ITU launches global digital literacy campaign for women
Partnership with telecentre.org will extend access to basic ICT training to more
than one million disadvantaged women worldwide
Geneva, Switzerland and Santiago, Chile, 7 April
2011 – ITU
today launched a digital literacy partnership with Philippine-based NGO
telecentre.org Foundation that over the next 18 months will train one million
unskilled women 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
telecentre.org Foundation’s global network of 100,000 telecentres worldwide and
ITU’s 192 Member States and 700 Sector Members to deliver training in ICT use
following a ‘train the trainer’ model.
Between now and end 2012, training courses will be offered in at least 20,000
telecentres in countries around the world, each of which is expected to train at
least 50 women – for a total of one million women trained.
“We hope this joint campaign with telecentre.org 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.
“With technology now widely recognized as a critical enabler for socio-economic
development, this 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
locale-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/or
to provide trainers and other resources to national telecentres.
In addition, ITU will contribute a number of 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
ITU has also developed a range of digital literacy training materials designed
to be used in school-based community centres and multi-purpose telecentres, by
women, indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities. In addition to
providing basic ICT literacy, the materials show trainees how ICTs can be used
to support a range of economic activities such as handicrafts, agro-tourism and
The agreement provides for trainer training to be delivered via national
telecentre networks that are partners of telecentre.org Foundation, including
through national telecentre academies, universities, and other training
institutions. It also mandates telecentre.org Foundation to continuously track
and report on training delivered via a joint ITU-telecentre.org Foundation
website, to ensure commitments are kept and momentum is maintained.
Today’s agreement formalizes long-standing cooperation between the two
organizations, who have already worked successfully together on a range of other
capacity building initiatives around the world.
Telecentre.org is a global program that supports the establishment and
sustainability of grassroots level telecentres. These telecentres offer
services, skills and opportunities to people living in remote and rural
locations around the world. Telecentre.org is powered by over 300 organizations
and 100,000 grassroots telecentres and over 200,000 individuals who have a
direct share in the telecentre movement.
For more information on the Telecentre Women’s Initiative, visit
more information, please contact:
Chief, Media Relations
and Public Information,
Head, Special Initiatives Division,
Telecommunication Development Bureau,