonora personally visited 9 towns where she individually presented the WiTT initiative and distributed the questionnaires to the WNGOs in order to make the process of completing the questionnaires easier. In the other towns, not including Skopje, the research was conducted by women - members of Akcija Zdruzenska, who organized meetings in their towns, gathered the WNGOs and distributed the questionnaires. In Skopje 5 WNGOs were surveyed and the research was mainly done through e-mail. A total of 52 completed questionnaires from 52 WNGOs have been collected. 10 questionnaires were collected through e-mail, most of the others were collected through personal meetings and only a small number were collected by post. The first impression from NAP implementation so far is that the women were very much interested in ICT training and they pointed out the need and benefit of it. The first impressions lead to a conclusion that most of the women use a computer every day, mostly for typing text, communication and searching for information. The most frequently used programmes are Word and Internet Explorer. Only 6 or 11% of WNGOs in Macedonia have a web page, and their web pages were designed by professionals specially hired for that job. The organizations update their web pages 2 -3 times a year, again by a professional designer. Very few organizations (2 - 3) answered that they know what free software is, and no organization has ever used free software in their work. Concerning the need of ICT training, most of the answers are that they would attend web design training, publishing on-line information, internet work. Concerning the question about where they would best utilize such training, most of their answers are that it would be: work, career advancement, and women’s activism.

    Full processing of the data and the analysis of the research should be completed by the end of January 2005, then followed by a meeting with the Bulgarian FP and the coordinator of WiTT, in order to compare the achieved results from the same research conducted in Bulgaria, and to establish the design of the training in terms of the needs for studying which will emerge from the research. On this meeting the preparations for a local training in Macedonia will be commenced. The training should take place at the beginning of March 2005.

  • Participation in the general WiTT annual work plan with the Core Group Team

    Macedonian FP takes part in the general WiTT annual work plan with suggestions concerning the determination of the course that further activities would take, both in Macedonia and generally in the framework of the WiTT initiative. Also, a preliminary image has been given about what we have "on the field" and what are the most important things to be emphasized in work. It was also agreed on that Macedonian FP will be a logistic support for the regional meeting of WiTT, i.e. TEE (Training Exchange Event) which will take place in Ohrid, Macedonia, from 12 - 16 February 2005.

  • Representation of WiTT nationally and regionally, cooperation between borders

    In several instances Macedonia FP has promoted and presented WiTT both on a national and a regional level. Also opportunities for international cooperation came up. In Macedonia, WiTT was first promoted in front of 8 local Centres for support of NGOs, which are supported by FOSIM and EAR. During the implementation of NAP, WiTT was constantly promoted and presented to the WNGOs in Macedonia.

    From 12-17 December, in Tallin, Estonia, I-Law Eurasia 2004: Expert Seminar on Information Policy & Law was held.

    The goal of this seminar was to provide substantive instruction, focus on skills development, and enable the sharing of experiences and best practices among policy specialists from inside and outside the region. Delova Eleonora Macedonia FP and Kristina Mihalec from Croatia attended this seminar. We mutually presented the WiTT project and actively participated in it by presenting the experiences from our countries, i.e. the condition with WNGOs and ICT, as well as our countries’ national policies and laws. For participating in the seminar a certificate was received. For this seminar there will be a mini-report in the middle of January 2005.

    Along with the Expert Seminar on Information Policy & Law at the IT College in Tallin, simultaniously was held the E-Governance training in which participated the Macedonian governmental delegation. The delegation of 14 members is to prepare the Action plan for IT policy in Macedonia. This simultaneous meeting gave space for the Macedonian FP to discuss issues with the other delegates during “free time.” In the initial discussions the need was comprehended and accepted by the governmental delegates that the nongovernmental organizations in Macedonia should be included in the preparation of this Action plan with their review of the ICT condition in Macedonia. The first meeting and active participation of the NGO Akcija Zdruzenska with the National Policy Team will happen in the middle of January, at the round table for IT policy. This is a huge success and indirect positive outcome of the meetings in Tallinn.

  • Website update (Macedonian section)

    The WiTT web page is being prepared by Natasa Stevanic and Milica Gudovic from Serbia and Montenegro and it should be financed until the beginning of 2005. Starting from January 2005, portals on several languages will be developed, among them the Macedonian section which will be updated with information and articles in connection with ICT in Macedonian language.

  • Following and actively participating on the mailing lists

    Macedonia FP has subscribed on following mailing lists: http://www.genderwsis.org/, http://mailman.let.uu.nl/mailman/listinfo/genderandict, http://lists.apc.org/mailman/listinfo/ngowomen, but is not active participant at the moment. Macedonian FP is going to collect reading material for ICT, which will help with the training and follow the ICT and gender trends in our country. Also we collect information about useful books connected with Web Design and Free Software.

  • Write at least 2 news emails per month

    A permanent activity by informing through news e-mails about all news or events either in Macedonia or abroad, in connection with ICT women, locally, nationally, internationally.

    There was deviation from the following activities planned for Phase I of the WiTT project.

    • Preparation for a Local training • Provide materials for the training that also include the political aspect to appropriate ICTs. Post materials on web • Follow what is new in the ICT/civil society area and try to inform local communities about it • Keep a look-out for potential funding sources, and forward the information to WITT

    One of the main reasons for the deviation from these activities was the fact that NAP required rather detailed and deliberate preparations, consultations with experts from Macedonia such as sociologists and experienced researchers. Also, a brief time was spent waiting for the transfer of funds. Another reason was the fact that the process of revision of the questionnaire by the Core Group lasted longer, in order to achieve a better structure of the questionnaire as well as to achieve complementarity with the same questionnaire conducted in Bulgaria by the Bulgarian FP. Despite these deviations, all of the activities will continue as is in the year 2005, with an adjustment made to the current work plan. The same activities will be carried out starting January 2005.

  • > WITT in Macedonia: FP reports
    9 March 2005, by Vera Zlidar

    Bravo, Bravo, Bravo, ladies!

    I just learned about your activies through a press release, and am thoroughly impressed with your efforts and your results. This website is marvelous and inspiring!

    I am so happy to see women taking initiative in IT communication in Eastern Europe. Keep at it, ladies! You are serving as excellent role models for future generations of women, and making a difference with all that you do.

    Vi pozeluvam mnogu sreka i uspeh, Vera

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