Go Digital ASEAN

digital skills to address the economic impact of Covid-19

In ASEAN’s growing digital economy, how can we ensure that marginalized communities have the tools to succeed? The divide between the under-connected and the hyper-digitalized will only deepen in the current global crisis, exacerbating inequalities, and sapping potential for growth. The  Go Digital ASEAN initiative is designed to: equip micro and small enterprises and underemployed youth, particularly those in rural and isolated areas, with crucial digital skills and tools; expand economic opportunity across ASEAN Member States; and minimize the negative impact from the COVID-19 crisis.

The project was approved for implementation by the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME) during its 8th Meeting in November 2019. Implemented by The Asia Foundation, with support from Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, the initiative demonstrates synergy in public-private partnership to broaden participation in the digital economy.

Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) account for 99% of businesses in key sectors of most ASEAN economies and employ more than 80% of the workforce, according to the ASEAN Secretariat. The project is working with both MSME owners and underemployed workers to improve their digital literacy, as the future success of each group will be mutually reinforcing. Digital integration can bridge the digital divide to create a more inclusive ASEAN region.

This project will reach up to 200,000 underserved people and rural micro-enterprises across the region, including 60% women and 40% youth (age range between 15 and 35 years). By leveraging The Asia Foundation’s on-ground networks, the initiative will directly benefit those that have the most to gain from digital literacy and ensure a foothold in the digital economy.

“We are pleased to activate this first-of-its-kind collaboration—pooling expertise and approaches from government, business, and NGO sectors—to help bridge the digital gap. The Asia Foundation’s local country offices will lead a community network of trainers and volunteers to help integrate MSME owners and underemployed youth workers into the digital economy.”

—Asia Foundation President David D. Arnold

Working with governments, local partners, and volunteers across the 10 ASEAN Member States (AMS) which make up ACCMSME, Go Digital ASEAN delivers digital training and tools to beneficiaries in villages and secondary cities. The trainings will be customized to local needs, conditions, and contexts.

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Follow-on mentoring

One-on-one training

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Online safety component

Digital skills for entrepreneurs

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Digital literacy for job seekers

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Questions? Contact our Go Digital ASEAN team at godigital@asiafoundation.org

Latest news from Go Digital ASEAN

Nikkei Asian Review Highlights Go Digital ASEAN

Nikkei Asian Review features The Asia Foundation and the Go Digital ASEAN initiative in an op-ed written by President of Google Asia Pacific, Scott Beaumont.

Southeast Asia’s Microbusinesses Go Digital to Compete

Covid-19 is hitting Southeast Asia hard. Women, young people, low-wage workers, and the underemployed have been devastated. Mom-and-pop small businesses, particularly traditional handicrafts and small-scale trading and tourism, were under financial pressures long before Covid-19.

Thomson Reuters Spotlights Digital Gap for Women-Led Microbusinesses

A Thomson Reuters Foundation feature article, “Digital lifeline for women running Asia’s small businesses,” examines digital access for marginalized groups across Southeast Asia, facing financial pressures long before Covid-19. Go Digital ASEAN is a new digital literacy initiative supported by Google.org to train up to 200,000 people in marginalized communities across the region.