‘Rural Woman, Digital Woman’ was the name of the original project of a group of entrepreneurs from Tenerife who decided to provide “a solution” to the urgent need to train the elderly around technological tools. The first real experience in Anaga, in the municipality of Santa Cruz, makes them more ambitious. On the one hand, they unite men and, on the other, they expand the motto to ‘Rural Tenerife, digital Tenerife’.
“We want to prevent those who built our present from being relegated to a third plane and becoming dependent on their immediate environment.” The phrase sums up the philosophy of work of a team of young entrepreneurs from Tenerife who decides to fight against the digital divide to make life easier for the island’s elders. This is the meaning of her project Rural Woman, Digital Woman. After the first real experience in Anaga, municipality of Santa Cruzthe idea is to grow to rural Tenerife, Tenerife digital to bring new technologies to the last corner of the island.
Roberto Fuentes, a young economist, is the CEO of Biejvel, the company that created this initiative, and its spokesperson. He explains that “the idea was born from such media campaigns as I’m older but not stupid which sought to maintain or increase the accessibility of older people to traditional banking». “Situations where online communication was especially vital, such as during confinement,” also have an influence. There, he details, “it became clear that those who did not have the knowledge to manipulate the hardware – a set of physical or material elements that make up a computer or a computer system – most used every day by the majority of the population would be clearly displaced. ».
“This project was born with the initiative to make life easier, break down barriers and promote knowledge that today should be basic for children and adults.” The summary is by Fuentes and is corroborated by Rafael Herrero, doctoral student in computer engineering and professor of the course.
Training in digital matters is aimed at people over 55 years of age, who have not had the facility to obtain the necessary training to use technology. The intention, Fuentes points out, is “to seek equity, Zero Waste – not using products that degrade the environment – and effective training.”
The workshops are taught face-to-face for three months. There, hardware and theoretical-practical material are offered to different groups of adults. Sources rate: “We follow the philosophy of being didactic and useful, which is why we reduce the groups to a maximum of 15 to 20 per class”.
It is not only taught to use computers but also mobile phones because “they are the same tool”. From the most basic, where each part of the electronic components is shown –mouse, USB inputs, power buttons, keyboard…–, or it teaches how to download, configure and use programs or Apps such as Whatsapp, Gmail etc. In other phases, the various uses of the Internet, security or utilities such as the much-needed digital signature are addressed.
Under the name of Anaga [email protected], Anaga Digital the workshops are applied in the Anaga area of the Santa Cruz de Tenerife City Council. It is intended to train the inhabitants of Roque Negro, San Andrés and Taganana, among other towns, and “it is giving very good results according to the opinion of the political and neighborhood leaders themselves,” says Fuentes. Other municipalities in Tenerife such as Puerto de la Cruz or Santiago del Teide will soon have this tool for their elders in hard-to-reach towns, and islands such as Lanzarote will join the initiative before the end of the year.
Biejvel –“loving wisdom and creativity”– includes profiles that come from the technological world. The idea arose after the death of the grandmother of one of the promoters at the beginning of the pandemic. She did not know how to communicate with the phone during her stay in the hospital where she would end her days. She underlines: “we were forced to create an initiative so that this never happens again.”
Professionals who have worked at ASOS, Philip Morris or the University of La Laguna, data analysts, engineers, marketing experts, teachers, photographers and designers… All committed. And, Fuentes concludes, “with the desire to contribute to a better future for all people, especially the elderly.”