Mar 2022 2nd edition

Gogos go digital

Written by: Silusapho Nyanda

Tech-savvy gogos can now help their grandchildren do the research they need for school, thanks to the goGOGOgo non-profit organisation. Thanks to goGOGOgo, elderly women are being taught to use the internet, email and smartphones to make them more independent, empowered and self-reliant.

It teaches retired, elderly women how to use smart­phones and the internet to better their lives and con­nect to the rest of the world.

Dudu Machethe (70), a resident of Alexandra near Johannesburg, says 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.

“goGOGOgo also taught us 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,” says Machethe.

She adds that gogos who join the programme are 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, says they are supporting gogos 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 devel-

opment and income-generating projects aimed at uplifting and empowering gogos and their communi­ties,” Simmonds says.

She started goGOGOgo in 2014 after being asked to talk to gogos 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 gogos to learn more about a variety of topics.

Simmonds says two groups of gogos have been trained at the Itlhokome­leng Home for the Aged in Alexandra.

The course runs for eight weeks, with two, two-hour lessons a week.

She says they are wor­king on expanding the programme to other areas in Johannesburg, KwaZulu- Natal and Cape Town.

Gogos who want to join the Alexandra pro­gramme can visit the Itlhokomeleng Home for the Aged or go to za. Alternatively, send an email to jane@ or call 083 230 3655.

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