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ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao (right) awards Ms. Bettina Quimson (left), Head of eSociety, during the WSIS Prizes 2016 Awards Ceremony held at the Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG) in Switzerland.

 

QUEZON CITY, May 6, 2016–The Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ICTO) was one of the winners at the 2016 World Summitof Information Society (WSIS) Prizes. Their entry, the Tech4ED project, bagged the award in the e-Employment category, besting four other ICT applications from Colombia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The ICT Office’s Executive Director,Usec. Louis Napoleon C. Casambre, Deputy Executive Director for eSociety Bettina Quimson, Regional Director for Luzon Cluster 2 Cheryl Ortega and Regional Director for Mindanao Cluster 1 Maria Teresa MagadiaCamba accepted the distinction during awarding ceremonies held at the WSIS Forum 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The WSIS Forum 2016 is the world’s largest annual gathering for the “ICT for Development” community. WSIS stakeholders established the WSIS Prizes to recognize organizations that showcase success stories and replicable models that empower the community at the local level. It pays tribute to the efforts of partners for their added value to society and their commitment towards achieving WSIS goals.

The ICT Office’s eSociety Division implemented the Tech4ED project, which stands for Technology for Education, Employment, Entrepreneurs and Economic Development Project. Tech4ED seeks to provide access to different aggregated, existing and proven ICT-enabled services and relevant content in one single platform. Tech4ED centers established throughout the country provide this platform to citizens, serving as a conduit for efficient delivery of government and other services.

Through the project, rural communities gain access to non-formal education, skills training, English training, an online library, ICT literacy, financial and entrepreneurial training materials and online government services.It is a potent tool for empowering and encouraging the participation of unserved and under-served communities, harnessing technology to create an inclusive, integrated and equitable countryside.

In 2015 alone, 89 new Tech4ED centers were established nationwide and 233 Memorandums of Understanding were signed with different municipalities and cities, paving the way for the creation of even more Tech4ED centers. Meanwhile, the first quarter of 2016 saw the inauguration of 14 new Tech4ED centers in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte and 41 in Ilocos Norte.

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Philippines’ Tech4ED Project honored in the WSIS Prizes 2016. The WSIS Prizes 2016 Champion trophy is held by (from right) Ms. Cheryl Ortega,Project Manager and FOO Cluster Director for Luzon Cluster II; Ms. Bettina Quimson, Head of eSociety; and Ms. Maria Teresa Camba, Cluster Director, Mindanao Cluster I. The Tech4ED Project of the DOST-ICT Office was named champion in the e-Employment action line.

The WSIS Prize contest comprises the 18 categories that are directly linked to the WSIS Action Lines outlined in the Geneva Plan of Action. Across these 18 categories, 88 organizations across the world were nominated.

According to the ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), 18 projects were hailed “WSIS Prize Champions” out of 70 nominees from around the world. ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao announced the prize for the Tech4ED Project during the WSIS High-Level Opening Segment in Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG). “ITU and its WSIS partners strongly believe in the critical importance of ICTs in achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals,” Zhao said.

“The WSIS Prizes recognize all players in the effort to improve global connectivity, from governments and global ICT companies to grassroots NGOs leading innovative ICT-oriented projects at the local level. All of these stakeholders are equally vital to the success of the WSIS Process,” Zhao added.