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Tech-savvy gogos tackle Covid-19 conspiracy theorists

Plan to roll out internet training to other areas

Thanks to goGOGOgo, elderly women are being taught to use the internet.
Thanks to goGOGOgo, elderly women are being taught to use the internet.
Image: Supplied

Tech-savvy gogos can now help their grandchildren do the research they need for school, thanks to the goGOGOgo non-profit organisation.

The organisation teaches elderly women to use the internet, email and smartphones to make them more independent, empowered and self-reliant.

Dudu Machethe, 70, a resident of Alexandra near Johannesburg, said she is now able to help her grand­children with schoolwork, communicate with friends and relatives in KwaZulu-Natal, pay her DStv subscription and do her banking from the comfort of her home.

“What goGOGOgo has also taught us is how to use the internet to verify information about the Coronavirus disease. When people say the vaccine is a conspiracy, I can now google the correct statement and show it to them,” said Machethe.

She said the elderly are now able to keep confidential letters private because they are taught how to use email and no longer have to ask other people to send letters on their behalf.

The founder of the goGO­GOgo, Jane Simmonds, said it supports the elderly to be agents of change, empowering them to pro­mote meaningful, positive health outcomes for them­selves, the children in their care and their communities.

“Our activities include workshops, skills development and income-generating projects aimed at uplifting and empowering the elderly and their communities,” Simmonds said.

She started goGOGOgo in 2014 after being asked to talk to the elderly in Alexandra about HIV and Aids.

After the session, she was approached by a gogo who was looking for ways to talk about sex with her grandchildren. Simmonds realised how being taught basic tech skills would empower the elderly to learn more about a variety of topics.

Simmonds said two groups of the elderly have been trained at Itlhokome­leng Home for the Aged in Alexandra. The course runs for eight weeks with two-hour lessons twice a week. She said it is wor­king on expanding the programme to other areas in Johannesburg, KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Town.

The elderly who want to join the Alexandra pro­gramme can visit the Itlhokomeleng Home for the Aged or go to www.go-gogo-go.org.za. Alternatively, they can email jane@ go-gogo-go.org.za or call 083-230-3655.

This article first appeared on GCIS's Vukuzenzele

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