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Digital Literacy Campaign to train one million unskilled women to use computers and ICT applications
Brahima Sanou
photo credit: © ITU/V.Martin
Brahima Sanou
Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau

“ As we make efforts to promote universal access to ICT in developing countries, we are forging partnerships with the private sector and other development partners with the aim of attracting investment in the ICT sector. Our aim is to develop infrastructure in semi-urban, remote, and rural areas so that all people can play an active role in nation-building and socio-economic development. This explains why ITU launched a number of key initiatives that include the Connect the World series. ”

On 7 April 2011, ITU launched a digital literacy partnership with the Philippine-based nongovernmental organization Foundation. Under the terms of the partnership, one million unskilled women will be trained, over the next 18 months, to use computers and modern information and communication technology (ICT) applications to improve their livelihoods.

The new Women’s Digital Literacy Campaign will leverage the combined reach of Foundation’s global network of 100 000 telecentres worldwide and ITU’s 192 Member States and 700 Sector Members to train trainers in ICT. Before the end of 2012, at least 20 000 telecentres in countries around the world will each offer training courses to at least 50 women.

“We hope this joint campaign with Foundation will have an enormous impact on improving the condition of women, wherever they may live, and whatever their circumstances,” said ITU Secretary- General Dr Hamadoun Touré. The campaign will further reinforce ITU’s global efforts to promote the digital inclusion of women, and will be a key element in achieving Millennium Development Goal 3 on gender equality.

Basheerhamad Shadrach, Executive Director of telecentre. org Foundation, said that offering digital skills to over one million women at the grassroots will help reverse the paradigm whereby, in many countries, technologies most often benefit men more than women. “These telecentre women, once trained to take advantage of the power of technology, will help their communities to access local-specific information, time-tested knowledge, market opportunities, enhanced skills for employment and productivity, and more importantly, participate in the modern knowledge era, not only as mere consumers, but also as providers and producers of knowledge assets,” he said.

Under the terms of the agreement, ITU and telecentre. org Foundation are encouraging national governments, the private sector and other international organizations to contribute digital literacy curricula in local languages, and provide trainers and other resources to national telecentres.

ITU will contribute curricula developed by its Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), notably from its Connect a School, Connect a Community initiative, as well as offering its ITU Academy distance learning platform for training purposes. Through Connect a School, Connect a Community, ITU is already helping its Member States to leverage their connected schools as community ICT centres, providing ICT skills for the social and economic development of people with special needs, including women. Digital literacy training materials for women and other groups are freely available online at


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