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President’s Challenge 2021 to focus on a digitally inclusive society

President’s Challenge 2021 to focus on a digitally inclusive society

President Halimah Yacob, Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran and Mr Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive of IMDA with Mdm Patsy Low Eng Guat, who learnt how to videocall her family through the Digital Learning Circle. (Photo: MCI)

SINGAPORE: The President’s Challenge this year will focus on helping Singapore build a digitally inclusive society, said the Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) and President’s Challenge in a joint media release on Monday (Feb 8).

In line with that, a new national movement - Digital for Life – has been launched to help Singaporeans embrace a digital future, the release stated. 

A fund has also been established to support digital inclusion projects and activities under the new movement, with the President’s Challenge donating a seed funding of S$2.5 million.

The new fund, set up by IMDA, will support projects initiated by the community until 2023 and serve as a channel for public contributions. The target is for the fund to grow to S$10 million over the next three years, with the Government matching the contributions dollar for dollar.

Senior Ministers of State for Communications and Information Sim Ann and Janil Puthucheary with Mdm Teo Gek Kee, 81, who learnt how to use her smartphone through the Digital Learning Circle. (Photo: MCI)

READ: Commentary: Singapore needs a new Smart Nation vision that doesn't leave any citizen behind

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hastened Singapore’s digitalisation efforts, but also has the potential to widen the digital divide," said President Halimah Yacob in announcing the launch of the President’s Challenge 2021 and the Digital for Life movement on Monday.

"The President’s Challenge hopes to support efforts to build a digitally inclusive society, where all Singaporeans feel excited, empowered and enriched by digital technologies.

"The Digital for Life movement and Fund brings us a step closer to achieving Singapore’s vision of becoming a digitally inclusive society.”

FUNDS TO BE RAISED FOR A RECORD 92 AGENCIES

Set up in 2000 by then-President S R Nathan, the President’s Challenge is an annual fundraising campaign to support the less fortunate.

The President's Challenge this year will continue to support social causes, including raising funds for a record total of 92 agencies. This will help them tide through the difficult times caused by COVID-19, said the release.

With the theme of this year’s President's Challenge being Building a Digitally Inclusive Society, the campaign will also “lay emphasis on efforts that equip groups like seniors, persons with disabilities and low-income families with digital tools, skills and connectivity so that they can remain socially and economically active in Singapore’s digital-first way of life and work”, according to the release. 

“President Halimah highlighted that as our society capitalises on the opportunities arising from digital technology, it is important that all segments of society stand to benefit and that no one gets left behind,” it added.

READ: Commentary: Encourage seniors in digitalisation drive instead of forcing tech adoption on them

The Digital for Life Fund will support projects and activities promoting digital technology and inclusion, which are focused on building digital resilience.

It will also support digital literacy and wellness, which promote good digital habits, including in the areas of cybersafety, media literacy and mitigating the risks of online harms.

Community Chest, the fundraising and engagement arm of the National Council of Social Service, will facilitate contributions towards the fund.

Further details of the grant application and criteria will be released in the upcoming months.

Source: CNA/hs

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