ST. GEORGES, Grenada – There are many positive advances on the Caribbean technology scene, but at times it seems there is an equal amount of confusion. Many people often ask, “So, what does it mean for me? How do I use it? Is the benefit really worth the cost?” Without the knowledge and skills to take advantage of the myriad options it’s difficult to fully realize technology’s transformative potential.
Affordable access to technology devices and Internet connectivity is an important first step. However, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that education is the catalyst for transformation.
To help initiate and expedite the learning process, Columbus Communications has recently partnered with another Caribbean-based organization, BrightPath Foundation. Both have made it their common goal to promote the practical applications of technology-driven innovation across the region. BrightPath has created an innovative technology education initiative to realize this objective. Aptly named TechLink, the program is specially tailored to provide local communities with both the understanding and technical skills needed to take advantage of Internet, mobile and computer technologies. Now, as part of a wider Memorandum of Understanding between the two companies, Columbus and BrightPath are rolling out this initiative throughout the Caribbean.
Focused at the community level, TechLink training sessions and hands-on workshops are targeted to audiences from all sectors of society – young people, parents, educators, and small and micro-business owners, among others.
Bevil Wooding, Executive Director, of the BrightPath Foundation says the objectives are simple, “deepen people’s understanding of technology, develop technical skills, create more local digital content and exploit local and global opportunities.”
He believes generating our own e-content and using technology to empower local communities and businesses is critical to the Caribbean’s development. He states that deliberate steps must be taken for the Caribbean to safeguard its future in a technology-driven world; because “in an age where the Internet is playing such an important role in social and economic development, we have to make the shift from merely being consumers of someone else’s technology to being producers of technology and digital content that is relevant to our needs and our aspirations as Caribbean people.”
The TechLink initiative is part of the process to cultivate and enhance the region’s resources by inspiring people to embrace a new set of values, which reflect an interest in productive, sustainable technological application.
It is for this reason that Columbus has joined forces with BrightPath. For the last nine years, Columbus has been building out the most modern broadband infrastructure in the region. Their efforts have directly contributed to placing the region in the enviable position of access to the highest broadband speeds and capacity found globally.
Rhea Yaw Ching corporate vice president of sales and marketing at Columbus, states, “now that the region has access to this powerful broadband; improving awareness, building new skills, and enabling the possibilities for the region is the next critical step. This partnership will help us do just this”, she says.
Yaw Ching further explains that TechLink adopts a multi-stakeholder approach, with contributions from community organizations, other local support groups, and regional bodies. “It really is a bright path for Caribbean technology education, and Columbus is proud to be a partner is such an important initiative”, she said.
TechLink has already been piloted in Grenada, the first of the region-wide roll out, targeting groups of young people and small business interests. At the youth sessions, youngsters learned how to make the most of their gadgets, and were introduced to practical ways of developing digital music, e-books and other applications.
On the small business side, innovators and entrepreneurs were exposed to internet-based tools and apps that improve personal productivity and business efficiency. The session also covered areas including, the effective use of social media to improve customer communication, as well as to enhance their companies’ overall productivity and efficiency.
The official launch and follow up sessions will take place on November, 30 at the National Stadium.
BrightPath and Columbus expect participants of these programs to walk away energized with new ideas and ways that technology can be used in their local communities and businesses. Following the Grenada Launch, both organizations will roll out the program throughout the Caribbean to build both the technical skills and the right mindset needed for the region to take its rightful place in the digital era.
Denise Williams | senior director, corporate communications | Columbus | Dwilliams@Columbus.co
+1 876.620.3232 direct | +1 876.564.0576 mobile
Stephanie Danclair | Director, BrightPath Foundation | Media@brightpathfoundation.org |