Digital Device Justice for addressing the Digital Divide

Digital Device Justice for addressing the Digital Divide

Our challenge, your solutions

Better sites and apps for better low-power, low-cost devices

This project essentially takes two utterly important but unpopular ideas - device justice and sites / applications which are accessible with old hardware - and puts them together in a program which allows them to empower and catalyze one another.


Team: Digital Device Justice

Team members

James Coder

Members roles and background

James Coder- educator.  MA, philosophy, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.  Currently teaches web development and Dutch online.  Educational background is in philosophy and psychology of the mind and how experience comes together to make us who we are.

Contact details

Solution description

The solution involves a pilot program teaching people web development in rural Kenya on Linux machines.  The sites and applications they will be building are responsible, client-side minimalist sites which allow people with older and lower-powered devices to use and work with these sites and applications.  It is hoped that if this project is successful, it can be replicated, bringing attention in governments, institutions, and the public to the critical issue of digital device justice and empowering more solutions to help the hundreds of millions who are currently set back by this problem.

A longer, seven-page document explaining the probelm of digital device justice and a more detailed explanation of the solution is available as a link in Section 4.

Solution context

Hundreds of millions are disadvantaged due to the digital device justice of the issue of the digital divide.  Typically, the oppressed have old or low-powered digital devices.  However, the current trend in web development with client-rich programming places a huge processing and memory burden on user devices, and many older and lower powered devices are not likely to react with severe problems or to seize up entirely, leaving the person seeking information frustrated, or perhaps even entirely unable to access the information she or he needs.

Solution target group

The initial pilot is targeted at just a few people in rural Kenya.  It is hoped that they will help empower their whole village in adopting Linux powered devices, AND help local businesses and institutions with responsible web applications for low-powered devices.  The ultimate reach of the project is everyone who is on the "other" side of the digital devide, and does not have Western high-speed devices using high-bandwidth internet.

Solution impact

This solution could eventually empower millions in providing them access to information on the internet.  Or potentially, if it works exceedingly well and gains adequate support, hundreds of millions.ual

Solution tweet text

Digital Device Justice Action: Quality low-power devices, quality low-consumption applications and sites, for the informational empowerment of millions of the oppressed

Solution innovativeness

I am not aware of any person or project proposing this combination.  There has been successful work in Togo and other developing regions re. Linux and Raspberry Pi, but this is only one part of the solution I offer here.

Solution transferability

It is hoped that this solution can be transferred to any group of oppressed people - including trans people in western nations.

Solution sustainability

This solution has been the fruit of nearly a year of weekly talks with Bishop Argwings Yoto of Holy Trinity Church in Africa.  It began with discussions on ethics.  We have already successfully rasied funds for and built a toilet facility for his people using ideas for a separate project, having to do with ethical transparency in developing areas.  We continue our weekly conversations and I hope this goes on for a long time.  We have been bringing others gradually into the group for various kinds of support.

The solution is incredibly cheap financially, it relies mostly on the quality of the people who are learning web development.  But my contact with Bishop Argwings assures me that he will select some very fine students.

Solution team work

Unfortunately, Bishop Argwings was not present at the DigiEduHackathon - he is a tremendously busy man, heading up many churches in Kenya.  I raised this project as a possible solution during our hackathon group session, and it was warmly accepted by a few of the African members of our team.  It is also not out of the question that we find more for our team amongst those of the Golbethics hackathon, and I have already contacted one member who has expressed interest, and look forward to hearing from others.

As for my contact with Bishop Argwings, it has been exceptional and better than just about any team I've worked with in the past.

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DigiEduHack 2021 partners & supporters

DigiEduHack is an EIT initiative under the European Commission's Digital Education Action Plan, led by EIT Climate-KIC and coordinated by Aalto University. In 2021, the main stage event is hosted by the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in cooperation with the International Research Center on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI) under the auspices of UNESCO.

EIT Climate-Kic

Aalto University

European commission

Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport

International Research Center on Artificial Intelligence

EIT Community: Human Capital