Project Activities of the Sergiev Posad Civic Network

Executors of the Project:

Foundation for Social Problems
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sergiev Posad

Director of the Project: Victor Nemov

Description of the Project

The project is designed to promote a broad dialog among various organizations and individuals in this district of the Moscow Region. Using the telecommunication network sponsored by the Russian Civic Network and modern technologies, the project aims at demonstrating the way social organizations can help stimulate people for the improvement of their lives and of their community, and to serve the needs of disadvantaged citizens - refugees and newly arrived re-settlers from CIS countries, demobilized military, unemployed and others - through access to electronic information services, specific training and various opportunities. Of the three communities involved in the RCNP at this stage, the Sergiev Posad Civic Network (SPCN) has had to work the hardest to establish the technical and engineering elements of the project. Starting with very little technical experience (and almost no local Internet infrastructure), the SPCN has successfully installed all equipment provided by F&P, established local Internet connectivity (through a good partnership with a commercial ISP which sees the value of the SPCN to the local community), and is currently implementing local modem access to the SPCN.

The special strengths of the SPCN are found in its strong relationship to the local Chamber of Commerce and its efforts to involve government, non-government and commercial organizations in the development and governance of the SPCN. The successful integration of both public and private organizations is encouraging to other RCNP communities and to project organizers. The consortium of local organizations involved in the development of the SPCN include the "Russia House" Foundation (local migrant and social service organization), the "Golden Ring" tourism firm, the Sergiev Posad Chamber of Commerce, local libraries, hotels and the Sergiev Posad Humanitarian Institute. These organizations participate directly in the governance of the civic network through their involvement in the central Council of Directors. But the SPCN has made special effort to reach a broader section of the community through their agreements with local Internet service provider, the local mayor's office, district newspaper, regional newspaper, local rescue service, local university, a hospital for socially unsupported people, a union of invalid artists and craftsmen, and other units of local administration. This very broad outreach into the community (and to government, non-government and private firms) represents a primary goal of civic networking.

The SPCN has provided four seminars and workshops for leaders of local NGOs and mass-media, involving 24 individuals. They have also established agreements with different NGOs libraries, local government offices to open 6 public access locations.

The project has successfully installed the technical equipment provided by F&P, has established the initial WWW site for the RCNP, has established public access sites (located at different sites in the area), and begun developing local information content about Sergiev Posad and the surrounding region.

Description of the Grand Opening Ceremony

The grand opening ceremony of the Sergiev Posad Civic Network (SPCN) was held on March 23, 1999 with many participants from the local community and some guests from other locations. Participants in the day's ceremonies and meetings included: Victor Nemov (project director and head of foundation for Social Programs), Oleg Starkov (co-director and head of the local Chamber of Commerce), Larissa Voitkova (head of Public Women's Organization "Soglasiye"(Harmony)), Tamara Kobyakova (head of Interregional Public Association for disabled painters and retired painters), Olga Kosenko (head of Public Ecological Movement "Biosphere and Biopolicy"), Oksana Samoilenko (Rescue Service), Irina Lenskaya (Cultural-Education Center "Inga"), Vladimir Lebedev (network development, Sergiev Posad Humanitarian University), local students, librarians, local administration, and local newspaper, radio and television media representations. Special guests included Natasha Bulashova, Tanya Stepanova, Greg Cole (all representing F&P), Chris Kedzie (Ford Foundation), Alexander Stolyarov (Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies), Sergey Agapov (Samara Civic Networking Project), Alexander Vasilyev (Pereslavl-Zalessky).

The ceremonies began with representatives of local NGOs talking about their activities and plans and about significance to such of the Internet and Civic Networking. Victor Nemov told about the project "The Town of Craftsmen" - the unique Cultural and Ethnographic town similar to the open air historical/ethnographic museum in Williamsburg Virginia (USA). After meeting with local NGOs and educational representatives, the group met with Deputy Head of Region Administration - Alexander Dolotsev. He expressed gratitude to organizers for creation of civic networking. He told about interest of local administration in continuation of this project, about public benefit of this project for every city's service, about its significance for direct communication with population of Sergiev-Posad.

The ceremony then moved went to Gorlovsky Municipal Library, where there was held a grand opening of the new public access point. Visitors of library, students, and journalists attended this ceremony. This event was of great importance for Sergiev-Posad city as the visitors of library have a free access to Internet and local resources. Local TV channel showed a fragment of this ceremony in its show "The Day of City". Local newspapers "Vpered", "Vash Interes", "Zerkalo' published articles about the Grand Opening Ceremony.

The second half of day was devoted to the work in office of Foundation for Social Programs. Discussions about further work of the SPCN, further development of civic networking in Moscow region and about specific plans to develop civic networking project in Michourinsk town (Tambov region).

Sergiev Posad Article
A newspaper article describing the Sergiev-Posad
Grand Opening Ceremony

Sergiev Posad 1
Information about local government in Sergiev Posad

Sergiev Posad 2
An extensive directory listing of public, private
and non-profit organizations in Sergiev Posad

Sergiev Posad 2
Complete information about the Chamber of Commerce and
industry of Sergiev Posad

More information about Sergiev Posad can be found at Russian Communities on the Net page.

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