Awhi Matihiko provides new refugees with Internet and digital support
Ciara Arnot Community Advisor •
We responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with a further $500,000 in funding for the year 2020/21. A portion of this was allocated towards collaborative giving as part of our efforts to drive digital inclusion across Aotearoa. With no single actor, sector or community able to achieve digital inclusion alone, we wanted to combine our efforts.
Working together, New Zealand Red Cross, Digital Inclusion Alliance Aotearoa, the Spark Foundation, and InternetNZ are proud to be a part of the Awhi Matihiko: Red Cross Digital Settlement Package.
The programme will provide devices to refugees to assist them in resettling within cities around Aotearoa. Families will be provided with support to build digital skills, as well as Spark’s not-for-profit broadband product - Skinny Jump - with data paid for 12 months (or a fixed line connection if Jump is not available at their address). They will also receive a laptop, if required.
This package will enable them to stay connected with loved ones, build local connections, and embrace employment and educational opportunities to feel empowered and involved in their new community.
Awhi Matihiko recognises that in this changing world, digital inclusion is so important as a foundation for the longer-term wellbeing and economic prosperity of New Zealanders — including new New Zealanders.
Last year, we released our Five Point Plan for Digital Inclusion in Aotearoa, which has been signed by almost 50 organisations. It calls for a combined approach, with industry and government, to tackle digital inequity which disproportionately affects some groups more than others. We hope that Awhi Matihiko — which not only offers new refugees an Internet connection and a device, but also wraparound support and digital skills to help them get started — will be an opportunity for our refugee community to showcase their strengths and skills in their new home country.
This initiative draws on the strength of many parties who contribute to the resettlement of refugees in Aotearoa, and will support new New Zealanders to retain connections with their whanau and friends abroad, and provide practical support where required.
Together, we can make a real difference in ensuring digital equity and inclusion for a vulnerable community.
Each year InternetNZ uses profits from the sale of .nz domain names to give out community funding. They provide funding for community-led initiatives that extend the availability, use, and benefit of the Internet in Aotearoa.
This initiative was the recipient of collaborative funding in 2021.