Striving for a fairer digital playing field in Brazil

There’s been lots of positive effort to address issues of digital inequality in Brazil. But not all of its output gets shared as widely as it might.

The big issues

Unequal access to digital technologies is a significant issue in a country as geographically, economically and socially diverse as Brazil. While there have been many initiatives designed to tackle various challenges over several decades, there have been few attempts to share learnings in a systematic way. Due to ongoing political change, even informal conversations between project leaders at national conferences have halted.

Much of the focus of digital inclusion work in Brazil has been on broadening access, but it’s now clear that this isn’t enough: connection to the country’s digital networks often means exposure to misinformation or manipulation by algorithmic systems, particularly for the poorest communities. Without expanding the definition of digital literacy to include a critical understanding of these systems, digital inclusion initiatives can’t hope to support social inclusion.

Our response

Building on existing partnerships, our project will demonstrate how to create effective policies that make good use of past programmes.

We’ll utilise outputs from previous collaborative research, including a series of interviews with prominent leaders of digital inclusion initiatives in Brazil who reveal the challenges and goals for their work. These interviews provide crucial testimony as they gather the perspectives of key leaders for the first time and collate insights from the last 18 years – a period of significant political upheaval for the country.

The videos from these interviews will be edited to shape a series of educational resources that help groups formulate policy from community-based projects. All materials will be released under permissive licences, allowing them to be used, remixed and redistributed as course materials for municipalities, non-profit organisations and other groups. We’ll work closely with Tropixel – a multidisciplinary network of practitioners, researchers and activists – to disseminate the resources among relevant and interested parties.

The benefits

The main aim of this project is to inspire and equip those involved in digital inclusion initiatives with the necessary tools to use technology to overcome social polarisation and reconnect societies throughout Brazil.

We also intend to provide a valuable platform for those organisations working on digital literacy programmes across Brazil to share best practice and embark on collaborations which have the potential to shape public policy in this increasingly vital arena.

Researchers

  • Dr Edward King
  • Cynthia Freitas
  • Felipe Fonseca

Collaborators

  • Instituto Neos
  • Tropixel
  • Northumbria University

Project

Rethinking digital inclusion in Brazil

Want to find out what we’ve been up to in the past year?

Download the BDFI Impact Report (PDF, 7,156kB)

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