Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
Since June 2006, with the Riga Ministerial Declaration on e-Inclusion, it has been officialised at European level the need of a deeper reflection about barriers and possible solutions for a more concrete relation between elderly people and ICT. Europe is a continent that aging more and more quickly, especially in rural areas, and European policies, from the Treaty of Lisbon in the year 2000 to the Europe2020 strategy, have always emphasized the importance to tackle the challenges associated with demographic ageing, especially through actions that empower older people to fully participate in the economy and society, continue independent lifestyles and enhance their quality of life.
Our project idea finds its consistency within the frame of the "European i2010 initiative on e-Inclusion - to be part of the information society" which has been adopted by the Commission on the 8th of November 2007. Indeed, in the text of the communication, the Commission refers to the importance of accelerating effective participation of target groups at risk of exclusion and improving quality of life.
In particular, it is said that "industry, user organizations, Member States, and the Commission must implement the EU Action Plan on ‘Ageing well in the information society’ (...)". In fact, the 14th of June 2007 - date of publishing of the EC Communication on the above mentioned initiative - can be considered the starting point of a wide and multidimensional work for the implementation of the action Plan on Information and Communication Technologies and Ageing in Europe.
The project idea has been inspired by the results of the first step of the Grundtvig Multilateral Project "CAFE' in Europe - Civic Awareness For Elders in Europe", which has been selected for funding in 2010 and it was coordinated by the Municipality of Foligno. In fact, during the social research on "Educational needs of elders in Europe" has been shown repeatedly that elderly people feel frustrated if dealing with ICT.
Therefore, the Association "Study Center" of Foligno has launched a partner search in order to investigate on this problem at European level and set up a partnership able to find innovative and sustainable solutions to overcome common barriers to the digital world for elders in Europe.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
On the basis of the "Ageing well action plan" have been promoted and financed by the Commission with different financing instruments: research on ICT, e-health initiatives, lifelong learning projects, senior volunteering actions and many others innovative ideas. The general objective of all the realized projects has been always to help the older individuals to improve quality of life, stay healthier and live independently for longer.
One of the innovative characteristic of the project is the increase of its sustainability and the results effectiveness, by providing the end-user with the software and the hardware. This idea comes from the fact that often elderly people live in an economic situation that doesn't lead them to consider computer tools as an essential thing. With the re-use of old computers and adopting Open Source Software, it is possible to satisfy all the needs and at no cost.
According to some studies carried out in 2009, an average user changes his/her computer every 2-3 years. The old computer only few times is used in other tasks, but most of the time, it is dismantled according to applicable regulations.
If, however, these old computers are collected, tested and configured with a special operating system compatible with the available hardware resources, you have a fully functional computer platform and, at the same time, reducing the amount of waste for disposal.
If one thinks on doing this with all the companies that each year dismantles their old hardware, you can get the potential of this operation.
We believe that V.IN.T.AG.E, compared to other similar project funded by the EC, such as for example DEDICO (specifically about FLOSS), ActiveICT, SILVER, S@niors within the LLP and other projects realized under the AAL Programme (http://www.aaliance.eu/public/links/other-eu-projects-in-the-area-of-ict-and-ageing) or the 6thFP (VITAL), promotes an innovative methodology which places the senior citizen and his learning needs in the field of ICT in the center of an integrated system capable of providing the necessary resources in an efficient and long lasting way.
In fact, the innovative idea of the project, not only related to the tools used, is to be as interdisciplinary as possible, combining training on multiple levels also with a horizontal policy for the environment protection.