Middle-aged and older people now have the opportunity to learn how to use computers and digital services, helping them access new online services and unlock their potential in the digital realm
Kramatorsk, Ukraine, 19 October 2021 -- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine, with financial support from the Government of Canada, has opened four Computer Literacy Centres for people over 50 in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
Starting in October, the modern, inclusive and comfortable spaces will operate in the communities of Kramatorsk and Novohrodivka in Donetsk Oblast, and Popasna and Rubizhne in Luhansk Oblast.
The project to set up the centres aims to improve the quality and accessibility of the "University of the Third Age" social and pedagogical service, introduced in Ukraine in 2011, in territorial centres and surrounding communities. The main objectives of the service are to encourage the comprehensive development of older people, including organising and conducting free educational activities for them.
The opening of the centres was prompted by the results of a survey on the digital literacy needs of the population conducted by the MLS group at the initiative of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine in 2019. The survey found that about 44.4 percent of respondents in the 50+ category do not have the skills necessary to safely use digital services, such as searching, organising and analysing information, doing online banking, online buying/selling, etc.
UN Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme Manager Victor Munteanu noted that the Computer Literacy Centres are there to ensure mobile and digital services are accessible to all residents of eastern communities, no matter their age or mastery of technology.
"The gaps and challenges that prevent people over 50 from taking advantage of the digital transformation need to be addressed, so that everyone has equal access to technology and related benefits," Munteanu said. "The fast pace of digitalisation during the COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted existing inequalities, as many middle-aged and older people have been unable to access online services. We hope that such centres for improving digital literacy and the practical use of online services in communities will help to further ensure digital inclusion for all."
Head of the Political Section in the Embassy of Canada to Ukraine Richard Colvin said that it was essential today for citizens of all ages to have access to training and education. Digital literacy is as important for people aged 50 and up as it is for teenagers, he said. It will support their physical, psychological and social wellbeing, while enabling them to engage in the social and professional life of their communities.
"We hope that these Computer Literacy Centres will become an effective instrument for ensuring that middle-aged and older people are included in the Ukrainian government's initiative to modernize service provision via digitalization," Colvin said.
Kramatorsk Mayor Oleksandr Honcharenko thanked everyone who contributed to the creation of the centre in Kramatorsk at its grand opening: "It is great that Kramatorsk is implementing a project in which older people can acquire new knowledge and skills. This will contribute to their better integration in a modern digital society and help unlock their potential in new areas of activity."
In addition, the project developed a computer and digital literacy curriculum adapted to the needs of the elderly, created local groups of volunteer teachers, and provided facilities for comfortable learning for the elderly.
The computer literacy centres were set up and supplied with furniture and equipment under the United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, with financial support from the Government of Canada.
The United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme (UN RPP) is being implemented by four United Nations agencies: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).
Twelve international partners support the Programme: the European Union (EU), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and the governments of Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.
Vlada Soloviova, Communications Associate, UN Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, email@example.com, +380 95 529 4240.
Photo: Vitalii Sheveliov / UNDP Ukraine