The best digital week so far - Romanian GOW 2016 - and beyond!

What a great week GOW 2016 was! Romania hosted for the seventh time in a row the localised verion of Get Online Week - Hai pe Net! campaign. Over 100 organisations joined the GOW partnership to help articulate the message about the importance of digital inclusion and opportunity for all. Libraries, schools, NGOs, individuals, old and young, disadvantaged and with special needs joined one ow the most well-known and awaited events in Romania.

Activities and events varied very much throughout the GOW2016 week - but all following the same goal: helping people make the first step or a step further towards the digital society.

The Hai pe Net! campaign in Romania focused this year on three main action pillars:

1) Web accessibility for all: citizens were invited to learn how to perform a web accessibility audit and were encouraged to write letters to their local or regional public institutions to advocate for a more accessible website for the visually impaired and the elderly.

- over 500 audits were performed and letters were sent to public institutions with recommendations about accesibility. 

- 21 schools organised joint workshops where blind people demonstrated the way they can listen to the internet and how various screen readers work.

- 6 of the most accessible websites belonging to public institutions were awarded prizes for their efforts and work.

2) The first click - this is one of the most important pillars of the Romanian GOW campaign since approximately half of Romanians have never used a computer in their lives. This is more tru for the elderly population, but also amongst the younger generation the percentage is as high as 35%. The oldest person involved in GOW is now 85 and has spent 5 hours learning and experimenting with the internet - a great deal when you use it for the first time.

3) Youth employability - the preferred activity of our academic partners. There were over 2000 students using Skillage, YouRock and assessing their digital competence through the IC3 certification practice tests. Many competitions and quizzes made GOW a week full of energy and involvement. The classrooms wer buzzing with noise and the breaks were quiet - all busy learnign and enjoying their online journeys.

Digital inclusion is a very serious matter and sometimes it means that we need to help one person at a time. In many ways, lots of us believe that Get Onlien Week should happen every week and every month of every year - so that we can make a serious difference in Romania.

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