Poverty in Brazil assumes giant proportions; 56,9 million people live in poverty and 24,7 million are extremely poor. Research shows a direct correlation between poverty levels and lack of education.
In order to address this gap, David Bruce McMahan, Founder and Chairman of McMahan Abilities Activists, is working with the Fundação Pensamento Digital in Porto Alegre on a national program to bring computers and computer skills to low-income areas. The Digital Cooperation Network: Connecting Communities to Development project trains educators from non-governmental organizations in basic information technology skills, the use of the Internet for research, interaction and publication. These teachers then bring these skills to after-school programs, vocational and adult literacy workshops, and enterprise initiatives.
The Digital Cooperation network has its own open-source e-learning environment, Amadis, that enables students, members of the community, and teachers to learn, create, publish, and interact.
The program has been launched in pilot locations in Sao Paulo, Porte Alegre and Brazilia with funding and oversight by the McMahan Center.
The National Cristina Foundation, another key partner, is providing assistance for the implementation of the National Cristina Foundation’s models for computer reuse, which have been implemented across the United States and internationally.
In addition. Fundação Pensamento Digital works with numerous partners, including Rotary clubs across Brazil, the Federal University of RS State in Brazil, ASSESPRO (the Association of Software Companies), Planac for logistic and refurbishment support, and a rapidly growing list of Brazilian organizations.
The program’s goal is to give communities the opportunity to access Information and Communication Technology resources, to promote active citizenship and a culture of life-long learning. Once they understand computers they can start using them to communicate with each other, and with the rest of the world.