Working with UN Women to Teach Key Digital Skills to Women

Cross-sharing this blog post I posted today on the Mozilla Learning Blog because I’m so excited to be working on this new project to create local learning circles for women and girls in South Africa and Kenya.

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The Internet is most powerful when anyone — regardless of gender or geography — can participate equally. A truly open Web should unlock educational, economic, and civic opportunity for everyone, everywhere.

Motivated by this core belief, Mozilla and UN Women — the United Nations entity devoted to the empowerment of women — are teaming up to teach digital skills to girls and women in Nairobi, Kenya and Cape Town, South Africa. Our goal: to improve the lives of women in Africa by leveraging the power of the open Internet.

Also driving our work is a troubling statistic: While more than 3 billion people are connected online, research indicates there are 200 million fewer women online in developing countries, and 300 million fewer women own a mobile phone. In beginning to change these numbers for the better, we can empower women in their own lives and as digital citizens.

To do this, Mozilla and UN Women will work alongside local educators, organizations and residents to built a network of web literacy clubs that promote peer-to peer-learning, teaching participants how to collaborate with each other and meaningfully participate online. These groups will follow the Mozilla Club model, meeting regularly and in-person. They will draw on a comprehensive curriculum that covers topics like Web navigation; content creation; coding; online rights, privacy and security; and connecting to opportunities linked to women’s leadership, civic participation and economic empowerment. There will also be the development of new curriculum on female-specific web issues, facilitation guides for engaging female-only groups and a mobile app to allow for participation and continued learning by participants across countries in the program. Mozilla will also train on-the-ground leaders to facilitate these clubs.

This pilot program will draw on lessons learned in India, Indonesia and Brazil over the past year as we’ve launched, tested and developed the Mozilla Clubs program to reach 170+ clubs in 25+ countries around the world. Since launch, Mozilla Clubs has seen success in bringing communities together around collaboration, professional development and the open web.

Mozilla community members in Kenya. Photo by Laura de Reynal.

Mozilla community members in Kenya. Photo by Laura de Reynal.

This pilot program will run through the end of 2016, and draw on the existing Mozilla communities of educators, learners, and open Internet advocates in the two regions. While also connecting the work and leaders to the larger Mozilla community, and engaging those in other African countries to start similar endeavours to continue growing the movement.

“Improving digital literacy among women is essential,” says Jennifer Breslin, Lead, Innovation and Technology for Development,  UN Women. “Web literacy can improve everything from personal well-being and education access to civic and political participation. Further, the more women we have participating and creating content online, the more relevant and stronger the open Internet becomes.”

This pilot project is the first in a broader partnership between UN Women and Mozilla to drive a more socially just and inclusive agenda based on a common set of values and vision between the two organizations. It links Mozilla’s leadership in digital literacy, participatory learning, and open practice with UN Women’s global leadership on gender and technology.

To learn more about Mozilla Clubs, visit teach.mozilla.org/clubs.

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Mozilla community members in Kenya. Photo by Laura de Reynal.

Mozilla community members in Kenya. Photo by Laura de Reynal.

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