As the national effort to get every household in Ireland online by 2020 continues [“Minister for Communications Denis Naughten has claimed Ireland will be the first country in the world to bring broadband into every home” (See https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/ireland-will-be-first-in-world-to-bring-broadband-to-every-home-minister-1.3202180)] Irish Rural Link is reporting great achievements in its Getting Citizens Online initiative. Using the simplist technology ‘Word of mouth and community mobilisation’ Mary Keys of Irish Rural Link, and the team of ICT trainers, have brought the ‘IT Skills for Farmers’ free computer classes run for 5 weeks, one 2 hour class per week, to local venues all over Ireland.
According to the Getting Citizens Online webpage the main objective of Getting Citizens Online is to get more people online especially people who have never used the computer before. Getting Citizens Online focuses on particular target groups such as:
- Age profile 45+
- Farming communities
- Small business owners (<10)
- Unemployed persons
- Persons with disabilities
- Disadvantaged groups
To date, Irish Rural Link has delivered this type of Internet training to over 4,500 participants around the country for all different age groups particularly to most isolated areas including the islands. Delivering to the most disadvantaged is a challenge to which Getting Citizens Online has significantly risen. Those who deliver education to disadvantaged groups have much to learn from the IRL Getting Citizens Online experience.
Michael Kenny (firstname.lastname@example.org)