Digitally Visiting - Finland
The Digitally Visiting project has pioneered digital skill development in Central Finland. The project has demonstrated that there is a large need for local digital support to develop residents’ digital skills, especially in remote rural regions. The project encouraged and guided rural residents to use electronic services and so has contributed to making rural living in Central Finland more appealing.
The project aimed to strengthen the digital skills and participation of previously excluded rural residents who felt excluded from society in central Finland. Project activities included the creation of a virtual village house model, digital skills training, digital service days and the development of digital peer support, the utilisation of electronic health applications in promoting residents’ well-being and health and making village activities visible through videos and game applications.
The project has helped to decrease inequality in service accessibility and improve utilisation of online services. It supported rural villages to find new ways to maintain and strengthen communality, developed villages’ joint activities and facilitated localised peer and voluntary assistance.
During its operational period, the project led by the Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences organised around 100 digital skills training, digital service days or digital tutor training days. In addition, the project was involved in several events with cooperation partners, reaching more than 2 700 rural residents and stakeholders with its activities directly, with further intermediate beneficiaries. The village videos produced by the project have received thousands of views on YouTube and Facebook, and they have helped to create a positive rural image and improve village visibility.
Based on feedback from participants, activities helped to improve digital skills, enabled a pro-digitalisation attitude amongst rural village residents and fostered a willingness to try to adopt new electronic services. This has in turn improved the well-being of residents and decreased the inequality caused by a digitalising society. In the long term, it is hoped the project’s impact will help to maintain participants’ general well-being.
Also based on feedback from participants, the project has had an impact on rural associations’ activities. Along with digital skills training and online lectures, associations have introduced new electronic tools and communication channels, which have made it possible to maintain contact with members and continue activities during the current exceptional times.