The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Fourteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Berlin, Germany, from 25 to 29 November 2019. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> SAJDA QUACHTOUKI: Hi, everyone. Time to get started. Thank you for being here on our business innovation s and digital inclusion. You'll hear from experts from across the world how they're innovating in the digital space and increasing internet adoption and inclusion by increasing relevant content and expanding opportunities for internet users. This workshop will focus on how the private and multilateral sectors are helping to close the digital gap and supporting meaningful connectivity.
We will first start by going around to our panelists and hearing about what they do and how they are supporting digital inclusion.
>> MARK DATYSGELD: I run a small consultancy called governance primer. We try to engage the global south in policy making discussions and technology forums. That's been a process that's been ongoing for a few years. We're starting to get more of a voice within ICANN and other bodies and I feel it's a good step for us. Thank you very much for being here.
>> I'm Sasha and I'm a program specialist at UNESCO. You associate us with our work on social heritage, but we work across the education sector, culture sector, the natural sciences and social and human sciences and information and education that looks at digital literacy. So, in the framework of our work at UNESCO, we centralize the question of digital inclusion through research, policy guidance, and capacity building with a specific focus on ensuring gender equality and skills for the global south.
>> Hello, everyone. I'm presenting Audible. A 100% Amazon. We are specialized in the production and distribution of spoken word content, namely audio books but also spoken word formats such as original productions, coaches, language courses, educational materials, lecture, for instance, textbooks. What do we do about inclusion when we're perfectly accessible product. We know that mobile is more present especially in difficult or in development environments than the internet itself on desktop. So that's a plus. And then we not only serve the demand side inclusion wise, we also create content and we do this in a very local approach. So, we invest heavily to the culture of the respective country. We invite creators to write for us. We engage local actors to play for us in their local language. And it's a -- it's a great product.
>> VANESSA ANN SINDEN: Good morning. I'm Vanessa from South Africa from Triggerfish animation. I have a couple of slides to give you an idea of who we are. Thank you just a couple of slides. We're an independent animation studio and we primarily focus on creating our own animation content from Africa with stories from African creators. We have created feature films and TV lectures and series. Our feature film, adventures in Zambesi -- thank you. I thought it would be nice to show you a visual. This was our first film which travelled to over 150 countries, was dubbed in over 27 languages, alongside our next film, Kuma. These are the two top five African films ever created and distributed world-wide in the cinematic business model.
This is not only for animation but for films from after are can. We also have created a couple of TV specials with the BBC, revoking rams was Oscar nominated two years ago. These allow us to skills build and develop talent on the continent, specifically in South Africa, we're privileged to do this. These are more of our films at the moment. This is a short film. If you're with us until the end of the session, you'll get the pleasure of watching. And more of our Christmas specials.
What I'd love to talk about is in the session is more about our content, our new content that's being created to serve African stories more authentically than ever before and to bridge gaps and making sure that diverse cultures are represented. So, we actively involved in producing animation, but because the industry in Africa is very organic and fluid, we not only can produce but we also are needing to stimulate skills development gaps. Master classes, incubator, training sessions to help once we identified gaps in the industry from students all the way through to professional level.
We have an academy with free on-line materials because we see that obviously the key is to be on-line, but if you are on-line and you're interested in animation, anywhere in the world, but for the continent, we're wanting to make sure that there's access and that you're able to study animation and that it is something that you -- you'll be able to see if this is the career for you. We have many conversations on-line, African woman in animation, to support them and produce content and so much more.
Scholarship, educational bridging courses. To make sure that the industry is growing. And so, it's not only about producing, but it's about making sure that the industry is growing and that we're serving skills development. That's me in a nutshell.
>> SAJDA QUACHTOUKI: Thank you, everyone. We have a very excellent panel of experts. For a quick note, could you please move up to the table? We'd love to have a more intimate conversation with you all because this room is massive?
Moving along to the first question. As we learned this week on the high-level panel on inclusion, all connectivity is not the same. And in order to ensure connectivity and ensure people want to go on-line, we need to have meaningful connectivity. We need to close the digital gap and to help do this, the world-wide web foundation actually has a -- right -- education, access, content, targets.
To our panelists, can you give an example of a time that your organization or your work has supported an aspect of this framework?
>> MARK DATYSGELD: Thank you for introducing this. I think it's rather relevant. I do come from the youth programs, from these institutions. I do come from a next-gen program within ICANN. And what I've always complained was that this program leaves the youth just hanging, sort of. They get the experience; they get in touch with this environment. But then, there's no continuity, so it feels a little bit -- it's very valuable, but then what's next step? So what I've been doing for the past two year, whenever we have a project, what I do is I try to grab from this pool of youth, incorporate them to real projects so that they -- they only get qualified in international policy making in this way, but they get to participate in the process, earn money doing it, and start growing within the environment in a meaningful way. And I feel this is something moving forward everybody coming from the youth program should be aiming for how do we make good use with our own resources. So, this is my own personal take on how to address this sort of objective. Thank you.
>> SAJDA QUACHTOUKI: I love this idea of meaningful connectivity. I'd love to focus on three of the acronyms, rights, education, and content. As it concerns rights, UNESCO, 2015, 190 member states adopted the Universality framework which guides our work more broadly on digital transformation and inclusion. What is this framework? We have another acronym, because it's in the United Nations and in the NGO world. We love acronyms. And ours is call ed roam. And the idea that anything related to access and literacy on the internet should be based first of all on rights. It should be secondly based on openess, should be based on accessibility and should be based on multi-stakeholderism. This guides a lot of the work that we're doing in digital inclusion, specifically in what we call UNESCO media and digital literacy.
As it concerns education and talking briefly about digital literacy, specifically. One of the reasons I love this concept of meaningful connectivity, is that it isn't just about access and infrastructure. It's also about the production of local content. And UNESCO in the framework of our work facilitating the follow-up action line dedicated to multilingualism, cultural diversity, and local content on-line, really puts the emphasis on the need to ensure not only access, but that people and particularly young people in the global south are equipped with the necessary tools not only to be consumers of digital content, but also producers of locally relevant digital content.
Just very briefly to highlight specifically our work as a concern including women and girl s in digital inclusion and digital literacy and education initiatives, we recently published a document on-line. I highly recommend for those interested in learning more to download it. All of our work is published open access on-line saying I'd blush if I could, closing digital divides, this is done in the framework of our equals partnership also with the support of the German government. This publication looks specifically at recommendations to bridge this troubling divide and what information is needed in order to ensure advocacy of why it's so important to ensure gender equality and digital skills development. And professional teams also building the technology, looking specifically at embedded bias in digital literacy tools, which is something that's often overlooked, especially in the field of AI
I'd like really quickly to talk about statistic, to give you an idea of why it's so important as it concerns our focus in this specific area of education. In our research have underlined what we called the ICT gender equality paradox. Those countries with highest levels of gender equality, they have the lowest numbers of women in advanced degrees in computer science. Low levels of gender equality, those in the Arab region, have the highest proportion of women completing degrees. What does that mean? Belgium, for example, only 6% of ICT graduates are women, while the UAE, it's 58%.
So, there's a need here. It's shocking, this paradox. There's a need here to encourage measurements to ensure that we have the right tools. And this speaks also indirectly to your question on the T, the target, to advocate for women's inclusion and digital skills education in all countries.
This is not a developing country problem. This is an issue that needs to be addressed at the global level. There's also an opportunity -- I have great respect -- there's an opportunity to change the narrative through initiatives like yours about how we think about models coming out of the global south, countries, for example, Senegal, that's taken enormous measures to ensure the integration of ICT education program, informal, non- formal, sectors to make sure women are producers and have the skills necessary to actively participate in this field.
I'd like lastly to underline the aspect of content. Underlining one of our initiatives. And also inviting you all to participate in the initiative. It's an initiative we just launched called the futures of education initiative, "learning to become" and it looks at sparking conversations on how knowledge and learning can shape the future of humanity and the planet.
In December, 2019, a couple of days, to December, 2020, we will be in a listening phase of this project that looks at how to ensure multi-stakeholder consultation and cricks from otherwise marginalized groups in civil societies to make sure these opinions are integrated to the futures of education initiative. Concretely this means we are looking for input from different stake holder groups to rethink the way in which we develop public policies in digital inclusion on-line.
And this leads also to the fact that the UN at large is currently rethinking the way in which we developed public policy on issues like digital inclusion, that it's not a top-down approach, it's a crowd sourced inclusive multi-stakeholder approach for developments of public policies based on needs identified on the ground, specifically in the global south on issues related to digital inclusion and how this digital inclusion and ensuring digital inclusion changings how we can leapfrog to meeting the sustainable development goals.
>> Thank you. I want to add, I'm glad you mentioned that girls don't enter STEM fields equally throughout the countries. One thing that UNICEF, at a young age, girls want to enter the field at the same rate as boys but around puberty, they lose the confidence to do so and drop out of going to those fields. Where Vanessa's work and having the content is so important. If the girls can see themselves represented in the media in the STEM fields they believe they can achieve it. Representation is so, so important for getting girls into STEM.
>> I was just asking if she wants -- the barriers are also -- because it's local. We engage in the countries where we operate and currently ten countries. And I thought with the flag ship country with the U.S. So, in 2007, when audible did not yet belong to Amazon, we moved our headquarters out of New York to New Washington, New Jersey on the other side of the Hudson river, lots of murders, very complicated, not much money, underemployment. It was a difficult area. Our CEO strongly believe in the potential of the area and said if we as an employer go there and start to create and invest in employment, the city will lift up. That's what has happened. I've been working for Audible now for nine years. Even Starbucks has moved back to the area now. This is kind of the check point.
So, I didn't want to talk about this. I just wanted to talk about a project we call Listen Up dedicated to Newark young high school students. So those young people normally don't have access to culture, just lacking the financial -- the financial need tools. And what we decided is they don't get it. We're part of the culture. We want to give them access to culture. We funded 15,003 scholarships to the kids. We give them the Amazon tab let so they have the device to listen to audio books and other spoken word content and we have put together with the help of teachers a list of more than 100 educational books that once again reduces the access to education and culture for them. It's a great project as you can imagine so young people take the offer, they listen to staff. It's put at their disposal like there's no barrier, basically. And that's been a huge success.
Second initiative also very local but in a completely different environment and also more governmental initiative is in France. So, I'm not sure you heard about it. But Macom announced he wanted to give young people who turn 18 access to cultural goods because that's the tipping point where they decide whether to stay culturally open or consume cultural goods or not. They've been working on it for 1 1/2 years now. They put together an app that gives young people free access for like -- I guess you could -- 500 Euros. You can spend it on cultural goods, go to the theater, consume books, subscribe to DISA, whatever culture is, it's a broad definition. So Audible is co-sponsoring this. We give a list of free audio books. It's taken up -- and it's interesting also what the 18-year-olds listen to because they listen to inspirational content. So there, there's high literature, but amongst other, for instance, the biography of -- it's one of the world's best soccer players. That's a symptom of what they're looking for, inspiration role models. And we're very happy and proud to participate in this initiative and to be part of that discovery story.
>> That ties into my point in having that resource out there and seeing how he got to where he is can change kids' lives.
>> MODERATOR: So exciting to hear. This session is for policy makers and for those of us who are changing and have the ability to invest into these things. And all these ideas and handles. I hope anyone watching this in this session will be able to walk away with handles and ideas of what to try in areas relating to concerns or challenges in their areas. It's about sharing all of these great initiatives. I want to go into woman in creative industry and specifically in film. What we noticed this, is a world-wide statistic, 60% of students are going to tertiary education in creative film are women. And when it comes to the workplace, less than 20% are women. So, this is a huge disparity between the confidence to go study and then it seemingly feels like a lack of confidence to apply for that job, whether it is portfolio, whether it is technical skills and abilities, it seems to be this huge gap. So, in the African con continent, we know we have to work on this.
I do have a couple of slides for the multimedia team, thank you. We were just talking about how to respond to reactant and how to look at -- and what that means in our context. A very big thing for us as I mentioned earlier is just access for all and being able to provide animation training and an opportunity to see if this career in animation is something of interest to young people in high school. We also have something that's quite fun called a parent persuasion kit. What we found specifically in black cultures is there was this thing I was acting on-line yesterday amongst female writers where your dad said on an airplane, I'm really bad at telling joke, sorry. On an airplane, the dad and daughter are sitting. They're looking at this medical emergency. He said see, they don't need a graphic designer. You should have been a doctor. And she says, dad, this is a medical emergency. And creative industries is not something that parents will encourage young people to move into for many reasons. What we're trying to do is track it and say actually a career in the creative arts is something aspirational. And that there is work, bottom line, there is actually work. And a healthy industry is when you're checking boxes in all of those areas from growth, from skills development all the way through to an industry that is growing. Access to all, conversations for all. Those are really important things. Education for talent.
And I mentioned how just in terms of initiatives we're needing to make sure that, you know, education is expensive, especially in film making and animation, it's very technology based. It's a lot of software, coding, programming, skills are needed. And there seems to be a great divide between the talent and then an opportunity to study. So, we really are looking for lots more support in this area. But with regards, skills development, we -- as a team at Triggerfish, not only just trying to keep the lights on as a production company and creating content, we want to actually bridge those gaps, gaps where we identified, you know, creators are not able to -- don't feel confident yet to pitch their products internationally at markets.
Therefore, not able to have those meetings, therefore, not being developed or funded by partners because they're having to take that step. -- they haven't actually taken that step. We encourage them to get pitch ready, get to market. Those are all funding steps and that's confidence that their story, after a bit of research, identified for this broadcaster or this partner is something that is certainly interesting to that broadcaster, and to the world. And just have confidence to be in that space. I've seen in the last four years since launching the story lab with the Disney company, we've seen so much come to life. And just a little recap, the story lab -- sorry.
So, the story lab. I'll go back to those slides. The story lab we launched in 2015. We did commercials and on-line advertising and said to the continent, if you have a story for film or TV with the support of the Walt Disney company and triggerfish, we'd love to hear for you and the submissions we received which was high. I was expecting 250. And when the numbers kept going up and up, we were all kind of gobsmacked, 1,000 different stories and ideas were brought forward. We were able to bring it down to 35 projects then brought it to Cape Town for two weeks for master class and training, pitch readiness getting those ideas tested.
You have an idea, you have to be -- you have to have plugged out and the low story gaps. You have concept art, this is animation. You have to have something that will wow people. And what we did from that point is we chose eight filmmakers with feature film ideas as well as four TV series and creators. What an amazing success since then. I watched the 35 creators go on to do amazing things. That's just an example of enabling. I recently ran a writer's lab in the same vein where we reached out to the continent and asked female writers, women of color, to submit writing samples and we received 750 submissions to which we were able to select 12 to go to Zambia for a big writing master class in writing for animation. What we see is women needing an opportunity to go from "I write, I'm talented, I’m gifted. I write locally for my local telenovela. I'd like to move to animation. Let's give them steps, give them access to the broadcaster experts internationally so they can feel confident to pitch their ideas and scripts.
What we have in the moment on a TV series I'm producing, we have eight women from the continent, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, one South Africa who are the voice of an authentic new series that's currently in production. How exciting to see these women write for audiences who previously never had animation created for them. 14 black girls are our heroes and they need to not only face high school and all of those challenges but save the world on a budget.
African ingenuity is something we treasure, and African people are tenacious. We don't have resources; we're going make work. We don't say no. And so, it's this wonderful -- it's a comedy, it will be fun and action-packed and I'm sure these girls, engineering and programming their own gadgets and taking on these really big villains with lots of money and huge corporations.
I digress. Some of the other areas as well that I personally have been involved in, and as I mentioned earlier, we simply can't just be creators of content that would be shortsighted. So we have to have conversations. We have to speak to creators on the continent to make sure that they -- they're from writing, through to artistry, through to technicians, through the entire team that pulls through the animation process that they have access to be able to apply and work and have skills development. We bring experts to South Africa, to our studio, to have the skills transfer.
And this is just an example of African women in animation and 400 members were currently just under 400 chatting on-line about what it's like to be pitching projects as a woman on the continent in the animation space. We do a huge amount of high school training from just drawing through to story development and idea development. And our on-line courses are very much there to support the entire conversation. And all of this really results in healthy industry and business will grow naturally from the space where there's confident creators and that's just a little example of the holistic view we have of the continent from Triggerfish.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. I think we heard a wide range of how people are being educated in terms of digital skills and how to offer mentorship and be mentor. Mentorship on how to develop a way to ensure that people are going on-line and finding content that they need. So, I think this is a great segue to my next question, which is let's discuss the supply and demand side of technologies. We know that having infrastructure is important for technologies, having access is important, but people need a reason to want to go on-line and need an incentive to do so.
So, I would love to know about -- I know we touched on it briefly, but maybe in more detail, about how you had help developing or simulate content or how your organizations have basically helped to develop the demand side of internet deployment, not only the supply side. You can go in any order.
>> MARK DATYSGELD: Thank you for the question. So, whenever we're looking into how to help policy makers and content makers further something in Latin America or in the global south as a whole, our concern is always the medium, because this is very important. The medium won't be the same in the -- in a different context when you're falling out of this market in which you're thinking high definition and what's the latest that Apple has released. When you're looking towards the developing ward, it's always about mobile phones, that's where the markets are right now. This is where the focus is. I have some statistics here that said children in particular, and here we're talking 12 and under, 50% of them are accessing this content to true mobile phones. Up from 20% in 2012 so this is a big increase in a short amount of time and it shows a trend. It shows that this is a very accessible thing. It's something we can relate to. It's quick, it's something that makes sense for them. But the problem is -- not the problem, the situation is that the phones are not high-end phones. We're not talking about ultra-definition.
We're talking about cheap phone; we're talking about simple phones. When you're thinking about producing at a very high scale, you know, you're thinking for displays of 72 inches, a lot of the content coming from the global north, which is where a lot of the content originates from, is aimed at very large displaced. No, the content that needs to be produced locally needs to take very much into account the fact that this will be displayed in the low resolution screens and fortunately, if it's something that's being taken from another country, it will, A, need to be subtitled, and the subtitles will take a lot of screen real estate as well, making the content need to be even more focused or they need to be dubbed and provided in a local language. So, it's a consideration that I think is systemic. When you're trying to bring your content, it's just on a matter of taking a series popular somewhere and there you go. A lot of consideration for how that media will show within what is available within the region and this is a -- this is the sort of advice that we try to give when people approach us from this angle, how to do something that meaningful.
The trend so far, at least from Brazil, is that kids are not only going for the funny content, which to me is very exciting. People who are managing to have a lot of success in the market is the people who understand these constraints and work with the language that's engaging and entertaining and making enough educational content there to get them interested.
I like to think of it as a new way to bring education and entertainment together. It's not just the format that we're used to from this imported content we get from the global north, the global south, especially in Latin America, things are light, they need to be fun, they need to be situational. It's just the way the culture works. And people who are starting to tap into that and understand how the culture works, how the limitations worked, and make products that feel like they're made for the region, so it's local producers, a lot of them. And people are understanding. So, whenever I think about this question, I think, what is the number one priority? To remember that Latin America, for example, it might not be as linguistically diverse as some other sectors of the developing world, but it's still very diverse.
Portuguese and Spanish do share a lot of space with French, English. Looking at something. Many companies often go for -- okay, Brazil. It's very lucrative. It will go for Spanish. It affects a lot of countries. When, in fact, what we have been observing, I think, when you manage to do something that thinks of every aspect, all the way from the Caribbean down, and you are sensitive to those -- those qualities, you end up having something like a hit. You have something that people are interested in and really talking about. And you can see that when we come to, especially to these spaces, when there's youth groups we're talking about something, a lot of things they talk about maybe very local. They're talking about the things that's in their country. A few things, they transcend the region, and everybody gets to talk about them. So that's the sort of thing we should be aiming for, right? Things that can impact not only a very specific region. Something that can make sense for everything.
This is the standpoint I always come from when people ask me, hey, how to make a big impact in Latin America. I think there's a way, but it needs to be really thought of, it's just not important content and putting a subtitle there and there you go. There's a little bit more of a process behind it, thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. Constance, I would love to segue to you. I know Audible thinks a lot about how to make the content local and that's something that Mark touched Bob. How is Audible making it to different languages and ensure that it's authentic and relevant to the communities that it goes into.
>> CONSTANZE STYPULA: I can only say what Mark explained and developed and have content catalog for local people, for French, Brazilian, Africans, you need to speak their language, not only speak their language by supporting subtitles but address the topics in their language. What we do is we open up a new store in new country, recently, for instance, India, we produce Hindi content and we search for local authors and writers to write the content.
We work with local publishers to get the books to audio in local language, and we will engage local actors to play or to speak or to narrate those contents. That's the key element, otherwise, just like putting still more English content. I have nothing against English content. It's great. But however, there's still so much subculture and relevant local culture and relevant country culture. If you do not serve this, people will not accept your offer. The best example is France, I'm responsible for France. Just reuse it. I love it. So basically what we had to do is start with a catalog of 2,000 books three years back. And, of course, the first thing we did was translate the big English order, name them Stephen King, for instance, to a local language and published them. But the business took off from the very moment when we engaged massively with local French authors, Guillome Misso, for instance, published their content and distributed their content that made the difference.
Now we push this further. So not only we publish those contents that supply the publishers, but we create relevant local content. So, we're searching for writers that write original production for us who erase relevant topics.
For instance, we just launched a series about urban 30 somethings, which was a decent success. And then we addressed also locally relevant topics. One other thing I would like to highlight is -- and I'm piggy backing a little bit on what you said earlier, those local content creation goes along with the creation of the local ecosystem that is very healthy. So, again, I quote the example of France, Wie been investing 10 million Euro in the last 2 1/2 years to content creation as 10 million Euros go to writers but namely to actors who buy also engaging in spoken word creation, finding a new source of revenue and to get in their life. We've been working with 250 French actors so far. For them, it's an opportunity. And for us, it makes sure that we create linguistically beautiful content for that audience.
>> MODERATOR: Sasha?
>> I'm thrilled the conversation is turning around questions of culture, the heart of a lot of our work. I would like to reflect on what you said earlier saying going on-line and finding content that they need. And I know a lot of the speakers have also underlined not only finding the content they need, but above all, having the skills.
If the content they're looking for is not there that they have the skill s both as the concerned content production? And here it's absolutely crucial for us. I'll take a moment about one of the experiences that highlight this. That I have the business skills necessary in order to scale it. Because there are lots of great ideas. That don't take off on the ground because they're lacking either a team or the necessary management skills in order to monetize, commercialize, and scale it, particularly, again, in the global south.
Here I'd like to underline one of our -- highlight one of our projects called the women in African history project, that really highlights a lot of the questions that are being addressed specifically with regards to this -- to this emphasis on how can we drive demand is that in the African continent, there was a decision that was adopted that African history would be taught in schools. But then the question is, okay, well, what African history. And UNESCO worked on the establishment of the organization of African unity, textbooks related to the history of the continent. But these textbooks are 300 pages long? They will be used obviously by PhD. Students and by historians, but not necessarily in elementary school. But here it touches on the question of multilingualism and language, not only as it concerns the spoken language and the form in which this content is taking.
So, UNESCO developed on-line tool using hip-hop and slam, digital comic strips developed by local African artists across the continent to talk about history and specifically, the contribution of women to the history of Africa and African development. In these narratives, the presence of women is completely absent. This is rectifying prejudices that are embedded in the production of local content, specifically as it concerns this subject, particularly.
I'd like also very briefly before talking a little bit about the concrete statistics that show why investing in local content direct ly contributes to economic growth and the need for a call to increased infrastructure. Think about what you were saying as it concerns Triggerfish and how you underline what you most need is creativity. That is something that we pro mote on the work in digital inclusion because creativity is an essential part of how we develop inclusion programs. You do not need to be a programmer and engineer in order to work in the field of digital inclusion. And what we're seeing in a lot of the research is what's most need suicide the capacity to teach specifically young people and women, here, particularly, why creative thinking and systems thinking can be an essential tool and asset in the way in which we think about developing digital inclusion programs.
Just the other day, there was an article that was published that I found really interesting was an argument advocating for the need for Google, for example, to hire philosophers saying we don't need any more engineers. What we need is philosophers that can think on a philosophical level, obviously, but also on a sociological level. What are the programs, for example, using AI that can be developed that can be relevant and contribute in a sustainable way in a digital inclusion.
To highlight the research in UNESCO of the partners the need to drive production for economic development, today, women and girls are 25% less likely than men to know how to leverage digital technology for basic purposes, to you are times less likely to know how to program computers, and 13 times less likely to file for technology patents.
So here it underlines the need, again, to invest in business skills while accompanying this kind of creative local content production. It's shown, and Vodafone's sustainable business report has underlined this, that measures designed to enable women and girl s thrive, particularly in the digital sphere, to increase GDP in certain countries by up to 34%. This is absolutely essential. And it really underlines the link between education, local content, infrastructure, and access, and economic growth.
And here I'd like to very briefly touch on one of our programs that we're doing that has a comprehensive approach to how we look at connecting economic growth, digital inclusion, and infrastructure. I know that you mentioned a little bit earlier that a lot of the access to the internet, particularly in developing countries, is coming through mobile phones. I lived for a long time in Senegal where there are more SIM cards in circulation than there are people in the country. The reason this is is you know other companies will have promotions on access. They'll switch their SIM card and use the discount code. And they'll have a privileged access and discounted access to the internet. Because access is incredibly expensive. And a lot of the countries that most need this access in order to produce local solution for digital inclusion and economic growth. 93% of people in Senegal access the internet through their mobile phones.
So, the way in which we think about mobile solutions to promote digital inclusion and economic growth is absolutely crucial. In this vein, UNESCO developed a program we called the youth mobile initiative and it looks specifically at how to empower young people and particularly young women, with the possibility to develop mobile applications that solve local solutions -- local problems, contributed to sustainable development. I see someone from the Senegalese government in the room and would like to recognize the partnership with the ministry with whom we worked that is really -- it's setting the example of best practices in west Africa as it concerns public-private partnerships that promote this kind of approach.
In the framework that we undertook in partnership with the government of Senegal, we trained young women in order to develop mobile app solutions. And concretely, we, for example, developed a program that looked at how to circulate textbooks for young people in school. Because in reality, most people can't afford every year to buy textbooks. The textbooks are being there used to light a fire. Once you're finished with the textbook, there's no circulation. There's a mobile app solution developed by a young woman to ensure these textbooks.
Another app looks at family planning, access to medical records of your newly born child so you can record it on your mobile app and not on a piece of paper that's either go doing get lost or be destroyed with humanity, etc., etc.
One of the things we did was to say okay, they have the technical competencies, how do we ensure they have the business skills. Here, again, it's something that's come up on multiple occasions, this need to ensure mentorship programs that bring together the public and private sector, that ensure business scalability, and skills for these digital solutions. And inscribe them in the ecocenter so there are Eck co-systems that are built that are sustainable, local, and supported. There's no reason to import internationally the solutions made on the ground.
The reason why the solutions are often imported from abroad is because there's not the capacity to scale the solutions or to support or incentives to invest in local enterprises. It's something we're looking at as really the connection between infrastructure, GDP growth, and digital inclusion programs.
>> MODERATOR: We've heard you have to know what market you're going into. Know what markets, don't import broad solution, it may have worked in other regions but maybe not in that region. I didn't introduce myself before, but I'm Sajda Quachtouki. That's something we're thinking about a lot. Going to new markets, new territories, how do we ensure that the content we put out is content to relevant to local stories that's authentic and comes from the people and considers the people. And with that, I would like to segue to Vanessa because that's something that she's also working on?
>> VANESSA ANN SINDEN: What I have seen before I go to what we're currently doing, looking at the landscape in the last ten years, as an African film producer, I have seen typical business models that we're -- we're a studio that creates African stories to the release to the world. That's our model. We're not in a place where we're supported by the state to be creative and create without any sort of business model that would sustain that. So, we need to export internationally. Therefore, the challenge is to make sure that the content speaks to the world, Universal story, themes, and to Ghana and somebody in Israel would be able to connect because it's a story about girls, teenager in high school. So, we're having to create content that is uniquely Universal, but also specific to -- to where we come from.
So, the challenge in the last ten years is we had to fit it in to business models. What we're clear on is our content from our artist to our writers to our voiceover talent as far as possible outside of marketing strategy is music, our composers, all of the technical artistry from asset creation and 3D programs to performance and animation to compositing and lighting. And all of those sort of computer-generated work flows are all local artists, and all African artists, so we have a huge network of artists we work with to make sure that the industry is growing and then to help the artists take the next step to world class, high-quality content. Then, the trick for us is to try to get with that abroad and try to recoup some of the investors' finance and so it's tricky out there.
In another session later today at 3:00 p.m., I'm going to be talking about what that looks like as a business model and how from the -- from the African context, we've had to try to survive in this space. But what I've seen in the last two years is such a shift, obviously there's been so much more focus on digital inclusion as well as making sure we represent all diverse cultures as far as possible. We've seen films from the Disney company and Pixar such as "Cocoa" and "Moana" and a couple more feature films in the pipeline and original content. I'm excited about that. We've seen a huge shift.
The series we're working on, I'd love to show case that, thank you, just on the slide. It's a project that originates from a creator from Zambia. The show itself as I mentioned earlier shows 14 heroes in the lead. I'll quickly skip forward. Four hero girls in the lead. This represents our audience and a picture and it just reminds us of who we're representing and why these young girls have never seen themselves on the screen. When we first met -- sorry, when we first met Malinga, this was her story, this was through the Disney supported story lab, that she never had -- she's never seen a superhero story where young girl, African girls, black girls take the lead. And she wanted to do that. And this was the reason she pitched her concepts. This is her and her sister and she never saw herself on screen. And this is Malinga who's working with us in the writing space at the moment as we produce the first episodes of the series called mama K's team four, the colors aren't so great on the screen.
These are our heroes, this is artwork from a little while ago. We aren't able to show the artwork, these are four girls, beautiful body shapes, hugely different personality types showing women in the STEM themes learning and building gadgets and engineering in their own solutions, taking on the villains of the city comes in all shapes and forms of beauty. And what we're really trying to make sure about the series is that girls, these young girls, not only from the STEM themes, but they see themselves as beautifully represented from hair to body shapes to personality types and that it's an inspiring series for them.
Just some visuals. Sometimes it's great to see visuals. It's a comedy. It's got huge points of action where we've seen them having to take down baddies and trying to keep the boys as well. We don't just want a girls' audience; we want to make sure the boys are as excited about the villains as we are. We did a focus group recently about two weeks ago. We were encouraged to see how the boy s loved the villains, they're so cool and bad ass. We need to make sure that the boys are engaged as well as representing girls.
I spoke a little bit about this. I wanted to introduce you to the writers on the series who never had the opportunity to write in this space. These are workshops and sessions we've been having in the four or five months from Zambia to South Africa. That's just so cute, on top of Table Mountain. So, yeah, that's really -- I just wanted to quickly add as well that as a team, you know, animation -- we create animation, animation travels. We're so lucky in that way. It's so difficult. They know the expense to go to creating content like yours where you have to be culturally specific and it comes at huge expense. And not that animation has to do that, we have to dub all of our work into multiple languages when we release our series. In Africa, it will be in French and pigeon English and Swahili. And English will be fine as well. We want to make sure that all African languages, as many viewers as possible can watch this as around the world. And so that's so important that our animation travels on every project we've worked on, we make sure it travels well and the audiences will enjoy it around the world. Yeah.
>> MODERATOR: The different aspects. I like inclusion and accessibility. I was talking about one tool and I think there's maybe room to support it in the global south as you say which are pod casts.
So, podcasts as you know have a huge success over the last ten years, it's starting and now it's coming to Europe and has a true waif. And what's so beautiful about pod casts, it's mobile, user-generated content. It allows us to express yourself, to tell your intimate personal stories. Those are also the pod casts that have the huge -- so it has a political sphere, it can have a cultural sphere. It can talk about sociological problem, all this, and it's a prerequisite of setting up a spoken word meaning some of the pod casters can make a living out of it as soon as we have the respective audiences. Worlds, female topics are very discussed. In each topic that no one would tackle. And all you need is a mobile phone and then recording system on it which is normally preloaded. Then you can basically start to express yourself, maybe earn a living out of it. And for us, it's audible, of course. Pod cast creation is like a -- we watch closely what's going on, we invite them to write something for our premium product. I wanted to call this out. Pod cast is the new tool to support cultural inclusion and cultural accessibility, I think.
>> MODERATOR: I'm glad you mentioned that. It's a great move to the next question which is that technology is seen as a destruct tore. But as we've heard that -- you can lead to freedom of expression, the example of pod casts that it can lead to skill building, education. So as a final wrapup question, I would love to learn more how you believe technology empowered local community, increase individuals' quality of life. And really created new opportunities for people who may not have had those opportunities had it not been for technology.
>> MARK DATYSGELD: I know we talked about business. Now I talk about myself. This question is directly my personal experience. I didn't exactly have the means to learn the skills that I have. And the internet and multimedia were the way that I found to learn them. So, I was very interested in technology. And I was very interested in languages, but how do I go about learning those, right? That's expensive to learn.
So, my way was exactly through multimedia and the internet. That's where I learned to code. That's where I learned English. That's where I learned Spanish. That's where I learned all of the skills that I have that make me a professional that can work within this environment. And when I think about how did that go? Why was that possible? Well, a lot of it has to do with what content was cheap or made available in a way that made sense for me or that it was maybe expensive but provided me a lot of return. Because with very limited amount of resources to invest, you need to think about the return, where are you going. So, how do you learn English, for instance.
I took all of the books that I read in Portuguese and said I started to listen to the audio books in English. Because I had a frame of reference. But what could be a good solution to that. For example, my provider of any media would give me the original version and the translated version. Why is that not an option. It's in some media. So in films when you buy a Blu-ray, it comes with different language aspect s. When you have media, it should be a thing for books as well, all sorts of media, it's a learning tool. But content producers often don't think of it that way. They don't go for that angle. They were talking about localization, how important it is, it's super important. But it's important to remember that this is being used as a learning tool by so many people across the world. So, isn't it interesting when you're offering something that's been translated to also give access to do original work. You may be planting a seed there for language learning, which, is 100% true, right? I can attest to that not only from thinking perspective, to me, it was the way to learn the languages that I speak internationally.
So, when looking at this, I will go back to that we haven't really talked about, which is games on very passionate about gaming. I think it's a way to engage young people in a unique manner that's cool and at the same time can be educational and when thinking about this, Brazil had a rampant piracy problem, rampant. Just, you go to the streets and buy the material off of the streets. And for a long time, the way to combat that is to simple forces to disrupt the business. To do federal actions, to get the very coercive action against that.
But then, that didn't solve anything. That disrupted the market, but didn't really generate any meaningful results. Maybe some politicians will say, no, it did. But it didn't. From a policy maker perspective, now as a policy maker, understand the result of that was maybe a net negative impact.
What really helped looking at it from a policy perspective is when some content producers for games started to look at the market and say we cannot think of bottom line in dollars or target for the global north and try to sell this as the local currency. This doesn't make sense for this market. A few privileged people will have access to this, they started thinking, what is a good price -- what is sensible to this market considering the average income of a household? And there's a specific platform that does that. I'll give them a shoutout. It's Steam. They started doing that. And immediately, computer gaming, particularly the BC market, started vanishing. It was a view from the streets in a not very privileged neighborhood, I could see it literally start to disappear as people had access to content that is price sensitive and that made sense for them.
And that's how you fight piracy. And that's my broader point. Maybe people in developing world don't like to pirate, which is a point that I hear very often when discussing with my colleagues from the IP sector. No, there's a tendency. There's no tendency. There's no access. They don't have money, they don't have -- you have to make those choices about where to spend the limited amount of money they have. It's a tough choice. And if you price it fairly, if you make it make sense for them, of course they want to consume the content producers. And this is the sort of thing that moving into the 2020s as more companies start to establish themselves for real and for local content, this is also a concern. How should price things in a way that they make sense because if you're talking about the physical goods, yeah, you're worried about maybe, you know, that triangulation of selling, buy cheap here, sell on eBay, sure. But for digital, it's not a thing. For digital, they will put in that market and work in that market. You can check in several ways.
So, I guess my brother messaging as someone who really learned my life skills, using those skills is the pricing has to make sense and once you can figure that one out, that's how you unlock access. That's how you make things work on the demand and the supply side. So, sorry for my slightly longer intervention, but hopefully it will give food for thought and so on. Thank you.
>> SAJDA QUACHTOUKI: That was wonderful. That was relating to an earlier point we have to think of local solutions to local problems which is something that Sasha talked about when she talked about UNESCO's work. If you want to go next.
>> If you learned the English on-line, I would like the address that I can learn Brazilian Portuguese like you speak English and will immediately download that app and begin tonight. In closing, I would like to talk briefly about our initiative, the UNESCO Pearson initiative for literacy and give examples of success stories that directly address some of the questions that you've asked.
As many of you know, 758 million adults in the world, including 115 million youth don't have the basic literacy skills in order to engage in our digitized economies and participate fully in producing solutions that are digital based in our societies.
So, to address this issue, UNESCO and Pearson, an international education company, teamed up to explore new ways to enable low-skill and low literate youth and adults to profit from inclusive digital technologies and strengthen the literacy and basic skills. The objective overall of this initiative is to make sure that we offer meaningful services that support the development of digital skill, that we better understand and design solutions for people with low literacy by taking into account their local, cultural context, by creating more engaging content and usable interfaces, including through gaming, which I'm a strong believer in, and comic strips and animated films, ensuring the implementation environments in addition to technology and content, support inclusive usage, so this means developing enabling public policies that support these kinds of public-private partnerships that has at its heart dedication to digital skills promotion. And monitor, measure, and improve solutions as the technology ecosystem, but also the world changes. In light of AI. This is part of a larger project called project literacy. And at the heart of it, it's really looking at how to ensure guidelines that create more inclusive, accessible, and usable digital solutions and policies.
So, this is broken up to three separate sections. The first is to produce a landscape review that looks at digital solutions and livelihoods and people with low skills and literacy levels in order to understand through gaps analysis and data how to design, develop, and implement more inclusive digital solutions. Because in order to advocate for these kinds of solutions, we need data, we need information, and we need informed public policy development and programming.
The second aspect was to produce 14 in depth case studies that look at innovative approaches and lessons learned of projects that offer inclusion and skills development based on digital solutions. So just to highlight three of them, of the 14 that were highlighted, we received over 160 suggestions of these case studies, all of this is obviously available on-line. So, if you would like more information, please feel free to download it. But one of the solution, for example, is a farmer training app looking at mobile training modules for sustainable farming practices in central America knowing agriculture and the sustainable agriculture and the issues related to environmental management is at the heart of the preoccupations at the global level.
The second looks at another priority of UNESCO oh, questions of disabilities, and it's called here screen, a smart phone app for early detection of hearing loss administered by community members with low literacy and digital skills around the world. So, again, really looking at how mobile skills development and digital inclusion can change the way in which people with disabilities and communities can participate actively in our world today. The translation of language learning and the information for Syrian refugees living in Turkey. This will solution underlines two of my priorities, and how to ensure that despite this displacement, they're developing local solutions to the challenges they're facing and looks at the question of multilingualism. And reflecting on Triggerfish, making sure the solutions are available in local languages, so are available in Swahili, available in Pular and Jola, which are languages that are spoken all across the continent but unfortunately a lot of the content de facto are exclusionary because if people can access it, great, but they need to understand it.
So, this is another kind of emphasis that we place. And the last aspect is really looking at creating a set of guidelines to inform and support digital solution providers and development partners and governments of why concrete ly investing in digital solutions that develop the skills of low skilled or low literate users not only improves the livelihood of target beneficiaries but overall improves the economy. So this idea that doing good and the country doing well are two separate things is not the case, that actually when you invest in the digital literacy of the communities and of your citizens, the overall well being of the nation, both as it concerns sustainable development, but also on an economic level improves.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Constanze?
>> CONSTANZE STYPULA: The revolution that Audible stands for, the renaissance for oral culture as a culture, technology is the tool. So basically, if you think back, 800BC, how was literature through oral exchange? But this oral exchange was local and in between some people. So, what happens now with the internet first, and secondly with the mobile phone, certainly now also with cloud service accessible on smart speakers such as the echo. So, Alexa, is that it becomes delocalized again, accessible, world-wide on a global scale. That's what's currently happening. So, our prerequisite for the success of our business was the mobile phone. It took up in the early 2010 when the mobile phone was democratized in all social spheres and in all Geos that was the point when it grew disproportionately and does today because people discovered the beauty of spoken word audio.
The beauty on the creation or the consumption side of spoken word consumption through the mobile phone and then also through smart speakers. So, I think technology isn't. And as I said earlier, it is not only demand and supply, but it's the whole ecosystem that is created around a whole system of creativity of self-discovery at the end, also. I'm talking about the pod cast of self-expressiveness, so I think the internet and particularly the mobile internet and the devices that -- that have been launched over the last years makes the difference and opens a whole new sphere of exchange, of cultural accessibility and inclusion.
>> MODERATOR: I love and appreciate that the conversation has turned a little bit to giving handles to policy makers and private sectors about investment. And how co-you do that? Because it feels like it's such a big topic. We're representing all different countries and the amazing works across what our companies are doing.
But I really love to just focus on the fact that there is this on-line advancement, but it needs to be backed up with physical investment on the ground as well. So, you know, I honestly -- your question was about it being a disrupter, but it couldn't be further from the truth.
When I look at what happens on-line in terms of on-line materials and tutorials and the way that you -- that you said you learned to do what you do and your skills will all learn, that is so true of Africa, I think there's so many similarities between south -- South Africa and -- between Africa and South America. When I pitched the series for "Mama K's Team Four," we had a team in Brazil were excited about the themes coming through in the TV series for women from developing countries was something they could relate to. They were excited about the series as well. I see so many similarities. And if we can focus on making sure that the on-line tutorials are free to all, access to all are there, it would be an amazing step forward.
And for young people to recognize that is available to them, it does require emerging markets that you need physical space like hubs and digital innovation labs. And often I'll see that in South African context coming from the universities where the digital labs, the Bongo Hive in Lusaka is also an example of that. Those are wonderful spaces and initiatives where young can come and have access to hardware and software and be on-line and be able to upscale. There has to have hand in hand cohesion, and we have to invest in private or government invest in these areas. Being on-line in Africa is a smart phone requirement. And having access to the internet is another. And there's too expensive things. Hand in hand synergy is so important from the African perspective. When it comes to being on-line, the on-line tutorials are massive. I learned so much myself with on-line tutorials and I speak to animation students about why pay for such expensive tutorials in education when there are free on-line tutorials. And I completely agree, there's so much more value.
I wouldn't excuse the one, but I think there's a lot of similarities with that African tenacity, the desire to learn and to create is there. I've met filmmakers who created their entire CG film from scratch, from concept script all the way through to the final rendering. I'm like, how did you do it? Mozambique creator did it all himself. Why? Because no one said you couldn't.
That's the heart of Africa. That's how we thrive. And to make sure that there are materials that we're hungry for it, we're able to consume it and take steps for it. On-line mentorship is massive. The animation mentor programs, the women in animation, mentorship programs as well, specifically for women that's from Burbank and Europe and hopefully soon in Africa, thank you. And it really is that the platform that allows on-line mentorship and as cultural -- and that content from different cultures gets an opportunity to be made and invested and produced. So that comes with skills development.
And I often as a producer of content, I often look at artists remotely done through various platforms wouldn't be able to do that and wouldn't be able to work with artist in Nigeria. I work with a huge amount of artist in Nigeria. There is an amazing amount of people who can sell that on-line, it's a proof of concept. They're trying to build a revenue model. I love that. So, I really -- if I wasn't able to work with them remotely, there would be a huge gap. There are amazing examples of what's currently happening. So, I really just as an encouragement and handle those are the risks to invest in alongside the digital hubs and incubation centers, it's so many even on the German -- from the Guta Institute and in Africa making some huge grounds making sure there's space and you feel confident and you feel like you can grow as a creator. That's important.
So, it has to be hand in hand. Yep?
>> MODERATOR: I want to give a quick thank you to the panelists. We heard examples of how we're bridging digital gaps and pushing for inclusion. We heard personal stories about learning to code, learning languages, the importance of local solutions to local problems. We heard about the power of technology to be a learning tool and a self-expression tool. And we also learned about how we can bridge the digital gap and create demand for the internet by ensuring there's locally relevant content.
Everyone who has stayed, we have a treat for you. As Vanessa mentioned, we have a short video from TriggerFish that shows the power of storytelling and is really just fantastic. I saw it earlier this week. It's great.
>> VANESSA ANN SINDEN: Can I do a little introduction. This little short is five minutes, it's "Bellyflop." It was created in the down time. We're not a studio that tries to figure out how to do world class entertainment and keep the lights on. That's huge and growing and birthing an industry to make sure it's inclusive itself. This little short was done in down time when artists had a day here, a day there, a week here. And Kelly Dylan is a filmmaker who currently has a preschool TV series with Disney junior that's in development and this is one of the shorts ideas called "Belly flop" and she's one of the Disney story lab finalists from 2015. So, it's wonderful to see women feel comfort in -- confident in the space and in the last three or four years growing leaps and bounds. So, what a wonderful case study. Thank you. Cue the video.
>> MODERATOR: I hope you all enjoyed that. Even the second time around, I was totally captivated.
We have a few minutes now for Q&A for our wonderful panelists if anyone has any questions?
>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hello. I'm from Ghana. I represent solutions foundation. My quick question, it has to do with access. And I had a plan -- you mention -- you kept on mentioning that you designed -- you designed some software to be able to distribute textbooks. You spoke about that in Senegal. So, my question is how do you deal with the local publishers or the copyright when it comes to that aspect. Because it's been one of the things that we've been battling with in Ghana. What are we trying to do is distribute computers to school? And then try to find open source content for the students to use locally. Most don't have mobile content. 95% are mobile phones like you keep on mentioning. But how do you deal with that access? Thank you.
>> Thank you for that question. As it concerns the mobile app with regards to textbook circulation, it's textbooks that are bought that otherwise remain unused but it's a platform for exchange of printed textbooks between students from different classes. But actually, as part of the mobile app, and this is something that was brought up that I think is absolutely essential, as part of the mobile app, we have links to open educational resources.
And here I'd like to underline there's a lot of advancements in the field of OER and also a lot of misconceptions, the first misconception is that open educational resources means that nobody makes any money.And, so, this is a huge preoccupation, actually, particularly from my experience in West Africa. A lot of advocacy needs to be done to say it needs to be published under a creative comments license is an open educational resource does not mean that it cannot be commercialized and sustainable. This is fundamental and the advocacy that needs to be undertaken from data, needs to be collected proving that OER does not mean the death of the publishing industry in west Africa.
There's a question here. And I'd like to underline a great example coming out of eastern Africa, which is the brick, which looks at how to combine questions of access with regards to -- very concretely to the access of internet and the questions of content. And the brick is a portable device that allows for remote communities to have access to the internet, embedded in the brick is a repository of open educational resources. Just giving access is really not enough, there's a question of also tailoring local content and making local content promoting digital skills available. So, there is a way to support the publishing industry in Africa while also promoting circulation of existing publishing.
For example, you go to a used bookstore, like the strand bookstore in New York hasn't killed the publishing industry in the United States. So, what could be a similar platform, for example, in west Africa, targeting specifically in this case, educational textbooks. There are vendors along the streak in Dakar and Lagos that are selling literature, but not necessarily selling the textbooks that are relevant to school programs. So, this mobile app provided a solution to that.
Just very briefly in closing as it concerns your question, there are three areas that need to be built up specifically in the global south to argue for the link between open access and open educational resources. The first is the need for data. The second is the need for skills training. But both in the publishing sector but also as it concerns economic models that ensures us is typical of these kinds of products. The last is using those first to ensure enabling public policies.
And here I would like to underline a couple of days ago in UNESCO's conference, we opened a resource recommendation which looks specifically at how to backstop and help public policy makers, but also people in industries that are affected by OER, notably, the publishing sector in developing programs and policies that enable this kind of open access.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, wonderful. Any other questions before we close? We have about three minutes left? Are there any on-line questions? All right, thank you so much to our panelists, I enjoyed this and got a lot from it. I think all of you have as well. Thank you, if I can get a round of applause.
[ Applause ]
>> Thank you to our wonderful moderator.