According to Rodrigo Baggio, the idea for the Center for Digital Inclusion literally came to him in a dream: young people overcoming challenges and transforming their lives through technology. Founded in Rio de Janeiro in 1995, the organization aims to use technology as a medium to fight poverty, stimulate entrepreneurship and develop a new generation of change-makers. Initially partnering with grassroots organizations to open CDI Community Centers in the most vulnerable urban slums and low-income communities in Latin America, the Center for Digital Inclusion has since broadened its sites to include psychiatric clinics, hospitals and prisons, whilst expanding into the Middle East and Europe.
Three principal objectives guide the community centers: self-management, sustainability, and a commitment to implementing the Center for Digital Inclusion’s unique pedagogy. This approach aims to ensure that by the end of each four-month course, students will have used technology as the main tool to initiate, plan, implement and complete a social advocacy project. Under the partnership model, the local organization provides the infrastructure and the Center for Digital Inclusion supplies free computers and software, implements educational methods, trains instructors and plays a monitoring role. To date, more than 1.3 million at-risk youths and adults have been assisted by its programs.