Developing the Internet and defending its openness are key to global growth that is equitable, sustainable, and inclusive. The Internet is most powerful when anyone — regardless of gender or geography — can participate equally.
Today Mozilla announced two commitments to help make universal internet access a reality as part of the U.S. State Department’s Global Connect Initiative global actions, in partnership with the World Bank and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE):
- Mozilla will launch a public challenge this year to spur innovation and equal-rating solutions for providing affordable access and digital literacy. The goal is to inject practical, action-oriented, new thinking into the current debate on how to connect the unconnected people of the world.
- Additionally, Mozilla is building a global hub to help more women learn how to read, write, and participate online. Over the past five years, Mozilla volunteers have started over 100 clubs and run over 5000 local events in 90 countries to teach digital literacy. Building on this model, Mozilla is now working with U.N. Women to set up clubs just for women and girls in Kenya and South Africa. This is the next step towards creating a global hub.
“Connecting the unconnected is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and one we must work on together. We will need corporate, government, and philanthropic efforts to ensure that the Internet as the world’s largest shared public resource is truly open and accessible to all. We are pleased to see a sign of that collaboration with the Global Connect Initiative commitments,” said Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of Mozilla.
Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, added, “We must address the breadth but also the depth of digital inclusion. Having access to the Web is essential, but knowing how to read, write and participate in the digital world has become a basic foundational skill next to reading, writing, and arithmetic. At Mozilla we are looking at – and helping to solve – both the access and digital literacy elements of inclusion.”
We look forward to sharing progress on both our commitments as the year progresses.