Bridging the Digital Divide: The Inspiring Volunteer Programme for Knowledge in Mollet del Vallès

Edited on 02/04/2024

tElderly volunteers at Volunteer Programme for Knowledge

A group of dedicated elderly volunteers actively participating at the Volunteer Programme for Knowledge in Mollet del Vallès. 

A group of older individuals engaged in learning activities in front of computer screens.

During the first in person partner meeting in Mollet del Vallès, our DIGI-INCLUSION network Lead partner, Mollet del Vallès city council, presented their good practice about promoting social participation of the elderly in the municipality. 
 

A group of dedicated elderly volunteers is making a significant impact on the community by actively participating in a unique initiative known as the Volunteer Programme for Knowledge. At the forefront of this commendable effort stand individuals like Antonio Miravalls, whose transformative journey from student to teacher exemplifies the success of this program in reducing the digital divide among seniors. 

Active and Innovative Social Ageing: 

The Volunteer Programme for Knowledge is an integral part of the Senior Citizens Department in Mollet del Vallès City Council. This initiative is rooted in the philosophy of active and innovative social ageing, a concept endorsed by the World Health Organisation. It focuses on engaging seniors in the community, promoting social participation, and facilitating the transmission of knowledge and experience. 

 

Empowering Seniors through Volunteering: 

Volunteering has proven to be a powerful tool for enhancing the lives of seniors. Beyond contributing positively to the community, it instills a sense of purpose and satisfaction among the elderly volunteers. The program goes beyond traditional volunteering by offering courses that not only empower seniors but als3o foster empathy among peers. By breaking stereotypes and addressing the specific needs of senior citizens, the Volunteer Programme for Knowledge creates an inclusive environment for active ageing. 

 

Training and Support for Volunteers: 

Recognizing the importance of proper guidance, the program emphasizes volunteer training as a fundamental tool for success. Volunteers are equipped with essential resources, specialized training, and pedagogical tools to enhance their communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. This support structure ensures the quality and effectiveness of their volunteer work. 

 

Digital Inclusion: A Specific Focus: 

Within this comprehensive program, there is a specific emphasis on information technology and communication. Originating from a workshop called "What About You? Why Not?" in 2002, the initiative aimed to bridge the digital divide by teaching seniors to navigate the Internet. Subsequently, volunteers like Antonio Miravalls emerged, turning from learners to educators. 

 

Antonio Miravalls: A Testimonial of Success: 

Antonio Miravalls' story stands as a testament to the program's success. His journey from being a student to becoming a teacher showcases the transformative power of the Volunteer Programme for Knowledge. This way, thanks to the programme, Antonio overcame the 3 digital divides identified by the DIGI-INCLUSION project: the access divide, the use divide and the usability divide. 

 

“If I have been able to learn digital skills, you can also do it” 

                                                                   Antonio Miravalls  

 

Antonio Miravalls is a clear example of how the most experienced volunteers also contribute to the learning of new volunteers through knowledge exchanges. 

 

Current Impact and Future Plans: 

As of 2023, the program has 21 workshops led by 23 dedicated volunteers, including five specialists in new technologies. Despite the majority of students being female, all the instructors are male, highlighting the potential for greater diversity in the future. The courses cover a range of topics from basic computer skills to advanced applications, catering to the diverse needs of the elderly population. 

Looking ahead, Mollet del Vallès City Council plans to continue investing in volunteer programs for knowledge, viewing it as a crucial key for social participation and personal fulfillment for seniors. By fostering a community where knowledge is shared, the digital divide is bridged, and seniors actively contribute to the well-being of the community, Mollet del Vallès stands as a beacon of inspiration for other municipalities worldwide. 

Elderly group participating at Programme for Knowledge at Mollet del Vallès.


For more information about this good practice, please watch the video by clicking here. 
 

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Submitted by Neus Parés on 22/03/2024
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Neus Parés

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