Digital skills are essential for government institutions as they seek to improve efficiency and offer better quality services to citizens.
The e-Citizen programme for the National Police in Colombia, which has developed the essential ICT skills of more than 110,000 police officers, has recently been awarded the prestigious pan-Latin America FRIDA prize for its contribution to the development of the information society in Colombia. As a result of the programme, more than 70% of all police officers in Colombia are now e-Citizen certified. This 70% now possess the essential ICT skills to be able to effectively use the Internet and the IT infrastructure available to them. This increases efficiency and productivity, is cost effective, sets a positive example for other government bodies, and most importantly, better enables the citizens of Colombia to engage with essential e-Government services.
According to Cr. Guillermo León Barón, Strategic Communications Manager of the project:
“Having the skills to use ICT makes our work easier and more efficient and means we can also improve how we administer and manage ourselves and our businesses. This is of benefit to the whole community. These days, not having Internet skills can cause problems. If we want to be the ones promoting change at every level of Colombian society, then one way to begin this change is to improve the ICT skills of our police officers. They act as multipliers within our communities. If their skills improve then this has a knock-on effect throughout the community.”
The improved ICT skills of workers within government institutions have a measurable impact on the efficiency of these organisations and the communities which they serve, but also enhance the career prospects of the civil servants working within these institutions, and contribute to their personal development and lifelong learning by increasing their access to e-learning educational resources.
 The ECDL Foundation e-Citizen programme is an introductory certification that develops candidates’ essential ICT skills in areas, such as internet and email usage. For more information, please visit www.ecdl.org
 FRIDA stands for the ‘Regional Fund for Digital Innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean’. The e-Citizen programme for the National Police was the winner in the ‘More Voted + More Creative’ category. There were more than 60 projects competing for the FRIDA Awards.