Like many European countries, Norway has an aging population. Today, 13% of the population is above the age of 67 and by 2020 it is estimated that will grow to 22%. In 2008, the Norwegian Government presented a widely welcomed parliamentary white paper “An Information Society For All” which addresses key priorities for the country and aims to ensure that all sectors of Norwegian society enjoy the benefits of technology and the internet.

Today in Norway, while overall internet usage is very high with nine out of ten Norwegians below the age of 55 using the internet on a daily basis, less than five out of ten people over the age of 68 are regular users.

Microsoft Norway has been partnering with NGOs to address the challenge of improving the general population’s IT skills for several years and there is an increased focus on how we bring those skills to people over the age of 55.

We have a long standing partnership with a Norwegian organization “Seniornett” who we support through funding, equipment and software. Seniornett is focused on increasing digital participation by people above the age of 55, through a national network of clubs offering training courses and meeting places for seniors who wish to learn how to use computer and the internet. Seniornett provided training to more than 18,000 seniors in 2009 and they aim to ensure that 250,000 seniors are active on the Internet by 2014.

We’re also working closely with the Norwegian Red Cross on projects such as the Women’s café which provides computer and internet training. In Oslo, many of our employees use the three volunteering days they have each year to support the Woman’s Café. Microsoft volunteers provide women attending the café with personal computer and internet training. The café is especially popular amongst immigrants. Over 40% of immigrants in Norway have little or no IT skills, and Microsoft employees do outstanding work providing them with these essential IT skills. We think it’s a great example of how our people can use their skills in a way that directly benefits their local community – and make some good friends while they do so!

Microsoft Norway General Manager Hege Skryseth guiding Karimi Mariam through the wonders of technology.

Both the Seniornett and Women’s Café initiatives are now also supported by the national government through their e-inclusion agenda. It’s a great example of our ongoing commitment to drive effective citizenship programs in partnership with the public, private and nonprofit sectors and of course our people.

Find out more about our citizenship activities in Norway on the Local Impact Map

 

Kjetil Brun Thorvik

Kjetil Brun Thorvik is the Citizenship lead for Microsoft Norway. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, he currently resides in Oslo, Norway. He has a business degree from Norwegian School of Management and over six years’ of experience as a corporate affairs consultant specializing in corporate citizenship and reputation management.