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Round table held: The role of public internet access points in the development of local democracy

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At the round table, representatives from Macedonia and France shared their experiences on the role of the public internet access points for inciting active citizens’ participation, for the promotion of open and transparent governance, and for the development of democracy. After the presentations, the representatives of these countries shared experiences and made suggestions for future projects that would enable cooperation between the local points.

The round table was opened by the director of the Metamorphosis Foundation, Mr. Bardhyl Jashari, who aside from delivering the keynote speech also held a presentation on the project “Digital Clubhouses”, including 12 digital clubhouses on the territory of Macedonia, and offering a great number of activities and services for access to ICT by the citizens in the community, in order to support their social and economic development.

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Adrijana Trendova from the Foundation Open Society Institute – Macedonia, presented the project “NGO Support Centres”, whose goal is to support initiatives for local community development. Twelve centres have been opened within the frames of the project, in different cities of Macedonia, helping to strengthen civil society outside of the capital.

Nebojsha Radonjic, from the organization “Open the windows”, held a presentation on the importance of inclusion and accessible information technology, in which he also highlighted the importance of the inclusion of persons with disabilities in e-society.

The representative of the Ministry of Information Society, Nenad Mitrovic, presented the project “The World on your palm” – free internet clubs, whose goal is to reduce the digital gap and increase the internet penetration and inclusion of the population in information society.

Sashko Ristovski, from the Municipality of Veles, presented their experience with the digital clubhouse, as well as the role of the internet access on a local level through the dispersed offices of the municipality.

The last ones to present were the guests from France, Mohamed Ghellouci, Matthieu Vesques and Juquin Caroline, who shared their experiences and methods of operation of their digital clubhouses.

There was a discussion upon the completion of the presentation, and it was concluded that there are many opportunities for cooperation between the digital clubhouses in Macedonia and France, not only by mutual projects, but by exchange of experiences and knowledge, too.

During their stay in Macedonia, the guests from France visited a few digital clubhouses throughout Macedonia, making short documentary films with the administrators of the clubs, regarding their work and purpose. The videos can be viewed at the guests’ profile on DotSub.com.

Photographs from the event: