Woman Community Knowledge Centers ( WCKC)

Woman Community Knowledge Centers ( WCKC)

in all regions, OmanMuscat, Oman
Year Founded:
2011
Organization type: 
government
Project Stage:
Scaling
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

In the quest towards a knowledge economy, the Sultanate ensures that Women have access to IT Skills. Omani women are recognized as the latent force that shapes the future generation. By empowering them, not only can they guide their children in the connected world, they can also participate in the digital economy.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if No Woman is left behind when it comes to Digital Literacy? Women in the Arab World, Gulf Countries and in Oman usually have less opportunities than men. On the other hand, they have higher rates of committment to learn. This is proved through our
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Gender Gap in ICT: need to empower women in ICT. There are women who need more attention in order to fully participate in the digital based society. We face lack of women participation in ICT event and in the society! Women need to be qualified in order to reduce computer illiteracy, bridge digital divide this will contributes to the improvement of the position of women in IT field by providing IT literacy training programs to women through the use of Women Community Knowledge Center!

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Establishing WCKC which aim at equipping women with the stepping stone to technology and internet access in order for them to fully participate towards e-Oman initiative. It also provides job opportunities for unemployed IT graduates to work as trainers in the centers. The centers are equipped with computers, and other modern peripherals as well as internet services which allow access to the internet and some educational program. Since its inception in May 2011 there are a total of 9 WCKC implemented in different regions and Wilayat (districts).
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

WCKCs centers caters to women and citizens especially those living in rural regions by equipping them with digital literacy training and access to information, improves productivity, enhance quality of life, and enrich culture and tradition by enhancing communication and helping them to obtain the necessary skills in IT

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Today, the centers are working like a bee hive where more than 6,000 women trained in Digital Literacy (DL) through the WCKC. Homemakers are now able to communicate online with the schools through the Education Portal on their children progress, monitors their children using Internet, communicate with her family and her children's friends using social media network, and become a technoprenuer, all from the comfort of their home.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

•Develop a self-sustainable business unit which will help scaling up and improving the SMEs opportunities in Oman and build the entrepreneurship culture •Create revenue to cover centers expenses by providing more and different services to the public •Create employment opportunities for Omani youth and enhance the rural community •Develop and enhance the private training sectors with ICT focuses and increase the market competitiveness

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

This is a unique project has been implementing so far by Information Technology Authority ITA only in Oman in terms of using IT to empower women. On the other hand, Omani Women Association is the national key player in supporting women in Oman. ITA etablished the Women Community Knowledge Centers WCKCs at the Omani Women Associations offices in 9 locations in Oman. For 3 years the cooperation between the two entities has been successful on its own scale. Therefore, there is a need to expand from providing only Digital Literacy DL to more diversified services according to the sustainability plan ITA put in place.
About You
Organization:
Information Technology Authority ITA
About You
First Name

Seema

Last Name

Nasser AlKabi

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Information Technology Authority ITA

Organization Country

, MA, Muscat

Country where this project is creating social impact

, in all regions

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Project
Year founded

2011

Impact
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date?

Since its inception in 2011, there are a total of 9 WCKC in different regions and Wilayat (districts) equipped with computers, and other modern peripherals as well as internet services which allow access to the internet and some educational program. Today, the centers are working like a bee hive where more than 6,000 women trained in Digital Literacy (DL) through the WCKC. Homemakers are now able to communicate online with the schools through the Education Portal on their children progress, monitors their children using Internet, communicate with her family and her children's friends using social media network, and become a technoprenuer, all from the comfort of their home.

Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

The most challenges we faced when established the WCKC is attracting senior women to enroll in the centers. To overcome the challenges, an intensive awareness campaign was carried out that targeted all Omani citizens and aimed to build awareness of the program and reach the public to bring in more people to the Centres. The activities under the campaign included the distribution of door-to-door leaflets in almost all regions; regular radio, newspaper, and other publication advertisements; mass mobile text messages reaching close to 25,000 individuals in all regions, website banners; and activities in targeted local and international events. The campaign was able to significantly increase the number of individuals using the Centres.

Full Impact Potential: What are the main spread strategies moving forward? (Please consider geographic spread, policy reform, and independent replication/adoption of the idea or other mechanisms.)

By reaching out to more women in Oman; the full impact of this intervention is going to affect all segments of the Omani society. Women play a major role in the Omani family. Their contribution to their children's education and learning processes is deep and crucial since the man is usually working outside the house with fewer responsibilities at home.
Another important impact is; within the National initiative by HRH The Sultan of Oman to promote Small and Medium Enterprises SMEs, women tend to be in more need for engaging in SMEs. Moreover IT provide women with culturally suitable business solutions and ideas to start up their own home-based businesses which comply with their local culture of lesser mobility.
Therefore the socio economic impact of expanding the Women Knowledge Centers is definitely a strong one. The way forward is to provide best practices to Omani women using technology, where they can improve their reality and that of their families. Such a model would be within the national policies to empower women on one hand, and to facilitate SMEs on the other.

Sustainability
Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

There are many approaches to achieve sustainability however, we adopted the multidimensional approach due to the nature of the WCKCs. The Centers are development oriented, i.e. they are established to help develop the people’s capabilities and skills in digital literacy. Therefore, it is important to take into consideration all the aspects related to the community, underprivileged people, women, local communities ..etc. the multidimensional sustainability is an approach that focuses on considering policy, culture, technology, human resource, and financial. Multidimensional sustainability - in brief – means putting equal focus on policy/strategy, social/cultural, technological, human resource, as well as financial sustainability. Findings have shown that those CKC/WCKCs that have integrated management, social, cultural and technical sustainability as vital points of planning and operation have resulted in increase in the possibility of achieving sustainability. (Stoll and Daly, 2003). The multidimensionality lies in providing:
1. Policy and strategy sustainability: is the framework that enable CKCs/WCKCs, its staff and local champions/entrepreneurs to perform their tasks and help them solve the challenges they face. This is already ITA is keen to support CKCs/WCKCs to continue providing the service to the public as part of the Society and Human Capital Pillar of the ITA Business Plan 2013
2. Social/cultural sustainability: it is ensuring the CKC/WCKC are endorsed by local communities, local leadership and respecting local culture. Also people have a say in the centers activities and planning to a reasonable extend, which we do through feedbacks. More surveying and focus group, market research work will be conducted to increase the engagement.
3. Technological sustainability: it is to ensure that technology solutions (hardware and software) are maintained and updated regularly. It also means that the technology is easy to use by the local communities of all ages and capabilities. The ITA is planning to establish a specialized center for people with disabilities PWDs in Buraimi.
4. Human resource sustainability: is the creation of system of keeping the human resource at the CKC/WCKCs at it standard performance. It is also to make sure the human resources within the centers are up to date in terms of capacity and training. Also it maintains a shadowing program where all staff are trained to do all the functions in the centers as a standard procedures. So in the case of outgoing staff, which is likely to have a government job or so, any of the staff will cover the role ad take responsibilities immediately. This is one of the most common and serious challenges to sustaining the centers and dealing with it carefully and creatively are very important.
5. Financial sustainability: this is the main aim of the sustainability plan however, it is the result of all the above as well as a strong financial strategy that is flexible, dynamic but strict. The financial sustainability is a clear framework to ensure a transparent, legally approved and progressive process of dealing with revenue and its use withing the CKCs/WCKCs. It has to be linked to the marketing strategy in order to ensure consistency of the strategy and the implementation of revenue generating processes.

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

There are several "Aha!" moments in the history of WCKCs. One of which was in Najd near Salalah in the southern province of Dhofar. It was when a young lady started to show us what she learnt in computers and internet for the fist time of her life. She was amazed by the fact that she was finally able to learn new thing after years of staying at home without job. She said that she will start learning more and more as well as starting her own online business.

Partnerships: Tell us about your partnerships.

Public Private Partnerships PPP
a.Government Employees Training Agreements; this is one of the key revenue making channels for the CKCs under the Sustainability Plan, where the CKCs/WCKCs will provide a certified training through ITA facilitated agreements.
b.Cooperation with government entities that are serving similar target groups/beneficiaries; youth, women, people with disabilities, senior citizens, SMEs, professionals .. etc
c.Involvement of Private sector entities in partnering with entrepreneurs/champions in service provision by the champions at the centers on behalf of the private sector companies including but not limited to; Point Of Sale POS, marketing, representation etc
d.Involvement of Civil Society Organizations ex. Omani Women Association in running the centers in case they provide a feasible business case.

Women Powering Work
Is your project targeted at solving any of the following challenges?

Building self-confidence and networks through role models, mentors, public campaigns, and more

Does your project utilize any of the strategies below?

Customizing technology such as mobile phones, websites, or telecommuting tools to enable greater economic participation