Microsoft drives rural connectivity, innovation, and economic recovery in the Gran Chaco in partnership with NANUM Mujeres Conectadas

With the goal of promoting digital skills through access to technology and women’s participation in this field, Microsoft is collaborating with NANUM, mujeres conectadas a tri-country project that seeks to promote connectivity and the adoption of disruptive technological solutions in communities of the Gran Chaco Americano.

The company will be donating 100 thousand dollars that will be allocated to different portions of the project. In addition, this initiative is part of Aliados en Red, a Microsoft and EIDOS Global program that seeks to promote digital skills for employment in Latin America.

City of Buenos Aires, Argentina – Microsoft is joining the tri-country project “NANUM, mujeres conectadas”, co-financed by IDB Lab, and being carried out by Fundación Avina in partnership with Fundación Gran Chaco, Sumatoria and SolRural in Argentina, Fundación Nativa in Bolivia and Grupo Sunu in Paraguay, as well as a collective of over 15 partner organizations; and will be donating 100 thousand dollars from its Airband Initiative program, which seeks to promote and enhance connectivity through financial aid, training, support, etc.

Qom women from the Paraguayan community of Santa Rosa Chaco prior to the inauguration of their NANUM center.

This meaningful connectivity project is based on the recognition that access to connectivity is a fundamental human right, given that it enables other rights, such as the right to education, health, access to information, among others.

“We believe that democratizing technology is the key to ensuring that everyone can participate in the benefits that the digital economy, and that connectivity is the first step towards that democratization. Through partnerships and programs, along with the public sector, the private sector, and social organizations, our goal is to provide the technical and socio-emotional tools needed for women and other parties to enter the world of technology through the acquisition of digital skills, and for them to be able to incorporate this knowledge to the productive development of their communities in a sustainable way”, said Marina Bericua, Head of Public, Corporate, and Legal Affairs (CELA) Microsoft Argentina.

“Our support for this project seeks to highlight and facilitate women’s leadership in their communities, both in productive and organizational matters, and reduce their vulnerability to the climate crisis by generating disruptive solutions for them to be able to adapt. For this reason, it is key to continue empowering Chaco women as leaders of technological change so that they themselves can support their communities in the adoption of technology, which will allow them to increase their income, improve their productive activities, and attract investments aimed at increasing their climate resilience”, highlighted Irene Arias Hofman, CEO of IDB Lab, the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank.

Chaco woman receiving training at the NANUM centers in the Argentine Chaco.

NANUM: Mujeres Conectadas was created in May of 2020. This project aims to strengthen the rural communities of the Gran Chaco through access to technological tools that can reduce isolation and improve their adaptation and resilience to climate change. The goal is to promote the role of women as agents of change in the access and adoption of rural connectivity and innovation applied to the development of productive organizations.

The Gran Chaco Americano is the second largest continuous forest in Latin America after the Amazon, where 9 million people live, most of them under vulnerable conditions facing the adverse effects of the climate crisis.

“The isolation of these rural and remote communities of the Gran Chaco region is why access to connectivity is so difficult: the costs of investments needed are very high. In addition, productive and social organizations have little access to climate information, resources, and markets, which in turn lead to low-innovation production systems,” explains Mariana Franco, Country Manager, Paraguay, NANUM Mujeres Conectadas.

The keys to the partnership: digital literacy and regional innovation

In this sense, Microsoft’s commitment will materialize at different phases of the project. In addition, through the Aliados en Red program, developed in partnership with EIDOS Global, the company will offer courses and training on foundational digital skills (data management; development of creative presentations; collaborative work techniques; web design and programming; employability and LinkedIn), to the Nanum trainers so that this knowledge can be replicated throughout the community.

Young wichi from Formosa uploading photos of her crafts to social networks.

The program aims at the joint teaching of digital content and cognitive and socio-emotional skills so that the participants acquire this knowledge and apply it in multiple contexts of their work life and other areas of their development.

NANUM and the role of women as agents of change

In the first three years of implementation, this initiative will seek to facilitate the interconnection of 40 isolated communities: 5,000 homes will benefit from home connectivity. To this end, the creation of 40 NANUM companies, led by women, will be supported, which will provide Internet service to their communities. In addition, 1,000 credits will be awarded for the use of innovative payment solutions.

Also, in a second phase, this model aims to reach 50% of the rural population of Chaco, which represents a total of 1.2 million people. This way, the goal is to migrate from basic community connectivity to a wide-ranging home connectivity scheme.


About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

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