Fibre optic network provider Vumatel (Vuma) says it is set to launch another 'Gogos with Vuma' project in the near future after seeing success with the recent graduate class.
Vuma, which partnered with non-profit organisation goGOGOgo to create the two-week 'Gogos with Vuma' programme, says it is trying to equip the elderly with basic digital skills.
The goGOGOgo is a non-profit organisation that develops and manages programmes for grandmothers and their grandchildren. The partnership with Vuma is aimed at empowering senior citizens with ICT training and devices.
According to a statement, 59 participants took part in the recent programme in which they were taught how to turn their tablets on and off,use WhatsApp and YouTube, navigate online shopping, install apps, create and use e-mail accounts, enable mobile data and Wi-Fi, manage Google profiles and the Book Dash app.
Bradley Chauke, project manager at goGOGOgo, says: “One of the most rewarding aspects of this programme is being able to see how the students start the programme being scared to touch the screen of their tablet and towards the end of the programme, they use apps and send texts like teenagers.”
Vuma plans to teach participants how to access e-government services, navigate the online space safely and explore educational platforms that will help them to keep learning.
A participant in the programme Sylvia Ntombentsha Badi says the programme has empowered her with digital independence. “This programme has brought us out of the digital darkness and into the light. Now I can operate a smartphone and keep in touch with my loved ones without having to ask for too much help.”
According to one of the trainers, Thando Mokoena, the enthusiasm shown by the seniors was contagious and created a positive learning environment. “It was wonderful to see the dedication our students showed. They were all eager and very enthusiastic, which made them a joy to teach.”
Taylor Kwong, head of marketing and CSI at Vuma, believes that providing basic digital skills to the elderly is crucial, given the role technology plays in everydsy life. “Being part of a journey that empowers people who spend their lives helping everyone else is a core part of why we do what we do," he says.
"It has been heartwarming to see how quickly the seniors have picked up these skills and we are excited to see the impact this will have on their lives and the lives of their grandchildren. Additionally, with enhanced resources and extended partnerships with like-minded organisations in our communities, I am confident that we can guarantee no gogo is left behind, by making the project accessible,“ concludes Kwong.