CHOICE Humanitarian, a global non-profit, is collaborating with global payments leader Visa and Human-I-T, a non-profit organization that provides digital literacy services to communities across North America, to enhance the technology capacity of residents of rural Navajo Nation. This initiative combines digital and financial literacy training through Visa’s Digital Empowerment Program with a provision of 130 refurbished laptops donated by Human-I-T. CHOICE Humanitarian and its local Navajo Nation team, which has been operating in the area since 2020, will oversee the project’s coordination with Navajo communities and participants.
“CHOICE Humanitarian is truly grateful to be working with world-class organizations that are not only the best at what they do, but have a tremendous amount of heart,” said Robert Black, CHOICE’s Country Director for the Navajo Nation. “By providing access to technology and training with Visa and Human-I-T, we are not just bridging the digital gap to aid in CHOICE’s mission to reduce poverty, but also opening doors to educational opportunities, job prospects, and improved financial well-being together with Navajo communities.”
“Access to technology is critical to our mission to help empower more people and businesses thrive in today’s digital world,” said Michelle Gethers, chief diversity officer and head of corporate responsibility at Visa. “I’m so proud of our Visa Natives, Allies, Tribal, and Indigenous Voices Everywhere (NATIVE) ERG (employee resource group) employees who have helped expand our Digital Empowerment Program to the residents of Navajo Nation. Together with Human-I-T and CHOICE Humanitarian, we can help to transform lives in the communities that need it most.”
The distribution of laptops will take place September 27-28, 2023, beginning with comprehensive digital and financial literacy workshops conducted by Visa, Human-I-T, and local educators. Participants will come from several chapters across the former Bennett Freeze area of the Navajo Nation, including Leupp, Copper Mine, Tolani Lake, Cameron, Tuba City, and more.
One group of participants consists of children in pre-K through K from the Tonalea Head Start. They will be taught basic digital literacy and computer proficiency, including early education exercises for math and letters. Another group consists of teenagers who will learn essential digital skills such as online safety, internet navigation, and financial fundamentals. Lastly, entrepreneurs who are community managers in CHOICE Humanitarian’s hoop house program for food security (hoop houses are a form of greenhouse) will receive training on financial software tools and introductory computer skills, enabling them to fully utilize the provided laptops to build up their small businesses.
Many of the participants do not have laptops or internet in their own homes, and some of the tribe elders have never used a computer before. Said Paulina Sanchez, Senior Program Manager from Human-I-T, “Collaborations like this shrink the digital divide and empower participants to unlock their full potential. Our mission is to create equitable access to opportunity by providing devices, home internet access, digital skills training, and tech support to communities. We are honored to play a part in making a difference in the Navajo Nation.”
For more information about this collaboration and CHOICE Humanitarian’s work in the Navajo Nation to reduce poverty, visit www.choicehumanitarian.org/navajonation.