The Digital Inclusion Initiative has implemented a range of projects over the past decade to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged communities. These projects extend far beyond increasing access to computers. They have also encouraged greater community participation and further employment. They have allowed formal and informal education to take place and equipped small groups with the knowledge they need to enhance their services through technology. We hope the following projects practically demonstrate the true worth of digital inclusion.
The Wired Community @ Wattle Hill is a digital inclusion initiative that aims to deliver equal and affordable access to computers and the internet to residents of public housing in Wattle Hill, Victoria. In the initial stages of this demonstration project, 50 homes will be connected with internet access via a wireless mesh network and given a GreenPC computer with Microsoft contributing the software.
Wired provides residents of the Collingwood public housing estate in inner Melbourne an opportunity to obtain a network-ready computer at no cost, along with the establishment of an ICT training hub, estate-wide intranet and communications network, email and affordable internet access for residents.
yarraReporter is a training program giving public housing estate residents in the City of Yarra the skills and means to publish stories that matter to them and their community. This civic journalism project is an initiative of Infoxchange Australia to build skills, capacity, social contribution and leadership amongst residents by modelling cooperative social change in community activities, local news gathering, editing, writing, interviewing and internet broadcasting.
The electronic Atherton Community Enterprise, or e-ACE, is Infoxchange Australia's first and longest running digital inclusion project. About 800 households on the Atherton Gardens public housing estate in Fitzroy, in Melbourne's inner north, were awarded free computers with software and email, access to free volunteer-run computer training, and equipment to use in an ICT hub. A community intranet is regularly updated by Infoxchange staff, local community services and residents themselves with information of interest to the Atherton Gardens community. For a small fee, residents can also browse the internet.
Language Factory is a social enterprise of Infoxchange Australia which utilises the skills of linguistically and culturally diverse public housing residents, alongside accredited professionals, to provide cost-effective community interpreting and translating services.
GreenPC refurbishes used computers received from government and business organisations and makes them available to those who might not usually be able to afford a new computer system. The project also provides sustainable job creation opportunities for long term unemployed people, provideing a clear pathway to future employment in the technology sector.
The InfoTimor project aims to address East Timor's low level of technological infrastructure and skilled IT staff and eventually address further issues such as unemployment and the digital divide.
Parent Connect @ Heathdale aims to reduce disadvantage in the Heathdale community by improving the connection between the Glen Orden Primary School in Heathdale and parents with children at the school. The goals are to foster social networks among the families, build a greater sense of community, provide access to information technology for those normally excluded from its benefits, and increase skills and educational opportunities for the family members.