HP Inc. and the Aspen Institute on Monday announced a new global initiative to accelerate digital equity. Led by the Aspen Digital program, the Digital Equity Accelerator will support participating nonprofits in scaling their innovative approaches to help meet the needs of underserved communities affected by the digital divide. HP is backing the Accelerator with innovative technology as well as more than $100,000 (USD) in capacity-building grants for each participating organization, progressing toward its commitment to advance digital equity for 150 million people worldwide by 2030.
Half of the world’s population remains offline, with marginalized and underrepresented communities often bearing the brunt of disconnection. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this divide in the US and across the world, with more communities than ever falling behind when it comes to accessing a quality education, democratized healthcare, and opportunities to thrive in an increasingly digital economy – in other words, fundamental human rights.
“Digital equity is the path for everyone, everywhere to have equal access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity,” said Michele Malejki, Global Head of Social Impact at HP Inc. “Our partnership with Aspen Digital will bring impact and accountability to advancing the benefits of digital equity in people’s lives.”
This initiative pilots in the United States, India, and Morocco and will target populations including women and girls; people with disabilities; aging populations; historically excluded groups, such as communities of color and ethnic minorities; those who are socio-economically marginalized; refugees and internally displaced persons; and the educators and practitioners who support them. The goal is to amplify scalable impact in the areas of healthcare, education, and economic opportunity via a local approach that bolsters community leaders. The effort will leverage a diverse mentor network of practitioners who possess a range of technical and sectoral expertise as well as lived experience.
“We are looking forward to supporting innovators dedicated to improving digital equity for impacted communities in the US and around the world,” said Vivian Schiller, Executive Director of Aspen Digital. “At Aspen Digital, we aim to shine a light on the positive impacts of technology, and we’re grateful that HP is enabling us to further that goal with this Accelerator.”
The intention is to expand in subsequent years to additional countries, building on lessons learned from the first cohort. Applications are open now through March 21, 2022.