Supporting young people's equitable access to the digital sphere and all the opportunities that it offers.
Internet connectivity remains key to ensuring that young people have equitable access to the digital sphere and all the opportunities that it offers.
One-third of the students around the world—some 463 million—were unable to access remote learning when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Digitally disadvantaged youth—those living without consistent, reliable access to the internet or other technology, or who lack the skills and acumen to navigate a digital world—have been hit particularly hard. With 29 per cent of 18-24-year-olds lacking digital access—some 360 million of them—they cannot access to the same information, opportunity and choice as their more-connected peers.
At GenU, we are working to support every young person to have access to learning—anywhere, anytime—by connecting every school, every young person to the internet. We are achieving this by mobilizing financial and in-kind resources to accelerate connectivity through scaling Giga, an initiative launched by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union. Giga aims to connect every school to the internet and every young person to information, opportunity and choice. GenU is supporting the Giga initiative by bringing in partners to align public funding sources; broker partnerships with key public-sector connectivity players; advocate to governments on regulatory changes (i.e. use of Universal Service Funds); and provide access to key data on connectivity.
In 2021 alone, more than 1.6 million students and 31,000 schools were connected to the internet through Giga and other connectivity initiatives in countries across Africa, Central Asia, the Eastern Caribbean and Latin America. To date, Giga has raised over US$27 million from global partners including Dubai Cares, Ericsson and the Musk Foundation and has helped to mobilize more than US$210 million to accelerate school connectivity worldwide.