The digital divide in South Africa will slowly be a thing of the past because of the Digital Village at Cosmo City which Samsung Electronics built. Now, the electronics manufacturing company has officially handed it over to provide the community with much-needed education and health services.
George Ferreira, VP and COO, Samsung Electronics Africa, said: “The United Nations says being online is now seen as fundamental to human development, and access to the Internet may soon become a basic human right, like access to water. Our challenge was to look at what was needed versus what was available and devise a plan that connected the two.”
The Samsung Digital Village model addresses one of Africa’s largest economic challenges electrification. On average, less than 25 percent of rural areas on the continent benefit from electricity, resulting in isolated communities with limited access to education, healthcare and connectivity.
In this Digital Village we have;
- A Solar Powered Internet School – the exclusively solar-powered, mobile and completely independent classroom aims to increase accessibility to education and connectivity across Africa. Built in a 12-metre-long shipping container, the school’s solar panels provide enough energy to power the classroom’s equipment. The school can accommodate up to 24 learners and has applications beyond traditional schooling.
- A Solar Power Generator – the generator provides easy, affordable power accessibility to schools and community centres across Africa.
- A Solar Powered Health Centre – the health centre provides a variety of screening and treatments to the community. A ‘Mother and Child’ centre will specifically provide medical services to mothers and their babies.
- A Solar Powered Tele-Medical Centre – through the Tele-Medical Centre, the community has access to remote medical assistance through a centralised pool of medical expertise and experience.
- A Solar Powered Admin Centre – used as an administration office by staff members.
Sung Yong Hong, President and CEO of Samsung Africa said: “We believe that this can most effectively be achieved if we connect our corporate citizenship initiatives with our history and core business.”
Samsung signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Gauteng Department of Economic Development (DED), which is committed to exploring and investing in green technologies for green economies.
“The Digital Village aligns with government’s vision of finding alternative solutions to African problems, and we are proud to be a part of it,” says Albert Chanee, head of the DED.
Samsung and the department were inspired by the work of the Fodisong Community and Health Centre, a non-governmental organisation that has provided healthcare services to the Itsoseng community since 2010. The partnership will see the expansion of health and educational services within the community.
“We are immensely grateful for this Digital Village, which will further our efforts and ensure more people receive access to life-saving medical treatment,” said Hans Ludolph, Founder and Leading Member of Fodisong.
Samsung also partnered with Right to Care, a non-profit organization that supports and delivers prevention, care and treatment services. It will specifically provide male circumcision as a preventative health measure.