Digital literacy is said to be the key to the future but do we really know what that means?
Repeatedly, I’d like to turn to the idea that literacy means more than using digital technology as a means of consuming things other people make.
One of the concerns increasingly voiced in the intensifying internet inclusion conversation is that there is no meaningful connectivity without digital literacy. Getting people physically connected to the internet is just one piece of the puzzle — progress won’t advance on development or the other benefits envisioned via internet inclusion without a digitally literate user base.
For women who are new or novice mobile internet users, low mobile literacy and a lack of digital skills are major barriers to harnessing the full potential of the internet.”
Our worry at KsGEN is that the gap between the world’s haves and have-nots stands to widen if first-time internet users do not know how to take advantage of the access they have been given — other than maybe to pass time or buy things — and to use it safely and securely.
We want to change that! Why?
Without skills, the newly connected cannot benefit, and development cannot progress. On the other hand, if we successfully roll out digital literacy along with digital connectivity — enabling people to go from unconnected, to connected, to thriving by shrewdly interpreting information and creating their own ways to use digital tools most effectively in their own contexts — internet inclusion is destined to transform lives for the better.
Soon, ksGEN will be hosting sessions and workshops that seek to help us better understand Digital Literacy and the future of the internet.
We are calling out to the global development professional to feed this mission by mandating funding for digital literacy in internet projects. There is a need to include digital literacy programs that could extend economic, social, and political empowerment to women and other underserved communities at the bottom of the pyramid. This will help locals engage with international initiatives to promote the conversion of digital skills into new opportunities. And eventually, they can contribute to the effectiveness of projects worldwide by continuing to gather data and experience to share more broadly.
Be on the lookout for Digital Literacy workshops to be announced soon in Kenya and Tanzania!
By: Catherine Kang’ethe
Communications and Outreach Coordinator(Media and Internet Literacy)