ACTing: Active ageing, welcome on board

Training of social agents at the ICV Arcade, Photo: Maria Halkias
Training of social agents at the ICV Arcade, Photo: Maria Halkias
Article by Léonie Vasarhelyi, edited by Eadaoin Iten, traducción española Raquel Pazos
20 February 2015

Acting is a project financed by the European Union, promoting Active Ageing through Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The goal of the ACTing project is to encourage social inclusion of our ageing population through ICTs at a national and European level. By providing access and skills to new technologies, the participants will achieve higher levels of independence and therefore enhance their quality of life.

Active in Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Romania, the project’s main objective is to pass on ICT knowledge to elderly people through local networks of volunteers. This is achieved through group classes organised and taught by the volunteers themselves. The volunteers, referred to as social agents, are supported on an international level through a web-based platform, designed to transfer specific practical methodologies relating to working with the elderly. 

All forms of knowledge transfer are welcome, the only requirement being that all teaching should be related to new technologies. Social agents can, for example, teach seniors how to use Skype, Facebook, Microsoft Windows, Outlook, Excel or PowerPoint. The more adventurous agents can even undertake more complicated tasks with their groups such as Photoshop, or create a website or blog!

The social agents will become members of a dynamic online community, exchanging their experiences and ideas with others from all around Europe. Not only does the platform serve a practical purpose by providing methodologies and knowledge through the learning modules, it also allows all the social agents to access to working experiences of other agents. Such a collaboration on the European level results in awareness of cultural differences.

As sharing experiences is central to the ACTing project, social agents working in Geneva were invited to the offices of the Swiss partner, ICV, to share their observations through working with elderly people. Karina and Juliana, respectively from Argentina and Panama, are very motivated and experienced in this field. Both have been living and working in Geneva for a number of years. A major challenge that Karina has encountered is the frustration that people feel when dealing with touchscreens or buttons, due to poor eyesight or unsteady hands. A solution she suggests is to take regular breaks and provide alternative tasks when necessary. Juliana finds great enjoyment and fulfillment in helping and educating older people and has forged many new friendships through her work. Both of them are particularly helping Spanish-speaking migrants living in Geneva.

If you are interested in improving the lives of those in your community through teaching ICT classes, you can also participate in the ACTing project and become a social agent! For more information explore our website or contact us at volunteer[at] Also check out our ACTing videos

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