In a heartwarming demonstration of how it is never too late to learn, 59 gogos graduated from the groundbreaking “iGOGO – Gogos With Vuma” digital education programme, which took place in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and City of Tshwane.
Launched by goGOGOgo in conjunction with Vuma, South Africa’s largest fibre network operator, this transformative initiative aimed to equip the elderly, particularly women, with the basic digital skills needed to navigate our online era.
Gogo Sylvia Ntombentsha Badi who completed the programme says, “This programme has brought us out of the digital darkness and into the light. It has given me a sense of independence because now I can operate a smartphone and keep in touch with my loved ones without having to ask for too much help.”
The training sessions included teaching the gogos how to turn their tablets on and off, adjust the volume, set reminders on the calendars, save contacts, navigate WhatsApp and YouTube, install apps, create, and use email addresses, enable mobile data and WI-FI, manage Google profiles and Book Dash. The lessons ran over two weeks.
According to one of the trainers, Thando Mokoena, the gogos’ enthusiasm was contagious and created a positive learning environment. “It was wonderful to see the dedication our students showed. They were all eager and very enthusiastic which made them a joy to teach.”
The programme went beyond simply teaching the gogos the basics. Some of the material covered also included using social media to connect with family and friends, online shopping, accessing e-government services, online safety, and security, and exploring various educational platforms to keep learning at any age. These will be expanded on in greater detail in future sessions.
Gogo Thandiwe Mildred Mbona, another graduate of the programme explains, “Making friends while being able to learn, was fantastic. My WhatsApp is going to be busy now!”
“One of the most rewarding aspects of this programme is being able to see how the gogos and mkhulus start the programme being scared to touch the screen of their tablet and towards the end of the programme, they use apps and send texts like teenagers,” adds Bradley Chauke, Project Manager.
Given the direction technology is moving in, giving gogos the gift of connectivity is crucial to ensuring that they can live happy, healthy, and independent lives. This idea is something that aligns with Vuma’s values which is why this partnership made sense.
“Being part of a journey that empowers people who spend their lives helping everyone else is a core part of why we do what we do. It has been heartwarming to see how quickly the gogos have picked up these skills and we are excited to see the impact this will have on their lives and the lives of their grandchildren. We plan to launch another “Gogos with Vuma” project in the near future,” says Taylor Kwong, Head of Marketing and CSI.
By broadening their scope, Kwong believes the organisation can create a significant influence on the lives of elderly individuals who are in need of assistance to keep up with the digitally fast-paced world we live in. “Additionally, with enhanced resources and extended partnerships with like-minded organisations in our communities, I am confident that we can guarantee no gogo is left behind, by making the project accessible.”