From left to right: N4L’s Luke Fawcett, Hamish Girvan from Chorus, N4L’s Clayton Hubbard and Ed Strafford from the Ministry of Education.

Community Connect Project focuses on digital inclusion

We recently took part in a three-month accelerator programme called ‘Lightning Lab Govtech’, where 12 teams looked at new approaches to tackling some of the big challenges facing local and central government in New Zealand.

Govtech was launched this year by start-up incubator Creative HQ’s ‘Lightning Lab’ business accelerator programme in partnership with Spark, Wellington City Council, the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA), and various government agencies. Around 50 participants took part in 12 projects aimed at delivering more seamless digital public services, including looking at ways to map freshwater catchment data for the Ministry for the Environment, to how to get youth more actively involved with civic engagement.

N4L was part of the ‘equitable digital access’ project team, along with Chorus and the Ministry of Education. Our team of four looked at the opportunities created when the barriers to home internet access are removed for students, and what this could mean for other social agencies delivering services to others in the household.

We gained some great insights about the challenges people face getting connected, which will feed into the work we are doing to connect students living without home internet access to the Managed Network from their homes.

N4L is currently involved with two pilots connecting students to home internet using their school logins, which will help feed into the Ministry of Education’sequitable digital access for students’ initiative.

The aim is to help close the digital divide, and for N4L, this means getting school-aged students connected to the internet at home in the same way they do at school, so they can carry on their learning in a safe (filtered) environment beyond the school gate.

There are an estimated 100,000 children living without home internet access, which means they can’t pursue the same learning opportunities at home as their peers with home internet. Read more about the Govtech programme on the Lightning Lab blog.

Chorus’ Hamish Girvan presents the Community Connect Project


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