Bridging the Digital Divide: How One Economy Corporation Uses Internet Technology As a Means to End Poverty

 

bridges vol. 13, April 2007 / Feature Article
by Juliet M. Beverly

There was a time, not too long ago, that the only way to job hunt took a lot of footwork and a few newspapers. Today, all it takes is a dial tone and a computer. Visiting Web sites like www.monster.com gives information to thousands of jobs in hundreds of fields. You can apply for jobs online rather than on-site and in person, and you can post your resume and have employers find you. Like the "virtual" job market, many other common processes of everyday life have been moved to the World Wide Web and are - sometimes exclusively - available online. But if you don't have a computer with access to the Internet, these processes aren't common - they're barriers.

comScore Networks, reported that worldwide Internet use has gone up 10 percent in the last year to 747 million users ages 15 and over. Conceivably, everyday 747 million people sign on to check their e-mail, the nearest location for a flu shot, telephone numbers or Web addresses for their nearest schools or institutions of higher learning, and the latest news. However, this 747 million people is barely 10 percent of the world's population.

 

one_economy_logo.pngone_economy_logo.png
 
  • Headquarters: Washington, D.C
  • Founded: 2000
 
  • Revenue and Support (2005): $6,221,938 USD
 
  • End of the Year Net Assets (2005): $12,200,535 USD
 
  • Donors and supports include Cisco Systems, Google, Microsoft, AT&T

 

This is what is widely described as the "digital divide" - the gap between those who have access to technology and those who do not. Although there is no set definition for the term "digital divide, there is a commonality that states that the divide is based on those who can reap the benefits from using technology versus those who will not. One Economy Corporation focuses on the benefits of computer technology and information. Instead of basing their work solely on putting computer technology into the hands of those who don't have it, they focus on how people can get the most from that technology to propel themselves economically, making computer innovations the medium to alleviate poverty.


//bring IT home: One Economy Corporation

One Economy Corporation is a US, nonprofit organization that aids low-income households in gaining access to information through an online, multilingual-content, user-friendly Web site called The Beehive. Using a support organization, One Global Economy (founded in 2005), as the international branch of the organization, One Economy has been able to provide information and services to low-income people in the United States, Africa, Canada, and the Middle East.

In January of this year, One Economy co-hosted a diplomatic luncheon with the Office of Science & Technology (OST) at the Embassy of Austria in Washington, DC. Diplomats from 39 different embassies attended to learn about One Economy's efforts in the US and worldwide. Alec Ross, the cofounder and senior vice president of One Economy Corporation, and Moustafa Mourad, president of One Global Economy, made presentations during the luncheon not only with the purpose of educating diplomats about their organization, but also to convey that technology and economy directly correlate. "Although price points [for technology] have been going down, they still remain relatively high," Ross pointed out during his presentation. "People don't understand the importance of technology and the Internet as it relates to upward economic mobility."

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