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Access to Information

Access to Information and Community Participation - Digital Inclusion Project

Access to information has been identified as one of the biggest challenges when it comes to digital inclusion for ethnic communities, especially as more and more information and services are available online only.

This has far-reaching consequences in terms of participating fully in society, accessing community services, meaningful employment, exercising their civic rights and advocating for their communities' needs.

We are currently in the early stages of developing the Access to information and community participation – Digital inclusion project.


We have started on a research project to better understand the needs, challenges and barriers to digital inclusion. The research project includes a literature review, mapping of existing services, interviews with sector partners.


As the next phase of the research, we are going to organise meetings (interviews, focus groups) with ethnic community members across the motu (country) so you and your community members can have a say and identify practical solutions.


The project will be delivered in co-design with a Digital Incusion Co-Design Working Group of refugee and migrant background community members to ensure meaningful participation in the design, implementation and evaluation of the programme.


We will reach out to ethnic communities as soon as we know the dates for our meetings in different locations so you can get involved.


If you want to participate, please get in touch with the HOST team.

The next step will then be the implementation of practical activities alongside partner organisations working in the digital and technical sectors.

We will create a safe space of learning and have social workers on staff who can provide additional assistance to participants to ensure their wellbeing throughout their participation in the project.


The project will benefit any ethnic communities’ members of all ages and abilities who would like to upskill and gain better knowledge, skills and trust when accessing online information, learning digital and technical skills, learning to trouble-shoot and being able to effectively use devices (mobile phones, laptops, internet, apps etc.).


Alongside the training programme for community members, we are also going to upskill and mentor community members to provide ongoing technical and digital support to their respective communities.


Watch this space!

Digital Skills

What we are
working on

Research to identify concrete examples of digital exclusion and possible solutions.

Co-design of practical solutions with a Digital Inclusion Co-Design Working Group with members from migrant and former refugee communities.

Develop a training programme to help you and your community members learn new digital skills.

Deliver trainings and workshops in different parts of the country.


Provide mentoring to support individual upskilling for future work opportunities and/or careers in the technology field. 

Our Project Model

We want to get from this:


The challenges of the digital divide:


  • Lack of appropriate digital devices

  • Limited internet connectivity



  • Gaps in digital literacy

  • Language barriers

  • Digital skills and access



  • Lack of trust

  • Lack of access to information

  • Misinformation

  • Online safety risks

  • Lack of participation

To this:

Digital Inclusion Project Approach

Our goal:

To narrow the digital divide as digital inclusion shapes the way for safer access to online information, better employment opportunities and civic participation.


In partnership with a Digital Inclusion Co-Design Working Group, HOST will develop suitable, culturally safe and sustainable solutions to breaking down barriers of accessibility, affordability and ability to digital inclusion for ethnic communities.


 Our why (Theory of Change):

  1. Individual wellbeing: To strengthen individual wellbeing by reducing harm and increasing trust and safety in a digital world.

  2. Community inclusion: To build capacity for digital inclusion that result in better social, community and civic participation.

  3. Addressing structural barriers: To reduce or eliminate structural barriers to digital inclusion for equitable educational and economic outcomes.

Digital Inclusion Project Model


In Aotearoa New Zealand, we live in a society where information and services are more and more accessible online only. This creates barriers for many people to participate fully in society as they may struggle to access information or services and be excluded from acting on their rights and responsibilities in their daily lives.

Some people face multiple barriers such as socioeconomic or geographical factors, cultural bias, low literacy levels, demographic changes, and lack of accessibility, amplifying the effects of not being digitally included).


This is particularly the case for former refugee and migrant background ethnic communities, highlighted particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, where many ethnic communities were disadvantaged in accessing services, undertaking transactions online as well as continuing to engage socially due to to the lack of technology or skills, internet connectivity, and language barriers.

Digital exclusion is further intensified for newcomers to Aotearoa New Zealand as it:

  • Limits their access to valuable information either in English or their own languages;

  • Prevents them from learning about and better understanding the new country they now live in;

  • Excludes them from participating and meaningfully contributing to society;

  • Makes them feel more isolated and less connected socially and in the wider community.

Checking Resources

​Women are often further marginalised due to gender, religion, etc. and are missing out on access to critical information.

Misinformation is on the rise as community members find it difficult to verify information online and instead rely on ‘word of mouth’ information through their local community. Online security risks add to their vulnerability as community members don’t feel equipped, have the technical or language skills to stay safe online.


Parents should be able to understand online safety so they can support and monitor their children’s access to the internet to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Digital inclusion creates a platform for parents to relate to their children's education needs by knowing what their school projects are about and being able to help provide safe internet access.

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