"Information and communications technologies have the potential to provide new solutions to development challenges, particularly in the context of globalization, and can foster economic growth, competitiveness, access to information and knowledge, poverty eradication and social inclusion." — General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/65/141)
Supporting the Philippines’ Tourism Recovery in the New Normal through Digital Solutions
Asian Development Bank
The ASEAN Australia Smart Cities Trust Fund, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Australian Government hopes to support cities throughout Southeast Asia in improving their service delivery, planning, and financial management using appropriate digital technologies.
Tourism is one of the sectors hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in countries where it is a crucial economic pillar. Digital technologies play a valuable role in helping countries like the Philippines bounce back and restart tourism activities in the new normal.
The Philippine tourism department has embarked on a digital tourism campaign to promote its tourist attractions and encourage foreign visitor arrivals once pandemic-related travel restrictions are lifted. They are also enforcing tourism establishments to adopt strict health safety protocols by encouraging contactless and cashless transactions.
Local officials in Baguio City, Philippines have adopted an effective digital contract tracing methodology, utilizing cloud-based data encoding and capture, and GIS-based geospatial and link analysis that provide city officials deeper insight in handling COVID-19 cases in the city.
"Tourism is really a key pillar of our economy, with vital contributions in terms of productivity and employment generation...We’ve launched a few digital platforms to entice people to visit once it is possible. We have the 'Wake Up in the Philippines' digital campaign featuring the wide spectrum of tourist attractions we have to offer in all 16 of our regions. The biggest change we are implementing in the tourism industry is the mandatory compliance of tourism establishments to the new normal safety and health protocols and guidelines. Digital solutions will definitely come into play given that the trend to go contactless. Now, more than ever, cashless transactions are no longer a plus but it is a necessity." — Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Secretary, Department of Tourism, Philippines
Click-On Kaduna — Helping Women in Fragile Settings Succeed in the Digital Economy
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is disproportionately impacting women’s livelihoods. Young women are more prone to unemployment and under-employment than men, and many work in service and informal sector jobs that have been most disrupted during the crisis.
As part of their COVID-19 response, governments are exploring digital solutions to promote economic recovery. However, gender gaps in internet use and mobile phone access mean that job opportunities in the digital economy remain out of reach for many women. This inequality is exacerbated in communities affected by fragility, conflict and violence (FCV), where women often face greater safety and security concerns, significant mobility constraints, and restrictive sociocultural norms. This is the case in Kaduna, a state in northern Nigeria affected by years of conflict and instability.
The Click-On Kaduna team implemented four key gender-inclusive strategies to help its women participants succeed:
- Participation incentives: The team realized that women would need safe childcare options if they were to participate fully in the training. The Click-On Kaduna team offered free day care spaces for children, as well as free meals to participants. By providing childcare, meals, and other support, digital jobs programs can increase the likelihood of women’s participation and success.
- Safe spaces: Connecting women with role models can help build their confidence to navigate careers in the ICT sector and other male-dominated industries. Click-on Kaduna created women-only training cohorts led by female instructors to create safe spaces for developing women’s confidence and critical communication skills. The team also recruited successful women entrepreneurs from northern Nigeria as mentors and guest lecturers. These role models helped women build confidence to successfully pursue online work and launch their own businesses.
- Community buy-in: Social and cultural norms around appropriate types of work can restrict women’s participation in the digital economy. Click-On Kaduna launched media campaigns to raise awareness of the benefits of digital skills and entrepreneurship, especially for women. The team engaged with male community and religious leaders to encourage women’s participation. They also invited husbands to a “come to school day” so that they could better understand the training and work that the women were doing. This community support can reduce the risk of interpersonal violence, targeted attacks, or retaliation against women who might otherwise be seen as violating local cultural norms.
- Flexible curriculum: Ongoing unrest in the region led to mandatory curfews and increased travel restrictions. Anticipating such challenges, the Click-On Kaduna designed a flexible curriculum that allowed for both in-person and online training. This blended approach allowed women in particular to continue develop digital skills and perform online work while prioritizing their safety.
The Click-On Kaduna program has empowered women to access new jobs in the digital economy. During this unprecedented global crisis, similar training programs can be implemented remotely. Safe training locations for women can be modified to meet health and safety protocols. Online training delivery can expand to include mentorship, and digital platforms can build virtual support communities for women. Governments can ensure that digital skills and entrepreneurship initiatives in FCV contexts are safe and inclusive and that women can thrive in the digital age.
Women excited to participate in the Click-On Kaduna digital skills training program in Kaduna State, Nigeria.
A participant and her son enjoying the Click-On Kaduna digital skills training program.
An applicant completes her exam to participate in the Click-On Kaduna Data Science Fellowship Program.