Going global with social digital inclusion

27 Jul 2017

Written by Helen Milner

Those of you who know me and know Good Things Foundation will know that we’re ambitious to help excluded people to have better lives. That’s excluded people in my suburb, in my city, in my country, and all over the world. So naturally we’re going global with social digital inclusion. And we mean it.

This blog has (at least) two bits of very big news!

Emily and Michael meet the librarians from KNLS

 

Last week we kicked off our pilot project in Kenya. We’re working with the Kenyan Library Service (KNLS) and 10 Kenyan libraries to test some approaches to digital literacy. My colleagues, Emily and Michael, have just spent a week working with our local partners in Kenya – do read their Tumblr Blog “Digital Life Kenya”, and you can watch their welcome to Kinyambu Library on YouTube too (1 minute, can’t watch without smiling). I want to blog more when Emily and Michael get back, so watch this space for more news from Kenya.

Our other big international news is in Australia. Good Things Foundation has been appointed, by the Federal Government in Australia, as the National Network Manager for a new programme to support Digital Literacy for Older Australians (DLOA). Our job is to establish, maintain and support a national network of local partners to support older Australians to learn how to use the internet. This is very big news indeed and means we’ve set up a subsidiary in Australia, we hope to bring some of our UK expertise to Aus and we’re planning on learning lots of new ideas from Australian partners too.

The DLOA programme has three key elements:

  • A national network of participating community organisations delivering one-on-one and small group support to older Australians, including a national helpline for community organisations and people over 50 (this is what Good Things will be delivering).
  • A dedicated website hosting a range of new interactive tools and resources to provide information and learning opportunities for older Australians, their families and friends, and community organisations (this new website will have some of the great Learn My Way content embedded in it).
  • Communications and marketing activities to help raise awareness of the new programme at the national and local level.

A big club with a shared vision

We know what a big job is it to create a big club with a shared vision – which is how I see our work in the UK – and now we’re going to try to do this, working with loads of partners, in Australia. A shared vision of a world where everyone benefits from digital – and our hope is that Australian people and organisations want to collaborate to create a ‘big Australian club’ that believes in a better world.

When I was in Australia this month I visited one partner, who’ve we’ve been working with for a while, and who I know will be joining the DLOA Network as soon as we launch the joining process – that’s Leep, in Western Sydney. The Leep in Lab is a real exemplar in how to recruit and train volunteer Digital Mentors, as well as in providing that one-on-one personalised support that people with low digital literacy need. I tested my digital skills when I visited the Leep in Lab to make a short film:

DLOA will officially commence on 3 October 2017, so as you can imagine, there’s a lot to do! We’ve established an Australian subsidiary (Good Things Foundation Ltd), our office is at WeWork in Pyrmont in Sydney, and we’re very excited to begin recruiting staff Down Under and expanding our team. One of our Network Specialists from the team at UK Good Things – Vanessa Kirby – will be heading over to Sydney with me next week to get the project off to a flying start. And we’re about to begin recruitment for our Australian Director.

If you’re in Australia and would like to be kept in touch with what we’re doing please subscribe to our mailing list via our website: www.goodthingsfoundation.org.au.

A Philippines Pilot

Thinking about going global all started back in 2015/16 with a pilot in the Philippines. We created a customised version of Learn My Way to support Philippine people to develop digital skills, and they were inspired and supported by two of the Philippine government’s Tech4ED centres in M’lang, North Cotabato and ALS Ana Kalang in Nagcarlan, Laguna.

The pilot was successful with 165 people registering on this unique version of Learn My Way over the five month period, with 95% of learners developing skills on how to use a computer. The impact of the pilot is sustained with over 400 people having used the Philippine Learn My Way since the pilot ended. You can read the final report here.

What’s next

These international opportunities are very positive as they can help us to apply our core expertise in digital inclusion, as well as being a good fit for our strategic mission. For Australia, we have built a strong reputation and now we’re establishing ourselves in the country itself. The Kenyan Library Service are keen to work with us so that they can bring the social value of digital skills to their beneficiaries and we are very keen to test and learn and see how we can contribute to social inclusion and sustainable development goals.

We’re very excited to move ahead with our Australian organisation and I’m really looking forward to the next few months as we work tirelessly for the 3 October soft launch.

Our Kenya pilot project is now in full swing and I am so excited to see how this model will work and how it can benefit the people who live in Kenya, and maybe in other countries in Africa too. (We’ll see what’s next when we’ve finished this year long pilot.)

Moving the Good Things model onto an international stage is such a big endeavour but it’s a logical move that I think we’re ready for. If you’d like to partner with us and potentially be part of this journey then do get in touch.

And, I know I’ve said it before, but seriously, watch this space for more (global) updates!