Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, called Internet connectivity a basic human right. Our founder understands how we can benefit from a better global technology infrastructure, and more connected global population. That being said, is connectivity a basic human right? Is it as important as personal safety and adequate water and food? Do we ignore the myriad of social and economic issues facing our youth today in favor of focus on connectivity and the global “knowledge economy?”
Reading stories from participants in Writing for the Soul Workshop™, not one mentions traumatic experiences from lack of Internet access. There are so many challenges facing youth and young adults today, from lack of basic human needs like safety and shelter to a faltering global economy that is driving youth unemployment. Does having Internet access improve the life of a child with no food let alone a computer that needs Internet access? And how does all the infrastructure needed for connectivity get built amidst broken systems and corrupt governments?
The pessimistic view would be that Zuckerberg’s plan, still vague on details, will ultimately be throwing good money after bad. However, it is far more important to believe in life’s possibilities, and look at the ways a connected world can work together to ensure all basic needs and rights to all of the worlds population.
Look at the ways our connected world has already impacted fundraising. Crowdsourcing.org talks about the power of the Internet for crowd funding. “Crowdfunding is by no means a new phenomenon; it has roots in charitable and civic fundraising, but it really took shape on the internet with the creation of Kickstarter in 2009. And in recent years, the crowdfunding world has begun to really take off, with multi-million dollar campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo no longer raising eyebrows. Soon, with the advent of equity crowdfunding (pending SEC action), the crowdfunding world will begin to enter a whole new chapter of life and expand into all new markets and opportunities.”
Imagine the impact of crowd funding with triple the audience? But even outside of crowd funding, non profit organizations dedicated to the other basic human rights gain benefit in a more connected world. Currently, more than 40% of donors give online. And even the most wary of us would give to smaller organizations if they used connectivity to show the world how funds were used.
And finally, lets not ignore the impact of internet commerce in eradicating poverty. Youth unemployment is rising astronomically. Charu Adesnek of Cisco, talks about her work with non profits dedicated to getting technology and connectivity for Internet based jobs into the most impoverished populations. Talking about the impact of these jobs on youth, she says, “But job opportunities for young people in developing countries are scarce.
According to a recent report by the International Labour Organization, two thirds of working-age youth in some developing countries are either unemployed or trapped in low-quality jobs. The report noted that “in developing regions, where 90 per cent of the global youth population lives, stable, quality employment is especially lacking.” The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently released a report examining Kenya’s youth employment challenge, noting that while youth make up more than one third of the total population, youth unemployment is around 25 percent — double the national average. Technology can help overcome these statistics. Internet-based work in particular ensures widespread and equitable access, and helps nonprofits reach the “last mile” of people who are the most vulnerable but have great potential.”
Mark Zuckerberg has a dream, and if that dream comes true, youth around the world gain access to employment opportunities like our Affiliates Program, which offers youth unlimited earning potential, training, and tools for online selling. Programs like these offer a way out for youth that have survived calamitous situations, and lived to write about it. Connectivity promises our youth the catalyst they need to overcome.
This is the key reason why Writing for the Soul Workshop™ is fundraising to equip our workshop with 50 laptops, 10 Mobile Hot Spots, and 10 Mobile Data cards. Many of the youth we serve do not have access to a computer at home, and no easy way to get to one. Having laptops specifically for the program means that ALL of our participants will have the most meaningful workshop experience, and enjoy ALL of the WOW factors that Writing for the Soul Workshop™ offers like our online classrooms powered by Storybird and so much more.
You can help Writing for the Soul Workshop™ equip our onsite classrooms in Africa, and here in the US with contributions of new laptops, Straight Talk mobile hot spot devices, Straight Talk data cards, or direct monetary contributions. For more information on how you can help and how your relief will be utilized onsite, please complete the Contact Form below and our Developer will contact you directly.