HEART Project Launched

L-Davidson Charles, Minister Dr Edmond Mansoor, Martin Roos and Ashton FaeronAntigua St. John's - The Ministry of Telecommunications, Science, and Technology, in collaboration with telecommunications company LIME has launched a new, multi-million dollar ICT initiative called the Human Entrepreneurship and Assistive Resource Technologies (HEART) project.

A release described HEART as “a multi-faceted, utterly revolutionary ICT project that is projected to impact directly on thousands of Antiguans and Barbudans.”

Minister of Telecommunications, Science and Technology Dr Edmond Mansoor said, “We are looking to assist people who for whatever reason, for whatever excuses, they have been marginalized. And we have a philosophy in this government that we will leave no one behind in the ICT revolution.”

This the third collaborative project between the government and LIME. Dr Mansoor said it will have the widest reach and the capacity to change the lives of many Antiguans & Barbudans.

“The HEART project is going to make a tangible and virtual impact on thousands of people; it will touch many lives, it is a unique blend of entrepreneurship and social responsibility. It will inspire people to challenge their intellectual boundaries and embrace new ideas,” Dr Mansoor said.

Martin Roos, CEO of LIME Caribbean said what attracted him to the HEART project is the opportunity to make a fundamental impact on an island that the telecommunications company has served for 60 years.

“I think what you are doing here is unique,” he said. “Telecoms is the biggest transformational force on this planet during the last decade, and it is a transformational force that provides all inclusive democracy and that provides opportunity for people. It is those two forces the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has wisely decided to embrace into something very good for its country.”

HEART will also have at its epicenter training in ICTs and entrepreneurship. Under HEART, the government has already begun providing entrepreneurship training to people and businesses.

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer said, “I am confident that HEART will inspire Antiguans & Barbudans to challenge their intellectual boundaries and embrace new ideas. The programmes unique blend of entrepreneurship and social responsibility represents the government’s commitment to a global reach by ordinary Antiguans and Barbudans.”

LIME General Manager Davidson Charles said the discussions on the project extended for over a year before all parties decided on the components.  

“At LIME,” he said, “we recognise that our social, economic, and environmental responsibilities to our stakeholders are integral to our business and we aim to demonstrate these responsibilities through our actions and within our corporate policies.”

Additionally, the government will soon appoint an “E-Inclusion Champion,” who will be the focal point for implementing the Accessible Technology Charter that the government will sign onto.

“We have a number of people who have sat on the margins and have not been captured by this ICT revolution,” Dr Mansoor said.

The benefits of signing the charter include reaffirming the government’s commitment to accessibility.

“It will inspire conversations in the community about the need to ensure ICT services are accessible to all persons,” the minister said. “It will also set a framework for making progress on this important agenda.”

Under the “Assistive Resources Technology (ART)”component of the programme, two people will be trained in how ICTs can be used to radically empower special needs individuals.

Dr Mansoor said, “The Government of Antigua and Barbuda under the HEART project will hire two experts to assist in raising awareness of Dyslexia and Autism. And in addition we will hire two qualified Antiguans who will be trained in the field of Clinical Education Psychology to assist persons with Dyslexia, Autism and Special Needs. One person in each category will begin training by September 1st, 2014.”

The government will also host a pan-Caribbean summit on E-Accessibility in partnership with the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO). The target audience will be officials in ICT, education, finance, youth, civil society, and the private sector.

Beneficiaries under the HEART programme will include anyone with a challenge - physical or otherwise - whether in an institution or at home.

Some of the institutions that will benefit from the project are the Unit for the Blind and Visually Impaired & School for the Deaf, Adele School, Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital, Mount St John’s Medical Centre, Fiennes Institute, Industrial Workshop for the Blind, Vocational & Rehabilitation Centre, special care institutes and homes for the Elderly, Boys’ Training School, St John’s Hospice, St Vincent de Paul Daycare and Activity Centre for the Elderly, Hope Institute, Sunshine Home for Girls, and the Amazing Grace Foundation.

Reporting by Caribarena news, publishing by Ofer Shaked.

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1 Comments In This Article   


No love for country!

#1 Wadadlikid » 2014-03-11 07:49

I wonder when Dr. Mansoor will approach APUA to spearhead an initiative? Very interesting that the minister of Telecommunications for an island is working so closely with Digicel (Irish owned) to push the GATE initiative and now LIME (British owned) to push the HEART initiative. What happened to the Antigua owned and operated APUA? It is almost as if he is trying to undermine the company into inexistence. Several things I could pin point, but in the name of not getting into anybody's bed g**, all I'm going to say is Hmmm...


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