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Awards and prizes

 

EPSA 2011

The Knowledge Based Economy Project has received a new certification of Good Practice at the 2011 „European Public Sector Awards” (EPSA) within the European Institution of Public Administration.

The Best Practice Certificate has been received upon three evaluation steps made by an experienced jury, comprising a shortlist of 58 nominees from a total of 274 projects from 33 participating countries. The Ministry of Communications and Information Society, through the Project Management Unit, competed  in the EPSA 2011 Awards at the „Smart Public Service in a Cold Economic Climate”category. This Best Practice distinction rewards and certify the outstanding results that KEP Project has had until now.

 

The COMPUTERWORLD Honors Program

The Project Management Unit, within the Ministry of Communications and Information Society, has been named a Laureate in the 2011 ComputerWorld Honors Program.

The „Knowledge based Economy Project” joins 254 others from 23 countries as Laureates in this year’s program, from more than 1000 applicants world wide.

The Awards Ceremony will be held in June, 20th 2011, in Washington D.C., USA.

 

National Agency of Public Servants

1st Prize at the National Competition of Best Practices in Public Administration, , for "Improving public services through quality management and organizational performance" category, organized by the National Agency of Public Servants in 2010.

Knowledge based Economy Project is considered to be an example of good practice in Romania's public administration due to its remarkable results, its proven efficiency and its disseminated practices.

 

THE HIGHEST HONOR IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Finalist, at the International Project Excellence Awards 2010, in "Project Excellence in Medium-Sized Projects" category, organized by the International Project Management Association (IPMA).

The solid implementation and success of the IT&C Training Program in school and business and the eCommunity.ro Portal, both part of the KEP Project, have impressed the IPMA jury (Project Management International Association), who recommends them as one of the most important achievements in project management.

 

e-Inclusion 2008

Medal at the e-Inclusion Competitionorganized by the European Commission, at the section “Geographic Inclusion” section, Vienna, 2008. The Knowledge based Economy Project is considered an example of good practice for effective use of IT&C and digital technology to tackle social disadvantage and digital exclusion.

 

Romanian IT&C Awards 2006

Knowledge Based Economy was considered to be the "Project with the best informational content" at the Romanian IT&C Awards – Bucharest, 2006, for contributing to the extensive process of expanding access to information technologies and modern communications to rural communities.

World Bank: KEP, very relevant to Romania’s development strategy

09.12.2013

The Knowledge-Based Economy Project (KEP) highly accelerated the participation of 255 under-privileged Romanian communities (representing 44% of Romania’s total number of under-privileged communities) in the country’s “knowledge society”. The conclusion is backed by the final indicators included in World Bank’s final report. The institution co-financed, alongside the Romanian Government, this strategic and pioneering project for our country. The report states the project is highly relevant to the current country development priorities. The project is fully supported the National Reform Strategy and the European EU 2020 Strategy (and its related Digital Agenda flagship initiative). KEP is also aligned to the current Country Partnership Strategy FY09-FY13 and Progress Report that supports Romania's convergence with the EU, in particular to increasing the participation of the disadvantage communities in the knowledge based society and towards implementing the goals of the EU 2020 strategy.

Diana Voicu, head of the KEP Project Management Unit (in the middle),
with teachers who have received
the award ”Champions of Digital Literacy "

In an information society, the basic economic resource is neither capital nor land nor physical labour, but knowledge. In other words – using the technologies of knowledge to produce economic benefits.

That is why generating and capitalising on knowledge became vital sources for welfare growth, globally.

Knowledge is also the central element determining competitiveness, which determined state worlds, especially developed ones, to systematically generate knowledge, by developing national systems and international, ever-increasingly sophisticated interactions.

Basically, the knowledge society replaces, step by step, industrial society, which in turn replaced an agrarian world – the first two had been focused on production of material values.

The only mechanism for rapid economic growth in Romania

For Romania, a study of the emerging knowledge based economy, prepared by the World Bank's pre-accession (2003), proposed a series of economic policies that can reduce disparities identified in relation to European and international standards. Even at that time, the conclusion was that a knowledge-based economy is the only mechanism that could provide rapid economic growth in Romania.

In this context, a team of experts from the Ministry of Communications and Information Societz have developed the project documentation of the Knowledge Based Economy Project, a strategic pioneering project for the knowledge society in Romania (KEP, the abbreviated version of the jargon of work) and obtained a loan worth USD 60 mil from World Bank, with the participation of the Government of Romania of USD 9,4 mil.


Mrs. Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner
for the Digital Agenda and Vice-president
of the European Commission sent a special video
message in order to highlight the importance
of the objectives accomplished in Romania through the
Knowledge-Based Economy Project

The project, scheduled to take place between 2006 and 2010 and later extended until 2013, targets rural areas and small cities (with less than 30,000 inhabitants), with no access to digital information and, as a results, no skills in using and capitalising it.

Since the knowledge economy needs an inter-disciplinarian approach, the medium in which investment took place, and still takes place, are those that can cooperate for local development, making changes which could transform community societies into sustainable economic and socially competitive centres – culture, education, local administration and business.

Recently, the term „Knowledge Society” was used to focus on the fact that IT&C evolved from a tool of technological change to a tool offering a new potential, resulted from combining information included in IT&C systems with the human creative potential, to develop their level of knowledge.

Thus, what was needed was a multi-sectorial vision, aiming to create the capacity of the target audience to get information, use it in an intelligent manner and produce knowledge which can be turned into profit. In practical terms, this profit is translated through results which improve the standard of living: competences, time, competitiveness, money, experience, lack of inhibition, openness, equal right etc.

What is the Knowledge-Based Economy Project?

The team that started the Project in 2005, employees of the Ministry of Communications and Information Society, has designed a local network with 510 knowledge specialists and contributed to their professional development.

They now work in 229 local communities included in the Project, which were under-privileged at first, in order to transform this vision into practice.

In the meanwhile, these specialists became resource-persons in their community, being the first direct beneficiaries of the information society, promoters of knowledge and information technologies.

They formed the initial operational (local) management level, ensured by the 229 Electronic Networks of the Local Community (RECL), each starting with one RECL manager and one IT administrator in each community.

They started their journey as specialists in different domains of work, from teachers, IT experts, public servants, to journalists or recent graduates. Every one of them was introduced into a massive training programme when entering the Project, which offered them access to domains of knowledge and performance unattainable before. They were trained in project management, marketing and communication, risk management and change management, quality and environment, human resources management and institutional design, writing projects for European funding, web design and IT&C use in business. Along with the central team of the Project, who had the role of an initiator and energy catalyst, the experts stands for a wide national Knowledge network, adapted to the present time, citizen and community development orientated.

Final results

As a whole, according to the Final Project Report of the World Bank, the main beneficiaries were: the population at large in the 255 targeted knowledge disadvantaged communities, representing about 1.09 million people; schools and public libraries, the teachers and students within the selected communities; the local public administrations of the selected communities and the RECL staff; the self-employed, family associations, micro, small and medium enterprises.

In addition the staff of the Ministry of Communication and Information Society (MCIS), the Ministry of Public Administration and Interior (MAI), Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sport (MERYS), the National Agency for Small and Medium Size Enterprises (NASME), the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs (MCRA) and of the National Trade Registry (NTR) were indirect beneficiaries of the knowledge created under project, but also partners in the implementation of the project.

Chronologically, activities included in KEP were
• equipping communities with computers and Internet access
• creating the eComunitate.ro portal
• offering grants for local entrepreneurs
• training community members;
• offering technical assistance for the communities;
• offering technical assistance for schools and public libraries.

. The World Bank experts say, in the Final Project Report, that the three stage approach for the project components’ activities (access-use-benefits) remains highly relevant for the country’s development challenges and for achieving the PDO. Firstly, the project provided access and connectivity through the establishment of LCeNs with access nodes in schools, public administration, public library and public internet access points (PAPIs) in the selected communities. Secondly, the project provided technical assistance to increase the skills and services for accelerated use of ICT both at local and national level. Thirdly, the project supported improvement of the quality of ICT use through its integration in the education process, use of government e-services and online transactions by businesses and citizen, while ensuring sustainability of project intervention under these three intervention areas.

As a summary, by achieving the development goals of the Knowledge-Based Economy Project, the participation of the targeted 255 knowledge disadvantaged communities (208 communes and 47 small cities or 44 % of the total knowledge disadvantaged communities) in the knowledge-based society and economy in Romania was accelerated to a high extent, as demonstrated by the outcome indicators.

Goals that were surpassed


KEP was brought geometry in 3D era

Specifically, in the targeted disadvantaged communities, LCeNs evolved into a daily tool for education, business and public communications with the Government, with increasing private management and financial self-sustainability.

The two outcome indicators measuring the progress towards the PDO have been met and exceeded. Firstly, 43 % of relevant population (age 16-74 years), higher than the target of 40%, is satisfied with the project results. Secondly, 30 % of the LCeNs operate in a sustainable manner having concluded partnerships with different other public or private organizations, higher than the targeted 20%.

Benefits are greaters than costs

The project enabled World Bank experts consider the project was a chance to implement the National Strategy for the New Economy and Implementation of the Information Society, and the European Union Europe 2020 agenda, which sets the European targets regarding reducing the digital divide, in order to increase employment, productivity and social cohesion.


The Knowledge-Based Economy Project arrived in Malta,
by RECL Sângeorgiu de Pădure manager

Thus, in terms of access in the targeted communities, 43% of the relevant population with no access to Internet before the project has now access to Internet from any public point (of which 38 % of population use PAPI as access public point), higher than 38% in the control groups (non KEP communities with similar initial conditions). Thanks to this project, 50.5% of the relevant population with no access to Internet before the project has now access to Internet from home, higher than 38% in the control groups (non KEP communities with similar initial conditions).

In respect to regularity of use, (i) 41 % of relevant population uses regularly the Internet, higher than the control group (35%). In addition, nearly all children (3-15 years) in KEP communities have access to ICT either at home or at schools and other public points and 88% of them ever used a PC and 73 % ever used Internet, as compared to 63% and 57% respectively in control non-KEP communities.

The benefits are even higher in comparison with control group in terms of regular use of Internet as 73% of children use ICT in schools (as compared to 47%) and 71% benefit of regular ICT supported classes (as compared to 38%).

The efficiency of the project in achieving the original objectives is substantial. The benefits brought out by the project outweigh the project costs – is another conclusion of World Bank experts.

 
RECL Jurilovca, on stage in Bruxelles for
„European Excellence Award for Accesible Tourism”

Besides the surplus generated from the value beneficiaries place on LCeNs basic and value added services (the project activities that are difficult to be quantified in monetary terms), the project helped attract additional funding of more than EUR 250 million in the project communities, increasing the sustainability of the LCeNs.

The project reached all major groups of population, irrespective of gender, age, ethnicity, and social strata. Although vulnerable groups, such as women, Roma people or elderly were not explicitly targeted by the project, they benefited as well from the project.

A particular case is the digital divide between Roma people and the rest of the population. KEP has not closed the gap between Roma and the Romanians regarding access to and usage of ICT, but as result of the project Roma in KEP communities are better off than Roma in control group communities, which means that they are better than they would be if KEP would not have been implemented.

National and international awards and recognition

In recognition of its achievements the project received medals and awards from prestigious international and national institutions, such as: Certification of Good Practice at the ”European Public Sector Awards” (EPSA) within the European Institution of Public Administration (Brussels 2011), Laureate of Computer World Honors Program (Washington 2011), 1st Prize at the National Competition of Best Practices in Public Administration (Romania), finalist at the International Project Excellence Awards 2010 organized by the International Project Management Association (IPMA), Medal at the e-Inclusion Competition organized by the European Commission, at the section “Geographic Inclusion” section (Vienna, 2008) and "Project with the best informational content" at the Romanian IT&C Awards (Bucharest, 2006).

All these successes, confirmed by the numerous awards, are also recognised by central public administration representatives and leading Romanian NGOs.

Mr. Emil Drăghici, the President of the Romanian Municipalities Association, expressed the same view: "This is a successful project. It is a revolutionary project because it is actively involved in the life of disadvantaged communities in Romania and is also involved in helping such communities to develop through technology. This project is by far the best one, and I consider it exceptional" , continued Emil Drăghici. "No other project achieved what has been achieved through the Knowledge-Based Economy Project. Why is that? Because through KEP, the countryside not only reached the development level of the central institutions in the urban area, but even got beyond. I well know that there are schools in urban area that wish to reach the level of some countryside schools. And that is without any doubt this project’s merit. There is something very important, touching today’s reality - collaboration and competition for funding. This project has facilitated, helped communities in the daily use of technology in collaboration and competition, in the struggle for funds to finance an idea of and for the community. Therefore, the results of this project must disseminate to all those dealing with the management of other funded projects. Here the rules of the game have not changed during the game. This project has proven development, vision, commitment and value".

"The Ministry of Communications’ 2004-2005 vision comes to life now, when we have completed the strategy by which the inhabitants of various regions of the country have access to the same type and same quality of information, as the Bucharest inhabitants" , Dan Nica, Minister of communications and information society said, opening the Conference. "Nobody at that time would have believed that we could get here, but by developing a long term strategy, until 2014, based on a coherent and highly complex programme, Romania significantly got forward in a global economy".

"The World Bank also believed in this dream and joined this partnership", Mrs. Arabela Aprahamian, representative of the World Bank said.”The results are so good, that we, who have shared this vision, are amazed. The results in the 229 communities show that the average use of ICT equipments is higher than the average at national level (including Bucharest). So the 2004-2005 dream, when our target was to reduce the gap between Romania and the EU average to a half until 2013 was achieved for these 229 communities.”

What’s next?

The answer to the question What was the purpose behind these complex efforts? What comes next?, was given by Diana Voicu, head of the KEP Project Management Unit. “The beautiful side of a complicated story, like our project, is that once its beneficiaries learn to use the adequate tools, there is no more need for external interventions to keep the need create alive. They will become development relays themselves. It’s an irreversible process of cultural change, creating a recipe applicable for the entire rural and small urban society”.

229 Resource Centers for Community Development

229 Local Communities have proactive responded to the challenge of continuing the innovative activities of the LCeN and transforming the Public Point of Access to Information into a Resource Center for community development.

The RECL manager will become a disseminator of community welfare, a resource citizen within the community perceived as a factor of improving the quality of life. The IT manager will become a local expert in technical and digital infrastructure, enlarging the book of services delivered in the community.

60 ICT skills training centers

The 60 centers provide a network of locally managed trainers, which will continue what the Knowledge Based Economy Project started in accessibility, when it trained 5,000 people who received CNFPA certificates. It is obvious that services offered by network training will address the entire population, KEP or non-KEP.

Building partnership through European projects

Building pan-European partnerships ascertain for the Knowledge Based Economy an important objective in the Project’s evolution, who tenders to assure a sustainable continuance of the achieved performances. Validating these partnerships will certify the existence of some national good practices and will encourage the design of transnational collaboration that will conduct to new approaches, services and models of good practice.

Votes: 0

Awards and prizes

 

EPSA 2011

The Knowledge Based Economy Project has received a new certification of Good Practice at the 2011 „European Public Sector Awards” (EPSA) within the European Institution of Public Administration.

The Best Practice Certificate has been received upon three evaluation steps made by an experienced jury, comprising a shortlist of 58 nominees from a total of 274 projects from 33 participating countries. The Ministry of Communications and Information Society, through the Project Management Unit, competed  in the EPSA 2011 Awards at the „Smart Public Service in a Cold Economic Climate”category. This Best Practice distinction rewards and certify the outstanding results that KEP Project has had until now.

 

The COMPUTERWORLD Honors Program

The Project Management Unit, within the Ministry of Communications and Information Society, has been named a Laureate in the 2011 ComputerWorld Honors Program.

The „Knowledge based Economy Project” joins 254 others from 23 countries as Laureates in this year’s program, from more than 1000 applicants world wide.

The Awards Ceremony will be held in June, 20th 2011, in Washington D.C., USA.

 

National Agency of Public Servants

1st Prize at the National Competition of Best Practices in Public Administration, , for "Improving public services through quality management and organizational performance" category, organized by the National Agency of Public Servants in 2010.

Knowledge based Economy Project is considered to be an example of good practice in Romania's public administration due to its remarkable results, its proven efficiency and its disseminated practices.

 

THE HIGHEST HONOR IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Finalist, at the International Project Excellence Awards 2010, in "Project Excellence in Medium-Sized Projects" category, organized by the International Project Management Association (IPMA).

The solid implementation and success of the IT&C Training Program in school and business and the eCommunity.ro Portal, both part of the KEP Project, have impressed the IPMA jury (Project Management International Association), who recommends them as one of the most important achievements in project management.

 

e-Inclusion 2008

Medal at the e-Inclusion Competitionorganized by the European Commission, at the section “Geographic Inclusion” section, Vienna, 2008. The Knowledge based Economy Project is considered an example of good practice for effective use of IT&C and digital technology to tackle social disadvantage and digital exclusion.

 

Romanian IT&C Awards 2006

Knowledge Based Economy was considered to be the "Project with the best informational content" at the Romanian IT&C Awards – Bucharest, 2006, for contributing to the extensive process of expanding access to information technologies and modern communications to rural communities.