10 May 2013

Connecting Africa project will bring African communities online

African school childrenBT has teamed up with international charity SOS Children’s Villages to provide broadband internet access to twenty African communities as part of its newly launched ‘Connecting Africa’ project.

SOS Children’s Villages focuses on children at risk. The charity protects and improves the lives of children in 125 countries, working with communities to keep fragmenting families together, and where this is not possible, building new families for children at risk.

Connecting Africa will see twenty of the charity’s sites in twelve African countries become connected via BT’s global satellite network. BT and SOS Children’s Villages estimate that the project could directly and indirectly benefit approximately 700,000 people.

The Connecting Africa project will bring significant benefits to the children living in the Children’s Villages, enabling them to get online and helping with their education through e-learning courses and mentoring programmes developed by the charity. It will also help SOS Children’s Villages to run its operations more efficiently and better co-ordinate the facilities it operates in the communities, which include schools, medical centres and community programmes.

The first two SOS Children’s Villages in The Gambia have already been brought online and the remaining Children’s Villages are scheduled to be connected by October 2013.

Re-using equipment

BT is designing and buildings the network infrastructure using underutilised or decommissioned BT equipment. At the same time, BT engineers will train the charity’s local IT support teams to maintain and operate the infrastructure, making sure the project is sustainable in the long term.

Meryl Davies from SOS Children’s Villages said: “We see the real difference that IT and connectivity make to our children’s lives, opening their eyes to a whole new world of information, and wonderful education opportunities. The other significant value of this partnership is the way that BT is helping us as an organisation. BT has the vision to understand that with improved systems and structures, we will be better able to bring long term value to incredibly vulnerable children and families.”

The Connecting Africa project is part of BT’s Better Future programme, which is a commitment to use the power of communications to improve lives and ways of doing business. It is one of a number of projects that BT is running around the world to help people get online and develop the skills and confidence to use the internet.

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