GESCI From Foundation
The Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI) is an international non-profit organisation founded on the recommendation of the United Nations Task Force on Information Communication Technology (ICT). GESCI was established in 2003 at the first World Summit on the Information Society.
L’initiative Global e-Schools and Communities (GESCI) conjugue le pouvoir des TIC pour répondre aux besoins du secteur de l’éducation. Elle ne permet pas uniquement l’amélioration de l’éducation, mais également l’émancipation des individus, le renforcement de la gouvernance ainsi que l’ouverture de nouveaux marchés et stimule nos efforts pour atteindre les Objectifs du Millénaire pour le développement.
Kofi Annan, Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies, 2003.
The United Nations ICT Task Force identified education as an area in critical need of development, and one where ICT has the potential to make a very significant and positive impact. Initially GESCI was headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. The founding supporters included the Governments of Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and Finland. In 2011, GESCI signed a Host Country Agreement with the Government of the Republic of Kenya when it transferred its headquarters from Ireland to Nairobi, Kenya, where it now resides as a full international organisation.
GESCI’s mandate is to assist governments in the socio-economic development of their countries through the widespread integration of technology for inclusive and sustainable knowledge society development. GESCI works to transform education and training systems through holistic technological integration, for living and working in the emerging knowledge societies.
Much of GESCI’s work is with Government Ministries and their related agencies, responsible for education, science & technology, innovation, and vocational training. The objective is to bring about transformation in these sectors through the innovative use of ICTs. GESCI supports them with:-
- technical assistance
- implementation assistance
- strategic advice
GESCI provides technical and strategic advice to countries and builds their capacity to develop and implement national strategies and plans to advance their overall education and development objectives in support of developing inclusive knowledge societies.
In its work GESCI is sensitive to the changing needs and priorities of developing country governments. In recent years, it made adjustments to its operational model and made greater investments in its implementation expertise, as policy needs of governments were increasingly satisfied, and the challenge of successfully implementing strategies became more pressing for them. GESCI has always been a demand and needs driven organisation, and its flexibility and adaptability are some qualities which ensure its continued relevance.
Working with key continental bodies, such as the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), GeSCI has built up strong working relationships with senior Government leaders across more than 16 African countries and also with key international organisations. GeSCI has established itself as a responsive, reliable and expert technical assistance international organisation in the field of ICT integration for more effective education and training delivery and ensuring equity of access and participation.
GESCI has gained a reputation for providing quality and cutting edge policy-driven leadership programmes for Government officials in Knowledge Society development - key ingredients for socio-economic development and poverty reduction.
We believe that the work GESCI has done (with strong support from the Governments) provides opportunities to leverage and build upon the GESCI infrastructure in the future and we consider that this may be of particular interest to donors and potential ODA partners. GESCI now has a very influential Africa-wide Alumni Network for policy-makers in Knowledge Society development and to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This network comprises of more than 500 alumni (with Graduate Diplomas from Dublin City University) who have participated in the African Leadership in ICT and Knowledge Society Development programme.
We see huge potential to build upon this network, utilising the general concept to develop similar programmes in other areas and to scale the rollout across Africa. Some areas being looked at are the development of similar programmes for African Leadership in the following: Climate Change and Sustainability; (ii) Agriculture and Food Security.
Currently, GESCI is planning or finalising other initiatives and events:
- African Continent Digital Skills for Youth Employment and Enterprise Ministerial Forum in February 2018, in conjunction with the African Union Commission and other Global organisations.
- Leadership Development Programme for Women Leaders across Africa, developed in collaboration with FAWE (Forum for Women Educationalists)
- A new model for youth digital skills and the creation of start-ups/self- employment trialled, evaluated and ready for implementation across Africa.
- An ICT-based Education and Training Programme for Whole-School Development at both secondary and TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) levels for learners and youth in refugee and other crisis environments.
- Leadership Development Programmes fpr officials in policy making for ICT and knowledge Society development
GESCI’s programmes have been independently audited and evaluated as delivering exemplary outcomes and impact. For example, the recently-completed independent evaluation of donor support to GeSCI states, as follows:
“The organisation did an excellent job as regards delivery of the key outcome and output areas agreed upon with donors for the period under review. As a result, GESCI made meaningful contributions to Sida’s (Swedish Development Agency’s) development goals of poverty reduction (through its ICT-based projects) to enhance access, quality and relevance of education, its leadership development programme and, through its investment in youth, through TVSD interventions and sustainable development”.