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Further support from Google for Croatia, Serbias, BiH and Kosovo

Croatian Institute for Youth Development & Innovation (IRIM) received the second financial support from Google for their project Digital Citizen 2.0.

The goal of the project Digital Citizen 2.0 is the further development of the digital skills in local communities in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. This project is the continuation of the previous project, also supported by Google, which took place in the last school year in the schools in the region. Over 170 schools received educational technology as a part of this project, including the Boson experimental starter kit for the micro:bit pocket-sized computer, as well as 3D printers. 

At the presentation, Joško Mrndže, manager of Google Adriatics, said that Google believes that the technology needs to find its way into the everyday life of the people. He added that they’re constantly inspired by the way people and children use technology in the search for knowledge, to research their passions, and to make their life easier using the technology which already is all around us. He complimented Nenad Bakić and his team in IRIM for the impressive results they were able to achieve with the limited funds they’ve received. 

Liza Belozerova, Economic Opportunity EMEA & Africa Lead, presented Google.org’s aim to promote those programs which use technology to tackle social challenges. The development of digital skills is one of the significant fields of interest for Google, and they’re proud to be able to support IRIM and their programs, which remove the barriers of learning digital skills. 

Nenad Bakić, IRIM founder and a well-known Croatian businessman and philanthropist, highlighted that the citizens showed a lot of interest in the new digital content, which was provided in their local libraries. That interest was not only by the younger generation; the older citizens that visit the libraries, as hubs of learning and culture, also wanted to see the new technologies.

During the project, IRIM organized 83 workshops, educating almost 400 librarians to work with the public on those new technologies. 1512 free workshops were held in the libraries all over Croatia, with over 13 thousand people participating. Two librarians and an advanced user of the technology provided through this project were also present at the promotion and spoke about their experiences. The new project, Digital Citizen 2.0 will further support the transformation of the public libraries into digital centers for innovation and digital skills development in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. That will be achieved through the development of new educational material, increasing the number of libraries included, as well as through the donations of new equipment. 

Croatian Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divjak and the US Ambassador to Croatia, Robert Kohorst, showed their support for the co-operation between Google and Institute for Youth Innovation by attending the event. 

Google attempts to assist the Croatian companies to take advantage of the potentials of the digital world, so in 2016 they started an online Digital Skills learning platform as a part of their program Grow with Google.

They partnered with the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Algebra, and Croatian Employers Association to further the initiative, and that lead to over 150 workshops being held all over Croatia, with more than 15,000 people learning new skills through Grow with Google program. Find out more at https://digitalnagaraza.withgoogle.com/.