Virtual volunteering event

International Human Rights Day: How CodeBrave is spreading the importance of digital literacy

International Human Rights Day

International Human Rights Day is observed by the international community every year on December 10. It commemorates the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

We spoke with Clementine Brown, Founder of CodeBrave, a nonprofit organization helping more and more people get access to digital literacy.

Why is it important to talk about human rights in the 21st century?

Clementine – Human rights are still threatened and it is an ongoing struggle to ensure every individual’s rights are respected.

At CodeBrave, we see tech education as a fundamental part of education in the 21st century.

For centuries, the ability to read and write has empowered individuals to improve their lives and access income opportunities.

Digital literacy is now a kind of passport to participate in those opportunities. We’ve seen that especially strongly in the last couple of years during the COVID pandemic.

Hence, if we don’t extend tech education to the most marginalised in society, we risk further exacerbating existing marginalisation and effectively denying them the ability to access other rights.

What is digital literacy and why is it an important aspect of human rights?

Clementine – Digital literacy is the ability to use the technology available in the 21st century to our advantage, whether it’s through computers, phones, the internet, or more advanced tools – robotics, or other technologies like AI to solve problems, to achieve your own goals.

What were the challenges faced by CodeBrave during the pandemic last year?

Clementine – Remote learning has been a challenge for families across the world. In Lebanon, many families have just one device. Sometimes, several children have to use that one phone to access their education, perhaps even using simple software like WhatsApp.

On top of that, a massive economic crisis has hit the country in the last two years. Now over 70% of the population is living below the poverty line. Youth unemployment is nearly 40%. For families who are struggling financially, learning from home is incredibly difficult as there is no state-provided power most of the day and families can’t afford generator power, meaning they can’t charge electricity devices or use WiFi.

Even when schools did reopen, there was a fuel shortage crisis in Lebanon, meaning many children couldn’t actually reach their schools. Now the price of fuel has skyrocketed, so parents cannot afford fuel for cars or bus fares.

So, we’ve been working to support that access to education by sourcing donated laptops and other devices. We’ve distributed over 120 donated devices to our students to allow them to learn from home. We also distribute 3G mobile internet packages, so that students do not have to rely on their on-home Wi-Fi, which is dependent on electricity availability.

What is the difference between developed vs. developing countries from a human rights perspective?

Clementine – There are different levels of threats to human rights in different countries. Access to education was threatened for people even in the most developed countries during the pandemic.

We know that there’s also a very complex relationship between human rights in various contexts. Access to civil and political rights can affect people’s ability to exercise their economic, social, and cultural rights. So the correlation between how economically-developed a country is and human rights enjoyed there is not straightforward.

How can society come up and create a more sustainable and progressive environment?

Clementine – Many people want to get involved in improving human rights. And, there are lots of ways to do that. It could take the form of volunteering your time or resources to a cause you believe in. Capitalising on your existing skills can be satisfying because you’re really contributing on a skilled level to those nonprofits. We have had lots of people volunteering at CodeBrave who’ve done amazing things for us using their existing skill sets, whether graphic design, curriculum design, or accounting. We literally wouldn’t have been where we are now without the dozens of volunteers that were involved in setting up the organisation.

Any message for the potential volunteers who would like to join the CodeBrave?

Clementine – Get in touch and tell us your skills and how you think you could contribute. You can make a big impact as a volunteer.

Celebrate International Human Rights Day with CodeBrave and Goodera

Goodera empowers nonprofits such as the Malaysian Relief Agency through brand advocacy, fundraising, and long-term volunteers.

We hope that this interview helped you to really understand how CodeBrave is on a mission to spread digital awareness to more and more people.

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