Case Study: Digital Inclusion at Philadelphia FIGHT
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Bringing Internet access to the people and places where it wouldn't otherwise exist
Philadelphia FIGHT, like many nonprofits, sees the provision of consumer education as a key component of the social services they deliver in the community. So what happens when nearly half of the individuals you serve do not have access to the Internet, one of the most powerful information gathering, consumer education tools available?
You bring the Internet to them!
That is what Philadelphia FIGHT did as a part of its Critical Path Project. Since 1987, Critical Path Project has harnessed the power of the Internet to get the latest information to the wider community. Having access to the Internet and the Critical Path AIDS Project website means easy access to the full range of potentially life-extending or life-saving HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and referral information. Research showed that more than 40% of Philadelphia residents did not have Internet access. To complement their 27 public computer centers providing digital literacy training and information, Philadelphia FIGHT knew that a large percentage of people still did not have access to education and the reliable health information and resources they provide. Low-cost mobile Internet from Mobile Citizen helped FIGHT’s Critical Path Project roll out two mobile computer labs bringing services to these underserved communities.
“Information is a powerful tool, but only when you have access to it. Because of Mobile Citizen, we now bring Internet access to the people and places where it wouldn’t otherwise exist.”
— Deaglan Daugherty, Philadelphia FIGHT Digital Inclusion Supervisor
When you serve over 3,000 people each year in 27 public computing centers and 2 mobile computing labs you pick up a few best practices. Below are a few things Philadelphia FIGHT learned through their use of Mobile Ciitzen.
Bringing services and life-saving information directly to individuals and communities
With two mobile computer labs, Critical Path Project leaders take their program to the people. With a list of 10 locations with the greatest unmet need, Philadelphia FIGHT is diligently working to close the digital divide by ensuring all those needing access to reliable healthcare information have it.
Enabling staff mobility
In addition to the mobile computer labs, there are many ways in which Philadelphia FIGHT staff members find themselves being mobile, and as a result, so must their tools. For example, outreach staff travel to attend events and conferences in the marketing and delivering of their programs. Mobile Internet keeps mobile staff connected and productive.
Providing education and access to information is Philadelphia FIGHT’s focus, however they recognize having access to the Internet and all it has to offer opens up new doors and additional opportunities for the community they serve. With a call center providing support for additional Internet-related services such as free email, web hosting and list-servs, staff members are called upon at all hours of the day, and often times when they are not in the office.