Roles in socio-cultural adult work

As a player in civil society, Digidak fulfills the 3 socio-cultural roles. In this way we help shape society and relationships with other social actors.

Digidak takes on the connecting role

On the one hand, we explicitly focus on connecting people with groups, communities and the wider society. Digidak locations are accessible third places where people can learn together and from each other and strengthen their local network. Digital skills are being sharpened, but there is also attention and room for 21stcenturyskills and soft skills. Learning thresholds are overcome by the non-scholarly approach, we give space to encounters that may not be self-evident (target group mix: young people, the elderly, working people, non-working people, ...). We elaborate on community-building by shaping a warm community of Digidak volunteers and students. People strengthen their support network because they get to know more people in their own neighborhood and because they are well referred with (learning) questions. Peer learning (organic learning model) brings people in a dependent relationship to each other: learning is only for the sake of and together with the other (further explanation: see function mix).

On the otherhand we focus actively on network-oriented work and embedding in the local context (collaborative ecosystems). This means that Digidak always prefers venues that are embedded in outreaching local activities such as a school, a library, a local service center or a residential care center. In this way we address citizens at their layered identity and we enlarge opportunities for encounter between people who might otherwise not meet each other. In addition, we create and strengthen a local network of partners and we can refer and support people even better through the multi-stakeholder approach.

Students, volunteers and local partners get involved with each other, resulting in mutual recognition, trust and reciprocity. Digidak supports the local dimension of citizenship. Bonding, bridging and meeting are pivotal (see further explanation: function mix).

Digidak takes on the critical role

We actively appeal to the critical and participatory attitude of course participants, supervisors and partners. Digidak encourages learners and coaches to take on a role themselves in the Digidak range: from developing learning materials to organizing events and arranging training courses. Shared ownership is very important.

Learners and coaches provide feedback on online services from local authorities and other institutions, and test digital (learning) platforms (e.g.: 123digit) and build a link between online and offline. We gauge the utility of digital applications and take the day-by-day use always as a starting point in training sessions. Digidak also reflects on the digitization of society, producing documentation on this reflection and entering into dialogue on this (eg: inspiratienota lokale besturen Digidak 2019). We actively consult with our partners about the (digital) needs of learners and coaches and offer space and a platform for this. We do this, among other things, by developing customized support and training such as:

  • guidance in applying for study grants
  • online school registration
  • support with the group purchase of energy
  • training on cybercrime in collaboration with Police Voorkempen
  • learning to prepare a CV with the VDAB website

All this within the lines of participatory democracy, the European Convention on Human Rights and addressing everyone on his of her responsibility - in a neutral and transparent framework. Digidak creates a platform on which people can emancipate and empower each other so that the thresholds for active citizenship decrease.

Digidak takes on the laboratory role

We develop and test practices that respond to the societal challenges of social cohesion (what keeps a society together?) and bridging of the digital gap (how do we get everyone along, how can everyone be included?). Digidak experiments with its offer: walk-in sessions, initiations, customized training, collective and local moments, voluntary training, online and offline platform and documentation. We work with great variation on working modes and contracts: paid employees, trainees, volunteers, work experience internships, social economy, etc. Partly due to the high degree of involvement and the importance of shared ownership of learners and coaches, we appeal to entrepreneurial citizenship.

Coaches, course participants, visitors in the walk-in sessions, sponsors and local authorities involved fulfill the laboratory role together. Everyone contributes to an as yet indefinite community of communities. The Digidak connection concerning the demand for digital reinforcement has broad growth opportunities for further bonding, bridging and meeting: learners, visitors and coaches unite around shared interests, local authorities get to work with the input of local volunteers, partner organizations find access to communities, people get to know neighbors, ..