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European Commission


Brussels, 22 June 2012

Digital Agenda: awards show how digital technologies can help reduce exclusion and improve job prospects

The European Commission has awarded prizes to the winners of the eInclusion awards at the Digital Agenda Assembly held in Brussels on 21st and 22nd June 2012. People from all walks of life participated in two categories of a competition: “I am Part of IT” designed for individuals and organisations whose use of IT helped overcome exclusion or brought new skills; and “Be Part of IT” designed for organisations or individuals who champion e-Inclusion by undertaking and supporting relevant initiatives.

The Digital Agenda proposed a series of measures to promote the take-up of digital technologies by disadvantaged groups, such as lower-skilled, unemployed people or those living with a disability (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200).

The eInclusion awards were established by the European Commission to discover organisations and individuals across Europe who champion new technology and are able to harness the potential of the internet to improve their lives. The latest Digital Agenda scoreboard (IP/12/614) shows that 25% of the EU population still lacks IT skills and only 53% are confident that their computer and internet skills are sufficient if they need to change or find a new job within a year.

The winners are:

  • Elton Kalica who arrived in Italy from Albania, learned ICT skills and turned his life around, leading to a University degree and a good job. He wins the 'I am Part of IT' prize for an individual.

  • Siemon Dekelver, collects the 'I am Part of IT' prize for organisations on behalf of WAI-NOT initiative (Belgium). WAI-NOT promotes the use of internet for people with learning difficulties. It provides a website based on pictograms for people who cannot read, and who require accessible and understandable web pages. WAI-NOT has enabled Siemon Dekelver, who has Down's syndrome, to surf the internet, write pictogram emails and chat with his friends and family. He also uses mobile technology that supports him when travelling on his own. Siemon Dekelver started using the WAI-NOT website and later became the ambassador of the initiative.

  • The 'Be part of IT' prize for small organisations is won by Storybook Dads (UK) which works on the basis of the simplest basic technology. Storybook Dads enables parents serving prison sentences to record bedtime stories for their children onto a CD or audio DVD. Their stories are digitally enhanced by specially trained prisoners acting as editors, who can add music and sound effects before the finished product is sent to the child. This helps to maintain the all important bond between parent and child.

  • Barcelona Activa (Spain) & Information Society Development Foundation (FRSI) (Poland) share the 'Be part of IT' prize for larger organisations or development funds. FRSI uses local libraries to provide connectivity and training for disadvantaged communities in Poland. Barcelona Activa actively promotes ICT skills and tailored training to foster employability and competitiveness through courses it organises on its premises and in libraries.

For more information

eInclusion awards

Digital Agenda website

Neelie Kroes' website

Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter

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