This is to be a youth training project - focusing on internet skills development. The objective of the work undertaken in the program will be to bring internet to the CV, and bring the CV to internet.
The primary activity of the working group will be the co-ordinated development and maintenance of World Wide Web pages for :
Several community databases already exist, but all are expensive to maintain, variously out of date, and underused. The recent development on internet of hypertext "web" pages provides a means to address some of this increasing deficit.
Web pages are a good vehicle for "fuzzy" databases, where absolute accuracy is not essential. They are easy to develop and maintain, and can be used to generate use and interest by the community in general. Web pages can be used to introduce the community to internet, and internet to the community.
At present, however, there is a little commercial benefit for local business on internet - which is still primarily oriented towards accessing distant rather than local information resources. Hence there have been only a few pages posted on internet by local organisations, and those posted are not of a high quality.
A high level of commercial activity is necessary to induce associated development in the local government, non-profit and general public use of the medium. In the absence of any such momentum, it is unlikely that other resources will, without some deliberate action, generate a valley internet presence. Various organisations - local and provincial government, Economic Development Society, Chamber of Commerce, School Board, for example - have peripheral interests in this task, but lack direct responsibility and the necessary funds.
We propose that a youth training project be used to begin filling these gaps. Youth in the community with skills, aptitude and interest can be trained through a working program in internet development.
For this to be productive for the community, the application needs to be substantial, and employ many youth effectively. To attract youth in numbers, the program must be not only informative but also otherwise rewarding. Specifically, it must pay and it had better be fun.
This demands some form of local commercial sponsorship. It will not work to ask the local community for cash, and while goods and services in kind are welcome, they can only provide a small part of the support needed. Hence a different method of sponsorship is required; we believe this can be simply provided through a local currency system.
In summary, this project is worth doing, and it can't be done quickly or properly through "normal" channels. It can however be readily organised with local money. This approach will generate the direct results, and it will also provide many local businesses with a low cost and risk free introduction both to internet and to local currency.
For discussion purposes, consider a $100,000 budget. This should be sufficient to provide for :
The working style will focus on the the use of internet, so there will be major emphasis on tele-working, and the major requirements will be that trainees have sufficient access to computers and phone connections. This may be available, for some, in their own homes.
There will be a need for some group training.
Realistically, this is most easily generated in local money contributed by local commercial interests.
There may be some benefit in exploring employment and training grants, particularly where those programs match funds locally raised.
It seems reasonable that around 200 businesses can be engaged as supporters of this project, with average provision of $500 each. Some larger businesses will contribute substantially more, as core sponsors.
The funds directed to the program will be earned by the trainees for their work. An exclusive income of local money will not in itself meet their needs, as almost all uses of local money - retail purchases and restaurant spending for example - will require some conventional money with the local. Indeed, there will be cash required for income taxes incurred.
There will therefore be a further need, that each trainee arrange for personal sponsors to regularly exchange with them cash for local money. The sponsors will merely be commiting themselves to shopping locally, and in particular with the businesses that are supporting the youth internet initiative.
The newspaper is particularly central to the project, for the broad distribution of material drawn from the internet, for the engagement of the community at large in providing material for the community pages, and for generating focus for both sponsor groups - commercial and general public.
The specific product proposed is :
This material will have strong news, public interest, reference and entertainment value and will justify publishing costs as editorial content in its own right. The sponsoring newspaper will retain full editorial control of the published material.
There are obvious linkages available with other media such as local radio and community cable networks.
In order to ensure some levity in the program, one task undertaken will be the organisation and maintenance of a 3 on 3 basketball league and tournament for (primarily) the youth in the Valley.
The reports of this league, on internet, will be a continuing theme of the project, and will help develop public interest.
Landsman Community Services Ltd has been active in the design and publication of LETSystems support materials for 12 years. This project is part of that continuing process.
At present, the most important part of the introduction of local currencies in any community is the induction of the first 5% of the commercial accounts. The recommended strategy is based on a general pattern of trading - the Community Support Cycle (CSC) - that links the business community, the non-profit / government sector and the general public.
This project is a prototype for establishing a CSC, and is designed for communities with populations of 100,000 or less.
Since we are concerned not only with this particular project in the Comox Valley, but with the application to many other communities, our priority must remain with design, development, evaluation and publication.
It is more important for us to discover how people adopt this tool than it is to simply implement it. Thus the role of lcs and associates in this process is certainly to be engaged, but also to retain an arm's length relationship and see how others apply themselves.
And there are minor but significant and pressing financial considerations.
virtually a corporation - March 17, 1995
Landsman Community Services Ltd
1600 Embleton Crescent, Courtenay, B.C. V9N 6N8
+1 604 338-0213 - firstname.lastname@example.org - http://www.u-net.com/gmlets