ICT4D – 11 December 2017

How the Digital Village opens doors to education and opportunity

In Digital Villages, children, young people and parents have the opportunity to get a computer and become digitally literate.

The innovative SOS Children’s Villages project, which has been implemented in six countries, aims to integrate technology into children’s and families’ everyday lives. Children in SOS families, young people in SOS youth homes, and SOS parents have access to computers and the Internet to help them develop digital literacy.
 
The programme underscores the organisation’s commitment – outlined in its Strategy 2030 – to pilot the use of information and communications technologies (ICT) in SOS families.

More Digital Villages to come in 2018

The SOS Children's Village Rustenburg in South Africa is the latest to participate in the initiative, joining Bangladesh, the Philippines, Honduras, Paraguay, Uganda and Russia since it was launched early this year. The programme is on course to be expanded in 2018 to include 21 SOS Children’s Villages national associations.
 
Homes at the SOS Children’s Village Rustenburg have been equipped with computers and Internet connections and combined with training for the children and parents, the technology upgrade creates new opportunities for all.
 
“In each house we find the same setup, the same type of computer,” says Zintle Gobozi, ICT Coordinator for SOS Children’s Villages South Africa.
 
But setting up an Internet connection and a computer is only part of the project. The Digital Village puts a strong focus on training, including typing, computer basics, use of word processing programmes, and the use of communications such as e-mail and instant messaging.

Enhancing parenting skills

SOS parents need to access technology to enhance their professional knowledge while also improving household management.
 
“The Digital Village project is linked to our desire to go ‘cashless’ at the SOS household expense level,” explains Stephen Miller, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages South Africa. “Online shopping is growing in South Africa, and the computers in our SOS homes will enable the mothers to purchase groceries and other household items online.”
 
Cyber safety training was provided to all children, and the SOS parents were trained to monitor how children use the computers safely.
 
For the programme participants, access to technology and ICT skills opens the door to e-learning and ways to use technology to improve languages, mathematics and entrepreneurial skills.
 
Through the Digital Village, technology can help bridge geographical barriers by bringing educational resources to any location and giving young people the skills needed for today’s competitive job market.
 
The planned expansion of Digital Villages in 2018 comes amid high-profile international attention on the value of digital education and awareness. UNICEF’s newly published report - The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a digital world examines how digital technology is affecting children’s lives and life chances, identifying dangers as well as opportunities.
 
Learn more about how SOS Children’s Villages makes technology available to children, young people and caregivers: https://www.sos-childrensvillages.org/ict4d