Standing in the gap and Bridging the Digital Divide

in eme •  29 days ago  (edited)

With the advent of various life-changing technologies came the chance for mankind to have an easier, faster and better life. As such, the ability to access computers, and by extension, the web/internet, has become necessary for one to immerse oneself within the economic, political, and social aspects of human life all over the world. However, it is often the case that not everyone has access to such life-changing technologies. Some people end up being on the sidelines, marginalised. This lopsidedness is what forms what is known as the digital divide. Basically, digital divide may be expressed as the gulf between the regions or areas which have access to modern ICT devices (such as telephones, computers, the internet etc) and those who don't.

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It is seemingly apposite to bring to notice that the term digital divide is not a new idea but one which has developed over the years. Before the late 20th century, the term was used to refer to the split between those that had access to telephones and those who didn't. However, recently it mostly points to the gap between urban cities and rural towns or areas in relation to global awareness and access to information devices.

It is perhaps equally worthy of mention that digital divide takes difference forms. It occurs between the rural areas and urban cities, between the educated and the uneducated, between socio-economic groups and less developed countries. Even in countries with access to digital technology it is evident by virtue of the gap between the quality of computers being used by different individuals. In other words, the idea of the "digital divide" refers to the ever increasing gap between the underprivileged members of society (especially the poor, rural, elderly, and handicapped) who do not have access to computers or the internet; and those who have access (the wealthy, middle-class etc or those living in urban and suburban areas) on the other hand.

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There are various factors contributing to the digital divide and they may include a person's level of education, background or location, financial status etc. One of the chief barriers to equal internet access is the issue of affordability. Most people cannot cope with the attendant high prices coming with technological advances. Another issue of contention is the lack of empowerment which results to the inequality in participation i.e people who do not have the necessary knowledge how to effectively employ the internet.

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The impacts of digital divide are severe and are far reaching on the individual, the society and the globe at large. One of these impacts is its contribution to stratification in a society where some people have access to the internet while others do not, either due to illiteracy or affordability issues. Digital divide also inhibits access to information and knowledge. As it is commonly said that the lack of information is deformation. Also, people would generally agree that knowledge is power which means that the lack thereof amounts to powerlessness. The difference between the rich and the poor is some cases is lack of information. Information is power and in the words of an astute scholar "if education is expensive try ignorance." Indeed, there is a world out there waiting to be explored and the internet is a leverage for this opportunities to be tapped into and exploited.

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One of these opportunities is the emerging cryptocurrency and blockchain world which has come to establish itself as the future of many spheres of human endeavour. However, due to the digital divide, some people do not have an idea of what cryptocurrency or blockchain technology is. This is rather disturbing as it means that such marginalised people do not have the privilege to enjoy the benefits that the emergence of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology has brought with it. It is obvious that some solution has to be proffered to solve this huge problem and EmpowermeEOS might just be that solution.

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EmpowermeEOS is a social initiative, based on the EOS blockchain, created with the singular purpose of helping youths and people in marginalised communities get in touch with the changing times in the financial sphere in line with crypocurrency and blockchain technology, so that they would not be left behind. The major aim has been to use the EOS blockchain as a pillar to support these people and help them on a journey to understand the world of cryptocurrency and all it entails. So far we've been able to help several people as the program currently boasts of a little over 100 students.

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(EmpowermeEOS mentor, Toju Kaka, teaching a set students about blockchain technology at a campus meet-up)

We have taken it upon ourselves to provide them with ample education so that they are mentally equipped to succeed. We believe that education is empowerment. Education is the primary tool that we can use to reduce the ignorance fear and poverty in this world. We believe that no amount of financial aid can cure poverty because poverty is not a disease of the pocket but rather a disease of the mind. Thus, the importance of empowering people with knowledge.

However, in facilitating this education, it is rather obvious that the contemporary classroom experience will not suffice. This is owing to the fact that technology is bringing so much rapid change to the world and the education systems in most parts of the world simply cannot keep up. Most of these vital knowledge can be accessed online with the myraid of great online courses and content. There are equally many online influencers that help to break down the most complex ideas and make it easy for the layman to understand. But what happens when the people you want to educate are not online? What happens when they cannot afford to be online? What happens when they don’t have smartphones? What happens when they cannot afford data/internet subscription?

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(EmpowermeEOS mentor, Toju Kaka, presenting a laptop to a University student at a blockchain awareness tour)

This is where EmpowermeEOS comes in. The plan has been to provide young people with technology, education and mentorship so that they can attain financial freedom. We leverage on the EOS blockchain, its dApps, communities and sidechains to empower these teens and youths by equipping them with the necessary tools (such as phones, internet subscription, learning materials etc) which they need to work both online and offline.



Please Donate to EmpowermeEOS


Support us as we bridge the digital divide and take a stand against poverty and ignorance with the aid of blockchain technology. Your donation will go a long way to educate someone and lift him/her out of poverty.

You can donate by sending

EOS to: empowermeeos

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You can also learn more and connect with EmpowermeEOS via the following media:

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REFERENCES


Definition of Digital Divide||Tech Target

Digital Divide||Stanford

The Impacts of Digital Divide|| Digital Divide Council

Top Five Digital Solutions|| Digital Divide Council

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Written by Owolabi Jeremy,
EmpowermeEOS Community Manager

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