Airtel Africa and UNICEF today launched a five-year pan-African partnership to help speed the roll-out of digital learning across 13 countries by connecting schools to the internet and ensuring free access to learning platforms.
The partnership will help to ensure that every kid reaches their full potential by ensuring equal access to high-quality digital learning, particularly for the most vulnerable children.
Airtel Nigeria and UNICEF Nigeria have long been collaborators, and as part of this new effort, they want to help connect schools in Lagos and Kano to the internet, allowing children to learn digitally.
This pilot program is estimated to help over 10,000 students in both states.
Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services in Africa, is the first African private sector partner to commit to ‘Reimagine Education,’ a global initiative launched by UNICEF in 2020 that calls for public and private sector investment in digital learning as an essential service for every child and young person around the world.
This program intends to provide youngsters with the opportunity to catch up on their learning needs in the midst of the continuing global epidemic.
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said, “Hundreds of millions of children in Africa have seen their education disrupted or put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“By championing digital education for children in Africa, this partnership with Airtel Africa will help put children’s learning back on track”, she said.
Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative, “Digital learning is the gateway to equipping young people with the right skills – skills that will support them to transition from learning to earning. We are delighted that Airtel Nigeria shares in this vision, and is helping to drive the process of scaling up internet connectivity for school children in Nigeria.”
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.
said Olusegun Ogunsanya, CEO of Airtel Africa said,
“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.”
“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-African partnership will benefit learners not only in Nigeria, but also in Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.