For Immediate Release
19 Community Information Centers were handed over to local partnersthrough memorandums signed with them today. These centers, located in Shirvan, Imishli, Sumgait, Guba, Gazakh, Shaki, Ganja, Zagatala, Ismailli, Mingachevir, Lenkaran, Tovuz, Terter, Barda, Ujar, Goychay, Masalli, Khachmaz and Shemkir, were set up by IREX under the USAID-funded Azerbaijan New Media Project and hosted by local NGO partners.
Although Internet access in Azerbaijan is growing, Internet services, particularly in the regions, remain expensive and much of the country’s Internet usage takes place in Internet clubs or at the workplace. To help bridge the gap, IREX, with support from USAID, partnered with local organizations and equipped 19 centers with computers, internet access and Wi-Fi spots.The centers offer courses and internet access to users, free of charge.
As the local partners have developed their capacity, they are now ready to sustainably operate those community centers. After the handover, the centers will offer similar services, some of which will be on a paid basis. The list includes basic computer and internet courses; language courses; digital media training; education abroad consultancy services; Website design; venue rental; E-government services and support; a CV database for local business communities; book-keeping training; hardware and software maintenance.
“USAID is proud that our local partners have developed enough to take ownership of these centers and continue to provide services for their communities.” said Michael Greene, USAID/Azerbaijan Mission Director.
In the past three months, over 27000 people visited Information Centers and over 100 round-tables were held in their premises. At the same time, up to 100 people participate in ongoing basic and advanced computers and internet courses.
“The majority of the centers’ clients are young women, who say they feel safe and at ease there, and enjoy the friendly environment, where they can learn and develop their interests.”, said Angela Nicoara, Chief of Party, IREX.
After the signing the memorandums, USAID and IREX awarded the partner organizations with the Certificates of Appreciation for their cooperation throughout the project.
Last updated: January 24, 2013