Digital Outreach Project

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The purpose of this project was to determine access and use of ICTs in the Canterbury Muslim and Halal Slaughtermen’s communities. The intention was to use the findings to support future funding applications to improve ICT access and skills within the target communities. Data was collected in the form of surveys and semi-structured interviews, both of which were conducted by members of the Christchurch Muslim Community and by officials of the Halal Union.

Key findings: 

The findings indicated that most members of the Christchurch community had access to computers and mobile phones, as well as other forms of ICT. The most common uses of ICTs amongst Christchurch Muslims were to support study and to use the Internet to read and watch news from home. Many of the surveyed participants learned to use the ICTs by themselves, or with the help of friends and family. Few had taken a course or had tuition. Participants were interested in improving their ICT skills. However, barriers to learning, including language, lack of money and lack of time, prevented them from doing so. The Halal Union results echoed the findings from the Christchurch Muslim community, although a key difference was the lower usage rates, with the main purpose being for communication.

The findings indicated recommendations for improvements regarding the next steps in the Digital Outreach programme:

  • Efforts are made to improve the level of access for Muslims to the Internet, especially via broadband.
  • Provision of computers and software to the Canterbury Muslim community are targeted to the Somali and Kurdish groups, as these nationalities have the lowest levels of access.
  • Training programmes are funded to help improve skills and awareness of the wider uses and relevance of ICTs to the lives of individuals and their communities.
  • Training in ICTs is delivered in both English and community languages.
  • Funding is provided to support training facilitators to deliver ICT courses in English and community languages.
  • Funding is provided to train and support a webmaster to develop and run a website to help Muslim migrants settle in New Zealand.