Digital Inclusion Ecosystem: DigitAll
In November 2020, BNP Paribas Fortis, launched the Digital Inclusion Ecosystem, now called DigitAll.
Since July 2021, Proximus has joined BNP Paribas Fortis as Partner in the ecosystem.
This initiative brings together players from the business world, the social sector and federal and regional governments and administrations to build synergies and cooperate with one another. The project aims to contribute to bridging the digital divide by putting digital inclusion on the agenda, by developing a network and by creating a number of ready-to-use solutions that have a positive impact in both the short and the long term.
The participants are being supported by various experts. They too, belong to organisations with diverse backgrounds: academic world, business world, social organisations, federal and regional governments.
The groups most impacted by the digital divide are people living in poverty, those with low literacy levels, parents, young people and people with disabilities.
No fewer than one family in ten in Belgium does not have an internet connection at home. Among low-income households, this figure rises to three in ten. The lack of access to digital tools is one of the main causes of the digital divide.
A second cause is the lack of digital skills. Thirty per cent of Belgians have inadequate digital skills.
A third cause is digital stress. People who are capable of using digital tools sometimes choose not to do so for various reasons. Technology is evolving at such a rapid pace that some people are unable to keep up. Moreover, there are concerns about privacy and security online, or apps and websites are not sufficiently user-friendly.
Six solutions to bridge the digital divide
DigitAll proposes six concrete solutions to counter digital exclusion. In the next phase, these solutions will be further developed, tested and implemented. In the run-up to this second phase, other organisations have the possibility of joining the ecosystem.
The first solution aims to place digital exclusion clearly on the agenda. The real extent of the problem and the groups affected by the digital divide are not yet sufficiently acknowledged among the general public. An awareness campaign is to be organised for companies, authorities and individuals.
Reinforcing existing initiatives
As there is already a variety of valuable digital inclusion initiatives, it is crucial to support and strengthen these projects. A platform will be created for this purpose.
A mobile solution for target groups that are difficult to reach
Some of the 40% of Belgians who are at risk of digital exclusion are currently not being reached by organisations that could offer them the necessary support. As a result, they do not actively take part in our digital society. To reach this group best, the offer available has to go to them. The mobile solution that the ecosystem is proposing, makes it easier to get hard-to-reach groups, to take the first steps towards digital autonomy.
A local access point for everyone
Local contact points where people can go to use a computer or ask questions are often insufficiently known among the public. Therefore, the ecosystem proposes to appoint a local official responsible for digital inclusion and to create a local access point.
Digital inclusion index
DigitAll aims to help public and private organisations to become more digitally inclusive. Therefore, it plans to develop an index, or a global standard, which enables these organisations to assess how digitally inclusive they are. This index will also encourage them to adapt and reorient their processes and tools better to those who are digitally vulnerable.
Updating digital skills simply and using automated means
People sometimes do not take the first step towards digitalisation because they are prevented by stigmatisation and shame on the one hand, and the lack of solutions on the other. The range of solutions currently available is inadequate or expensive. This is why the ecosystem proposes a solution that is automated and easy to use.