In our ever-connected digital society, the urgency to end digital poverty resonates as a cornerstone of social justice and economic progress. As services like healthcare, education, and employment shift online, digital access transcends the realm of mere convenience to become an essential lifeline. In Gloucestershire, the DAISI Project by Gloucestershire Rural Community Council (GRCC) serves as a beacon of transformative change in this landscape. This blog aims to elucidate the pivotal role of eradicating digital poverty and assert that a partnership with the DAISI Project offers a well-grounded, innovative approach for stakeholders committed to engendering a digitally inclusive society.

The Importance of Ending Digital Poverty

  1. Economic Mobility: In today’s digital economy, not having technological access limits opportunities for individual and community growth. Applying for jobs, upskilling, and even starting a business often require digital literacy and resources.
  2. Social Inclusion: Limited digital capability can lead to social exclusion. This is particularly significant for vulnerable demographics, perpetuating and reinforcing poverty cycles.
  3. Educational Equity: As technology becomes entrenched in educational settings, students without access to digital resources face a widening achievement gap, which poses long-term societal risks.
  4. Healthcare Accessibility: Telehealth is not just a temporary solution but a fixture of modern healthcare, making digital proficiency a precondition for accessing timely and quality medical services.

The DAISI Initiative: A Blueprint for Change

Community-Centric Approach

DAISI’s philosophy is grounded in community-driven frameworks, emphasising co-production to meet the real needs of residents. The initiative incorporates local insights into digital strategies, ensuring that these are more than top-down solutions.

Inclusive by Design

From cyber safety training for the deaf to accessible website redesigns, DAISI stands as a paragon of inclusivity. Notable testimonials, such as that of a visually impaired BAME individual, underline the tangible impact of these efforts, who’s journey went from social isolation to counselling qualification and captain of local football team.

Cost-Effective Solutions

Endorsing open-source tools and advocating for social tariffs has enabled DAISI to save its users approximately £70,000 annually. This approach democratizes technology and digital, making it accessible for even the most economically constrained.

Partnerships for Impact

Through symbiotic partnerships with industry stalwarts like the Vodafone Foundation and Good Things Foundation, DAISI has been able to create databanks and device banks, directly influencing social inclusion for over 6,000 households.

Beyond Borders: The Global Footprint

DAISI’s global impact is crystallised through its involvement in the RUSTIK project. This four-year transdisciplinary research endeavour aims to empower rural communities and policymakers. It focuses on fostering sustainable transitions in rural areas by examining adaptation requirements and supporting effective policymaking processes. This aligns seamlessly with DAISI’s commitment to digital inclusion, providing a more nuanced understanding of rural functionalities and challenges.

Cross-Sector Collaboration

DAISI actively engages with multiple sectors, bringing together local actors from public, private, and VCSE sectors. Partners range from GFirst LEP, Growth Hubs, to Town and Parish Councils, and charities of various sizes and domains. This multi-dimensional engagement amplifies the project’s reach and efficacy.

The Call to Stakeholders: Why Partner with DAISI?

  1. Demonstrated Impact: DAISI’s impact is measurable, with thousands of individuals benefiting directly. Savings from social tariffs and open-source software make a substantial difference for some of the most digitally vulnerable populations.
  2. Synergistic Partnerships: DAISI has successfully collaborated with diverse partners, demonstrating that collective efforts can achieve greater social impact.
  3. Scalability and Adaptability: DAISI’s modular, community-driven approach ensures that the initiative can adapt to new challenges and scale to new contexts.
  4. Social Responsibility: Partnership with DAISI is more than just a strategic decision; it is a long-term commitment to socio-economic fairness, digital equity, and inclusion.

As we forge ahead into a future enabled by digital technologies, endeavours like GRCC’s DAISI project become indispensable. Through its impactful work in Gloucestershire, DAISI is moulding a digitally inclusive future, ‘one click at a time’. For stakeholders keen on social justice and digital equity, a partnership with DAISI offers a proven, impactful, and multi-sectoral avenue for engagement. To inquire about potential collaborations, please direct your correspondence to digital@grcc.org.uk.