NGOs, IBM and businesses team up to tackle digital literacy
Tina Roche, CEO, Business in the Community Ireland, with IBM Ireland volunteer James Cunningham and Active Retirement Ireland member Kevin Molloy (photo by Jason Clarke Photography)

NGOs, IBM and businesses team up to tackle digital literacy

23 Apr 2013

A new website that makes basic online tasks easy for new users has been launched through an initiative spearheaded by Business in the Community Ireland and collaboration between a number of not-for-profit organisations and IBM Ireland.

Socialcomputing.ie presents users with a simplified index of popular websites broken down into nine clear, useful categories like ‘Keeping in Touch’, ‘Newspapers, Radio & TV’, ‘Health & Welfare’ and ‘Money Matters’.

With at least one in five Irish adults reported to have never used the internet, the aim of Socialcomputing.ie is to encourage users to engage with services such as online banking, VoIP and digital media streaming by presenting these in an easy-to-use format. The site also provides links to tutorials on how to use Skype, email, on-demand TV players and more.

“The internet provides a great portal for communication and keeping in touch with the world. However, for people unfamiliar with it, it can seem very daunting, a labyrinth of endless information,” said Tina Roche CEO, of Business in the Community Ireland. “This website provides a simple step-by-step guide to new users and takes away the element of fear or anxiety about where to start when exploring the internet.”

Delivered through grant funding from IBM, the free website requires no registration or sign-up, so users can make use of the index as soon as they visit the URL. Volunteers from IBM worked closely with Active Retirement Ireland, Age Action, Age & Opportunity, Third Age and the Older Women’s Network to ensure the site provided for these users’ needs.

Working with the Irish Association for the Social Integration of Offenders, Fast Track to IT and Camara, Business in the Community Ireland member companies have contributed more than 100 computers for refurbishment and donation to local community groups as part of the project. Logitech has also provided webcams and headpieces.

Just last week, the Government allocated a further €1.4m of funding to the BenefIT training scheme to boost digital literacy in Ireland and last year UPC launched a similar website with customisable links called Internet Buttons as part of EU’s Get Online Week.

Elaine Burke
By Elaine Burke

Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com. She joined in 2011 as a journalist covering gadgets, new media and tech jobs news. She comes from a background in publishing and is known for being particularly persnickety when it comes to spelling and grammar – earning her the nickname, Critical Red Pen. When she hasn’t got her nose stuck in her laptop, you’ll find her in the kitchen, at the cinema, or on the dancefloor.

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