More Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassadors Putting Up Their Hands To Help Other Seniors Embrace Technology
SINGAPORE – 27 JUN 2020
The Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassador (SIWA) programme, which plays a key role in inspiring seniors to adopt digital technology, has continued to grow from strength to strength since it started in 2012. SIWAs are seniors aged 50 years and above who lead active digital lifestyles and demonstrate a keenness to volunteer and help other seniors embrace technology.
Today, another 47 seniors have been appointed SIWAs and they join the 234 SIWAs who have been helping other seniors to go digital since the programme’s inception.
The new 47 SIWA appointees met with Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information today over a virtual Zoom engagement session where they shared views and experiences on helping seniors to go digital.
Minister Iswaran said, “Going digital should be a priority, and as our way of life becomes more digital, more in our community are also reaching out and putting up their hands to help one another go digital. Today, I had the pleasure of catching up virtually with such a group - the Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassadors, or SIWAs. Leading active lifestyles and ever keen to pick up digital skills to improve their lives, SIWAs shared with me that they have been actively reaching out to other seniors, through their own networks, to inspire them and provide important peer-to-peer support in their digital journeys. Having gone through the process of learning digital skills themselves, they better understand the concerns of other seniors and can help make their learning journeys a lot more fun and a lot less stressful.”
Apart from SIWAs, Minister Iswaran also acknowledged volunteers from the infocomm industry and youth groups. Their efforts, together with the senior ambassadors, give an important push to the Seniors Go Digital programme that was started in mid-May 2020 to spur digital adoption amongst seniors amidst COVID-19, where staying at home and staying safe remains important for our seniors’ health and wellbeing.
Updates on Seniors Go Digital programme
The Seniors Go Digital programme is making good progress. To date, about 2,000 seniors have benefitted from online one-on-one sessions and webinars since mid-May, and more than 100 volunteers from Barclays, Cognizant, Grab, Microsoft, PwC and Youth Corp Singapore have volunteered their service for the one-on-one online sessions. 2,000 seniors have since registered for the upcoming webinars too.
About the SIWA initiative
The SIWA initiative was started by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (“IMDA”) and People’s Association Active Ageing Council (“PA AA Council”) in 2012. To-date, 281 SIWAs in the community have been appointed. The SIWAs help inspire, encourage, and provide peer-to-peer support for other seniors, who may be less familiar with using technology, to adopt digital technology. For instance, some SIWAs are active volunteers at Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) or grassroots organisations, others form interest groups to increase the digital readiness of their peers by sharing lifestyle topics such as using digital tools to create digital photo-books, blogging and sharing tips on staying safe online. SIWAs also motivate others to embrace technology in their daily lives by sharing their own learning journey with using technology.
This initiative, which complements the SG Digital Office (SDO)1's work to accelerate digital adoption among seniors within the community, is part of IMDA’s digital readiness efforts to ensure every individual, especially seniors, are equipped with the necessary digital tools, skills and knowledge to participate safely and meaningfully in our shared digital future.
Prior to the circuit breaker period, about 40 SIWAs were running monthly workshops at the West Coast Wellness Club Centre and Teck Ghee Community Club to teach and equip senior residents with basic digital skills. The response for these workshops has been positive, with the attendance growing from about 20 participants when it first started in June 2019 to about 50 participants per workshop over several months. Since then, more than 100 SIWAs have come forward to help organise more basic digital skills workshops every month, to help even more seniors reap the benefits of digital technology. These workshops will resume in August 2020 at the West Coast Wellness Club Centre and Teck Ghee Community Club, with plans for SIWAs to conduct similar workshops at three other neighbourhoods by the end of the year.
The SIWA initiative welcomes seniors from all walks of life, and nomination takes place once a year. Nominations can be submitted online. For the 2020 nomination exercise, more than 90 nominations were received. SIWAs are selected based on their passion to help other seniors as well as their willingness to volunteer their time and resources towards the Seniors Go Digital movement. For more info, visit go.gov.sg/siwa.