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Public Library Braka Miladinovci, Macedonia – employment information service and ICT skills training for women
Jobs are scarce in the municipalities of Radovis and Konce in south-eastern Macedonia. An estimated one in five people is out of work; of these, 38% are women aged from 20-40. In 2010, the library recognized that economic recession was only one reason for high unemployment among women. Other reasons included women’s lack of ICT skills, the cost of training, and poor self-confidence and motivation. To address these issues, librarians designed the Creative Minds Create Job Opportunities service.
With support from EIFL-PLIP, the library bought 13 laptops, wireless internet routers and a printer. Working with NGOs that offer services for women and the local government employment agency, librarians developed a training curriculum that integrated motivation and confidence-building with ICT and online job seeking skills. They marketed the service in local media, encouraging women to sign up for the training by telling them about the ways in which ICT would change their lives.
In 18 months, the library trained 82 people, 61 women and 21 men –
Women service users told the library:
‘The training increased my self-confidence and brought some light in my gray day-to-day routine.’
‘Now I realize that the things I emphasized in my CV previously were not important at all. I am amazed at how many things about myself I can tell other people that I was not aware of.’
Read Information and Resource Centre (RIRC), Nepal - ICT training for women and children from slum communities
The library’s ‘Capacity Building Initiative for Women and Children’, which started in 2010, targets women and children from impoverished slum communities in Nepal's capital city, Kathmandu, and pupils of government schools who do not have access to ICT. In just two years, the library has reached over 1,000 people through training, awareness-raising activities and empowerment workshops. Activities and training for women include intensive ICT skills courses, basic literacy, English language, business skills and personal development.
Over 90 women and girls have attended computer training. Ten have found jobs and are now earning a living wage.
One trainee, Ms Kalpana Pandey, travelled to Kathmandu from Gorkha district in western Nepal in search of a job. But potential employers kept turning her away because she did not have computer skills, and her dream of a better life seemed shattered – until she attended the library's free ICT training. Now she is working as a marketing representative in a finance company. 'The library has helped economically poor women like me to become independent by providing free computer training!' she said.