Published on 08 October 2020

Get involved to reduce the digital divide

Eric Pouriel, manager at Orange in Bordeaux (France), has been volunteering with the Orange Foundation since 2019 to combat digital illiteracy. He tells us what triggered his involvement in charitable initiatives with Orange Solidarity, what happened during the lockdown, and what he has learned from it.


The catalyst: family

Digital access and uses were initially a family topic. I noticed that - depending on their age, where there live and even their culture - members of the same family could have difficulty accessing and using digital technology. In this case, intergenerational communication can weaken, and the culture remains limited. Then I learned that 30% of the French population was affected by this new digital literacy, or rather its opposite digital illiteracy.
So I looked at my company, Orange, to see if it was possible to get involved in this in my department. The Orange Foundation then directed me to the regional branch of Orange Solidarity, its associative ‘right hand man’, to fight the digital divide on the ground. Orange Solidarity enabled me to find the association I now work with: Tournesol, a social and cultural centre in Mérignac (33).


A real partnership forged with the association

The first step is to define a partnership with the association that calls on you. This phase is very enriching. It helps you to properly understand its objectives, its resources and to get a good footing. As Orange employees, our knowledge of digital uses allows us to be very proactive, but the same is true for many other citizens who can join us! In cooperation with the chairman of the association, we focussed the partnership on "getting the best out of your digital experience" in the form of collective workshops and, as needed, individual support in emergency situations for certain members.

Very important moments of sharing… that adapt to Covid

The digital training workshops that I run are great opportunities to exchange and share with a diverse audience. We also create very important social ties. I cover a variety of topics such as “online rights”, “digital identity”, “digital technology for employment”, “being careful with your data”, “social networks”. For individual support sessions, I explain how to obtain administrative documents, trigger a procedure following a change of situation… Obviously, the Covid epidemic brought the workshops and individual sessions to a halt. After reflection, I created, together with the national digital mediation platform, tutorials to help in this particular situation: tele-consultation, working from home, simplified sick leave to look after children or a person at risk.

Commit to Orange Solidarity, you won’t regret it!

Being part of Orange Solidarity has many advantages: we have access to extensive content to deploy our workshops, we are part of a community that is animated every week and allows us to exchange and share. You never have to face any problems alone!
I do feel like I am personally helping to reduce the digital divide and digital illiteracy, in excellent conditions.
I hope that my story will make you want to discover the incredible actions of the Orange Foundation and Orange Solidarity, and then join us. You won’t regret it. You will remember this commitment by what you brought to it and what you received.