My name is Ana Dobarta and I am working on Civitas Foundation for Civil Society (www.civitas.ro) in Romania. On Civitas I am coordinating the project “Gear up your future!” part of Microsoft Unlimited Potential Program.

During 7th – 10th December we had the opportunity to visit several telecenters in Hungary such as Röszke, Bordányban, Györköny and Alsomocsolad coordinated by Hungarian Telecottage Association.
Alsomocsolad Telecenter was the first Telecenter opened in Hungary in 1995.

Hungarian Telecottage Association (http://www.telehaz.hu) is a membership-based non governmental, non-profit organization based in Hungary, and it is one of the largest NGO networks, today more than 430 Telecottage operate across the country. To support participants in training and further training activities, in the acquisition and the use of knowledge, skills and qualifications to facilitate personal development, employability and participation in the European Labor Market. Telecottage in Hungary are local service centers where information, assistance, and help are available and where anyone can use the ICT equipment and access the Internet. The HTA represents the interests of Telecottage to the central government, establishes relationships with business partners and organizes co-operative projects. The association works out development programmes and oversees their implementation. It manages lobbies for financial support, operates the Telecottage’ internal information system and its national and international relations.

The most relevant result of our study visit is the share of knowledge and experience, a new aim and ideas had come in our minds. In Hungary all the telecenters are functioning as NGO’s and they are developing different projects for the communities they are serving. Many times succeed to attract national or European funds and implement activities through telecenters infrastructures.

One important outcome for us was the project developed in Bordányban Telecenter called “Green Basket” a project through which people from the community offer voluntarily their services. They make a list with what they know to do and if one people want to learn to use PC wrights down it on a list and offer another service that he/she is able to do for other people. And so on. In this way the community members become more aware and they have a more compact and unit community. The civic spirit is more developed here, because people learn to help each other without asking money.

Györköny is a community where there are many wineries and the NGO from here which coordinate the Telecenter obtained funds in order to organize accredited courses for viticulturist, so people from here can develop their activities and have certified diplomas. The same approach can be made also in other countries according to the local custom of the areas where are functioning telecenters. All the telecenters we visited offered also agriculture advisory for farmers. The telecenters are sustained with funds by mayoralty in writing and editing the local newspaper. Many people are using telecenters in order to make on-line payments.

I am glad that I had the opportunity to visit these telecenters and find out what great jobs they are doing and I hope and want to adapt some of the activities I have seen in Romanian telecenters network.

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