No fewer than 46 organisations and companies, including UQalify, made a strong commitment by signing the Digital Inclusion Charter. They did so at the launch of the DigitAll campaign in the presence of Federal Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter. As much as 40 per cent of the Belgian population today risks exclusion from our increasingly digitised society.
This figure was the call to action for the minister and managers of a wide range of organisations. “Forty per cent. This affects all levels within society, rich or poor, old or young,” says the DigitAll coalition.
That’s why DigitAll – a broad coalition of private, social and public companies with BNP Paribas Fortis and Proximus as pioneers – is launching a campaign to make everyone aware of the risks of digital exclusion. Organisations are encouraged to take the initiative and citizens to participate in actions that enable digital inclusion.
Petra De Sutter, Deputy Prime Minister: “Make no mistake. Digital exclusion goes beyond the lack of a smartphone or computer. Whether you have access to the Internet and are digitally literate increasingly affects whether you can participate in our society. We often take our human rights for granted and underestimate how new forms of exclusion can have major consequences. So, our fight against digital exclusion is nothing less than a fight for fundamental rights.”
Digital exclusion: an underestimated problem
Digital exclusion affects Belgians of all ages and backgrounds. This happens when they lack access to technology or have inadequate digital skills. These vulnerable people face a barrier to services that we in our society consider essential to everyone’s well-being.
The campaign used testimonies to show that people today without access to digital technology, lack the necessary skills, or are afraid of it, cannot fully exercise their fundamental human rights.
Today, 40 per cent of Belgians risk exclusion from the digital society. Some key facts and figures:
- According to a study by the King Baudouin Foundation, ‘Digital Inclusion Barometer’ (by P. Brotcorne and I. Mariën in 2020), almost one in two Belgians are at risk of digital exclusion regardless of age or social status.
- Moreover, the recent “Digital Inclusion Barometer” of the King Baudouin Foundation shows that 1-in-10 Belgian families lack access to an Internet connection at home.
- The digitisation of many everyday tasks becomes an insurmountable challenge when one does not have the required digital knowledge and skills. This includes making a doctor’s appointment, registering children for school, applying for a job, completing forms on Tax-on-Web, and so on.
- Digital exclusion can affect anyone. Yet few people give it much thought.
DigitAll starts the campaign with the following actions:
- On the website (www.digitall.be), we bring together the various current initiatives intended to reduce digital exclusion. By bringing together available offerings, DigitAll also wants to inspire and motivate other actors in society to promote greater digital inclusion.
- Of course, the initiative is not just limited to the website. To reach citizens who are not yet digitally savvy, DigitAll places brochures in post offices, Proximus shops, and throughout the BNP Paribas Fortis network to inform and guide as much of the population as possible about the digital society.