Thanks to ALL DIGITAL Study Visits programme, we had the opportunity to visit Maks vzw in Brussels. In our view, this was the best way to learn from another organization’s activities. We really appreciated our time in Brussels, the kindness of the staff sharing about their work, and the very interesting nature of their activities.

We wrote a report of this study visit and a short guide to Digital Storytelling, soon to become public through blog posts here and on our website. This is the part introducing Maks (host organization) and our Ynternet.org Foundation.

About the Host Organisation

Maks vzw is situated in Cureghem, one of the poorest neighborhoods of Brussels. The vast majority of the population is coming from first, second or third generation migration. Maks started its activities in 1990 in order to take action against poverty. In this this area, 50% of the population were under the poverty scale. This non-profit organization stimulates Brussels citizens, primarily through the neighbourhoods of Cureghem and Molenbeek, to develop their talents and competences with different services.  In 1999, Maks’s approach was to consult with them on their needs. One thing remained: their need for digital skills and devices. The people were either too poor to buy any devices, didn’t have enough of them for the use of the whole family or didn’t know how to repair them when it broke down. Maks answered their need by opening a computer learning center.

Today (2017), Maks keeps adapting its activities to the needs of its target groups. Computers and other devices have become cheaper, nowadays, thus more accessible to a larger amount of people. This has a double effect: on one hand, the need for using computers in a learning center has decreased. On the other hand, the need of learning how to use these technologies has increased. Maks has responded to this change by creating various workshops to match this need. As a result, as Maks keeps using technologies as a support f

or its services, the organization knows about their fast changing nature and how to adapt to it.

Maks is composed of three services:

Maks Digital encourages young and old people to improve their digital skills

Maks Work coaches job seekers in their search for a job through individual counseling, group sessions, trainings and language courses.

Maks Graphic Agency provides qualitative graphic design services to clients from the nonprofit sector while training low educated job seekers on the workfloor.

Our study visit with MAKS allowed us (Ynternet.org)  to get to know them and exchange on several other projects and partnerships.

About the Visiting Organisation:

Ynternet.org (Yorg) Foundation was created in 1998 on the invitation of Swiss Confederation to facilitate, identify and promote new learning culture within digital environments (a non-profit organization, under supervision of the federal Dept of Internal affairs). Its research and training programmes contribute to promote entrepreneurial spirit and equal chances within the new knowledge society. It cooperates with governments, public institutions, SMEs & NGOs, and coordinates various private/public partnerships. Its foundation council is composed of directors of superior school and universities of Western CH.

Ynternet.org  has a scientific committee (http://elearning.ynternet.org/page/la-fondation) that is composed of some of the major international experts on digital inclusion and common good in information society. Over 5 000 NGO leaders, trainers, entrepreneurs and unemployed have been trained in 10 years under Ynternet.org responsibility, within various programmes for socio-digital inclusion under mandate of private and public institutions.

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