Nokia has partnered with Safaricom, UNICEF and the Ministries of Education and ICT, to connect close to 90 schools to the Internet in Kenya. The initiative aims to connect the unconnected, with the ultimate goal of scaling broadband connection to all schools by 2030.

Both rural and disadvantaged urban settlements have benefitted from the initiative, which also supports digitization and digital literacy.

The connected schools are spread across rural and informal urban settlements in Kenya, serving an estimated 32,670 students. These schools are using Nokia’s FastMile 4G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband solution to provide high-speed connectivity delivered over Safaricom’s 4G/LTE network. Nokia’s meshed WiFi Beacon technology is used to boost the Internet signal in selected classrooms and computer labs.

In 2020, school closures in Kenya meant that children had to stay home for six to nine months, leaving them reliant on remote learning. Students who could access the internet were better placed to continue with their learning, while those who could not had to put their learning on halt.

With this partnership, schools equipped with a broadband connection, digital devices and teacher training will now be able to make better use of video communication, digital curricula and online content. This will improve digital literacy and skills amongst school children.

Speaking on the partnership, Peter Ndegwa CEO of Safaricom said, “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 to the Sustainable Development Goals. Our shared value partnership with UNICEF and Nokia allows us to connect schools in underprivileged areas and increase access to digital literacy.”

On her part, UNICEF Kenya Country Representative Maniza Zaman said, “Children have a right to access quality education wherever they are, yet for too long, the digital divide has prevented disadvantaged children from enjoying the same benefits as their connected peers. By connecting schools to the Internet, with a focus on the most disadvantaged areas, we can start to level the playing field. This allows students and teachers to gain digital skills and access the latest education materials, providing a brighter future for some of the most vulnerable children in Kenya.”