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Good Practices

The German project "Digitale Engel" (Digital Angels) kicked off in 2019 by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth with one main goal: getting seniors one step closer to digital. The project is implemented by Deutschland sicher im Netz. The initiative started in 2019, with a brief interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and continues to bring digital straight to the places older people usually go to. It is supported by several other Ministries, agencies and public bodies in the fields of social care, ICT, and policy in Germany. 

Background and objectives 

The initiative addressed a challenge, already identified within the German skills landscape: the lack of digital understanding and interest in learning about digital technologies by older adults, and the purposes they use the Internet for: to communicate with their children and close ones, and find information online. 

Digital Angels can be found wherever older people usually go: at the market, or at local meetings and senior citizens' clubs. The initiative is a mobile bus - Deutschland sicher im Netz e.V., which goes around Germany, with digital advisors, who answer older people's questions about digitalisation and teach them particular sets of digital skills. The Digital Angel teachers people in a practical and on-site way how everyday life can be made easier with the help of digital applications. The infomobile goes through all rural regions in Germany and offers a variety of 'services': from tips on staying in touch with your children and friends online, to advice on converting your house to a smart home to keep down your energy bills. On offer are also online book trips, and ad hoc topics chosen by the mobile teams of experts. 

Why is this a good practice? 

The Digital Angel supports the teaching of digital skills by facilitating the building of networks between local actors in digital skills and adult education. This improves the dissemination of the initiative, together with its relevance and accessibility. 

The bus of the mobile team of advisers - "Digitale Engel" (Digital Angels) - has been touring Germany since November 2019, briefly interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative was successful in providing older people with personal, tailored, and on the spot support, and helped to reduce fears about the perceived difficulty of learning how to work with digital technologies and basic software. The programme is made more personal through 1 on 1 talks between seniors and digital advisors. 

Since its start in 2019, the Digital Angels mobile bus has already visited more than 450 locations all over Germany. They also improve local cooperation by participating in key institutions and public bodies for older people's wellbeing and education, such as Mehrgenerationenhäuser (multi-generational centres) and Seniorenbüros (senior citizens' agencies). Finally, the initiative also targets disadvantaged groups by focusing its efforts on rural areas, where understanding of digital competence is usually lower than in urban ones. 

Good practice details

Target audience
Digital skills for all
Digital technology / specialisation
Digital skill level
Geographic scope - Country
Industry - field of education and training
Computer use
Geographical sphere
Local initiative
Type of funding