Tag Archives: European Commission

European e-inclusion awards 2012 – inspiration in action

Attended by 1,150 people, followed through internet live-streaming by another 4,000 and, with more than 1,000 social media contributions, I was honoured, thrilled and humbled to be part of the Digital Agenda Assembly in Brussels on 21 and 22 June 2012.

The e-Inclusion Awards were established by the European Commission in 2008  ‘to discover and  celebrate organizations and individuals across Europe who champion new technology and harness the potential of the internet as a means of improving prospects, increasing employability and meeting today’s complex social and economic challenges‘.

Finalists Brochure

As one of only three finalists from across Europe in the category ‘ I am Part of IT  ‘ Personal Stories’ -(Larger Organizations) ‘ I was nominated by Age Action Ireland as a result of winning the Google /Age Action Silver Surfer Award, Social Networking category in 2011 . Age Action is an Irish  national charity which promotes positive ageing and better policies and services for older people. It actively encourages older people ( age 55+ ) to embrace social media. Their ‘Getting Started’ programme, spearheaded by the inspirational Pauline Power, promotes active e-inclusion and has been rolled out to over 6,000 people in the past four years.  Nominated as a finalist from entries from 34 countries,  Pauline accompanied me to the  Digital Media Agenda conference in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Day 1 was devoted to workshops, and our invitation was specifically for the Social Media workshop and feedback sessions,  with day 2 seeing the plenary sessions in the European Parliament chamber itself. Here we  were honoured to be among delegates to greet  Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe, after her very eloquent address to the assembly. Among the academics, industrialists, politicians and social groups participating were  Professor Luciano Floridi from University of Hertfordshire and University of Oxford, Harry van Dorenmalen chairman of IBM Europe, Gyula Vamosi leader of the Roma  (Gypsy) community ; Anna Maria Darmanin , Vice President European Economic and Social Committee.

Whilst the conference focused on the ‘big picture’ with regard to the information society and the  breaking down of barriers to e- inclusion for all citizens of Europe, it is the ways in which ordinary people access and use the internet that demonstrates just how well the high level goals are making a difference to everyday lives.

Anna Maria Darmanin from Malta  presented the e-inclusion awards in the four categories.

There were 3 finalists in each of 4 different categories

I am part of IT – Personal stories, small organizations (< 19 employees).

The three finalists  were

  • Rosanna Nazir and Nila Smart from the Netherlands for their project helping  women looking for work in the Netherlands
  • Joy Matthews from Caerphilly, Wales and the 50+ Positive Action Partnership.
  • Elton Kalica , Italy . Elton was a most worthy and inspirational winner of this category . Arriving in Italy from Albania he found himself in prison for a long time. Through ICT skills he improved his capabilities,  did two university degrees  and now, having been released he has a good job on the ‘outside’; helping prisoners.

I am part of IT – Personal stories ,big organizations(>19 employees) 

The three finalists were

  • Marek Sikora, Chezh Republic. Marek was the first visually impaired ECDL tester in the Czech republic and he set up a not for profit organization Eye-T.cz to enable visiually impaired people take ICT skills tests.
  • Myself, Angela Gallagher, Republic of Ireland with Age Action , who in spite of living in a rural location without the benefit of broadband has embraced social media. My  experience of how technology can change a person’s life will hopefully inspire more older people to take the plunge and learn how to use computers and the internet.
  • Siemon Dekelver from Belgium had a story about ability, not disability. He was a most inspirational and worthy winner of this category, with WAI-NOT which provides mentally challenged young people with secure web-based communication tools so they can learn IT skills and lead happy and independent socially interactive lives.

Be part of IT –  small organizations .

Finalists were

  • From Romania – a project encouraging e training for 1.8 million people in Romania by reducing the skills gap between rural and urban communities
  • Inforum, Hungary – a project showing how kids and grandparents can encourage one another
  • Storybook Dads – UK were worthy winners –  the simple yet ingenious way to use the internet to improve the lives of families of a parent in prison was truly moving. Imprisoned parents record stories for children to be involved in their lives. The initiative has been shown to cut reoffending.

Be part of IT – big organizations.

The three finalists were

  • UK Online Centres  which help communities deal with social and digital exclusion . A network of 3,800 online communities spreads the word on digital inclusion.
  • Barcelona Activa,  Spain that promotes ICT training and skills  to improve employability
  • The Information Society Development Foundation Poland –  local libraries as agents for digital change. Thousands of librarians in thousands of remote communities have been trained to help otherwise excluded communities become e-included.

The judges felt that both the Barcelona Activa and Information Society Development Foundation from Poland were such extraordinary projects that touched the lives of so many, both were declared winners.

Anna Maria Darmanin, Vice President European Economic & Social Committee  (on extreme right) with finalists in the e-inclusion awards.

Each finalist had a wonderful story to tell. Each story was thoroughly inspirational, and each story was a tribute to the perseverance and dedication of ordinary people who through personal efforts and dedication, made their own lives and the lives of others, extraordinary.

I am grateful  to Age Action Ireland for nominating me and especially to   Pauline Power who was with me in Brussels;  to my son Damian, author of his own excellent blog http://irishamericancivilwar.com/ for encouraging me to get started and for his  support in setting up this blog, and to the over 20,000 visitors to this site. Thank you all!

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Filed under Ageism, Older workers, Retirement Age, Seniors, Social Justice, Social Networking, Social Policy

European e-Inclusion Awards – Finalist Showcase

The European Commissions e-Inclusion Awards finalist brochure has been published. Here are fascinating and humbling stories of people who have overcome exclusion and disadvantage and launched themselves into a whole new world by joining the digital revolution. The stories are brief but inspiring and have lessons for us all. I am looking forward to meeting these amazing people in Brussels when we will all be guests of the European Commission over the next couple of days. My good wishes to all!

To read about all finalist s click here

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Filed under Ireland, Social Change

The Silver Voice – Finalist in European e-inclusion awards !

Some time ago I was nominated by Age Action Ireland for the prestigious European wide  e-inclusion awards.  The email received just a few days ago had to be read and re-read and read again! It stated: ‘You have been selected as one of 3 finalists in the ‘I am part of IT’ Award Category to attend our e-inclusion Awards ceremony in Brussels ‘.

Established by The European Commission, the  e-Inclusion Awards  aim to ‘raise awareness, encourage participation and recognise excellence and good practice in using ICT and digital technology to tackle social and digital exclusion across Europe.‘  With the aim of collecting  all the great practice across Europe in supporting people to go online and with  the stories of people who have benefitted from their internet experience, the awards have two categories, and my nomination was made under  the ‘I am part of IT’ heading.

With Michael D.Higgins (now President of Ireland) at Google HQ, Dublin, Ireland , September last  at Google Age Action Silver Surfer Awards 2011

Nominated for the Google Age Action Silver Surfer Awards 2011, I was thrilled to win the  Social Networking  category, to which I had a very  heart-warming and supportive response. As a result of winning that award I have had enormous support and increasing readership of my blog and supporting Facebook page. Now, to have been chosen as one of  only three finalists in this category, with entries from 35 countries is quite honestly flabbergasting!

The real winners here  are Age Action, a charity that promotes positive ageing and has as an objective that Ireland will be a great place to grow old. (‘Old’ is  relative of course, and it  is a condition I wish upon you all! ). Age Action has recently won the national Aontas Star Award for adult education for their ‘Getting Started’ programme, that  assists older people (55+) to learn basic IT, internet and email skills.  They aim to help this section of society  to beat exclusion and isolation and thereby increase independence and equality.

By showing that I have managed to do this, I hope to be an ambassador for the excellent work of Age Action and look forward to being with them in Brussels later in the week!

I am indebted to Age Action for the enormous encouragement I have received by participating in their Awards schemes and to my mentor and critic Damian who nominated me for the Silver Surfer Awards and who set the bar very high with his own blog at  irishinamericancivilwar.com  and to many friends who have been so supportive.

Age Action Facebook Page is here – they would love a LIKE!

Age Action Web page is here

Damian’s excellent blog  is here 

E-inclusion website is here 

E-inclusion Awards list of Entries  is here

My Facebook Page is here 


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Filed under Ireland, Older Generation