A reformist government speeded Myanmar’s transition to democracy three years ago, dramatically increasing access to information. In 2011, just four percent of the population had mobile phones. Now the figure is closer to eighty percent, with many people owning smartphones. But navigating the flood of online information can be problematic for new users with no experience assessing the trustworthiness of sites and sources. An initiative launched by UW faculty aims to change that.
The initiative, Information Strategies for Societies in Transition (ISST), is designed to build digital literacy, information literacy, and data literacy across Myanmar. Professors Mary Callahan and Sara Curran in the Jackson School of International Studies, Chris Coward, director of the Technology & Social Change Group in the Information School, and Michael Crandall, a principal research scientist in the Information School, lead the project in collaboration with USAID, Microsoft, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.