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Our ICT Villages

The first ICT village project was carried out in 1999 in Honduras, hit by the devastating hurricane Mitch. Thanks to the use of solar panels, the supply of electricity was guaranteed. A connection up to 108 MB/sec – a real record for the time – for more than 30,000 people enabled the creation of the first e-learning and telemedicine services, allowing the population to exploit these new technologies and to connect to the rest of the world through e-commerce and e-government initiatives.

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San Ramon and San Francisco, Honduras Solar Villages

As pilot experiences, developed in Honduras between 1999 and 2000, with the support of UNESCO and the Organization of American States (OEA), the Solar Village and Solar.Net Village Projects were successfully implemented in two rural communities of Honduras: San Ramón, Choluteca, and San Francisco, Lempira, hit by hurricane Mitch. These pilot programs were carried out by the Honduran Council of Science and Technology (COHCIT), together with the Departmental and Municipal Governments, as well as with a very active participation of the communities themselves.

The use of solar panels has guaranteed the electricity supply as well as the implementation of a connection to 108 MB / sec for over 30,000 people enabled the creation of the first e-learning and telemedicine services. 

The success of the Honduran pilot experience led to the presentation of the Honduran model at the “Village Power 2000” Conference (December 2000), held at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington D.C. and organized by the United Nations, some important US governmental agencies and also private foundations and corporations dedicated to search innovative energetic solutions. Therefore, the Honduran experience was considered as a model of “rural transformation and fight against poverty”, within the scope of solutions to “bridge the digital divide”.

Following the momentum won in Washington D.C., a historic meeting was held in January 2001 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, gathering international institutions, private foreign corporations, universities, world charity associations, and welfare foundations. Several governmental and non-governmental institutions from Honduras also participated. In that event, it was agreed to transform the actions so far led by COHCIT into an important nation-wide integrated initiative known as “Communities with Integrated Technology” (COMUNITEC) and taken by the “Picacho Christ Foundation” led by Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez.

Southern Lebanon, UN Peacekeeping Village

Lebanon is a country that, in the last decades has undergone major changes, because of a long and bloody civil war and of the longstanding international instability of the area. Villages of Southern Lebanon had to shelter an enormous number of Palestinian refugees coming from neighboring countries and forced to live in terrible social and economic conditions.

Upon the suggestion of Staffan de Mistura, Personal Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Southern Lebanon, OCCAM promoted a feasibility project for the realization of Digital Villages in the area to improve, through the use of new communication technologies, the conditions of the communities living there.

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Navajo Nation, Community Net Villages

The Navajo Nation is a sovereign territory with a territorial extension of approximately 27,000 square miles, located in the United States, within the States of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The Navajo Nation is spotlighted as a success model for the world, having implemented Internet communication and wireless technology that has been placed at every chapter (local community) throughout the Navajo Nation, in addition to its capital, located in Window Rock, Arizona. The Navajo Nation has therefore created one of the largest wireless communication networks in the world. Navajo Nation, together with internet provider OnSat, installed and operates a broadband satellite service to connect its 110 chapters to the Internet. 

This gives free public Internet access and e-mail to Navajos across the area, who also use this connectivity to become more self-sustainable through distance education, health care, e-government, security, and e-commerce. 

In this framework, OCCAM and the Navajo Nation signed an agreement on the occasion of the WSIS 2005 with the International Telecommunications Union, a specialized agency of the United Nations, to extend the successful model set in the Navajo Nation to other indigenous communities and the youth.

Borj Touil, Tunisia
WSIS Village

The project carried out in Tunisia created a set of infrastructures able to provide broadband satellite communication, Wi-Fi, and mobile phones, as in the most advanced countries of the world. The project is a concrete example of how a remote village can benefit from ICTs and of how ICTs if well-designed and used, can foster and accelerate development. This particular project, different from remote villages, was on the outskirts of Tunis and with good connectivity. The project was prepared in partnership with the National Solidarity Fund and involved many institutions within Tunisia. Once the feasibility study was completed, the Government of Tunisia took charge of its implementation, intending this initiative as the first step in replicability within Tunisia, and a new approach towards fighting poverty in the country using ICTs. ​

One of the lessons learned was that, due to the vertical and hierarchical structure of the administrative entities, introducing ICTs in a village requires a real convergence and close interoperability between the ministerial bodies involved in the projects (Ministries of Health, Education, Solidarity, Information Technologies). This feasibility study, prepared for the occasion, was on the basis of the ICT Village Model that was presented by the Tunisian Government at the WSIS 2005, and that incorporated the lessons learned in the past.

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Sambaina, Madagascar
UN Millennium Village

Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island, is about 1,000 miles long and 350 miles wide at its widest and lies 250 miles off the East Africa coast. Economically considered a Least Developed Country, its population numbers about 17 million. Madagascar is well-known for its many unique plant and animal species and their specific habitats. 

An ICT-Model Village was established in Sambaina, Madagascar to: 

- Promote the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals through the use of ICT

- Provide broadband connectivity and innovative services to a community and equipe 3 main sites (community center, primary school, and health presidium) where to implement the project

- Set a model for the UNPPA, replicable in disadvantaged communities scattered throughout the world

- Promote sustainable development and job creation.​

In 2007, Sambaina was proclaimed Millennium Village by Jeffrey Sachs, director of the UN Millennium Project

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