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Telenor, Grameenphone and Plan International Unite to Drive Digital Inclusion for Marginalized Women and Youth

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Telenor, Grameenphone, and Plan International have joined forces in empowering more than 2.35 million marginalised women and youth through “Digital Inclusion: Safe Digital Space for Girls and Youth Project”. The initiative aims to enhance digital literacy, skills, resilience and create a safe online environment for the women and youth who often face socio-economic challenges. As a part of this project, a team from Telenor, Grameenphone, and Plan International made a three-day visit to Savar, Sylhet, Moulvibazar, and Sunamganj on May 19, 20, and 21 respectively. With a shared commitment to leveraging technology for social good, Telenor, Grameenphone, and Plan International have embarked on a mission to bridge the digital divide and create equal opportunities for all members of society, particularly those who are marginalized.

During their visit to Savar, Moulvibazar, and Sunamganj, the representatives engaged directly with project participants, gaining valuable insights into howaccess to digital tools and resources is positively impacting their lives. From enhancing educational opportunities to enabling economic empowerment, the project is fostering a culture of innovation and inclusion in communities that have traditionally been underserved. Moreover, under this project a dedicated effort has been made to bring positive change in the lives of eight marginalized populations: ethnic and religious minorities, people with disabilities, tea garden worker, transgender, people, people affected by climate change (Haor and chor), female-headed household, street children and others as identified by the National Social Security Strategy; by equipping them with digital and online safety skills. The interventions include training on digital skills and online safety through in-person trainings, and awareness for local leaders and youth-led campaigns in the communities, radio programmes. Training content was designed based on the baseline survey and local needs. Training modules are very hands-on mainly driven by customized interactions.

Yasir Azman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Grameenphone, Kabita Bose, Country Director, Plan International Bangladesh, Manisha Dogra, Head of External Relations, Telenor Asia, Jolly Nur Haque, Director, Programme Development and Learning, Plan International Bangladesh, Mohammad Sajjad Hasib, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Grameenphone, Sayeda Tahya Hossain, Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) of Grameenphone, Hans Martin Henrichsen, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer (CCAO) of Grameenphone, Alexander Letelier, Advisor-YEE and Digital Empowerment, Plan International Norway, Johann Yoon – Director of Partnerships & Business Development, Plan International Norway, and Johan Martin, Director, Head of Sustainability, Telenor.

Yasir Azman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Grameenphone, said, “I am happy to be part of this program dedicated to bridging the digital divide and ensuring that no one is left behind in Bangladesh’s journey towards a digitally inclusive society. Our initiative will equip marginalized women and youth with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in today’s digital landscape, empowering them to seize opportunities and contribute meaningfully to their communities and beyond.

He also added, “At Grameenphone, we understand the importance of online safety in an increasingly connected world. As such, our program will not only focus on imparting digital skills but also emphasize the importance of practicing safe and responsible online behavior. Through strategic partnerships, we aim to create a supportive ecosystem that nurtures talent and unlocks the full potential of every individual, irrespective of their background or circumstance.”

Kabita Bose, Country Director, Plan International Bangladesh, said, “As a children and girls rights organization, it is our pleasure to partner with Grameenphone and Telenor in introducing a program which addresses a rising issue of online safety and digital inclusion. Plan International Bangladesh along with its partners aims to work towards equity and equality for all children and youth in all their diversities and this initiative is a milestone for achieving that target. The aspiration and ownership of Grameenphone and Telenor gives us the hope that the generational change we want to bring in Bangladesh is only possible through these multi-sectoral, multi-party effort. We will continue to empower left behind communities through bringing the information, skill and knowledge at their door step.”

Manisha Dogra, Head of External Relations, Telenor Asia, said “In today’s world where the majority of the population relies on mobile phones for internet access, digital literacy is a critical skill. It’s not just about knowing how to use a computer or smartphone; but being able to navigate the online world effectively and safely to access essential services, educational resources, and employment opportunities. By acquiring digital skills, the program participants can have a significant impact on Bangladesh’s growing digital economy. These skills empower marginalized communities to actively participate in the socio-economic development of the country”.

Alexander Letelier, Advisor-YEE and Digital, Plan International Norway, said “Under the project, till the date, 772,347 people have received training or education on digital skills like mobile operations, online safety, e-commerce, and navigating government services. Moreover, the outreach through community radio has extended to 520,000 people, broadening our impact to even the most remote areas.”

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