Synapcity Sessions: Digital Equity

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Synapcity Sessions: Digital Equity

Join us for our Synapcity Session spotlighting Digital Equity. Co-sponsored by the Special Planning Council of Ottawa and Incubator 13.

By Synapcity

When and where

Date and time

Thu, Jun 15, 2023 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM EDT


815 St. Laurent Blvd 815 Saint Laurent Boulevard Ottawa, ON K1K 3A7 Canada

About this event

  • 3 hours
  • Mobile eTicket

Digital Equity is a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy. It enables health, employment, learning and social opportunities through access to devices, connectivity, ability to use technology and capacity of the voluntary sector to use technology for better service to the community. Digital Equity allows for affordable and robust broadband access, access to education, access to devices, tech support and online resources. Digital Literacy is also a key component of Digital Equity, allowing individuals and organizations to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information.

Join us for our Synapcity Session on Digital Equity where we will hear from several organizations working to increase access to the internet, devices and digital literacy in communities across Ottawa. For this session our core partner is the Social Planning Council of Ottawa (SPCO), who are working to increase access to devices and digital literacy across Ottawa. They manage a centralized list where local nonprofits can request devices for their clients. The SPCO also runs a collaborative initiative, run in conjunction with the National Capital Freenet, which tackles the digital divide for at-risk populations, priority neighborhoods and rural residents. The SPCO are also working to increase access to connectivity, by working toward an innovative community based Wi-Fi access service to be piloted in high-needs neighborhoods. We will be joined by SPCO Program Manager, Reuben Nashali and Digital Literacy Connector, Shireen Faza who will detail their activities.

We’re also excited to have Connected Canadians join us. Connected Canadians use a customized, person-centered learning approach. Volunteers with a high comfort level in technology are paired with senior clients. Working side-by-side, either one-on-one or in group workshops, they tackle clients’ various technology challenges, frequently learning together in real time. Their mandate is to reduce isolation and loneliness amongst older adults by promoting digital literacy skills and providing technology training and support. Outreach Coordinator & Technology Mentor, Karen Umurerwa will be joining us from Connected Canadians.

The National Capital FreeNet, which is a local, not-for-profit internet service provider, will also be present to detail their activities in the space. Since 1992, they have connected more than 100,000 members. They believe in digital equity and that everyone in Canada's National Capital Region should have access to the internet, meaning they can afford a high-quality connection, understand how to use it, and feel safe online. They sell internet access through wholesale access to major telecommunications companies. They also offer free locally hosted email, web hosting, and skills workshops.

Our Session is also co-sponsored by the Incubator 13, who will be hosting us for the in-person portion of the event and also speaking about the work they are doing to help increase digital skills for young people. Their mission is to empower youth to reach their full potential through access to education, meaningful work experiences and personal economic development opportunities. Their Digital Skills Clubs are designed to help children and youth develop, magnify and improve their digital literacy.

This Session will take place both in-person and virtually via Zoom. Presentations will begin at 6pm followed by a panel Q & A and breakout sessions. Please choose which suits you best. In-Person will take place at the Incubator 13 Space at 815 St. Laurent Blvd - Room 124. For those joining us online via Zoom there will be an online breakout room following the presentations and panel.

Speaker Bios:

Reuben Nashali, Program Manager - SPCO

Reuben M. Nashali is a newcomer to Canada (6 years) and a community developer with the Social Planning Council of Ottawa. Reuben have dedicated the last 6 years of his life in Canada to advocate for inclusion and diversity of marginalized populations. Through his work at the SPC, Reuben has used digital equity lens to inform and advocate for systemic changes in order to achieve a more equitable society for all.

The Digital Equity Ottawa project is enabling health, employment learning and social opportunities by providing access to digital devices, Internet connectivity, and digital literacy, as well as improving the capacity in the voluntary sector to use technology for better service to the community.

Shireen Faza - Digital Literacy Connector, SPCO

Shireen is a dedicated and highly motivated multicultural client service professional with a passion for working closely with refugees, immigrants, and vulnerable individuals to promote integration support services in Canadian society. Strong planning, organizing, coordination, counseling and event planning abilities. Excellent communication skills with fluency in oral and written English and Arabic.

Karen Umurerwa, Outreach Coordinator & Technology Mentor - Connected Canadians

Karen works directly with CC clients to resolve their technological issues and help them expand their tech literacy skills across different devices. Previously, Karen worked as a research assistant at the University of Ottawa on a community development project. Currently enrolled in her 4th year and majoring in Psychology at the University of Ottawa, Karen is looking to pursue a master’s degree in Social Work. Karen loves traveling and particularly enjoyed visits to Vancouver, Calgary, Quebec City, and the U.K. Karen’s first language is French and her passion is volunteering, especially with older adults.

Andrew Martey Asare, Business & Community Development Manager - National Capital Freenet

Andrew Martey Asare is the Business and Community Development Manager for National Capital FreeNet, a not-for-profit internet service provider that believes that digital equity includes the right to affordable, high quality connectivity that people can understand how to use, while feeling safe online.As part of his work Andrew is developing a free community wifi pilot for neighbourhoods facing higher inequities, and other new services NCF can offer to ensure everyone is able to harness the digital skills and tools they need to fully participate in the community.

Andrew holds a Master's Certificate focused on Business Analysis from Carleton University and a degree in Business Technology Management from Toronto Metropolitan University. Before NCF he worked in the mobile phone industry, community digital training, and for the government.

Camila Pastran, Program Lead, Incubator 13

Camila strategically leads, manages and implements programs & projects at Incubator 13 that promote community based innovation, professional development, local talent and social/economic sustainability.

Please consider supporting the SPCO's 50 in 50 Days Campaign:

About the organizer