Foundation Projects

Equal Access to Information Society in Myanmar (first phase)

Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation

This project aimed to combine and scale two programs that have been delivering significant impact for people in Myanmar who are having their first experience with digital technologies. The two programs are Mobile Information Literacy, and Tech Age Girls. For the proposed program, the focus was on women and youth, benefiting 500 people through 20 libraries located across the country. Moreover, MBAPF was working closely to carry forward through Ministry of Information and Education which are responsible for Public and School libraries respectively. The Mobile Information Literacy (MIL) curriculum is a growing collection of training materials designed to build information literacies for the millions of people worldwide coming online every month via a mobile phone. The curriculum, developed for Myanmar, focuses on critical thinking in a digital environment of smartphones and tablets, filling a critical gap in digital information literacy curricula that presumes people’s primary digital device is a personal computer.

The program has been supported by USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Tech Age Girls (TAG) program, part of Beyond Access [PDF], encouraged and developed skills of promising young female leaders by providing them with specialized information technology (IT) training, leadership and job skills and opportunities to engage in critical public discussion. Broadly, TAG addressed the systemic underre presentation of girls aged between 16-20 in the IT field and promotes the online presence of girls’ voices in local languages.

The program has been supported by the OCSE, Peace Corps, USAID, and US Department of State. Since 2015, MIL has been delivered to over 1,000 community members through 90 public and community libraries in Myanmar. TAG is currently working with a first cohort of 100 girls (who also received MIL training and leadership skills) building on the Beyond Access program in Myanmar that has equipped 90 libraries with access to the internet and enabled 74,000 people to use a tablet for the first time, and 15,000 people to use the Internet for the first time. Funding for these two programs ended in June 2016 (MIL), and March 2017 (TAG) respectively. Given the impact these programs are making (see “Motivation” below), MBAPF was eager to extend these programs by: Adding 20 new libraries (total 110) Creating new MIL content focused on women and youth Conducting MIL master training for 20 librarians from Public and School Libraries Extending 50 more TAG girls via 10 more libraries from public schools Publishing trainer's manual on MIL Holding a national level workshop to disseminate the manual through government ministries (Ministry of Information and Education).

The outcomes of this project were:

  • 500 women and youth who have completed MIL;
  • 50 women who have completed TAG - Demonstrated changes in people’s lives as a result of these two programs such as online job application, accessing online government services and accessing educational materials online, using maternal and health application and getting agricultural news via Farmers App;
  • Training manual of MIL which was used to disseminate through public and school libraries through Ministry of Information and Education.
An infographic about Tech Age Girls about fostering technical leadership.
An infographic used by the project