In October 2013, the two-year project ACTing â€“ Social Agents Promoting Active Ageing through ICT â€“ was launched. ICVolunteers is one of the project partners, together with four organizations based in Italy (Fondazione Mondo Digitale), Spain (Fundetec, FundaciÃ³n Esplai), and Romania (AEPMR). The initiative is financed by the European Commission (National Spanish Agency for the Lifelong Learning Programme). It aims to transfer a teaching methodology to social agents working in the fields of active ageing and digital inclusion.
This methodology is mainly aimed at empowering social agents working with senior citizens to promote the e-inclusion of the latter. In other words, it is not about teaching seniors how to use ICTs but rather about making them understand that ICTs can be a powerful, useful and helpful means to achieve their objectives, develop their interest, activate their social participation. In turn, this facilitates the seniors' active aging and inclusion into the Information and Knowledge Society. Too often, online resources are out of reach for them due to the lack of skills, resources and specialized facilitators, or social agents. Statistics show that the older people are, the less they use ICTs. According to Eurostat, more than 9 out of 10 young people aged 16-24 are regular Internet users, while only 42% in the age group over 55 use the Internet on a daily basis.
The project will be carried out in several steps. First, each partner organization will conduct a national context analysis. The goal is to collect data on the trends on elderly people and their use of ICTs. The purpose of the study is also to identify social agents and the main barriers faced by the elderly when using ICTs. ICVolunteers will analyze the current situation in Switzerland, as well as different national initiatives and will organize focus groups including social agents and seniors, in order to address these issues.
Next, based on the data and information collected by the different partners, a learning methodology will be developed. A training session for social agents will be held, followed by pilot testing in each country.
ICVolunteers, while actively participating in each phase, is particularly involved in the communication aspect of the project, whether by ensuring its visibility or by disseminating information within and beyond the partner network, and finally by producing communication tools.