Hong Kong ICT Awards 2016

Best Digital Inclusion Grand Award

YMCA of Hong Kong
Netbook Inclusion for Children Empowerment (NICE) Computer Bank in Partnership with Servant Leadership Application Module (SLAM)

To address the plight of widening digital gap due to polarisation of the rich and poor, YMCA of Hong Kong is collaborating with Digital Life Institute to launch the ‘NICE Computer Bank’ project in 2009 December with the substantial support given by CSL Ltd., The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, CEO Global Education Foundation, Microsoft and Feva Works IT Education. The project aimed to stimulate and enhance the academic result, personal competency, use of information technology and life qualities of the participants. A total of 49 underprivileged children and youths from Sham Shui Po and Tung Chung districts were awarded an updated-model netbook with 3G unlimited wireless network, continuous training programme, outdoor adventures and parental support in Phase I of the project. Computer Training and support was also given to their parents.

Realising that bridging the digital gap requires also the human factor, the partnership program SLAM provides extensive leadership training to the college students to serve the underprivileged children. They act as mentors via online tools like MSN, QQ & Facebook, web-based training materials and also regular face to face meeting to help the children not only in homework and computer skills, but also as inspiration to love and care them.

This project has demonstrated a sustainable and effective model to the users, public, and strategic partners, and therefore, Phase II began in November 2010. The service target extended to 150 children and their parents and the served areas also extended to two more districts, Tin Shui Wai and Tseung Kwan O. Because of the recognition to the project’s rationale and its positive impacts to the society, Samsung HK Ltd., The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Department of Computing, Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education and 6 secondary & primary schools newly joined Phase II as strategic partners.

Comments from Judging Panel

The NICE project is a comprehensive pioneer project with great impact. It includes the involvement of families, commercial organisations and university students. It not only fulfills the need of disadvantaged groups and bridges the digital divide, but also demonstrates a sustainable business model. The ‘servants’ volunteers also successfully deliver hope to the children in the mentorship programme and are appreciated by the judges.

It is suggested to conduct evaluative study to measure the impact of the programme, and to extend the programme to involve various stakeholders, such as the government and the general public.

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