Web Access for Civil Society Initiatives

Overview of Project to Promote Internet Access for Regional Economic Development and Civil Society in the Middle East

The goal of the WACSI project is to develop internet-based systems for sharing information among organizations that are working on societal reform initiatives in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria; recently, NGOs from Turkey and Iraq have also joined the project. The WACSI website has been developed to provide links to data sources, present partner information, and share information generated by partners. The project's participants have identified selected issues that help initiate and sustain reform and that will benefit from regional cooperation and information sharing. SIRCS and UNM’s Earth Data Analysis Center have significant societal and technical expertise that can be applied to developing internet-based knowledge and information sharing systems, including data management, geographic information analysis and mapping, and decision support tools. SIRCS/WACSI also helps their Middle East partners develop the infrastructure to access the internet and maintain web sites. We are currently seeking funding to support:

  1. A technical project with the Euphrates-Tigris Initiative for Cooperation on water resources in the Tigris-Euphrates river basin in Turkey/Iraq/Syria/Iran
  2. A civil society project on the role of Islam within global civil society and the national public arenas in Egypt and Iran

Richard L. Wood, Mozafar Banahashemi, and Soumia Dhar of SIRCS direct the WACSI project in collaboration with partners in the region, with technical support from Karl Benedict and Hays Barrett of the UNM Earth Data Analysis Center.

WACSI team at UNM: Anwar Ouassini, Vikram Bakshi, Mozafar Banihashemi, Soumia Dhar, Rich Wood, and Waleed Fahria Mahdi

WACSI group
Syrian, Turkish, Iraqi, and Swedish participants in the 2009 WACSI-ETIC technical workshop at Gaziantep, Turkey, along with UNM's Karl Benedict & Richard L. Wood and ETIC's Lina Sergie Atassi & Faisal el Rifai.