Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Field research in Latvia | e-inclusion projects in Preili and Ventspils

On Wednesday and Thursday during our visit to Latvia, we had the opportunity to travel to the southern and western provinces of this country. Since there are many commonalities between the two e-inclusion projects, I decided to write about them jointly and point in separate posts to unique features of the e-skills training programs of these organizations. First, a brief intro to Preili and Ventspils, as we all know locality matters.

On Wednesday, we traveled to Southern Latvia to visit one of LIKTA's partner the Society Preili NGO centre, in a beautiful town called Preili located in the Latgale region. This region was declared one of the poorest in the newly expanded European Union, and similar to what we witnessed in Bialystok, Poland, the lack of opportunities has caused a significant migration of the workforce to Ireland and the UK. The region main economic activity is agriculture and of the most important sources of jobs is a big dairy farm, located at the heart of the city. This region has a strong Russian population

On Thursday, field research took us to Western Latvia to Ventpils, a beautiful port city located in the Kurzeme region and in the only part of the Baltic Sea that doesn't freeze during the winter. The city is also known for its Universities which attract a large population of students from all over the country. We visited the Digital Center of Ventspils. The city's main economic activities revolve around the port, the Universities, a chemical plant, and some small and medium enterprises.

During these two days, we interviewed NGO staff, trainers, and trainees. We visited the training facilities, and another important ICT public access point: libraries

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