The word technology refers to the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, including machinery, modifications, arrangements and procedures. Technologies significantly affect human as well as other animal species’ ability to control and adapt to their natural environments.
But technology in Yemen is still lacking and one of the hopes of advancing Yemen in technology is the Telecommunications and Information Technology Syndicate, but unfortunately few care about it. Mohammed Ahmed Al-Riashi, the head of Telecommunications and Information Technology Syndicate with a Masters degree in Information Technology talked with National Yemen about the syndicate and the difficulties they are facing.
Could you please tell me about the idea of establishing the syndicate?
Actually the idea came from some youth in the telecommunications and information technology field. The idea of the syndicate was because of the suffering of the Yemeni youth in this field. They don’t have any rights and there isn’t anyone or any law to protect their rights in the field of IT. The technological awareness in Yemeni is so low so we came with the syndicate idea and came up with different plans that serve the youth.
ICT Yemen Syndicate was founded in November 2009 by a group of youth holding different qualifications in various fields of information technology, such as software, web site design, maintenance, networking, and graphics. After that we communicated with the stakeholders and a meeting was approved for the election of the administrative body and then we got publicity No.(137) for the year 2009 and became the first syndicate in the Republic of Yemen that was concerned about information and communication technology.
Have you encountered to any obstacles during the syndicate founding?
In fact, we didn’t find any difficulties while publishing, but the obstacles appeared after the publishing. We finished preparing the syndicate and all agreed about it but after that we discovered we have no rights, as if we are not Yemenis.
What kind of rights do you mean?
Our rights should come from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Any syndicate has a specific amount of support from this ministry. Unfortunately, we received nothing until now. Actually there is no support for youth in Yemen and the government doesn’t care about us and we ask for a rapid intervention from the stakeholders to solve the syndicate’s problem with the ministry.
Did you receive any support from civil society organizations?
Until now we have received nothing. Although we have implemented many programs and activities, more than any other syndicate, we know that it is the first Yemeni syndicate in this field.
What kind of activities the syndicate implemented?
Most of our interest is held training courses. We held many courses for many institutions.
What are the main objectives and priorities for the Syndicate?
The main aim which was the Syndicate built for is to follow-up programmers’ rights in all companies and protect the intellectual property for programmers. Now in the syndicate we have Information Technology Board to bring out to the community to a right path. Also the syndicate cares about the technological awareness and information in the middle of the community and youth give them more self-confidence and experience. We continue the training and rehabilitation of the members of the syndicate. We want to increase the ability to spread the culture of information technology.
How do you find technology in Yemen?
According to my specialization and through meeting many engineers and programmers, I can say that the technological awareness is still very weak.
The reason for this weakness is that the government doesn’t support this field and also students don’t practice IT in their universities well because of the lack of support and encouragement. We have many big companies with their databases which are still suffering from pirating.
You said before you receive nothing from the government or the ministry of social affairs and labor. So from where do have support?
Government officials acknowledge us, but only on paper, we receive nothing from it. The support that we use to make our courses and activities is from members’ contributions. We still have this obstacle that caused the slow wheel of development in the Syndicate, frustration, and lack of advancement. We seek to make Yemen better than other countries, but we don’t know why they ignore us. I remember when one of the American companies invited me to one of its biggest exhibitions to represent Yemen, but unfortunately I couldn’t go for the lack of resources.
Why do you think they didn’t support you?
There are corrupted people in the ministry and should be out. Also what they care about is external and not internal. For example, one day I was invited to a conference about telecommunication but I refused to go because I didn’t want to go for some pictures. I know well there would be no result, just spending money with no real benefit for Yemeni society.
Do you demand your rights from the ministry?
Yes, but really I don’t know why they are ignoring the syndicate. What I want is to take care of my programs. Their money is in their hand, they can have a look on my projects and programs then pay for it.
What are your ambitions?
To make Yemen one of the best countries in technology.
How do you see Yemen after 10 years in technological field?
Actually if the corrupted hands that hinder the work of youth Yemen will be changed, then in 3 years we can see a big change in Yemen. There will be a renaissance in technology.