Press Release

Older people from 10 communities will receive mobile phones and learn from young people how to use them

17 October 2020

Help Age International Moldova with the support of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), launched an innovative project aimed at developing the digital skills of older women and men. As many as 100 older people from Soldanesti, Rezina, Basarabeasca and Leova districts will be given mobile phones and will be taught how to use them by a group of young volunteers. This will encourage intergenerational dialogue and the setting up of a communication bridge between the young and the olders, especially in the midst of the pandemic.

 

‘The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed a great deal of activities into the online environment. However, while some people adapted without difficulty to the new realities, others – such as the older persons – did not. Because of limited access to digital technologies, the older women and men found themselves isolated both socially and digitally. It is important to bridge the gap between generations by providing equal access to digital opportunities. Young people can be part of the solution because they can contribute directly to improving the digital skills of older persons’, said Nigina Abaszada, UNFPA Resident Representative in Moldova.

 

The older persons involved in the project are vulnerable people who do not have access to other communication platforms, who have reduced mobility, being also the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to social isolation. They were identified and selected thanks to the joint efforts of local non-governmental organisations, of the local public administration and of the social worker from each settlement covered by the project. These older people will receive mobile phones connected to the internet and will be taught and shown by young volunteers from their settlements how to use the phones, how to make electronic payments and communicate with peers and family online.

 

‘Every generation is a resource for the community. Both young and old have much to learn from each other, and tapping into potential of all community members, intergenerational interaction and communication are essential for building a strong community’, said Tatiana Sorocan, Head of HelpAge International Moldova.

 

The ‘Rethink Your Life! Connecting Socially and Digitally Young and Old People in Moldova’ Project is implemented by HelpAge International, supported by the UN Population Fund and by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection. Under this project, the participants will be given basic food and hygienic kits and will be taught about using information technologies.

 

According to the data of the National Bureau of Statistics (July 2020) the older population increased – people aged 60+ representing now a share of 21.8% in total population, while the young population shrank – young people aged 14-34 representing a share a bit greater than 26.9% in the total population of Moldova.

 

The older persons in the Republic of Moldova are less socially active and practice to a lesser extent healthy and active ageing compared to their peers in European countries. According to the Active Ageing Index, only 3% of the olders in the Republic of Moldova use information technologies, while in EU countries this share is greater than 41%.