St. George, May 17, 2022 – World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) has been celebrated annually every 17 May since 1969 to mark the founding of ITU and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865. The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.
The COVID-19 crisis has not only highlighted the critical role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for continued functioning of societies but has also brought to the fore the startling digital inequalities between and within countries. ITU Members have stepped up and engaged in activities that have proven essential in saving lives and sustaining economies. They have demonstrated their remarkable resilience in the face of challenging times. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgency of accelerating digital transformation and advancing the goals and targets of the Connect 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind.
WTISD 2022 is an opportunity for ITU membership to continue to push for digital transformation by promoting national strategies on ICT development, smart policies to encourage investments, cooperation, and partnership. The theme for this year is ‘Digital technologies for older persons and healthy ageing’ The ageing of the global population will be the defining demographic trend of the 21st century—yet our societies struggle to see the opportunities that this trend can unfold. Telecommunications and information communication technologies (ICTs) have a role to play in achieving healthier ageing, but also in helping people build smarter cities, combat age-based discrimination at the workplace, ensure financial inclusion of older persons, and support millions of caregivers across the world. WTISD 2022 will allow ITU membership, partners and other stakeholders to raise awareness about the important role of telecommunications/ICTs in supporting people to stay healthy, connected and independent, physically, emotionally and financially – to a life of healthy ageing – and as critical for the sustainability of economic and health systems. “Equitable access to digital technologies isn’t just a moral responsibility, it’s essential for global prosperity and sustainability.” Houlin Zhao– ITU Secretary-General
While the UN Goals targets all ages, the focus for ITU is the elderly because they recognize the important role the elderly has played through their contribution to society and they believe that there should be more visibility in how we can take care of our elderly. In Grenada, health care for the elderly is important, in the absence of a national health insurance to provide a cushion for the elderly to afford proper health care, they are often left to fend for themselves or seek assistance through their families. With the advancement of technologies and the many apps that are available which can aid our elderly to track their health and make them more alert of issues in advance, leveraging ICTs will provide an avenue for our elderly to be more in control of their health.
In recognition of this day, the NTRC will be partnering with the Ministry of Education, Ministry wrf ICT, Ministry wrf Telecommunication and the MontGava Development Foundation to host an Intergenerational Boot Camp at the MontGava Development Centre, Mont Tout, St. George targeting the elderly 50 years and older within the surrounding communities. The initiative is intended to facilitate a bridging of the intergenerational gap where both the youths and elderly can learn from each other. The elderly will learn about technology from the younger generation, while the younger people will learn from the older generation life advise based on the experiences of the elderly. The Boot Camp will commence on May 17, 2022 with the official launch and will continue for a period of three weeks with two 1.5 hr session held weekly. The initiative will be administered by a tutor with the aid of two assistants who will provide hands-on demonstration to the elderly.
The course is designed to provide participants with a basic understanding of technology use and its application in monitoring and supporting a healthy lifestyle. At the end of the course, participants will know the basics of technology, be able to navigate mobile devices (smartphones/tables) and computer (desktop/laptop), browse the internet safely, research and or download programs/apps that promote healthy living.
The NTRC urges stakeholders to embrace the elderly through technology by taking the opportunity to build capacity among our elderly so they too can benefit from the convenience and advancement of technology. With many of the utility services being offered digitally via mobile and online applications, this is an opportune time to promote an increase awareness of the elderly to utilize these apps in the comfort of their own homes.