Aspen Digital

What We Do

The World Economic Forum estimates that 2.9 billion people lack the opportunity to go online and engage with the digital economy. 

What is the Problem 

Globally, socio-economic divides are widening as the world becomes more digital and, as a result, people without access to technology are falling further behind. This issue was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Without digital access, use, and fluency, people are excluded from access to economic opportunity, education, healthcare and experience worsening discrimination and social isolation.

Digital exclusion results in: 

The Digital Economy
While over 70% of consumers in the global north bought and sold goods online in 2018, prior to COVID-19, only 2% of people in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) did during the same period, cutting them off from valuable growth opportunities in eCommerce. 
Online Education
1.6 billion students faced learning disruptions in 2020 as a result of COVID19. While many were able to continue education through online means, 826 million did not have access to a computer at home, impacting their resilience during the pandemic. 
Digital Health
Information and health resources are increasingly digital, meaning people with little or no broadband access and digital tools are likely to experience poor health outcomes

Even when solutions to digital exclusion are advanced, they far too often fail to aid the most marginalized communities. Marginalized communities are often excluded from digital inclusion efforts due to their exclusion from the planning and design of these efforts. Our solution, therefore, is to empower organizations embedded within the communities themselves – namely, nonprofits and NGOs– that are advancing digital inclusion.

We Invest into NGOs as Catalysts 

Nonprofits are critical catalysts in addressing digital inequity because they are trusted members of their communities. In many communities, nonprofit organizations are often the sole human services providers, granting them unique access to marginalized populations. A solution that truly addresses the digital divide, therefore, addresses the needs of the nonprofits tackling the issue. 

Theory of Change

Social and economic injustice is the issue. It is exacerbated by unequal technology access and use around the world. 

Digital equity is necessary to create a more just and equitable world. Digital inclusion is how we accomplish this.

We seek to support local organizations in promoting Digital Equity in their communities. In order to do this, we are addressing the following Digital Inclusion Pillars:

Access to Technology
Access to digital infrastructure and technology tools, including hardware and reliable internet connectivity, 
Digital Skills 
The ability and literacy necessary to use and maintain technology in order to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information at a level needed to participate fully in digital society.
Participatory and Inclusive Content
The active inclusion of marginalized communities in the design and creation of new technologies, tools, and content, in ways that meet these communities’ needs.