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Project E-inclusion 50+ Vytisknout článek

The project "Transfer of knowledge in the field of e-inclusion of people over 50 years in the labour market" (CZ.1.04/5.1.01/77.00190), in short known as E-inclusion 50+, is funded through European Social Fund and the state budget. The project began in September 2012 and will last until the end of February 2014. Non-profit organization M´am´aloca is in charge of running this project.


Basic Facts

The project "Transfer of knowledge in the field of e-inclusion of people over 50 years in the labour market" (CZ.1.04/5.1.01/77.00190), in short known as E-inclusion 50+, is funded through European Social Fund and the state budget. The project began in September 2012 and will last until the end of February 2014. The total budget is 3.5 million CZK. Non-profit organization M´am´aloca is in charge of running this project.

Project Goals

The project will draw on through thematic network to exchange knowledge with foreign partners in the inclusion of persons older than 50 years on the field of ICT. The aim is to contribute for increasing e-inclusion and computer literacy among partcipants. This integration is crucial in terms of opportunities for persons 50 + in the labour market and social relashionship as well. In the project there are these goals set:

  • increase the orientation and ability of citizens 50+ in the labour market when in contact with electrical engineering, technology, ICT, PC, notebooks, mobile phones, smart phones, social networks, internet, tablets, etc.
  • increase awareness and knowledge of e-inclusion  theme not only among 50+ but also in the area of organization working with them
  • found the new training centre for 50+ which would be voluntary based and will provide the place and conditions for educating and tutoring people in incresing their ICT skills
  • publish a manual for the target group about running the training centres and about obtained experience and advice from international partners as well as practical information found out during running the project
  • start and run the information website about e-inclusion partly for 50+ themselves and partly for our partner organizations in Czech Republic in the field of educating 50+ as well as for municipalities and other entities interested in founding their own training centres

Who is the target group?

The project is primarily focused on the organizations and entities located in the area of Central Bohemia and the capital city of Prague. Specifically, non-governmental and non-profit organizations working with people over the age of 50, local governments such as municipalities, cities (councilors, staff City Hall), educational institutions aimed at training people 50+ can participate and take part. Finally, the target group of course consists of seniors and people over 50 in general who are active on labour market.

Intenational Partnership

The project is unique in the relation to foreign partners we have. In our case, throughout the whole project we cooperate with our two international partners - Norwegian senior volunteer centers Seniornett and British partners in the West Middlands, organization Pisces. Representatives from both organizations show us their dimension of active ageing area and are ready to answer not only our but also your questions. They are in the project to share experiences from their point of view. They also attend all project events in Czech Republic, where there are always proffesional interpreters ready to help. Last but not least about the partnership - our project can rely on the support of its czech partner, NGO Prostor based in city of Kolin.

Time schedule of the project

 

Action

Deadline date

Place

To whom it is intended

Opening conference

December 2012

Praha

NNO, ÚSC, ÚP, VZD

Workshop I.

February 2013

Kolín

NNO, ÚSC, ÚP

Workshop II.

February 2013

Kolín

NNO, ÚSC, ÚP, VZD

Workshop III.

June 2013

Kolín

NNO, ÚP, VZD

Workshop IV.

June 2013

Kolín

50+

Final conference

February 2014

Praha

NNO, ÚSC, ÚP, VZD, 50+

NNO – Non-state and non-profit organisations ÚSC – Regional self-governing units ÚP – labour offices VZD – Educational institutes 50+ – People with the age over 50

International conference

Report of the conference

The event held on the day of 6 December 2012 in the Czech Republic Senate should have defined and explained the current trends in the field of so-called digital inclusion of the elder age groups (over 50 years of age). Digital exclusion is the problem by which the groups are endangered to higher extent. It represents a serious barrier for opportunities to get involved in working process as well as the society as such. The project is aimed to use foreign experience and lay the foundations of systematic e-inclusion, which means the method of education in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) which have so far existed in the Czech Republic rather as individual and inhomogeneous initiatives only. Therefore, representatives of government authorities, educational institutions, non-profit organizations and self-governments met together to discuss the issue. Solution to the issue, in the aspect of e-inclusion efficiency, was suggested by foreign partners from Norway and Great Britain (e.g. Seniornett and P.I.S.C.E.S.). These partners were considered as main guests of the conference which was opened by initial speech of Senator Hana Doupcová and supported by Mr. Richard Falbr, member of the European Parliament.

Why to pursue a systematic e-inclusion of elder generations?

If we did not pursue this topic, it would mean that we are happy enough to live in the existing social ditch in relation to modern ICT systems. As expressed in one of the reports, people born after the year of 1985 grow up together with these technologies (PC, internet, mobile phone, tablet, etc.) and they acquire the ways of using these technologies very easily. Adaptation to this issue is problematic in the group of elderly and particularly the eldest generations. Substantial part of the Czech people at the age over 50 suffers from irrational fear towards the ICT technologies. They often do not have any motivation to explore these untutored fields.
"Digital inclusion" (at least at the basic user level) may bring substantial saving of money to the concerned groups as well as the entire community, for instance due to electronic banking and shopping systems or keeping a disabled senior in home care while using the ICT technologies (e.g. electronic medical devices). These technologies also reduce social isolation that many seniors are being threatened with. As one of the speakers mentioned very well, there are elderly people who are losing their social contacts due to motion problems. In these cases, there might be at least the help of the virtual social contacts of the ICT offered to them. Specifically, we are talking about calls via Skype, smart phones, communication through e-mails, Facebook or through other social networks. Nowadays, ICT technologies also greatly facilitate communication with authorities and access to information (involvement in the "information society"). Finally, ICT literacy significantly increases the chances of success in the labour market, which is the main interest of this project aimed primarily at the people approaching the retirement age. In the Czech Republic, this group is most affected by long-term unemployment. Problems with control of ICT technologies are considered as the main causes of such kind of situation. Even a job in a warehouse is now conditioned by knowledge of simple computer program, at the number of employers.
Elderly generations in the Czech Republic have showed considerable progress in the field of using the ICT technologies, in recent years. For example, mobile phones were used (in 2011) by 95 % of the population in the age group of 55-64. Personal computers were used by less than 50 % of these people and 46 % of them used Internet. Yet, we are lagging behind in this regard, in comparison with the western and northern Europe.

Elementary questions:

  • How to spread awareness of e-inclusion and its importance?
  • Where and how to educate?
  • How to solve the question of funding?
  • How to face fear and lack of motivation of older people in the field of ICT technologies?

Inspiration in the North and the islands:

Norway is a very rich country that faces the same trend as in the Czech Republic - significant and rapid ageing of the population. According to current forecasts, both the countries will have one of the oldest populations in Europe in around the year of 2050. Nowadays, the population of 5 million Norwegians include about 1.3 million of those over 55 years of age. Literacy of the Norwegians in this group, while regarding the ICT technologies, belongs to the highest ones in the world. Yet, there is still the highest proportion of people without the ability to control the PC, Internet, smart phones among older people (and immigrants) in Norway. The Norwegian society has yet deeply rooted democratic feelings (same conditions for everyone). Therefore, the society also seeks the maximum rate of e-inclusion of seniors and people approaching the retirement age. And also Norway, if willing to maintain its well-being, must implement changes in the employment and pension policy (specifically, it is about the effort to keep people in the labour process for longer time). The non-profit organization of Seniornett has helped to systematically implement the ambitions for about 15 years. It operates around 170 training centres throughout Norway, while having very modest budget. The centres are aimed at the age group mentioned (particularly but not only). Volunteers in the areas of offices or schools, mostly in the afternoon hours, are training tens of thousands of clients (mostly the older people). Also thanks to collaboration with the commercial sector (commercial companies provide free software; there are also contributions of banks that are interested in the use of e-banking).

Which way to go?

Basic approach of Seniornett to the issues of education in ICT technologies is based on a few simple principles. The first approach says that everyone longs for education. However, the ways of education should be adapted to specific needs, customized to the "specific needs of people". In the case of seniors, it is often about how to teach them what they want, what they consider as practical, what they are interested in (e.g. Genealogy is the most popular subject in the U.K.). While compared to the younger people, the older ones show tendency to give up the process of education if they do not consider the form as user-friendly and the purpose of their own efforts slowly disappears. Lessons should be often repeated again and again. Older people are not worse in terms of learning things, they are sometimes slower only. Clients should have possibility to permanently attend the centres (daily), for example in case of problem with a home PC. The knowledge and skills should be constantly practiced, otherwise they may fall into obscurity. Even the individually implemented educational programs (courses) in the Czech Republic show that older people tend to remember individual tasks of working with the PC as a journey, as a mnemonic device. When an unexpected deviation from the defined path comes up, a user may fall in panic and feel lost. Sometimes, it is even about fearing that people may cause fatal damage (including hardware damage) by mishandling of the ICT technologies. This is also why the experts who spoke at the conference recommend approaching towards clients (in relation to ICT training) with humility, patience and willingness to repeat things. It is important to encourage self-confidence of the clients. The lessons should be simply explained to them (for example with strong assistance of image illustrations, instructional videos and manuals on the web). It is already obvious (while taking the experience in the Czech Republic) that the easiest way to break down prejudices and fears of modern technologies is seen at those people who stay close to their children or grandchildren willing to help them in managing the ICT technologies. The Norwegian Seniornett wants to be a "guide" for its clients, rather than a "teacher". The program does not deal with courses in classical conception. Instead, people are meeting each other and asking about everything they are interested in.
Due to limited motivation of older people to engage in educational programs, it is necessary to secure such funding model that allows charging customers with low or even no fees for participation, according to the Norwegian experience. Even the Seniornett works on non-commercial basis, it is a non-profit organization. For financial reasons, it would be ideal to implement courses in public premises or in the premises of non-profit organizations. British partners recommend concentrating the process of e-inclusion in schools where both young and older people can meet together. In the Czech Republic, libraries may be the places suitable for implementation of e-inclusion processes (local network is very dense and all the libraries have access to the Internet). Money for e-inclusion cannot be obtained so easily even in wealthy Norway. Labour offices pass this concern to employers. However, their efforts are purely based on voluntary ways. Even the municipalities did not adopt clear responsibility. And while taking the nationwide level, the e-inclusion is not part of specific political agenda. Current conditions in the Czech Republic are similar. The meaning of financial issues is highlighted by the lower standard of living of seniors. Purchasing a PC can mean a heavy financial burden for some people. However, PC is a very important thing for success of the e-inclusion program.
Regarding the ways of reaching potential clients, participants of the conference agreed that the process of program awareness spread can be very efficient and even the most effective while using personal contacts and usual forms of human communication. People are usually fed up with various leaflets in post boxes. For example in Norway, support for the project given by several public celebrities proved as very useful in promoting process ("celebrities", so-called local heroes).

Social dimension of e-inclusion – British model

Province of West Midlands belongs to the poorest regions of the United Kingdom. The island economy is not currently in a good condition, which most severely affects the standards of living of specific groups (elderly people, immigrants, people with lower education, etc.). These trends are particularly striking in the aforementioned area. Therefore, P.I.S.C.E.S. chose the rural area around earlier mining town of Wolverhampton to perform its activities there. Training of older people in the ICT technologies is meant as a part of fight against poverty, inclusion of disadvantaged groups in socially vulnerable place where many poor and sick people live. With the "crisis", there is increasing number of betting offices or offers of short-term loans for drastic interests in these troubled lands. Therefore, P.I.S.C.E.S. aims to fight indirectly against these "predators" and "parasites" through education in the ICT technologies; it means the "predators" and "parasites" who specifically consider seniors and the elderly people as easy prey. P.I.S.C.E.S. also takes the issue of computer literacy primarily as the means of increasing competences (labour market) while facing age discrimination. For example, an on-line form is virtually automatic matter in cases of applying for jobs in the U.K. According to the researches held by the organization, older British people are often "afraid" of the Internet banking but they are still interested in it due to the fact that it becomes a necessity. P.I.S.C.E.S. is interested in clients, it determines their attitudes, requirements and concerns in many ways. There are many discussions with the clients related to the issues of Internet security risks. The process of e-inclusion in the West Midlands has the form of tea clubs, as local instructor Elaine Coates said with a smile.
In the similar ways, both pleasant and useful ones, we will build a pilot training centre of the civic association M'am'aloca that is to be established at the end of this project!
Mr. Jiří Stuchl, M’am’aloca president, was talking about the project of e-inclusion on Czech Television on 6 December at 6:50.

Discussion about e-inclusion

After the conference, we talked about the current trends on the labour market (while considering the perspective of older people aged over 50) with Mgr. Jaromíra Kotíková and Mgr. Miriam Kotrusová, PhD. We wondered how the attitudes of employers to older people look like. We wondered if prejudices against this group are being broken down. We also wondered how we can trace dominant attitudes in the relevant age group. Is the interest of people on the verge of retirement to work for pay increasing or decreasing in recent years? Jaromíra Kotíková: This is a more difficult question. GDP grows up very slowly and new jobs do not arise. Employers are concerned about the future, which should reflect the labour market. When addressing the personnel issues, the employers access this issue by taking the method of so-called "weakest evil". So the first are people who already do not care about children. From their perspective, it is a solidarity solution. On the other hand, people in the age of 50 and more deal with this situation in very difficult ways. Our experience is that when these people get into labour office records, they very hardly get out of it again. The average length of unemployment increases at this group. Well it is a general issue, but it is the strongest issue for people at the age over 50. This group includes the highest number of long-term unemployed people. This has understandably connection with the fact that this group on average suffers from health problems most often. This group also shows the lowest levels of education and the lowest knowledge of information technology. However, this is the real fact. When talking about motivating older people to remain in the workforce area, is that changing somehow over the last years? Miriam Kotrusová: I would say that of course everyone who has not yet reached retirement age wants to remain in the labour market as long as possible with the view to achieve the highest possible retirement pension. So, I think the motivation is there, it means the interest in finding a full time job. But those people often fail to find the jobs, for various reasons. I would also say that it is wrong to expect that people approaching retirement age would somehow fundamentally alter their qualifications. Well, we do not have many tools in terms of active employment policy for preparing these people for requirements of employers. Therefore, we accent the emphasis on lifelong learning process. People must be prepared to the fact that they will have to change their profession several times during life. They must do some extra things for that. While taking most of the people, it is not possible to expect that they would graduate from a secondary school or somehow fundamentally change their qualifications. This is the reason why this group is very problematic. However, interest of the people to remain on the labour market after reaching retirement age is increasing. We can see a turnaround in this field. These people want to work if they feel well in terms of health. But they already prefer different ways, for example employment in part time jobs. If they feel well, they need to work for their self-realization. Is today's senior more active than the "recent" one? Jaromíra Kotíková: The situation is changing and it has more reasons. Young people postpone childbearing. Previously, it was very common that mothers or grandmothers left for retirement to help generation below with raising children. We face quite different trends today. Another thing is that the work has become a necessity for those who want to maintain their standard. Well, just a car is a problem. If the pensioner has a rental apartment and car and he/she wants to use them as before, then it is rather difficult. What about the fear factor of in relation to new technologies? Jaromíra Kotíková: When you take the computer in your hand and something is wrong, you have 2 options. Either you ring at the neighbour´s door or you call someone. Then you may get some help of theirs. If you do not have anyone to turn to, you will probably close the computer and think of whether you actually need it at all? It is very difficult to overcome this barrier. It should be addressed anyway. Today's last post was about neighbour´s assistance. It was about how certain solidarity works, it was about intergenerational transmission of information. It is about young people who do not have any problem to come to an older neighbour and tell him what to do in order to make it work again. I can see it when thinking of my parents. Today they call me. But it is difficult. When I ask them on the phone: "And what did you do with the computer?" "Well, I pressed something there." "And what appeared?" "Well, I do not know, there was a flash or something like that." It is simply too complicated to solve a computer problem when you are sixty miles away. Well, I would definitely prefer my mother saying: "Look, I will ring the bell at the neighbour´s door, he will look at it." And this is not the case of a service company arriving and asking for seven hundred. And then we just talk about transfer of some expert information which must also be paid for. It would be nice if secondary school students are involved in such activities. For example, in the form of internship. We understand that someone has to pay for that. So, we would like to find the cheapest form with the greatest benefit. The state government should create conditions for that. It would be good to "get networked" various entities and the effect would be significantly higher. However, this is not the issue of this area only... Are you inspired by the attitude of Scandinavian countries towards the issue of e-inclusion? Miriam Kotrusová: They have success with dealing with those issues by themselves, without any higher interference of the state. The State simply assigns the issue to a non-profit organization. And the organization has monopoly position. I suppose that the organization does not abuse it because it is simply a non-profit entity. The organization can then create individual cells at the lowest level of communities. There are people participating in that. This is where I can see a huge benefit to develop civil society and local communities. Jaromíra Kotíková: The point is that the state should create conditions for functioning of the entities which would form their own networks and flows by themselves. The state shall not put unnecessary pressure or resistance in relation to independent activities. At the same time, the entities shall be independent enough not to be in need of any significant help from the state.

Workshops 1 and 2 

M'am'aloca civic association organized two workshops related to the project. The workshops were held on 18 and 19 February 2013 in Kolín. There was a wide spectre of representatives from non-profit organizations (e.g. LECCOS, o.s., Elpida o.p.s., GLE o.p.s., Nebelvír o.p.s., Region Pošembeří o.p.s., Život 90, o.s., Diakonie ČCE, Association of active seniors, Život 55+), those from educational and research institutes (Seňorina s.r.o., B-Inside s.r.o., Bravona, S-COMP Centre CZ s.r.o.), those from state and regional institutes (National institute for professional education (NÚOV), contact office of Czech Labour Office in Kolín and Mělník, Municipal Office of Kutná Hora, office of city region of Praha Libuš, Municipal library Praha).
In both "creative workshops", participants tried to agree on how to face the issue of intergenerational gap in relation to access to information and communication technologies of ICT. What paths can effectively lead to solving of the issue (inspiration in Norway and the U.K.). What are the possibilities of promotion (mass media and personal contacts). What are the possibilities of financing (searching for sponsors). The main topics of the meeting included potential possibility of further cooperation between present entities but also the process of joining other entities acting in the field of e-inclusion or those showing interest to act in the field in the future (so-called networking).
Both workshops consisted of a block of presentations and a block of discussion (common definition of priorities).

Selected recommendations from presentations of foreign partners:

Hildegunn Kvamme leads the volunteer centre of Seniornett aimed at training in ICT field in Sarpsborg. As she says, a volunteer should be excited and happy with his/her own level, he/she should dampen efforts to achieve excessive professionalism. It is very useful for Seniornett that even the people registered at the Employment Office may work as volunteers in Norway. As Hildegunn says, the volunteer centre shall be independent of both the state and authorities. There shall be effective cooperation with the state and authorities. But above all, the centre shall be able to respond to the current needs and interests of people at the place (to the extent possible). Workshop participants agreed that processes of volunteering face worse conditions in the Czech Republic, mainly due to its desecration under the previous regime. The priority should consist in effort to improve the image of volunteering, especially among the elder generations. Activities of Seniornett are largely based on their work (most of the volunteers are people older than 50). Hildegunn emphasized that the centre receives grants from local authorities. On the other hand, the centre provides the service of "fighting against loneliness" in the town mentioned.

As Joop Cuppen from the headquarters of Seniornett says, the importance is broader than just training in computer skills. It is also about general familiarization with digital society as well as the welfare technologies (contributing to good ways of living). Thus, for example, various electronic devices for monitoring the bodily functions or the issue of self-sufficiency. According to Joop, these aids have great potential. When the society gets continuously older and older, business sector in this area is going to face great times of boom. As for the future, Seniornett also wants to be a guide in the field of offering those devices.

The main purpose of the second partner organization, it means the British P.I.S.C.E.S.: Searching for particular skills of (elderly) people so that they themselves try to develop their potential (this is illustrated by the case of an elder woman who became a bus driver at her elder age, or also the case of a formerly illiterate poet living in the region of so-called Black Country in which P.I.S.C.E.S. operates).
There, in the cradle of the industrial revolution, the heavy industry has not been replaced by "anything else", like in many other regions of Europe. This is the reason why the region experienced rapid economic and social fall in the recent years (rise in unemployment, socio-pathological phenomena such as gambling, etc.). That is why it is so important (according to P.I.S.C.E.S.) to focus on the IT technologies... And it is also necessary to remember the countryside regions, old and lonely people, it is simply important to approach the local population with the highest possible sensitivity.

In the U.K. nowadays, you can ask for social benefits, driver's license or TV license only electronically. Authorities informed about regional elections on the Internet only. Therefore, it is about preventing from exclusion of large groups out of the society!
On Monday, presentation of Czech speakers was focused on PR and communication. On Tuesday, they were focused on possibilities of cooperation in e-inclusion across disciplines and institutions (Labour Office, municipal library, local action group called Pošembeří).
A representative of marketing agency spoke about the possibilities of fundraising. Regarding the given area, he recommended the civic associations should turn to businesses entities that focus on seniors (typically medical device manufacturers), but also to software, hardware and technology processing companies. An employee of the Czech Radio outlined the ways of enforcement of the issue related to e-inclusion and active ageing into an attractive form of (non-commercial) report or interview. The participants came with the proposal of thematic block or program to be created within the public broadcaster called Čro2. It should focus on seniors and issues of ageing, also in terms of respective organizations.

A representative of the contact site of the Labour Office in Kolín spoke about the structural causes of unemployment in the region, he also spoke about specific attention paid to people who are older than 50 and then also about training in the field of ICT technologies (however, retraining opportunities within the Labour Office are limited by available funds; they can therefore be used by about 10 % of people registered at the labour offices). Director of the Region Pošembeří o.p.s. suggested wider possibilities of cooperation in the framework of the so-called local action groups (hereinafter as MAS). These are the regions defined on the voluntary basis to specifically and efficiently redistribute grants. They operate on the basis of tripartite (municipalities, businesses, non-profit sector). Great potential could lie in the ability of MAS to attract volunteers for education of older generations within the ICT technologies, as indicated by success of volunteer events of MAS Pošembeří in other areas (e.g. spring cleaning). The last presentation was about how already existing education in the field of ICT works, specifically within the municipal library of Prague. The advantage of the local PC club lies in its accessibility (it is free for readers). On the other hand, the capacity is unfortunately limited (15-20 people at once). Mission of the club is aimed at supporting the process of inclusion of elder people into the information society (and into the society as a whole) but also at assistance in working relation. In the municipal library, this activity takes place among other programs aimed at supporting elder people (memory courses, lectures about property ownership, health education classes, joint exercises, cultural events, etc.)
The process of joining the program of e-inclusion to the already existing and operating activities has proven as suitable to foreign partners from Norway and Great Britain. In the workshop part devoted to discussion and mutual search for meaningful cooperation, the foreign guests also recommended addressing potential participants in the programs of e-inclusion by means of personal ways (not only through mass-media!) as well as promoting the theme by using leaflets in doctors' offices or through schools (linking of generations), labour offices, municipal offices and finally by using personal ways.

Workshop participants definitely agreed on the need to work together to create a platform and brand which would become a guarantee of reliability and quality, like the Norwegian Seniornett. This procedure should facilitate obtaining sponsorship gifts (particularly hardware and software from the ICT companies) as well as using the grant funds. It is also fundamentally aimed at providing all entities with methodological and professional background (M'am'aloca shall have developed a methodological manual by 2014). The workshops were meant as the first step to establish meaningful cooperation, for now at least in the region of Central Bohemia and Prague. By the fact that the people and organizations with similar visions ever met and unanimously approved creation of the working group. Regarding this effort, we should particularly remember recommendations of two foreign partners. Firstly, the scope of e-inclusion must be managed according to clients' needs. Second, we are still some steps behind while compared with the Western and Northern Europe... The process must be conducted as a matter of fun for them!

Workshops 3 and 4

M'am'aloca held a demonstration lesson of PC and modern technologies training. Interest was really great.
The pilot training in ICT skills for active people aged over 50 took place in Kolín on 14 June 2013, within the two workshops aimed at the topic of e-inclusion.
On Thursday 13 June there were guests of the first of the workshops, they were representatives of non-profit organizations, labour offices of the Czech Republic and educational institutions which are active in the field of education. M’am’aloca presented them the form of new websites www.zivotonline.cz. The websites will soon be available as a user-friendly tool for training in the field of digital technologies for both students and teachers. We were also discussing with workshop participants about the details of the final form of the website. Mrs. Miriam Kotrusová also had her speech in the workshop. She is an expert on the matters of labour market and public policy. She gave a lecture aimed at trends in employment of elder generations. Support of their chances on the labour market is precisely the goal of the project due to which the mentioned workshops were held, due to which thematic websites and particularly the permanent training centres themselves are arising in the region (the project is officially named as "Transfer of knowledge in the field of e-inclusion of people aged over 50 on the labour market"). Familiarization of the elder generations with new technologies was told about in Thursday's workshop by Mrs. Klára Nehodová from the Czech Agricultural University in Prague. Mrs. Nehodová particularly acquainted the participants with the so-called "virtual university of the third age", which is an e-learning education aimed at digital literacy (via internet). It is oriented especially to people in remote regions where university of the third age or leisure time is missing. Even the "virtual" courses are partially held in indoor classrooms, respectively in so-called contact centres (those established in libraries, schools, municipal offices, etc.) where students are regularly acquainted with the topics of e-learning and where they test their progress. You can see further information of the project on the website of www.e-senior.cz.
On Friday morning, those interested in a show lesson crowded the computer room in Kolín centre of ASYS. The lesson which was also meant as an invitation to regular free courses. The courses were led by experienced foreign teachers, our partners in the project. First, Elaine Coates from Great Britain introduced the server called YouTube and social network of Facebook. She explained their ways of control, application and related problems. Some participants of the pilot lesson have got familiarized with these topics for the first time, some of them were more experienced. In principle, nobody in the show training was a definite beginner. Fred Thiesen from Norway presented the possibilities offered by tablets, as well as their easy use. He photographed the people present in the lesson by using the tablet. He also made connection with his daughter using Skype.
Finally, there was Mrs. Nikola Holá from the organization of Nebelvír talking to the participants of the lesson. The topic of this interactive discussion was aimed at the Internet: its nature, connection options, examples of use and risks.

Inspiration in the North - the first business trip to Oslo

Three-member delegation of M’am’aloca at the end of January 2013 (27 – 30 February 2013) visited Norway to draw positive experience in the field of e-inclusion and increasing in digital literacy of elderly people (not only them).
The main host was the partner organization Seniornett which holds practical education of the elderly people and other disadvantaged groups of people in the ICT technologies, in volunteer centres throughout Norway. We also met representatives of organizations Difi, Deltacenter and National Council of Seniors.
Deltacenter is de facto the Norwegian national centre providing civic participation and access to information. It is aimed at implementation of so-called universal design. This means an effort to create conditions for community participation and equal opportunities in access to information and authorities with regard to differences among people and handicaps of some groups (seniors, disabled, etc.). Initiative of the universal design is also anchored in legislation. It is based on the Government Action Plan of 2025 and the Act of Discrimination and Accessibility of Public Administration.
Difi – the agency of public administration and e-government seeks ways of implementation related to the Norwegian digital strategy. It is aimed at improvement of efficiency of public administration and public sector as well as their transparency and democracy. For example, specifically Difi evaluates quality of public websites. This is again measured according to the universal design, it means clarity and accessibility of electronically transmitted information.
Seniornett, our key partner. This time we wanted to meet them especially in practical level.

Promotion of PC courses for seniors in the organization of Seniornett, Oslo
 Work of this organization is crucial in terms of project e-inclusion 50+. This project is mainly aimed at expansion of digital literacy (so far) in the region of Central Bohemia. The active Seniornett is a crucial example in this regard. Dozens of volunteer centres of Seniornett are also used for their purpose in such ways that they meet the specific needs of (mostly) elderly people interested in lessons in specific regions. For example, by promoting the offered services. They succeed in the process of getting the potential clients rid of shyness when participating in courses. As evidenced by such centre in Fredrikstad where the topic was aimed at working with PC Word during our visit.

Or also the Seniornett club in Sarpsborg Øst. There the students discussed the matters of working with a server operated by the local post office. But the clients also had opportunity to solve individual problems with a computer and other ICT technologies.

Visiting the U.K. - the second business trip


On the days of 18 – 21 March 2013, three-member delegation of the civic association M'am'aloca visited British Wolverhampton in the Birmingham region. The trip was aimed at drawing experience and examples of good practice from the local organizations involved in education of people in elder age groups (50+), in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT). However, activities of all the entities visited are much broader. All in all, they are aimed at promoting of vital energy of elder people (and self-sufficiency of the oldest ones). The aforementioned region belongs to poorer ones in the U.K. (having higher rates of unemployment for example), there is an increased incidence of negative social phenomena (such as gambling), due to structural changes in the recent past (crisis of heavy industry). In this region, those born earlier belong to the people particularly at risk of poverty, unemployment, loneliness, etc. Organizations based on partly voluntary, partly commercial basis shall address those risks. Thanks to the travel to the U.K., M'am'aloca gained a particular idea related to the form of methodological manual for Czech entities acting in the field. Preparation of the manual is included in the project of e-inclusion 50+. Our partner organization called Pisces WM, led by John White, showed us around the region of Wolverhampton. P.I.S.C.E.S. mission is aimed at "unlocking" the potential of people aged over 50, in the "problematic" region of West Midlands. This effort is based on the belief that every person in every age has a talent for something or some kind of ideal area of self-realization. Often, the people only look for them or they feel fear to get involved for some reason. According to P.I.S.C.E.S., it is never too late to develop own personality. In total, we visited six entities which seek to contribute to the ways of "active ageing" in the region, including works on strengthening literacy in ICT technologies. Czech practice may find it very inspiring to see work of the centre aimed at training for people aged over 50 (The Hub) acting by Tatenhall Institute, led by Elaine Coates. Lessons aimed at controlling the ICT technologies (not only PCs but also laptops, tablets, readers of books, etc.) do not have a fixed structure in it, like in our Norwegian partner organization of Seniornett. Course participants solve any issues and they continually ask lecturers various questions (the lecturers are mostly volunteers). P.I.S.C.E.S. functioning is exemplary for Czech practice while also thinking of considerable flexibility of the working times or while thinking of the form of financing. Education is free, which is allowed by paid courses in other areas within Tatenhall Institute. Other British entities also work on this basis.

Among other things, "The Savoy" centre in the nearby Netherton where the ICT courses are also dominated by elder participants. Funding of this organization is also made possible by profit from the lease of office and conference spaces. The ways by which the centre attracts new participants are interesting too. They come mainly upon recommendations of friends, thanks to focusing on practical skills useful in everyday life: Facebook, Skype, communication with authorities, online payments, editing photos, genealogy, etc. Moreover, they operate on-line courses too. Directly in Wolverhmapton, M'am'aloca acquainted with the activities of local centre of nationwide network. Age UK Dudley "Crossroad" in Netherton is similarly oriented in wide ways. This is the organization that offers favourable loans or list of good craftsmen, in addition to social-educational "clubs" (including IT). Moreover, our delegation met a specialist in the field of employing people in categories of 50+, in the Town Hall in Wolverhampton. The business trip meant a major source of experience in the frame of the project of e-inclusion 50+. For example, while regarding key aspect of financing. In Britain, e-inclusion is implemented thanks to funds of other paid activities, local grants, national lottery, dance balls, etc. (for example, P.I.S.C.E.S. received the ESF grant in the amount of 9,000 GBP in the years of 2009-10). Most of these resources is also theoretically available in the Czech Republic. View photo gallery of the trip.

We have travelled to Norway for inspiration - the third business trip

The visit took place on the days from 27 to 30 May 2013. 

Immediately after landing in Oslo, the three-member delegation of M’am’aloca got familiarized with the activities of VOX agency which deals with lifelong learning. The agency was established by the Ministry of Education. Main topic of the meeting was about the methods of adult people education and issues related to funding the agency.
Next stop was the senior club with courses in information and communication technologies (ICT) in Larvik, a village distant 200 km from Oslo. People aged over 50 make up more than a half of the population here. Operators of the centre which operates under the auspices of the national platform called Seniornett introduced us a three-year history of the centre, circumstances of establishment and focus of the ICT courses (including topics most requested by clients). Visit to the training centre Baerum in the village called Sandvice had similar nature. Seniors came together for regular training lesson (held once a week). The lesson was aimed at working with e-mail and its attachments.
Finally, we went to the social research institute of Alma's house whose mission is to present all the new technologies and IT technologies which may be used to facilitate and improve the quality of life and socially integrate the elder people. Before departing, we met Mrs. Líba Janáková, a president of Czech expatriate community in Oslo. She explained us the social situation of elder generations in Norway.

Contact us

For more information about the project, its progress, partners or possible cooperation, please contact our project assistant Klara Subrtova on email address e-inkluze@mamaloca.cz or phone number +420 601 562 642. We are looking forward to any of your questions, suggestions and reactions.