February 2018 Newsletter- Ontario Digital Inclusion Summit and C2SDK Partner Profile

Partner Profile: C2SDK

In January, Katherine and I visited California, where we had the opportunity to visit several partners, including Computers to San Diego Kids, Human-I-T, and San Diego Futures Foundation.

See here for our full partner profile of  C2SDKWe met with Chéri Pierre, the Chief Executive Officer of  Computers 2 SD Kids on January 23, 2018 in San Diego, CA. Collaboration was a strong theme of our conversation. As Chéri said,  “Collaboration is good. Your organization can then be efficient in the budget, not try to do things that someone else can do better. The refurbishing industry is more collaborative than many nonprofits.”

Conference Report: Ontario Digital Inclusion Summit

On the heels of returning from the west coast, I headed north to Toronto, to attend the Ontario Digital Inclusion Summit. Sponsored by the Public Policy Forum, it was a gathering of representatives from government, private industry, academia, and non-profits to discuss the state of digital inclusion in Ontario.

One of the key impressions I had was the extent to which Inclusion was broadly focused. Starting with the opening welcome from a representative of indigenous peoples (First Nations), including live captioning and sign-language interpreters, and speakers addressing the specific needs of the vision-impaired community, the challenges facing women of color, and other issues, I was impressed by the efforts to be welcoming of all. Though as Elder Waters pointed out on the second day, there is still much to be done to ensure that we involve all stakeholders at the start of conversations, I think the extent of focus on the inclusiveness within Digital Inclusion is key.

Some of the phrases which struck me during the conference include:

  • Our goal: Providing equality of access to opportunity
  • “Non-profit R &D: Rip off and Duplicate”
  • “Do we want to integrate into a burning house?”- James Baldwin quote applied to ask about digital inclusion and privacy & security concerns
  • “Planning with people, not planning for people”- Respectful design including all parties up front
  • “Remembering our invited guest status”
  • “Equality is giving everyone the same access. Equity is compensating for the fact that some are starting from a much different place”
  • “Inclusion isn’t simply not excluding- it can be a lot of work”
  • “There are times when there are a limited number of seats at the table, and some people of privilege need to give up their seat”
  • “Holder of wisdom – Grandma Google”

Other key items I noticed:

  • Within Canada, Digital Inclusion activity enjoys support from the government at the province level, e.g. Ontario Digital Service
  • Canadians are hungry for an organization like NDIA. Shelley Robinson of National Capital Freenet and Zeina Osman of CompuCorps were at the conference and are working on this, with plans for a Digital Access Day in May.
  • As we examine the data that drives decision making, we need to consider who is not included in that data, and the impact that could have. (e.g. collecting pothole data from people with an app & using this to drive repairs- need to ask who isn’t using the app & what sections of town are excluded; e.g. using wearables to collect health data & making policy decisions based on that data)
  • The United Kingdom is ahead of most nations in public investment & data collection for digital inclusion
  • There needs to be a focus on the social contract, and not just individuals
  • Digital Inclusion is more than a digital divide- it means being more inclusive in a digital environment

For details on sessions and speakers at the conference, see the available conference material.

Three Years Strong

As we conclude our third year, I want to thank all of our partners and affiliates who have helped us make a difference in digital inclusion. As of this date, we have twenty seven partner agencies, over 150 pages of content, and close to 12,000 views. We look forward to adding more newsletters, white papers, partner profiles, and additional resources in the coming year. If you work with agencies that may be interested in partnering with PBDD, please let us know.

Net Inclusion 2018

We encourage all of our partners and those involved in digital inclusion to attend Net Inclusion 2018, being held in Cleveland April 17-19. Early registration ends March 1. The sponsor, National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), is a member-based organization (basic membership is free) that provides a unified voice for broadband access, personal devices and local technology training and support programs.


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