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Internet na Wsi - English summary

Internet na Wsi


Program e-VITA prowadzony był w latach 2004 – 2011. Miał na celu wsparcie wykorzystania technologii informacyjnych w rozwoju wsi i małych miast. Partnerami w programie byli Polsko-Amerykańska Fundacja Wolności, Fundacja Wspomagania Wsi i Cisco Systems Poland (2004-2006). Realizatorką była Fundacja Wspomagania Wsi.

Program e-VITA

» do druku

e-VITA II (2006-2008)

e-VITA – Information Society Building in Rural Areas

The “Active village. e-VITA - Information Society Building in Rural Areas” program has been implemented for 4 years.

Key program goals:

The task of the second edition of the program, implemented in the period from January 2006 to May 2008 in partnership with the Polish-American Freedom Foundation and the Rural Development Foundation was to support information society building in rural areas. Based on experiences acquired in the implementation of the first edition of the e-VITA program, the process was to design and implement the program supporting the development and use of information technologies (IT) in a dozen or so local communities.

Practical implementation of the program took place in 13 local communities (Gminas), chosen in an all-Poland contest. Knowledge and experience gathered during the program was shared with a wide group of local leaders from all over Poland.

The operator of the second edition of the Program, just as in the case of the first one, was the Rural Development Foundation.

Budget of the program:

Funding for the program was provided by:

 - PAFF - PLN 2,474,160

 - RDF - PLN 978,157

Activities in communes – support for selected local communities

The program began as a national competition addressed to all of Poland’s rural and urban areas populated by up to twenty-thousand people. Sixty-six communes entered the competition, out of which thirteen were selected to be represented by local partnerships. Local partnerships are comprised of local authorities and non-governmental organizations.  Five of the thirteen communes continued works that were initiated in the first edition of the e-VITA Program.

Communities that qualified for participation in the second program included:

1.      Baranów Sandomierski (Podkarpackie voivodship)

2.      Białogard (Zachodniopomorskie voivodship)

3.      Bodzanów (Mazowieckie voivodship)

4.      Borne Sulinowo (Zachodniopomorskie voivodship)

5.      Cekcyn (Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship)

6.      Dobrcz (Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship)

7.      Mały Płock (Podlaskie voivodship)

8.      Myszyniec (Mazowieckie voivodship

9.      Płużnica (Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodship)

10.    Recz (Zachodniopomorskie voivodship)

11.    Stoszowice (Dolnośląskie voivodship)

12.    Strzelin (Dolnośląskie voivodship)

13.    Zawady (Podlaskie voivodship)



A meeting with representatives of the partnerships participating in the program took place at the Conference opening the program – Information technologies in local development – perspectives (8-10.06.2006). The expectations, values, and costs of the program were discussed at the conference. A visit to Stoszowice, the community where model informatisation was implemented in the first edition of the program, was also included in the conference.

Strategies and Steps

Another stage of the program was setting the goals with the thirteen communes entering e‑VITA II. The key benefits from the informatisation in five communes that continued activities from eVITA I were also determined. Using these goals and benefits, the locals and their representatives met with the experts to determine and specify mutual expectations for the success of the program.

Informatisation strategies were developed for the eight communes that did not already participate in the first edition of the program. Participants of e-VITAI had already developed strategies. The strategies made up the basis for further activities that were to be executed as part of the program. A concept for the construction of a network for the association of 6 communes from Dolnośląskie voivodship was also developed.

Execution of the Program

After specifying the strategy, the construction of ICT infrastructure in 11 communes was initiated.

§ Non-commercial computer networks in 11 communes were built. Partnerships received financial support (on average PLN 32,000 per commune) and were provided with access to a wide range of advisory services. Non-Commercial Computer Networks provide 64 villages with access to the Internet. At present, 50 commune institutions and 1,100 private subscribers use the lines. The number of users is constantly growing.

§ 11 Public Internet Access Points were established in 11 communes. PIAP’s are places where all locals may use computers and the Internet free of charge.

Delivering knowledge and skills necessary to use the technologies was equally important to supplying citizens of “e-VITA communities” with Internet access. The goal of the educational elements of the program was to improve the skills and level of knowledge. This knowledge will help in gaining workplaces, developing farms and enterprises, and implementing socially useful projects and activities by the locals.

A series of training and educational programs were performed.

  • As a result of these programs 1,359 people were provided with basic (742) and advanced (617) computer literacy training. Twelve local community leaders  learned how to provide basic computer literacy training for adults.

  • Over 390 people participated in Internet trainings in the field of planning and execution of projects for local communities, as well as the evaluation and settlement of projects.

Basing on educational programs, a series of small-scale projects, which showed the possibilities of using information technologies in solving local problems, were implemented. Twenty-three local organizations managed projects using the Internet and modern technology for developing small communities. Websites, created as a part of a “Small IT Grants” contest, primarily widened the interests of community members while also contributing to the improvement of the accessibility of education and the online market

Thanks to the projects the inhabitants learnt more about each other, became more interested in new technologies, started to use the Internet e.g. in their farm tourism activity. The inhabitants also came to believe that good projects require teamwork and must meet recipients’ needs. They recognized that the Internet may be a good, cheap and convenient tool used to overcome local problems.

Direct outcome of the implemented projects:

  • The creation of twenty-three websites on developing local communities. The website are categorized as follows: businessmen and farmers (6), education (2), culture and entertainment (3),  social networking (12).

  • 530 people actively engaged in community activities connected with the “Small IT Grants” contest.

The commune Internet noticeboard is a platform for exchanging goods and services. It was developed and put into use in all communes participating in the program. I-jarmark was designed as a place to exchange goods, services, and news/gossip. While enabling users to build an online community, I-jarmark also creates an online market for selling and purchasing goods, as well as advertising.

The Commune Educational Platform – An application supporting the education process that was developed in twenty country schools. The platform provides schools with access to Internet services and to useful applications in the education process, for example the e-class register. Because this application offers students useful educational materials, there will ultimately be improvement in the quality of education in schools.

Communes that participated in the e-VITA program received support from advisors in the fields of planning, development, and extension of ICT networks (using funds acquired as part of the program and with a prospect of the ability to acquire funds from EU resources for the years 2007-2013). Advisory services were provided during meetings in communes of authorities, coordinators and IT specialists or by telephone and e-mail. An extensive database of advisors and specialists (314 names) in different areas, including IT, was established.

National activities – education of a wide group of recipients

A series of national conferences and seminars dedicated to the application of IT in local development were organized.

About 1,258 representatives of local governments and non-governmental organizations learned the possibilities of using the Internet in local development during the conferences and seminars. These were organized as part of the program in cooperation with marshals of voivodships and non-governmental organizations. Moreover, 800 people listened to lectures on the use of the Internet in local development presented by visiting lecturers during conferences organized by other institutions.

The biggest event was VI National Meeting of Organizations Operating in Rural Areas. 452 representatives of non-governmental organizations, social committees, informal groups, media and local governments who participated in this conference learned the possibilities of using information technologies in local development. For example, they became familiar with the rules and methods of effective promotion in the Internet, the good and bad sides of freeware, electronic accounting, and the application of  ICT in the managing of local projects.

Four different publications on informatisation of rural areas were developed. Over 15 000 copies of those guides were made available to the readers. The guide for local government members entitled “The e-VITA Method”, which describes all elements of activities that effectively support the application of information technologies in rural development, proved to be particularly important and useful. Electronic versions of all publications are available in the library of Witryna Wiejska (www.witrynawiejska.org.pl).

The Internet service Witryna Wiejska, which was started during the first edition of the program  was developed extensively. At the beginning of the second edition of the e-VITA II program, the development strategy of “Witryna Wiejska” was prepared. A significant element of the strategy was the establishment of cooperation with field correspondents. An example of this would be people that understand problems of local communities from personal experience. The content of the portal had two main aspects: one part of the portal dealt with advisory texts and the other presented feature articles dealing with current events. Some examples of the new feature columns are: Attitudes, That’s What Everyone’s Talking About, and My Village Should Be Loved. Examples of advisory columns are: Country Club, PR in Local Organisations, and Advisory Services for Local Organisations. The main thematic column entitled Topic of the Month contains both types of advisory and educational texts, as well as feature ones. The editorial office of WW was extended. After three years of operations, the portal of “Witryna Wiejska” has become and online community for thousands of people interested in their own development and building a strong local community. During the implementation of the program the portal was visited by over 360,000 users (counted according to IP addresses).

Studies were performed at the end of the program on a representative sample of 300 communes. These studies were to assess barriers in the implementation of information society building programs by local self-governments and to evaluate the supply and demand for services offered by companies/institutions supporting such activities.

Key effects of the e-VITA II program

Direct effects:

  • Capacity building of local communities: skills, knowledge, experience, and access to IT.

  • A stronger sense of community thanks to new technologies implemented and used.

  • Project approach problem solving.

  • Increasing knowledge and motivation of local governments to invest in IT development.

During the first edition of the program, a specific commune informatisation model was developed. The commune model was developed more extensively during e‑VITA II, and the activities were performed at a wider scale. Not only was infrastructure enabling broadband access to the Internet developed in communes participating in the program, but also locals were trained in the field of the application of IT tools. Another necessary element of the process was motivating people to use the technologies, which was done by building local electronic resources and services and by local groups and institutions. Some examples of these tools include the Commune Educational Platform, Electronic Notice Board, etc. While implementing program tasks, many advisory services were provided based on the assumption that the goal of the program is not simply to provide access to the Internet, but to also use ICT tools to meet local needs and solve local problems.