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Meet the 2020 EQUALS Digital Skills Fund grantees!

Web Foundation · March 24, 2020

The Web Foundation is delighted to introduce the 2020 grantees of the EQUALS Digital Skills Fund — a fund to support grassroots women’s digital skills initiatives around the world. 

Now in its second year, the Digital Skills Fund — a partnership between the Web Foundation, the EQUALS Global Partnership and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development — supports projects that provide gender-sensitive skills training to women and girls across communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The web can be a tremendous force for equality. But right now, it isn’t working for women and girls, as Sir Tim Berners-Lee outlined in his letter marking the web’s 31st birthday. Men are 21% more likely to be online than women — rising to 52% in the world’s least developed countries. Nearly two billion women around the world don’t have access to the web at all, depriving them of opportunities to use the web to learn, earn and have their voices heard. 

The EQUALS Digital Skills Fund is one of the ways the Web Foundation is committed to tackling online gender inequality. These efforts to build digital skills will be key to closing the gender gap to make sure women and girls across the globe can benefit from all the web has to offer.   

In 2019, the EQUALS Digital Skills Fund supported digital skills training — including the use of technology for social change and entrepreneurship — for 10,000 women and girls. In addition, the initiative supported social movements, workplaces, and female role models within communities to train the next generation of women and girls in technology. We’re excited to see the 2020 grantees continue this work to advance digital gender equality.

Congratulations to the Digital Skills Fund 2020 Grantees! 

InspireIT – Nigeria runs clubs to make STEM courses exciting for young girls in primary and secondary schools and to inspire girls to pursue careers in STEM. Through this initiative, InspireIT will expand the STEM club project to include children with autism. The clubs will teach digital and coding skills, while providing ongoing mentoring support and one-on-one coaching. The programme will expand the STEM club project to reach an additional 24 schools across Nigeria. 

AmazoOn du web – Côte d’Ivoire represents women and girls from cooperatives and associations and women entrepreneurs in the north and west of Côte d’Ivoire. The “rural woman – digital woman” project will enable women from cooperatives to acquire internet and digital marketing skills, bringing their businesses online and developing online e-commerce opportunities to extend their reach. Women and girls who participate in the training programme will also become trainers for their peers.

Apps and Girls – Tanzania and Uganda will focus on creating coding clubs in public secondary schools in Tanzania and Uganda through the Empower Program. Girls aged 12 to 19 will be taught coding skills to inspire them to enroll in STEM courses and support them to develop their own digital projects. The programme seeks to break various barriers that hinder girls and young women in technology by providing the alternative — a supportive path into the field of ICT and a future in tech.  

Elegant IT – Bangladesh’s ICT capacity building training will empower women and girls with disabilities. The “Empowering ‘Differently Abled’ People in the ICT Sector” initiative harnesses the perspective ‘My place, my time’ to support women, including physically challenged women, to work from their homes. Many participants who have received ICT training through the programme work in the ICT sector as freelancers under Elegant IT’s profile. The project will also leverage a platform using data science and artificial intelligence to match potential clients with job seekers to create new business opportunities for female trainees and companies alike. 

The Global Active Learning Group – Peru — through their initiative MapImpacto: Mapas digitales e investigaciones sociales — will stimulate secondary school and university students to identify and investigate gender issues in their communities using digital tools and identify social issues through a gender lens. Through the initiative, participants learn digital and information literacy skills to identify and investigate social problems using qualitative and quantitative information, create and analyse geospatial data, and define practical actions to confront the social issue.

Douar Tech – Morocco supports young women in rural areas to acquire digital and entrepreneurship skills and to take advantage of the opportunities in the digital world of work. Participants are supported by mentors and paired with micro-work opportunities hosted by local organisations and companies.  

Wulwi Initiative – Cameroon: Through its DataGirl initiative, “IT 4 ALL” aims to close the digital gender gap and empower women and girls to use technology to create innovative solutions to advance equality in their communities. The initiative focuses on equipping women and girls with digital skills, with a focus on Internally Displaced girls, teenage mothers, women and girls who can’t afford formal school, and women transitioning into tech careers. The organisation is also a tech hub and safe haven for girls and women pursuing careers in technology, while building links with the technology sector. 

Grandeur – Zimbabwe is a group of female bloggers who will train 150 young women and girls in Bulawayo and Harare to use technology for storytelling, blogging and generating income through content creation. The project will create new media clubs in high schools and facilitate online group learning channels. The project aims to empower young women and girls to tell their own stories, increase female voices in the media industry, and raise awareness on important issues for Zimbabwean women and girls in society. 

Caribbean Girls is a Caribbean-wide regional hackathon initiative for girls aged 14-18 years old and young women in college and university, immersing hundreds of women and girls in online tech training and workshops to create tech solutions for the Caribbean context. Student hackers learn robotics and drone technology and use technology to build innovative websites, mobile apps, chatbots, gaming, short films and videos, and podcasts to address SDG issues such as climate change and gender-based violence. Building leadership and confidence is a critical element of the training, which also brings in role models from global tech companies.

AHK- Argentina will carry out “Challenge 4.0 (Desafio 4.0)” — a capacity building programme that supports the digital, analytical and leadership skills of young students and strengthens the employability of Argentine youth, especially girls, in the digital economy. Student groups will work in teams to develop an innovative project focused on solving real problems related to Industry 4.0. The programme offers specific tools and training on data analysis, social media, creative thinking, programming, app development, and digital project management and agile methods. 

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