Te Ora Hou Wellington East Bridging the Digital Divide
Ciara Arnot Community Advisor •
Te Ora Hou received grant funding in 2020 to support digital inclusion programmes in Wellington East. The aim was to support people to gain access to the Internet and increase digital and computer skills for local people and whanau.
As we all know, the time between early 2020 and now has thrown up plenty of challenges. Running a skills programme with adults and local youth was no easy feat, but this group saw the value in persisting. By drawing on the support of local partners including ELearning Porirua and Te Puna Ora O Ngā Matamoe and volunteers, they have been able to make a difference in their community.
They ran an adult learning class which increased digital skills and confidence and distributed desktop computers. They worked with Māori and Pasifika students at Scots College to increase their coding skills and expose them to robotics. Young people were excited to be learning in a fun and creative environment. They were also able to help 55 local families sign up for affordable Internet access through Skinny Jump.
Te Ora Hou were among several grantees who received guidance from our friends at Standard of Proof to learn about how to evaluate their programme. They developed participant surveys to run at the beginning and end of the course to find out what level of Internet access participants had, and measure the shift in skill level over the course of the programme. They were able to confirm the assumption that a number of vulnerable people in the community do not have access to the Internet or to devices at home.
Shifting to level 4 in September 2021 disrupted learning. However, the team at Te Ora Hou were able to ease adult learners back into the swing of things safely, adhering to level 2 restrictions and continuing to progress.
One interesting insight from the way this programme unfolded was that advertising via local billboards and through community connections was most effective for reaching people in need of digital skills. Using their roots within the local community, Te Ora Hou placed posters at the local community centres, panui, library, bus stop and social housing complex. They were also able to use the information used from evaluating, to adjust the advertising for the second cohort of learners, to more clearly identify this course as being leveled at beginners.
Digital Inclusion grants
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 grant funding in 2020.
As at 24 November 2021, we have a grant round open (closing Friday 14 January 2022 at midday) that will support digital inclusion initiatives that further shift the needle towards digital equity in Aotearoa. All the information can be found on our Grants page.