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Connect Humanity Report: Further steps on the digitization journey of CSOs

The report, titled "State of Digital Inequality: Civil Society's Perspective on Barriers to Progress in our Digitized World," was produced by analyzing survey responses from more than 7,500 CSO participants serving more than 190 million people from 136 countries. The report includes data on Internet access, affordability, digital skills, financial literacy for digital tools, and policies developed for digital equality.

The report includes data on Internet access, affordability, digital skills, financial literacy for digital tools, and policies developed for digital equality.

CSOs do not have enough access to the digital tools they need

The survey results make clear that most communities that CSOs serve around the world do not have access to affordable and reliable internet and the digital tools they need to fully participate in the digital age.

While the report states that the Internet is not only a fundamental right in our rapidly digitizing world, but also critical to the success of all civil society organizations, it also states that "digital equity cannot be achieved without the participation of civil society."

Infrastructure and Access

  • While organizations believe digital technologies are critical to achieving their mission, their work is affected by a lack of internet access.
  • 95 percent of CSOs said the internet is vital to their ability to do their work
  • 78 percent said that a lack of internet access, tools, or skills limits their ability to serve their communities effectively.
  • Just 12 percent of practitioners said they ‘strongly agree’ that the communities they serve have internet connectivity.
  • When asked to identify their top three technology challenges, 39 percent of participants pointed to slow speeds and 32 percent to unreliable internet


  • The high cost of devices and internet access is a significant barrier for both CSOs and the people they serve, preventing them from participating meaningfully in our digital world.
  • 19 percent of participants said all of the below were too expensive for their organization.
  • 43 percent said internet access was expensive or unaffordable and 64 percent struggled to pay for computers.
  • 49 percent said all of these services were too expensive for the people they serve, including 67 percent that said the cost of internet access is too high for the people they serve.

Digital Skills

A lack of digital skills is a major issue for both civil society organizations and the people they serve. Few feel their employees are well trained on the devices and software they use.

Digital skills gaps emerged as the most frequently cited barrier to digital technology. 39 percent of respondents cited a lack of skills as a top barrier in their organization and 50 percent cited it as a top challenge to their communities.

Only 12 percent strongly agreed that employees in their organization are well trained on the software and technologies they use.

60 percent said their organizations provide no digital literacy training or skills building.

55 percent of respondents said the people they serve do not have access to digital literacy training.


While CSOs view access to the internet as a basic right, many say their government lacks policies that support this.
91 percent of respondents believe internet access is a basic right.
But 41 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed that their government has policies in place to support this right.


It is crucial that the information and services people most value are available in local languages. Respondents said they were often not.
80 percent+ of respondents said social media, email and chat services, and news sources were available in local languages — services that were ranked as most important for the communities they serve.
However, far fewer said other important services were available in local languages, including online banking and financial services (57 percent), government services (57 percent), and civic engagement tools, including voter registration (46 percent).

Click here to read the report published in English.

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