In an increasingly diverse and interconnected world, the exchange of knowledge and skills between generations has become more crucial than ever. Intergenerational skills, which encompass the transfer of wisdom, experiences, and expertise between different age groups, play a significant role in fostering social cohesion, promoting personal growth, and building a prosperous future. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of intergenerational skills and how they contribute to a more harmonious and thriving society.
Preserving and Passing Down Cultural Heritage
Intergenerational skills serve as a bridge connecting the past, present, and future. They help preserve cultural heritage and traditions, ensuring that valuable customs, rituals, and stories are passed down from one generation to the next. Through intergenerational exchanges, younger generations can gain a deep understanding of their roots, appreciate diversity, and build a sense of identity. Moreover, older adults can feel a sense of purpose and fulfilment by sharing their cultural knowledge, promoting intercultural understanding, and fostering a collective sense of belonging.
Wisdom and Experience
Older generations possess a wealth of wisdom and life experience that cannot be replicated or acquired through formal education alone. Intergenerational skills allow the transfer of practical knowledge, problem-solving strategies, and resilience from older adults to younger individuals. By tapping into this wisdom, younger generations can benefit from the accumulated insights of their predecessors, avoiding common pitfalls and making more informed decisions. The guidance and mentorship provided by older adults can contribute to personal and professional growth, nurturing future leaders and change-makers.
Bridging the Technological Divide
In an era defined by rapid technological advancements, intergenerational skills are essential for bridging the digital divide. Older adults may face challenges in adapting to new technologies, while younger generations are typically more digitally fluent. By fostering intergenerational connections, younger individuals can assist older adults in acquiring digital literacy skills, using smartphones, navigating social media platforms, and accessing online services. Simultaneously, older adults can share their wealth of knowledge and experience, providing valuable insights and perspectives that can help younger individuals develop a broader understanding of societal issues.
Fostering Empathy and Understanding
Intergenerational interactions foster empathy and understanding by breaking down stereotypes and fostering mutual respect. When individuals from different age groups come together, they can challenge preconceived notions, overcome generational biases, and build meaningful relationships based on shared experiences. By appreciating the perspectives and struggles of other generations, individuals can cultivate empathy and compassion, leading to a more inclusive and supportive society.
Creating a Sustainable Future
Intergenerational skills are crucial for building a sustainable future. By sharing knowledge about environmental conservation, resource management, and sustainable practices, older generations can empower younger individuals to become environmentally conscious and responsible citizens. Moreover, intergenerational collaborations can inspire innovation and creativity, as diverse perspectives come together to solve complex problems and address societal challenges.
Intergenerational skills form the foundation of a harmonious, resilient, and prosperous society. By fostering the exchange of wisdom, experiences, and knowledge between generations, we can bridge the gap, build stronger communities, and create a brighter future for all. Embracing intergenerational skills enables us to preserve our cultural heritage, tap into the wisdom of older generations, bridge the technological divide, foster empathy, and work towards a sustainable world. Let us value and celebrate the contributions of each generation, recognizing that we are all connected in our journey towards progress and prosperity.
The Mondo Digitale organisation is a non-profit based in Rome, Italy, that aims to promote the use of technology for social and cultural development. One of the most interesting aspects of their work is their focus on intergenerational innovation, or the idea that people of different ages can work together to develop new solutions to common problems.
Mondo Digitale's intergenerational innovation work takes many different forms, from programs that bring young people and seniors together to teach each other new skills, to workshops that encourage collaboration between people of all ages to create innovative new products and services.
One of Mondo Digitale's most successful intergenerational programs is their "Grandparents on the Internet" initiative. This program brings together young people and seniors to teach each other about technology and the internet. The young people help the seniors learn how to use computers, smartphones, and other digital devices, while the seniors share their life experiences and wisdom with the young people. This program has been incredibly successful in bridging the digital divide between generations and helping both young people and seniors feel more connected to each other and to the wider world.
Another example of Mondo Digitale's intergenerational innovation work is their "Innovative Fabrication" program. This program brings together people of all ages to collaborate on the development of new products and services using digital fabrication techniques such as 3D printing and laser cutting. The program has been particularly successful in promoting entrepreneurship and helping young people develop new skills and career opportunities.
Overall, Mondo Digitale's intergenerational innovation work is an inspiring example of how people of different ages can work together to create positive social and cultural change. By bringing together young people and seniors to learn from each other and collaborate on new projects, Mondo Digitale is helping to build a more connected, inclusive, and innovative society.
A few decades apart did not prevent laughter, anecdotes and memories from coming out during the intergenerational meetings in Cenon between the high school students of La Morlette and the residents of Camille Pelletan.
Within the framework of the project "BESTIE, Befriending for social and digital inclusion" ([https://bestieproject.eu/]) and the end of year "masterpiece" of the AEPA class (animation for children and elderly people), about thirty high school students and elderly people exchanged during 3 meetings.
On 12 December 2022, the intergenerational group shared a snack and took part in games on the Cenon of yesterday and today. The young people had designed a hangman, a timeline, a quiz, drawings, a memory game and a customised "kahoot" for the occasion.
The participants left with a smile on their faces and a desire to return.
"I know how to use my phone, but I take opportunity of having young people to ask everything I don't know! You always have to learn!" On 31 March 2023, the two groups met again. The residents were able to ask them questions about their mobile phones, but also to ask for help in downloading an application, or to understand how another one works. Some residents, more expert than others, were able to show, not without pride, that they too were "connected". The young people took their role as "experts" very seriously and enjoyed accompanying these learners, a great way to promote the informal knowledge of the new generations.
This convivial moment allowed the residents to discover new functionalities in order to facilitate their daily life. It was also an opportunity to create a link between the "young generation" and the residents, well beyond technology, which is used here as a tool for creating social links. A real moment of humanity and exchange of skills.
organises urban walks to discover the little known or poorly known districts of Bordeaux and its surroundings, the young people created and led a connected urban walk in Cenon. During this walk, the students set up several workshops, such as an immersion in the street art culture, the narration of the legend of the golden doe of Cenon, a dance workshop, an online quiz on the city of Cenon and a sensory experience. The young people had also created QR codes at each stage to encourage the rest of the group to use their phones and GPS.
The activities were carried out with enthusiasm and professionalism, in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The young people were asked, during the preparation, to take into account the difficulties of walking and not to be in a performance mode. They also learnt the keys to making a good presentation, including being friendly and listening. This meaningful initiative offered participants a rich experience of discovery and sharing, thus promoting social inclusion and intergeneration. This project is a concrete and successful example of the implementation of policies aimed at fighting exclusion and promoting living together.
Congratulations to the teaching team, Isabelle Maisonobe, Anne Braun and Jean-Michel Martinez, to the students of the AEPA course and to the school management for the organisation!
Article by Lou Pohin, Walter Laguë- Salinas and Catherine Rolland Landy from LABA.
My name is Kathy, and I'm thrilled to take you on a journey into the world of intergenerational skills and personal growth. As a proud member of the BESTIE team at EUEI, I've come to realize the incredible importance of intergenerational skills, not only in society but also in my own life. Join me as I navigate the exciting challenges and delightful discoveries that come with bridging the gap between digital natives and traditional wisdom.
Finding My Footing in the Working World
As a fresh-faced 23-year-old, ready to conquer the professional realm after spending four exciting years in university, I quickly realised that my arsenal of digital skills was only the tip of the iceberg. Despite my tech-savviness, I lacked crucial know-how about professionalism and fitting into a working environment. It was time to embrace the enchanting world of intergenerational skills.
Lessons Beyond the Classroom
Leaving the comforting nest of my university years, I found myself facing new challenges that signalled my transition into adulthood. Suddenly, tasks that were seemingly mundane, such as cooking, operating a lawn mower, or even ironing, felt like bewildering mysteries. It became evident that my parents possessed a treasure trove of practical wisdom that I had overlooked.
Embracing the Perks of Professional Growth
Despite the occasional struggles of adulthood, I count my blessings as a member of the BESTIE team. This exciting opportunity grants me the freedom to embark on solo travel adventures, immerse myself in cutting-edge technologies, and engage with fascinating individuals from diverse backgrounds. Through these experiences, I've come to understand the true value of intergenerational skills.
A Trip to Remember: Bridging the Gap
Recently, I sent my dear parents off on a well-deserved trip. Little did I know that this would become a vivid illustration of the necessity of intergenerational skills. From booking flights and accommodations to deciphering train and bus schedules, I found myself tirelessly guiding them through every step of the journey. Their anxiety about navigating unfamiliar digital platforms and self-service accommodations opened my eyes to the hurdles they faced in this modern world.
The Power of BESTIE
Witnessing the challenges my parents encountered during their trip highlighted the importance of our work at BESTIE. Our mission is to empower not only older generations but also young individuals like me to gain vital skills and knowledge in both the digital and social spheres. Through initiatives that foster intergenerational exchange, we can bridge the gap and create a harmonious blend of traditional wisdom and contemporary expertise.
Embracing the Magic of Intergenerational Skills
As I conclude this blog post, I can't help but marvel at the transformative power of intergenerational skills. By recognizing the value of both digital prowess and traditional wisdom, we can create a world where generations work hand in hand, celebrating each other's unique strengths. So, let's embark on this enchanting journey together, bridging the generation gap and embracing the magic that lies within our diverse experiences and knowledge.
Remember, whether you're a digital native or a traditionalist, there's always something to learn from one another. Until next time, stay curious, keep exploring, and let the magic of intergenerational skills guide you on your own extraordinary path!
There are so many stories across the media, particularly during lockdown, that celebrate all the good work taking place, bringing our communities together. Lots of these stories focus on different age groups supporting one another. Intergenerational projects are positive and effective ways of continuing to strengthen community links. Focusing on bringing together members of the community from all different ages, from the oldest to the youngest and everyone in between, intergenerational projects are a core component of building community.
Research carried out by the United Nations shows that by the year 2050, the number of people over the age of 60 is projected to rise by 50% in developed countries and triple in developing countries, with global life expectancy increasing to 75 years. Added to this, families are becoming smaller with more young people postponing marriage, having fewer children and several generations of the same family no longer living in the same household. Safe to say, the world is changing.
The importance of creating intergenerational relationships is crucial, now more than ever, when we see segregation across many parts of our communities. The UN’s report, ‘Family Policy in a Changing World: Promoting Social Protection and Intergenerational Solidarity’ states that:
‘...meaningful relationships based on mutual understanding between intergenerational family members are indispensable for social integration and cohesion’.
Covid19 has accelerated the digitisation of every aspect of our lives. We’ve been forced into sudden digital usage in education and work, access to social networks, health services, cultural activities, banking and shopping. Our increasingly digital world has the potential to leave behind the most vulnerable of society. The inability to engage with digital media can accentuate disadvantage and exclusion for those with fewer opportunities. This is particularly evident among senior adults, migrants and refugees, even young people where a lack of digital skills is synonymous with social isolation and loss of autonomy. Rather than combating digital exclusion by more simply offering more digital opportunities, BESTIE will offer the most natural and socially beneficial method: community-based exchange in creating human interpersonal connections! The partner organisations will use the project to create the digital inclusion learning environments in their own organisations and develop digital and social skills of their own staff.
While some programmes have been developed to assist vulnerable community members to improve their digital skills, the pandemic has accelerated the speed of change and the need to help our at-risk groups is greater than ever before. To complicate issues, the social distancing rules and economic downturn caused by the pandemic now mean that when the need is greatest, many adult learning community centres are working with reduced staff and limited physical capacity.
Europe is ageing fast, and in the same vein, digitization is moving very quickly into citizens' routines. Our seniors are the largest group of citizens who are info-excluded. This reality is worrying because it will quickly make them socially excluded (Source: MEDCRAVE). BESTIE will benefit seniors with few opportunities to acquire the digital skills for better functioning in ever increasing digital world, as well as by developing social ties to the community, overcoming threats of loneliness and exclusion.
The pandemic has made displaced persons more vulnerable than ever with refugee and migrant communities suffering from the deterioration of their economic situation and lack of social connections in their new communities. The digital skillset of migrants & refugees is varied and greatly depends on their understanding of their new community’s language and access to learning pathways. Even when their digital competencies are high, digital exclusion of migrants and refugees still happens. Differences in the system in which their digital skills are now applied when combined with difficulties with the new language and a decrease in the accessibility to the digital world mean that they too experience digital exclusion. BESTIE will benefit migrants & refugees in two ways (i) by taking both roles of learners, they improve their digital competencies and social links, (ii) and mentors with advanced digital skills will. They will establish new befriending ties and links to the community, thus advancing their inclusion and integration processes and securing overall wellbeing.
Particularly vulnerable because of Covid19 impact, across the EU, 49% of young people have their working hours reduced, over 23% lost their jobs and 50% are at risk of depression. While vulnerable in many ways, young people often have developed digital competencies. In 2019, 4 in 5 young people (80%) aged 16-24 in the European Union (EU) had basic or above basic digital skills. This was 24% higher than the share of individuals aged 16-74 (56%). Young people will benefit by building their communication skills, leadership and mentorship skills, acquiring a reputation as educators and community support implementors, as well as build their networks and boost their confidence, which leads to better employment prospect in the future and better links to the community
The BESTIE - Befriending for Social and Digital Inclusion project will evoke cooperation within the community on an intergenerational basis, bringing together seniors, migrants and young people, with the help of adult educators, to overcome the digital and social exclusion of these groups, by allowing them to work together on bridging key skills gaps
The European E-learning Institute (EUEI) is committed to providing high-quality learning experiences and innovative educational programmes which engage learners from a range of sectors and socio-economic backgrounds. EUEI is committed to promoting social cohesion, inclusion, and sustainability across Europe, making them a perfect fit for the Befriending for Social and Digital Inclusion.
Our experienced team of trainers, researchers and technical experts are uniquely placed to guide educators from VET, HEI, Adult and Youth sectors to harness the opportunities that innovative and collaborative e-learning and digital tools offer for learners.
We specialise in the delivering of high quality, responsive and innovative projects to educators and learners in the topics of pedagogic approaches, entrepreneurial competences, digital skills, inclusion, and sustainability.
Meet our besties at EUEI working on the BESTIE project
Canice Hamill- Managing Director
Canice has worked in the field of lifelong education for over 20 years and is recognised as an expert in instructional design and the development of e-learning solutions for education and training. A former trainer and lecturer, Canice utilises a holistic approach to creating innovative, interactive learning environments and works closely with tutors, trainers, and development teams, emphasising the importance of empathy and user experience in every learning solution.
Our Logician -Innovative Inventors with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge
Catherine Neill- European Project Manager
An experienced EU project manager, Catherine is an integral member of our team. She is an effective communicator and has a strong background in areas of Inclusion. The oldest of 5 children Catherine quickly learned how to lead the pack, utilising organisational skills alongside her passion for helping others, she is committed to making the world a more accessible, sustainable, and friendly place.
Our Protagonist -Charismatic and inspiring leaders, able to mesmerise their listeners.
Aine Hamill- European Project Officer
Aine plays an important role in the learning design and subsequently in evaluating the effectiveness of our eLearning products on completion. Aine is always keen to engage with her creative side and implement the newest digital tools, pedagogies, and trends into our e-learning solutions. She is passionate about finding effective and relevant ways to engage learners from all walks of life.
Our Defender-dedicated and warm protectors, able to implement ideas and “create order from chaos”.
Including our key role in the initiation of the BESTIE project we will also work tirelessly alongside our project partners to deliver the highest quality project results as possible. Within the project EUEI will develop the project website and be responsible for the technical realisation of the materials.
Learn more about EUEI here:www.euei.dk