The Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Plus Program, funded by both Australia’s and New Zealand’s Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade and implemented by DT Global, has helped women in the Pacific Islands improve their livelihoods and food security.

Transforming Women’s Lives Through Digital Technology: A DT Global Challenge
By Torge Gerlach, Chief Executive Officer


March 8, 2022 | By Torge Gerlach, Chief Executive Officer

On March 8th, we celebrate International Women’s Day—an annual reminder of the importance of the advancement of gender equity and equality, and an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of women and girls while working together to empower and strengthen the next generation. As international development implementors increasingly rely on technological advancements to move the needle—particularly in the time of COVID— it begs the question: if we improve digital access and tools for women and girls, can we begin to narrow the gender gap as well? DT Global is setting out to answer that question through an incubator challenge—launching on International Women’s Day—for women-owned social enterprises: Transforming Women’s Lives Through Digital Technology.

Digital technology connects and transforms human life. But the inverse is also true—the less we have access to the transformative power of digital technology, the more we are left out and left behind. This disparity plays out across every societal divide: rich and poor, rural and urban, and of course, male and female. Worldwide, men are 21% more likely to be online than women, with this number rising to 52% in the least developed countries. This lack of access is both a result of, and a contributor to, the economic, social, educational, and political inequality between genders.

“The fact that many women today have less access to digital technologies means that they are left behind where we need them the most,” says Louise Williams, Senior Director for Economic Growth at DT Global and founding member of DT Global’s International Women’s Day Working Group. “We wanted to develop an initiative that helps women carry out digital innovations that help other women.”

After receiving more than 40 applications from social enterprises around the world, five organizations were selected to participate in the challenge. The participating teams include Impact Hub Caracas from Venezuela, ITWILLBE from Spain, Vaoala Vanilla from Samoa, Sere J Pacific Ltd. from Papua New Guinea, and OneGirl from Australia. Throughout March and April, DT Global mentors will be paired with these social enterprises to develop a concept that advances female economic or social empowerment through digital technology.

These organizations are working to mentor the next generation in STEM careers, help accelerate growth of women-owned businesses, teach women about financial literacy, support women led e-commerce, and facilitate access to key industries in their communities. Over the next two months, these teams will develop and hone their concepts, leading up to their final pitch and an award by DT Global of $10,000 in seed prize money to the winning team. Most importantly, all participating teams will have the opportunity to benefit from technical expertise and lessons learned from across DT Global; lessons that will help these organizations to shape and scale these impactful ideas that use digital technology to better the lives of women and girls throughout these communities. For more information and updates on the Challenge, please visit DT Global’s website and follow @WeAreDTGlobal on social media.

USAID’s Towards Enduring Peace in Sudan (TEPS) project, implemented by DT Global, supported women from diverse ethnic backgrounds in Blue Nile State by establishing a seven feddan farm and conducting trainings on agriculture skills.