The Information Technology Mentors Alliance (ITMA) was formed in 2002 when the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) and The World Information Technology and Services Alliance entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The goal of the ITMA Alliance is to improve the capacities of information and communications (ICT) trade associations in Africa and Asia Near East through a public/private alliances approach. To achieve the purposes of the MOU, USAID, ITAA and WITSA agreed to jointly cooperate on technical assistance, education, training, and mechanisms for association development and sustainability as well as develop programs for improving institutional linkages.
The unique blend of institutional strengthening, advocacy support, and specific issue training via the Alliance enables private sector organizations to expand the use of information and communications technologies and foster economic growth and development. The associations benefit directly from the knowledge and experience of Alliance mentors by obtaining a host of new tools for expanding member service offerings, enhancing their governance structures, and improving their financial management. The associations, in turn, drive the knowledge they gain into their member companies and ultimately into the business sector. In addition, the associations develop and maintain active advocacy programs promoting beneficial ICT policies and greater use of government ICT.
Member companies also benefit by gaining access to workforce development and technical certification programs, marketing expertise, and new avenues for achieving public policy objectives, all of which build a firm foundation for economic growth. Individual citizen’s benefit from greater access to new technologies and improved economies brought about by more productive business sectors.
ASIA NEAR EAST ACTIVITES
Since its inception in 2002, the ITMA program has delivered concrete benefits to private sector ICT organizations in five (5) countries (Bangladesh, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines and Sri Lanka) in the Asia Near East region by equipping the organizations with critical knowledge and tools in several specific areas.
A. Association Development and Governance
ITMA delivers a workshop series designed for an environment without a private sector IT Association. ITMA leaders conduct exploratory workshops to identify the barriers that impede the achievement of companies’ business objectives. The workshops also highlight joint activities the private sector can undertake to focus on removing industry barriers. The other main component of the workshop focuses on association fundamentals, constitution and by-laws.
B. Association Strengthening and Public Policy & Advocacy
For environments where IT Associations exist, ITMA delivers a series of workshops designed to strengthen the association through strategic planning and advocacy exercises. ITMA has developed a strategic planning workshop comprised of a series of interactive exercises that will produce a draft strategic plan. The plan will serve as a “roadmap” for the association over the next three to five years. Additionally, the workshop will address the important role of advocacy in the development and growth of the association and the economic development of the private sector IT industry.
C. Association Marketing
The ITMA has developed a marketing workshop that will give corporate executives new skills in marketing and business development, which will directly expand ICT markets. Elements of the program include understanding the market, and defining market strategies, strategic communications, effective marketing, and ensuring customer satisfaction. A valuable service that associations can provide to their members is training on how to penetrate markets effectively
Within targeted economies facing challenges in sustaining their ICT sectors, the ITMA program brings private sector organizations together toward a shared vision. Further, it draws out creative ideas for generating new member services and new revenue sources, equips associations with knowledge and skills for making the regulatory climate more positive for business, and gives companies powerful tools for competing in the global marketplace.