The goal of our Offline project is to create a DVD version of the openDemocracy archive of academic writings and to distribute this to schools, libraries and internet cafes throughout the global South in an effort to overcome the digital divide which prevents so many people from participating in global debates and discussions.
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There is a digital divide. Many of the least advantaged have no access to broadband. Many schools and universities in the global south have very poor connectivity. openDemocracy has an archive of articles that are an ideal starting point for an interested person to find out about the larger political world of which they are a part. Our editorial goal is always to be inclusive but critical, and many of those who should be included in the global conversation are limited in their ability to do so by access to the web. An illustrative example of this prolific problem is the fact that, according to the 2009 World Economic Forum on Africa, only 1% of the African population has broadband access. Other countries in the Global South have a similar lack of broadband access: 5% in China, 0.1% in Pakistan or 3.9% in Brazil (according to the 2008 World Internet Usage statistics). The goal of our Offline project is to create a DVD version of openDemocracy and to distribute this to schools, libraries and internet cafes throughout the global South. A complete DVD-ready version of openDemocracy will be prepared. Libraries, schools and universities in Asia, Africa and Latin America will be contacted and the DVD will be offered to them. Regular communication with those institutions will be maintained to understand needs and usage and opportunities for improvement. The DVD will also be made available for any user to download and burn.
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