Telenor Myanmar has established more than 58 digital literacy centres in 12 states with the objective to provide smart phone and computer-based literacy training and online education to communities in rural areas. The establishment includes training entrepreneurs to become sustainable social enterprises.
Partnering with Myanmar ICT for Development Organization (MIDO), Telenor has establish and run Light Houses in Myanmar with the aim of setting up 100 Light Houses by 2016 and 200 Light Houses by the end of 2018. The partnership between Telenor and MIDO was signed in June, 2014.
Community Information Centers capitalizing on the power of internet
The Light Houses are social enterprises that aim to educate rural and urban communities nationwide on the wide range of economically and socially beneficial information found on the internet. The centres are run by local entrepreneurs, and are open to anyone in the local community, from farmers to local entrepreneurs, and from urban dwellers and villagers alike.
“Our Light Houses are sustainable social enterprises that aim to reduce the rural and urban digital divide in Myanmar in both smartphone and computer use. Using Telenor’s technology, expertise, channels and social investment, Light Houses provide an innovative digital literacy curriculum and information programmes, delivered by capable socially-oriented entrepreneurs supported by local marketing campaigns and sustainable income generation opportunities. We look forward to achieving wider impact in the rest of Myanmar in the coming years,” said Min Thu, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Telenor Myanmar.
Capacity Building of Local entrepreneurs Key
Both Telenor and MIDO have trained the local entrepreneurs in how to operate the centres as social enterprises, providing affordable, socially beneficial information services and digital literacy training while remaining economically sustainable.
The types of trainings available at Light Houses are mobile-based internet trainings and computer trainings. Under mobile-based internet trainings, there are lessons such as using mobile phones effectively, how to use mobile internet, how to use Viber, Email, and Facebook, how to search information on the internet, and self-learning English courses on the internet. Under computer trainings, basic computer skills, Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint will be taught using modern teaching methods.
To serve customers that cannot visit Light Houses in person, such as those living in villages, Light Houses will soon provide outreach digital literacy training. U Mg Mg from Le Thit village in Myingyan, one of the first outreach digital literacy trainees, said, “The training allowed us to learn important aspects of digital world that we did not know before, especially for the youth. We want more outreach training from the Light Houses”
A long-term commitment
Telenor believes that the telecom industry has the power to empower society and effective delivery of its corporate responsibility duties is a key part of this. Telenor has been implementing corporate responsibility initiatives in Myanmar that will create shared value for people, society and business, and contribute to Myanmar’s social and economic development in a range of areas including establishing the Light Houses.