A 2018 Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) study illustrated that 24% of female respondents chose the option “family does not approve” as a significant barrier to mobile access. The perspective held by many in international development is that technology is a silver bullet for solving development issues. Without applying a gender lens to program design, technology can exacerbate inequality and actually contribute to, not reduce the gender digital divide.
With funding provided by DAI, EAI is implementing a Grant Agreement, which is designed to support the Tech4Families project aimed at reducing the gender digital divide in Northern Nigeria, through empowering women and girls to access and use digital technology, have access to education, improve livelihood outcomes, and drive positive health for themselves and their families. The Tech4Families solution is built on human-centered design principles and is inclusive of the whole family. Our project will be implemented in the conservative state of Kano in Northern Nigeria. Given the pervasive oppression of women and girls in Northern Nigeria and the lack of digital literacy overall, our solution focuses specifically on the role men play in women and girls’ access to technology. EAI will utilize a variety of tested intervention methods to create an enabling environment with the goal of connecting women and girls to technology.
Equal Access International’s (EAI) approach to lessening the gender digital divide is to address the aforementioned normative barriers to women and girls’ access to, and use of technology at the family level as a critical first step. Our design is grounded in a flexible, adaptive, community-centered approach that begins with in-depth formative research and includes measurement and evaluation inflection points throughout the program to ensure we can pivot the program, based on community input, to achieve our objectives. The project is designed to facilitate an enabling environment, which includes working with men and boys, producing narrative and non-fiction content that models new behaviors via familiar characters and trusted influencers, and facilitated exercises that illustrate the benefits of the Internet for the whole family.