“Atos Origin and IICD work together on implementing online training and education tools in developing countries”

Utrecht, 27 March 2008

Atos Origin, an international IT services company, signed an alliance with the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD), a development aid organisation. The agreement is primarily focused on strengthening local organisations' expertise in the field of education and training in Africa, but also on strengthening IICD expertise in the field of eLearning.

Under the name 'Knowledge 4 Development', Atos Origin's unit Learning Solutions in the Netherlands will be donating 80 working days as well as its educational and technical knowledge to IICD and local organisations in Africa. Among other things, Atos Origin Learning Solutions supports IICD in the implementation of an online training tool for self-analysis and evaluation. Consultants will also provide support for various local IICD projects and activities, from the development of an eLearning tool for training evaluation partners in various countries to educating local training partners in Zambia in the development of multimedia training materials. IICD employees will also profit from the cooperation, and will gain insight into the most recent developments in the field of eLearning.

Better teachers in front of the classroom
IICD has been involved in educational, governance, agricultural and small business projects in Zambia since 2000. “Information technology is only being used incidentally in Zambia's schools. The use of new training methods in the educational programme – including IT applications like video, CD-ROMs and the internet – is of crucial importance for the quality of education. Curricula can be updated simply and easily, and it helps teachers who must work without facilities such as a lab or other tools to teach certain concepts with the aid of computer simulations”, says Olaf Erz, Country Manager Zambia for IICD. “ Additionally, Atos Learning Solutions' eLearning tool is capable of training and supporting more local partners to self-evaluate and manage project progress.”

Shared goals
The cooperation between Atos Origin Learning Solutions and IICD seamlessly integrates into both organisations' activities. IICD supports local organisations in nine countries in Africa and Latin America in developing practical and durable solutions for fighting poverty and improving the quality of basic facilities including education, healthcare and governance. The solutions are based on both modern multimedia solutions – computers, internet, e-mail – and traditional channels including radio and television. Atos Origin Learning Solutions is a business unit specialised in the development of training and educational solutions. This expertise provides significant added value for an organisation like IICD, who believe that local ability to apply knowledge and information is the key to sustainable development in developing countries.

“This agreement is part of an initiative by the Atos Origin Corporate Sustainability Program, and provides fantastic possibilities for implementing our service provision in projects focused on improving living conditions in developing countries. Additionally, cooperation allows our consultants to apply their skills under circumstances completely unlike those we are used to in the West. I have the utmost confidence that we will be able to offer actual added value to IICD's ambition to implement information technology for sustainable development in these regions”, according to Richard Kerssens, Executive Vice President Systems Integration at Atos Origin.

About Atos Origin
Atos Origin is one of the world's leading international information technology services companies. Its business is turning client vision into results through the application of consulting, systems integration and managed operations. The company's annual revenues total more than €5.8 billion and it employs over 50,000 people in 40 countries. Atos Origin is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic Games and has a client base of international blue-chip companies across all sectors. Atos Origin is listed on the Paris Eurolist Market and trades as Atos Origin, Atos Worldline and Atos Consulting.

IICD: ICT and sustainable development
The use of Information and Communcation Technology (ICT) for combating poverty and promoting sustainable development may seem like an unusual combination, but it is not a new one. Over the past ten years, various western nations have made ICT part of their policy for development cooperation. The thought underlying the use of ICT for development cooperation is preventing the formation of a 'North-South digital divide' that will only leave developing nations further behind. Additionally, it has been shown that free and accessible information has a positive effect on improving living conditions and the quality and availability of basic facilities including education, healthcare and government services. Within the Netherlands, the International Institute for Communication and Development (www.iicd.org) is specialised in using ICT for development cooperation. In cooperation with partners including Hivos and Cordaid, it supports local organisations in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean with training, pilot projects, policy advice, evaluation and knowledge development in the field of ICT and education, healthcare, governance and agriculture.

For more information:

Atos Origin IICD ,Corporate Communications
Erica Prins Hilde Eugelink
+31 6 30 43 73 29 <+31 70 311 73 11
erica.prins@atosorigin.com Heugelink@iicd.org