Eldy van on the square (ELDYVAN)

Published on: 21/04/2012

The Eldy NGO launched the "Eldy van on the square" ("Eldy in piazza") project in order to reduce digital divide and increase eInclusion, in particular in the rural and mountainous areas of Italy. 

People living in rural areas often find it difficult to reach a certain level of digital literacy, because of their culture and their reluctance towards new technologies. 

A customised Eldy van widely promotes basic digital skills in the north of Italy, through the easy to use and free of charge Eldy platform, organising events and training activities on the main square of the Municipalities.

100 training courses have been performed and more than 4 000 people trained since 2009, mainly in the Veneto Region; the Eldy van is going to complete the 2012 Tour reaching some Municipalities of the Region of Lombardia. 

The innovative approach of the Eldy platform, the yearlong eInclusion experience, the presence of a wide animated community of 400 000 users and the involvement of volunteers who always give support, contributed to the great success of the "Eldy van on the square" ("Eldy in Piazza") project which had positive results in promoting both adult digital literacy as well as solidarity between people.

The training activities are being held by professional teachers and volunteers who add a cooperative spirit to technology. 

The Eldy van, with the enthusiasm of our volunteers, is present at the weekly market and at public events to disseminate a concept of easy, amusing and inclusive technology.

Durin  the event, teachers and volunteers teach the ABC of computers: how to send an email, how to surf on the Internet, how to use the chat to meet new people and keep in touch with their family, how to video-call their loved-ones, how to manage documents and digital photos. Furthermore CDs regarding Eldy and proving technical support are freely distributed.

The project was sponsored by the Vicenza Province, the Consiglio Regionale del Veneto, the Centro Servizio di Volontariato di Vicenza, and other private sponsors interested in strengthening their social corporate responsibility. 

Policy Context

Public administration recognised the Eldy initiative as a good opportunity for promoting eInclusion through ICT and, consequently, enhancing participation of senior Citizens to social life.

Public administration also considered the project as an opportunity to also train on eGovernment services for citizens (a possibility available on Eldy platform). 

Furthermore Eldy is a stakeholder of 2012 eSkills campaign, and supports the EY 2012 campaign.


Description of target users and groups

Target audience mainly consists of seniors and in general digitally illiterate people. 

Technology solution

Eldy is a free software package (www.eldy.eu ) for pc and an APP for tablet conceived by the Eldy NGO that helps senior Citizens use computers and access the Internet, counting more than 400 000 users all over the world. It was specifically designed for older people, with a six button interface, large font, strong colour contrast and simplified language in order to meet the needs of people aged over 55 and help them. 

Technology choice: Open source software

Main results, benefits and impacts

Here are some of the project's figures:

  • 100 training courses in little villages of rural and mountainous areas;
  • 4000 people trained, in particular senior citizens..

 The overall benefit represented by the project comprises the following:

  • Increased social inclusion also in rural and mountainous areas;
  • increase of eSkilled people;
  • promotion of volunteer actions and cooperative spirit;
  • increase of the "eDemocracy" concept;
  • enhancing of eInclusion policy within public administration and Municipalities;
  • van on the main square enables to give immediate answers to the real needs of the people.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Lessons learnt

  1. Location is fundamental in this project and the main square is an important meeting point of young and senior people in Italy. The right location contributes to  the effectiveness of each event. 
  2. Thanks to the informal training offered by the Eldy van, teachers and volunteers have the possibility to tailor training activities to different target groups, giving the right answer for each need.
  3. Public administration recognised the ELDY initiative as a good opportunity for promoting eInclusion through ICT and, consequently, enhancing participation of senior Citizens to social life.
  4. Eldy has been the key of the success of this initiative because through this simplified software it has been possible for seniors to acquire basic technological skills quickly and without particular problems. 
  5. The Eldy platform is easy to use and the learning curve is very high. Moreover, Eldy is free of charge (www.eldy.eu ) and the project can be replicated in other locations and occasions. 
Scope: Regional (sub-national)