Media release: 20 inspiring organisations will be part of our new Digital Sisters program
Twenty organisations around the country have started working on an Australian-first program to empower 800 migrant and refugee women to overcome digital exclusion.
Funded by the Department of Social Services, the program will empower refugee and newly arrived migrant women to build the digital skills and confidence they need to fully participate in Australian society.
Grants worth $20,000 have been awarded to 20 community organisations that support women in regional and metro locations across Australia. The organisations selected cover a wide variety of cultural and linguistic needs, and work with a diverse range of cultural groups from South Sudanese to Afghan migrants and refugee women.
“This just reinforces the need for a program like Digital Sisters to build digital capacity and confidence in migrant and refugee communities across the country.”
“We want to thank all of the wonderful organisations that applied for a Digital Sisters grant,” CEO of Good Things Foundation, Jessica Wilson says. “We were really impressed by the large number of organisations that showed interest. This just reinforces the need for a program like Digital Sisters to build digital capacity and confidence in migrant and refugee communities across the country.”
Designing a digitally included future, together
Representatives from the 20 participating organisations have started to co-design the Digital Sisters program and consider the diverse needs of their communities. Soon, they’ll engage bi-lingual digital mentors, who will help and inspire learners to build their digital confidence and skills. These mentors will then provide digital skills support to around 800 women aged between 18 and 50 through the program.
“We know that gaining digital literacy skills and confidence can help to open doors and provide migrant and refugee women with life-changing access to social connection, employment and essential services. This program will be powerful in supporting women to be more digitally connected. Its strength will be the incredible breadth and span of the amazing organisations that are involved,” says Wilson.
“Everyone needs to be digitally confident and migrant women in particular face multiple barriers due to cultural, financial and language barriers.”
According to the Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2023, nearly 1 in four people living in Australia are currently digitally excluded. This figure represents the tip of the iceberg, as many groups in Australia – like migrant and refugee women – may experience a greater risk of disadvantage and digital exclusion compared to the rest of the population.
“The strong response we received to this project demonstrates that digital mentoring is not just something for the elderly,” CEO of HOST International, David Keegan says. “Everyone needs to be digitally confident and migrant women in particular face multiple barriers due to cultural, financial and language barriers.
“We look forward to working with these diverse organisations throughout Australia to learn what works best to overcome these barriers.”
Digital Sisters is a one-year pilot program, with training for the 800 program recipients starting towards the end of the year.
“We really believe that Digital Sisters will help change the lives of migrant and refugee women and help to close the digital gap, for good,” says Wilson. “We look forward to working with the successful applicants and co-designing our first Digital Sisters project together.”
Digital Sisters participants: the successful applicants
Linda Berrigan, Director of Communications, Good Things Foundation Australia. Ph: 0478 119 066. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yasmin Noone, Communications and Advocacy Manager, Good Things Foundation Australia. Ph: 0432 654 467. Email: email@example.com
Notes to editor
- Good Things Foundation is a national digital inclusion and social change charity. It helps people who are digitally excluded to benefit from the digital world, by providing access to support and technology to learn essential digital skills. Its programs have been proven to increase digital skills, safety, confidence and social connection.
- Good Things Foundation leads and mobilises a national network of over 3,500 community-based partners to deliver digital inclusion programs: including community centres, small local community groups, libraries, social enterprises, housing associations, disability services community colleges, and migrant and refugee services. Through the Foundation’s network, it is able to deliver local support to the hardest to reach, at scale through 15,000+ community-based digital mentors.
- Good Things Foundation Australia manages the Australian Government’s Be Connected digital skills program for older Australians, the Get Online Week digital inclusion campaign, and other programs that support digital health literacy and people with disability.
- HOST International is an Australian charity seeking to make life better for migrants and refugees through programs that foster humanity, hope and dignity for all.
- HOST’s vision is for an inclusive world where people on the move and host communities work together to create better lives for all through programs that build individual wellbeing, community inclusion and systems change with a focus on capacity building and innovation in refugee and migrant protection.
- Rather than applying traditional models of humanitarian rescue and material aid, HOST enables displaced people and the communities they live in to develop and implement their own solutions to the challenges they face. This includes assisting newcomers to access and utilise digital tools to facilitate their settlement goals and broader community inclusion.