In October Mercy Corps, Google.org and the Source of Hope Foundation launched the Arab Developer Network Initiative (ADNI) in the West Bank and Gaza. Through technical and business training, peer-to-peer learning, mentorship, and a fund for high potential startups, ADNI is intended to spark innovation in the Palestinian ICT sector, generate income opportunities for youth, and engage 1,000 entrepreneurs in the first year. For the first two years of this initiative, Google.org and the Source of Hope Foundation have provided $0.9m and $1m of funding respectively.
Also in October, the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation held an IT Sector Forum in Washington, D.C. which aimed to support the Palestinian ICT sector by increasing foreign direct investment, creating technology job opportunities, generating social networks, and fostering advocacy initiatives, particularly between Palestinians at home and in the diaspora.9 The conference was organised in cooperation with the Palestinian IT Association (PITA), Palestine Telecommunications Group(Paltel Group) and the Bank of Palestine.
One of the participants was Reach, a subsidiary of Paltel Group and the first Palestinian specialised contact centre. Despite being only three years old, it won the Gold Medal for Best Outsourcing Partnership in Europe, Middle East, and Africa at this year’s Contact Center World awards. Reach’s agents, fluent in English, Arabic and Hebrew, answer more than 70,000 calls per day from around the world.