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Geeks Without Frontiers Contributes to the UN International Telecommunication Union Digital Skills

Updated: Mar 3, 2022

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, November 22, 2021 -- Geeks Without Frontiers (GEEKS), a non-profit organization with the goal of bringing the benefits of internet connectivity to unserved populations, announced that it provided an article for the just released International Telecommunication Union (ITU) "Digital Skills Insights 2021" publication, a collection of articles by international experts on the impact of digital transformation on capacity and skills development discussion paper on ways to reduce the internet usage gap in context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to ITU data, in 2019, 46 per cent of the world population was not using the Internet.[i] This number rises to almost 80 per cent in least developed countries. A large majority of the global population (93 per cent) lives in an area covered by at least a 3G mobile signal/service, [ii] however, the lack of skills is a barrier for many to use the Internet's full potential.[iii] The demand for digitization and digital skills has increased over the past year, as new digital tools, services and platforms came online to help people continue to work, learn and socialize during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, this demand shows no sign of stopping, with new solutions emerging for the digital post-pandemic era. “Addressing the digital skills gap is a key driver of the soon to be launched Geek’s led N50 initiative. Enhancing and strengthening digital skills among all populations is critical to successfully manage the accelerated use of digital devices and applications within social and economic activities”, said Michael Potter Co-Founder of GEEKS.

Digital Skills Insights 2021 features eight articles focusing on different types of digital skills required during and in the post-pandemic period. The articles also look at how digital skills training can be used to assist communities in crisis situations. “Targeting digital skills and literacy uptake in underrepresented members of the population will increase the reach and impact of digital services and help close the ‘usage gap’, used to refer to those who live within the footprint of a broadband network but are not using the Internet.,” said Travis Heneveld, GEEKS’ Director of Connectivity Solutions, who authored the article- “From connectivism to connectivity: Digital skills in the COVID-19 context”. “In addition to accelerating digitization, the pandemic has created what could be lasting employment shifts that require reskilling of new workers“, Mr. Heneveld added. Case examples showing concrete examples of digital skills policies, programs and initiatives from around the world, as well as the lessons learnt, are also presented.

"Digital Skills Insights" 2021 provides a body of knowledge that will facilitate academic research and innovation; inform policy debates and decisions among policy-makers and regulators; and help the private sector to anticipate and plan for human capital requirements and skills. The eight articles in the publication review the interrelationship between digital connectivity and digital skills, as well as the correlation with education, gender, digital divides and the transformative aspects within the labour market. None of these should be addressed in isolation but be part of a holistic approach to ensure countries' successful transition to a digital economy.

The publication is available on the ITU Academy platform here:

The article “From connectivism to connectivity: Digital skills in the COVID-19 context” is available here:

About Geeks Without Frontiers

Geeks Without Frontiers ( is an award-winning non-profit organization whose mission is to bring the benefits of broadband connectivity to the estimated 3 billion people who remain unconnected in order to help close the Digital Divide and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In addition the Geeks Without Frontiers’ WomenConnect! initiative focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment by providing access to connectivity, technology and innovation that will give women unprecedented opportunities.

About the ITU Academy

The ITU Academy is the main online gateway to ITU's capacity development activities. It brings together under one umbrella a wide range of training activities and knowledge resources in the field of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and digital development. The primary objective of the ITU Academy is to harmonize and integrate all ITU capacity development products and services.

About N50

N50 is the Geeks Without Frontiers led initiative that is focused on the next 50% of the planet that does not fully digitally participate. The N50 partners' primary focus is to launch projects for marginalized communities using best-practice playbooks for long-term delivery of ICT solutions. N50 is an open, inclusive ecosystem that is fueling transformation in some of the world's most challenging environments. Our live 'Digital Participation' projects in the field are designed to enable communities to access the education, health, social and financial benefits that flow from affordable and sustainable digital inclusion. Your organization can make a difference! Submit a compelling project or a compelling solution! Join us to help communities that are currently stranded on the edge of networks!

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