IGF 2019 WS #342
Digitally Skilling our Youth: Varied Global Approaches

Organizer 1: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 1: Isura Silva, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Ana Neves, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Sharada Srinivasan, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Round Table - Circle - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

How do we best equip the youth with the necessary skills to take advantage of new employment opportunities that will result from digital transformation? How do governments approach digital skills training? Who should conduct it, and what standards currently prevail? How should we meaningfully craft policy in this space?


GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Description: The session will have three parts, both with a highly interactive discussion component. The workshop will be organized as a highly interactive discussion roundtable to facilitate dialogue between orgnaizations from various countries and stakeholder groups, with an eye to assimilate the knowledge in the room to feed into decisionmakers’ discussions. The first section will cover implementation of digital skills training. Some of the key questions to be addressed are listed below. 1. Implementation of Digital Skills Training Programs for the Youth in the Global South How does digital skills training vary by demographic, literacy level and language proficiency? How can digital skills training be integrated into other kinds of training programs for youth in communities with low traditional literacy? How do we incorporate elements such as detecting misinformation, privacy violation, GDPR norms etc into digital skills training for the youth? Workshop participants shall hear two of the speakers for 5 minutes each, with each speaker introducing their perspectives on how to implement programs that train the youth in critical digital skills. Participants will hear insights from a diverse range of experts from governments, businesses and civil society organizations on their experience with implementation. The second section will then look at metrics of impact, in a policy space that is fairly diffused. Some key questions in this section are listed below. 2. Impact of Digital Skills Training Programs for the Youth in the Global South How do digital literacy programs support the development of youth’s digital skills? How do digital literacy programs help youth attain jobs or start/improve their business? How do digital literacy programs help youth handle online content risks? In this case, two other speakers will lead with perspectives on these questions, followed by a moderated question and answer session. The two segments will then feed into the third segment, 3. Key lessons from real-world implementations to inform policy: What are the main challenges in implementing in-school and out-of-school approaches? How can policy facilitate Digital Skills Training Programs for the Youth in the Global South? In this session, the moderator will summarize the key takeaways from the discussion and the workshop will conclude with interaction between all participants to supplement the learnings.

Expected Outcomes: The session has three expected outcomes. First, we seek to provide a critical platform for grassroots implementing organizations to talk about the

The list below provides examples of the ways discussion will be facilitated amongst speakers, audience members, and online participants and ensure the session format is used to its optimum: Seating: Participants will sit around a large (circular) table (seating style permitting). Several roaming microphones will be used to facilitate discussion during the Q&A session (microphone availability permitting). This will facilitate discussion by creating an enabling and comfortable atmosphere where all speakers and participants are given an equal footing in the discussion. The moderator may walk around the room to engage participants as well. We may consider use of images and Powerpoint presentations to aid those whose native language may not be English. Video material may also be considered to help engage remote participants, as has been done in workshops that we have organized in previous years. We have, in previous years, used video quite effectively to share messages from the grassroots, and will aim to do so again this year. A preparatory call with meeting notes and a doodle-decided time, as well as a preparatory meeting onsite will be organised for all speakers, moderators and co-organisers in advance of the workshop so that everyone has a chance to meet, share views and prepare for the session. Social media: Given the varied background of discussants and audience members, organisers will explore introducing some questions online in order to kickstart some discussion on social media in the run up to the workshop. In previous years, we have used the official IGF hashtags to kickstart and generate discussion around the sessions we have organized, and we hope to continue that record this year. Walk-in participants will be encouraged to participate in the discussion by the moderator who will seek contributions from participants in person and remotely. During the session summary, in order to encourage diverse contributions, the moderator will animate discussion between experts and participants to help conclude and generate suggestions for possible next steps.

Relevance to Theme: Digital skills are an important aspect of ensuring that all young people are digitally included. However, little policy attention has addressed the digital inclusion systematically among young people; there are varied approaches that are currently being implemented for the same. This workshop will bring together key real-world implementers of digital skill training programs for youth in different geographies. In Sri Lanka, Fusion developed telecenter-based digital skills training program to promote entrepreneurship among youth. In Rwanda, the Digital Skills ambassadors program focuses on after-school mentorship clubs. In Portugal, the government funds digital skills training using government-secured funds as part of InCode 2030, their national plan. These real-world perspectives from various different organization types in different parts of the world will shed new insights into digital literacy training programs for youth by 1) providing challenges and opportunities at the community, organization, and government levels confronting digital skills training for youth; 2) identifying regional, national, and global standards for outcomes in digital skills and readiness; and 3) informing both policymakers and implementers in terms of duration, curriculum, delivery modes, and impact of different real-world programs.

Relevance to Internet Governance: This session bears direct importance to Internet governance, as a first step to understanding the norms, shared principles, and best practices around youth digital skills training is to understand practice on the ground. Our session, as with previous ones in the past, addresses this challenge directly. 1 World Connected has historically introduced new and diverse voices from the grassroots to address policy questions. Addressing of the question on digital skills training is one that benefits from the voices on the ground, and lends valuable perspectives to the growth of Internet governance overall.

Online Participation

The remote moderator will play an important role in sharing the ideas of remote speakers/participants and will encourage interventions through video. During the open discussion sections, open questions will encourage responses from participants and everyone will be given equal weight and equal opportunity to intervene. In past years, the remote moderator in our workshops have often asked if there were remote interventions, quite actively, encouraging online participants to intervene during comments. Further, we will enable both typed and spoken interventions, to account for varied technological capabilities. We will also coordinate with remote hubs to make key interventions, if any.

Proposed Additional Tools: We will publicize the workshop on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram through the project's official handles. Further, we typically have a media person from the communications team at the university onsite at the IGF, and use clips from the workshop sessions for a summary video at the end of the IGF. We are also looking into using a Slack channel, among other new online tools, for facilitation of collaboration both prior to and after the workshop.

1. Key Policy Questions and Expectations
  • What are the current trends in the digital skills training programs?
  • What are their implications for policy?
2. Summary of Issues Discussed
  • Majority of projects do not have a viable business model for long-term sustainability
  • There is a wide variance in curriculum and pedagogy, as well as on mode of delivery across projects
  • Projects do not report outcomes in terms of learning rigorously with no structured M&E
  • The digital skills training programs in Ghana and the West African sub region with a focus on Data protection policies, adopted practices and language and the proposed move from theoretical based learning to practical learning methods.
  • The upsurge of communities and open spaces for digital skills training via two (2) case studies, their impact, possible adjustment that can better position young people to use the skills attained towards economic empowerment.
  • Challenges such as infrastructure, resources, and policies that stifle the implementation of in-school and out-of-school approaches with focus on the trends in Ghana, West Africa and Africa at large.
  • What generally is an attractive and rewarding approach to engage youth in digital training with a focus on fellowships, competitions, paid internships and opportunity for growth.
3. Policy Recommendations or Suggestions for the Way Forward
  • Adoption is socially motivated so leveraging people’s social circles as a learning channel helps to engage target groups into digital literacy programs
  • Goal-based learning methodologies that focus on teaching digital skills necessary to reach an end-goal can promote engagement and provide more benefits for target groups
  • In-person and practical on-device workshops can make more impact than other forms of digital literacy training methods 
  • Connecting with anchor organizations such as tele-centers and libraries is essential for the strength of each program’s sustainability
  • Choosing safe and easy to access locations such as schools, community centers, and libraries can minimize fears of harassment and lower transport costs, and improves the take-up
  • Creating same or similar age, education, and occupation level groups for training programs can help to create a comfortable learning environment 
4. Other Initiatives Addressing the Session Issues
  • The session included the perspectives of the youth on the digital skills training programs, Lily Botsyoe from Ghana and Gab Karsan from Tanzania, and Liz Orembo from Kictanet and Youth Coalition on Internet Governance talked about the policy implications in East Africa.
5. Making Progress for Tackled Issues
  • It is imperative to bring different stakeholders together to promote discussion and devise strategies that engage a broader range of stakeholders for more impactful and sustainable digital skills training programs and policy. At IGF, we don’t often have the opportunity to speak with local practitioners and implementers on the ground, technology companies, or funding agencies. That prevents us from learning about their challenges and sharing our findings and learnings with them. For instance, our work shows that most of the digital skills training programs are grant-funded or and are not often sustainable. There should be more opportunities for youth to meet with practitioners and funding agencies to identify more effective ways to allocate funds so that they will have more impact. Therefore, we would like to see more tech companies, funding agencies (e.g., Gates Foundation, IDRC, Microsoft etc) at IGF to open up the space for discussion.
6. Estimated Participation
  • Offline participation was around 30 people, more than half were women. 
7. Reflection to Gender Issues
  • Identifying the best time of day for particular demographics is key to promote participation and gender equity when offering digital skills training
  • Raising awareness of the potential benefits of Internet to gatekeepers such as community leaders, women’s husbands can advocate for digital literacy programs as a public good.
  • Women face unique challenges in access and use due to multiple, intersecting factors
8. Session Outputs

Additional policy recommendations:

<li>Raising awareness of the potential benefits of Internet to gatekeepers such as community leaders, women’s husbands can advocate for digital literacy programs as a public good.</li>
    <li>Identifying the best time of day for particular demographics is key to promote participation and gender equity</li>
    <li>Encouraging local communities to develop local content platforms through incentives, that are owned and operated by them can speed up the local content creation and improve ownership</li>
    <li>Digital skills training programs should have a structured M&amp;E to measure the learning outcomes of digital skills training programs&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li>

<li>Relaxing just one barrier may not improve women’s access and use (e.g., in geographies where the decision makers are not women and women live with gatekeepers, the intervention should also involve gatekeepers such as in South East Asia; or in geographies where HIV is prevalent among women, interventions should be sensitive to the privacy concerns for women)</li>

<li>Addressing multiple barriers that affect women simultaneously can help to design more effective and sustainable interventions</li>