Demystifying Digital Exclusion

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, DRIF, DRIMF

IGI Global defines digital exclusion as the lack of access to, and use of, ICT resources or just the lack of technology resources and access thereof.

Put simply, digital exclusion is the inability of individuals and groups to access and use information and communication technologies, or the incapability to use the internet to do things that benefit individuals or organizations. This inability to access information can be termed as a disability.

Information Communication Technologies have contributed a lot to change our everyday life. From letters to e-mails, market shopping to on-line shopping, classroom learning to e-learning, etc. Yet, a significant proportion of the population is still digitally excluded.

These populations, excluded digitally, are considered socially disadvantaged and are therefore locked out of self-service channels. This matters as those who are excluded digitally are also far more likely to be disadvantaged according to many other social and economic measures. The digital divide exacerbates inequality.


Effects of the digital divide are immensely felt in the following areas: Education, job opportunities, communication, politics, consumer satisfaction, health Information, community Involvement, government, and emergency information

Causes of digital exclusion

Although access or lack of it is believed to be the major cause of the exclusion, there are other contributory factors. reports that the four main factors contributing to digital exclusions include; Access: both physical and financial, Motivation: including understanding or appreciation of the benefits, Skills: including whether people have any available means of learning ICT skills and Confidence: including fears of fraud and online security.


The effects of the digital divide are felt in various areas of life. These include education, job opportunities, communication, politics, consumer satisfaction, health Information, community involvement, government, and emergency information.

As Stanley Chege, GCIO at Jubilee Insurance observes, ‘digital gaps’ or differences in the ability to access data and digital technologies are widening both between and within countries.

“Internet usage ranges from as high as 87 percent of the population in high-income nations to as low as 17 percent in low-income nations. While nearly four-fifths of countries have implemented regulations on e-commerce and data protection, government responses continue to be outpaced by the speed of digitalization,” he avers adding, “Public officials need to narrow this regulatory gap, not least due to technology’s growing influence on human interaction, health, and belief systems.”

With Covid-19 came the surge in internet usage as organizations shifted to work remotely and learning had to be conducted online. But as the United Nations University reports in a blog, the transition to work, learn, and socialize online has not been easy.

“Our current experience with COVID-19 shows that the transition to these extraordinary circumstances is far from smooth. More specifically, people without access to ICTs are even more disadvantaged than before. In many cases, the lifeline provided by technologies is only available to those who can access them,” says the blog.

The exclusion, therefore, means that when so much is expected to be happening online, an equal much is not happening due to the inability to go online.


Having known the many factors contributing to the digital divide, what can be the solution to it?

Eddie Kabiru, the Principal Officer at Bond Insurance Agency notes that there cannot be a one size fit solution for the divide. He, however, opines that policies directed towards inclusion in the digital space would go a long way to overcome many of the barriers preventing the said inclusion.

“The provision of technical support to assist people with getting online is vital. Stakeholders should collect quality digital data and establish a robust baseline for a minimum digital living standard,” he averred. Adding, “Victims of digital exclusion should be co-producers of these strategies.”

Kabiru runs a digital insurance agency and has first-hand experience working with those digitally excluded.

Digital Divide Council recommends the below five ways to help curb digital exclusion.

1. Increasing internet affordability. This will ensure that those who cannot afford the cost of the internet and those locked out due to the cost of owning or accessing internet gadgets are included.

2. Empowering users. “To see the full potential of the internet and its impact on the world, we must take advantage of its capabilities. Most of the people who use the internet have a limited understanding of some of its use cases. For instance, Google helps people find information that they would not have access to. An issue that broadens the digital divide is ‘participation inequality’ where users lack the skills to use it,” reads the Top Five Digital Divide Solutions in part.

3. Internet infrastructure development like providing a public safety net to offer internet access to facilities like libraries, health, and welfare service, and improving the relevance of online content will help curb digital exclusion.


By Molly Wasonga, Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellow 2021.

LE FLASH: Paradigm Initiative Dévoile DRIF21 à Travers une Conférence de Presse Virtuelle.

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, DRIF, ICT Policy

Le vendredi 15 janvier, Paradigm Initiative, a organisé une conférence de presse virtuelle pour lancer officiellement la 8e édition du Forum sur les Droits Numériques et l’Inclusion baptisé DRIF21 avec la participation de plusieurs journalistes de toute l’Afrique. La conférence visait à annoncer l’ouverture des inscriptions de DRIF21, du 18 janvier au 18 février 2021.

Sur le panel, une équipe de Paradigm Initiative constituée de Adeboye Adegoke, responsable du programme des droits numériques, Thobekile Matimbe, Community Manager et Tosin Abolaji, responsable du programme de l’inclusion numérique, a éclairé les représentants des médias sur la raison d’être et ce qui fait de DRIF21 un événement très attendu. Le panel a également annoncé lors de la conférence que DRIF21 va devenir continental et sera co-organisé par plusieurs autres organisations dans 12 pays africains. Les pays hôtes comprennent la Somalie, l’Éthiopie, l’Ouganda, le Soudan du Sud, le Kenya, la Tanzanie, le Tchad, le Nigéria, la Namibie, le Cameroun, la Zambie et la République centrafricaine.

DRIF21 est l’événement phare de Paradigm Initiative qui se déroulera du 12 au 30 avril 2021. Il convient de noter que DRIF21 sera un mélange de sessions virtuelles et physiques. L’événement sera retransmis en direct sur les plateformes de médias sociaux de PIN. DRIF21 est organisé selon un modèle qui célébrera les communautés multi-pays et qui contribuent à la promotion des droits numériques et de l’inclusion en Afrique.
Le Forum sur les Droits Numériques et l’inclusion (DRIF) est une plateforme importante où les conversations sur la politique numérique en Afrique sont façonnées, les orientations politiques débattues et les partenariats forgés pour l’action.

Pour plus d’informations sur DRIF21, cliquez ICI.

Envie d’assister à DRIF21? Inscrivez-vous ICI.

Pour toute autre demande, envoyez-nous un e-mail:


By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, DRIF

Paradigm Initiative on Friday, January 15th, organized a virtual media parley to officially kick start the 8th edition of Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum dubbed DRIF21. The virtual media parley attended by journalists from across Africa announced the start of registration for the event programmed for January 18th – February 18th, 2021.

On the panel to enlighten media representatives on the raison d’etre and what makes DRIF21 an anticipated event were, Paradigm Initiative’s Senior Program Manager Mr. Adeboye Adegoke in charge of Digital Rights, Mrs. Thobekile Mathimbe PIN’s Community Manager, and Mr. Tosin Abolaji, Programs Manager in charge of Digital Inclusion. It was highlighted in the media parley that DRIF21 is going continental and will be co-hosted by several other organizations in 12 African countries. The hosting countries include Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Chad, Nigeria, Namibia, Cameroon, Zambia, and the Central African Republic.

DRIF21 is the Paradigm Initiative flagship event that will run from April 12 – 30, 2021. Worthy to note is that DRIF21 will be a mixture of both virtual and in-person sessions. The event will be transmitted live on pin’s social media platforms. The Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF) is an important platform where conversations on digital policy in Africa are shaped, policy directions debated, and partnerships forged for action. DRIF21 is organized under a model that will celebrate the multi-country communities that contribute to promoting digital rights and inclusion in Africa.

For more information about DRIF21, Click HERE.

Want to attend DRIF21? Register HERE.

For other inquiries, reach out to the DRIF21 team via e-mail:


Call for applications to the 4th Edition of the Paradigm Initiative (PIN) Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship

By | #PINternetFreedom, Advocacy, Digital Rights, DigitalJobs, DRIF, DRIMF, ICTs, Internet Freedom, Press Release

Fellowship period: 1 March 2021 – 30 June 2021

Application Period: 21 October 2020 to 12 November 2020

The application process is now open for the 4th edition of the Paradigm Initiative (PIN) Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship (DRIMF). Through academic and practical learnings, Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Digital Inclusion Media Fellowship 2021 seeks to embed media professionals within the digital ecosystem. Media Fellows will connect with PIN teams in Cameroon (Yaoundé), Ghana (Accra), Kenya (Nairobi), Nigeria (Aba, Abuja, Kano and Lagos), Zambia (Lusaka) and Zimbabwe (Bulawayo).

The fellowship seeks to expose media professionals to an underreported field of work at national and regional level, increasing reporting on digital rights and inclusion in Africa. Selected media professionals must be affiliated to media institutions within Africa and available to commence the fellowship from 1 March 2021 to 30 June 2021, to connect and collaborate mostly virtually, and where applicable, be present for in-person activities.

Paradigm Initiative’s Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship is a 4-month program designed to immerse outstanding early career journalists in the digital ecosystem. Selected media professionals will work with Paradigm Initiative on various projects and contribute to improving public understanding of digital rights and inclusion issues in Africa. Applications are open to journalists working in Africa.

Components of the fellowship

  • Online Digital Rights/Inclusion academic training.
  • Interaction with PIN team members within Africa.
  • 4-month virtual mentorship and collaboration with Paradigm Initiative.
  • Fellowship may include fully-funded local and international travel to participate in and cover relevant events related to Digital Rights and Inclusion.
  • A monthly stipend and a one-time research grant during the fellowship period.
  • Paradigm will pair fellows with in-country mentors for the time of the fellowship who will meet the fellows at least twice during the fellowship.


Fellows will dedicate a minimum of ten hours a week to fellowship-related activities. Each Fellow will be expected to participate in all scheduled activities and to publish, in their affiliated media (Print, TV, Radio, Online), at least 4 features/reports on digital rights and inclusion issues during the fellowship period. Fellows will retain full editorial direction on the stories that they publish in their affiliated media. In addition, each fellow will produce a research paper on a relevant topic with the guidance of the PIN Team of not more than 1500 words which will be published by PIN. Fellows will be expected to continue to provide coverage on digital rights and inclusion issues after their fellowship.


The Fellowship is open to early career journalists with not more than 8 years’ experience in the media sector and affiliated with mainstream print and online newspapers in Africa. Interested candidates must have a relevant undergraduate degree and demonstrate previous coverage of human rights and/or tech issues and interest in advancing digital rights and inclusion.

How to apply

Kindly complete the form here