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Digital Inclusion

Digital inclusion is essential to equitable development. Lack of access to affordable and reliable internet connections and devices is a critical barrier to development for nearly three billion people around the world, with women and girls, people with disabilities and other people who experience discrimination and exclusion most impacted.

Once online, excluded people often struggle with a lack of digital literacy and skills, with negative impacts on their ability to study and earn a living. Simultaneously, online violence is disproportionately targeted at women, girls, and gender and sexual minorities, with governments often ill-equipped to address this.

Three young Muslim women use laptop in work meeting

What is Digital Inclusion?


Digital Inclusion aims to reduce and ultimately eliminate the barriers to access to digital products and services which excluded people and groups typically experience. This may be increasing women’s digital literacy so they can use mobile devices to access information, work and government services. It also includes making the internet a safer place for women, girls and sexual and gender minorities by addressing technology-facilitated gender-based violence. Another aspect of digital inclusion is the use of technology to make information, products and services more accessible to people with disabilities, such as through the use of assistive technology.

Smiling elderly woman looking at her phone.

Our work in this area


SDDirect has varied and in-depth experience of increasing the digital inclusion of women, girls and other excluded groups, as well as of reducing online harms.

Our staff has expertise in the following thematic areas:  

  • How to prevent and respond to technology-facilitated gender-based violence.
  • How investments in digital infrastructure can promote women’s digital access and inclusion. 
  • How governments and companies can remove barriers to women entering the technology sector.
  • How to increase online child safeguarding and support digital companies to prevent online violence against children.
  • How technology can be harnessed to support people with disabilities. 
  • How artificial intelligence can be adapted to reduce its gender and social biases.

SDDirect's Digital Blog Series

Digital blog series banner

The first installment of the digital blog series is out now! Read "How digital technology can promote women’s economic empowerment in Pacific Island countries" by Rebekah Martin now.

If you would like to hear more about our work on Digital Inclusion, please reach out to Kavita Kalsi, Head of Digital Portfolio,

What works to prevent online and offline child sexual exploitation and abuse? Review of national education strategies in East Asia and the Pacific

This review of national education strategies in East Africa and the Pacific explores the current and comparative risks for under-18s in the region from online sexual abuse and exploitation. It looks at the specific vulnerabilities and drivers for abuse, and how these can be prevented through education strategies.

Digital Access Programme (DAP)

The Digital Access Programme (DAP) is a four year, £59m programme jointly funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the  Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMA) to catalyse more inclusive, affordable, safe and secure digital access for excluded and underserved communities in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil an