Welcome to issue 62 of the Call to Comms!

The IT Cup Center in Miarinarivo, Madagascar, is TSF’s longest-standing digital inclusion project. Since 2012, the center has offered Madagascan youth the opportunity to use the Internet and computers for the first time, advance their studies and careers, and eventually transfer their knowledge to their communities to support them. 

Read on as we talk to Prisca, a former volunteer and a frequent visitor of It Cup Center. 

IT Cup Center Miarinarivo, Madagascar

The IT Cup Miarinarivo is a TSF digital inclusion project that promotes sustainable regional development through digital tools and connectivity. 

Established in 2012, IT Cup provided the first public internet access points in Miarinarivo in addition to computer facilities.

IT Cup offers a variety of activities, including operating a cyber with printers and scanners, offering computer literacy programs for students, promoting internet safety awareness, hosting extracurricular activities and after-school support for children, running technical and creative clubs, conducting cartography workshops, and assisting in data collection projects such as mapping water sources in collaboration with local institutions. 

Meet Prisca, IT Cup Alumna

Prisca is a young woman who studied Rural Development student in Miarinarivo. She became a volunteer at the IT Cup center during the annual celebration of Safer Internet Day in 2020.

Prisca started using a computer for the first time at the IT Cup Center when she was still in high school during the Internet initiation course. The course allowed Prisca to research using the tools provided at the cyber and taking part in the after-school support activities because she had no equipment or means of doing so elsewhere.

Prisca (left) at the Safer Internet Day event in 2020.

Applying Digital Skills to Support Local Community

Prisca is now applying the skills acquired at IT Cup to her work. 

A lot of men are surprised. I find that women still don’t have a place in the use of digital technology in Malagasy society, and it’s still very difficult to prove our values in the workplace.”

In Prisca’s village, access to digital technology is still very difficult, and it is perceived as a very sophisticated tool reserved for geniuses or very intelligent people.  

People are afraid to touch computers because they think they don't have the capacity to understand or that they'll damage the equipment and have to pay a lot of money. That's why they’re always looking for someone to accompany them in their work, research, etc.”

Currently, Prisca is using her digital skills and knowledge to accompany vulnerable people’s use of technology and empower them to improve their living conditions. One of the things she helps with is using computers and dealing with administrative formalities.

TSF’s Continuous Commitment to Bridging the Digital Divide

In February, It Cup Miarinarivo celebrated 12 years of service and bridging the digital divide in the region. With the increased prevalence of the Internet and technologies and their usage in our day-to-day lives, digital literacy is crucial to ensure the inclusion of all communities and vulnerable people. By prioritizing digital inclusion and literacy, we can ensure that everyone has the opportunity to harness the power of technology for personal growth, economic empowerment, and social advancement. 

Prisca’s story is only one of many that exemplify how digital literacy contributes to empowerment and community development, as its impact extends beyond mere access to technology and also fosters a culture of learning and innovation among individuals of all ages.

This year in February, 233 visited the IT Cup center in Miarinarivo. They used the computers to navigate the Internet, do their homework, and research, among other activities. Most visitors are students, 76% of whom are enrolled in high school. 

As part of the IT Cup collaboration with local high schools in Miarinarivo, around 100 students participate in an initiation course on using the Internet every month.

See you next week!