Female power at the Insight Session on digital literacy

Review of the Insight Session "Digital Literacy and Digital Municipal Service Design" on August 18, 2021

On August 18, the event "Digital literacy and digital municipal service design" took place virtually in the Connective Cities Community, with over 45 participants from Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Germany, Kenya and Zambia, among others. Particularly noteworthy was the high level of female participation at the event. All three presentations were given by women, a good sign that the once purely male-dominated IT sector is slowly opening, and that people of all genders can contribute their innovative ideas. The event is part of the series "Insight Sessions: (Post-)COVID Urban Futures", which facilitates a recurring exchange on various topics of sustainable urban development in the (post-)COVID-19 era between urban practitioners worldwide. In brief and concise exchange formats space is created to initiate reflection and present innovative solutions to local challenges.

The focus of the current event was on how municipal practitioners deal with the topic of digital literacy. The rapid digitisation process during the COVID-19 pandemic has excluded large parts of the population who either lack digital literacy or do not have access to the hardware to participate. This problem is particularly relevant for municipalities as they have an obligation to include all citizens in their activities and enable them to participate in society. The (new?) digital divide is evident in education, communication and many other aspects.


After a short insight into this year's Connective Cities COVID-19 programme, Eva Schweitzer from the German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) introduced the topic in her keynote "Smart cities and digital literacy". In addition to a brief presentation of the Smart City Charter, which aims to ensure the digital inclusion and integration of citizens, she also presented the Civic Living Lab in Oldenburg as a positive example, where the digital skills of the population are to be strengthened through digital scavenger hunts, among other things.

Afterwards, Josephine Miliza, co-founder of TunapandaNET, presented a good practice on community networks in Kibera, Kenya. TunapandaNET is a low-cost community network run by the Tunapanda Institute that aims to build a digital ecosystem to address digital inequalities. TunapandaNET has 30 hotspots within the community, with each centre serving 50 to 500 users.

Another good practice was presented by Samar Baba, co-founder and former chair of IEEE Sight Tunisia. SIGHT is a network of IEEE volunteers worldwide that works with underserved communities and local organisations to use technology for sustainable development. In Tunisia SIGHT implemented the Tawasol project, which aims to create a connected Tunisia through the creation of digital infrastructure and educational projects and develop new leaders who can bring about effective social change.

Finally, the Connective Cities working groups on digitalisation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic were presented. Among other things, they deal with the digital divide and public service design optimisation. Click here for more information if you want to be part of one of the working groups.


Keynote Smart Cities and digital literacy, Eva Schweitzer

Good Practice: Keeping communities online during the COVID-19 pandemic in Kibera, Kenya, Josephine Miliza

Good Practices from IEEE worldwide on digital literacy, Samar Baba

The recording of the event can be found here: Insight Session: Digital literacy and digital municipal service design | Connective Cities Network (


In the coming weeks, more Insight Sessions on exciting topics around COVID-19 Recovery will take place:

08.09.2021: Insight Session: Pop-up bike lanes - Long-term opportunities for green urban development?

29.09.2021: Insight Session: Crisis Management – Cross Border Solidarity in time of crisis

Wir laden Sie herzlich ein, an diesen Veranstaltungen teilzunehmen!


Connective Cities

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