Will for the Web

State of Digital Inequity: Civil Society Perspectives on Barriers to Progress in our Digitizing World

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Today, the internet is one of the most powerful tools we have to learn, earn, stay connected, and shape our world. Yet billions of people lack the access they need to participate online. To understand the impact this inequity has on the work of civil society organizations across the world, we asked the people doing this work to share their experiences of the barriers and opportunities of digital technology.

Based on survey responses from 7500+ participants across 136 countries, this report provides the largest ever mapping of the digital barriers facing civil society organizations — and those faced by the communities they serve.

It provides data across a range of issues, including access, affordability, digital skills, policy, and funding for digital equity efforts.

While 95 percent of organizations said the internet is vital to their ability to do their work, three in four said that a lack of internet access, tools, or skills limits their ability to serve their communities effectively.

The message is clear. Not only is the internet today a basic right, it is critical to the success of all civil society organizations.

As with other rights-based struggles, civil society must play a leading role to change this. We have the knowledge and tools to get this done — now we need governments, investors, and philanthropic funders to work alongside communities to make digital equity a reality for all.

Go deeper

To learn more, download the report. For headline findings, read the executive summary.

This report is based on a survey conducted in partnership between Connect Humanity and TechSoup, and with additional distribution from CIVICUS, FORUS, NTEN, and WINGS.

The data analysis was carried out by Logica Research.

The survey questions are available to download. If you are a researcher interested in access to the raw, anonymized survey data, please email community@connecthumanity.fund to discuss. We reserve the right to use our discretion in granting access.

With special thanks to Auth0, Filecoin Foundation, Hilton Foundation, Humanity United, and OKTA for providing financial support.

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