Our partner Le Monde des Possibles is a training centre for French as a foreign language, digital skills, and social economy activities based in Liège, Belgium. With grant support from DigiCo, they run a digital inclusion project called DigiLab, an intensive digital skills training accompanied by on-demand office hours support. Through DigiLab, they train people of foreign or Belgian origin who usually don’t meet the criteria to access such training, such as undocumented migrants, unemployed individuals or long-term jobseekers, or people who are either not in education, employment or training (NEET), among others. DigiLab fills in an important gap for adult education in Belgium, providing opportunities to groups who face societal exclusion. The program’s curriculum is based on Le Monde des Possibles’ 20 years of experience in basic literacy and aligns with the five areas of the DigComp Framework for Citizens.
DigiLab’s sessions teach basic digital skills in an intensive one-month course with four hours of training per day. Jacques Lecart, the passionate trainer, opens the classroom at 9 am every day, and until 1 pm, accompanies students in understanding everything about the computer. The motivated class is composed of ten to twelve learners, a group that is voluntarily made small to encourage both individual support and collective dynamics.
One of DigiLab’s students, Brigitte, came to the aid of two other learners, Chantale and Louise. Here, Brigitte told them how to send an email and specifically how to send attachments. Having done that several times, she’s aware of how to fill the different fields.
Additional to these group sessions, students can also attend on-demand individualised office hours three times a week in Le Monde des Possibles’ Digital Public Space for immediate and time-sensitive needs. It can include requests for specific software or functions, technical issues, assistance with online procedures, answers to questions, help with writing, etc. The objective of the Digital Public Space is to support digitally vulnerable people inside and outside the association by offering them digital training and a permanent presence to meet their daily digital needs. These office hours also offer more flexibility for students who might not be able to attend every class.
The on-demand individualised office hours take place three times a week and offer anyone with a computer need the opportunity to participate.
DigiLab’s uniqueness lies in the inclusive methodology it uses, which places the participants at the heart of their process without reproducing the logic of exclusion that they may have experienced in the past. This opposes the feeling of rejection they face daily, concerning their status, their language skills, and administrative obligations, among others. Boosting learners’ confidence is highly important, so Le Monde des Possibles’ staff works every day on this aspect. People often come with poor self-confidence and self-esteem due to their past. Many of them have been mistreated in their country, during their journey to Belgium and in Belgium.
Le Monde des Possibles created a massive keyboard on paper which they hung on the wall. When someone asks how to write a specific symbol/letter, they ask them to come to the keyboard on the wall.
The results of DigiLab are very positive for learners. Many of them are motivated to learn more after the end of the course. At the end of a DigiLab session, learners can, among other things:
- Use the mouse and the keyboard effectively and have a global understanding of what the components of a computer are,
- Clean the computer, move files in folders and sort them,
- Use Google apps and manage their mailbox,
- Create a resume, write a cover letter and apply for a job.
Social impact stories around DigiLab:
- Cleer travelled from Syria to Belgium in November 2018. The opportunity to learn French and computer basics is a great plus to her trial period. People coming to Le Monde des Possibles have had a difficult journey and the courses offered mean a lot to them, whether it would be about the formation itself or just social integration. DigiLab is also a stepping stone for people coming from or to their “French as a second language” courses.
- Soukaina lived in Salé, Morocco. She arrived in Belgium in 2020 and requested French lessons. She was one of the first to ask for the DigiLab as soon as it launched. She wanted to apply for waitress jobs but had no digital skills or a resume. Nowadays, a waitress needs to understand basic IT to do their daily tasks. After she finished DigiLab, she was happy to be able to present herself through her first resume.
The philosophical identity of Le Monde des Possibles of defending a social and economic policy that is respectful of fundamental rights, explicitly fighting for the rights of migrants, undocumented and unemployed workers, women and youngsters, is well reflected through this project and multiple initiatives. They offer a permanent social and legal service to their beneficiaries, which helps fight against all forms of exclusion and discrimination. Every week, 200 people of 54 nationalities speaking 410 different languages participate in their cross-cultural activities.
If you want to learn more about DigiLab, visit their website or contact the Project Coordinator Kevin Cocco at email@example.com.
Contact DigiCo at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to learn more about our partnership schemes.