Affordable satellite communications technology improves access to in-demand skills and the latest learning resources for young girls in Kenya’s central constituency of Kajiado. Less than 20% of girls from the Maasai community attend school and even fewer attend secondary school. With large tracts of land used for raising livestock, schools are few. Historically, such remote communities without telecommunications infrastructure have been isolated from technological advances to support access to knowledge-sharing resources. IEC Telecom Group and OstaTech Limited have teamed up to change the status quo with low-cost Internet connectivity via satellite networks. A seamless communications infrastructure has enhanced the inclusion of educational resources and bridged the divide between urban and rural communities.
This summer, Memusi Hope Foundation has partnered with Moringa School, OstaTech Limited & IEC Telecom Group, KENIC Limited, Huawei Technologies and Santos Okotta to offer Entaisere é Kenya, an educational program that will equip these young girls with software development skills and potential employment opportunities . Girls who graduated from high school enrolled in the first series of a special digital education curriculum in August and will all graduate this month. The plan is to offer courses every six months to more young girls who may have completed high school in the past or some college-level courses to equip them with the digital skills in demand today.
“When we developed the concept of working with women and youth in Kajiado County in 2009, it was just a simple dream. The years that followed showed how such an idea could become a powerful reality that would positively transform human life. We are proud of our achievements in Kajiado County to empower women and youth. Today we celebrate the first milestone and moving forward, we have an ambitious plan to expand the project to 2028,” said Elijah Memusi Kanchory, Founder and Patron of the Memusi Hope Foundation.
According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), 230 million jobs in Africa will require digital skills by 2030. That means 650 million potential education and training opportunities in an estimated $130 billion market. Digitization in schools and communities is inevitable in East Africa and the Entaisere é Kenya program for young girls in the Maasai community is bringing educational resources to a community that was previously unreachable.
“Through our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programs in East Africa, we are committed to bridging the digital divide by enabling education in remote areas. Satellite communications provide affordable, high-speed Internet access to underserved communities. We are honored to have partnered with the Memusi Hope Foundation as IEC Telecom Group’s local service provider in East Africa to bring this innovative educational program to the Maasai community,” said Oscar Mwai, Chief Executive Officer, OstaTech Limited.
The African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy 2020-2030 emphasizes the importance of digitizing education. The COVID-19 pandemic has once again underscored the urgency of this matter. In the past two years, numerous initiatives have been launched in East Africa to support this noble mission, especially in Kenya, where digitization is a high political priority for the government, teachers and professionals in the education sector. 56% of Kenya’s population is young and lends itself to tech-savvy e-learning opportunities. This is an excellent scenario as individual returns to education in Africa are estimated at 13.4%, well above the world average of around 10%.
Kenya’s Giga Initiative prioritizes school education and supports the National Broadband Strategy’s goal of achieving 100 percent connectivity in all education programs and schools. Kenya’s Basic Education Framework 2017 outlines the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) strategy, focusing on the acquisition of skills useful for solving real-world problems. Digital competence is one of the strategic pillars within the framework. Additionally, Kenya’s DigiSchools program aims to equip students with the relevant digital skills needed in today’s digital world. To date, 1,148,160 devices have been distributed to 21,232 schools, with additional investments in digital content, teacher training and power supply. This corresponds to GDP growth of 1.4%.
“At IEC Telecom, we see connectivity as a transformative force, facilitating access to much-needed resources and opening the way to new opportunities. Our extensive portfolio of satcom services enables governments to advance equality and inclusion by providing affordable access to education anywhere,” said Alaa Alsadi, Business Development Director – Middle East and Africa, IEC Telecom Group.
“IEC Telecom recognized the growing demand for e-learning in East Africa and worked hard to develop an all-in-one system that is affordable, easy to deploy and most importantly, scalable for future needs. We are honored that our plug and play School Kit solution is at the heart of the Entaisere é Kenya project. We are inspired by this initiative and together with our partners at OstaTech we are committed to supporting the Memusi Hope Foundation in their mission to bring education to remote communities,” adds Alsadi.
As the first group of 21 graduates represents a promising future for the advancement of the Maasai community, it is also the first of many historic steps towards digitization and integration of critical communications infrastructure in Africa’s fast-growing economy.
Source: IEC Telecom