GB No. 2(21)/96
Computers and the Internet are the most vital and integral part of an expanding global community. All one needs is a telephone, computer and modem, and access to the Internet can be as simple as making a phone call. The Internet, with its vast amount of information and possibilities for information exchange (via e-mail and other services) can radically improve the way Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) function in a democratic society. Access to NGOs worldwide, as well as networks and databases, will bring about a more effective Polish NGO community.
Several NGO networks already exist in many Central and Eastern European countries: Czech Republic-Econnect, Slovak Republic-SEPS, Hungary-GreenSpider Network, Romania-Strawberry Network, Ukraine-EnviNet, and others. Even associations of Central and Eastern European networks have been organized: Association of Central European Networks for Electronic Telecommunication (ACENET), and the Central and Eastern European Networking Association (CEENet).
The ultimate goal of the MOST is to improve communication and cooperation between Polish NGOs, making the actions of the NGO Community more effective. MOST, as the name implies, will be the electronic bridge for communication between NGOs, government, and of course, the Internet. Towards this goal, the MOST will initially provide environmental NGOs, and eventually all NGOs, with access to e-mail and other Internet resources, thus enabling them to communicate rapidly and effectively, furthering cooperation throughout Europe and the world. Because of its effectiveness and ease of use, e-mail services and training will be the most important resource provided by the MOST.
Initially MOST will operate free of charge to users. How long this period of free use will be, will depend on the developmental phases progress. The growth of the MOST will broaden it's user base, enabling it to become self-sufficient through minimal monthly user fees.
All users will be able to access the MOST by using software provided by the MOST. This will enable users to access the World Wide Web (WWW). At the MOST office there will also be several computers for walk-in user access, as well as technical support personnel.
Computer training is the most important part of the project. Training will focus on software configuration (for modem connections), and the many different tools used on the Internet. Several MOST workshops will be held in different areas of Poland. The Environmental Management Training Center (EMTC) in Warsaw may assist in the training. The EMTC program is sponsored through the REC Budapest with international assistance from sources such as the USEPA.
MOST may share office space with an established organization thus reducing operating expenses. Technical support for the MOST will be given by the MOST's staff. The staff will not only update databases, and other MOST resources, but also provide support for dial-in questions from users having trouble connecting.
The MOST Network will be developed in three phases. (1)The first phase will be the organizational phase; members will be selected, a board chosen, etc. (2)The second phase will be devoted to the purchase and installation of equipment, connection of NGOs, and the training of users. At the completion of Phase 2, an evaluation of the MOST will be performed. Following Phase 2, the MOST will begin to offer services to the entire NGO Community in Poland. (3) Phase 3 will focus on the expansion of services, including the development of additional local nodes, and the upgrading of existing nodes. Training of users will continue during this phase as well. At the conclusion of Phase 3, a users and project analysis will be conducted, and user fees set.
Most will provide NGOs:
Initially the information available from MOST will range from the latest environmental calendar of events to updated environmental laws. Also included will be a database of active NGOs using MOST. One of the most important issues above, is the User Suggestion Box. The exact content of the MOST will depend on user suggestions and needs. It will also be possible, following the training program, for individual NGOs to create their own WWW pages.
MOST is now officially registered with NASK. MOST will operate under the "domain name" most.org.pl. An example of an address for an NGO will look something like this: USER@NGO Name.most.org.pl Representatives of MOST attended a conference for the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in Slovenia the first week of October.
The MOST project was presented to the attendees, who represented NGO and Human Rights networks from all over the world. MOST will become APC partners with Econnect in Prague, in an effort to eventually become a full APC Member.
MOST information is also available through the World Wide Web (WWW):
For additional information please feel free to contact the individuals listed below or through the MOST e-mail address:
Peace Corps Volunteer
Urząd Miasta i Gminy
Plac Wolnosci 1
Krzysztof A. Wychowalek
MLE-Miedzyuczelniane Lobby Ekologiczne
ul. Piotrkowska 77 p.14
tel: (042) 30-17-49
MOST e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org