Community funding for digital inclusion in Christchurch
Ciara Arnot Community Advisor •
One of our strategic goals is to improve digital inclusion across Aotearoa and we provide grant funding to support organisations working towards this shared vision.
Greater Christchurch Schools Network, ConnectED Aranui
ConnectED was a pilot project run by Greater Christchurch Schools Network (GCSN), which provided Internet connections to school children and their whānau in Eastern Christchurch, improving digital inclusion and learning outcomes.
This involved the installation of Chorus Wifi access points on telephone poles within the Aranui area giving in-home Internet access. Network for Learning (N4L) provided access to a managed, filtered network, meaning that students can connect to Wifi within their home at no cost. The filtered network ensures that the Wifi access is suited to education purposes.
Key outcomes achieved:
- A connected lower-decile, culturally mixed educational community.
- Improved whānau involvement in children’s learning.
- Improved student engagement in learning.
- As of October 2020, around 180 whānau had been connected to the authenticated N4L network.
- A small number of whānau have completed an ePassport Digital License program. They have received a passport indicating this completion and a refurbished Surface Pro.
During the course of delivering this initiative, the GCSN identified the need to better engage with the community. A Whānau Engagement person was appointed through the Aranui Community Trust. This person allowed users to develop a sense of trust, providing technical support as well as a positive relationship by working within schools and connecting with whānau.
This mahi has also improved the groups understanding about what works well and the difficulties in providing Internet connections in this way — the work is far from done. Learning from this experience, the GCSN will be rolling out ConnectED in Linwood this year with further grant funding from InternetNZ.
Each year InternetNZ gives out community grants to provide support for community-led initiatives that extend the availability, use, and benefit of the Internet and its associated technologies and applications in Aotearoa.
This initiative was a recipient of funding in 2019 and 2020.