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Workshop Report

PHILIPPINES: Solving the Digital Divide

Organizers: YiHua Lin and Krystal Kang

Another group at the International School Manila chose to discuss the problem of digital divide. This refers to the gap between people with access to digital and information technology and those with very limited or no access at all. Those in the first category are considered to have an advantage in almost every aspect of their life, from learning new information, to getting a job, while the latter will lag behind in terms of knowledge, opportunities, thus being trapped in their current situation. As formulated by the organizers: “This divide enables developed nations to continue developing the technology they possess, but further hindering the underdeveloped or undeveloped nations, creating a cycle that ultimately affects the world economy and inhibits the world from solving issues such as poverty.”

At first, participants lacked research and knowledge about the problem at hand and they found it difficult to understand how it affects other people. However, “after watching some videos regarding the topic at hand and getting to know each other’s thoughts on the issue, the discussions started going smoothly.”, it is reported.

Each compass point team made proposals for solutions, though they found feasibility to be problematic: “It was difficult to come up with a solution that didn’t just focus on awareness since Digital Divide is a fairly new issue and is hard to solve. We didn’t necessarily overcome them, but we tried thinking of different ways to get help to solve the issue such as through talking to different organizations that are currently helping to mitigate this issue.”

Despite all the challenges, they felt that “the workshop worked out quite well in the end, enabling all the people in the group to think about what they can do to make an impact and how to consider the different facets of coming up with a solution such as economy, nature, wellbeing and society.”

The final outcome? “After the conference, we chose one person that we thought was most engaged throughout the whole workshop and was also most likely to implement the plan that the group came up with. This person was then given the chance to participate in an e-course called the Sprout Program led by Michael Furdyk, one of the co-founders of TakingITglobal, and truly an inspiration to all of us. Since we were all high school students, we decided that to keep in contact with each other, we will continue sending e-mails, posting messages on our Facebook group, and even leaving comments on our blog.”

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