Youth Movement in Informatics (SPARK) is a social responsibility project which has been implemented since August 2006 with Cisco, Istanbul Technical University, Turkish Informatics Foundation, UNDP and Youth for Habitat. The project aimed to improve the level of IT expertise among youth while encouraging volunteerism, on the other hand it aims to support young people to develop social capacities of youth and help them to participate in the new information-based global economy to realize their full potential through peer education model on advanced IT and networking skills. Young people from different cities that are geographically distributed to several provinces of Turkey were selected to become trainers.
They were provided with the Computer Networking Skills within the framework of Ciscos Networking Academy Program. These young instructors taught networking skills to socio-economically disadvantaged and unemployed young people in their cities. The training was given and taken on a voluntary basis. In this way NetAcad trainings were given by the youth for the youth. Youth Movement in Informatics is one of the unique examples which bring together technology, IT, social responsibility and volunteerism. Volunteerism is the main power of the project.
Volunteer instructors both develop their personal capacities, develop relations with different institutions, meet with new people, gain work experience, on the other hand they support disadvantaged young people in their cities and participate on development of their country. The graduates of SPARK are trained in an internationally recognized IT educational program, and are empowered in the job market. SPARK project is a result of such cooperation between the private sector and the civil society. In the first year of the project 8 volunteer trainers were trained and they delivered ITE AND CCNA 1-2 trainings in 6 cities (Ankara, Istanbul, Yalova, Hatay, Kocaeli, Izmir) where they trained 120 young people.
In 2008 the number of trainers increased to 25 and 10 student trainings was given to those young people who were otherwise unable to reach to the NetAcad trainings. As a result of these trainings which were given in 4 cities (Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara and Rize) a total of 157 young people became students of the Networking Academy Program. In 2008 ITE module was translated to Turkish therefore SPARK focused on ITE training in Turkish which enabled us to broaden the reach of the project. In 2009 both ITE and CCNA (which are now translated to Turkish as well) trainings will continue as we increase the number of cities and number of volunteer trainers. Constant demands from the enthusiastic young people from all over Turkey make sure the continuation youth enthusiasm