IGF 2023 Day 0 Event #19 Hack the Digital Divides

Sunday, 8th October, 2023 (01:45 UTC) - Sunday, 8th October, 2023 (02:45 UTC)
WS 7 – Room K

Digital Divides & Inclusion
Digital, Media, and Information Literacy

Digital Divides & Inclusion

WSA | Global. Digital. Purpose Driven
Peter A. Bruck and Nora Wolloch, WSA, Civil Society Organisation reaching 187 countries, Western Europe








Onsite Moderator

Moderator and Facilitator: Peter A. Bruck, WSA founder and chairperson

Online Moderator

Nora Wolloch, WSA Exec. Manager


Christian Bolorinos, WSA communications


4. Quality Education
5. Gender Equality
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

Targets: This session will talk about digital divides in terms of - access to education from various regions - from Western countries and their use of tablets and tech in all schools to rural areas in emerging countries, with no access to Internet, technology or school books. - gender equality, having less women online, less female tech company founders - decent work and economic growth addressing digital divides in terms of jobs and economic growth in entrepreneurship


Interactive format: Fishbowl Session




Digital tools and technologies make societies smarter, more efficient, better connected and informed. However, there are many digital divides, in terms of access, gender, age or content. WSA is a global initiative and purpose-driven community founded in the UN WSIS framework, highlighting digital solutions narrowing these divides and supporting young digital entrepreneurs and digital content developers from 180 UN member states. The "Hack the Digital Divide" pre-session will be an interactive knowledge transfer session, specifically addressing young people, listening to their perspectives, but also sharing information from different regions about Digital Divides and sharing concrete examples how to narrow them.
Join this session to learn from young digital social entrepreneurs, awarded WSA winners and hear their perspectives. Use of sli.do

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

There are many digital divides addressed by WSA and its global community of digital impact ventures and their founders - be it the gender divide, access divide, content divide.We heard concrete examples from young entrepreneurs, who address these divides in their local and regional context. In order to support those kind of purpose driven entrepreneurs, we need other business and funding models than the silicon valley type of growth concept.

Independent content producers face huge struggles that their impact solutions can be found. 54% of the global marketing budget goes to 5 tech companies in the US and intransparent algorithms make it hard to find relevant and useful content. WSA provides a diverse and global showcase of digital best practice solutions supporting the achievement of the UN SDGs, solutions by local entrepreneurs for local challenges, but contributing globally.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Let's focus on the Tunis Action plan and the transformation into a knowledge society.

Let's put more action into WSIS action line C9 - media, an area that radically transformed since 2003 and where the WSIS multi-stakeholder communtiy should put more focus in its review.

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions


The digitalization affects all parts of our lives. It supported children in homeschooling during the pandemic, offers citizen engagement, provides information, and makes us more efficient.
However there are challenging digital divides, in terms of access, content or gender.

WSA is a global activitiy initiated in 2003 in the framework of the UN World Summit on the Infomration Society, aiming to narrow digital divides and support the transformation into a knowledge society through the promotion of best practice solutions of digital innovations and local content for the UN SDGs.

Three WSA winners shared their solutions how to narrow digital divides.
Matias Rojas, CEO and Founder from SociaLab in Chile shared the centralization of access to funds and networks in urban areas. Talent is equally distributed in society, but not ressources. SociaLab bridges divides between rural areas and cities and supports entrepreneurs to be economically successful but combined with ecological and social impact.

Tiffany Tong, Founder and CEO from Aloi shared how her company bridges the divides in terms of financial access through microfinancing tools.

Aloi is a software platform for digitally monitoring loan expenditure and repayment through verified merchants and deposit points. Like an automatic audit, Aloi tracks financing flows using simple phones and without mobile internet.

Gloria Mangi won the WSA Young Innovators award more than 10 years ago with her project the African Queens Project, aiming to bridge the knowledge gap for African women and women in tech, sharing inspirational strories, rolemodels and providing a support community.

The discussion with the present audience at the IGF has been highly engaging and people shared the different digital divides they are facing in their countries/communties.

The panellists discussed the discrapancy between usage and coverage. This led to a discussion about the difficulty for app developers and content producers to make their solutions visibilty, dealing with algorithms of big tech monopoly. How to deal with the algorithm in order to access relevant information, high quality content and avoid fake news or hate speech.

The panellists discussed also with the audience the need of new models fitting purpose driven entrepreneurs. The silicon valley model does not work, we need different growth models, focussing on the impact growth instead of a financial growth.
Impact instead of Exit.
Collaboration instead of Competition.
Local innovation instead of Global Disruption.
Social Franchising and Knowledge Sharing.

WSA chairperson Prof. Bruck shared: WSIS lost half of his focus.
The side of narrowing the digital divides is addressed, but the WSIS process tends to forget about the transformation society. We have technology success, but knowledge failure.
Hate speech, mis-information - these are things that we need to take seriously.
WSIS has started pre-SDGs, during the MDG (Millenium Development Goals) agenda - the benefit of the UN SDGs is that it has within its key indicators clear KPIs.
In the Tunis plan of action there is action line C-9 - media.
Media is a completely different kind of landscape today than back in 2003, due to the digital platform monopolization.
54% person of global advertising budget goes to 5 American companies. Papers need to close down, business models fail and we are having a huge loss in terms of media diversity.