Beyond Barriers: Empowering Ethnic Minority Communities through Digital Inclusion
Digital Inclusion Advisor, Mohammed Basit, gives an update on DCW's Digitally Connected Communities programme and suggests five ways ethnic minority communities are set to benefit from digital inclusion.
Basit here from the Digital Communities Wales: Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being programme (DCW). The past 18+ months of my role working as a Digital Inclusion Advisor supporting ethnic minority communities time has flown by! Through delivering DCW’s Digitally Connected Communities programme, I have met and engaged with key representatives from diverse range of organisations in Wales, learned more about the barriers and challenges communities and organisations face in making the most of being online, and we have worked together to explore ways to overcome these issues and barriers.
If you would like to find out more about the Digital Communities Wales programme or how we can support your organisation, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Iberian and Latin American Association in Wales (ILA-WALES CIC) were one of the seven original organisations who were part of the pilot programme. Here’s what they said:
“We were always very impressed by the organisation of the sessions, the expertise of the speakers and the useful information provided. We would like to be involved in any other projects you organise and would put forward some of our members who could then support others in our community. Many thanks for the opportunity.” – ILA-WALES CIC
In response to the success of the pilot Digitally Connected Communities programme, we launched a follow-up, called ‘Digitally Connected Communities – Health & Wellbeing’. The programme featured even more organisations in Wales who work with ethnic minority communities.
As part of the new programme, our aim was to improve understanding of the use of digital health services and tools among ethnic minority communities by working with the organisations that support them. Key topics included the NHS 5 steps to mental wellbeing, awareness raising of Public Health Wales and their screening services offered, increasing awareness of digital apps and tools to support managing mental health, and the new NHS Wales app.
As part of my role so far, I have delivered digital inclusion training both virtually and in person and have witnessed how making the smallest steps to learning the online basics can make a significant difference to people’s lives. For example, in my own family I have seen first-hand how digital skills and confidence can support people to reconnect with their loved ones. I’m delighted to see my mother, who is in her seventies, now using the internet to reach out to siblings and family members across the world, reigniting relationships that may have been otherwise lost.
In today’s interconnected world, digital inclusion has become a vital in ensuring equal opportunities and access to resources for all members of society. Ethnic minority communities in Wales, with their unique cultural backgrounds and perspectives, stand to gain significant benefits from increased digital skills and know-how. Here’s five ways digital can help ethnic minority communities in Wales thrive:
- Bridging the information gap
Digital inclusion offers ethnic minority communities the means to bridge the information gap that often exists due to language barriers or limited access to traditional media outlets. The internet provides a wealth of information, allowing individuals to access news, educational resources, and government services in their preferred language. By connecting ethnic minority communities to digital platforms, they can stay informed and engage with current affairs.
- Enhancing economic opportunities
Digital technologies provide unprecedented opportunities for economic empowerment. Through online platforms and e-commerce, ethnic minority entrepreneurs and businesses can reach wider markets, increase their customer base, and boost their economic prospects. Digital skills training programmes and workshops can equip community members with the necessary knowledge to leverage these opportunities, fostering entrepreneurship, job creation, and economic growth.
- Promoting cultural exchange and preserving heritage
Digital inclusion facilitates cultural exchange by providing platforms for ethnic minority communities in Wales to share their unique traditions, history, and heritage with the wider public. Through social media, websites, and online forums, individuals can celebrate their cultural diversity, challenge stereotypes, and build connections with other communities. Additionally, digital platforms offer opportunities for preserving and documenting cultural heritage, ensuring that future generations can access and appreciate their roots.
- Strengthening social cohesion
Digital inclusion fosters social cohesion by bringing communities together, facilitating dialogue, and nurturing understanding and empathy. Online platforms allow ethnic minority communities to share experiences and discuss shared challenges. It enables them to connect with like-minded individuals, organisations, and support networks, fostering a sense of belonging and solidarity.
- Empowering education and lifelong learning
Digital technologies have revolutionised education, breaking down traditional barriers to learning. By providing equal access to educational resources and online courses, digital inclusion enables ethnic minority individuals to pursue lifelong learning opportunities, gain new skills, and improve their employability prospects. Online education platforms also allow for flexible learning, accommodating the needs of individuals who may face time or location constraints.
Digital inclusion holds great potential to empower ethnic minority communities in Wales, promoting their socio-economic growth, encouraging cultural exchange, and strengthening social cohesion. By embracing digital technologies and ensuring equal access, Digital Communities Wales, communities, organisations, and partners can work together to bridge the digital divide and create an inclusive society that values and supports diverse ethnic communities.
For more information about digital inclusion support for ethnic minority communities in Wales, support, or even just a chat, please reach out to me via:
M: 07824 035880
Our ‘Contact us‘ form.