I was going through upcoming conference agendas, curious about what tech, hybrid, innovation-related sessions there might be.
If you're curious too, I've compiled a list with descriptions and presenters from the Metropolis and AAISA conferences, and P2P's post-conference webinar series on this Google Doc. You should be able to access it without logging into a Google account, and add comments or suggestions for sessions (or conferences/events) I may have missed.
There are 30 at Metropolis, 7 at AAISA's conference, and 6 P2P webinars. There are some really interesting projects and research out there. Lists like these really highlight the incredible innovation and creativity happening in the sector. That's something that isn't acknowledged nearly as much as it should be.
And I'm just talking about tech innovation here.
There is so much innovation in the sector. If you haven't read it yet, we captured that reality in the Settlement 2.0 Project: Innovation is in our DNA (2020) report and in this interview with Laura Mannix focusing on innovation in the sector.
But I digress...
The AAISA and P2P sessions are virtual, so hopefully there will eventually be recordings I can share with you. But the 30 sessions at the Metropolis conference are more challenging. It will be up to those folks to share their resources and project information. I'm hoping to reach out to many of the folks presenting to invite them to join my little Leveraging technology in the Immigrant & Refugee-serving Sector networking group so we can continue to expand our learning and sharing community. If you know or are connected to some of the folks listed in the sessions, please reach out to them and invite them to the list/group!
Here's the list of sessions and presenters, copied from the Google Doc (current as of Feb 5th. Visit the Google Doc for any updates or additions (there have been some).
Online Pre-Arrival Employment Preparation for Refugees – Preparation & Adaptability
The E-Start Pre-Arrival Online Employment Program for Refugees provides a series of online occupation specific learning modules, built on an online hub, supported by videos, apps and first language support from online support workers. The learning modules provide knowledge and skills to participate in the Canadian labour market. Labour market integration remains a priority for many refugees, and this presentation will share the interventions and adaptations that the E-Start Program implemented through client feedback and focus groups, including the use of case management approach needs assessments, social media and technology, to support refugee entry into the labour market.
Stronger Together: Supporting the Alignment of Pre- and Post-Arrival Services for Newcomers
Too often, the immigration journey and local system navigation are overwhelming for newcomers. As settlement service providers, we frequently discuss methods of collaboration in supporting immigrants and technology plays a significant role in helping us do that, especially during the pandemic. However, what does it really mean to collaborate and create a seamless user experience for newcomers? This workshop presents how pre- and post-arrival settlement organizations work together and adopt a human-centric design on technology to ensure that newcomers are at the center of our services, supporting their journey before and after arriving in Canada.
Do-It-Yourself Settlement: When newcomers don’t access IRCC-funded services, where do they go for help?
There is a persistent & worrying black box around what happens to newcomers that do not access IRCC-funded settlement services. The Settlement Outcomes Report (2021) revealed that only 23% of eligible permanent residents are accessing IRCC settlement services via a Needs and Assets Referral Service (NAARS) within their first year, and the report notes their second-highest challenge is to understand the newcomers who aren’t accessing IRCC services and why not. This research seeks to contextualize the experiences, needs and profiles of the 77% of eligible permanent residents who do not access settlement services & evaluates why they don’t seek IRCC assistance, where they received information & support instead, and how they could have been reached.
“Welcome to Canada”
Multiple research reports have identified competition as a barrier to collaboration and innovation in the sector. Since 2019, PeaceGeeks has collaborated with SPOs local governments, newcomers and umbrella organizations in the design, develop and source content for the Arrival Advisor mobile application. In 2023, the app will launch nationally, relying on content collaborations with organizations coast-to-coast, and rebrand as Welcome to Canada. PeaceGeeks, and partners across the country will discuss the framework, opportunities and challenges of multi-organization partnerships, and how technology can
facilitate collaborations which challenge the status quo, to benefit newcomer agency in their settlement journeys.
‘Should we have an app for that?’ How can NGOs engage technology companies to deliver effective digital solutions for newcomers, as told by a tech-sector product manager.
The last few years have shown that technology has the powerful ability to transcend geographical distance, deliver impact at scale, and access vulnerable populations. As the settlement sector undergoes a digital transformation, success may rely on updating industry-standard project management & contract procurement practices to empower organizations & vendors to build technology products like technology companies. This session evaluates how technology companies operate now to deliver a software product
& offers process insights from: PeaceGeeks’ work building a scalable national app for newcomers, the work of the National Steering Committee on Technology and the presenter’s experience working in “big tech” to enable settlement sector organisations
Leveraging AI to aid Asylum Seekers and Legal Clinics
The asylum-seeking process requires legal representation with most provinces, not including legal-aid mandates for asylum cases for lawyers. The costs associated with this process are often too hefty for asylum seekers. Therefore we created an intuitive multilingual chatbot that alleviates administrative and costly procedures for legal aid clinics. Luna AI is a chatbot that will converse with clients in their language of choice and extract the required information needed back into English or French to complete all the documentation necessary for a legal clinic to submit an application. Luna AI, in turn, saves costs for legal clinics related to translation, interpretation, and administrative tasks associated with asylum applications.
Rethinking digital tools for resettlement from a client focus perspective
Current CRM and service allocation tools are often outsourced to companies such as Salesforce or Hubspot. Tools traditionally used for businesses looking to increase sales and customer relations, not for newcomer-based non-profits looking to track and enhance the lives of their clients. We cared a tool called AlloCanada to improve the lives of both service providers and newcomers with a unique mapping process, that allows both the client and the resettlement worker to leverage all the available resources in their area to complete resettlement tasks that are associated with the clients legal status in Canada.
Data Paralysis to Data Sovereignty - Tech Tools Developed by the Frontline for the Frontline
Nonprofits are set up to fail. We ask people to retell the worst moments of their lives again and again, punt them from provider to provider, and measure deficiencies not success. Their well-being, their goals, and respect for their data isn’t part of how we’ve set up the sector to work. 1- How can the sector develop tools to disrupt systemic inequity? 2- How can digital tools help social service agencies focus less on reporting to funders and more on helping clients achieve their goals? This workshop will highlight sector developed solutions to refugee sponsorship and client intake that highlight intuitive design, support communication, and facilitate relationship building.
Leveraging new technology to streamline services in the settlement sector
This workshop will present new initiatives from postsecondary institutions that are shifting the discourse around how we use technology to better serve newcomers. It will highlight research and projects that have leveraged technologies in the settlement sector to streamline services for newcomers and allow service practitioners to provide individualized support that best suits their goals and needs. This includes findings from the piloting of an interactive assessment tool for newcomers, new technologies in providing blended learning and adopting new technology to gather information, automate and build analytical infrastructure. OER resources will be shared with the participants for their use.
Challenges With Using Your Existing Data to Get Meaningful Outcomes - From 1,000
Spreadsheets to 1 Report
While Canada’s population becomes increasingly more diverse, there is a significant gap in knowledge about newcomer populations and how they interact with other systems and services. Settlement or-ganizations are in the best position to inform, and advocate for, leveraging the power of existing data with regard to migration and identities. Challenges such as little to no investment, poor data quality, and funder mandated reporting make it almost impossible to get meaningful information about your operations and who you are serving. This workshop will speak to the current landscape, and what is required for change, and our ongoing journey to get from 1,000 spreadsheets to one report.
A coordinated approach in streamlining pre-arrival client’s access to services, and how a shared client information database aids to inform program service delivery and collaboration within the sector
The Client Registration and Referral Portal (CRRP) project is focused on leveraging technology to strategically enhance program designs in order to improve service delivery and access to services within the pre-arrival sector. The portal aims to facilitate the registration process for both clients and service providers by ensuring clients access services that best meet their needs, and removing duplications in the intake process. Through an evaluation of a centralized portal and data collection the project’s evidence-based outcomes help inform future settlement programing and promote collaboration within the sector.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Addressing Digital Competence in Canadian Older adults.
The digital divide-lack of access to benefits of technology-impacts quality of life in older age. Digital technologies enhance social connectivity, opportunities for continuous learning, and access to information. We share the results of a pilot study to explore digital competence of Urdu and Arabic-speaking immigrant older adults. A total of 18 digital learning sessions were implemented at two sites in Edmonton, Alberta in 2022. The scope of technology use and learning needs varied based on literacy levels and English language proficiency. We explore implications of the digital divide and the need to attend to digital competence in immigrant older adults.
25 Years of Digital Transformation in the Settlement Sector: Past, Present and Possible Futures
Join us for a moderated discussion on where we’ve been and where we’re going when it comes to digital transformation in the settlement sector. We’ll highlight emerging and promising digital practices in service provision. You will hear from a variety of practitioners from Canada and abroad on what the settlement sector can do to address digital inequality, and what the future of technology in settlement can look like. Audience participation is strongly encouraged! This session is being organized by ACS-Metropolis, with the support of the WES Mariam Assefa Fund
Reaching Newcomers and Reaching Your Goals: How to Use Market Research Data as a Settlement Agency
Whether it’s becoming more tactical in your outreach, creating a more targeted approach to support mechanisms or building data driven decision making into your proposals, leveraging market research can help settlement agencies to refine their approach and become more directed in their work. This panel will highlight the collaboration between the settlement agency Refugee 613 and the Media Technology Monitor (MTM) on their latest research product MTM Newcomers - a unique annual study which looks at the media consumption and technology adoption habits of people who have arrived in Canada in the past 5 years.
Lean in Employers: Levelling up Labour Market Integration
Canadian society is shaped by immigration, but immigrants suffer disproportionately during times of economic uncertainty. As such, ensuring that immigrants can find work befitting their experience is crucial for both their well-being and the country’s success, especially during economic hardship. Our workshop will focus on uncovering the role employers play in improving labour market integration of newcomers in uncertain economic times. We will leverage direct involvement of leading employers, including SMEs, to uncover the causal linkages necessary to improve labour market integration and analyze potential digital tools and solutions (e.g., social media and enterprise platforms) to facilitate improved outcomes.
The WESO toolkit: Hands-on training to Improve Service Quality of Hybrid Settlement Services
How do you know that your hybrid service delivery is effective? What did you get right? What didn’t you get right? The WESO toolkit is the answer for that. Join our session for hands-on training with resources, tools, and templates you can use right now to evaluate and improve the quality and effectiveness of your online and hybrid service delivery. WESO is an SDI project that aims to provide research-based recommendations for settlement organizations - in the form of a toolkit- that will help you measure and improve the quality of hybrid services delivery.
Hybrid and remote education for adult literacy learners: Benefits and challenges of the digital transformation in literacy classrooms
For adult literacy learners (ALL) the digital transformation—especially the shift to remote or hybrid learning—poses a particular set of challenges. On the one hand, exposure to remote learning and digital literacy training is a growing imperative in a digital age. On the other, hybrid and remote learning encourages pedagogy at odds with established best practices for adult literacy instruction, which emphasize personal connections, strong routines, and hands-on learning. Panelists will present on different aspects of our three-year, IRCC-funded project to explore best practices and unique challenges of hybrid teaching in the adult literacy classroom.
Supporting Settlement and International Students Through Digital Technologies
COSTI, in partnership with Toronto Metropolitan University and Peace Geek, would like to submit an application on how enhanced service delivery and gaps in settlement services can be addressed for International Students through digital platforms which cater to different learning styles of these students wherever they are. The proposed model is a hybrid one, with a “people first" approach to access information prior to arrival as well as from within Canada
Examining the Elements of the Newcomer Knowledge Hub: Student Engagement, Talent Development, and Data Privacy
The Newcomer Knowledge Hub (K-Hub) is a collaboration between Immigrant Services Calgary and the University of Calgary, for creating and using new knowledge to improve services for, and experiences of, newcomers through research and policy recommendations. K-Hub aims to generate evidence-based feedback loops for stakeholders by leveraging aggregated and anonymized newcomers’ settlement-related data. In doing so, K-Hub engages students and postdocs, ultimately contributing towards developing the next generation of practitioners and researchers that will fuel Canada’s knowledge-based economy. This workshop features K-Hub's experience with student engagement, talent
development and data privacy whilst navigating through the challenges of data.
Disaggregated data collection of diverse population groups: policy needs and best
The increasing need to collect, disaggregate and analyze identity and population data to
inform decisions related to immigration, integration and settlement, has triggered the implementation of (ever green) disaggregated data frameworks that require clear ethical and methodological perspectives and constant updates and adaptations to reflect current conceptual and practical discussions on inclusive terms and engagement with the diverse populations, clients and/or equity-seeking groups impacted by those decisions. This workshop explores some of the main challenges and lessons learned while implementing such data frameworks. The workshop will consist of a short overview and open discussion.
Analytical possibilities of the integrated IRCC settlement services data recently made available at Research Data Centres
Statistics Canada and IRCC conducted the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) Settlement Services Module Pilot whereby selected researcher teams were provided access to data for the first time at Research Data Centres (RDCs) to test the quality and analytical potential of new datasets. The IMDB Settlement Services Module includes data from IRCC’s Immigration Contribution Agreement Reporting Environment (iCARE) and covers the different settlement services received by 1.5 million newcomers since 2013. This session will provide an opportunity to hear about initial reports of data access and feature insights about the analytical potential of the Module which is now open for all researchers at more than 30 RDCs across Canada.
Exploring the Role of Digital Technologies in Professional Immigrants’ Settlement and Integration
This workshop will explore the role digital technologies play in professional immigrants’ settlement and the social and economic integration process in Canada. Our mixed-methods research focused on identifying unmet needs and settlement service experiences in the context of professional immigrants re-establishing their careers and professional identity in Canada. We will propose a new resource that implements features informed by the primary data collected, and findings extrapolated from the existing literature. This new resource will be tested and piloted beginning in spring, 2023.
Digital House on the Prairie
Digital program provision has long been considered a cure-all for gaps in settlement service delivery in small towns and rural areas. But it is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and rural areas face unique challenges when it comes to offering settlement services online. This panel presentation will analyze the digital engagement strategies of 10 SPOs in Saskatchewan communities of between 3,000 and 37,000 residents, both anglophone and francophone. In examining the lived experiences of settlement workers, this session will highlight both the benefits and shortcomings of digital service delivery in rural areas.
Virtual Remote Employment and Career Help (REACH) for Newcomers in Regional British Columbia: Emerging findings and promising practices in digital transformation
Rural and remote communities in Canada report challenges retaining newcomers, in part due to limited options for employment and employment services. Delivered in four regions of British Columbia, the Virtual REACH project pilots a virtual, remote-delivery pre-employment training, including career planning and skills enhancement tailored to local labour markets. Using an interrupted time-series design, the pilot evaluates the incremental impact of the remote-delivery training program on social-emotional skills, community connection, and employment outcomes. In this session, Douglas College will share lessons learned from implementation and SRDC will present the research activities and preliminary results.
Digital Champions Training: Holistic Support for Newcomers
Join us for an interactive training session with facilitators from the Mhor Collective, Scottish
pioneers in the development, delivery and management of cohesive and sustainable digital skills training and support programs. Participants will learn how to provide peer to peer support to newcomer clients in developing their core digital skills through the Digital Champions model. Facilitators will help participants understand how to engage a new learner who has limited or no digital skills/confidence and create a structured approach for delivering digital skills support. This session is being organized by ACS-Metropolis and is supported by the WES Mariam Assefa Fund.
Enabling Empowerment for Marginalized and Racialized Women: Skills Training and
COSTI has created a women’s fund pillar to incubate and accelerate innovative initiatives for women. This fund has enabled programs in digital literacy and coding for women. Over the years, the digital literacy and coding program has become one of the most popular and sought-after programs, exceeding program enrollments and with regular wait lists. The program caters to marginalized and racialized women, using wraparound services and an anti-racist lens to enable success for the most marginalized women. This session will discuss best practices and learnings to support digital skills training and employment for
marginalized women, using an inclusive, anti-racism and trauma-informed lens.
Province Wide Service Delivery in an Increasingly Digital World: Successes and Challenges
Ever-increasing use of online platforms has addressed service gaps for newcomers living in communities across BC. Organizations can deliver services remotely to complement existing local programs thereby offering a more robust settlement and integration experience for newcomers living outside urban centres. Successful distance delivery requires collaboration with partners to ensure the community and clients’ needs are understood and met, and that adequate community support for recruitment and referral is in place. This session is presented by three organizations delivering across BC who will share strategies for delivery, approaches to resolve challenges, adjustments to ensure success, and the outcomes achieved.
A NEW Framework to Assign Digital Skills Levels!
Teaching about the pain-filled history of the indigenous peoples of Canada can be difficult. LINC teachers grapple with how to tell the truth appropriately and respectfully without glossing over atrocities and yet not leaving newcomers traumatized. They also need to blend content with real world task goals and portfolio-based language assessment. This session introduces IRCC-funded reconciliation awareness LINC lessons for Literacy-CLB 8 that center on the Welcome to Our Homelands video and study guide by indigenous artists. Participants learn about the content, activities and PBLA tasks covered, and engage in
one of the key learning activities from the lessons.
Ethics for Newcomer Research? How to value community-based knowledge through a Newcomer Research Library
A series of interviews identified challenges for SPOs to access the research they need to make evidence-based decisions, while academics struggle to mobilize research into community in a timely and meaningful way. The Newcomer Research Library was designed to bridge this gap between research and practice, and to make community-level research (eg. program evaluations) accessible. It is a repository of key findings related to all categories of newcomers in a specific region. It also highlights the quantity and nature of research taking place on and with newcomers. This workshop includes a demonstration of the Library and how to get involved.
From Knowledge to Action: Understanding Newcomer Digital Spaces During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Many newcomers rely on digital messaging groups on platforms such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook for their information needs, and settlement providers are increasingly experimenting with using these groups to reach clients. Yet these spaces are also frequently vectors for the spread of misinformation. This workshop shares current research, lived experience, and learning from community engagement to shed light on newcomer information-sharing experiences on digital platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic. It proposes evidence-based strategies for effectively reaching newcomers online
with trusted resources to support positive settlement, building capacity for promoting information equity and digital literacy, and reducing misinformation.
Streamlining Onboarding for Blended/Online LINC Classes
This presentation features approaches and tips for onboarding LINC learners for both face to face and online modalities. Presenters will also explore training and resources to empower staff and prepare them with key information needed to be successful throughout the term. This is an opportunity to connect and share approaches to onboarding. Participants are invited to take part in the discussion and share best practices from their own institution.
Guiding questions: - How are new/current LINC students onboarded to classroom technology? - How are new/current instructors supported?
Blended Innovations for Post-Pandemic Learning in a Digital World
From the experiences of creating innovative program delivery models for LINC to meet diverse learner needs, this workshop will share experiences and insights on the researching, planning and delivery experiences for post-pandemic learning within the MOSAIC Language program team. A collaborative planning process that engaged a range of stakeholders including clients, instructors, classroom assistants, front-line staff, coordinators and managers was used to design a variety of program options to meet complex learner needs across the CLB levels. This presentation encourages consideration of what different adult learners need to be successful within the LINC program, and how collaborative planning can support ..
Online Teaching: An Innovative Pedagogy in Literacy and Skills Development for Newcomers
The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed how we live, work, and educate. Since April 2020, Action for Healthy Communities, a charity in Edmonton, started shifting our Adult Literacy and Skills Development program from face-to-face classes to virtual classes to cope with the pandemic. Having practiced this new pedagogy for over two years, the
program is growing fast, increasing the courses from 10 in 2020 to 22 in 2022. Meanwhile, the program's content has increased from language and digital learning to more diverse projects such as financial, legal, health, and artificial intelligence literacy.
Empowering Newcomers to Succeed: Streamlining Services Through Digital Assessments
This presentation will highlight a series of tools developed by NorQuest college that provide newcomers with a better understanding of the service delivery modality that is best suited for them based on their needs, goals and circumstances. It will also present a series of online digital assessment tools that were developed for settlement service practitioners to measure their digital literacy skills. A summary of the tools presented include: - An online self
assessment for newcomers that help them determine which service delivery modality is best suited for them based on their needs and goals. - A five part digital assessment …
Diversifying and Expanding your Organization's Digital Outreach Strategies
In this session, presenters from Catholic Social Services (CSS) will draw on their own experiences expanding the digital outreach work of CSS’ Immigration and Settlement Service. Triumphs and successes achieved through digital outreach initiatives will be shared in relation to the service’s numerous programs, including the Language Assessment, Referral, and Counselling Centre (LARCC). Key insights will be discussed regarding how organizations of all sizes can increase and diversify their digital outreach work, while ensuring the work is effective and impactful. The presentation will identify the purpose and target audience of various platforms including social media, e-newsletters, website, radio, news articles, ..
Capacity Building through the COVID-19 Lens: Best practices in Virtual Service Delivery Transformed for the Post-Pandemic World
Funded by the Government of Alberta, AAISA hosted six focus groups, with 157 participants, representing over 20 agencies across Alberta. These focus groups allowed for AAISA to engage with front-line newcomer-serving agencies across Alberta to capture and identify practices that were adapted to increase the capacity of virtual service delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. This project had a particular focus in Language, Employment and Community Reception & Integration. AAISA has developed free how-to guides and training webinars to ensure that some of the innovative and best practices developed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are institutionalized in the transformative …
Data Paralysis to Data Sovereignty - Tech Tools Developed by the Frontline for the Frontline
Nonprofits are set up to fail. We ask people to retell the worst moments of their lives, and measure deficiencies not success. Their well-being, their goals, and respect for their data isn’t part of how we’ve set up the sector to work. 1. How can the sector develop tools to disrupts systemic inequity? 2. How can tech help social service agencies focus
less on reporting to funders and more on helping clients achieve their goals? This workshop will highlight sector developed solutions to refugee sponsorship and client intake that highlight intuitive design, support communication, and facilitate relationship building.
Challenging Mental Models and Exploring Possibilities in the Settlement Sector
Innovating for Impact (I2) Project aims to improve the capacity of people working in Francophone and Anglophone IRCC-funded agencies to conduct Social Research & Design through a participative, experiential learning approach to foster a sense of belonging among newcomers. This workshop will explore how we challenged mental models with our cohort and supported them in exploring possibilities, testing, and learning about new ideas in the real world. We will share and apply some of the tools and approaches used in the project to support participants in understanding the challenges and opportunities of a capacity-building project that aims to shift perceptions…
Online and Hybrid Language Service Delivery Initiatives
This workshop will highlight several initiatives that address the need for online and hybrid language service delivery options for adult immigrants. The presentation will cover remote language assessment using the Canadian Language Benchmarks Online Self-Assessment, hybrid language placement assessment processes, one-on-one English language training at a distance in the LINC Home Study program, development of courseware for online and hybrid classes through the National LINC Online Curriculum project, and development of occupation-targeted online language training content in partnership with the Ontario Restaurant Hotel Management Association. We will conclude with an open discussion about the evolving needs of language clients. Hybrid …
Elevating Training and Entrepreneurship Supports Through Technology
Organizations that are open to technology use in service provision and committed to closing the digital divide are better able to engage potential clients and deliver effective programming to achieve outcomes. With practical examples, we will cover a series of approaches and tools that increase interactivity and outcomes in remote and hybrid service delivery models, including tailored digital literacy upskilling and virtual reality training for newcomer jobseekers bound for the construction trades and self-directed online learning platforms offering flexible, tailored support to newcomer entrepreneurs. Blended Learning to Upskill Newcomer Entrepreneurs, Virtual Reality and Other Innovative Training …
The Newcomer Knowledge Hub: A Community of Practitioners and Academics to Facilitate Research-based Settlement Service Solutions
To address the challenges of immigration, maximize the opportunities and benefits, and promote timely and proactive responses, Immigrant Services Calgary conceptualized the Knowledge Hub (K-Hub), a virtual community of practitioners and academic researchers that share immigrant settlement-related data, solve problems through networking, generate new ideas, and develop sector capacity to improve the services for, and experience of newcomers to Canada. K-Hub will leverage aggregated, anonymized newcomer and settlement outcomes data to identify issues, gaps, and emerging trends in newcomer needs and current settlement programs. This workshop will invite discussion on how anonymized data can be used for improvements within the…
Utilizing Data to Drive Insights for Better Decision-making to Support Displaced Ukrainians
Of those displaced Ukrainians that apply and are approved to come to Canada, there is no projection on where they will settle, who they are and what their immediate needs will be. The nuances around this make this humanitarian immigration movement unique in Canadian history, which requires a unique approach to enable newcomers to find safety in their new communities. Jun Cho, CISSA-ACSEI Gregory Sharun, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Rania Younes, Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC)...
Expanding Knowledge Mobilization Across the Settlement Sector
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