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This text is also available in: Georgian
IATP is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by IREX, an international nonprofit organization that delivers cross-cutting programs to strengthen civil society, education, and media independence in more than 50 countries. IATP consists of a network of Internet access sites located throughout 10 countries of Eurasia. Through these sites, thousands of individuals per month benefit from the program. IREX-administered IATP centres are located in the countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
IATP began in the mid 1990s. At that time, the program was aimed at providing Internet access and training exclusively to scholars from Eurasia who had participated in US government-sponsored exchange programs. Through its services, IATP helped these exchange program alumni stay in contact with the professional colleagues they had made while in the United States, assisting them in the process of continuing their research and academic growth once back home. Over time, IATP gradually began to provide Internet access and training to other non-alumni groups such as journalists, lawyers, NGO representatives, and students. Providing the services of the program to new audiences has continued to this day. Today, IATP provides its services to the public at large in the countries in which it works.
Almost all IATP center are housed within local partner institutions. These institutions typically include public libraries, universities, and NGOs. An IATP center usually occupies one room in the partner institution’s premises. This room houses all IATP equipment, computer-related books and manuals, and an IREX staff member who overseas the operations of the access site. In a limited number of cases, IATP center are part of the larger IREX office in a given country.
IATP undertakes five primary activities—provided free of charge—through its network of sites:
- Internet Access – Free computer and Internet access available at IATP centers helps bridge the digital divide and provides new sources of information, opportunity, and knowledge.
- Technical Training – IATP’s standard course list includes computer basics, Internet basics, blogging, Web design, wikis, graphics editing, and specialized ICT courses for government employees, NGOs, journalists, and teachers.
- Web Content Development – New Web resources resulting from IATP courses increase local-language content, making the Internet more accessible and useful to the local populations.
- Online Forums –Stakeholders, experts, and decision-makers join online in virtual exchanges of ideas that bridge regions with capital cities and often beyond borders.
- Community Events – Citizens utilize the centers as neutral meeting places to organize community initiatives and use technology to strengthen their projects.
IATP in Georgia
IATP started to operate in Georgian in 1997 and currently it owns 5 regional and 8 sustainable centers. (i.e. the centers which are no longer funded by US government). Administrators/trainers of these centers conduct lessons, help local citizens to use internet and organize different internet-oriented activities. Since 2007 IATP centres have been visited by 40 498 Georgian citizens and 3 771 users attended various types of trainings. Around 700 non-profit websites are currently hosted by IATP web server. IATP centers addresses can be found here.
In order to support tourism infrastructure development in Georgia, in the framework of Internet Access and Training Program, was held a project entitled, “Places – Tourism Development in Georgia” which aimed to help entrepreneurs active in the hotel industry to develop online resources and spread information about their businesses through internet. More information about the project can be found at www.places.ge
IATP conducts online discussions (chats and forums) to exchange information about various crucial topics. Many important and famous people have been IATP guests in different times. Forum logs can be read here.