1.6mn expat workers benefit from ‘Better Connections’ initiative

1.6mn expat workers benefit from ‘Better Connections’ initiative

Publication: qatar-tribune.com – English (English | Website)

THE ‘Better Connections’ programme, a nationwide initiative aimed at improving the wellbeing of expatriate workers in Qatar, has surpassed its preset target of 1.5 million beneficiaries within five years of its launch, and has provided digital inclusion opportunities for some 1,679,000 people.
‘Better Connections’ was launched in 2014 under the umbrella of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC). Its aim was to enhance the social wellbeing of expatriate workers in Qatar by facilitating and promoting digital inclusion.
With the support of MoTC, the Ministry Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs (MADLSA), Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), a programme under Education Above All, and other stakeholders, the number of participating companies and beneficiaries has significantly grown over the years bolstering the success of the programme.
The phase one of the programme, which ran from April, 2015, to December, 2017, focused on resourcing and delivering the outlined objectives, by providing expatriate workers with access to the internet, computers, online services and training at their accommodation.
As an active partner of ‘Better Connections’, ROTA contributed significantly towards this goal by recruiting, training and managing volunteers, to help companies set up computer labs at workers’ accommodations. Volunteers also imparted training on digital literacy to the workers.
Following the positive outcomes of the first phase, the second phase of the programme was implemented for the period between July, 2017, and February, 2020. During this phase, ROTA played a key role in the monitoring and evaluation of the programme. This included designing data collection tools, training volunteers to collect data and analysing and reporting on project progress and results.
Maryam Majareh, project manager from ROTA, commented: “Through our combined efforts, we have provided opportunities for workers to learn to use technology in order to stay in touch with their families and friends, develop new skills and benefit from a variety of online services and platforms like Hukoomi. We thank all who have been part of this process, especially our volunteers whose dedication is a testament to the kindness of the community that we live in. People who were digitally excluded have been empowered by Better Connections so that they too can benefit from the numerous advantages of the internet.”
Results across phase two of the programme exhibit its success in providing professional and personal development opportunities to workers, especially those who may have had limited schooling in their own countries.
Beneficiaries reported improvements in happiness, wellbeing and confidence as they were better able to communicate and learn independently using ICT’s and internet.
One of the recipients of the programme said: “I learnt Word and little bit of Excel and now I can type my own letter. My job does not require to type and use excel, but I want to learn on my own.”
Meanwhile, volunteers of the programme, both from MoTC and ROTA pointed out that the programme helped the workers in day to day activities such as using the ATM machine, finding online resources including ministerial websites and sharing online resources.

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