A community-driven approach to digital inclusion
A new way of approaching digital inclusion.
'Connected Communities' is a ground-breaking program by Infoxchange that aims to connect digital inclusion issues and social participation meaningfully by utilising processes and practices rarely seen in this space.
Traditionally, approaches to increasing digital inclusion do not work for many community members. To address this, instead of emphasising "digital", Connected Communities is shifting the focus to "inclusion".
Rather than prescriptive skills-building modes, Infoxchange is engaging in participatory community building wherein participants of these workshops shape and inform their own engagement and learning environment.
By fostering digital inclusion in ways that are meaningful to community members, practitioners see increased impact and greater material outcomes for participants. Through increasing digital inclusion, we increase social inclusion.
The co-designed and participatory approach of Connected Communities has positively impacted the lives of participating community members and has created strategies and recommendations as reference points for other practitioners and digital inclusion projects.
I feel very happy to have something to do here in the building with these beautiful people because I had depression, and I feel more motivated to do things here. It really is a very beautiful time I have here.
Romy, Workshop Participant
Building Connections in a digital world.
Start with inclusion – the Connected Communities approach to digital inclusion.
This report outlines the Connected Communities approach to digital inclusion and its outcomes for participants and community workers. We developed it as a guide and resource for digital inclusion advocates, practitioners, and those who fund digital inclusion work. It presents a more impactful way to plan, scope and deliver digital inclusion activities to those who need them most.
Designing impactful and sustainable outcomes.
Connected Communities is a project run by Infoxchange, a not-for-profit social enterprise delivering technology to the social sector and digital programs for social justice.
This pilot project was first delivered across Victoria between January 2022 to January 2023 and was made possible with the support of the TPG Telecom Foundation.
Connected Communities aims to strengthen the digital skills, confidence, community connections and capacity of people experiencing barriers to social and digital inclusion through participation and co-creation in supportive place-based community workshops.
Infoxchange collaborated with sector partners from Australian Red Cross, Star Health, Greenhills Neighbourhood House and the Jeder Institute to deliver this project in the community, building capacity by working alongside each team to plan, co-design and facilitate the community-led workshops.
Sharing knowledge and engaging in meaningful conversations is a crucial part of the Connected Communities program. Along with supporting participants in developing new skills in using technology, we also facilitate conversations that help them to share their insights, skills and experiences and to play an active role in leading workshop activities.
These discussions may cover the joys or frustrations of technology use, interactions with family, community activities/services and ideas they may want to explore. This project builds upon our foundational research undertaken through the Connected Futures project, Infoxchange's human-centred-design research approach involving over 130 people living throughout the eastern states of Australia to help improve community resilience and increase digital inclusion.
Featured on the AASW Podcast
Hear Social Impact Lead Anna Morgan talk about the Connected Communities project on AAWS’s Social Work People Podcast on Digital Inclusion, Community Development and Social Justice.