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Telecentres in Europe Launched Major Effort for Knowledge Sharing

More than 50 NGOs and telecentres practitioners managing e-inclusion programs across Europe met for the Telecentre Leaders Forum Europe (TLF E) on April 8th and 9th in Radisson Hotel, Riga, Latvia. Participants shared innovative practices on e-inclusion and identified how to help NGOs and telecentre practitioners find resources they need to be sustainable and effectively contribute to achieving the goals of the Lisbon Strategy (2005) and Riga Declaration (2006).

The European Commission recognized the Telecentre-Europe network as a best practice at the launch of the 2008 EU e-Inclusion initiative, and was represented at TLF-E in Riga by Mr Nick Batey, Directorate General for Information Society and Media. In March 2008, the EU Council underscored its commitment in the renewed Lisbon agenda, to an inclusive society with a stronger emphasis on social inclusion, reducing skills shortages and increasing employment opportunities for marginalized populations.
The Telecentre-Europe network started in Barcelona in June 2007. The elected taskforce has since spearheaded a number of activities aimed at building connections amongst programs, sharing successful practices and providing a united voice on e-inclusion in Europe. This event therefore provides members an opportunity to review the taskforces work and concretise the networks governance and specific services plan.
Reflecting on the importance of the network, Gabi Barna with Fundatia EOS in Romania who is also a Telecentre-Europe network taskforce member said: This network has enabled us to connect with NGOs across Europe on challenges and finding common solutions in managing e-inclusion activities for the most disadvantaged social groups. Our combined efforts to raise awareness so far have ensured that e-inclusion remains a priority at national, regional and European levels. More information about the network:
The TLF-E has been organised by the taskforce of the Telecentre-Europe network with support from It was hosted by the Latvian Information and Communications Association (LIKTA).  Speaking about the event, Mara Jakobsone, LIKTA Vice-president said It is a unique experience for LIKTA to be a host for the Telecenter-Europe Leaders Forum in Riga. Organizations from 22 countries are coming together to share their experience in providing e-skills to citizens and SMEs. Every experience is unique and we believe that LIKTA will be able to incorporate the best practices from Telecentre Europe members into our e-skills development initiative Latvia@World.

"Through our participation in the Telecentre-Europe network we collectively support people at risk of social exclusion to enhance their computer skills and bridge the digital divide. Microsoft's Unlimited Potential-Community Technology Skills Programme provides IT skills training to tens of thousands of people throughout Europe. In Latvia almost 5000 people received training in 2007," said Sandis Kolomenskis, Country Manager, Microsoft Latvia.

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