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Overview

Being Woman offer women digital skills training to increase inclusion and equality. They are based in Northumberland, United Kingdom.

Being Woman are using learning resources from Learn My Way and Make It Click to teach people about topics such as video calling, identifying online scams and working from home. They have also distributed tablets and laptops, with integrated WiFi sims or routers, that have been provided by the Devicesdotnow scheme to people without internet access.

They are also running English as a Second Language classes for asylum seekers over Zoom using English my Way resources.

3 photos of people holding new tablets from Devices Dot Now

Users and needs served

  • As someone without internet access, I need a way to stay connected during COVID-19 restrictions
  • As someone with little or no experience using digital devices, I need help with getting started
  • As a volunteer teaching digital skills, I need teaching resources to deliver workshops and support sessions effectively
  • As an organisation enabling digital access, we need internet-enabled devices that we can supply to people who are without internet access

Software and tools used

Phone, text, email and social media

Being Woman take queries and appointments across a range of channels.

Considerations

People can reach out on the channel that best suits them.

Whatsapp

For initial support calls.

Cost

Free

Considerations

Many people are familiar with this.

Skype

For initial support calls.

Cost

Free

Considerations

Many people are familiar with this.

Zoom

For larger group calls

Cost

From free

Considerations

Has video functionality which allows you to see participants’ faces.

Has chat functionality within the video call should participants not be able to or wish to speak verbally.

You can create private meetings which require a password to increase security.

Hosts can create ‘breakout rooms’ to allow for smaller in-depth discussions within larger group sessions.

Learn My Way

Free digital skills resources for learners and teachers created by the Good Things Foundation.

Cost

Free

Considerations

Designed to be simple and easy to understand for complete beginners.

Make It Click

Free digital skills resources for learners and teachers from a range of sources.

Cost

Free

Considerations

Covers a range of skill levels and topics such as tools for working online.

English My Way

Free online language resources

Cost

Free

Considerations

Covers a range of skill levels and topics such as tools for working online

DevicesDotNow

Scheme distributing mobile devices, laptops and sims, mobile dongles and hotspots donated by businesses.

Cost

Free by donation

Considerations

Removes practical and financial barriers to getting devices and internet access for those who do not have access to resources.

Google Forms

Staff use a Google form to capture information when people request support over the phone.

Cost

From free

Considerations

Provides a standard way to capture information.

Recipe steps

1. Reach out to people who may need support

Being Woman offers digital support to people who request it directly over the phone or through their website. They also take referrals from other community organisations. They are active in mutual aid groups and also partner with libraries to identify people who may need support.

2. Apply for and assign devices

Being Woman had a limited number of devices to distribute. To decide who should have them, they took into account the level of need, geographical distribution and whether there were children in the house who also needed access. There was also a preference for choosing existing clients who they were certain would be committed to getting online.

3. Deliver devices

The devices were delivered to people’s homes. Drivers were asked to take a photo of the delivery with the recipient, avoiding any personal features such as faces in the image, as a record of successful delivery.

4. Inform people about privacy and data use

Each person was sent a text message about how data on the device would be used. Consent for images and quotes to be used in case studies was also requested and collected, but only if people were comfortable with this.

5. Introductory call to get people online

Regardless of whether the person had received a device or not, the online support starts with a video call over Whatsapp or Skype. This often begins as a voice call, where the person is then guided by the trainer to turn their video on. The digital skills trainer talks the person through the basics of video calling and sets them up on the Learn My Way website. They are able to offer support in several different languages.

6. Follow up video sessions

The trainers follow up with people every two weeks to check-in and offer more practical and emotional support.

7. Webinars and group calls

When people have learned the basics, they can start joining group sessions on specific topics, including English language classes for asylum seekers.

Guidance

Emotional support and reassurance are as important as technical support for people starting their digital journey. It’s best to use platforms that are familiar to people as this helps to build confidence. Being Woman chose Whatsapp for this reason.

Through offering digital support they are able to identify other needs, for example needs around mental health, and are able to direct people to other services. Like Being Woman, have procedures in place to contact local authorities and the police if any risks are identified.

They pre-installed health and wellbeing apps on the devices they distributed: Stress and Anxiety Companion and My Possible Self from the NHS apps library, and Calm. Having these apps pre-installed means they’re readily available for people to use and removes the extra step of having to install it themselves. Pre-installed apps help with ease of access, especially if people are at the beginning of their digital journey.

Having a collaborative environment amongst various organisations is really beneficial as it allows you to easily adapt to changing situations. The charities, community organisations and council in Northumberland have been working together to share knowledge and improve processes.. For example, Being Woman have been up-skilling some of their peers in working remotely so that they are better equipped to make referrals. They have been getting support and guidance from the Good Things Foundation and other mentors.

The team also reflect each week on any technical issues they faced and work through them together.

Risks

They are not able to reach people without internet access at home, and are limited in the devices they can distribute.

Points of contact

For further information about this recipe, you can contact:

Fareeha Usman
Founder

Thanks

Many thanks to Being Woman for contributing this recipe.

Recipe published on April 28th, 2020. Last updated May 21st, 2020