Laptop and Smartphone Donations Needed for Digital Inclusion Appeal
Online charity GIVIT is calling for generous Queenslanders, businesses and organisations to donate new, surplus and second-hand tech items to help the state improve digital inclusion and support those hardest hit by the economic effects of COVID-19.
Ranked second worst out of Australia’s states and territories in the most recent Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII), the digital access gap between high and low-income Queenslanders, as well as those employed and those not in the workforce, continues to widen.
This year, GIVIT has coordinated hundreds of donated laptops, computers, smartphones and data cards. However, Queensland Manager, Jo Beadle, said many more are needed to meet demand across the state.
“While Queenslanders are accessing the internet more often than ever before, there are a growing number that do not have easy access or the devices necessary to jump online,” said Ms Beadle.
“Whether you live in Mt Isa or Coolangatta, all Queenslanders need the internet to manage their health and wellbeing, access education and services, organise their finances and feel connected with friends, family and the world during these difficult times.”
The ADII report details that low-income households and persons not in the workforce are more than 40% disadvantaged when it comes to digital inclusion - meaning it’s harder for them to access and use the internet, and when they do it is much more expensive.
The digital inclusion gap is greatest across those undertaking any form of education, those with disabilities, migrant communities, the elderly, rural communities as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Across Australia, women are also less digitally included than men.
The Queensland Government has tasked GIVIT to lead the coordination of IT donations across the state for those impacted by COVID-19, through GIVIT’s ‘online warehouse’.
Requested donations for GIVIT’s Digital Inclusion Project include items with internet connectivity, IT equipment, as well as volunteer tech-support and digital literacy teaching services.
100% of donated funds GIVIT receives to support digital inclusion are used to buy and source items for over 1,700 Queensland-registered charities, purchasing from local businesses where possible.
Digital inclusion will help lift families and communities out of the cycle of poverty, and better support those struggling with social issues such as domestic violence and child abuse.
“The repercussions of Coronavirus means charities are seeing an unprecedented amount of people in need of everyday items, including many who may have never found themselves in such a vulnerable position,” said Ms Beadle.
GIVIT has started working with generous IT partners and businesses to clean, refurbish and set-up devices to ensure they’re ready for use by those in need. However, more corporate and business partners are required to meet demand.
Ms Beadle also urged all Queensland charities, schools, councils and community groups to register for free via GIVIT.org.au/need-help/organisations so they can request items for the communities they’re supporting through the Coronavirus crisis and beyond.
“GIVIT’s online donation platform and online warehouse is the safest and practical way of donating to those most vulnerable and have been hardest hit by this public health and economic emergency.”
Ms Beadle stressed donated items need to be of high quality - “Goods you would proudly give to a family member or friend”- to best assist and respect the dignity of recipients.
GIVIT empowers community organisations to request exactly what they require for the people they support. GIVIT then sources and provides free essential items to people in need across Australia by matching donations from corporates and individuals with the needs requested on GIVIT.org.au.
The GIVIT website removes the need for councils, charities and not-for-profit groups to physically collect, sort and store donations, significantly reducing the administrative and financial burden as well as saving valuable resources for critical recovery activities.
GIVIT.org.au is free, private and easy to use, and currently supports over 3,500 charities across Australia. The national charity has matched almost two million donated items since 2009.