Go Digital Asean, a $3.3 million-worth initiative launched by nonprofit Asia Foundation and funded by Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org, which seeks to empower Indonesia’s marginalized communities with digital skills. (Photo Courtesy of GoDigital Asean)

Go Digital Asean Equips Marginalized Groups with Digital Skills

MARCH 16, 2022

Jakarta. Go Digital Asean, a $3.3 million-worth initiative launched by nonprofit Asia Foundation and funded by Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org, are empowering Indonesia’s marginalized communities with digital skills.

“The Covid-19 pandemic heavily impacted Indonesia. People in the remote areas and villages struggle [with the Covid-19 impact]. Micro-enterprises, people with disabilities, and job seekers at the village level need access to digital skills for new job opportunities,” Hana Satriyo, the deputy country representative for the Asia Foundation Indonesia, said in a recent press statement.

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The program was launched simultaneously in the 10 Asean member states in June 2020. 

Go Digital Asean aims to equip 200,000 micro enterprises and individuals with digital skills, in accordance with the Asean Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises's vision in closing the digital gap.

According to Hana, Go Digital Asean encompasses digital curriculums, trainers, and tools in 800 villages in 8 provinces, namely South Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara, Nusa Tenggara, Southeast and West, Central Java, West Java, Banten, Riau, and West Kalimantan. 

Over the past 18 months, more than 37,000 individuals from Indonesia’s marginalized communities gained digital skills from this program. About 4 in 5 participants were women.

The Asia Foundation reported that they managed to achieve the target of training 20,000 individuals by mid-June 2021. They decided to extend the program for another 15,000 people. 

More than 22,000 job seekers, 15,000 micro-enterprises, and 1,000 people with disabilities have boosted their skills by the end of the program in Dec. 2021, according to the Asia Foundation.

More than 94 percent of the participants had shown an improvement in their digital competencies.

The nonprofit reported that 70 percent of the participating micro-enterprises have made their businesses gone online. About 53 percent saw a boost in customer interactions. 

The Asia Foundation added that 1 in 3 women business owners used their newly gained knowledge to create or refine their business plans. Whereas 1 in 3 others used it to grow their businesses.

The new skills have helped 92 percent of the participating job seekers to feel better-prepared for the future. About 68 percent managed to keep their jobs after joining GoDigital Asean. 

About 95 percent of the participating people with disabilities believed that their digital skills have gone up. Some 89 percent have also taken steps to level up their career. To date, almost 1 in 3 participating people with disabilities have also found jobs as a result of the training. 

In Indonesia, the Asia Foundation partners with government bodies, including the women's empowerment center Pusat Pengembangan Sumber Daya Perempuan and the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs to get 930 trainers on board.

“We are very proud to support Go Digital Asean, which was initiated by The Asia Foundation, and see how this can help broaden economic opportunities for micro enterprises and vulnerable groups like women and unemployed youths in the Asean region,” Google.org APAC lead Marija Ralic said.

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