The CRISP project aims at protecting children’s rights on the internet and providing safe and secure access to the internet, protection of their privacy and consequently the privacy and security of their families. A network of 12 geographically dispersed NGOs work on raising awareness and capacity building in primary and secondary schools in the Republic of Macedonia. Lectures and trainings are provided for the children, parents, teachers and the public, based on specially developed educational resources in Macedonian and Albanian languages.
The Republic of Macedonia is undergoing heavy investment in building the ICT infrastructure of the primary and secondary schools, including the mass purchase of computer systems for the classrooms and providing internet access. Most schools already have at least one classroom with such capabilities. However, the Government has not yet initiated changes in the school curriculum that would enable capacity building and educational use of the deployed technology. The project identified and addresses the need for capacity building of major stakeholder groups in the area of safety and protection of human rights on the internet, based on the international treaties on children’s rights, and in concurrence with the relevant Macedonian laws. The Regulatory Act (Draft Rulebook on Law on the minor audience for problems that can harm minors mental and moral development), based on the Law on Broadcasting also influenced the project planning. The Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Macedonia (www.mon.gov.mk) and the Bureau for Development of Education provided support for the project by allowing the activities to take place within the public schools. Some municipalities, such as Veles and Kisela Voda (Skopje) provided additional support for the project by enhancing communication with the local schools and the local communities.
Description of target users and groups
Children primary and secondary school students in different regions of the Republic of Macedonia studying in Macedonian and Albanian language; Parents or caretakers who in general have very low awareness about advantages and disadvantages of the internet; Teachers – who in general have little knowledge about how the internet functions. They provide multiplication of acquired knowledge; NGO sector involvement of human rights NGOs widens the area of their action; Media journalists, in general, need more knowledge on protecting privacy and copyright on the internet, as it is still lacking within their formal education.
Description of the way to implement the initiative
The project was initiated by the Metamorphosis Foundation (www.metamorphosis.org.mk), and the network includes NGOs which has already worked on promotion and safeguarding children’s rights within their communities, in cooperation with the NGO First Children’s Embassy in the World – Megjashi (www.medjashi.org.mk) and the Directorate for Personal Data Protection of the Republic of Macedonia (www.dzlp.mk). CRISP is co-funded by the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and Metamorphosis. The project encompasses several phases: 1st phase: Creating resources (ICT guide, flyers, Children’s Bill of Rights on the Internet and a website) in local languages (Macedonian and Albanian) as well as forming a network of NGOs working on children’s rights protection. 2nd phase: Training and familiarizing the members of the NGO network with this particular issue (children’s rights on the internet) and qualification for educating children, parents and teachers in the primary and secondary schools throughout Macedonia. 3rd phase: Members of the NGO network conducting education through specially designed and organized presentations in the elementary and secondary schools, as well as distribution of the materials during the presentations. Research and evaluation: a baseline and a follow-up survey covering the internet use and perceptions of safety and privacy of the target groups.
All resources are available in digital format on the project website, which features a version in Macedonian (www.bezbednonainternet.org.mk) and Albanian (www.internetisigurt.org.mk) languages. The website also presents news on children safety, announcements and reports on the project activities. The portal uses Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), the Joomla CMS with the docman and gallery modules. Copies of printed publications are stored in PDF format, and OpenOffice.org is used for the preparation of a portion of the documents. Proprietary DTP applications were used for the graphic design of the publications.
Technology choice: Open source software
Main results, benefits and impacts
The project activities covered 50 primary and 20 secondary schools in 12 cities and 7 villages in the Republic of Macedonia, with the participation of 8482 students, 1170 teachers and 1138 parents. The website has received over 9,300 visits during the first 10 months of operation.
Return on investment
Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available
Track record of sharing
The project has been presented in: * Macedonian media (at least 20 articles, interviews and news items in the Macedonian printed media, TVs and radio), and at the * Conference on Regulation of Freedom of Expression on the Internet in Belgrade, Serbia (8-9 September 2008); * East European Conference Information Society and its Impact on Youth Media organized by FEJS Macedonia (12-13 September 2008) in Skopje, Macedonia; * Fourth International Conference e-Society.Mk: ICT in Education (www.e-society.mk, 10 December 2008) in Skopje, Macedonia.
- Lesson 1 – The lack of information about safety and children’s rights on the internet was confirmed, and the formal educational system must incorporate this type of content within the regular curriculum in order to provide a fighting chance for the students using the internet.
- Lesson 2 – The target groups reacted favourably to distribution and use of hardcopy publications, as many of them are not yet familiar with the internet and are often more comfortable reading from paper than from the website.
- Lesson 3 – Creating a network of NGOs which need to work with the national and local governments, and the educational institutions is a complex task that requires a significant amount of planning, attention to detail and flexibility.
Implementation period: October 2007 – November 2008