Congratulations to AfroVillage and Rosewood Initiative! AfroVillage and Rosewood Initiative will provide culturally relevant, ongoing digital skills training and technical support to community members experiencing barriers to accessing and using digital technologies.
AfroVillage is more than a physical space: it’s a movement! Rooted in the vision of Portland community member and activist LaQuida Landford “Q,“ the movement focuses on addressing the needs of vulnerable populations—unhoused individuals—with a focus on racial disparities and inequalities. AfroVillage provides a variety of critical services to community members and has started important conversations around fundamental basic needs such as hygiene and sanitation, food scarcity, mental and physical health, and safety during COVID-19.
The AfroVillage Community Digital Navigator program, called ”Hook A Neighbor Up,” will be led by a program manger, program coordinator, and six part-time Digital Navigator staff, all members of the community. The program seeks to provide support in navigating internet service and computing device options and digital skills training to at least 200 community members that identify as Black, and that are displaced, unhoused, housing insecure, low and fixed income, or elders.
The AfroVillage Digital Navigators will offer in-person and virtual digital skills trainings that are tailored to individual learner needs and that focus on building confidence and instilling knowledge while fostering community.
In an effort to build sustainable capacity within the organization to continue to provide Digital Navigation services beyond the grant period, AfroVillage has chosen to employ a train-the-trainer model for the Digital Navigator positions. And the Digital Navigator positions will then create supportive peer-to-peer learner networks, so that people participating in the program can learn from the navigators and each other as they access and use digital technologies for economic and social wellbeing.
The Rosewood Initiative is a place-based nonprofit that supports community-driven solutions for a healthier neighborhood. Rosewood pulls together and works collaboratively with local nonprofit organizations and government agencies, creating a true community hub complete with sustainable solutions that meet the immediate needs of community members, while also working upstream to build solutions that address root causes.
Rosewood is deeply connected to the Latinx, Black, Nepali, and Rohingya communities in the area through their Community Organizers, who are members of these communities with lived experience who helped distribute devices and internet service subsidies to over 1,000 households at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rosewood will expand on these efforts by developing a Digital Navigator program that supports the Community Organizers in expanding their knowledge and skills to be able to provide in-depth, one-to-one, and small group support to at least 25 mothers or
heads of households of large families. The Community Organizers, in partnership with MetroEast Community Media, will utilize their skills, expertise, and relationships that they have built with the community to provide increased digital navigation services and digital skills training in Spanish, Nepali, Burmese, and Rohingya.
In addition, Rosewood will host a monthly Digital Literacy Club that will provide a space for community members to problem solve the technology and learning challenges as they continue to develop their skills.
Office for Community Technology is pleased to announce the 2021-22 Digital Inclusion Fund Small Business Digital Navigator Pilot Program Grantee!
Congratulations to the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber!
The Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber strives to create opportunities for the Latino community by investing in its entrepreneurial spirit, supporting its future generations’ access to higher education, and preparing its emerging leaders to succeed in their careers and in the community at large.
The Hispanic Chamber has provided technical assistance to small and micro businesses in Oregon for over 20 years, including creating websites for 170 small businesses in 8 months in 2020—at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hispanic Chamber Business Development Team provides informal bilingual and bicultural digital navigation services to its business clients. A dedicated Small Business Digital Navigator will provide foundational digital skills training, individualized technical support, and address connectivity and technology needs to at least 150 small and micro businesses, and BIPOC entrepreneurs. The Navigator will hold regular office hours which allows clients an opportunity to receive on-demand support, either via phone or in-person and utilize the Chamber’s computer lab.
Complementing digital navigation services, the Hispanic Chamber will create a virtual workshop series that will focus on specific technology and digital platforms for small business clients. The workshops will be designed and facilitated by the Small Business Digital Navigator in collaboration with the Chamber’s business development team.
Each workshop will focus on technology, small business applications, and digital platforms. Successful workshop participants are then eligible to apply for a Micro Digital ToolBox grant that would allow clients to purchase critical business software or hardware that supports business growth and success. The Hispanic Chamber anticipates awarding up to 20 microgrants.