United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS):
The United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS) was a global volunteer initiative to help bridge the digital divide. UNITeS
both supported volunteers applying information and communications technologies for development (ICT4D) and promoted volunteerism as a fundamental element of successful ICT4D initiatives. UNITeS was launched in 2000 by then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and was hosted by the United Nations Volunteers programme.
UNITeS had two primary goals:
UNITeS was active until 2005, and was actively and lovingly promoted by then-UNV head Sharon Capeling-Alakija. From 2005, with the departure of the last UNV staff associated with UNITeS, and through most of 2009, the web site was still available at www.unites.org, but was no longer updated. As of November 2009, all UNITeS web site materials were taken down from the original site.
- To promote volunteer involvement as a fundamental element of successful information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) initiatives.
- To work with the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme and a coalition of organizations to support projects and initiatives that involve volunteers to improve the capacity of individuals and institutions in developing countries to make practical use of ICTs in their development processes. This included establishing a knowledge base/network of resources to support volunteers engaged in ICT4D in a variety of areas (health, education, governance, gender equity, environment, HIV/AIDs, etc.).
Because many UNITeS materials continue to be in demand, and to continue both the spirit of the initiative as defined by Kofi Annan and as realized by Sharon Capeling-Alakija, I, Jayne Cravens am now hosting some of them here on my own web site:
To see the complete, original UNITeS web site and its resources, including its extensive knowledge base, look up unites.org at archive.org
- A brief history of UNITeS
In his Millennium Report released in April 2000, the UN Secretary General announced UNITeS as a special initiative to stimulate and channel the contributions of volunteers to help bridge the digital divide. UNITeS was born.
- UNITeS Results
UNITeS saw many achievements during its time at UNV.
- Partnerships and collaboration
A key to the success of UNITeS was its network of collaborating organizations.
- Volunteers: Essential to ICT projects in developing countries
Why the UNITeS initiative believed that volunteers are an essential and fundamental element to the success of information and communications technology (ICT) efforts in underdeveloped communities.
- Assisting Others As An Expert Volunteer
This article was part of the online Knowledge Base hosted by UNITeS. It is an example of the kinds of resources that were a part of the UNITeS Knowledge Base to help volunteers applying ICT in the developing world, and to help organizations who wanted to involve such volunteers.
- Handheld computer technologies in community service/volunteering/advocacy
This was a pioneering article, published in October 2001. It provides early examples of volunteers/citizens/grass roots advocates using handheld computer/personal digital assistants (PDAs) or phone devices as part of community service/volunteering/advocacy, or examples that could be applied to volunteer settings. It was originally part of the UNITeS online knowledge base.
- Instant Messaging and Volunteers
This was a pioneering article, published in November 2002 and originally part of the UNITeS online knowledge base. It outlines the benefits of using Instant Messaging with volunteers, and offers suggestions for success based on UNV staff's own experience using IM with volunteers all over the world.
- UNITeS Contributions to the UNESCO Multimedia Training Kit
The UNV staff managing the UNITeS initiative was invited to prepare a module on volunteers in telecentres and community media organizations for the UNESCO Multimedia Training Kit (MMTK). The module includes a slide show presentation, exercises, case studies and trainer notes.
- UNITeS/UNV@ the WSIS in Geneva - 2003
UNV staff and volunteers were in high profile at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva in 2003, creating one of the busiest and most-talked about booths (a mock telecenter) in the exhibit area, hosting live onsite and online events, speaking at the official plenary, and working to contribute to the WSIS Declaration of Principles and Action Plan.
- UNV ICT4D Assignments
This resource is not on my web site; the link will take you to the archived page at archive.org. As part of its mission to promote the role of volunteers in information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D), UNITeS profiled related activities by UN Volunteers who are serving or have served in the field. These profiles are presented by country.