* Qatar participates in ITU-Unesco Regional Digital Inclusion Week for Arab States
The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC)'s 'Better Connections' programme has equipped 1,921 information and communications technology (ICT) facilities in expatriate workers’ residences and provided ICT access to more than 1.5mn workers till date.
"'Better Connections' has been a unique digital inclusion programme that helped bridge the digital divide for the expatriate workers segment in Qatar by encouraging them to take advantage of access to technology and opportunities for skills development. The programme is one of the largest private-public partnerships," the MoTC said in a statement on Monday.
The statement was issued to mark Qatar's participation, represented by the ministry, in the fourth edition of the ITU-Unesco Regional Digital Inclusion Week for the Arab States.
The event is being held from October 25 to 31 under the theme 'Serving the underserved in times of crisis: No one left behind'.
Adopting a multi-stakeholder approach, the Week brings together governments, United Nations and intergovernmental bodies, civil society, academia, healthcare professionals, the private sector and citizens in advancing digital inclusion efforts. The Regional Digital Inclusion Week is an opportunity to raise awareness, strengthen collaboration among stakeholders and advance efforts to combat all forms of exclusion.
Marking the Week demonstrates the "ministry’s eagerness to enhance co-operation ties with global organisations by taking part in their events and activities and in the light of the accomplishments of MoTC's programmes and initiatives in terms of digital inclusion for all segments of society", the ministry stressed.
On this occasion, HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti said, “The MoTC is committed to achieving digital inclusion for all, ensuring easy access to information and digital content so as to build an integrated digital society and enhancing people’s readiness digitally to be able to contribute to building up a knowledge-based economy in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.”
“Qatar has made significant progress on this front thanks to a set of legislations and steps and unique programmes and initiatives that have been bearing fruits for over a decade. We always targeted a full digital inclusion for all segments of society, easy access to ICTs and making sure people benefit from them. These efforts have a few days ago been crowned with Qatar ranking first worldwide on the Digital Accessibility Rights Evaluation Index 2020 (DARE Index 2020) released by the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict)."
Reem Mohamed al-Mansoori, Assistant Undersecretary for Digital Society Development, MoTC, said: “Marking the Digital Inclusion Week contributes to highlighting several success stories written over the past years as well as future visions and plans, and the MoTC’s continued efforts to further increase digital inclusion levels among all segments of society across the country - ultimately reaching a knowledge-based society in smart Qatar. This is based on a great track record for several years now.”
The successful programmes launched by the MoTC and which have helped increase digital inclusion significantly include the 'Better Connections' programme for the digital inclusion of expatriate workers, the 'Wasla' intergenerational ICT learning programme for the elderly and the 'Cyber Safety' programme that highlights and affirms a culture of cyber safety and security to empower people to have a safer cyberspace and being responsible online.
The programme works in collaboration with various partners and cyber safety experts to deliver cyber safety educational programmes and workshops such as 'Akhalqi Qatar', which aims to increase ethical responsibility in the digital world. The programme also includes the SafeSpace online platform (safespace.qa), cyber safety awareness campaigns (online and offline), the cyber safety ambassador programme and a cyber safety digital library, among other projects.
Through an extensive volunteer training programme, 27,000 digital champions were trained, who, in turn, trained their colleagues in how to use the computers and access services as well as facilitate communication with families and friends in their home countries.
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