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29/04/2020 News

Covid-19 : Closing the Digital Divide

The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the digital divide, which makes people without reliable Internet access – for financial reasons, or for lack of a good grasp of technology – more isolated and socially vulnerable. Total Foundation is working alongside nonprofits to help students continue learning from home and to ensure that more people can, through the Internet, connect with the outside world and maintain social, community and family ties.

Computers for All

To help disadvantaged young people keep learning from home in this emergency situation, nonprofits Break Poverty, Emmaüs Connect and Collectif Mentorat have joined forces to send 10,000 computers with Internet access directly to families who need them. Keenly aware of the importance for students to continue their studies, Total Foundation decided to support the initiative, making a financial contribution to provide computers to 600 socially vulnerable young people – particularly beneficiaries of its partner nonprofits, including Institut Télémaque, Production Schools and Proxité. Computers have also been sent to refugees supported by nonprofit Kodiko and others in Stains (Seine-Saint-Denis), where L'Industreet, the campus specialized in the industry professions of tomorrow and created by Total Foundation, will be opening in the fall of 2020.

In addition, Total Foundation has contributed to the collective #GardonsLeLien initiative launched by Simplon (a socially conscious network of digital training programs), one of our longstanding partners, to purchase 1,000 tablets for patients in hospitals and nursing homes.

Digital Tools for Learning and Staying in Touch

For several years, Total Foundation has been actively supporting the production of content for distance learning. Some examples include the Mon Avenir en Grand open source platform run by Institut Télémaque for all young people wanting to develop their potential with programs on careers and cultural horizons, the IFP’s MOOCs on the energy transition, educational content for young people and teachers on the Planète Energies site and the VIA game to teach users about road safety. Through these initiatives, Total Foundation helps provide everyone, particularly young people, with the tools they need to learn and access information in an interactive way about the major issues facing society today and tomorrow.

In addition, some schools and nonprofits were not necessarily ready for the challenges of learning from home or continuing to offer community support remotely. So we decided to provide urgent support to new initiatives. For example, in just a few days the French National Federation of Production Schools (FNEP) was able to roll out a digital platform recognized by the French Ministry of Education for some 20 schools in its network. Focusing on teaching French and math, as well as technical content for download, the solution is aimed in priority at 350 students on the CAP course to ensure they can prepare for their exam in the best conditions possible.

Furthermore, as part of our Action! program, Total employees are able to take part remotely in conversation classes in English or French as a foreign language. Volunteer employees are also taking part in developing videos to present their roles and career paths so that the beneficiaries of our partner nonprofits can continue thinking about possible future jobs even during this time when they cannot visit companies in person. Moreover, we are proud to be able to give our employees the opportunity to volunteer their support for young people needing help with schoolwork through the #MentoratdUrgence initiative led by eight nonprofits that are joining forces through the Collectif Mentorat program.

We are convinced that some of the innovative measures used to get us through this difficult period will prove to be highly effective, and will take their place alongside existing initiatives long after the crisis has ended.

Committed Partner Organizations

Lastly, Total Foundation is pleased to have forged partnerships with organizations that prove every day that they share our values and priorities, leveraging their skills in digital technology to play their part in the nationwide effort to help others find ways to replace face-to-face contact throughout the crisis.

The La Main à la Pâte Foundation has launched science videos and activities on its website to support students learning from home. Becomtech is organizing weekly virtual meetings between its ambassadors to continue supporting girls and young women and raising awareness about digital professions. The La Colline theater company is offering its audience literary readings over the phone. The Paris Philharmonic and its Démos musical education and orchestral program aimed at social change are working hard to reach out to young people through alternative teaching solutions and digital educational tools such as audio files, videos, tutorials, playlists and sheet music. These are just a handful examples of the many initiatives set up by our partners, who we would like to warmly thank for their support.