Web 2.0 Workshop in the City of Sun

Last Tuesday we had our “intro to Web 2.0 for Social Change” workshop in Baalbek, which is 85 km north east of Beirut.

Baalbek is known in history as Heliopolis or City of the Sun, and it is famous for its great castle and ruins.

However, like most rural areas in Lebanon, there is no reliable high-speed Internet and web literacy is not at its best.

On top of that, electricity was very unstable with several blackouts and even the private generator was not on all the time

Despite all this, we had a good and useful workshop. More than 20 people from different NGOs working in Bekaa in different sectors participated.

We have organized this event in collaboration with CRTDA.

Mohamed and I gave our presentations in Arabic, while we used some tools and the help of two interpreters to instantly translate Jessica’s presentations.

Most of the attendees said they use the basic internet tools like chat and email to communicate and cooperate internally or with other NGOs, also they use it for research and gathering information.

Jessica’s first presentation was an introduction to web 2.0 technologies and patterns and second presentation was a group of case studies from all over the world about how these tools are being used for social change and conflict resolution.

My presentations were about blogs basics and potentials and later on Wikis and Online Collaboration Tools.

Mohamed explained the RSS and social bookmarking and their benefits for individuals and organizations.

Attendants were very interested, asked great questions and shared some of their experience with some of these tools.

The main obstacle is the relatively slow, unreliable Internet connection, but fortunately, connectivity and accessibility are getting better and hopefully this issue will be solved soon in Lebanon along with the electricity issue!

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SMEX is a registered Lebanese NGO that works to advance self-regulating information societies in the Middle East and North Africa.

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