Access For All – Bridging Qatar’s Digital Divide

by · April 6, 2014

Editor’s Note: This blog has been contributed by Patricia Quinn, Senior ICT Adoption Specialist from the ICT & Society Division of the Ministry of Information & Communications Technology.

LSWAre you living away from home? How do you keep in touch with loved ones back home? Is it through your smartphone, laptop or desktop computer? Not everyone has access to a computer or fast speed Internet, but all that is about to change with the new plans laid out by the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology.

Through an extensive survey, a number of social groups with limited Internet access were identified by the Ministry, one of those groups were low-skilled migrant workers.  

There are almost half a million migrant workers living in Qatar who not only have a lack of familiarity with the Internet but also may not have the right facilities to access the Internet. One of the major factors of this limited access is down to the cost of equipment; however the survey indicated that 84% of those surveyed were interested in participating in computer and Internet training programs.

As part of the plans implemented by the Ministry to improve access to technology for low skilled workers, various projects were developed such as providing training programs and computer rooms in accommodation locations with relevant content in their community languages.

Working closely with a number of employers the Ministry was able to set up and furnish computer rooms with Internet access for their employees. Computers were donated by Sheikh Thani Bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF), a charity which supports the recycling of donated technology equipment. Training for ICT Champions in each location, was facilitated by Microsoft and provided by Qatar Independent Technical School (QITS) trainers, who delivered the Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum to the workers.

The rooms are now accessible during free times and have become a place where employees can come to learn new skills and connect with friends and family living abroad. The computers have also been equipped with training programs relevant to their jobs which will enable them to further their careers. 

This video highlights all the stages involved in transforming these rooms into a place where workers can better themselves, their careers and keep in touch with loved ones.

See the completed video on the Ministry’s  YouTube channel (it’s also available on the Facebook page).

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