The Middle East North Africa (MENA) Telecentre Network held a meeting at the Information Technology Authority (ITA) in Muscat, Oman on September 24, 2012. The meeting took advantage of the opportunity and presence of the global and regional telecentre leaders during the Knowledge Network and Multi-Sector Partnership Symposium in Oman on September 23, a meeting of select telecentre leaders from the Middle East and North Africa region was conducted to to plan for the future of the MENA network.
The meeting was jointly organized by Telecentre.org Foundation (TCF), the Information Technology Authority of Oman, and the Egypt ICT Trust Fund of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The meeting was opened by Mr. Talal Arahbi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Operations at ITA; Mr. Richard Fuchs, Co-Founder & CEO of Futureworks Consulting Inc. and Vice –Chair of Telecentre.org Foundation; Mr. Miguel Raimilla, TCF Executive Director; Mr. Sherif El Tokali, Assistant Resident Representative at UNDP Egypt; Ms. Maria Teresa M. Camba, TCF Director of Operations; and Mr. Karim Kasim, Regional Focal Point of the MENA Telecentre Network Region.
The meeting also gathered TCF leaders from seven countries in MENA region: Nabil Eid, Regional Community Coordinator at TCF, Syria; Seema AlKabi from ITA, Oman; Haddou Lbour from Morocco; Ahmed Eisa from Sudan; Lina Al-Eryani from Yemen; Muhammed Alsir Ahmed from Sudan; and Abdallah Diwan from Qatar.
The objectives of the meeting were as follows: (1) to serve as a platform for knowledge and experience sharing and in engaging more telecentre leaders from the region to actively participate and contribute in the MENA telecentre network’s growth and collaborative work; (2) revisit the status of the network and how it can be positioned to better seize the opportunities available in the region; and (3) develop a work program that will strengthen and expand the network and its membership.
In addition, the participants discussed more topics in relation to telecentres' status in MENA – challenges and opportunities, the role of the MENA Telecentre Network, how to position the network, its work program, and priorities of the MENA telecentre network in the next 2 years.
Mr. Miguel Raimilla firstly explained the role of TCF as a global program that supports the telecentre network and TCF's main programs: Telecentre Women, Telecentre Academy and Telecentre Sustainability. He also talked about resources mobilization, the next steps for the MENA region, work plan, and other issues.
Mr. Karim Kasim explained the history of the MENA region, workshops attended, programs applied, and more activities from the beginning up till 2012. He also mentioned that workshops were divided into three sub region (Al Mashreq, North Africa region and Al Maghrib region) and was currently working to include a new sub region (Gulf countries).
The second session focused on the sharing of participants of their various telecentre initiatives, their challenges and lessons learned, and their recommendations for the future.
I can summarize the most impotent presentations that were presented at this meeting:
The final session was moderated by Sherif El Tokali, who discussed with participants the summary of meeting outcomes, solutions and next steps, what we need to promote and activate the MENA region, and the participants' recommendations. Mr. El-Tokali also closed the meeting.
Please find photos of the meeting in this link: