Health Sciences

(PhD, Central University of Nicaragua) [2021]

Title of the thesis

Digital Inclusion as a key for the individual’s wellbeing

Inclusion digital como una clave para el bienestar del individuo


This research aims to analysis the current status of Digital Inclusion in Europe, as a way to individual and collective wellbeing. Digital Inclusion is a means for social inclusion and there are uncountable marginalised groups without proper access to devices, resources, knowledge or digital competences (namely, elder, unemployed, youngsters, disabled and migrants). The research carries out an exhaustive desk and field research to build and Catalogue of Good Practices that facilitates and encourages social inclusion and people’s wellbeing through Digital Inclusion. Those existing Good Practices that take place in various places better integrate socially vulnerable/disadvantaged groups in the digital society across the 28 EU Member States. The research aims to give stakeholders, policy makers and general citizens an in-depth study to promote digital and social cohesion and integration. This in turn helps to identify areas where no initiatives exist to tackle digital exclusion and where socially vulnerable people are therefore more at risk of even dual exclusion. It supports different stakeholders to become aware of what already has been developed and implemented and to use the experience of the existing tools at local, national, and European levels as well as helping stakeholders to put more effort in areas that are clearly identified as gaps.

The research presents the foundations and methodology adopted in order to deliver these objectives. It also presents the design of tools and protocols to implement the methodology, the results, the findings, and the recommendations for adoption. The research concludes with a look at the policy context for the sustainability of the project going forward, aimed at stimulating discussion on how to ensure that ‘no-one is left behind’ in our increasingly pervasive digital world. Further, the research is focused on social exclusion and how it stresses a number of health indicators and layers, from sickness to wellness, such as mental health and functional diversity. It helps identify areas where no initiatives exist to tackle digital exclusion and where vulnerable people are therefore more at risk of exclusion and off a wellness zone. This research recognizes that the methodology, Catalogue and the other outputs and resources, will have limited value unless they evolve over time, as the needs of users change; provide credible, evidence-based practical solutions to solve real problems in different contexts; incorporate the experiences and learning of stakeholders in the field and support the exchange of these experiences and learning. This research’s approach therefore delivers a multi-methodological, holistic design that aims to lay the foundations for developing and sustaining a ‘knowledge ecosystem’ to support Digital Inclusion. This approach incorporates eight inter-connected components: i) the Catalogue of Good Practices at the heart of the research; ii) a taxonomy that builds the correct relations and categorisation of those practices; iii) research activities – using a ‘scientific realist review’ methodology to identify, collect and analyse further Good Practices iv) a network and Knowledge Community that allows stakeholders in the field of Digital Inclusion to access the Good Practice cases in the Catalogue; apply them in their practice; share experiences and create new ways of applying the practices; v) evaluation and replication actions that, firstly, develop and apply a methodology to assess the evidence effectiveness and replication potential of the Good Practice cases and, secondly, provide support for stakeholders to evaluate and scale up and out their practices more effectively; vi) an exampled framework of digital competences for a marginalised group (e.g. Youth) to be used as a base towards the full development of integration structures, resources and learning materials to fight the digital exclusion and improve the individual’s wellbeing through the proper relation with the digital world; vii) a set of recommendations for policy makers and facilitators about what to do from a practical perspective; and viii) a vision of the next steps to take to further improve both, the research outputs and the individual’s health through Digital Inclusion.


Universidad Central de Nicaragua

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