Advancing Digital Equity
As societies and economies continue to digitize, 3.6 billion people are falling further behind just by staying where they are.
The pandemic has highlighted serious digital inequalities. One in three children — unable to connect from home — are likely to lose at least a year of education. Families, unable to work from home, are falling into poverty. The importance of internet access and the skills to use it is only accelerating; participation in the future of work, learning, commerce, governance, and community depends on digital inclusion today.
Over the past 25 years, traditional telecom operators have only managed to connect half the world — and that was the easy half. Universal access will require alternative infrastructure providers, new types of financing and business models, changes in policy, digital skill-building at scale, and an increase in locally relevant content. To meet the needs of this moment and prepare for the years to come, we will need to invest in a diverse set of actors dedicated to ending the digital divide. There are no silver bullets here.
Connect Humanity, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, is rallying philanthropic organizations, investors, industry, governments, civil society leaders, and international experts to build a community of practice around the shared goal of connecting the unconnected, supported by the capital to do so. With awareness about the plight of the unconnected at an all time high, this is the moment to substantially invest in bringing internet access to all people.
How We Connect the Unconnected
Expand the Financial Toolbox
Different communities and interventions to expand access require different types of financing. Connect Humanity is building three investment vehicles to leverage creative financing solutions and support partners with grants, working capital, and impact investments.
Support a Sustainable Ecosystem of Actors
The majority of our funding will go to helping the ecosystem of existing actors become sustainable. These organizations provide alternative infrastructure to disenfranchised communities, pioneer new business models, advocate for policy change, drive digital skills training, and produce critical locally relevant content.
Rally Civil Society for Policy Change
Connect Humanity will rally civil society through research and advocacy efforts to encourage governments and regulators to pursue policies that fundamentally shift the economics of connectivity, thus accelerating the rate at which people are connecting.
Drive Growth Through Openness
To cultivate a robust community of practice, we will implement tested open practices. We aim to both support those already leading work on these issues, and also to grow a body of shared knowledge for all actors working toward the shared goal of connecting the unconnected.
Join Connect Humanity
Investors, philanthropists, and companies interested in collaborating through our philanthropic, debt, and venture funds.
We are currently mapping the organizations around the world already doing great work to connect the unconnected who we might support. Regardless of whether you’re a for-profit or non-profit, if you’re working toward this goal, we want to make sure you’re on our radar.
Global grassroots civil society leaders who can help us map persistent gaps, identify local leaders, surface best practices, and keep driving the conversation until everyone has meaningful access to the internet.
Together, we can ensure that everyone — regardless of their gender, race, profitability, or proximity to a router — can come online and reach their full potential.
To get in touch, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Connecting 3.6 billion people to meaningful internet access.
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