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The Asia Foundation brings digital skills program ‘Go Digital ASEAN’ to Filipino MSMEs

Manila, Philippines – To reduce the economic impact brought by the pandemic, nonprofit organization The Asia Foundation has brought ‘Go Digital ASEAN’ in the Philippines, a regional initiative that provides digital literacy training.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization that addresses five overarching goals, such as strengthening governance, empowering women, and expanding economic opportunity, as well as increasing environmental resilience, and promoting international cooperation.

The initiative aims to equip job seekers and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with the necessary online tools and technological skills to participate in the digital economy, with various partners such as Pailig Development Foundation, Clevergrit Web Services, and Yoveo Digital, with support from Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org.

‘Go Digital ASEAN’ is a free digital skills training conducted through online classrooms of two half-day sessions with a certification issued upon course completion. It delivers employment opportunities and business growth through three-course offerings, including Digital Tools for Jobseekers, Harnessing Social Media to Expand Your Business, and Getting Your Business Online.

According to the organization, as of 30 April 2021, ‘Go Digital ASEAN’ in the Philippines has already trained 3,385 job seekers and entrepreneurs, and training participants who are ‘very confident’ in the use of digital tools rose from 18.62% prior to training to 52.55% post-training.

The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in the Philippines Sam Chittick said that they are scaling the ‘Go Digital ASEAN’ training to bring fundamental digital skills training to 25,000 Filipinos with support from Google.org.

“Initially working with a team of 25 partners skilled in training, Human Resource Management, Business Process Outsourcing, Information Technology, micro, and small-enterprise development, and digital freelancing backgrounds, we will expand partnerships with government agencies and units, private sector, civil society organizations, and the academe to strengthen digitalization programs and ensure economic and business continuity across the country,” said Chittick.

Jerry Clavesillas, the director at DTI Bureau of SME Development, shared that the recent partnership with The Asia Foundation complements the Department’s effort on digitalization of MSMEs envisioned in the Philippine MSME Development Plan 2017-2022. 

“The project intends to reach more enterprises particularly those in the countryside including businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and equip them with digital skills and tools to recover and grow their businesses and livelihoods and to participate in the digital economy. This ASEAN-wide commitment which was approved and officially endorsed for implementation in 2020 by the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on MSMEs (ACCMSME), where the Philippines is an active member, supports the objectives of the ASEAN Digital Integration Framework, contributing to its vision set out in the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for SME Development 2016-2025,” said Clavesillas.

Meanwhile, Bernadette Nacario, the country director at Google Philippines, said, “Small businesses are at the heart of the Philippines’ economy and community. We have seen how the current pandemic has impacted so many entrepreneurs and business owners across the country, and there is an urgent need to support their digitalization so they can continue to keep their businesses going. We are extremely proud to support the work that The Asia Foundation is driving through the ‘Go Digital ASEAN’ program. This grant builds on our ongoing commitment to equip more individuals with skills training so they can participate in the country’s growing digital economy.”

Interested learners can register at godigitalasean.ph, while interested partners keen to collaborate and bring free ‘Go Digital ASEAN’ training opportunities to their communities can contact the program through the website or email.