CDI uses information and communication technologies as tools to encourage active citizenship in 15 Brazilian states and 13 countries.
Focus: Children and Youth, Education, Technology
Geographic Area of Impact: Latin America, Jordan, United Kingdom and Madrid
Model: Hybrid Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 87,876 graduates and 249,799 indirected beneficiaries (2010)
Annual Budget: US$ 6,000,000 (2010)
Recognition: Schwab Fellow of the World Economic Forum
Brazil is one of the largest markets in Latin America for information technology, software and services. Despite enormous promise and important advances, the country faces significant obstacles in the equitable application of information technology. While international companies are targeting Brazil as a new market for ICT and ICT services, employment prospects for the vast majority of the population may actually decline in the country’s new information economy due to lack of access and ICT training. Many have noted that the Internet could erect social barriers unless substantial improvements are made to provide the skills needed to use computers. This is the challenge that CDI is addressing.
Innovation and Activities
Based in Rio de Janeiro, CDI is a non-governmental, non-profit organization with a mission of fostering inclusion of less privileged social groups by using information and communication technologies as tools to encourage active citizenship. CDI works in low-income communities and with institutions assisting individuals with special needs, including the physically and mentally disabled, the visually impaired, homeless children, prisoners and indigenous populations.
In partnership with community-based associations, CDI community centres provide free computer equipment and software, and implements educational strategies for continuous training of local instructors. Through periodic visits, CDI coordinators monitor their performance and identify key challenges and opportunities. School coordinators work together with CDI representatives to find creative ways of addressing problems, and formulating and sharing solutions. Each school is an autonomous unit, self-managed and self-sustaining through symbolic contributions collected from its students. This fund covers maintenance costs and payment of instructors in an authentic social enterprise.
The CDI network has expanded nationally and internationally, with over 821 community centres in 13 countries.
Rodrigo Baggio’s pursuit of social change began at the age of 12, driven by his two interests: volunteer work with children living on the streets of Rio de Janeiro and computers. Baggio founded Informática para Todos, Brazil’s first campaign for donated computers, and in 1995, he opened the first Information Technology and Citizens Rights School (ITCRS) in Dona Marta, a slum in Rio de Janeiro. In the same year, he established the Center for Digital Inclusion (CDI), the first non-profit organization to fight the digital divide in Latin America.
The World Economic Forum recognized Baggio as one the “100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow” and Time magazine named him as one of the leaders of Latin America that will make a difference in the third millennium, selecting him for their “Local Heroes” campaign. In 2006, he was selected by CNN, Time and Fortune as one of the principal voices in economic development alongside Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. He also received a certificate of recognition from the Clinton Global Initiative and was recently invited to join the Strategy Council of the UN’s Global Alliance for ICT and Development.
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