May 10, 2022 at 3:52 pm #15515
The digital world can make life easier…
But not if you can’t access it.
There’s a segment of society that’s benefitting from being able to do work or schooling remotely, and that’s gaining digital skills increasingly needed in today’s job market.
But in Canada, “most rural and First Nations households still don’t have access to the “basic” internet speed target set by the government. Where there is decent connectivity, many lack the skills they need to thrive online.”
The same is true in many other countries.
This is an issue of “digital inequity.” It matters for social and economic justice; it also impacts the talent pipeline for companies.
Since the pandemic, more and more people are talking about the importance of digital equity.
But, according to Community Investment Program Manager Maureen James, funding hasn’t kept pace with talk. Solving the issue requires infrastructure, hardware, and training for remote communities.
Why does this funding gap exist?
It’s partly an issue of scale: broadband infrastructure projects come with very large price tags that make the barriers high for funders to get involved.
One solution: a more piecemeal approach. James describes success in “bite-sized” community-led projects where funders work with one individual community to help them pull together the resources they need. This worked well in the Samson Cree Nation, for example.
More broadly: James emphasizes the need to “bring new funders into the fold” through education on the importance of digital equity. She says “no matter what your number one funding priority is—whether it’s climate change or LGBTQ2IA+ rights—progress on your issue will be frustrated by digital inequity.”
How has your organization considered digital equity throughout the shift to a more digital world? Let us know!
Read more: https://lnkd.in/ecvKirSk