Right now, more than half the world is not connected to the internet, and almost 75% of Africa is offline. Why does this matter? For people living in the most poverty-stricken parts of the world, access to the internet isn’t a luxury—it’s life-changing.
ONE, a campaigning and advocacy organization, is currently rolling out several programs to address this digital gap. They asked FFunction to create an interactive data visualization that would highlight some key finding and contextualize them in an engaging, shareable way.
Our approach was to contrast how the internet is used in the richest parts of the world in order to illustrate what would be possible with the same tools and access in poorer countries. For example, every month, over 560 billion text messages are sent worldwide. Of course, these can be useful for chatting with friends or receiving appointment reminders. But in sub-Saharan Africa, text messages can allow women who live far from a doctor to receive advice on how to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Interspersed throughout Making the Connection are visualizations of datasets that examine internet access issues through a variety of lenses; for example, visualizing the internet-using population worldwide, with a detailed breakdown of countries in Africa using small multiples to help the user compare and contrast.
Poverty is sexist—in so many ways, girls and women are hit harder and have fewer opportunities, and access to the internet is no different. Women in the poorest countries are almost a third less likely to have access to the Internet than men, and the gap is increasing. Visualizing this data and putting some context around it helps engaged citizens, journalists and policymakers to understand the problem in both broad strokes and granular detail, and—hopefully—take action. →