Two billion people experience some form of digital inequality across Asia. In 2022, we expanded our program footprint into South-East Asia, beginning with the Philippines. The pandemic exposed the lack of digital infrastructure in the education sector here, with students being forced into remote learning through mailed printed copies of learning material.
Most schools in the least developed parts of the Philippines, such as rural Mindanao, do not have a digital classroom. In 2022, we launched our Digital Infrastructure Program here in partnership with Energy Development Corporation (EDC), the largest renewable energy provider in the country. Focusing on EDC's project-impacted areas first, we have since installed 18 digital classrooms in schools across the Kidapawan region of Mindanao. For many students, this was their first time using a digital device. Teachers at one school had taught their students how to type on printed copies of keyboards. We enabled them and 8,000 other students in the area to use the real thing.
In 2023, we aim to replicate this project in central Philippines this year.