They told him that a deadly virus was holding the country “like a whooping cough” and even hit the nearby city of Maicao. But he suspected he was very close to home. “I don’t know if this is true,” said Montiel, 38, part of the country’s largest indigenous group, Wayuu.
When the Colombian government held a nationwide crash in late April, she and her husband were advised to stay home with their three children, stay away from other people, wash their hands, and wear masks to prevent the virus that killed more. 365,000 people worldwide.
However, for Montiels, the order to stay at home is his own death sentence.
Before locking it, Angela occasionally fills a SIM card to use WhatsApp, but since locking it can’t recharge. Without an Internet connection, there is no way to “work remotely”. Angela knits traditional Wayuu mochila bags but cannot sell them on the street under current restrictions.
For now, his family is getting rid of the immediate cash payments of the nonprofit Mercy Corps. It is impossible for children to continue their education without accessing school materials online. As for the updates, they expect phone calls from friends or family who can bring news. Otherwise, they are in the dark.
“We don’t know if it still continues or will continue because we don’t have a television, internet, or anything else,” said Montiel.
Governments around the world have committed to universal access by 2020, but the digital divide is still moving deep and expanding inequalities offline.
People in poor areas, such as women, the elderly and those living in remote or rural areas, are less likely to be interconnected. And in most cases, the connection may be slow – the closure of offices, schools, or public spaces such as libraries and cafes has cut off access for many.
“Covid-19 showed such a big split, and this was actually a shock for some governments. When they asked their employees to go from home to work … many couldn’t.”
Sarpong hopes the crisis will connect more of the long-standing Internet access – from political will to regulatory barriers and data affordability – to make the world more connected.
“Governments need to see internet access not as a luxury but as a facilitator that can transform their economies … I think this is a wake-up call for them,” Sarpong said. Said.
Digital gender difference
Digital technologies have changed life as we know it. But not everyone benefits equally, and many are lagging behind because of infrastructure, literacy and lack of education.
In India, an aggressive approach to digitalization has carried most of the government benefits from rations to pensions. Even before the outbreak, even though half the population was offline, the poorest people in the country were dependent on digital.
The outbreak only increased the irony of this situation.
Lal Bai, a 65-year-old widow who lives in a remote village in Rajasthan, could not walk five kilometers to the nearest town to withdraw the state money, and there was no way to access state funds online. without having food at home.
The miserable Bai came to the door of Ombati Prajapati, who runs a digital services store in his village. “He was the only one to help me.”
“I can only see what is going on thanks to the internet, and say to others that they should regularly wash their hands with soap, use disinfectants, wear masks,” Prajapati said. “He said. Help any of these people [if I had not learned how to use the internet]. I couldn’t even help myself. “
Osama Manzar, social entrepreneur and founder of DEF, says how important it is for business education women like Prajapati to reach the digital mileage, especially during a disaster.
“Connection and access to the Internet should be a part of basic human rights. In the event of an epidemic and disaster, just like you have access to food or water, there must be a way to access data,” said Manzar.
A problem for rich countries
More than four of the 10 low-income households in America cannot access broadband services, according to research by Pew. In the UK, 1.9 million households do not have internet access, and tens of millions of people rely on pay-as-you-go services.
“Digital exclusion is just an extension of the social exclusion they are facing, and poverty is definitely part of it.”
“I was never coping. I was very lonely and overwhelmed when the lock started, but since I took the tablet … I can talk to my grandchildren or daughter when I feel lonely. I’ve always been in contact with them because they’re always online.”
On May 1, Addison turned 60 years old. He celebrated with his grandchildren on video chat on his new iPad – the iPad he now uses to control the benefits portal. And recently he also signed up for a dating site. “I feel like a teenager,” he said.
However, as governments try to offer digital services to the best, the question remains: Who buys a device and who doesn’t?
“This device is not only instant support during Covid, it is also about opening the door to requests and opportunities for parents and families,” said Shaikh. Said. Currently there are 1,500 more on the waiting list.
“The biggest challenge is, who will I choose?”
CNN’s Swati Gupta and Jack Guy contributed to this report.
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