Cyber-volunteers are volunteers who put their professional or academic experiences acquired in the field of information and communication technologies (ICTs), as well as their human qualities, to use for the benefit of NGOs and non-profit associations and cooperatives.
Cyber-volunteers come from varied backgrounds and cultures. Through their knowledge of ICTs, their skills and their know-how, they contribute to programs and projects which aim at improving the life of communities in need.
Cyber-volunteers spread the use of ICTs and familiarize local populations with ICTs allowing them to develop their economy and above all their autonomy.
Cyber-volunteers may offer their skills in:
ICVolunteers recruits the candidates who are most suited to a specific situation. The choice of cyber-volunteers takes into consideration their skills as well as their place of residence and mobility. Considering the digital divide in Africa, ICVolunteers gives priority to exchanges of a South-South, South-North and North-South type, and recruits candidates with specialized skills which vary according to the mission.
As far as possible, ICVolunteers participates in the transport and accommodation fees of the cyber-volunteers. In specific cases, health and accident insurance costs will also be covered.
The Cyber-Volunteers Program was initiated in 2005 under the patronage of UNESCO Switzerland. Since its launch, more than 200 volunteers have expressed their intention to participate in one or other of the ICV projects. On average, two or even three candidates volunteer each week.
The program offers volunteers the opportunity to gain experience while sharing their skills. Through the use of cyber-volunteers, partner organizations have the opportunity to become acquainted with new techniques and to transmit them to others.
Everyone can make a financial contribution. As an example, the budget for a two-month mission of a cyber-volunteer at the Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) in Uganda comes to less than CHF 1,000. It is not much considering the benefit of such a mission for local populations.
Another method is the in-kind donation; books and functional and still usable computer material, new or second-hand laptops.
Each donation helps with the diffusion of knowledge in places which are sometimes very remote.