Chronology of Activities

The following provides a chronology of activities which have been key to the development of the civic networking program since its official beginning March 1, 1998. A word of explanation about the start date is necessary here. While the grant was officially awarded in January, the funding was not received by the Friends and Partners Foundation until late February leading to the later start date of March 1. The absence of any other funds to help initiate program activities restricted starting the program until this date.

March 1998

Immediately prior to the arrival of Ford Foundation funds, the Moscow project Director, Natasha Bulashova, began working with a legislative consultant to assist with issues related to management of the new Friends and Partners non-profit charitable foundation as well as various accounting and financial issues.

Beginning in early March, the Director began work on preparing agreements with each of the three civic networking sites to be funded from the Friends and Partners Foundation grant. The agreements had to be drafted in line with Russian legislation (itself a "moving target") and some special challenges we encountered regarding Russian non-profit organizations who function in a grant giving role to other organizations. Acceptable agreements were developed regarding equipment for the three communities. These agreements were drafted such that the Friends and Partners foundation is legal owner of the equipment and is itself responsible for ensuring the appropriate use (in line with initiating Ford Foundation grant) for at least two years after the grant is complete.

Through these various legal activities, the Moscow Director was in continual contact with the three communities about the legal agreements, about verification of their non-profit status, and their legal and financial ability to receive funding from the Friends and Partners Foundation.

Also in March, the Moscow Director began work on establishing office space for the Friends and Partners Foundation in Moscow. The primary concerns motivating the search for office space include appropriate space, connectivity to the Moscow fiber optic backbone (and thus to the larger Internet) and the availability of conference room space for meetings. Locating affordable space in Moscow which met this criteria was an enormous challenge requiring review of over 10 locations and after final selection, complete renovation and rewiring (both network and electrical) to host powerful and expensive equipment and Internet servers which must operate reliably 24 hours/day. Internet connectivity of 512 Kbps is provided in the new space giving the F&P Foundation one of the better Internet connections in Moscow.

April 1998

A major activity (which actually began in March but continued through the months of April and May) was procuring appropriate server and telecommunications equipment for the three sites and for the Moscow office. As mentioned in the original grant proposal, the equipment for the three sites was to be identical to facilitate easier communication, coordination and management of all technical work. The decision was made early in the process to utilize a superior and more costly (but still reasonably priced) Sun architecture which has proven to be very popular, stable, and scaleable for large community networking projects in the US, Canada, and Europe. A very conscious decision was made to avoid the common practice (in Russia) of securing cheap Intel based machines running the Linux operating system in favor of a more stable, scaleable solution which will provide additional years of service.

The Moscow Director, in cooperation with her American partners, looked at the two alternatives: 1) purchasing the equipment in America (where with educational discounts we might be able to secure a better price) and shipping it to Moscow and 2) purchasing locally. The Director was able to negotiate a deal in Moscow for procuring all equipment from local vendors. It turned out it was much simpler and even less expensive than purchasing in America (even with educational discounts).

This process involved a thorough study of local markets and various options for purchase as well as reviewing many different configurations, including Intel PCs, (running Linux or Solaris-PC), Hewlett Packard, DEC and Sun. As mentioned previously, Sun servers were selected because of their high reliability, scalability, popularity in the Internet world and a very good price. The negotiations involved discussions with a large variety of potential vendors including: 1) Global One (which has a good relationship with Sun Microsystems and which tried to offer a good deal based on a cooperative agreement with NATO); 2) Elbruce Co; 3) Red Lab; 4) Biner; 5) Agat; 6) Fotto; 7) Vekotec; 8) Vaider; and 6) Stinus Coman.

After rather extensive negotiations with these firms, the Moscow Director procured for each of the three communities a Sun Enterprise Ultra 5S (Standard configuration) and for the Moscow server, a Sun Enterprise 450. The prices quoted initially werenearly $6,000 for each of the three Sun Enterprise 5's and nearly $30,000 for the Sun Enterprise 450. After several weeks of meetings and quite a bit of negotiation, the final price of Sun Ultra 5's was $3,4000 and on the Sun Enterprise 450, $15,980. The Director also had to purchase a terminal server and an eight line modem pool for each of the three community networking sites. This process required an initial study of the Russian telecommunications market, learning what equipment works best with the Russian phone system, how many customers use products from different vendors, service plans offered, etc. The decision was made to go with Cisco equipment (it is generally agreed that there is no better quality equipment available) and 33.6k US Robotics modems. The terminal server and eight modem package came to a total cost of $5,000; at the time of purchase, this was much better than available market prices.

In addition to Unix server and telecommunications equipment, each site was provided with two PC HP Vectra VE5233 MMX machines for public access and public publishing stations. Each was provided with an excellent scanning unit - a UMAX PowerLook II with Transparency (Slide) Unit enabling quality scanning for publishing of printed materials, for web publishing, and for direct scanning from transparency slides (anticipating that some materials about the local community would be available in this format).

The selection of server and telecommunications equipment for the civic networks is a very difficult challenge involving often fiercely held opinions within the UNIX community as to what comprises the most cost effective and best performing solution. The net result of the various discussions and negotiations were very good prices on equipment that is considered second to none by almost everyone who has been involved for years in the civic networking movement.

May 1998

All agreements which were discussed during the previous months between the Moscow office and the three communities were concluded and executed. Initial funds were successfully wired to Samara and Chelyabinsk during May and the official project begin date (based on the arrival of funds) established as May 15. The initial decision was made to transfer funds to the three communities in two installments. The first installment would be sent in May to start the projects. The second installment would be sent six months afterwards upon receipt of a report indicating appropriate progress on the project. Sergiev Posad, due to some additional difficulties with legal agreements, received their funding a little later and their official begin date established as June 1.

Initial request for funding the US-Russian workshop on civic networking was declined by the IREX/SPAN Program. We subsequently prepared a new proposal to the Eurasia Foundation to sponsor the workshop; to provide some support for the US office (the Center for International Networking Initiatives) that is the base for Friends and Partners activities in the US; to provide some additional equipment needed by the Moscow Friends and Partners Foundation office to help it in disseminating information about the program; and to provide some travel support for the US F&P Director to travel to each of the three civic networking sites. During the first few months of the project, the Russian and US Directors met twice with Beth Powers, a program officer with Eurasia Foundation about developing a good strategy and proposal to the Eurasia Foundation. There were quite a few difficulties in developing the proposal as Eurasia does not typically fund conference support nor equipment and generally minimizes support for US organizations. But they were very interested in the ideas expressed in the civic networking proposal and we were able to submit a proposal to them in May. (This proposal was subsequently funded but not until October, 1998.)

The Russian Director arrived in the US on May 3 for a two week trip to work on the Civic Networking project. The Russian and US Director's spent May 4 & 5 in a conference in Washington sponsored by the National Science Foundation on Wireless Internet Technologies. The NSF covered the Russian Director's cost for the conference in return for her addressing one of the break out sessions on uses of Internet technologies in Russian communities. The conference proved to be a very good expenditure of time; most of the major participants in the development and use of wireless Internet technologies were at this meeting. It also included participants from several federal agencies as well as the US Federal Communications Commission. Our interest in the wireless technologies is motivated by the civic networking program and the enormous potential these technologies hold for local Internet development in communities far from the Russian population centers. As we expand the RCNP program, we wish to to develop some applications of wireless Internet technologies for civic networks the second year of the project.

The proposal and subsequent follow up correspondence with the Eurasia Foundation is included in the appendix to this report.

During the Russians Director's trip in May, meetings were held also with the National Science Foundation (here both the Director's are working on the US Russian NaukaNet Project (a $6.5 million grant to establish the first high performance networking infrastructure between US and Russian scientific communities)). The NaukaNet project hold potential for furthering the community networking program by establishing better communication infrastructure between the U.S. and Russia and, more directly, by helping spur development of high speed networking in Russia. We consider the NaukaNet project to hold potential for furthering the community networking program by establishing better communications infrastructure between US and Russia and more pertinent to help spur development of high speed network capacity in Russia. We continue to find that one of the greatest barriers for civic networking program developments is the lack of communications infrastructure within the country.

June 1998

The month of June was devoted primarily to acquiring the equipment (that was ordered earlier), testing it, and ensuring its shipment to each of the three communities. Special agreements were signed ensuring that Friends and Partners Foundation is responsible for the equipment during two years after the completion of grant activity. After acquiring equipment from the vendors, it was moved to a warehouse where it was completely tested before sending to the three cities. The equipment was delivered during June after working with insurance companies to ensure that the equipment was safe and insured during shipment. All equipment was successfully transferred to the three communities during this time.

July 1998

At the request of organizers of the European civic community networking organization, the Moscow Director was invited to participate in the first European Civic Networking Conference held in Barcelona, Spain. The Director attended the meeting, gave two presentations about the US-Russian Civic Networking program where it was received with great interest. Many interesting meetings were held and contacts established with leaders of community networking in Europe, the US, Canada and elsewhere. In particular, productive discussions have been held with Artur Sierra (the leader of the Spanish Civic Networking community) as well as representatives of Great Britain, Holland, Canada, the Director of the American Community Networking Association, Amy Borgstrom, and Doug Schuler, a very well published and experienced community networking activist in the US, who subsequently participated in and assisted with the US- Russian Civic Networking Workshop held in December in Knoxville. The meeting was a very successful introduction to community networking efforts in Europe and provided a different perspective on successful models for community networking in different parts of the world.

Subsequent to this trip, the Russian Institute of Public Networking funded the Russian Director's participation in the Internet Society Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland. The immediate purpose of this trip was a meeting of the StarTap Board of Directors (on which both the US and Russian Directors' serve) and to have discussions about the NaukaNet project. The meeting gave opportunity to discuss and draft the response to the Eurasia's Foundation first reaction to the proposal submitted in May. Meetings were also held in Geneva with Dr. Simeon Musher, Director of the Soros Foundation's University Internet Centers Program in Moscow, with Slava Tarev, also of the Soros Foundation in Moscow and with representatives from a community network in Tashkent, Uzbekistan who expressed interest in working with Friends and Partners on expansion of their own community networking efforts.

While in Geneva, we received word from the National Science Foundation and the Russian Ministry of Science and Technology that the $6.5 million proposal to establish the NaukaNet connection was officially awarded.

August 1998

During the months of July and August additional work was accomplished on software development for the community networking program using as a base the "CSuite" package developed by community networking enthusiasts in Canada. Much of the summer was spent developing software for the civic networking program.

The Russian Director traveled to the US and worked for three weeks at the Center for International Networking Initiatives on NaukaNet and CIVnet projects. (Travel and support provided the earlier referenced NaukaNet grant.)

It was during the month of August that the financial banking crisis occurred in Russia. While the Friends and Partners Foundation had just received the second installment of funding from the Ford Foundation prior to the crisis, the decision to place all of the money in the government bank "Sberbank" resulted in no loss of funds. A letter is included in the appendix providing additional information about results of the financial crisis. Basically, it had no impact on the amount of funds from the Ford Foundation for the project but did severely slow activity in the three Russian activities because of difficulties in transferring funds during this time. The three communities and the central Moscow office all had obligations and service agreements with partner organizations which required funds transfers. After the crisis, all such agreements were changed and the ability to pay for services limited until the crisis eased in October.

During this same time, the policy for funding the three communities was changed. While the initial agreement specified two payments (at six month intervals) the agreement was modified to provide monthly payments for cities to better protect the Ford Foundation funds from any additional crisis and from the rather high inflation as the ruble devalued against the dollar.

September 1998

Work proceeded on organizing on the two week visit and US - Russian Civic Networking workshop (although final notification of the successful grant application did not occur until late in the month). The Russian Director visited two of the civic networking communities during this time. A trip was made to Sergey Posad with Vladimir Samoilov (who had been providing central technical role for the project). The goal of the trip was to assess program development, to provide technical assistance with installation of telecommunications software, and to discuss some technical and local organizational problems and their resolution. A similar trip was made to Samara immediately afterwards.

Late in September, we learned of our successful application to the Eurasia Foundation for supporting the two week visit by two representatives by each of the three communities and from the Moscow Friends and Partners office.

October 1998

In early October, the US Director arrived in Moscow (funded under the NaukaNet grant) to work on the NaukaNet and civic networking activities). While most of the time was spent on NaukaNet startup/organizational issues, a few days were spent planning some of the details for the upcoming civic networking workshop as well as furthering development of some of the software that is to be used on the civic networking servers. The Russian and US Directors met with Chris Kedzie of the Ford Foundation during this visit and provided a project update and discussed plans for future expansion of the program.

November 1998

A meeting was held in Moscow with the IREX organization (and with Aaron Lamar and Marina Muhinad in particular). The discussion was about the possibility to integrate the Friends and Partners Civic Networking Program with the rather large Internet access and training program (IATP) managed by IREX.

Encouraging meetings were held with Alexei Platonov, Director of ROSNIIROS to discuss different possibilities of assisting cities with connectivity services who participate in the RCNP. Discussions were also held about locating additional funding, different models for sustaining the networks, etc.

November was a rather intensive month in making all logistical preparations as well as preparing content for the US - Russian Civic Networking Workshop. The dates were established in October/November for all the Russian participants to arrive in the US on December 7 where they would remain until December 22. This workshop is described in more detail later.

Also, in November, an additional trip was made to Samara with Ford Foundation program officer Chris Kedzie to further evaluate some of the earlier successes of that community in developing the organizational and technical infrastructure for their civic networking project. During this trip, meetings were held with the local city and regional governments who demonstrated a good understanding of the relevance of the RCNP activities in the Samara Region and who promised to help support the activity. Encouraging meetings were also held with local Soros representatives in Samara about common goals and how the Soros organization and the Friends and Partners Foundation can help jointly support activities in Samara and the Samara Region. Later, at the December meeting in Knoxville, the Samara-based Povolzje leadership was informed of funding from Soros to support local publishing activities by sponsoring small grants competitions for NGOs participating in the local civic networking program.

Finally, at the end of November, the Russian director traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah for discussions about work with the University of Utah on Friends and Partners, NaukaNet, and the civic networking program. Particular interest was discovered within the School of Social Work at the University of Utah for collaboration on the civic networking project. This was a short trip with a return to Knoxville on December 3 to finalize preparations for the visit of the representatives of the Russian communities and for the Civic Networking Workshop.

December

Nearly the entire month of December was devoted to the US visit by representatives from each of the three Russian communities and the five day civic networking workshop in Knoxville. Because we originally envisioned (and now see more clearly) the pivotal role of this two week visit to the success of the civic networking Program, we will devote a sizable volume of this report to the description of the visit and its results.

The motivation for organizing the workshop was to take advantage of the experience of the US team and to thus facilitate the transfer of necessary technology, ideas and experience. The primary purpose of hosting the workshop in Knoxville was to take advantage of the wide base of community experience in the development of a large and successful civic network. In addition, leaders from other civic networks in the US were invited to give the Russian participants a wider exposure to ideas that have proven successful elsewhere.

After establishing the technical, communicative and organizational elements of the RCNP project, the next step towards developing a successful community network was to emphasize the need for a broad base of community input and involvement. The two-week visit and workshop were considered essential components of our plan to facilitate the active sharing and transfer of ideas, experience and technology from those with years of experience with civic networking to the Russian participants. This allowed a broad cross-section of local community individuals and organizations to directly interact with the participants.

While the timing of the workshop was much later than we had originally planned (due to the later funding schedule of the Eurasia Foundation) the other delays in the project placed the visit at about the right place in the development of the civic networks (approximately 2 months before formal announcement ceremonies).

Briefly, a rather enormous amount of material covered at the workshop, exposure to community networking projects throughout the US, the extensive interaction with the local KORRnet community network, and the discussions amongst the US-Russian Civic Networking team provided an experience which dramatically exceeded the expectations of the project directors. The following will explain some of the highlights from the two-week visit and workshop.

The seven Russian visitors arrived in Washington, DC on the evening of December 7th (the Russian Director had arrived a week earlier to prepare for the workshop). The entire day of December 8th and one-half day of December 9th were spent at the Community Networking Conference sponsored by TIIAP in which the best practice of community networking (and similar projects) in the US were highlighted. This workshop was a wonderful introduction to the "reality" of the community networking movement in the US allowed the Russian visitors a chance to gain a broad perspective on community networking efforts in the US and, very importantly, allowed the entire US-Russian Civic Networking team a good means of beginning discussion, and in general, getting to know one another. (Prior to the workshop, a very few of the team members had met each other.)

On the evening of the 8th, the entire 10 member group traveled by van to Williamsburg, Virginia where they had a full day to learn about early American history and about the basic principals and foundations upon which American democracy is based.

The group left Virginia early morning, on December 11th for a drive to Charlotte, North Carolina to meet with Steve Snow, the Director of "Charlotte's Web", one of the first large community networking projects in the US (and indeed, the first to receive funding from the US government for community networking efforts under the TIIAP program). A nearly three hour meeting gave good opportunity to learn about the history, development, organizational structure and financing arrangements of the "Charlotte's Web" project. The discussion was much more in-depth than was possible during the TIIAP conference and provided a very good opportunity for questioning one of the older American community networks and how it has achieved and maintained success in its local community. By this point in the trip, the participants were much more at ease with each other, making discussion at this meeting (and during travel time before and after) much more productive than would have been otherwise possible. The group continued that evening on to Knoxville, Tennessee, where they remained for the following week.

The weekend was utilized by the Russian visitors to complete preparations for the presentations they were to give at the workshop which was to begin Monday in Knoxville.

The workshop was jointly sponsored by the Friends and Partners Foundation in Moscow, the Center for International Networking Initiatives at the University of Tennessee (the US base of Friends and Partners) and the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Regional Network (which Friends and Partners had helped to develop four years prior).

Nearly all presentations were given in English. Simultaneous translation was provided by Tanya Stepanova and Sony Slutskaya for the three Russian participants who did not speak English.

A program guide is included in the appendix which gives a complete agenda for the five day workshop. It was an extraordinarily intensive week with many presentations and discussions, a few local tours and the chance to interact directly with those who have leadership responsibility for the KORRnet network as well as those who work on the project day-to-day (and in nearly every capacity). It would difficult to imagine a more thorough immersion into a local community network experience; and this was the reason for hosting the workshop in Knoxville. We were very fortunate to have Doug Schuler, the creator of the Seattle Community Network (and the best published author on topics related to community networking in the US) who traveled to Knoxville for the workshop and presented his experiences with the Seattle Community Network (SCN) and his perspective on community networking in other parts of the world for a full day and an additional morning session. Doug seemed likewise pleased to be able to be able to participate in the workshop and eager to continue the association and work with the Russian Civic Network Program.

As interesting and perhaps relevant as the workshop was for the Russian visitors, it was just as important an event for the local KORRnet community. Interaction with the Russian visitors encouraged them to rethink the successes and failures of their own local network, as well as providing inspiration for continuing and improving their efforts.

While all participants found local community environments different between Russia and the US, there was no question at the end of the conference that the ideals of civic networking are as relevant (if not more so) in Russian communities as they are in American communities. As one of the Russian visitors stated in his closing remarks, the workshop left two vital impressions - 1) that civic networking is real and 2) that drawing upon the experience of successful projects will help them be successful in their own local community.

Despite the very intensive days, the group still managed to meet several evenings for extended discussions about what had been covered during the day's sessions and about its relevance to efforts in their own communities. The visitors were able to stay in the same lodging (an old and nicely furnished bed and breakfast), with very good facilities for meals and for informal meetings, which provided a good environment for the after hours discussions.

On Monday morning the entire team had a roundtable discussion at the Eurasia Foundation offices in Washington, DC with representatives from several different funding organizations. The Program Officer, Jennifer Stuart, was there as well as Ford Foundation Program Officer, Chris Kedzie. The United States Information Agency (USIA) was represented by two individuals; IREX representatives Aaron Lamar and Rob Cronin attended; Don Druker of the TIIAP program (US Department of Commerce) attended and Alexi Ostrivoskiy from the Russian Embassy (Science Counselor - who works with "Friends and Partners" on the NaukaNet project) attended the entire meeting also. During this meeting, the project directors gave an overview of the Russian Civic Networking Program and some of the Russian visitors presented their individual community projects. Formal presentations were followed by a very interesting discussion about civic networking and about the potential for jointly funding a common US-Russian effort. The project directors agreed to follow up with the different organizations represented about continuing funding for the project beyond this first year.

Following this meeting, the project directors met with Chris Kedzie from the Ford Foundation and, later that day, with Rob Cronin and Aaron Lamar from IREX.

During the final evening, the entire US-Russian team had the opportunity to meet to evaluate the visit, and to make plans for the next steps of the program. A good portion of the evening was devoted to the technology which is being used (and software which is being developed) to support the civic networking efforts. This discussion provided a wonderful conclusion to a very successful two-week visit. On the following day, the Russian visitors returned to Moscow.

It was decided during this meeting that the Russian participants would begin disseminating a monthly publication to non-governmental organizations and interested communities throughout Russia who share interest in the ideals and practice of civic networking. We are still discussing the possibility of including additional US partners on this project and making this a broader US-Russian effort.

To summarize, the following represent the primary achievements of the two- week visit.

  • The meeting provided a sufficiently long time period in which the Russian visitors could get to know one another and begin working more as a team. While this had been our hope in organizing the visit, we naturally had no way of knowing if this would be successful. We were especially pleased with the personal interaction and the comfort level with each other that all of the team members from Russia and the US gained by working and traveling with each other over the two weeks.

  • The TIIAP conference provided a wonderful introduction to community networking in the US, exposing the visitors to the very best networking projects, technologies and key issues of successful community networking projects in America.

  • Throughout the two-week visit we tried to introduce the visitors to as much historical and cultural information about the US as possible. Nearly all of the visitors cited this as the genuine strength of the visit.

  • Personal meetings with leaders of three successful US community networks were very beneficial in exposing the visitors to key issues regarding successful organization and financing of community networking projects.

  • Of special interest to the visitors was the chance to hear from and talk with various members of the KORRnet community who work on KORRnet day-to-day. There was almost no element of KORRnet operation that was not presented and discussed during the workshop. All participants (both Russian and US) agreed that the technical discussions were very helpful and must be continued during the coming months (indeed, these issues will be followed up on when the US and Russian directors of the project visit each of the cities in February). Throughout the workshop, special attention was given to issues of sustainability and financing of community networking projects. It was agreed that a wide variety of funding mechanisms was helpful for planning out a financing program in each of the three communities. It was generally agreed that the best means of insuring sustainability is to first ensure that the community network makes a dramatic and visual impact in the community and that, as quickly as possible, the community sees that the civic network is essential to its own growth and development.

  • For the two project directors, perhaps the greatest lesson learned from the visit and by the close interaction with the Russian Civic Networking leaders is that, instead of developing a single model which might work best in Russian communities, the three communities chosen to participate in the first stage of the project have all developed their own unique models based on local environment and the key local organizations involved. For one community, the primary emphasis is a strong technical one (based in the Chelyabinsk Technical University). The other communities will be able to benefit from their strong technical experience and the Chelyabinsk Civic Network will be able to gain from the less technically focused efforts of the other two community networks. The Samara Community Network is based almost entirely within a consortium of non-governmental organizations and thus, has a stronger humanitarian focus. They have intentionally developed a relationship with the local technical university to assist with technical components of the project. Finally, in Sergiev Posad, although they are without a strong technical partner, they have very good relationships with different non-governmental organizations and with the local Chamber of Commerce which enables them to develop a strong community base for the project (and subsequently strong technical base).

January 1999

The month of January was spent with some follow up with U.S. and Russian participants from the December workshop, but it was also a very busy time in completing the new database software which was put in place for the CIVnet web site (as well as all other Friends and Partners services) and which is being made available to the Civic networking projects. This database software is described in detail at the URL http://www.friends-partners.org/friends/ourstory/newserver.html

February 1999

The month of February was used to prepare for the upcoming visit to each of the three cities, by the U.S. and Russian CIVnet teams and on preparing for the grand opening ceremonies for the three sites. At the same time, our team worked on reorganizing the CIVnet website and especially the area "Civic Networking Resources" (http://www.friends-partners.org/CIVnet/networking/index.html) to providing more comprehensive and more easily navigable resource for those interested in Civic networking. This reorganization was in line with one of the primary goals of the CIVnet website which is to provide information about community networking useful for those working on the creation of community networks in Russia and elsewhere in the world.

March 1999

The primary activity this month was the visit of the U.S. director to Russia to work in Moscow on various elements of the CIVnet project and to visit the grand opening ceremonies of the three new civic networks (note: travel and all expenses associated with this visit were covered under the grant by the Eurasia Foundation in support of the civic networking project). The grand opening ceremonies are described in more detail later in this report.

April 1999

The month of April was used for conducting project surveys for each of the three CIVnet sites which included distribution of a survey instrument and then collection of information from each of the cities (which in turn had to collect information from various organizations involved in their projects). The survey itself and the results are presented later in this document. Also, during the month of April the Moscow director began talking with the three communities about continuation of the program for the next two years. It was agreed that basic attention for the next two years should be focused on 1) humanitarian elements of the projects (including preparation of the material for the CIVnet servers); 2) opening of additional public access points; 3) preparing material for the general project Russian Civic Networks to include Russian language material of interest to other civic networks and English language material of general interest to the Friends and Partner Community; 4) increased collaboration with local administration and publishing information on local government services, offices and officials; 5) increased collaboration with local community organization and; 6) improved technical infrastructure.

May - June 1999

Work on the survey continued into May including preparation of some graphic summaries of the survey results.

Also, in May a request was presented to each of the communities for material for final reports which are included in this appendix. This work continued on into June simultaneous with the task of developing the next two-year funding request which was later submitted to the Ford Foundation.

We feel that the experiences of these communities will mirror many other startup civic networking projects in Russia and thus, the wider body of experience gained from working with these three cities should benefit others who participate in the Russian Civic Networking Program in the future.


Proceed to Section III or go back to Section I or the Index.


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