Skoll Foundation


Center for Digital Inclusion

Skoll Awardee(s): Rodrigo Baggio
Award Year: 2005
Issue Area(s) Addressed: Economic Opportunity, Education

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“We are living in the knowledge age, but 79 percent of the people of our planet are digitally excluded. We believe that bringing technology can help them see a whole different set of opportunities. We teach people technology to help transform their reality.”

Sub-Issues: Post-Secondary Education; Secondary Education; Youth Job Skills Low-income communities in the world’s poorest regions are regularly excluded from the benefits of technological innovation, and lack opportunities to develop marketable technology job skills, because they do not have access to computers and information technology.

The Skoll Awardee: As the son of an information management specialist, Rodrigo Baggio learned about computers early. As a teenager, he volunteered helping street children and mobilizing workers for a day nursery in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. At that time, the technology revolution was having a tremendous impact on Brazil, yet, Rodrigo saw it creating another social divide, instead of opportunities for all. He set about to combine his desire to improve the lives of the poor with his passion for technology. In 1995, with a collection of secondhand computers and volunteer teachers, he founded CDI to teach people how to use technology to improve their communities and their lives. CDI applies three main models in its work with low-income communities: 1) building self-managed community centers that serve as non-formal teaching hubs for children and adults to learn marketable technology skills, 2) an accessible network of internet cafes; and 3) social innovation hubs — community centers, incubation labs, and tech-for-good curriculum – that enable entrepreneurial learning as community members and students design tech-based solutions for common challenges. At the time of the Award, CDI was active throughout Brazil and at a few sites in neighboring countries, and was preparing to expand internationally. It model blended technology education with was civic engagement and learning, for example, learning Microsoft Word by creating a table of constitutional rights, or becoming fluent with an Excel spreadsheet by working on a community organization budget. Over time the model has become more focused on outcomes related to job skills, employment, and community entrepreneurship.

Impact since joining the portfolio in 2005:

  • 87,876 graduates in information and communications technology and active citizenship courses across 821 Community Centers in 13 countries.
  • 250,000 users of ICT services.
  • 6,500 cyber cafes serving as centers of digital inclusion and social services.
  • 780 digital inclusion spaces in 13 countries, giving more than 1.54 million people access to the Internet, many for the first time. The centers are run by members of the community and focus on teaching marketable skills.



© 2015 Skoll Foundation.