Digital literacy and social capital in emerging markets
A study led by the Mozilla Foundation and funded by the Gates Foundation examined first-time smartphone users in Kenya. With a focus on how mobile technology might be leveraged in adopting digital financial services among low-income first-time users, the study discussed whether community-oriented interventions were the correct method in presenting digital skills training. The study pointed out that without knowledge, users find smartphones challenging and features like product adoption difficult to navigate.
The project’s extensive final report provided a snapshot of the society being scrutinized. Individuals in the emerging market are socially motivated to purchase a smartphone. That is, there’s a strong desire to be a member of the in-group that interacts on social media platforms as it improves social standing and increases networking opportunities. Females typically defer to their male partners in purchasing their first smartphone, while usage patterns were often dictated by the male partner.
The report also identified 53 skills first-time users require to fully leverage their smartphone capabilities. According to the researchers, these skill sets can be inserted into the following categories: Accounts, Android operating system, apps, browsing, creative and functional use, data usage and costs, literacy, online ethics, privacy and security, problem solving, scams and fraud, searching, social platforms and the technology ecosystem. To impart that expertise on the Kenyan cohort, researchers found that in-person workshops, combined with on-device practice, provided the learning experience with the greatest impact.
The observations regarding social motivation and the most effective means of delivering consumer education and interesting, and could be relevant to our work on the Economics of Mutuality.
Cover image source: Mozilla Foundation