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The Digital Skills Week of 2023 saw the first-ever Digitukiteko recognition award being awarded to the Remote support service for the deaf-blind people, a Finnish Deafblind Association, for their innovative use of technology to empower and support the deaf-blind community. The award was presented by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, along with a panel of experts who reviewed 31 proposals.

The expert panel was impressed with the Remote support service for the deaf-blind people's approach to tackling the challenges of serving the deaf-blind community, who rely on computers as their primary means of communication and information. The service provider had to develop a deep understanding of the target audience's needs and experiment with various solutions to provide effective support.

The honourable mentions were awarded to two other innovative projects. The Ikääntyvien laitelainaamo (aids to borrow for the elderly) of the Vanhusten Turva foundation was recognized for allowing senior citizens to borrow tablets with a SIM card free of charge and inspiring them to explore digital technology. The Verkko haltuun project of Oulun Kehitysvammaisten Tuki ry was awarded for its inclusive digital activities that support persons with intellectual disabilities and their close networks.

Minna Piirainen, Chief Specialist in digital support at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, said that the number and diversity of the proposals were a pleasant surprise for the electoral panel of the Digitukiteko recognition award. The submissions highlighted the need for digital support, supply, and digital society in an interesting and topical manner. This year's Digital Skills Week's main theme was digital courage, which was strongly highlighted in the proposals related to the provision of digital support.

The Digitukiteko recognition award will be presented annually to individuals, working groups, organizations, or projects that have developed digital support and digital competence in an insightful and customer-oriented manner. The panel of experts that elected the winner included representatives from VTKL – The Finnish Association for the Welfare of Older Adults, Moniheli ry, Tieke ry, the Confederation of Finnish Industries, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and Kehitysvammatuki 57 ry.

The award is an excellent initiative to encourage the development of innovative and customer-oriented digital support systems that can cater to the needs of different communities. By recognizing and rewarding such initiatives, we can create a digital society that is inclusive and accessible to all.

HT

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