Facebook, in a reported session at the 2019 edition of the Fairway Galle Literary Festival, held in Sri Lanka from 16-21 January, has outlined its efforts at curbing misinformation and promoting online safety through digital literacy skills programmes.According to Shelley Thakral, head of policy programmes (India, South Asia and Central Asia) at Facebook, the company has partnered with civil society organisations in Sri Lanka to promote digital literacy and economic development. Thakral cited an initiative in collaboration with Sarvodaya, one of the oldest civil society organisations in Sri Lanka, that aims to train up to 20 000 school children by the end of 2019 on how to stay safe on social media.
The need for people to gain access to ICT resources and narrow the digital divide is crucial, and is especially relevant now in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also important to understand how access to the Internet affects the level of economic and social development in a country.
Capacity development is often defined as the improvement of knowledge, skills and institutions to make effective use of resources and opportunities. Widespread on the agenda of international development agencies, capacity development programs range from societal to individual level and include a diversity of strategies, from fundraising to targeted training.
Internet access is growing rapidly, yet large groups of people remain unconnected to the Internet. As of 2015, about 43% of people had access to the Internet (in developing countries only 34%). Access to ICTs is part of the Sustainable Development Agenda, which commits to ‘significantly increase access to ICTs and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020’ (Goal 9.c).
Children’s use of the Internet and mobile technology is increasing, and for many children worldwide there is no clear distinction between the online and offline world. Access to the Internet presents many opportunities for their education, personal development, self-expression, and interaction with others.