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Annual Report 2023

STMicroelectronics Foundation’s 2023 Activity Report

The ST Foundation’s major projects for 2023 included:
1) Finalization of the contents of a new course on computational thinking and creation of a coding course using Vittascience tools to address the increasing challenge of digital education disparity;
2) Reinforcing existing programs to improve the efficacy of the operational levels;
3) Focusing on the elderly population; and
4) Building strategic partnerships like the one established with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). As of December 2023, the Digital Unify Program’s standard activities have reached 1,095,530 beneficiaries since its inception.

2023 Milestones and Report Summary:

  1. New Board Members
  2. Update on Standard DU Programs
  3. Focus on the T4S
  4. Insights on ST Foundation India activities
  5. Insights on ST Foundation Morocco activities
  6. “Society’s Digitalization” Program: Focus on Italy and France
  7. Design and launch of a new Coding course
  8. Reflecting on ST Foundation’s Milestone Year of 2023
  9. Institutional partnerships: the new UN collaboration
  10. The ST Foundation Communication Activity
  11. The Online Data Reporting System
  12. Policies and Procedures
  13. DU Pictures
  • New Board Members

The ST Foundation welcomed two industry titans to its board of directors in 2023: Mr. Carlo Bozotti and Mr. Claude Dardanne.
Mr. Carlo Bozotti
, a seasoned international executive with over 40 years of experience in the industry, brought valuable insights as the former President and CEO of STMicroelectronics. His leadership will significantly contribute to ST Foundation’s efforts in leveraging technology to empower communities worldwide.

Mr. Claude Dardanne, with his extensive semiconductor background and successful leadership roles at STMicroelectronics, will bring invaluable knowledge and strategic vision to the board. His expertise will play a key role in advancing the Foundation’s initiatives to provide access to education for all.

With this new team, in 2023, the ST Foundation is well-positioned to further its mission of bridging the digital divide and ensuring that individuals in disadvantaged contexts have equal opportunities for quality education through technology.

  • Update on Standard DU Programs

In 2023, the ST Foundation continued its pioneering efforts to fight digital inequity, a long-standing issue that has gained increased importance in recent years. As the globe moves past the urgent problems created by the pandemic, our focus has switched to addressing the long-term implications of digital exclusion. This year’s energies were focused on improving digital access and literacy, recognizing that these skills are more important than ever in our increasingly connected world.

Our commitment to bridging the digital divide remains strong, not simply in response to previous obstacles but also as a proactive step toward empowering at-risk communities in the future. The Foundation actively participated in various activities, tailoring our strategies to meet the changing requirements of our beneficiaries worldwide. Three key goals have directed our efforts:

  1. Strengthened and expanded our standard Digital Unify (DU) courses: various educational paths were extended to new countries and communities, demonstrating our dedication to making digital skills more accessible to a broader audience.
  2. Dedicated support for vulnerable groups: we’ve implemented our initiatives to help those most affected by recent global issues, particularly the elderly, adapt more smoothly to the digital world.
  3. Built new strategic partnership: among others, the organization signed an agreement with the ITU that will empower the ST Foundation to advance its mission on a more global scale

Throughout 2023, our operational presence grew, positively influencing more lives. We were operational in 13 countries and more in detail: Brazil, Burundi, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Ghana, India, Italy, Malaysia, Morocco, the Philippines, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.

With our educational offerings, which include the ICB (Introduction to Computer Basics), ICB for visually impaired people, and Advanced courses, together with the Tablet for Kids course and the Tablet for Senior course (in its in-person version) as we close out 2023, we have reached 1,095,530 trainees since the inception and 58,709 courses.

In 2023 alone, 123,440 students took part in our courses, for 7,771 successfully organized courses.

Evolution of the DU Program since the inception

In 2023, the trainee breakdown by country is shown below:

  • Focus on the T4S Course

In partnership with Seed, the Foundation launched the Tablet for Senior course in 2019 in response to the challenges elderly citizens face in the digital age. This creative course meets the aging population’s needs, which is growing rapidly and requires swift adaptation to new technologies essential to social life. It provides two types of learning paths: a 20-hour long in-person course consisting of ten modules that cover everything from basic internet use to more complex tasks like trip planning and using apps for daily activities, and an online learning path consisting of ten videos that teach basic tablet functions. The latter is especially useful for seniors in retirement and nursing homes, as it allows them to stay in touch with their families. With these two learning options in 2023, in Italy and Germany, the Foundation trained 125 beneficiaries and organized 9 courses.

  •  Insights on ST Foundation India activities

The ST Foundation India is leading the country’s attempts to close the digital divide. It is a vital component of the global STMicroelectronics Foundation. It focuses on using digital education to empower communities needing access to technology and literacy. In 2023, its key focuses were:

  1. T4S Senior Citizen Program – The Foundation’s dedication to integrating the elderly into the digital world is demonstrated by this new project, organized in partnership with Helpage India. The activity’s extension in Punjab with a new T4S lab in Gurdaspur is a natural fit with the Foundation’s goal, having already impacted over 200 seniors in Delhi.
  2. Digital Literacy for Women in Underserved and Rural Places – The organization’s initiatives to support women’s digital literacy align with its larger goal of promoting digital inclusion. This program is crucial in enabling women in underprivileged areas, Self-Help organizations, businesses, and Aganwadi laborers to enjoy fulfilling lives.
  3. The Digital Unify Program in Jails: An example of the Foundation’s commitment to leveraging technology for social good is the partnership with India Vision Foundation to provide digital education to jails around India. This program, implemented in prisons in Aligarh, Moradabad, and Bulandshahr, helps offenders reintegrate into society, giving them new skills.
  • Insights on ST Foundation Morocco activities

The ST Foundation Morocco is always on the front line to helping people have access to a good quality education. In this direction, we would like to underline the importance of the summer camps initiative. Through it, we reached 9,502 beneficiaries in our 29 summer camps in 2023. This activity is one of our most famous programs because of the enormous improvement it brings. These camps are, in fact, essential in offering free educational programs to children from low-income families.

Key highlights of the 2023 summer camps include:

  • The impressive enrollment figure of over 9,500 participants is a clear indicator of the success of our educational approach and the positive influence of our collaborative efforts with the concerned stakeholders.
  • The dedication of 45 teachers from the ST Foundation, who played a pivotal role in extending the reach of our initiative across 15 cities, was instrumental in the program’s widespread impact.
  • The social significance of summer camps was highlighted by their ability to bring together children from underprivileged backgrounds, fostering a sense of unity and engagement. These camps provided a platform for personal and social development, facilitated by the ST Foundation Morocco through an interactive and enjoyable learning environment.
  • “Society’s Digitalization” Program: Focus on France and Italy

The Society Digitalization Program entered the fourth year of activity, maintaining its focus on France and Italy.

a) France

In 2023, France made significant strides in addressing digital poverty. Thanks to a strong partnership between the Foundation and ST sites in France, nearly 1,000 computers were donated to various associations and organizations across the country. Over 50% of those donations went towards helping children and students who are affected by digital poverty, a growing issue in today’s society.

These donations have had a significant impact, with an estimated 9,000 indirect beneficiaries touched during the year. These donations were only made possible through the strong partnership that has been developed between the Foundation and ST sites in France. The partnership allowed for a coordinated effort to address digital poverty and provide access to technology for those who need it most.

In addition to the donations, agreements were signed with several organizations, including UGA (Univesité Grenoble Alpes), la Fondation Apprentis d’Auteuil, Emmaus Connect, and the Red Cross Paris 18e. These agreements have helped and will continue to help expand the reach of the Foundation’s efforts and provide even more resources to those in need.

The efforts to promote digital literacy extended beyond the DU labs as well. Two workshops were conducted in Grenoble to introduce children to coding, an important skill in today’s digital age. These workshops provided a fun and engaging way for children to learn about coding and technology.

Overall, 2023 was a year of progress in France’s efforts to combat digital poverty and promote digital literacy. The partnership between the Foundation and ST sites in France, along with the agreements with various organizations, helped to expand the reach of these efforts and provide access to technology for those who need it most.

The key milestones of the Foundation in France in 2023 :

  • Donation of nearly 1000 computers to various associations and organizations across the country,
  • An estimated impact of 9,000 indirect beneficiaries’ lives touched by donations in 2023
  • Agreements signed with several major organizations, including UGA (Univesité Grenoble Alpes), la Fondation Apprentis d’Auteuil, Emmaus Connect, and the Red Cross Paris 18e.
  • Two coding workshops for children carried out in Grenoble
  • A strong network of support established with over 30 employees or retirees of ST involved in supporting and volunteering for the Foundation.

 Italy

In 2023, the ST Foundation extended its collaboration with the ACRA Foundation to address digital educational poverty and school dropout through three major axes of intervention:

  1. Promoting Coding as an Interdisciplinary Approach: The Foundation strengthened STEM and digital citizenship abilities by incorporating coding into formal schooling. Within the framework of Civic Education, this strategy aimed to equip students with problem-solving skills while promoting digital citizenship.
  2. Guiding Towards Digital Careers: The organization encouraged students to explore digital professions, motivated them to pursue further studies, broke gender stereotypes, and created an inclusive educational environment.
  3. Training ST Volunteers: The Foundation trained ST volunteers on civic education, global citizenship topics, and coding as a pedagogical tool. This workshop gave volunteers the knowledge and techniques to engage with students effectively.

Volunteers were significantly involved across all three areas of work. This included collaborating in creating training materials, promoting coding in schools, co-leading classroom workshops, and sharing work experiences for activities focused on career and digital profession guidance.

 The Coding & Learning

 a) Development phase

In comparison to the coding activities conducted in 2022 under the guidance of the Research Center on Media Education, Innovation, and Technology (CREMIT) at the Catholic University, several key developments were implemented in 2023. The core idea was to consolidate and disseminate coding workshops to create a practical course adaptable to any class or subject using various tools, including unplugged methods, generic robots, and Minecraft. In this direction, ST volunteers from Milan and Catania and ACRA’s colleagues codesigned an educational kit to present coding activities applied to global citizenship education that teachers could use to promote the use of computational thinking to support younger generations in better collaborating, develop problem-solving skills, encouraging sustainability, and combating digital educational poverty and school dispersion. The improved kit was presented internally, and in spring 2023, new coding courses were ready to be started.

b) Cascading of the coding course

ST Lombardy volunteers actively participated in schools during “coding day” in the spring of 2023 (school year 2022/023). “Coding Day” is a light approach to present coding activities that may be included in classroom programming even after the year has begun. Instead, starting with the 2023–2024 academic year, Lombardy will offer coding courses in the classroom, which call for advanced scheduling with the schools.

Key results of the coding activities:

  • Finalization of the pedagogical material;
  • Two coding days were organized in Lombardy involving 155 students and 7 teachers in 4 primary and 4 secondary schools;
  • Three coding training sessions were conducted in Lombardy and Sicily for schoolteachers, engaging 18 teachers in Lombardy, 63 teachers for the online course, and 36 for the in-presence one in Sicily. We estimate that there are approximately 1,500 indirect beneficiaries, taking into account the students who will benefit from the teachers’ newly acquired skills as they integrate coding into their teaching methods. The overall evaluation of the training sessions has consistently ranged between 8 and 9 on a scale of 10.
  • Four coding workshops were successfully held at the Gianni Rodari Institute of Nova Milanese, with the initiative benefiting 86 students. These workshops aimed to prioritize inclusion and reduce inequality by identifying barriers and exploring potential solutions. We utilized the Alphabot robot and Scratch programming to achieve this goal, providing the students with an engaging and interactive learning experience.
  • 42 volunteers contributed to the success of the initiative.

 Promotion of digital carers
This year, one of the main priorities was to promote digital professions. As part of this project, ACRA hosted in-person orientation sessions for secondary school students who indicated an interest in the digital sector. These workshops emphasized the value of soft skills necessary for succeeding in any career while introducing students to lesser-known jobs in the digital age. To provide speakers, we recruited volunteers, including members of the ST Foundation, who discussed their personal and professional paths from school to the workplace and their day-to-day job experiences. The main goal was to spark young people’s interest and curiosity and help them make well-informed professional decisions. ACRA colleagues held online briefing sessions to ensure these testimonials were successful, aiming at the common goal of lowering school dropout rates by highlighting resilience as an inspiring and motivating characteristic. We paid much attention to breaking down gender stereotypes in the workplace and advocating for gender equality. To challenge conventional gender biases and encourage young people to pursue STEM and digital careers, we encouraged female experts from ST to participate in the initiative. Key results of the promotion of digital careers activities:

  • 11 workshops were organized in different schools in Milan and Monza, reaching 169 students. We were operational in the Vespucci, Galvani, and Torricelli Institutes. The main focus was on using the first-hand experiences of our volunteers to portray the world of digital careers.
  • 11 ST volunteers supported the initiatives, attending the different workshops.

 Training of the ST Volunteers
Throughout the year, our focus was also dedicated to providing our ST volunteers with specialized training to enhance their competencies on very specific subjects like the importance of civic education, global citizenship, and the application of coding as an innovative educational tool. These tailored courses aimed to empower our volunteers with a deep understanding of those contents that could help them further cascade the coding courses at school. By investing in the training and development of our volunteers, our goal was to create a dedicated and informed team capable of passing on these vital competencies to the communities we work with.

Key results of the training

  • One online training was organized for Sicily, reaching 16 volunteers.
  • Two in-presence courses were organized for Lombardy, engaging 10 volunteers.
    Design and launch of a new Coding course

The Foundation made a significant effort to combat digital illiteracy in 2023 by adding additional resources, courses, and tools. A pivotal development was implementing a tailor-made coding course in elementary and middle schools, a program that initially took root in 2022. This initiative was then adopted in various countries, including Italy, France, Morocco, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Senegal, each maintaining the core philosophy centered around the transformative power of coding. The program addresses multiple facets of education – from fostering computational thinking to encouraging student creativity and collaboration. The outstanding assistance and knowledge from our ST colleagues, especially those in Tunis and Rousset, were key to the initiative’s success and growth. Their aid was essential to the development of new skills. Through a well-structured online ‘Train the Trainer’ initiative, they furnished our nation managers across the globe with cutting-edge instruments and techniques. Our field staff’s knowledge and skills were much improved by this training. Their help and the use of the Vittascience Starter Kits also made possible the launch of a new initiative in Senegal that will be further illustrated in the coming pages and entirely sponsored by the International Telecommunication Union, which aims, among others, to teach coding to 80 young girls from disadvantaged contexts, bringing hope and opportunity in places like Senegal, where access to such essential educational resources is frequently restricted.

  • Reflecting on ST Foundation’s Milestone Year of 2023 – Two Decades of Impact:

Looking back on the trip the ST Foundation took in 2023, it’s clear that this year was a turning point in our ongoing efforts to close the digital gap and represented for the organization the reach of three crucial milestones that all went in the direction of creating an impact of genuine empowerment and change, and more in detail:

  • Since our founding, we have celebrated influencing more than one million people. This April accomplishment was more than a figure; it was evidence of our commitment and the success of our vision. Every individual impacted by our initiatives signifies a stride toward a future where everyone has access to digital resources and education.
  • 2023 also signified the twentieth anniversary of the ST Foundation’s founding. Thanks to our commitment and supporters, especially in the areas where ST works, we have grown and increased our influence over the years. This anniversary is a testament to our dedication to spreading education. Our organizational approaches have allowed us to reach over 100,000 people annually from our humble beginnings of teaching just over 900 people. This rapid expansion demonstrates our enthusiasm for using information and skills to empower people.
  • We were also overjoyed to establish a distinguished agreement with the International Telecommunication Union this year, which will be further presented in the following pages of this report.

We understand that this anniversary is more than remembering our accomplishments as we commemorate it. It’s an homage to the people whose lives we’ve impacted and the communities we’ve changed. The journey has been incredible so far, but we are even more excited about the possibility of reaching new heights and contributing much more in the years to come.

  •  Institutional partnerships: the new UN collaboration

2023 marked the start of an important collaboration for the ST Foundation as it formalized its partnership with the International Telecommunication Union. This historic occasion was highlighted at the Global Digital Transformation Centers (DTC) Workshop in Cebu City, Philippines, which was marked by a convergence of global perspectives and ideas. The event, organized by ITU, Cisco, and the Philippines’ Department of Information and Communication Technology, provided an ideal setting for sharing experiences, debating implementation tactics, and exploring creative digital transformation solutions. Giovanna Bottani, the ST Foundation’s Director of Operations, was a distinguished speaker at the event, expertly communicating the organization’s goal and vision. This collaboration is a crucial step toward creating a more inclusive digital landscape by leveraging technology to empower people in difficult situations worldwide. Looking ahead, the ST Foundation and ITU plan to work closely together to advance the Digital Transformation Centers initiative’s goals, emphasizing increasing global digital inclusion.

Under this new collaboration, the Foundation has already started implementing two separate projects:

  1. Empowering Senegal’s Youth with Digital Skills

With this initiative, the Foundation, supported by the ITU and the United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU), launched on November 20th a project that aims at offering young people enhanced opportunities, equipping them with crucial digital and coding skills to thrive in today’s technology-driven world in Senegal.

The main objectives were: 1) Improving Digital Inclusion with a special emphasis on making digital resources accessible to girls; 2) Youth Empowerment: Fostering creativity and preparing our youth for the digital era;  3) Boosting Gender Equality in ICT: Striving for a balanced representation of girls and young women in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) and active engagement in the digital ecosystem.

To achieve these goals, we selected 4 schools in rural or peri-urban areas together with 400 students who have been given the chance to attend the ICB course. Moreover, we developed a coding curriculum with VittaScience starter kits for the 80 top-performing female students from the ICB courses.

The first part of the project was successfully accomplished between November and December, while the coding classes will take place in January 2024.

  1. Bringing the ICBVI to Ghana

The ST Foundation was asked to organize a three-week train-the-trainer course on the ICBVI in Ghana. With the support of the ITU and the Local partner GIFEC, Prof. Cristian Bernareggi and the master teacher Sada Khan went to the University of Ghana on November 13th to present and train the first 20 teachers from 16 different regions.

The project’s ultimate goal was to prepare the attending teachers well so that later on, they could scale up efforts to extend digital skills to marginalized and underserved communities across all regions of the country. All the involved parties were very excited about this initiative and the impact that it will have in the future.

In parallel to training the teachers, it was also possible to train the first group of visually impaired students who, for the first time, had the chance to manipulate a computer.

  • The ST Foundation’s external communication activity

Among the different communication activities, we can mention the writing of the 2022 ST Foundation Annual Report, which was done in collaboration with the ST Corporate External Communication team.

The organization also attended several events and conferences, among which we can mention:

  • The Global Digital Transformation Centers Workshop organized by the ITU, Cisco, and the Philippine Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) from May 9th to 11 in Cebu City. During the event, Giovanna Bottani presented the organization’s mission and activities, exchanging experiences and best practices and fostering collaboration.
  • Profit4NonProfit promoted by Manager Italia on May 4th as part of Civil Week to map the responsible commitment of Italian companies and showcase exemplary stories. On this occasion, Claudia Angelini intervened to present the case history of the collaboration between STMicroelectronics Foundation and ACRA was presented.

Furthermore, ST Foundation hosted the eighth edition of the Energy Run, held at Aldo Moro Park in Agrate Brianza on September 16th, 2023. Thanks to the incredible support of ST’s Italian volunteers, who helped organize the run, the Foundation was able to generate extra funds and enhance its project visibility. Over 750 athletes joined the event, making it a day filled with mud and enjoyment. Participants crossed the finish line brimming with enthusiasm, cherishing the memorable experience.

Last but not least, in 2023, on November 12th, the first Padel tournament in support of the ST Foundation was organized by Bridge the Digital Divide Italia in Catania. Over 150 participants, including colleagues, Foundation volunteers, family members, and friends, gathered on a beautiful sunny day to compete, play, and have fun while supporting the organization’s charitable projects.

The ST Foundation’s internal communication activities

In 2023, thanks to the support of ST, we could thank our Italian volunteers for the outstanding activities carried out throughout the year in the following events:

  • Social Responsibility Day in Catania: on April 22nd, the Foundation and its volunteers were invited to attend this important recognition ceremony to recognize the significant contribution of 14 volunteers from Catania. Pietro Palella underlined the importance of their dedication to social responsibility during the event.
  • Sustainability Recognition Day in Castelletto: on December 11th, 16 volunteers from Lombardy were awarded at the new ST auditorium. The event was attended by Claudia Sterlini, Agrate & Castelletto Site Director, and Lucio Colombo, ST Italy General Manager. Pietro Palella also participated, expressing his gratitude to the volunteers for their support and participation in the different initiatives.

 

  • Online Data Reporting System.

Since 2016, the ST Foundation has continuously used its online reporting system to track its activities in real-time. This system enables the organization to oversee all educational initiatives in its operating countries. The online system gives the Foundation a deeper understanding of its audience, offering valuable insights into the profiles of beneficiaries and their needs and potential requests.

Additionally, the online system tracks the impact generated by the ICB course on the participants. This approach was developed in 2016 with the help of the Catholic University of Milan and now helps us track quantitative and qualitative data regarding how students’ behavior changes after taking the course. The outcomes, which account for 90% of the DU Program’s total beneficiaries, are rather comprehensive.

The 2023 replies reaffirm the positive feedback on the course and, more specifically:

  • 93% of students would cascade what they have learned to family and friends.
  • 91% of students would suggest to their friends to attend the course.
  • 78% of the students are comfortable using a PC after attending the course.

Beneficiaries who were digital illiterates before attending the ICB course now want to use their newly acquired skills to surf the Internet (82%), communicate with friends and use social media (80%), perform simple calculations (76%), read emails (75%). 66% of students use their acquired skills to look for work. This demonstrates how the ICB course may become a significant engine for employment empowerment, considering that this data has continued to increase over the last few years.

Table 1 Replies to the question “Currently do you use the computer for?” showing the worldwide overview of the impact of the ICB Course.

Not at all Little Moderate Very much Total
Downloading articles 15% 19% 40% 27% 100%
Looking for a job 16% 18% 38% 28% 100%
Reading e-journals 13% 19% 40% 28% 100%
Write a resume 13% 17% 38% 32% 100%
Write a document 9% 17% 35% 39% 100%
Reading emails 9% 16% 33% 42% 100%
Communicate/chat with friends/social media 6% 13% 35% 45% 100%
Easy Calculations 9% 15% 35% 42% 100%
Internet 6% 12% 35% 47% 100%

 

Not at all Little Moderate Very much Total
I hesitate to use a computer for fear of making mistakes that I cannot correct 23% 20% 26% 30%

100%

I feel comfortable to use computers 7% 15% 36% 42% 100%
  • Policies and Procedures

In 2022, the organization laid a strong foundation by developing and adopting critical policies, including the Child Protection Policy (CPP), Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, and Privacy Policy. These policies were particularly significant due to the Foundation’s extensive work with minors, underscoring the importance of safeguarding their well-being.

Building upon this activity in 2023, the organization continued its commitment to these policies. A primary focus was on cascading the CPP, which involved organizing training sessions for Child Protection Coordinators (CPCs) across various countries, including India, Malaysia, the Philippines, China, France, and Morocco. All training sessions were conducted exclusively in English and delivered online by our legal experts.

  • DU Pictures
Train the Trainer Course in Accra, Ghana under the ITU collaboration Giovanna Bottani at the Global Digital Transformation Centers Workshop in Cebu City
Sarah Laurie donating 20 PCs to the educational unit at the Timone Hospital in Marseille. Claudia Angelini at the Sustainability Recognition Day with the awarded volunteers