Phnom Penh: ICT4Development Cambodia Network conducted its first national ICT workshop on “Information and Communication Technology for Development” which took place on Thursday, 29 August, 2013 at Sunway Hotel, Phnom Penh. The purpose of the workshop was to create a platform to promote discussion and raise awareness about ICT for development in Cambodia, what and how ICT can be used to assist development projects, in particular at community level and to share experiences of SPIDER supported projects in relation to ICT4 Development in Cambodia.
It brought together 138 people including 51 female who attended the workshop. They were representatives of government institutions, local and international NGOs, private sectors, university students and media.
There were guest speakers who gave remarks, and addressed the progress and challenges of how ICT has been used in Cambodia for Development. The welcoming remarks made by Ms. Chim Manavy, the Executive Director of the Open Institute, highlighted the important role of ICT in Development, particularly at a community level. She continued by saying that ICT4D refers to the use of ICT for the development of social, economic, and human right, particularly to work with poor people in developing countries. Greater access to information and communications brings greater social progress. She talked about e-ASEAN FRAME WORK and the Cambodian integration. As Cambodia is an agriculture country, she also shared an example of e-Agriculture. She said that farmers need to know information about the price of rice they produced, the markets to sell their products to make their life better. She also talked about the interaction between ICT and violence against women. ICT has been playing an important role for sharing information, laws and policies to prevent and combat violence against women that are helpful to reduce or to stop violent.
Ms. Suy Channe, Product Owner of InSTEDD iLab South East Asia addressed the audience on behalf of the ICT4D Cambodia Network that ICT4D pushed for the cooperation of the organization and also to the grassroots level and authorities. She repeated that ICT is the best tool for providing different information to farmers, clients, and other beneficiary.
In his Opening Speech, Dr. Raymond Leos, Member of Board of Directors of the Open Institute addressed the development of ICT in Cambodia which is not only aware of traditional communication such as the use of TV, phone but now the internet access, smart phone, Facebook, Twitter, and other programs that have changed the society over the last couple years.
At the session of panel discussion, there were 4 expert panelists who were invited to share experiences and opinions on the development in the use of ICT in Cambodia. The guest speakers were from Cambodian IT Association (CITA), Open Institute, Open Development Cambodia, and InSTEDD. The discussions focused on the use of ICT and the role of ICT4D that can promote open information, preventing gender-based violence, improving health through the use of interactive voice response system, promoting youth engagement in the process of development through the use of ICT. The discussion also explored innovations which were created to assist low-education people to get better access to information, improve the development work and improve their lives through the use of mobile phone, internet, website…etc. Thus, building information in Khmer language is also a concern to promote ‘access to’ and ‘skill’ of the use the ICT in Cambodia among different levels of Cambodians, allowing them be able to search more content in Khmer language. The discussion also addressed the cooperation at a country level, region, and international level, particularly in the ASEAN integration 2015, how can the country prepare itself for the integration? Nevertheless, each partner of ICT4D Cambodia Network presented in parallel at the last session of the workshop provided more on what they have done with their projects and programs of their organization and networking. The presentations are available at the end of this text.
At the closing remarks, Mr. Pen Samithi, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Open Institute expressed the fact that the workshop had been very helpful for lots of people, especially for businessmen, the government, political parties, and other groups of people. He mentioned that the ICT in Cambodia is now still challenging compared to other countries in the region. This workshop should have its follow up workshop. He encouraged the donors and supporters to continue supporting the program of the Open Institute to organize similar workshop not once a year, but at least on a quarterly or semester basis if possible “The use of ICT in Cambodia is moving slowly compared to other countries in the regions. So we should organize meetings frequently to refresh it and be up-to-date”. He also continued that although the development of ICT sector in Cambodia is growing faster but the use of ICT would be a concern in term of promoting open information, transparency and accountability due to some fake information.
Please note that with the support of the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER), the network of ICT4D was first established in Cambodia under the name of ICT4D Cambodia Network. It is a group of local and international NGOs working together to enhance collaboration between the Cambodian project partners and SPIDER to promote the transparency, sharing information and a socially accountable Cambodia through the use of ICT. The participating members include Association of Progressive Communications (APC), East West Management Institute (EWMI), Open Development Cambodia, the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (Spiders), Innovative Support to Emergencies Disease and Disasters (InSTEDD), Open Institute (OI), and Women’s Media Center of Cambodia (WMC).
Presentations are attached, please click here.
Pictures of the workshop (Please, link to the facebook)