Africa is developing at an exceptional rate thanks, in part, to mobile technology, something that has been confirmed by a study by the World Bank (PDF). But the economic boom brought about by new technologies as well as the upswing in startups and tech hubs popping up is just one side of the story – in many countries, only a few people have access to education. With our partner project Mobisol, we want to change this together with you!
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The popularity of mobile phones in Africa is undeniable: two thirds of the adult population has one. Here, mobiles aren't just communications gadgets, they also present many opportunities to people living in areas where infrastructure is not very good. Take, for example, agriculture. Speaking with Deutsche Welle, Head of Corporate Communications at Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority, Innocent Mungy, stated: ''Before, farmers had to travel for miles to the next market to sell their products. Now they can deal with customers direct via their mobiles and the customers can go direct to the farmers.'' In addition, farmers and fishermen can check market prices and weather information via phone and apps or receive valuable tips on cultivation and animal husbandry and exchange ideas.
Even in the health and education sectors, mobile technology is having a positive impact: it's connecting doctors and patients in isolated regions with hospitals; enabling diagnoses and providing information about medication; and making learning material available remotely.
Tech Hubs are Driving Change in Africa
One of the best things about the current development picture is that many of the new ideas being implemented are not brought in from overseas – they are developed by startups in Africa. The best example of this is the M-Pesa mobile banking system, which enables people, even those located remotely, to pay bills, transfer money or buy credit for their phones. According to the World Bank, M-Pesa has opened many doors for the poor, allowing people without their own account to also transfer small sums of money.
The move towards digitalisation is being driven by so-called tech hubs that are scattered throughout various African cities and act as centre points where programmers and creative people can develop ideas, exchange and receive support. The AfriLabs network alone counts 27 hubs from 15 countries among its members. In order to join in this movement though, people need to receive a proper education – which many people in Africa still cannot access.
Onwards and Upwards with...Education!
Kids in Arusha with the Mobisol Team
Despite some positive economic trends in the last few years, Tanzania is still one of the poorest countries in the world. Access to education is not assured and the quality of the curriculum and state of the schools can be poor. This led to the creation of our newest project: together with our partner project Mobisol and local partner organisation Kakute, we wish to bring electricity to a school in Tanzania. Via RESET, you can donate funds that will go towards a Mobisol Solar Home System for the Barbara Nursery and Primary School in Lolovono in the Arusha region.
The 200MW system can power the entire school as well as the mobile phones of the teachers and appliances such as radios, mp3 players, data projectors and laptops, all of which form part of a contemporary education!
At the same time, the system will be used as an example to illustrate certain teaching projects: Kakute organises educational programs in schools in Arusha that focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change.
So, you want to take part? Your donation can help provide educational pathways to children in Tanzania!
Want to learn more about our partner project Mobisol? Find out more about how Mobisol allows low-income people to purchase solar panels and pay for them in small monthly rates using M-Pesa: Mobisol – Smart Solar Energy Beyond the Grid.