UNICEF and Liquid Intelligent Technologies launch a partnership to help Giga bridge the digital divide in Africa

UNICEF and Liquid Intelligent Technologies, a business of Cassava Technologies, a pan-African technology group, announced a partnership in support of Giga’s work to connect every school to the Internet and every young person to information, opportunity, and choice.

Liquid will share anonymized data to support Giga’s work to map the location and connectivity status of schools in Africa. Liquid will also share information with Giga about schools’ proximity to telecoms infrastructure and will help develop a connectivity monitoring platform. The resulting information will provide a basis for better-targeted investment to connect schools, including in hard-to-reach areas.

The partnership will initially focus on Kenya but will aim to incorporate other Liquid markets over time, including South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.

“This partnership with Liquid will allow our Giga team to gain a deeper understanding of the connectivity landscape in Kenya and across Africa,” said Thomas Davin, Director, Office of Innovation at UNICEF. “That knowledge will help UNICEF to get more schools online, giving children access to the opportunities they need to flourish.”

Ben Roberts, Group Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Liquid Intelligent Technologies, said, “The Giga Initiative from UNICEF and ITU echoes Liquid’s sentiment of creating a digitally resilient economy in Kenya and Africa at large. There is no better place to start than our schools that shape the minds of our children, thereby securing our future. Through our expertise in the digital and telecom landscape, we will support UNICEF in its endeavour to map school connectivity data across Kenya by providing real-time figures to measure impact. This initiative also reiterates the vision of our parent company – Cassava Technologies, of creating a digitally connected continent that leaves no African behind.”

Around half of the world’s population still has no meaningful access to the Internet. UNICEF and Liquid are committed to addressing this digital divide, which has widened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Giga has already mapped over 1 million schools and their connectivity around the world and has connected over 3,000 schools.

Liquid has connected 4,000 schools to internet across Africa. The company aspires to continue empowering schools with digital technology and has mapped 150,000 schools through the continent. 

Giga is part of UNICEF’s broader Reimagine Education initiative, the UN Secretary General’s Common Agenda and Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, and ITU’s Partner2 Connect Coalition. It has the potential to transform efforts to narrow the digital divide, providing a connectivity layer on which digital empowerment initiatives can build.

www.liquid.tech

Airtel Africa and UNICEF announce multi-million dollar partnership to scale-up digital learning for children across Africa

Airtel Africa and UNICEF have announced a five-year pan-African partnership to help accelerate the roll-out of digital learning through connecting schools to the internet and ensuring free access to learning platforms across 13 countries. By providing equal access to quality digital learning, particularly for the most vulnerable children, the partnership will help to ensure that every child reaches their full potential.    

Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services in Africa, is the first African private sector partner to make a multimillion-dollar commitment to ‘Reimagine Education’, a global initiative launched by UNICEF in 2020 calling for public and private sector investment in digital learning  as an essential service for every child and young person across the globe. This initiative aims to to give children a chance to catch up on their learning needs amid the ongoing global pandemic.

“Hundreds of millions of children in Africa have seen their education disrupted or put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “By championing digital education for children in Africa, this partnership with Airtel Africa will help put children’s learning back on track.”

Airtel Africa’s financial and in-kind contribution for this partnership is $57 million over five years to 2027. The programme will call on technology and expertise, in addition to direct financial support to connect schools and communities to the internet, enable free access to online educational content for learners. It will also provide vital data insights to inform UNICEF’s work to scale-up digital learning and help ensure it is sustainable and meets students’ needs across Africa.

“As a business, we have focused on education as a key area of our corporate social responsibility, and we are delighted that this partnership with UNICEF will enable us to accelerate results. It also coincides with the launch of our new sustainability strategy, which lays out our commitment to education,” said Olusegun Ogunsanya, CEO of Airtel Africa. “We are excited to be working with UNICEF to advance the education agenda on the continent through facilitating connectivity and online access to play a role in driving change,” he added.

The Airtel Africa and UNICEF pan-Africanpartnership will benefit learners in Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

www.unicef.org

www.airtel.africa