“Neighbourhood Mothers” to Help Minority Women with e-Government in Denmark

18-09-2018

Communicating digitally with the Danish public sector is easy and convenient—if you are able to do it. However, many women (and men) belonging to minority groups do not have the necessary skills or knowledge. The lack of skills makes them reliant on their children, when they for instance need to read digital letters from public authorities. A partnership between Neighbourhood Mothers―an NGO of volunteer community leaders―and the Danish Agency for Digitisation will change this situation.

Training the Neighbourhood Mothers

The Danish Agency for Digitisation and Neighbourhood Mothers entered into the partnership at the beginning of 2018. The purpose of the partnership is to develop the mothers’ skills in using digital services, such as the national eID/digital signature (using NemID), communication with public authorities (via the government-provided digital letter box - Digital Post), and the national citizen’s portal (borger.dk). This will enable the volunteers to assist and guide other women in their network on how they can use these and other digital services.

In March 2018, 15 volunteer consultants from Neighbourhood Mother participated in a “train-the-trainer” course in Copenhagen. In the course, the consultants were taught how to use public digital services as well as how to teach others to facilitate the use of them. With this knowledge, the volunteers are now ready to equip the local Neighbourhood Mother groups with the skills they need.

Visiting the Local Neighbourhood Mother Groups

So far, the volunteer consultants have organised ”digital evenings” with 10 local groups of Mothers, where they have taught participants how to use NemID, borger.dk, and Digital Post.

Many more such evenings have already been planned for the rest of the year, meaning that all Neighbourhood Mother groups will be equipped with the necessary knowledge to teach about the public digital services.

So far, the digital evenings have been a great success, according to Ms. Gitte Stærk, who is a consultant for the organisation:

It gives a great feeling of independence to be able to use the services, especially directly on one’s smartphone. The Mothers often meet women and men, who rely on their children for reading digital post from public authorities, for instance. With this project, the Neighbourhood Mothers will become better equipped to guide their peers, meaning that the women will be able to communicate with the public sector independently in future.

said Ms. Gitte Stærk

Facts about Neighbourhood Mothers

Neighbourhood Mothers are primarily women with minority-ethnic backgrounds, who volunteer in their local areas to help and support women who are often isolated, and whom the established system has difficulties reaching.

The Neighbourhood Mothers listen, convey important information, and build a bridge between the women and the place where the abilities for them to get better help in the future.

This support network aims to enable the women to help themselves, their children, and their families.