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“Digital” doesn’t have to mean “impersonal”


© Karsten Schwarz talks with Pepper (Projekt FORMAT-Continuum, Martin-Luther-Universitat Halle-Wittenberg, 2019)

The ‘Digital Red Cross’ is encouraging Red Cross employees in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, to learn and use digital tools and technologies, whilst ensuring that caring roles still have the human touch.

When it comes to digital transformation in the care sector, staff often worry that their jobs will be automated, that they will not be able to keep up with the technologies involved, or that care will lose its humanity and compassion.

That's why Germany's Red Cross (DRK), in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, has created a project called the Digital Red Cross, or #diRK. It is helping DRK staff to learn how digital technologies – from digital time recording, accounting and duty roster design, to computer-controlled care beds and care robots – can be used to make their jobs easier, improve services, and encourage more people into care roles, whilst ensuring that care continues to be personal and humane.

#diRK is part of the ESF funded rückenwind+ programme, which improves employability in the social sector. By involving employees in the process of digital transformation, it is hoped that #diRK will encourage learning and skill sharing, and reduce people's fears.

“I see us as interpreters,” Ines Oppermann, #diRK’s project manager, explains. “On the one hand, there are the many digital technology providers, and on the other hand, we have our care and support staff. Through the project we try to bring these groups together”.

#diRK’s goal is not only to build staff’s digital knowledge, but to form a nationwide network of skill sharing – and it is working well so far. More than 300 employees have already participated, and many more will be able to benefit from their colleagues' experience in the long term.

Project name #diRK – digitales Rotes Kreuz (digital Red Cross)
Duration 2018 - 2021
ESF contribution EUR 428.501,53 (55 %)
Total budget € 778,810.49
Participants 440 (active)
Country Germany
Organisation DRK Landesverband Sachsen-Anhalt e. V.
Social Media
Contact details Ines Oppermann
Related links 1.3. Giving a chance for all
1.3.2. Promoting social enterprise
1.3.4. Active inclusion