Telecentre Europe Awards 2016 Entry: Multi-Stakeholder Partnership (MSP)

Capital Digital

Country: Belgium

Website: https://capitaldigital.be/

When was MSP established: 2015

Name of the leading organization: MAKS vzw

MSP contact person:  Veronique De Leener, director 

Nominated by:  Jan Debognies, department manager, MAKS vzw

PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS

  • government: The Cabinet of the State Secretary for Equal Opportunity and Digitalization in the Brussels Capital Region
  • private: Duval Guillaume (an advertising agency)
  • non-profit CSOs: 
     - MAKS vzw (e-inclusion); 
     - Foyer vzw (integration services)
     - FEDACTIO vzw (non-formal education)

1. PURPOSE OF THE MSP

The Capital Digital project aims to reach two age groups: we train young people (aged 15+) in the basics of coding, but we also provide them with the necessary pedagogical skills to transfer this knowledge onto children. Our aim in the short term is to improve essential IT-skills of young people and to teach them the basics of coding. In the long term, we want to make disadvantaged target groups aware of the career paths that lead to jobs in the IT and tech sector – where they are currently underrepresented.

2. ACTIVITIES

Main activities:

  • training (3x/year) for young people (15 to 25 yrs old) to train them as e-facilitators for the coding camps for children. 
  • coding camps for children (3x/year) where children learn the basics of coding and learn to make a simple app or game or learn to program a robot

Geography and outreach:
The project focuses on three disadvantaged areas in the Brussels Capital Region: Anderlecht, Molenbeek and Schaarbeek. We focus on reaching disadvantaged youth and children, primarily with a migration background.

Partners' contribution:

  • The Cabinet of the State Secretary for Equal Opportunity and Digitalization in the Brussels Capital Region provides a base subsidy that partly covers the cost of the project
  • Duval Guillaume assists with communication and bringing in private funding for the project
  • MAKS vzw coordinates, provides curriculum and training of youngsters
  • Foyer vzw and FEDACTIO vzw recruit young people and children and assist in practical organization of workshops

3. CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS 

  • Reaching target audience: The partnership between the CSOs assures the target groups are reached in the way set out by the project. Both MAKS, Foyer and Fedactio have lots of experience working with disadvantaged target groups and know the communities they work with very well.
  • Awareness raising: The partnership with the Cabinet of the State Secretary for Equal Opportunity and Digitalization in the Brussels Capital Region provides us with a base subsidy to partly staff the project and pay for investments. The government also assists in awareness raising about the project.
  • Industry input and funding: The involvement of Duval Guillaume assures the contact and input of the tech sector. The advertising agency assists us with communications and by bringing in private sponsorship.

4. CHALLENGES

The main challenge addressed by the project is a lack of people from disadvantaged target groups accessing STEM career paths and particularly IT-careers because of
1. Inadequate education
2. Vicious circle of exclusion (gender and socio-economic situation)
3. lack of "science capital" i.e. undetermined role and importance of science in the daily life of local communities (negative stereotypes, difficult access to scientific knowledge, lack of its hands-on dimension and shortages in inter-sectoral cooperation)

This is why we built a multifaceted consortium that offers interactive, out of school activities that are rooted in the local communities and based on peer-to-peer education concepts. By doing so, we increase the "science capital" of young people from disadvantaged communities, increasing their chances of accessing the labour market in the long term.

5. SUSTAINABILITY

The project is part publicly funded, part privately. We are currently exploring different ways of securing funding and expanding the project. It will most likely remain a mix of diversified public and private funding.

6. SOCIAL IMPACT

So far we have reached hundreds of young people and children, encouraging them to engage in IT in a fun and creative way. Research has shown that building their science capital will have a positive effect on young people’s lives – not just in terms of encouraging more young people to continue into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs, but more importantly, building science capital is a tool for social justice, to help improve people’s lives and life chances.

At the same time, we show the potential and enthusiasm of young people who recently became particularly stigmatised because of the neighbourhoods they live in or their ethnic backgrounds. We believe the boost Capital Digital gives to their self-esteem is very valuable. The counter narrative against prejudiced media is equally important.

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