Age Action: Tender Request – Digital Literacy, Older Men in Ireland
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Tender Request – Digital Literacy, Older Men in Ireland
1.1 Age Action
Age Action is Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation for older people. Age Action works to ensure that older people’s voices are heard at the highest level of Government and that the lived experience of older people informs policy responses to their needs. Age Action supports and advocates for equality for all older people, underpinned by Human Rights. Equality requires recognition of the diversity of identity and situation among older people and measures to address accumulated disadvantage. In addressing ageing, our work includes a concern to influence perspectives on and responses to ageing. This pursuit of equality and human rights is underpinned by our work to promote ageing in place, life‐long learning, and health and wellbeing for older people, empowering them to live as active citizens.
1.2 Our Values
Our work is driven by an organisation that lives out its values of dignity, participation, diversity, social justice, and professionalism. Please familiarise yourself with the attached Values Statement.
Digital literacy levels for older people in Ireland are far below other European countries. As of this year (2021), a quarter of 55-74 year olds have never been on the internet, and of those that have, 43% have below basic skill levels. Of the over 75s, half have never been on the internet.1 During COVID-19, this has contributed to increased isolation of older people, who have been asked to self-isolate and abide by other restrictions that keep them from seeing families, friends, loved ones and participating in their usual activities. As such, improving digital literacy has become a crucial component of improving and maintaining mental health for older people, providing them with opportunities and skills to stay connected throughout the pandemic and beyond.
1 Eurostat (2019) Digital skills: Individuals’ level of digital skills. [isoc_sk_dskl_i] Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/digital-economy-and-society/data/data…
Some older men may have experienced vulnerability during COVID-19, as they tend to experience higher levels of isolation than women. Data from the Men’s Sheds organization suggests that men who are at increased risk of loneliness are those with pre-existing mental and physical health conditions that limit their mobility or may cause anxiety and those who are unemployed or retired. According to the Men’s Sheds Sheds for Life Impact Report those who were identified as “lonely” represented 1.4% of their participants pre-COVID but increased to 29.7% during COVID.2
Since March 2020 we have seen the impact of digital exclusion on older people, with many services and supports moving to online platforms. Age Action advocates that no one becomes excluded from services which increasingly are moving to online provision. We also advocate that people have a right to not be online and should not be excluded from services as a result of this choice. (See attached Age Action’s Digital Inclusion and an Ageing Population (2021)).
Age Action is one of the leading providers of training to older people who wish to develop their digital literacy skills. Age Action’s one-to-one learner programme, Getting Started, has trained over 43,000 people in digital literacy since 2011.
2 McGrath, A., Murphy, N., Richardson, N., 2021, Sheds for Life Impact Report: The Impact of Implementation Phase One on the Health and Wellbeing Outcomes of Participants. Can be found on: https://menssheds.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/SFL-impact-report.pdf
Need for Research - Digital Literacy Men’s E-Networks (DL MEN)
Age Action proposes to further enhance and tailor its digital literacy training programme to reflect the needs and strengths of older men in rural Ireland. The working title of this initiative is Digital Literacy Men’s E-Networks (DL MEN). The aim of the initiative is to create a tailored digital literacy programme, DL MEN, for older men, which will be deployed through our existing networks. We aim to grow the programme over time to reach more isolated cohorts of older men. This research project will support Age Action to survey our target demographic to learn more about the specific needs and desires they have related to digital literacy. The research will provide the basis for a tailored digital literacy programme in Ireland.
1.4 Aim of the Research
The aim of the research is to provide an evidence-base to inform the development of a digital educational support, bringing older men living in rural Ireland together. It is expected that the successful applicant will conduct desktop research and three focus groups. Age Action will support the researcher to source the focus group participants but the successful applicant will design, facilitate, record and analyse same ensuring adequate GDPR measures are documented.
Specific outcomes from the research will be:
Research report, comprising:
- A breakdown of demographic data of the target group in Ireland (single men, over 65, living alone or as a carer), including but not limited to age, employment status, marital status and education.
- An assessment of the issues facing older men, specifically in relation loneliness and its intersectionality with digital literacy.
- An assessment of the target group’s digital literacy rates, needs, preferences and barriers.
- A stakeholder mapping of organisations and community groups working with the target group (where applicable).
- A review of relevant existing qualitative measurement tools assessing impact on loneliness.
- A measurement tool assessing levels of loneliness.
1.5 Scope of research
Research will be carried out to examine the issues facing older men in rural Ireland, providing the basis for a tailored digital literacy programme. This research will include but will not be limited to:
- A mapping exercise to understand the demographic of the target group, with reference to number of men in the age group (over 65), living alone or as a carer, based in rural areas. For the purposes of this research ‘rural’ will be defined in accordance with the Census 2016 definition as ‘having an area type with the population less than 1,500 persons’3. The mapping exercise will build up a picture of a cohort of men who might be socially vulnerable.
- A review of relevant existing qualitative measurement tools assessing levels of loneliness.
- Assessment of issues affecting levels of loneliness in the target group, and their potential correlation to digital literacy.
- A needs assessment of the target group in relation to digital skills and preferences.
The researcher should include the views of men in the target group through focus groups. The researcher should conduct a stakeholder mapping of relevant organisations supporting the target group with the view to inviting their participation in the research. Stakeholder mapping will include a review of what supports and measures are currently in place to combat unchosen isolation of older men in Ireland.
The research will consider the principles of equality of outcome, the needs of diverse populations, and the varying willingness to engage with digital technologies of older men. The research will be carried out in line with Age Action’s values of dignity, participation, diversity, professionalism and social justice.
Undertake research with target group using desktop research, surveys, and focus groups. Provide context of services available through a stakeholder mapping. The output report will inform the development of a digital educational support with the objective of bringing people together. The researcher will ensure all research is conducted in line with GDPR requirements.
2.1 Tender requirements
We ask applicants to include the following in their tender proposals:
- A demonstrated understanding and experience in the research area, and, awareness of the requirements of the project. (30%)
- A workplan identifying approaches and mythologies used in carrying out the research, within the specified timeframe and with reference to associated milestone reports. (20%)
- A breakdown of costs, inclusive of VAT and demonstrating value for money (30%)
- An outline of skills, qualifications, alignment to Age Action values, and experience in the area, with details of two references that may be contacted prior to awarding the contract. (20%)
2.2 Evaluation Methodology
Proposals will be evaluated on the principle of value for money. We will apply a quality/cost ratio of 70%/30%.
The total budget available for this research is €10,000, inclusive of VAT.
The indicative timetable for the expression of interest process is as follows:
- Deadline for clarifications Thursday 25th November 2021, 2pm
- Issue response to clarifications Friday 26th November 2021, 10am
- Deadline for submission of proposal Wednesday 1st December 2021, 5pm
- Potential Interview (virtual) Monday 6th December 2021
- Notification of result Wednesday 8th December 2021
- Contract award Thursday 9th December 2021
- Research (report and assessment tool) submission Wednesday 9th March 2022
All tender proposals can be submitted to Vicky Harris, firstname.lastname@example.org, by 5pm on Wednesday 1st December 2021.