TechCamp Empowers Young People in the Pacific Islands

Youth participants from Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands meet in Suva, Fiji, for the first Youth TechCamp in the Pacific, November 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Frankie A. Reed serves as the U.S. Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu.

"Youth what? Why would you sponsor a TechCamp in the Pacific region, where Internet connectivity is not widespread?"

That’s the question many of my colleagues asked me when I told them the State Department, in collaboration with PasifikaNEXUS and BrightPath, was going to launch “Youth TechCamp Fiji.” And, my answer to them was, that’s exactly the reason it should be done. The Department of State, along with our partners, recognized the value in enabling future leaders of the Pacific Islands to contribute to policy development, spur local content creation, and leverage connection technologies to make a positive impact in their communities and around the world.

From November 21-28, approximately 80 youth participants from Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands met in Suva, Fiji, for the first Youth TechCamp in… more »

TechCamp Inspires Young People in North Africa

Young people participate in a workshop during TechCamp in Morocco, November 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Rebecca Wainess serves in the Office of the Secretary of State’s Senior Advisor for Innovation.

Three years ago at the Forum for the Future, Secretary Clinton announced the Civil Society 2.0 initiative, in Marrakech, Morocco. The program was created to help grassroots organizations around the world increase their digital literacy to share their stories, build their memberships and connect to their community of peers around the world. Today, the TechCamp program has become the cornerstone of this initiative by providing hands-on training to more than 1,200 organizations from 84 countries to date.

Three years after the launch of the Civil Society 2.0 Initiative, we returned to Morocco to host TechCamp Morocco. Focused on youths and employment, this TechCamp brought together… more »

TechCamp Kyiv Equips Tomorrow’s Global Citizens with Technology

Educators, youth advocates, and community organizers from Ukraine and Belarus to work together and examine how social challenges can be addressed using effective, low cost, easy-to-implement technology solutions during TechCamp Kyiv at the at the Master Klass Cultural center in Ukraine, September 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Jamie Findlater serves as New Media Advsior in the Office of eDiplomacy.

On September 12 and 13 in Kyiv, Ukraine, the U.S. Department of State hosted the 13th TechCamp, a program initiated to build the digital literacy of civil society organizations around the world. TechCamp Kyiv, themed “Creating a Global Citizen: Building Schools without Walls,” brought together over 80 civil society organizations comprised of educators, youth advocates, and community organizers from Ukraine and Belarus to work together and examine how social challenges can be addressed using effective, low cost, easy-to-implement technology solutions. TechCamps raise the digital literacy for civil society organizations by bringing in local and regional technology experts to educate, train, and work with civil society groups over the course of two days. The core of Secretary Clinton’s Civil… more »

Youth TechCamp Bangladesh: Empowering Youth with 21st Century Tools for Change

Youth TechCamp Bangladesh participants learn how to use technology and social media to impact their communities for the better in Dhaka, Bangladesh, September 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Ann Stock serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The inaugural Youth TechCamp Bangladesh launched on September 16, and Dhaka has been buzzing ever since! Youth TechCamp Bangladesh was the latest in a series of interactive trainings around the world for alumni of State’s youth exchange programs. In Bangladesh, 30 alumni (ages 17-19) from our Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program participated, learning how to use technology and social media to impact their communities for the better.

Organized in collaboration with U.S. Embassy Dhaka and iEARN,… more »

Tech Forum Central Asia Spotlights Innovation for Social Good

A participant poses for a photograph at the 2012 Tech Forum Central Asia in Almaty, Kazakhstan, June 16, 2012. [Photograph Courtesy of Tech Forum Central Asia/ Used by Permission]

About the Author: Joe Witters serves as a Public Affairs Officer in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.

Eight months of planning meetings and conference calls between U.S. Consulate Almaty and Washington D.C. led to three days of intense hands-on training and interactive discussion between technology experts, young entrepreneurs, and civil society representatives from eight South and Central Asian countries June 14-16 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Tech Forum Central Asia (TFCA) was not your typical conference where participants sat and listened to speakers. Rather, it was a high-tech, interactive social entrepreneurship event focused on youth empowerment. 

If I could sum up my experience in one word it would be “inspired.” I was inspired by the technologists who led training sessions. Hanny Kusumawati, from Indonesia, shared her experiences with “crowdfunding.” She founded Coin A Chance, which makes use of extra change people in Indonesia often discard and collects it to help… more »

Journey to TechCamp Lima

Technologists and representatives of NGOs pose for a group photo at the end of the second day of TechCamp Lima. [U.S. Embassy Lima/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Sean Boda serves as the Digital Media Officer in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the Department of State.

I stepped onto South American soil for the first time to participate in TechCamp Lima, the tenth such TechCamp. TechCamps are the pillar of Secretary Clinton’s Civil Society 2.0 initiative and organized and run by the Secretary’s Innovation team and the Office of eDiplomacy in close collaboration with local embassies.

Perched cliff-side, bustling Lima crouches over the Pacific teeming with a third of Peru’s population. An incredibly diverse country, Peruvians point out its three major regions: coast, sierra, and jungle, each with starkly contrasting histories and culture. The NGOs participating in TechCamp Lima work in many sectors. However, they share the broader goal of bridging Peru’s differences… more »

TechCamp Goes to Tel Aviv and Ramallah: Empowering Women and Girls in the Middle East

Elizabeth Linder of Facebook holds a discussion with TechCamp participants in Ramallah, May 2, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Katie Dowd serves in the Office of the Secretary of State.

Joining a global group of now more than 800 organizations, TechCamps Tel Aviv and Ramallah represented the eighth and ninth TechCamps coordinator under Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Civil Society 2.0 initiative. These TechCamps brought together three areas of focus for Secretary Clinton: strengthening civil society, innovation, and empowering women and girls. American and international trainers from companies, such as Facebook, Meetup, and Yahoo!, teamed together with the State Department’s Office of Innovation and eDiplomacy to help raise the digital literacy of civil society organizations focused on women’s empowerment though separate, intensive two-day workshops.

Each TechCamp focused on how to help ensure women and girls have the know-how and education… more »

TechCamp Engages Civil Society in Thailand

TechCamp Bangkok participants observe a demonstration at Assumption University in Bangkok, Thailand, March 21, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Katie Dowd serves in the Office of the Secretary of State.

Home to a thriving technology community, Bangkok was the site of our seventh TechCamp, an interactive program that supports Secretary Clinton’s Civil Society 2.0 initiative. This TechCamp focused on capacity building for more than 50 civil society organizations working in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. Hosted by Assumption University March 20-21, TechCamp Bangkok provided training that helped equip the civil society groups with new knowledge about how to leverage free and low-cost digital tools to strengthen their organization’s missions. The missions of these civil society organizations ranged from combating human trafficking, to election monitoring, to helping support refugees, to environmental protection.

Local technology experts partnered with technologists from around… more »

TechCamp Goes to Bucharest
Part of the 17th century Mogosoaia Palace building is viewed through the centre of an unidentified instillation of modern art exhibited in the grounds of the palace, on the outskirts of Bucharest, Romania, Oct. 19, 2008. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Katie Dowd serves in the Office of the Secretary of State.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton launched the Civil Society 2.0 initiative two years ago to build capacity among grassroots organizations. Since then, the State Department has dedicated itself to increasing the digital literacy of those working in civil society through the TechCamp program, orchestrating half a dozen camps around the world with more planned for 2012.

Our most recent project, TechCamp: Bucharest, was held in the Romanian capital’s historic Central Library and hosted in partnership with the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Romanian Ministry of Communications and Information Society, the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). The agenda focused on helping working-level staff from non-governmental… more »

U.S. Department of State Hosts “TechCamp Vilnius”

TechCamp Vilnius will be the third event in a series supporting Secretary Clinton’s Civil Society 2.0 initiative to build the digital literacy of civil society organizations around the world. TechCamp is a key program of this initiative: a two day training event through which the State Department pairs leaders in the technology community with civil society organizations to provide training, resources and assistance that enable civil society organizations to harness the latest connection technologies to build their capacity and advance their missions.

From June 29-30, 2011 TechCamp Vilnius will focus on convening over 70 civil society groups working in the areas of democracy, transparency, and citizen engagement. Representing more than 15 countries from across Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia, participants will get hands-on training in a variety of areas ranging from how to use social media, organize online, practice digital safety, leverage mobile applications, and more. These civil society groups will be poised to use connection technologies to grow their networks, communicate more efficiently and be able to keep pace with the changing world.

Announcing Civil Society 2.0, Secretary Clinton said, “This organized effort will provide new technologies to civil society organizations. We will send experts in digital technology and communications to help build capacity.”

TechCamp will be hosted on the margins of the Community of Democracies, and will send an important message about our commitment and support for democracy and 21st Century Statecraft. As these tools build new networks, relationships and create new avenues for communication, civil societies’ adoption of them and use in support of democracy, transparency and good governance are integral to moving forward in the 21stcentury.

Following Vilnius there is a TechCamp planned in Moldova in July focusing on open government. For more information about Civil Society 2.0, TechCamps or hosting a future TechCamp, visitwww.techcampglobal.org or contact Katie Dowd, dowdkw@state.gov.