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  Issue 52

   

Interview with Bardil Jashari, director of the “Metamorphosis” Foundation

State institutions do not have a vision of their role in the information society development
 

The National Strategy for Development of Information Society was adopted by the Parliament in September and the “Metamorphosis” Foundation took part in its preparation and getting closer to the public. What does the strategy offer in the development of civil society in Macedonia?
Above all, the National Strategy offers an excellent opportunity for the civil society sector to get involved more actively in building an information society in partnership with the governmental and business sector.

Implementation of this strategy will contribute to the development of all sectors in the society. The application of ICT will importantly change the way of civil society’s functioning and will contribute to more efficient realization of their objectives and missions, and for the overall development of the civil society in Macedonia. 


Are you pleased with the so far degree of how interested state institutions are in the development of information society on different levels?
No, we are not. That is what the results from our research in 2004 showed (available on www.metamorphosis.org.mk/ict/istrazuvanje2.pdf ). Certainly there are exceptions, but generally, our state institutions do not have a vision of their role in the information society development. The condition is similar on a local level. That is why there is a need for preparing a National Strategy for Information Society Development. This process was run by the Commission on information technologies of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia.


Within its activities “Metamorphosis” has an opportunity for inspection in the conditions with communication technologies in the country. How informed in these sphere are the citizens, civil society associations about the need for change of the existing situation?
In spite of the fact that gains of the ICT use are clear, they are not equally manifested in all sectors. The civil society associations still not efficiently use new technologies. Our research (http://www.metamorphosis.org.mk/mak_vesti_detal.asp?id=312 ) shows that most civil society organizations use computers only for writing a text, possibly for tabular calculations (spreadsheet) and internet communication. Training courses are necessary for raising associations’ capacities for strategic use of these technologies, as well as campaigns for raising public awareness of ICT gains.

The Metamorphosis Foundation, through the project “eRider” (a model of mobile ICT consultants) is trying to change this condition. Within this project “eRiders” through consultations and training courses help civil society organizations to make procedures and plans for ICT strategic use, depending on their mission.


This month in your premises the translation marathon has been held of the office software “open office” in Macedonian language, organized in cooperation with the civil society organization “Free Software Macedonia”. What does the software present, how necessary is it in the country and where can it be used?
Open Office is free software for office work and it is used for writing and formatting texts, tabular calculations (spreadsheet), drawing, creating database and presentations. It supports all generally accepted standards and formats of documents.

Accessibility of the free open office in Macedonian language will enable bigger opportunity for the citizens who are not very good at English to use gains of the modern technologies. Taking into consideration the fact that this software can be used and distributed everywhere for free, it is an excellent alternative of using pirated commercial software of similar purpose.

Open office is also available in Albanian, Turkish, Croatian, Serbian and other languages (www.openoffice.org< http://www.openoffice.org >). Within a regional project where we are involved too, open office translation in Roma language is also projected.
 

You have published the first issue of the Guidelines on Information and Communication Technologies ICT in cooperation with Panos from London, before the forthcoming second phase of the Information Society World Summit. What information does the bulletin contain and how can they be accessed? 
The Guidelines contains basic information about the way internet is organized and functions, as well as some other practical information. Dilemmas existing in the world about the way of internet management are also explained. The Guidelines is available in Macedonian and English in a printed and electronic form (www.metamorphosis.org.mk/ICT/vodich1_mk.pdf ).
 

What are the other ongoing programs and projects carried out by the Foundation, who can use them and in which forms?
Most of our projects are supported by OSIMF. Metamorphosis has actually been established through the independence of the OSIMF information program. Out of the projects we realize, I would like to point out the project “e-local self-government”, which projects development of municipality services available by internet and its goal is to strengthen the relations between citizens and local authorities. The project is being implemented in cooperation with USAID/MDW.

I would also like to mention that the opportunity for civil society organizations to get involved in the project “eRiders” is constantly open.  

 

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