Creating a partnership project „Click to Europe“, a Serbian NGO International Aid Network (IAN) and Esplai from Spain have joined their strengths in an effort to promote and improve digital inclusion in Serbia. The project supported by the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia and Microsoft. Through building a partnership between CSOs, public and private sector and by relying on developed EU policies and learning from the EU experiences in the domain of digital inclusion, this project aims to promote and contribute to e-inclusion of people, businesses and communities in Serbia, thus improving quality of life, employability and social inclusion of citizens.

The use of ICT in Serbia is on a very low level, far lower than in developed EU countries. Almost half of the population in Serbia (44,7%) has never used a computer. Serbia also has one of the lowest registered rates of Internet users – only 37%. Consequences of this statistics are especially strong for vulnerable groups – persons with disabilities, the poor, Roma, unemployed, single parents, refugees.

Project activities include a series of workshops on the following topics: e-Inclusion of vulnerable group, Promotion of ICT Assistive technology, Quality standards in ICT education, and Self sustainability of organisations providing ICT education, as well as networking and raising awareness on the importance of e-skills.

The first workshop e-Inclusion of vulnerable groups was organised on 29-30 September in Belgrade. At the workshop the participants were introduced with e-inclusion policies and initiatives in Spain and other EU countries, and learned about best practices from EU professional organisations and networks and good practice examples and initiatives from Serbia in the field of digital inclusion of vulnerable groups. The main topics were Empowerment for Employability and ICT as a part of rehabilitation and resocialisation. You may see the presentations of all speakers as well as the photos from the workshop at the following link: http://www.ian.org.rs/events/clicktoeurope/materials.htm

„In order for technology not to be a barrier for a wider social inclusion and in order to make full use of opportunities provided by the new technologies, civil, public and private sector need to work in partnership. They have to work together on enabling each person who wishes so, to participate in information society, despite of individual or social barriers“, said Gordana Stankov Stojilovic, Coordinator of Education department

„Today there is a digital gap in the whole world, but in some countries consequences of unequal use of internet technology are stronger. This is generating social marginalisation of the 21st century. Microsoft in Serbia as well as in Europe is devoted to enabling all citizens to acquire and develop e-skills. We have been engaged in different programs with the Government of the Republic of Serbia, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and economy sector with the aim to support and encourage them in providing e-skills trainings for as many people as possible”, said Melissa Pailthorp, Microsoft Senior Manager for Community Affairs, Central and Eastern Europe.

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