DigitAll, the digital inclusion alliance in Belgium, has launched MobiDig. MobiDig gives social organisations a mobile toolkit so they can reach their target groups more easily to improve digital literacy and is the result of work by BNP Paribas Fortis, CTG Circular, Proximus and VRT, with guidance from Nova Reperta. During a six-month pilot phase, two social organisations – Brussels-based homeless shelter Hobo and Leuven-based youth organisation Link in de Kabel – will use the mobile toolkit in different locations.
MobiDig is an easy-to-transport trolley, with hardware, an internet connection and charging options. CTG Circular, Econocom, Proximus and BNP Paribas Fortis donated tablets, smartphones, modems and the boxes for storing and transporting the devices, and the BNP Paribas Fortis Foundation provided additional funding. To ensure the initiative is also eco-friendly, all the hardware is refurbished.
Social organisations can use the mobile box for target groups that are difficult to reach, such as the homeless, vulnerable young people, or the elderly. The box can be used to teach digital skills on-site or organise events to introduce their target audience to the benefits of digital tools.
MobiDig takes care of the logistics side, allowing organisations to focus on their core activities. The target organisations also receive support for developing an interesting and stimulating on-site learning experience, something which they frequently do not have the time, resources or experience to develop.
Hobo’s target group mainly consists of people who rely on emergency day and night shelters, residents of reception centres, or people who live in an assisted living facility. The social organisation is working with mobile digital training partners to offer these groups on-site training as a first step towards digital literacy. These workshops will be hosted by partner organisations that work with the homeless. The MobiDig box can easily travel to various sites across Brussels, using the electric cargo bike that Arval Belgium donated to Hobo.
“Every day, our target group, which consists of homeless people, is at risk of exclusion because of the digital barriers they face. Thanks to this mobile solution, we were able to significantly expand the scope of our digital ambition, which is to ensure that every homeless person in Brussels has access to devices and knows how to use them.”
Link in de Kabel uses a digital outreach strategy to target the most vulnerable and difficult-to-reach children and young adults. It visits organisations and schools that work with these young people, organising fun and informative on-site activities. Initially, it will focus on OKAN classes (reception classes for non-Dutch speaking newcomers) in Sint-Truiden. This will subsequently be expanded to include the wider region around Sint-Truiden. Arval Belgium has supplied a van so they can transport the MobiDig box.
“DigitAll has given our operations in South Limburg a considerable boost. We can now increase the digital skills and digital resilience of more vulnerable young people using reliable equipment.”
In 2022, MobiDig will expand further, rolling out a pilot project in Wallonia, among others. The initiative is being given financial support by the cabinet of Petra De Sutter, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Affairs, Public Companies, Telecommunications and Postal Services. MobiDig is also looking for organisations that specialise in digital training that are interested in assisting with the project.