The more we connect

October 14, 2015

…the better it gets.

Last month, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg told UN representatives of his desire to bring internet access to refugee camps across the world.

At first glance, it could seem an unnecessary luxury. Is the ability to share a Facebook status up there on the priority list next to warm clothes and sufficient nutrition? Well, it won’t stop tanks or bullets, by Zuckerberg’s own admission, but what it can do is present opportunity in a place of need.

He described the Internet as an enabler of human rights, and firmly believes that it can be used as a ‘force for peace’ all over the world. It can help families to stay in touch, to navigate safely and to proactively look to better their lives. With two thirds of the world going without internet access, it’s by no means an easy feat to bring it to each and every one of them. But with the support of some of the world’s most influential corporates, and ties to the #GlobalGoals campaign, what Zuckerberg does have, is the beginnings of a very powerful movement.

In 2013, Facebook launched Internet.org – an initiative that brings together technology leaders, non-profits and local communities, all working towards the aim of bringing internet access to everybody by 2020. Granting internet access isn’t just about presenting further opportunity or a fast-track to a better life, it’s about simply trying to overcome poverty.

Research shows that for every ten people who gain Internet access, one person is lifted out of poverty.

“By connecting more people in developing countries, we have an opportunity to create more than 140 million new jobs, lift 160 million people out of poverty, and give more than 600 million children access to affordable learning tools.’”
Mark Zuckerberg.

So, what’s the plan? …

Internet.org have already started to make waves with Free Basics. Free Basics is making a range of services accessible to more people to help them to develop in the most natural of ways. Providing free access to things like news, health information, jobs and government notices, it’s allowing people from Asia, Africa and Latin America, so far, to gather information and to better connect with promising opportunities.

Quite simply, access enables opportunity. And although many people get by just fine without the internet, it has undoubtedly proved its positive power in lots of different ways. In the most case, in the UK, we use it to better our lives. So letting as many people as possible do the same thing, is a brilliant idea.

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