After the successful experience of the Learning Visit held in June, where representatives of Infoplazas Panama visited Medellín and Bogotá with MAKAIA to observe the work done in ICT access centers in our country, and derived in some conclusions, concerns and knowledge necessary for the development of competencies in innovative management of processes of social appropriation of ICT; MAKAIA was one of the main guests of the 2018 Infoplazas Regional Meetings, which took place between the months of September and October of this year and which allowed our organization to learn about the processes carried out in the regions of Chiriquí, Azuero and Panama.
Each meeting was extended for over a week and MAKAIA actively participated in the conference conducting two thematic workshops: Management of community alliances (which addressed the process of diagnosis and characterization of actors) and ICT and inclusion where the lessons learned in our processes of digital appropriation with people in a situation of disability were shared. In each meeting, MAKAIA leaders oriented the spaces, working in this way with dozens of facilitators with different perspectives and ideas. We also accompany the press agenda as international guests, talking about the activities and even attending the opening of new community centers or Infoplazas.
In each of the meetings, the emphasis was placed on the role of the facilitator-promoter as a community leader who knows the particularities of their territory and can map needs and opportunities for their communities, which have a meeting place in the Infoplaza not only to access information, but also to empower themselves, access knowledge and transform their reality. This formulation obeys not only the experience and methodologies developed by MAKAIA, but also is consistent with the spirit of the Infoplazas, which are defined as:
“(…) a point of support and impulse for the development and implementation of new Information and Communication Technologies (TIC’s) that allow a large-scale reduction of the digital, economic and social gap in the country. The Infoplazas are community centers for Internet access and information where citizens find various cutting-edge technologies. Its legal nature is the development of scientific and technological activities to reduce the digital divide in the country by establishing INFOPLAZAS as a point of support and encouragement for the implementation of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) to promote social and economic development within a more just and humane globalized society. “
In this sense, MAKAIA highlights the important work carried out in the Meetings, by continuing to formulate debates and discussions that strengthen the work of Infoplazas Panama and want to thank the organizers for the invitation and opportunity to continue strengthening the access and digital appropriation processes in Latin America.