Teaching core skills
Konexio had been working out of a dozen centres in Paris and in a refugee camp of 40,000 people in Malawi. Students learn basic computer skills and internet navigation, as well as programs like Word and Excel. Various partnerships and government support enable Konexio to offer the classes free of charge. The classes are held in French and students must have an A2 level in the language to participate. This level is functional but far from fluent.
Konexio has already started adapting to the changes it anticipates. It moved one course online and is working on converting others. The group is redesigning its mentorship programme as well, changing to a one-to-one model. Participating mentors from large companies in Paris work directly with Konexio students.
Jean is painfully aware that many beneficiaries of Konexio training are not ready to access an online course, but she is hopeful about a new initiative from the French government, for which Konexio is providing content and support, called “Solidarité Numerique,” or “Digital Solidarity.” This programme provides a telephone number that people can call for assistance with basic online tasks, like contacting a government office, finding a doctor, or looking for work. According to the French government, about 13 million people in France are “digitally excluded.”