What is the digital divide
The digital divide is the gap that exists between people who have access to information and communications technology, and those who do not. This is usually identified through demographics and regions that have access to the internet and those that do not.
The digital divide refers to both the availability and access of information and communications technology.
In Malawi, this gap is visible when it comes to rural communities especially in the Eastern region of the country. Of the 6 Tech hubs that have been established in the country, none of them are in the eastern region. All the districts in the eastern region (Mangochi, Balaka, Machinga, and Zomba) do not have a technology and innovation hub. This gap puts the people in these districts, spefically young children, at risk of being left behind as the digital era is progressing and vastly growing every day.
Factors Attributing to the digital divide
Statistics show that only 27% of women in Africa have access to the internet but only 15% can afford to use it – the implications of this are vast, ranging from women not having access to information, education, skills, and other tools they need to make their lives easier in a world that is quickly digitising. We talk more about this in our article Closing the Gender Digital Divide in Africa.
Statistics show that families with a higher level of education, such as college degrees, are more likely to have access to personal computers and access to the internet as opposed to families with uneducated members or members with a low level of education.
As a direct result of education, income also widens the digital gap. The more a family makes correlates directly with whether or not they can afford personal computers and access the internet.
Specific to Malawi, where you live can also greatly affect whether you have access to computers (personal or otherwise) and the internet.
Overcoming the digital divide in the Eastern Region
Given the above factors, the Ntha Foundation through Digi Savvy Africa aims to contribute to overcoming the Eastern region’s digital divide by setting up an Educational Hub in Mangochi under the Kwathu Innovation & Creative Centre.
The Mangochi Digital Learning Centre will officially be launched on Saturday, December 11th, 2021, and will be the first Tech Hub in the Eastern region of Malawi. The Hub will be located at Excel primary School in Makawa, Mangochi.
Currently, Digi Savvy Africa will be offering Digital Skills Courses in Mangochi, just as they do at their hub in Lilongwe. The courses are free, open to people of all ages, have free access to computers and unlimited WiFi, and range from beginner to expert levels.