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Digital inclusion - a busy year

16 January 2020

2019 was a busy year, also for our Digital Inclusion Coordinator; this position was created in February and given to Tania Maamary so that she could handle the various projects linked to the regional action plan.

A Working Group dedicated to digital inclusion and comprising all the Brussels regional bodies and stakeholders in the sector was created; it met three times over the course of the year. In addition to making contact with regional bodies in the context of the digital inclusion WG, contact was made with stakeholders working in the field of digital inclusion: the CABAN network and the DPS (Digital Public Space), Digital Wallonia, the voluntary sector working in inclusion (Solival, coding workshops, Digibeta, etc.) and with women (Girlee, Amazone, Jump, etc.), the King Baudouin Foundation, the academic sector (VUB, ULB, UCL, etc.), the LUSS and the municipal and para-municipal administrations.

In collaboration with all these stakeholders, a "DPS recognised by the Brussels Capital Region" certification was introduced, underpinned by a Charter and a certification process. The charter contains a number of criteria, such as the fact that the DPS must run support and training activities for digital users, be open to the public at least 15 hours a week and have at least six computers or tablets. The certification procedure began in April.

To date, there are 18 certified DPSs. An official logo was developed for the Region and certified DPSs can display this logo at their entrance and on their communications in order to increase their visibility. These DPSs have also received 10 identity card readers customised with the logo of the certified DPSs.   A communication plan was introduced to increase the visibility of the DPSs recognised by the Brussels-Capital Region and the actions undertaken by the Region.

An "inclusion" page was created on the Smart City portal: A "certified DPS" page was created on the regional portal: The certified DPS kit containing a logo, stickers, card readers and more also allows certified DPSs to increase their visibility. Several actions were taken to raise awareness of the issue, starting in digital week (14-25 October 2019): "The gender war" conference focusing on IT (in collaboration with Jump); screening of the film "Je viens d’une autre planète" (I come from a different planet) (in collaboration with the King Baudouin Foundation); three free coding workshops at a DPS (in collaboration with the municipality of Koekelberg); collection of old telephones and IT equipment; and a Fix My Street workshop with users to improve functionalities. Other awareness-raising actions also took place, including training in the digital divide at the Jette PCSW; sign language information session at the BRIC; "simplifying together" project organised by the Culture and Development Centre in partnership with Easybrussels and the BRIC; and the InclusivIT project organised by Solival.

Lastly, there were information sessions on digitalised public services to give multimedia leaders the tools to train, inform and support their public in the use of these services. The BRIC held two four-hour information sessions on its premises; these attracted around 70 people, all of them DPS multimedia leaders.

The sessions covered the following services:
  • Introduction and presentation of a code of ethics for personal/confidential user data
  • itsme
  • IRISbox
  • Fix My Street
  • e-health portal
  • My Actiris
  • My Tax
  • My dossier/e-box
The participants gave positive feedback on the content of the presentation on digitalised services, the training manuals and the setting, as well as the chance to talk to other trainers and the Digital Inclusion Coordinator.

The year ended with the submission to the Supervisory Cabinet of an action plan for the next legislature. This plan must be submitted to the Government for agreement and will allow Tania Maamary to continue her work to create greater digital inclusion in the Brussels-Capital Region!
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