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Digital Training Bus: Empowering Women in Rural Bangladesh

Learning digital skills can unlock the door to gender equality and future opportunities.

Limited Opportunities for Education and Employment

In Bangladesh, women in rural communities do not always experience the same rights and freedoms as men. Although a government-led digital revolution is taking place in the nation of 164 million, many young women in rural areas are being left behind. And as nations across the globe continue to face the coronavirus pandemic, it is now more important than ever for girls and women to develop the digital skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly online world.

By giving women in rural areas the opportunity to access education and skills, they will be not only be more independent in the future, but also better positioned to contribute to Bangladesh's digital economy.

Source: GSMA

Bringing Training to Women in Rural Areas

In 2017, Huawei, the Bangladesh Government (ICT Division), and Robi Axiata jointly launched the Digital Training Bus project. Six buses, each equipped with 23 workstations, were custom built for one main mission: to bring digital skills to women in the heart of rural Bangladesh.

The buses can reach women in remote communities who are unable to travel to training centers in bigger cities, women who otherwise the digital world would leave behind. Every student has access to a laptop as well as the large LED screens, sound system, Wi-Fi, and specialized software necessary to facilitate the training. The buses and equipment are powered by a standby generator, meaning that the lack of an easily obtainable power supply frequently seen in rural areas presents no barrier.

As well as their mobility, the buses are much more cost-effective than setting up and running fixed-location training centers in remote locations.

  • 63,000+

    women had received training as of Dec 2019

  • 166,000

    additional women will receive training by 2023

The project aims to transform the lives of 240,000 women from 64 districts, help Bangladesh in its drive towards gender equality, and support long-term economic growth.

Before particpaing in the program, I didn't know what information and communication technology was. Now I can participate in ICT competitions by applying what I've learned. Mst Tanjila Aktet
Training bus student

I feel that if every girl were able to do this training, Bangladesh would progress further. Urmi Sahara Oishi
Training bus student

This training is very useful; the skills I learned can be applied in real life, which will help me compete in the job market. Mst Arifa Yasmin (Antora)
Training bus student

I strongly believe that young girls who do this training will shine brighter in the future. Munni Khatun
Sister of training bus student

I believe [the bus] is very effective in rural areas. In cities, students get more access to technology. When we drive the bus around rural areas to visit schools, the girls are happy that they've learned a lot after the training. Md Motaleb
Bus driver