By Ekaterina Fedotova
On October 7, 2016 the exquisite Pacification Room of Ghent City Hall hosted the finalists and winners of the 2016 Telecentre Europe and I-LINC Awards. The Awards Ceremony marked the culmination of the conference and celebrated organizations and individuals who enable people to get to grips with technology.
The guests were welcomed by Mayor of Ghent Daniël Termont, who talked about the value of including all members of society in this digital era and the valuable work and impact of Digipolis, the TEAC16 host organization in Ghent.
The ceremony was hosted by Telecentre Europe (TE) community and event manager Ekaterina Fedotova who explained the competition scheme, spoke about the value of such awards, and introduced the presenters and finalists in each category.
The awards were presented by the Ceremony honorary guests and Telecentre Europe Board Members. They greeted the finalists, announced the winners, and handed over certificates and trophies (which were 3D printed following the future technologies topic of the conference). And of course, numerous pictures were taken to capture the festive moments in the beautiful medieval hall surrounded by colleagues and friends.
In 2016, Telecentre Europe Awards Competition was held for the 4th time, and this year was organized together with the I-LINC project. The entries in four categories were received from all over Europe. Telecentre Europe would like to thank all the nominators for sharing amazing stories of people and organizations striving for digital inclusion and enabling youth empowerment and employability. Such applications help nominees themselves see the value they bring to the society; and sharing experiences enables others to improve their work.
We were honored to meet our finalists and learn more about their achievements during the conference and award ceremony.
14 finalists in 4 categories and their incredible stories of dedication, passion, and diligence
Best Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Awards were presented by Mayor of Ghent Daniël Termont and TE Board member Mariusz Boguszewski, CTO of FRSI in Poland.
The finalists are:
- Communotic, France
- Training in the Use of Smartphones to the Senior – Pere Tarrés Foun… Spain. Represented by Anna Blazguez Abella, Digital Action Department Responsible at Pere Tarres Foundation, Barcelona, Spain
- Biblionet – the World in My Library, Romania. Represented by Ioana Crihana, executive director of the National Association of Public Librarians and Libraries in Romania.
The voting in this category was quite even, but finally Biblionet was named the winner for transforming Romanian public libraries into vibrant community hubs offering new services and 21st-century technology tools. Thanks to this partnership 3000 librarians have acquired basic computer skills, 1500 public libraries were equipped with ICT, reaching over 600,000 first-time Internet users.
Representatives of the I-LINC project, Jose Maria Bolufer (Head of sustainable innovation, Telefonica, Spain) and Iva Walterova (I-LINC project officer, TE) awarded the Best Practice finalists:
- Capital Digital – represented by Veronique De Leener, director of MAKS
- MUNDAR: Change Your World – Annual Young Entrepreneurship Contest – represented by Paulo Vieira, National Manager for Digital Inclusion, Programa Escolhas, and Francisco Palmares, project manager at Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Portugal
- Online4EDU – “Online Collaboration Methods and Tools” Training and … – represented by Nenja Wolbers, project manager at Stiftung Digitale Chancen, Germany
- Digital Storytelling – Bridge Between Generations, Municipality of Medgidia, Romania – represented by Alina Valentina Ocheana, senior advisor to the Northern Branch of Medgidia Municipal Library
Romanian project Digital Storytelling was chosen as the winner in the Best practice category. Within this project young people learn to build digital stories using various programmes and applications and then become mentors for seniors who put their memories of loved ones in short movies. This type of practice allows the digital preservation of cultural identity of communities, digital literacy and digital inclusion of vulnerable groups.
Best Digital Changemakers 2016 finalists are:
- Veronique De Leener, Brussels, Belgium
- Cheryl Miller, Brussels, Belgium
- Goran Jovisic, Novi Sad, Serbia
Awards to Digital Changemakers were presented by Mara Jakobsone (Chair of Telecentre Europe Board, Vice-President of Latvian ICT Association LIKTA) and Andrea Parola (TE Advisory Board member, general manager for European e-skills Association).
The winner in this category Goran Jovisic established several e-learning portals for uniting all activities in the ICT education and trained 5000 citizens; prepared 4900 unemployed young people in the use of ICT and internet, and supported Roma people to localize free educational applications in the Roman language. But his main passion is using legal software in Serbian schools.
Best e-Facilitator is a special award in the telecentre Europe community. E-facilitators are the people who are the heart of the centres, they are the ones helping users to see new prospects, enable new employment opportunities and improving the communities. Best e-facilitators in 2016 were by awarded by Jason Blackstock (Head of STEaPP Department of University College London) and Pedro Aguilera (TE Board Member, project manager at Esplai Foundation, Spain):
- Antonio Manuel Gonzalez Perez, Baza, Spain
- Dina Bryuske, Tambov, Russia
- Vita Vitola, Liepaja, Latvia
- Eric Gijssen, Brussels, Belgium
The community voted for Antonio Manuel Gonzalez Perez to be the Best e-Facilitator in 2016. Antonio works in one of the most deprived areas in Southern Spain. Despite lack of funding, he kept the centre open, which turned into an aid centre, where users overcome personal and social barriers and are trained in ICT for employability. The evolution of the community became a reality thanks to Antonio and his colleagues: from digital literacy and social inclusion in 2008 to robotics and advanced programming in 2016 aiming at better digital competences and job placement.
Antonio was strongly supported by his colleagues and peers during the voting, and they were so happy for him to win that produced a short congratulations video, which was a great surprise for Antonio at the Awards ceremony.
The Telecentre Europe board and staff hope all the winners and finalists continue their valuable work and know that their impact will live long into the future. Congratulations!
Thousands of individuals and hundreds of organisations around Europe work daily with communities to empower citizens through technology and the Internet. Telecentre Europe Awards acknowledge their innovation, dedication and the inspiring role they play to many people.
To enter the competition, in 2016 e-facilitators and changemakers were nominated by their colleagues, while partnerships and best practices were put forward by one of the participating members.
This year it was agreed to have the final decision made not by the closed jury, but by the Unite-IT community members. Unite-IT is the informal online platform and network of people working in the field of digital inclusion, and we thought it is fair to give everybody a chance to have their say in what they think are the most powerful entries. So the final selection was done through an open online voting by community members. Each member could vote for one entry per category. The votes and profiles then were checked for authenticity; and double/triple votes in the same category were disqualified. Thus the results were achieved.