ECIE.ORG, or Electronic Communication and Information Exchange is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization whose basic mission is to promote and encourage the use of the Internet as a means of opening new channels of communications between the peoples of the world. We believe that it is through the use of this open system of communication that the future of equality and economic stability for all peoples becomes possible.
We are a group of individuals of Peruvian heritage who are willing to share our knowledge and experience in how the use of the Internet can be used as a tool for finding new opportunities. It is through a free and open system of communication and information exchange where we are able share our ideas, come up with new ones, and develop new opportunities for a changing world. Our primary goal is to insure that the digital divide in the application of new technologies does not leave Hispanic minorities behind. Our aim to accomplish this is by motivating and training Latino populations on how the tools of Internet communication can become a valuable asset for them. In being able to globally share and exchange information, we hope to empower them by opening new roads of opportunities.
ECIE has its beginnings when in 1995, a group of Peruvians using the Internet, proposed using this technology as a means of delivering education and knowledge to the rural areas of Peru in South America. As a result of the discussion exchange, these Peruvians organized themselves and collaborated to create QuipuNet, a virtual non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Washington. QuipuNet is a 100% volunteer organization, where with the volunteer efforts of its members, raises funds and develops projects to accomplish its mission in Peru. In spite of its small size, QuipuNet has become internationally recognized as an innovator in use of the Internet to empower minority populations and in providing meaningful help to targeted communities in their native country.
From 1995 through 2000, QuipuNet's volunteers organized a series of four Internet based seminars for the United Nations - International Decade for Disaster Prevention (UN-IDNDR or ISDR). The seminars focused on topics for disaster prevention and had participants from all over the world. The success of these seminars demonstrated the value of Internet based seminars for a global exchange of information, particularly for third world countries.
In 1999, a small group of volunteers from Quipunet set out to create an Internet-based business to create and manage virtual seminars and forums for a fee. Working part time, it was difficult to create and develop new material with sufficient quality to satisfy a market. Faced with the challenges of working their regular jobs while also trying to manage the company, these members instead redirected their efforts to create ECIE, a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization. As a non-profit, ECIE did not face the same pressures for developing material. It had the added benefit for its members to direct their efforts to their main objective and goal. That primary objective is in providing assistance to their native country, Peru.
ECIE began working with the International Trade Centre (ITC), the technical cooperation agency of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) for operational, enterprise-oriented aspects of trade development. ECIE organized the technical support for a series of e-mail discussion forums on the challenges and opportunities offered to exporters in developing and transition economies by e-commerce. These discussion forums attracted nearly 600 participants from 86 countries, some 80% of them from the developing world.
In early 2002, ECIE opened an office in Tacoma and began working full time in developing their projects and programs. The office has sufficient space for holding small classes and seminars. Currently, ECIE is working on projects to unite and connect the various Latino communities in Washington State.