UNICEF, Airtel Africa partner to scale-up digital learning for children
Airtel Africa and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced a five-year pan-African partnership to help accelerate the roll-out of digital learning through connecting schools to the internet and ensuring free access to learning platforms across 13 countries.
The partnership will help to ensure that every child reaches their full potential. by providing equal access to quality digital learning, particularly for the most vulnerable children,
The Airtel Africa and UNICEF pan-African partnership will benefit learners in Nigeria, Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Under this new initiative, both organisations plan to help connect schools in Lagos and Kano to the internet, to enable children to learn digitally. This pilot initiative is expected to benefit over 10,000 schoolchildren in the two states.
Speaking about the project, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore noted that the partnership with Airtel Africa will help put back on track earning of hundreds of children who the COVID-19 pandemic has either disrupted or put on hold.
“Hundreds of millions of children in Africa have seen their education disrupted or put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said. “By championing digital education for children in Africa, this partnership with Airtel Africa will help put children’s learning back on track.”
“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,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative.
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.
“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,” said Olusegun Ogunsanya, CEO of Airtel Africa. “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.