Intro: The Role of eRiders
In a women’s organization I was working as eRider members were using dial up analog modem for connecting to the internet and despite they have been using internet only for e-mail, they were complaining on the big telephone bill. I noticed that they read and compose their e-mail messages online via web mail. I have told them that they can use client application (thunderbird and outlook) for composing and reading e-mail messages offline, and they have significantly decreased internet access fees.
People I meet usually have not heard about the term “eRider” and ask me what is that? How did I start?
Introducing eRider activities in Macedonia emerged from the need of bigger use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the activities of the civil sector, thus enabling NGOs for more efficient and more successful achieving of their goals and missions.
eRiders are mobile ICT consultants. Apart from ICT expertise, eRider should have knowledge of civil sector. eRider should never be accepted as technical person. During the visit of an organization eRider is introduced with the goals and mission of the organisation and prepares needs assessment based on the resources (technical, human) of the organisation. From the needs assessment an ICT strategy is developed for each organisation. Apart from activities related to development of website, configuring networks, servers, ICT strategy may contain activities related to raising capacities for ICT use, such are trainings and courses.
Apart from the example given in the beginning of the text, typical erRider intervention is “Frisbee-net”. Members of other NGO transfer their data from one computer to another by floppy disk, or by e-mail, despite the fact that organisation has already been networked. The members lack training about using the network, how to find computers on the network and how to copy the files directly to and from other computers.
For more information and documentation about eRiding in Macedonia please visit official eRiders blog www.e-riders.blogspot.com