The Information Age Initiative
Kilkenny has been to the forefront in developing information technology and communication initiatives in the business, community, education youth, specialist and public sector through creative and innovative projects. A report has recently been published on this initiative.
Kilkenny was one of four Information Age towns in Ireland, having successfully reached the runner-up position in the information age town's competition sponsored by eircom 1997.
This honour was very significant not alone for the citizens of Kilkenny, but for the country as a whole in preparing Ireland for the Information Society.The prize fund of £1million was awarded to Kilkenny to promote joint information and communications technology concepts in association with eircom and the other information age towns.
The rollout of this program was achieved through the selection of viable and relevant projects and partnerships with various organisations, agencies and committees.
Business Education Community, Youth, Specialist and Public Sector
The Information Age Outcome
The information age initiative in Kilkenny has been wide reaching in terms of the successful delivery of an ICT strategy, which has impacted on many sectors. It is acknowledged both nationally and regionally that Kilkenny has made a significant contribution to the development of information technologies across all sectors of society. Locally we have succeeded in raising the awareness of the benefits of ICT and demonstrated models of best practice in the integration of ICT into the schools, community organisations and local agencies.
In defining the strategy and framework for the delivery of ICT in Kilkenny and selecting sectors where there had been little investment in ICT theretofore, we endeavoured to make technology accessible to the marginalised communities, to the youth and education sectors. Community organisations, agencies and schools were invited to participate by making a commitment undertake an ICT project prior to being approved for funding. Kilkenny Information Age provided the management, the co-ordination and the funding for the ICT infrastructure for these projects. Organisations such as Fas and NCTE contributed through providing funding for additional staff and material grants.
In all Kilkenny Information Age implemented forty projects, both on a large scale and a small scale. The major impact of these projects has been to make ICT more accessible, to raise an awareness of the benefits of ICT, to build the capacity of communities and schools to develop and expand their ICT initiatives. A key criteria in the selection of the projects was to ensure that these projects would deliver specific outcomes and that they had the potential to be sustained and developed by the participants themselves.
In 2004 the Information Age Funding was exhausted and the Site www.Kilkenny.ie was transferred in trust to Kilkenny County Council to maintain and develop for the people and county of Kilkenny.