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.
“The Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative matches the power of ICT with educational need, and has the potential not only to improve education, but also to empower people, strengthen governance, open up new markets and galvanise our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals”
Kofi Anan, Secretary of the United Nations 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.
To be a global thought leader and expert organization in supporting the utilization of new technologies to transform learning and empower individuals and communities with competencies and skills for inclusive and sustainable development. GESCI recognises that, in today’s world, knowledge is a key engine of growth, innovation and overall socio-economic development. A quality and equitable education is a major pillar of a knowledge society.
GESCI envisages a world where the widespread use and integration of digital technologies will realise higher levels of equality and inclusiveness. It is a world where ICTs are efficiently used to support governments and communities to provide:
- Equitable access to high-quality quality education
- Integrated ICT competency skills for better teaching and learning
- Relevant ICT-based skills development for youth enterprise and employment
- Multi-level leadership competencies for Knowledge Society planning and development
- Literacy and numeracy skills in communities and in informal and crisis environment
To work with governments and partners in providing strategic supports to develop and implement models of good ICT-based practice for high-quality education & training and to build effective leadership abilities in ICT and Knowledge Society development among Government officials across the Developing world.
We work to contribute towards building a Knowledge Society for All based on the principles of equal opportunities, inclusiveness, empowerment, accountability and sustainability.
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 provides technical and strategic advice in developing 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 innovative and successfully implementing strategies became more pressing. GESCI has always been a demand and needs driven organisation, and its flexibility and adaptability are some qualities which ensure its continued relevance. 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 also earned 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. GESCI has built working relationships with Government ministries and their respective implementation organisations across more than 16 African countries and also with key international organisations.
The Africa-wide Alumni Network for policy-makers in Knowledge Society development has been launched 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. 74 mid-to-senior level governments officials in Kenya graduated from this leadership programme.
GESCI’s programmes have been independently audited and evaluated as delivering exemplary outcomes and impact. For example, the 2017 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”.
ICT – enhanced education for inclusive Knowledge Society development
The inherent challenge for education systems is that of providing an effective education which can prepare all young people to participate in knowledge-age workplaces, social environments and political spheres.
ICT integration provides new modalities for addressing shortcomings in system-wide educational provision to bring about greater access and quality, improved curriculum and pedagogy, technical and vocational training reform and teacher development. Technology, use in education and training, is not simply a vehicle for teaching ‘ICT literacy’, but a means to building higher-order skills in a digitised, networked and knowledge-based society and in the workplace. The successful use and integration of ICTs will assist in putting education to work in ways that responds to national development needs and goals and will build the skills and capacities of young people and adults for work and employability in the 21st Century knowledge-based economies. Techno-centric solutions make little impact in transforming practice.
Gender equality and empowerment of women
GESCI promotes and ensures the participation of women and girls across all its programmes. In particular, it recognises the strategic importance of inclusion in relation to the use and incorporation of technology in programmes to enable women’s full and equal participation at all levels of decision-making in public life. GESCI believes that the empowerment of women is brought about through education and training – formal and informal – and that the benefits to the individual, the community and to society as a whole are potentially enormous.