- The Digital for Life national movement and Fund aligns with President’s Challenge 2021 theme of “Building A Digitally Inclusive Society”
- Microsoft, SPD and SG Enable’s Digital Enablement Programme aspires to close the digital skills gap for persons with disabilities
Singapore, 16 November 2021 – The Digital for Life Fund will set aside $4.8m to support 21 new ground-up community projects to bring the benefits of digital technology to 100,000 people. This was announced by President Halimah Yacob today during a visit to SPD, where she observed a digital literacy workshop run by Microsoft and SPD for persons with disabilities.
“This year’s President’s Challenge 2021 theme is “Building a Digitally Inclusive Society”. Together with the Digital for Life (DfL) movement, we hope to ensure that no one is left behind in our digital transformation journey. I am glad that $4.8 million has been set aside by the DfL Fund to support a diversity of ground-up community projects ranging from educating children or youths on the importance of digital wellness, cybersecurity and digital tech skills, to empowering seniors to navigate and embrace digital as a lifestyle. With the support from our 3P partners, we can work together to bridge the digital divide, help Singaporeans embrace technology and enrich lives,” said President Halimah.
Minister for Communications and Information Mrs Josephine Teo said, “Since the launch of the Digital for Life (DfL) movement in February by President Halimah, our Digital Ambassadors from the SG Digital Office (SDO) have been walking the ground to support those who might need a bit more hands-on help, to benefit from going digital. Today, the DfL movement continues to gather momentum in its breadth and depth. To expand our reach to more seniors, SDO recently announced the setting up of more than 200 roving community counters islandwide to bring its services closer to seniors, on top of the existing 47 community hubs. Today, we also welcome Microsoft, SPD and SG Enable, who are reaching deeper into the community to help those with special needs so that they, too, can benefit from going digital with improved life skills and livelihoods. I welcome more to join us in the DfL movement so that our people will always have a place in Singapore’s digital future.”
21 new ground-up community projects to help Singaporeans
Supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (“IMDA”), the DfL movement and DfL Fund were launched on 8 February 2021 by President Halimah, in conjunction with the launch of the President’s Challenge 2021. President Halimah is the Patron for the Digital for Life national movement, which aims to help Singaporeans embrace digital as a lifelong pursuit, and to enrich their lives through digital.
The DfL Fund, which has raised $7.6m to date, serves as a channel for corporate and community contributions. All donations received go towards helping Singaporeans embrace Digital for Life, in areas such as digital wellness, tech adoption and digital inclusion. Donations also go towards providing last mile assistance for needy beneficiaries under IMDA’s digital access schemes.
The first call for proposals, in May 2021, attracted applications by non-profit organisations keen to drive community projects. The proposals were evaluated by a committee comprising representatives from the 3P sectors. 21 ground up projects, ranging from educating children or youths on the importance of digital wellness, cybersecurity, and digital tech skills, to empowering seniors to navigate and embrace digital as a lifestyle, have been selected to receive funding support amounting to $4.8m in total (Refer to Annex A for the list of selected projects). The projects are expected to benefit at least 100,000 beneficiaries to participate in the digital future and embrace digital for life.
Equipping persons with disabilities with relevant skills for daily living and the future of work
One ground-up initiative supported by the DfL Fund is SPD, Microsoft and SG Enable’s Digital Enablement Programme (DEP) partnership. Through this programme, persons with disabilities are equipped with useful digital skills to enhance independent living and improve their employment opportunities.
DEP participants will learn how to access online government services, safeguard their personal data and use productivity tools including Microsoft Teams, Outlook, and OneNote on their digital devices through a series of training sessions conducted by SPD, supported by Microsoft’s staff volunteers who will provide personalised support to these trainees to pick up digital skills. Trainees who complete the DEP will receive assistance from SG Enable’s Job Placement & Job Support programme to secure job placements, where SG Enable will support organisations that are keen to hire persons with disabilities with employer consultancy and capability-building. Microsoft, together with its employer networks, will also continue its strong commitment on inclusive hiring via the Microsoft Enabler Program, which helps persons with disabilities secure full-time roles, internships, mentorships and training opportunities with Microsoft Partners.
As a start, the DEP will be conducted for 140 persons with disabilities supported by SPD. Beyond the initial phase, SPD aims to scale the programme to all social service agencies serving persons with disabilities through a “train-the-trainer” model, to close the digital skills gap for persons with disabilities.
 The DfL Fund was established with $2.5 million seed funding by the President’s Challenge. It received an additional $1.3 million in donations from Standard Chartered Bank and Keppel Corporation. With the government matching dollar to dollar, the fund is at $7.6 million as at March 2021. The target is to grow the Fund to $10m by 2023.
JOINTLY ISSUED BY THE INFO-COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY AND PRESIDENT’S CHALLENGE
About Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA)
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA will develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem – by developing talent, strengthening business capabilities, and enhancing Singapore's ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission. For more news and information, visit www.imda.gov.sg or follow IMDA on Facebook IMDAsg and Twitter @IMDAsg.
About President’s Challenge
The President’s Challenge is a national movement led by the President to rally Singaporeans to build a caring and cohesive society together. An annual community outreach, President’s Challenge aims to bring together people from all walks of life, under the President’s patronage, to help those who are less fortunate. 100% of the donations raised under President’s Challenge go to beneficiary organisations supported by President’s Challenge.
President’s Challenge was established in 2000 by the late Mr S R Nathan as a fund-raising campaign to help the less fortunate. In 2012, Dr Tony Tan expanded the Challenge to include Volunteerism and Social Enterprises. In 2018, President Halimah Yacob refocused the effort of President’s Challenge towards the empowerment of vulnerable groups with skills and employability. An Empowering for Life Fund was set up to support programmes in skills upgrading, capacity building and employment of vulnerable groups. President’s Challenge aims to raise $10 million for the Empowering for Life Fund from PC 2018-PC2022, and the Government will provide dollar-for- dollar matching.
For media clarifications, please contact:
(Ms) Amanda Lee
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(Ms) Jasmine Xu
Assistant Manager, Communications and Marketing, IMDA
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(Ms) Chloe Choong
Assistant Director, Communications and Marketing, IMDA
DID: (65) 6211 0527