Nokia has collaborated with Safaricom, UNICEF, and the Ministries of Education and ICT to connect nearly 90 Kenyan schools to the Internet. The initiative aims to connect the unconnected, with the ultimate goal of connecting all schools to broadband by 2030.
The initiative, which also promotes digitization and digital literacy, has benefited both rural and disadvantaged urban areas.
The linked schools serve an estimated 32,670 students across Kenya’s rural and informal urban settlements. These schools use Nokia’s FastMile 4G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband solution to deliver high-speed connectivity over Safaricom’s 4G/LTE network. In selected classrooms and computer labs, Nokia’s meshed WiFi Beacon technology is used to boost Internet signals.
School closures in Kenya in 2020 meant that children would have to stay at home for six to nine months, forcing them to rely on remote learning. Students who could access the internet were in a better position to continue their education, whereas those who couldn’t have to put their education on hold.
Schools that have a broadband connection, digital devices, and teacher training will be able to make better use of video communication, digital curricula, and online content as a result of this collaboration. This will improve schoolchildren’s digital literacy and skills.
Speaking about the collaboration, Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa stated, “As part of our Transforming Lives purpose and vision to become a purpose-led technology company, we are always looking for partnerships that allow us to use our services to deliver social impact in areas aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. Our collaboration with UNICEF and Nokia on shared values enables us to connect schools in underserved areas and increase access to digital literacy.”
Maniza Zaman, UNICEF Kenya Country Representative, stated, “Children have a right to quality education wherever they are, but for far too long, the digital divide has prevented disadvantaged children from enjoying the same benefits as their connected peers.” We can begin to level the playing field by connecting schools to the Internet, with a focus on the most disadvantaged areas. This enables students and teachers to gain digital skills and gain access to the most up-to-date educational materials, providing a brighter future for some of Kenya’s most vulnerable children.”