The energy was palpable as 10 women crowded around the five computers recently installed in the Baguio Reading Center outside of Davao City, Philippines. For most of these women, it was their first time to use a computer. Librarians from the Davao City Library gathered around the computers with the women and taught them the basics.
These women were at the library to attend a workshop on entrepreneurship ran by the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) in Davao. The Development Office helps to extend social services to people living in the Barangay villages surrounding Davao City, including livelihood and entrepreneurship training for women to help them create supplemental incomes.
But the Development Office lacks community spaces within the Barangays and struggles to find convenient locations for their workshops. The Davao City Library has begun partnering with the Development Office by providing space for these trainings and providing continued access to community space and ICTs for members of the community.
Davao City covers an area approximately twice the size of New York City, so trips to the city center to access economic opportunities and related services can be time and cost prohibitive, meaning that communities on the outskirts of the city have limited access to services offered at the city center.
The Davao City Library, a network of 9 libraries and 12 reading centers, is partnering with Beyond Access to extend information access and services to communities that can’t reach the city center. The city government is already renovating a pilot group of three libraries and one reading center to accommodate the new computers and other technology Beyond Access will provide.
Beyond Access is also working with the Molave Development Foundation (ISIF Asia award winner 2012) to train librarians on how to teach basic ICT skills and how to manage ICT resources within their libraries. As you can see, the librarians are already designing services for people in their communities to provide them with greater access to economic opportunities.