Digital inclusion for social inclusion. From Brazil to the world.


Founded in 1995, pioneer of the digital inclusion movement in Latin America, CDI (Center for Digital Inclusion) is one of the leading social enterprises in the world with a unique socio-educational approach. CDI Founder and Ashoka Fellow Rodrigo Baggio and our work at CDI have been recognized with more than 60 international awards. Today, we are a network of 753 self-managed and self-sustaining CDI Community Centers throughout Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay – monitored and coordinated by our 31 regional offices.

In addition to low-income communities, our schools are also present in indigenous communities, psychiatric clinics, hospitals for the mentally and physically disabled, as well as youth & adult detention facilities.  CDI is an international NGO with US 501c3 status, headquartered in Rio de Janeiro. CDI has operations in the USA, UK, and and Latin America.  With the support of James Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank and the Wolfensohn Institute, CDI is in the process of expanding to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, to be followed by India and other parts of Africa. (CDI Global)

THE PROBLEM

“Computers and computer-based communications and information systems are opening up new opportunities in virtually every field of human endeavor. Distances of many kinds are being erased, and the “global village” is becoming more of a reality with each passing day. In education, in the workplace, and in many leisure pursuits, the computer embodies the fundamental difference between yesterday and today.

Unfortunately, however, the benefits of this remarkable tool are not being evenly shared. In countries like Brazil, where poverty is widespread and public education systems are extremely deficient, both the high cost of computer hardware and limited opportunities for training in computer skills deny access to those benefits to most people of modest economic means. As a result, in several important respects the gulf between the “haves” and the “have-nots” is widening, and with that widening, the opportunities open to economically disadvantaged groups are correspondingly curtailed.

The essence of the challenge that Rodrigo and his colleagues are addressing, therefore, is the urgent need to broaden access to computer and information science skills and, through those skills, to improve economic opportunities and more fruitful participation in virtually every dimension of modern life. The campaign in which Rodrigo and his associates are engaged is at the forefront of the continuing battle for social justice. It is also of central relevance for the future of democratic governance in Brazil.” (Ashoka.org)

THE SOLUTION

“We use knowledge to stimulate local economic development and job creationTechnology is one of the most powerful catalysts of change at hand today. But technology, in itself, is just a tool. The true challenge is making technology relevant and useful in the context of marginalized populations. For 14 years CDI has empowered disadvantaged groups to use Information & Communication Technologies (ICTs) as tools to exercise their full capacities as citizens and tackle the issues that affect their communities. CDI Community Centers are technology and learning centers in impoverished communities. Each CDI Community Center is a partnership with an existing leading grassroots organization.  The community based organizations provide the infrastructure and CDI provides free computers and software, implements educational methods, trains instructors and monitors the schools.” (Ashoka)

THE RELEVANCE

“The Committee for Democracy in Information Technology, founded by Baggio, was chosen as one of the world’s top three Principal Voices in the field of Economic Development. (Ashoka Fellow)

THE SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR

“The Brazilian social entrepreneur, 40, has worked tirelessly to overcome what he calls “digital apartheid”, explaining that 79 per cent of the population of our planet is excluded from accessing technical development.” (Digg)

THE RESULTS

CDI website – Brazil CDI global website

Source of picture: GenPolicy

What is a social entrepreneur ?

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