Workshop on vulnerable groups at risk of exclusion
Moderated by Ivan Stojilovic and Gordana Stankov
Stojilovic (IAN, Serbia)
Speakers: Christy McAleese (Citizens Advice, UK)
and Jean Deydier (Emmaus Connnect, France)
Theme: ICT for Social Inclusion
Conclusions and recommendations:
Barriers to digital inclusion are numerous
and often complex. However they must not be
simplified as being mainly about access or hardware.
Attitudes, low engagement and skill levels are
also responsible for digital exclusion situations.
It is key to start with the concrete need
of people who come to telecentres and citizens
organisations looking for digital skills. Whether it is
advice, the need to communicate with a relative,
fill out forms or find information: the concrete
need is usually the starting point for learning.
For an organisation to grow, be sustainable
and have good services, it is important that the
government knows about its existence and value.
Organisations need to show therefore that their
services are effective (e.g. through a cost benefit
analysis). Their impact also needs to be communicated.
It is good for NGOs and telecentres to partner
with other organisations, e.g. with juvenile justice
institutions to reach towards the vulnerable. Often
the staff and e-facilitators from digital inclusion
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providers are welcome in the institutional setting,
as they are not seen as being part of the institution.
When an innovative approach is introduced,
there may be resistance in the beginning.
The only way to deal with this is to make sure
to measure and show the results early on.
There is a new challenge for telecentres,
with the fact that some countries are providing
exclusively all their services online (e.g. Denmark)
and this can lead to exclusion of many citizens who
are not prepared to follow the quick trend. Also,
our organisations can provide feedback on these
services to the government as telecentres can
see first-hand the user experience of e-services.
Most services in telecentres are only provided
in the mainstream language of the country. This may
lead to the exclusion of possible beneficiaries such
as migrants or refugees who don’t yet speak the
language but need to acquire digital skills as well.
Digital inclusion providers need to be well
trained in terms of flexibility and a full understanding
of the issues that affect vulnerable groups.
The digital gap between seniors and
young people is large and this is consistent across
all EU countries. Telecentres need to continue
focusing their efforts on this specific group.
and telecentres should consider the possibility.