KAMPALA – Airtel Africa, a telecommunications operator with a presence in 14 African markets, and UNICEF have reaffirmed their shared commitment to accelerate access to quality education by millions of children in Uganda and the rest of Africa, through digital learning. The commitment was made during Airtel Africa CEO, Segun Ogusanya’s courtesy visit to Kitende Secondary School in Entebbe, Uganda.
Airtel Africa and UNICEF launched the digital learning partnership in October 2021, to accelerate the roll-out of digital learning for children by connecting schools to the internet and ensuring free access to learning platforms in Uganda and other Airtel Operating Countries, to ensure that every child reaches their full potential.
The partnership was launched in Uganda at St. Mary’s Assumpta Girls High School in Adjumani district which was connected by internet to Kitende Senior Secondary School enabling students at the two schools to engage in a shared online biology classroom session.
Addressing guests at Kitende SSS, Airtel Africa CEO, Segun Ogusanya said, “Airtel Africa is cognizant of the great value that education contributes to our nations across the continent, which is why we are very deliberate in promoting it and empowering our people. We have done so from the time we set foot on this continent through various initiatives that are designed to give every child in Africa an equal opportunity to access quality education, no matter the circumstance.”
“Airtel Africa will continue to support the shared efforts of the Government of Uganda, by Identifying and collaborating with strategic partners like UNICEF to transform the way our children learn and the education outcomes for the country. This, we commit to doing in Uganda and across 13 other countries where Airtel Africa operates,” Ogusanya pledged.
Airtel Uganda in partnership with UNICEF and the Government will connect 100 schools in the first 2 years, targeting to positively impact 54,750 learners and teachers in primary and secondary schools across the country but focusing on rural schools in West Nile and Karamoja regions.
Ogusanya commended Airtel Uganda, for the investments it has made and collaborations to accelerate internet connectivity in Uganda. Today, Airtel Uganda has deployed over 2500 masts that are 100% 4G, across the country to ease communication, payments and money transfer while transforming the livelihoods of millions of Ugandans through financial and digital inclusion.
The 4th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) which is among the 17 SDGs established by the United Nations advocates for inclusive and equitable quality education to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all children by creating easy access to education plus other learning opportunities.
“Through the Kolibri digital learning platform, the partnership will reach 30,000 learners and 100,000 with USSD/SMS-based content optimized for mobile. Currently, Kolibri is available in over 100 secondary schools with computer labs and 15 youth-friendly ICT centers in refugee settlements. An estimated 16,000 learners and 350 teachers in secondary schools have interacted with Kolibri. More than 1,080 adolescents and 200 trained volunteers are involved in out-of-school Kolibri implementation. To date over 7,500 registered users with over 200,000 content interactions,” noted Munir Safieldin (PhD) at UNICEF Representative to Uganda.
The state minister for Primary Education, Dr. Moriku Kaducu, acknowledged the positive contribution by Airtel Uganda and UNICEF which will be running for 5 years and targets to transform the way learners interact with teachers and the learning content. She pledged the government to support the partnership in the form of a conducive policy framework and engagement.
Beyond digital learning, Airtel has supported a number of social initiatives in health, agriculture, and education, through Airtel Cares, its umbrella corporate social responsibility programme. Under the education pillar, the business has supported top-performing Primary school learners under the Airtel Adopt a School program with starter packages to reward and motivate them for their excellent performance under the education pillar. In addition, the brand has aided the access of digital services in the health and agricultural sectors through enhanced connectivity powered on the 4G network, which efforts are aimed at improving the livelihoods of people in the communities where it operates.