ICT Villages

The ICT Village project stems from the need to provide technologies and services to the most disadvantaged communities to enable them to promote their own development. The replicable model of ICT Village focuses on three types of intervention: 1) ensuring an education to young people aimed at enhancing local resources and creating jobs, 2) ensuring a basic level of health, iii) providing internet access to the whole community to strengthen its capacity for socio-economic development.

The ICT Village model, developed and launched by OCCAM has had a large echo, influencing deeply different levels of the society: the model has even been cited by the USSTRATCOM Global Innovation and Strategy Center in one of its document concerning the Village Infrastructure Kit-Alpha (VIKA).

The first ICT village project was carried out in 1999 in Honduras, hit by the devastating hurricane Mitch. With the support of the Ministry of Science and Technology (COHCIT) and the local University (UCyT) and the main international organizationsit was possible to implement two projects initially called Solar Village in the communities of San Ramon and San Francisco de Lempira. Thanks to the use of solar panels and the first satellite equipped for the Internet of OnSatNet, the supply of electricity was guaranteed, and a connection to 108 mb / sec, a real record for the time, able to provide more than 30,000 people the first e-learning and telemedicine services provided, allowing the population to use these new technologies advantageously and to connect to the rest of the world through e-commerce and e-government initiatives.

Presented and discussed in the various IWC 2001-2003, the model is proposed to the Government of Tunisia for an experimentation in the village of Borji Ettouilat the WSIS Summit in November 2003. The success of this WSIS -ICT Village – supported by the National Solidarity Fund  and visited by numerous government delegations and personalities, who appreciated the operational applications of telemedicine, e-learning and internet community access – allows validating their effectiveness and opens the doors to numerous invitations to replicate it over the years in various countries, including Peru, Ethiopia, Dominican Republic, Lesotho, Tunisia, Ghana, South Lebanon, Navajo Nation, Madagascar.

In particular, in the village of Meiss al-Jabal, in South Lebanon, born from a collaboration with Staffan de Mistura, High Representative of the UN Secretary General in the region, as a support action for the refugee communities, it was provided with two digitized classrooms, satellite connection and various specialized devices for remote consultation and assistance services, obtaining a rapid professionalization of the students, to offer them hope for the future. Unfortunately, with the war events of 2006, many villages have been destroyed, including Meiss al-Jabal. In Lebanon. Moreover, OCCAM promoted the birth of the Beirut Film Festival with the Ministry of Culture and the International Council for International Cinema and Television, and the reconstruction of the National Film Archive to make a contribution to the UN Peacekeeping action.

Another important project is the Navajo Nation Portal, announced in 2005 during the intervention at the WSIS in Tunis by John Shirley, president of the Navajo Nation co-signatory of the Memorandum of understanding with ITU and OCCAM, for the development of digitalization in indigenous populations, which sees the creation in many pueblos of access and training centers.
A longlasting project is the ICT Village of Sambaina, born also thanks to the support of the then President of the Malgasy Republic S.E. Marc Ravalomanana.
Here the project has been developed focusing on:

• telemedicine, with the establishment of a new digitalized health unit, especially on maternal care, achieving a reduction in pre-postpartum and early childhood mortality,

• e-learning, with classes equipped with computers and other digital devices and courses.

• center for internet access for the population of the district.

All the vast territory, after a first satellite coverage provided by Eutelsat / Skylogic, was connected in broadband using the state frequencies, so that hospitals, schools, municipalities, operated without charges, stating the principle, then decided in UNGAID, that public services must be able to take advantage of public broadband networks.

Sambaina soon arouses international attention, including the visit of Jeffrey Sachs, director of the UN Millenium Project and Special Advisor of the Secretary General Kofi Annan, who proclaimed him in 2006 the first and only one of its kind, Millennium Village towards which both UNDPand the Millennium Challenge Corporation USA will launch support programs.

In support of Sambaina and the other ICT Village, OCCAM launched the Ville Village Project in 2005 to encourage direct collaboration between communities in developing countries and cities in advanced countries, which have greatly encouraged the integration in the perspective of mutual cultural and social enrichment and in order to optimize the resources put in place by both local authorities and NGOs in development cooperation projects.

The first Ville-Village realization was ratified with the agreement signed by the Ambassador of Madagascar in Itala, SE Jean Pierre Razafi, on December 4, 2008, and the mayor of Lodi Lorenzo Guerini. Within this initiative the city of Lodi has been selected to better employ the excellences of its territory, such as the Padano Technology Park, the Hospital (already active in the telemedicine sector) and the NGOs operating in its territory. Innovative digital development service centers have also been created, focusing on e-phytopathology, and e-veterinary.

The ICT Village of Mahobong, in Lesotho, experimented in 2007 the Digital Services Global Platform, both in the field of Food Security with applications of e-phytopathology and parasitology and of telemedicine, through a new ultrasound device, which allow remote ultrasounds suitable for prevent pre- and post-natal mortality and assist emergency interventions. The project realized by OCCAM in collaboration with the Department of Protection of Agrifood and Urban Systems and Biodiversity Valorization of the University of Milan and with the International Telemedicine Institute (IITM), supported by the Municipality of Milan, has allowed to export knowledge in the field of cultivation and protection of plants and food and limit production losses caused to production, giving considerable development to the communities involved.