Launching a New Partnership to Bring Women Online

September 23, 2021

Bringing 6,000 women online in rural Ghana with BLUETOWN, Microsoft Airband Initiative and The Hunger Project.

The gender digital divide blocks more than two billion women from accessing agriculture, health, education and civic engagement opportunities and solutions. And the divide is only getting worse: women are, on average, 14% less likely to own mobile phones than their male counterparts, and 43% less likely to engage online. Which is why we’re excited to announce the launch of a pilot program to close the gender digital divide in rural Ghana.

In partnership with BLUETOWN and the U.S. Agency for International Development and with support from Microsoft’s Airband Initiative, the pilot program will provide access to information about education, agriculture, health, government initiatives, finance and business management and create opportunities for women to be active members of the digital economy. Reliable connectivity will sustainably increase women’s economic opportunities and eliminate barriers to women’s digital inclusion in three Hunger Project epicenters in Eastern Ghana. This will connect around 6,000 women to vital resources and knowledge that they will utilize to create waves of lasting development in their communities. 

The collaboration will utilize BLUETOWN’s successful rural connectivity model, The Hunger Project’s proven programs, methodologies and educational content, and the technical expertise and scale of Microsoft’s staff and operations. To ensure rapid adoption of digital services, the project will leverage the already-mobilized communities at the heart of The Hunger Project’s epicenter strategy. Women in the communities will be trained as digital operators to manage the internet cafés, encouraging women’s participation in the digital community and creating micro-entrepreneurial opportunities. 

Photo above: Launch event in Ghana, September 3, 2021

“Closing the gender digital divide requires more than just providing connectivity – we must take a holistic approach by bringing women and girls online, delivering digital literacy training, and encouraging their participation in the digital economy. Projects like these lift women, and in the process can help lift up rural communities.” – Vickie Robinson, general manager of Microsoft’s Airband Initiative

“Women’s digital inclusion is vital to sustainable development. Together with The Hunger Project and Microsoft, we are creating a sustainable, scalable approach to women’s digital inclusion in rural communities.” – Peter Ib, CEO of BLUETOWN.

“Addressing digital gender inequities requires more than simple access. It requires sustainable solutions that address the myriad barriers to women’s digital inclusion, including development of digital skills and digital literacy. With our new collaboration, we will be able to address and remove these barriers.” – Tim Prewitt, President and CEO of The Hunger Project

Watch a Side Event of the 76th UN General Assembly discussing the pilot program and parternship: