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Introducing the Sankofa Seniors Digital Literacy Programme (SDLP) of British Columbia, Canada

12 December 2022 at 00:51 | 1469 views

By Charles Quist-Adade, Vancouver, BC

The purpose of the Sankofa Seniors Digital Literacy Programme (SDLP) was to promote digital literacy among seniors of African-Descent in British Columbia. The programme is part of our ongoing programme—the Afri-Canada Community Arts and Digital Literacy Project.

The SDLP was designed to train seniors (50 years+) how to use the computer,
smartphone, and surf the internet.

The overarching goal was to train the seniors to become “computer savvy” enough to be be able to use their computers and phones to establish and maintain lines of communication within family and friendship circles, so as to curtail social isolation that seniors tend to face in our community.

The programme, which was jointly delivered by the Africa-Canada Education Foundation and Unique Get-Together Society, involved the following planks
(1) Online: We created a special website with interactive lessons.
(2) Hybrid: The programme was delivered through in-person and online.
(3) Individual/personalized tutoring.

What informed the move and why?
A good number of our seniors are within 50+ age cohort and therefore fall within the group susceptible to the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the extended period of national lockdown and subsequent strict Covid-19 restrictions, imposed self-isolation became a huge burden for many of our seniors. Loneliness and isolation are as debilitating as the disease itself. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the already perilous situation of our vulnerable members. Due to the high cost of living in Metro Vancouver, many of our seniors experience economic and food insecurity due to low incomes and barriers to employment. Some live below the poverty line, eking a miserable living.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the already precarious financial situation of our members. Many do not have the wherewithal to purchase personal computers and smartphones. Those who have PCs and smartphones don’t have the latest ones, exposing them to virus attacks and frequent breakdown of their gadgets. Even more problematic is that many of the seniors do not have most basic knowledge in digital technology.

What are the objectives? At the end of the programme, the seniors would
• Become “computer and smartphone- savvy”, as they learn how to use the computer, smartphone, and surf the internet.
• Learn how not to fall prey to scammers and phishing ploys on their computers and
• Learn to protect themselves against scammers and phishers.
• Acquire knowledge in how to use and play games and other interactive apps to
develop an active mind and social network with fellow seniors, friends, and families.
• Gain computer and other digital literacy skills.
• Establish and maintain lines of communication within the family and friends.

One missing piece: The Sankofa Senior Digital Literacy Programme was funded by the Canadian government under its Senior New Horizons Programme. Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau and BC Premier, John Horgan sent congratulatory messages to the graduates of the SSDLP

Each of the graduates was given a laptop and a certificate

Note from the Editor: Click on the link below to see the graduands.

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