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Save the Children started their Programming the Future program in regional and remote locations of NSW as they all fall lower than the state average of household internet access. Having lower than average access to internet, high youth populations and high unemployment rates creates a ‘digital divide’ similar to social divides common in socio-economically disadvantaged areas. It's found that a greater the digital divide can lead to lower confidence and decreased youth employability.
The project is based on James Dellow’s Digital Theory of Change, developed in the UK, which steps young people through discovering emerging technologies, creating and making, using technology to resolve social issues they have identified and connecting young people with mentors to accelerate their learning. Young people are exposed to vital skill development opportunities including communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
Save the Children trains Community Champions and supports them to set up Digital Excellence Hubs in Bathurst and Dubbo, and 5 satellite locations in more remote communities where young people can access technologies and learn new skills.
The Save the Children Programming the Future aims and objectives are to ensure:
The skills children and young people gain through Programming the Future will help them thrive in a world that is dominated by the growth of digital platforms. With technology now so dominant in our life children and young people need to see it as something they can control and they shouldn’t just be the recipients of what others are creating.
Programming the Future will have the following outcomes:
Programming the Future is designed to empower local communities to bring about social change; it is a multiagency program some of which are Marathon Health, headspace Bathurst & IMC Foundation. The program has also attracted overwhelmingly positive community involvement from primary, secondary and tertiary education institutions, and local government.
Programming the Future is part of Save the Children’s Strategy Focus 2016-18: Working with disengaged youth, increasing their pathways to education and employment.